My house is quiet right now, companion noises are few.  The drone of my computer and its printer bride… across the hall and down the stairs, Aussie occasionally repositioning, a dog tag cowbell of sorts adorning her neck and reminding me that she is comfortably nested under our dining room table…the soft tapping of my own finger tips as they serve as wand to temple, coaxing thoughts from my tired mind into my blog pensieve

Now is one of those times I wish pensieves were more than mere literary device, a means in Rowling’s arsenal to accomplish Potter’s ends.  There’s so much I’d like to extract, to rid myself of present thought while keeping it safely nearby so I could revisit and rethink it when there weren’t so many ruminations colliding. 

A mother’s life is notched by the milestones of her children, the turning points in their lives give meaning to her own.  When all is right and good and balanced, these things are not everything to her, but the something they are is everything for that moment in time.

"Firsts" are nearly always magic–a smile, a step, self-tied shoes and lost teeth all inscribe their place in her heart.  Those are the "good" kind.    The not-so-good firsts also find their place–foot-stamping, indignant "No’s!", skinned knees, a call from preschool to inform you that YOUR child is the class biter. 

I’m in a s e a s o n of milestones, any one of them on their own would send me into a pensive state; when I multiply it times three, well…I want to write to remember.   I have to write.

Stephen, my baby, turned ten in April.  As all young men should be, he is p.r.o.u.d. of those double digits.  I forgot that that meant something until he reminded me (how could I when both of his older siblings had already crossed that magical threshold?). 

Stephen is our affectionate one, as a kindegartener he earned the nicknames "Romeo" and "Cassanova" from Mrs. Farrar and Mrs. Tucker, from me, "the Kissing Bandit".  He loves to touch, to be touched, it’s how he gives and receives love.  He has always been the reluctant one to spend the night away, especially if Tad and I were out of town; for some reason our being gone made it worse.  While he was eager to reach that milestone, once he understood it actually meant spending the night away, he retreated for a while.  Pushing him only made matters worse, so we let him take his time until he was ready again.

So, the first reason I’m writing when I’d like to be sleeping?

He’s at camp this week :).  First time.  A magical, good kind of first. 

I’ve missed him from the moment I dropped him off, but I couldn’t have been more thankful he never looked back.  When we first mentioned camp, he had that "deer in the headlights" look.  Little did he know, I had already paid the deposit.  He responded with, "It’s too late, you were already supposed to sign up" and I just slyly said, "Well, I talked to Mr. P, there’s a spot if you want it…".  For the next several weeks we sowed seeds of "camp benefit" (Rachel and Thomas did, too, they had already had a year of camp under their belts by the time they were his age).  My own camp years hold some of the most wonderful memories of youth…a smile curls my lip just pausing for a moment to remember…:)

Slowly, he accepted?  became resigned to? the fact he was going.  After the requisite labeling of belongings–in a most likely futile attempt of assuring his things returned home with him–and making sure he had  enough underwear for every day (speaking of futility…!), he was ready.  As I kissed him goodnight, he actually told me he was excited.  That was a good thing, a very good thing.

So, it’s been quieter without him this week.  I think his siblings are f i n a l l y beginning to miss him, too.  Rachel has dutifully taken care of his fish every day and filled his gumball machine FULL of tasteless balls of color (couldn’t help but sample them) to surprise him when he gets home; Thomas even said it.

In spite of his physical absence, he’s been present a thousand different ways–when I walk past his room, I catch myself turning my head to see him, the same way you mindlessly flip on a light switch when there’s a temporary power loss;  the noticeable decrease in the number of times I’m asked "What’s for dinner?" and, really, just his characteristic "need-to-know" questions in general; only two babies to kiss goodnight….

A huge milestone for him, maybe one just as large for me.  Once again, I’m reminded I’ve already had him at home longer than I will have him home…and it pains me just a bit in advance knowing the next eight years will fly by even more quickly than the previous ten.  Time has a funny way of speeding up and slowing down like that…

And then there are those "things" with Thomas and Rachel…lol…I might just give up sleep for a while.   🙂

* * * * * * * * * * *

** Friday Night Revision**

1)  He had a GREAT time and can’t wait til next year.

2)  The kind of conversations that were absent while Stephen was at camp:

Stephen:  "Mom, you know what I hate?"

Me:  "What’s that?"

Stephen:  "When someone pinches your nose and you have a booger…it huuuurrts."

Me:  Blink blink.

* * * * * * * * *

Me:  "Baby, I’m so proud of you…"

Him:  "Yeah, me, too."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

3)  Apparently, my propensity for "not going" when out of town is genetic.  He didn’t either.  Okay, he did, but only once. 

So what does that mean?

I’m up late because he wasn’t feeling well…got sick…IN HIS BED (thankyewverymuch)…and hashed a week’s worth of camp groceries.

4)  I forgot this last night…sue me…it was late and I had just inhaled the aroma of vomit.

Changed underwear:  Daily (according to him AND the laundry…)

Showers:  2

Brushed teeth:  ONCE

(glad I wasn’t his counselor………….!)

Yep, sounds about right ;).

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