Saturday, November 12, 2016

"I listen for returning feet, And voices at the door"

It's Friday night, 8:20 pm. The man and I have dinner reservations for 9:00. (It's like we're in our twenties again!) For the past three hours, we've been puttering around at home doing our own things. I've been enjoying the simple freedom of controlling the TV remote, stretching out on the couch and reading without having to share the blankets with anyone but the cats. The man has been playing games on his laptop. The house is blissfully quiet. R is sleeping over at a friend's house with his best buds. (That house has an XBox and the dad lets the boys stay up super late and run around in the woods at night, playing hide and seek.)

It happened just like everyone warns you. One day he's your tiny boy with his teeny toes and sweet baby smell and silly laugh who loves to cuddle and would rather be with you than anyone else in the world. The next day he's taller than you, with limbs and feet everywhere, smelling like an armpit, constantly hungry, and preferring to be with his friends.

I miss that little boy, of course, but somehow I've managed to enjoy R at each stage of his life. I'm happy for him that he has friends who are good kids. I love that he wants to run around in the woods in the moonlight and play video games with his friends until the wee hours. Although it seems like it all happened while I blinked, I've been so proud to watch him grow and become a funny, smart, wiseass of a 12-year-old. (I could do without the swearing, but I know he's just exercising some freedom and independence.)

He's fun to be with. He makes me (and his friends) laugh with his twisted sense of humor and willingness to be a complete wackadoodle. He uses his changing, cracking voice in his "routine," saying "Helloooooo, Mother Dearrrrrrrr" in a psychotic way just to creep me out.

But he's kept his incredible sense of empathy and justice. He's kind and thoughtful and can sense when someone is sad or stressed or angry. He still loves to give hugs. And, best of all, he still talks to me about almost everything in his life. I know that won't always be true, so I treasure it now.

I always miss R when he's not with me, and that's true tonight as well. But I'm learning to appreciate having some time alone with the man or on my own, even if it's just for a trip to Costco or CVS. And, who knows? Maybe tomorrow morning, we'll venture out to the antiques mall or Goodwill to shop without someone pulling on my shoulder and plaintively pleading, "Can we go now?" every two minutes.

Or maybe I'll just count the minutes until it's time for him to come home.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mexican Marketplace

The first graders at R's school held a Mexican Marketplace today, in honor of Cinco de Mayo. All the parents were invited. R was so excited about it. He mentioned something beforehand about being a cashier and being worried about the stress that goes along with that. :-)

It was so cute. As I walked in, I was handed five paper pesos. There were three big tables - one "selling" God's eyes, one selling bark paintings, and one selling paper flowers - all of which the first graders had made.

R was manning the bark paintings table when I arrived (I heard him yell, "Hi, Mama!!!" and saw him waving and smiling at me). I bought one of his bark paintings for 3 pesos. Then, he told me to go buy a God's eye. So, I bought one from one of R's best friends. (Then, I had to go replenish my pesos.) I bought a paper flower from another of R's friends.

R's teacher then assembled the parents in one area and the kids all lined up to sing two songs in Spanish. (There are about 60 first graders - my camera only caught a few of them, obviously.)

Afterwards, I got a few more pesos, and R ran around to the different tables so that I could buy one of everything again from him. We found his other bark painting, so I bought that, too.

Everyone was so excited. The kids were thrilled to be in charge of the "money" and to sell their wares. They were all wearing colorful vests they had made in class.

A fun start to a happy Cinco de Mayo! And, R is going to teach me how to make a God's eye when he gets home today. I never learned that growing up - weird!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I am not raising a procrastinator

Last night, R started making a pile of his belongings on the coffee table. This is nothing new -- he makes piles of his stuff all over our house on a regular basis. (No comment.) But, this time, he told me these are the things that he'll be bringing to college.

Um, the kid is just a few days shy of 7 years old.

So, what does a first-grader expect to bring to college with him? (Updated list 4/15 with the stuff I forgot!)
  • His wallet
  • A mechanical pencil
  • A calculator
  • His "scientist's journal"
  • Deck of cards
  • Rubik's cube
  • His address book (has 911, A's cell #, my cell # in it)
I was instructed not to move these things -- FOR 11 YEARS. Unfortunately, I did not leave a note on the pile, so when A came home while I was putting R to bed upstairs, he put everything away. R was not pleased the next morning.

Apparently, I am not raising a procrastinator. And, hey, he has a pretty good sense of what he'll need for his classes!

Also, I think he's planning to clean someone out at poker. ;-)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The play's the thing

Yesterday, R was in a play. His after-school program puts on a play every year, and the kids can all be in it if they want to. Last year, R wasn't interested at all. This year, he matter-of-factly announced to us over dinner one night that he was going to be in the play. And, that he had a speaking part.

