Wake Me Up

Since  Elder started kindergarten, I have always worked my schedule so that I was with the boys before and after school, except for the two years I worked part-time at the local army installation. But, now, for the next few months, I am again working part-time at the local army installation.

And, Monday, I had four hours of training and would leave with my husband long before the boys were awake for the day.

So, Sunday night, I told the boys, “I won’t be here when you wake up in the morning.”

“Okay, Mom,” they responded, their eyes never leaving their Smash tournament taking place on the television screen.

I finished some laundry then wandered back into the living room, halting behind the sofa. “Okay, well, good night, I guess.” I paused, folding my arms tight against my chest. “I won’t be here when you wake up in the morning.”

“Yeah, okay, Mom.” Neither one glanced in my direction, buttons clicking beneath their busy fingers as their Nintendo characters engaged in an apparently fierce battle. “Good night.”

I sighed. “Night. Love you.”

“Love you, Mom.”

And I retreated to my bedroom. “I worked hard to be here every morning their whole lives,” I told my husband, grumpily. “And they can’t even act sad about tomorrow.”

My husband offered that tolerant smile he has when he thinks I am being less than reasonable. “They’re eighteen and twenty-one,” he reminded me, gently.

“But I was supposed to get something out of it, too,” I wailed.

I guess he didn’t think that was any more reasonable, judging by his patting of my head.

Men.

They understand nothing.

Nothing.

And I am surrounded by them.

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Recommended Ages

Yesterday was Younger’s eighteenth birthday, so today I thought I would share this story from 2004. For the record, Younger can still out talk the best of them . . .

My youngest nephew loves balls, so I thought I might buy him one as a little extra present at Christmas.  And I found one that resembled an octopus with a thousand legs, and uncharacteristically, I did not check the recommended ages.  I just bought it on a whim.  But, apparently, the hundreds of tentacles that actually attracted me to the ball is a danger to children under three.

My nephew is one.

Younger, however, is six.

“Mom,” he said, pulling the ball from the depths of the paper bag from the toy store.  “Owen is not over the age of three.  He cannot have this ball.”  Then he cast me a glance from the corner of his eye.  “You need to find someone who is over the age of three.  Like me.  I’m six.  I am over the age of three.  I could have this ball.  Can I have the ball, Mom?”

I believe that the children under the age of three simply cannot  out talk the children over the age of three, which is why they are not allowed to have the ball with the thousand tentacles.

And that is what they mean by recommended ages.

Love All Your Pieces

Elder turned twenty-one yesterday, so today I thought I would share one of my favorite moments with him when he was only five years old and I could still ignore the fact he would soon grow into a man . . .

Last night as I readied Elder for bed, I gave him a hug and a kiss.  Then I told him, “I love you.”  Without responding, he turned towards the bedroom, so I caught his arm and repeated, “I love you, Elder.”

“Mom,” he said, looking up at me with sincere blue eyes.  “I love you like a balloon that gets too full and pops.”

“Oh,” I murmured, both touched and impressed by his metaphor, not to mention the arms that he had spread wide to indicate the size of the balloon.

“And then,” he continued, dropping his arms and walking away, “I love all your pieces.”

. . . And for twenty-one years my love for him has filled and popped many, many balloons.

And I love all his pieces.

 

 

Define Normal

From the age of two, Elder has had the habit of sitting on his heels, crouched in the position of a baseball catcher waiting for a pitch. When playing video games, he perched on the carpet, sitting crouched on his heels. When eating at the kitchen island, he balanced on the high chairs, sitting crouched on his heels. When reading a book, he settled on the floor, sitting crouched on his heels.

As he has grown older and, more importantly, taller, the habit faded.

I thought, anyway.

The other day, after work and before joining his friends, Elder disappeared into his bathroom to shave his beard. A few minutes later, needing to run the Roomba and not wanting the little robot to jump the divider between the open area around the stairs into the bathroom, I reached to shut the door he had left open.

Only to pause in mid-stretch when I found Elder perched precariously on the counter over the bowl of the sink, sitting crouched on his heels.

“What?” he queried, meeting my eyes in the mirror, pausing with the electric razor hovering over one cheek.

“Nothing,” I blinked, shutting the door slowly. “Nothing. Just clean your mess.”

“Sure, Mom,” he agreed, easily.

Recently, apparently, (I discovered after discussing my experience) Younger wandered into the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning, startled to discover his older brother brushing his teeth, balanced on the sink counter, sitting crouched on his heels. And, also apparently, this imitation of a catcher is a more alarming sight when it greets a person suddenly and unexpectedly with the flick of a light at two o’clock in the morning.

And, again apparently, Younger has learned to control certain urges until dawn has broken the horizon.

“A gargoyle, Mom” Younger whispered. “I thought he was a gargoyle.”

I’m not sure what normal is, exactly.

But I’m pretty sure we aren’t the definition of it.