As I was getting ready to go out, my eldest son glanced up and noticed a strand of silvery colored beads around my neck.
Wow, I like your necklace, Mama. Those are shiny. And pretty. And sparkly.
A few minutes later, my husband glanced at me.
Him: Are you going for the middle school.. ahem, ahem… look?
Did you say middle school teacher?
Or middle school librarian?
Him: Oh, nevermind, he responded.
Me: Because one of my best friends happens to be a middle school librarian!
He agreed. So there. True story.
For the record, I was wearing tights, tall black boots, skirt and… kind of a wraparound black cardigan thing that my hubby can’t identify.
Him: What is that? Is it a sweater?
We headed out for drinks and dinner on a Friday night. I’d just spent 6.5 hours on a kindergarten field trip with said kindergartener AND his preschooler brother. It was gorgeous in Portland, a mild, sunny day in early March that happened to coincide with my birthday. It was a fun, exhausting and life affirming experience surrounded by five and six year olds.
As I bid good night to my 39th year and cautiously enter my 40th… which, by the way, means I turned THIRTY NINE and I’ve got a year to go till I hit four decades of life so far…
Now I can’t remember what I was talking about.
Oh yes. Birthdays and love and family and stuff. All of the usual suspects.
My baby will turn three years old quite soon. Perhaps because he’s the “baby”, I haven’t given much thought to his birthday. For my eldest, I think back on how we threw a party in a park and tossed a beach ball to every party-goer age 1 and up. It was a blast.
I don’t have similar plans in mind for little M. He has some difficulty expressing himself in words, and that adds to the pot of perceiving him to be younger than he actually is. I’m looking forward to him meeting with a speech therapist on Monday. However, he is adept at communicating his needs, and more often than not he needs hugs and cuddles rather than food, water, or the potty (actually, he never needs the potty, as he is potty-training averse). As we embark upon his fourth year, I think of babies and the need… the constant need… the physicality of parenting… the holding, patting, soothing, rocking. My little one is still a rocker, and when very tired he will rock back and forth on the sofa or in his carseat, soothing himself. I remember the stretches when my husband or I walked back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, across a dimly lit room, willing the tiny being into sleep. I recall the minuteness of their hands, their diminutive feet.
I don’t miss it.
For a moment, ok, I miss it.
But as they grow, and as I linger by the computer while they sleep, I remember, and I think – wow. This is happening. They are becoming real people. They are a part of me.
And so, my birthday recently past, and despite the challenges of my 39th year, I feel good about raising these small people. They are contributing. They are observing. They are learning.
So when my eldest told me today that he “would be much better behaved if he didn’t have a brother”, I could breathe in and nod and say, yeah possibly. But you do have a brother. And I do have two kids. So let’s get on with being a family today.
Thanks, readers, for the journey around the sun love last week.