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
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…)
Brushed teeth: ONCE
(glad I wasn’t his counselor………….!)
Yep, sounds about right ;).
Wow, that was like a hallmark commercial for blogs on the wonders of being a mom. (and a great view of what I have to look forward to. If I tear up reading your post, then I’m going to bawl like a baby with Aaron!)
Girl I am right there with you. We are experiencing “milestones” with my teenagers (like girls suddenly being around). Then my middle son is entering Middle School. Then in a year my youngest with be in double digits, all of my kids will be in double digits. I just wanted babies, why did they grown =)
I love reading your Mother’s heart in this.
You are amazing.
Your writing……..your thoughts, your heart…..
Excellent post, makes me want to go hug my babies right now (even tho’ they’re all sleeping! ;o)
Hey my Trashy Friend…have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy reading your writing? Only about 1 or 20 times ! While reading this post, I absolutely went back in time when I sent my girls to camp. My chest is hurting just like it did then. They are now 32 and 26 years old.
M.I.L.E.S.T.O.N..S. will always happen, I hope.
…and, who needs sleep anyway ?
You did it again. Made me cry while reading your Pensieve.
My baby is 10 soon to be 11. He also loves to give and receives hugs and kisses. He will be going to camp soon.
I DREAD the empty nest.
I still have my youngest at home when the older two are camping. I can’t bear the thought of them all being gone at the same time.
Aww! That’s pretty tough. I recently had Brendan with me. 10 days with my precious boy. I have missed him so, so much. But he always wanted to sleep in my arms. He’s 7 now. I can’t let him do that. And it’s hard to accommodate since he’s getting so big. Anyway, it was also sweet. I had to have him sleep elsewhere on the condition that I would come and get him once I was ready to go to sleep. It worked. He’s coming back in the beginning of August. I can’t wait.
You’re right about the time flying by. It’s sad at times. But it’s also precious to watch them grow up.
I think I understand what you’re talking about you being defined by his turning points to date. For a father, we don’t start seeing ourselves until they begin making their own life decisions.
*gulp* Your post made me teary. Ahhh, milestones… what would life be without them? I often remind myself (when Anna is giving me that famous attitude) that I will only have her here for so long, so to enjoy and savor every second. And not just the good ones either 😉
Lovely post. Just lovely.
Robin, this is such a great post. I can feel the quiet in the house…was it late at night?
aww:) I was all “teared up”
Until the revision;)
Great post Mom!
Nikki, Worlds have been colliding in my mind…time begins SNOWBALLING as your kids get older!
Laurel, I can’t remember, but your boys must be close to my kids ages (I’ll have one in Elementary, Middle, and (gulp) High School this year. GIRLS AROUND?? WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THAT??? They’re BABIES!!!
Kristy, I love it when you call me “Dude”, lol…and what’s wrong with hugging in your sleep? Works for me (or at least soft kisses).
Swampy, I have been on the “light” side lately, huh? My other two go next week, but I guess since they’ve gone before, I’m not feeling the same as with Stephen. But this I know, I’ll be missin’ ’em. (Thanks for the rah rah)
Debbie, I don’t exactly d r e a d it, but I’m not lookin’ forward to it either. Then again I am…I just hope my babies choose to live close to HOME!!
Beccy, your comment reminded me of something our former pastor used to always say: “You aren’t raising your kids for yourself, you’re raising them for someone else.” Gulp…BIG one! Wild thought, huh?
Mike, I can only imagine how tough it is to be separated from your son. 🙁 Happy for you when you have those times together…I know they don’t come quickly enough…. I hear ya about encouraging their independence, but also wanting them to want to be with you…I see that 1,000 different ways with my babies.
Mary, don’t get me wrong, all is not perfect in mi casa…sometimes I DO wanna sell them–GIVE THEM–to the circus! Thank goodness those times are the exception!
T.O.B., thanks :).
Claudia, yes, sweets…and I’m glad you could feel the mood…that was so much of this post (until I wrecked that with my on-going revisions!!)
Thank you, Malissa…I kinda wonder if I should’ve done those as a separate post, but decided to keep it all together. Might’ve been “better” the other way, but a bit late for that now…no bother :).
a mile stone,
I never understood why people can’t “go” when they are away from home.
Maybe next year you should give me some bran first.
Somehow I missed this one the first time around.
I wonder if I will be ready when my babies reach this milestone. Right now, I can’t imagine it. They sleep at Grandma’s just fine – but at a Strangers? yikes.
for me, camp at ten was a horror of homesickness. i didn’t go back until I was 13 and even then, when I loved it so much, I still felt so homesick! so your boy did GREAT! 🙂
so sorry about the vomit. not much I loathe more than vomit.
when I think about sending jackson to camp, the thought of him not brushing his teeth, or changing his underwear etc just grosses me out soooo badly. (i am a total germ/clean freak)