children

Stay small a little longer (though I know you won’t)

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As we sit on the eve of my baby turning 10, it’s so easy to wonder where the time went. I remember being ten, desperately wanting to be older and still believing it would be forever before 30 came. I remember cradling a baby boy in my arms sleep deprived and in love, dreaming about all the time I had before he turned ten. It was a blink. I don’t know (just as all parents don’t know) how the baby turned himself into a little boy.

I worry about this one all the time, as I do with his brothers. I hope I am what he needs me to be and I hope that he finds contentment within himself. I strive to make sure he knows he is loved and he is enough.

I try to believe that there is still time, and I know that there is. The days stay with us as the years slip away before we’ve had time to chase them. For now his days are filled with Minecraft strategy, Wizards, books and navigating a new school. He is smart and often solitary and seems comfortable being himself.

My Jack is a special soul and he has big plans for his life. As his mom, I hope to make him feel like his life is always big enough for his plans.

Happy birthday, baby cakes. Mommy loves you.

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CW Challenge : Day 13

15-STEP LIST : HOW TO BE [GOOD TO YOUR MOMMY]

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This is written with my 4, 6 and 7 year old boys in mind.

1. Remember that mommy’s job is to love you, to teach you and to keep you safe. There isn’t always room to make you your happiest while fulfilling her duty, but she always tries.

2. Pick one day a week and make a decision to not whine. One day. No whining.

3. When mommy says to get in the car, grab your stuff, put on your shoes, get in the car and buckle up. This is not a time for questions or requests. No excuses. Just get in the car.

4. When your brother talks to you, answer him. Don’t make him keep calling you. If mommy can hear him, you can hear him. Answer him.

5. When mommy hugs you, hug her back. You used to. She is your safe place.

6. Love each other (your siblings). Every day.

7. Between the hours of 9pm and 7am, don’t use the word mommy, mom, mama or anything like it, unless there is an emergency. A real emergency.

8. Go To Sleep.

9. Believe that when mommy is making eye contact with you and is less than 6 feet away, she is watching you. She sees what you are showing her. You don’t have to re-verify that fact every 12 seconds.

10. Stop eating dirt. Stop licking things. Stop tasting rocks. Please.

11. Do what your mother says, at least 75% of the time.

12. Learn from the mistakes your mom made. She is older, wiser and chances are she’s tried it. She’s telling you specifically because she wants to save you from her upset.

13. Eat what she makes you.

14. Tidy up your room. Do a good job. Do it without being asked.

15. Brush your teeth. No crying. No bartering. It’s 2 minutes out of your life. Brush them!

and one more – give mommy a few minutes to do nothing. it doesn’t mean she loves you less when she is not devoting all her attention to you. she needs to remember herself before she was your mommy because she loves being your mommy so much, sometimes she forgets who she was before.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

CW Challenge : Day 6

HOW YESTERDAY’S EVENT COULD HAVE GONE

I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday — Eleanor Roosevelt

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my biggest boy shuns sleep. always has. this is one of the few ways he mirrors his mother, as i was in childhood. it was nearing midnight. i was awake because i am in the midst of this cough that is causing great havoc during the time i like to reserve to sleep. i was returning to bed to continue to try to sleep when I met Jack, he was headed towards the kitchen. i tilted my head and looked at him. he tried to ignore me. i stepped sideways and draped my arm over his shoulder and asked him what he was doing.

my little boy had not yet fallen asleep yet. he was starting to become bored.

he was on his way to the fridge. he wanted a freezie. at midnight.

i swept him around in a circle and sent him back to bed. he smiled at me. he knew. but he was bored. so he thought he’d try. truth is, his plan was only foiled because i was dealing with a coughing fit.

how could it have went?

i could have squeezed his shoulder and accompanied him to the kitchen, grabbed two frozen bits of flavour and spent an extra five minutes with my biggest boy. he is quickly approaching eight and a midnight freezie will most likely soon be the least of my worries. i didn’t even consider this option until prompted by this challenge in creativity today.

would today be different? i would have had a midnight snack that i don’t particularly enjoy. my little boy would have hung out with his mom when he should have been sleeping. but essentially, today would be the same.

it could have been a lovely moment, added to the many other lovely moments the two of us share. it could have turned into a request for more freezies. where would it have ended? a lovely moment could have turned difficult.

it was a moment of a smile and a little plan foiled. it could have been more or less or better or worse. it was what it was and it was something i will remember for a long time. it was a story he was giggling about with his brother this morning. it was just as it was meant to be.