I almost fell out of my chair, but I kept my reaction to myself. I've always thought that R would be wonderful on stage because he's incredibly expressive and has a flair for the dramatic. But as outgoing as he is normally, he HATES being the center of attention. He had some pretty disastrous performances at his old daycare/preschool, where he either fell apart on stage or ran into my arms sobbing. So, I've never pushed him into anything like that since. I even warned his kindergarten teacher last year that he might be hesitant to participate in the all-school music concert. He did okay, but he was extremely upset that A and I came to the performance. He didn't want us there AT ALL.

So, when R told us that he was going to be in the after-school play, I tried not to get too excited. I figured he would drop out after a few rehearsals or bail at the last second. I said a prayer for him yesterday that he wouldn't get upset with himself no matter what happened.

The play was sort of a re-telling of Toy Story, where the toys come alive in the after-school program classroom. It was clever and really funny! They even acted out commercials in between scenes. Probably 90% of the kids were girls, so there were many Barbies and princesses. But, R and the five other boys who participated were the Army guys, and it was perfect for them. The after-school teacher who directed the play is brilliant - she had the boys/Army guys come running into scenes like maniacs. They got to climb over things and jump and yell out, "Sir, yes, sir!"

In one scene, the Army men were searching for the missing Princess Fairy Barbie. Each one of the boys had his own line, where they came up to center stage and announced the results of their search. When it was R's turn, he walked up and delivered his line in a clear voice. Then he smiled.

When the Army men made their first appearance on stage, I saw R take a look at the crowd and freeze up. He turned his face away for a few seconds, and I could see him mentally psyching himself up. Then, he turned back, spotted A and me, gave us a little wave, and played his part.

He did it! And, the best part of all? He had fun doing it. He loved being in the cast and helping to make the scenery.

I found out later that none of his best friends in the after-school program wanted to be in the play. So, not only did R want to do it, but he stuck with it even though his friends weren't a part of it.

How cool is that? :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

What would make you happy?

It's been a rough winter. And, I don't just mean weather-wise.

I've been battling a lot of things, and I'll spare you the details, but now I'm faced with a very interesting and intriguing "assignment." I'm supposed to figure out what would make me happy -- and I'm finding it the most difficult question I've ever had to answer. Exciting, yes, but also really, really hard.

Because for the first time in my life, I want to do something big. I want to take a huge risk, even if it's a complete disaster. I want to do the irresponsible thing, the thing that doesn't make sense. I want to have fun again - and not "Mom fun" like painting pottery or redecorating my house or taking yoga with a friend. I want to do something for me instead of taking care of everyone else around me first. I've put others first for so long that when someone asks me what I want to do (even if it's where to go for dinner), I honestly can't answer. It's always been in my nature to just do whatever everyone else wants to do.

So, now that I'm forcing myself to think about what I want, I'm tossing around crazy ideas like moving to California or changing careers. Maybe if I can articulate the wildest ideas, something concrete will come out of it, some small first steps will become apparent. I feel very optimistic that, by this time next year, something big will have changed in my life - whether good or bad. To me, the worst thing would be if nothing changed -- if I just stifled these feelings, accepted things as they are, and went along with life as it is.

I'm not looking for sympathy or encouragement or reproach here (although I realize I may still get it). I am curious, though: How would you answer the question, "What would make you happy?"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

One Benefit of Being Stuck Inside This Winter

R asked if he could "clean something" one day. So, I grabbed an empty spray bottle, filled it with part water and part vinegar, gave him a roll of paper towels, and let him go to town.

He was a cleaning machine. He washed every window in the house, every mirror, the sinks, the tub, the toilet, the top of the fridge, and the cabinets. THEN, he dusted, Swiffered, vacuumed, and mopped the floors! He cleaned for 2 hours and kept asking for more things to clean.

Dreams do come true, people.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day in Pictures

We're in the middle of a blizzard up here in Massachusetts. I'm home from work, R is home from school, and we're not going anywhere today. It's a day for cocoa, making cookies, and maybe throwing something in the crockpot for dinner. In between shoveling sessions, of course. I think we're going to look at snowflakes under the microscope, too. It's a day for snuggling together and being in awe of the power of nature.

I'm going to take pictures throughout the day just for fun.

We are exhausted! I have a feeling the shoveling is going to catch up with us in the morning. School is closed again tomorrow, so we have another day to have fun in the snow. Yay! [10:00 pm]

After two hours of shoveling and playing in the snow, we made popcorn and got comfy watching "Despicable Me." [2:00 pm]

A and I shoveled and shoveled and shoveled. We have a short driveway, but we live on a corner lot, so we have A LOT of sidewalk. R played happily in the backyard the whole time, building himself a fort around our play structure.[11:00 am - 1:00 pm]

I can't believe the juncos are coming out to feed! The wind is unbelievable, and it's still snowing hard and sideways. These poor little things must be so hungry. I'm glad we can share a few seeds with them. [10:30 am]

A is making pancakes and bacon! I love him. We'll definitely work off the calories today with all the shoveling. [10:00 am]

Warm, funky slipper socks are keeping my toes warm. [9:30 am]

Here's the view from my back door at 9 am. I accidentally chased away a chickadee from the feeder when I opened the door. Sorry, little guy!

How are you spending your day? Are you snowed in?