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Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

CW Challenge : Day 1

A PLACE THAT YOU LOVE

Nobody can bring you peace but yourself. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

i prefer the outskirts. the moments of observation rather than the throws of participation. i love that place you find yourself when the light is perfect and you turn your head and see your kids being the wonderful little beings they have all the potential to be. and you watch. that place curves my lips, warms my heart and that place can be anywhere.

there’s the end of the messy bed of a little boy who has stayed up too late and has finally succumbed to the night. that place where you can muss hair, straighten sheets and watch. wonder if you’re doing ok. wonder if they are doing ok. feel blessed that another day has been gotten through. that’s a good place too.

a king sized bed is not big enough. flannel sheets and fluffed pillows. the sliver that is mine in the middle of the day. with my back towards the three, my eyes skimming the screen of a book that i should have out-grown and my ears tuned into the little voices i’m sharing the covers with. they are playing minecraft or watching netflix or laughing at a youtube clip. they are bonding, loving, safe. and i am there and in my memory, will always be there, in a wonderful place.

and in a daydream there is a hammock between two trees. and there is a book. a good book, one that has survived the first chapter grilling. and i swing in the breeze. it is peaceful and easy. there is a moment of loss. the loss of responsibility and the tug of the things that should be getting done. there is a book and a sling and a lovely day, and the illusion of nothing else at all.

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I was a day late starting the challenge…going to try to play catch up.
Here’s more on the Creative Writing Challenge

perspective

little boys should never be sent to bed. every morning they wake a day older and before you know it, they’re grown. — J.M. Barrie

when you join the ranks of parenthood, things [obviously] change. the most cliché is  the measuring of time. the push by all those who have been there to enjoy the moments, even the terrible ones because they are, indeed fleeting.

oh, they are.

it is the eve of my youngest’s fourth birthday. i have no more babies. they are all big boys now. my biggest boy is quickly approaching his eighth birthday, my middle boy is quite comfortable with six and now by baby is four.

i was happily surprised by a visit from one of my oldest, and most treasured friends (though i don’t remind her of her importance to me enough). she was the one who sat with me, walked with me and made sure i got to my husband safely when my water broke for my very first baby. and that doesn’t feel like so long ago. when did all this happen? how did our 20s pass and my babies get big. her baby is almost one already and as i squeezed her precious little girl today i feel like i’ve missed much.

all ends are beginnings. all beginnings, ends. it is simply a matter of perspective. today marked the end of babies residing in my house. it fills me with the worry of what i missed. though it feels like my water broke a few weeks ago, i struggle to remember the tiny things that i will never have again. the giggles, the clean, enveloping baby smell, the need. now i am outnumbered by boys talking about farts, little people who ask interesting questions and my growing sons who are so often saying, ‘mommy, no! i can do it’!

three little boys are exactly what i hoped for. i am blessed. these are ages where i have real memories of my own childhood. there is incredible importance embedded in the time upon us. i insist on reflecting on the babies that were, and grieving quietly for their loss. the struggle in worrying that i didn’t listen enough, hug enough, cuddle enough, pause enough…i feel it; i embrace the burden.

and i am brought swiftly into the present with the knowledge that there is plenty of work to be done. there are fights to be refereed, there are lessons to be taught, there are books to be shared, there are memories to be made. there is the knowledge that i will make mistakes and these once babies are now little boys who will remember easier and question accordingly. i realize the time spent pining for my babies will only take away from the time available to enjoy my little boys.

and i’m fortunate. i had kids before some of my friends, so i have a few more years of snuggles and giggles and baby wonder. yes, my heart pulls and my uterus tugs with the envy i feel for these mamas of babes. but i have more opportunity to impart the clichéd advice of ‘enjoy every bit of them because they aren’t babies for long’. and i get to hear ‘i know’. and i get to understand that they really don’t know until it feels like it’s too late. and their time will come when they feel the thing that i do tonight. and i will relate, and i will comfort.

the cruelty of time is that it passes. the struggle with life is that it goes on. babies go to bed and they wake up older. tonight i am sad. tomorrow, i’m sure i’ll be less so because boys are busy and to enjoy them properly, you must keep up.

happy birthday, charlie-bear. you’re my littlest big boy now.