A Mind Of Its Own

Gotta know where it is at all times.
Gotta know where it is at all times.

I am the mother of sons. Although I had no say in the matter, the truth is that when hubby and I decided to have children I made it fairly clear that I expected him to give me sons and not daughters. Now, I know we had no say in the matter given that the general rule of conception, at least at this current moment, is “you get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit,” but I’ve always been a girl who knew what she wanted. You see, I am the oldest of three girls. And, while I know my mom enjoyed having young daughters, I remember what I was like as a teenager. I remember how I treated my mother. Furthermore, I remember what it was like living in a house with three teenage girls. Frankly, that amount of estrogen scares me. So, I put that part of my life behind me and gave it a firm “no thank you” when I considered my future and potential parenthood. I was thrilled when the Powers That Be determined that I should have not one but two darling little boys. Apparently, someone up there either understood what I wanted or figured I should parent what I was least likely to strangle. I have always understood why some animals eat their young.

Being the mother of sons is an interesting proposition, though. On the one hand, I never have to share clothes, make up, jewelry, or zero-calorie soft drinks. On the other hand, I am the problem child when it comes to camping and long car trips since I wasn’t built with an external pee hose for convenient potty breaks. All in all, though, being the only female in the house has been an ideal situation for me up until now. Now, my oldest son is now firmly in the throes of being a preteen. Situations in which I am asked to demystify the male anatomy are becoming more frequent. This might freak some women out, but I am not squeamish. I’ve never talked to my sons with baby talk about body parts. I’ll bet I utter the word penis at least five times in any given day, and I’m okay with that. I’m the one who gave my sons their first (very simplified) “sex talk” because 1) they had questions and asked me, 2) their dad was not interested in discussing it yet, and 3) I determined it would be better if they got the details from me than from one of their little friends who has erroneous information. Quite honestly, it’s been fun to hear the things my sons will tell me.

“Please put your penis in its house,” I requested of a not-quite-fully-clothed Joe who was standing in the hallway wearing nothing but a towel after his bath.

He looked down into the towel. “It’s not ready to get dressed yet,” he replied matter of factly.

I closed one eye, cocked my head, and pondered why it might not be ready to get dressed yet. Then I shuddered. Oh Good Lord. “It will be fine. It will fit into pajamas. Get dressed. I may not have a penis, but I know how they work,” I claimed.

“Trust me, Mom. They have a mind of their own.”

So I’ve heard.

You know, my whole life I thought that saying was a cop out. Turns out that even 11 year old boys know it to be true. The best part about being a mom to boys isn’t what I expected it would be. It’s not that no one is hogging the bathroom while doing their hair or that no one is breaking down into weepy, hormone-induced puddles, although those are both good things. It is instead the education I’m getting being able to see the male experience as it happens from birth. It’s given me an entirely new perspective on the male species. I still don’t truly understand men, but I’m getting closer. Apparently, it really is all about the penis.

The Delayed Spontaneity of Adulthood

Now that's a winter wonderland!
Now that’s a winter wonderland!

So, on Friday morning we were just lounging around home, accomplishing nothing. With all the gift buying and wrapping, card writing and sending, cleaning, and cooking in preparation of the holidays completed, we were firmly rooted in a state of vegetation. Sitting on the bed, staring out the window, it occurred to me that for the first time in weeks we had no plans. Not one thing needed to be accomplished. No errands to run. The house was clean. The laundry was washed, folded, ironed, and put away. For giggles, I checked the calendar on my iPhone. For the next three days, there was nothing on the calendar but a dinner reservation we could easily cancel. A brilliant plan hatched in my brain. Our mountain house was vacant. When it’s cold and snowy and there’s nothing pressing, the best place in the world to be is on our couch in Steamboat, watching the snow fall and hanging out with our boys. We needed to get there. Stat!

Thinking this was such an incredibly genius plan, I sprung the idea on my husband.

“So, what are we doing today?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he replied. “Just hanging out.”

“Well, we could go to Steamboat,” I suggested. “We’ve got nothing going on for the next three days and it’s empty. If we’re going to hang out, we could do it there.”

“But what about our dinner reservations for Linger tonight? I was kind of looking forward to that.”

“They’re reservations. We can get in another time,” I said.

“It took us a long time to get a reservation there,” he replied.

“I know. But, we can find another reservation.”

“I don’t know,” he hedged.

I am not proud, but at this point I began pouting. I love a spontaneous trip..a change of plans…a shift in scenery at the last minute. The boys would be home with me for Christmas Break for the next two weeks. I felt I’d already seen enough of the inside of our house. I wanted out. My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t have the opportunity I have to lounge at home. For him, a few unscheduled, unstructured days at home sounds like heaven. He saw me pouting and took the bait.

“It’s just a lot of work to get out of here,” he said. “We have to pack everything up. I need to get a haircut. I don’t feel like spending three hours in the car.”

I continued pouting. It was obvious we were at an impasse.

“There’s nothing left to do,” I said. “We’re all ready for Christmas. We haven’t been to Steamboat since July. The place is open. We have three free days. We could head up there and spend some time relaxing before three full days with our families,” I tried again.

“Maybe we could find some fun things to do around town and do those instead?” he suggested.

“Like what?” I inquired in my best you-have-no-idea-what-you’re-talking-about tone.

“I don’t know. We could do some research.”

“Go get your haircut,” I said, clearly annoyed.

“We can talk about it,” he said. “I mean, I guess we could go. You’re right. There’s nothing stopping us.”

“But, you don’t want to go. And, now I know you don’t want to go. So, if we go then I will know the entire time you’d rather be doing something else and that kind of ruins it for me.” After a long pause, I said, “We don’t ever do anything spontaneous anymore.”

“Yes, we do,” he said.

“Deciding on take out Thai food instead of cooking is not the kind of spontaneity to which I am referring,” I said plainly.

“It’s harder to be more spontaneous when you have kids,” he replied. I cannot argue with this. It is a fact. A sad fact, but a fact nonetheless.

“Well, we’ll talk about it after your haircut,” I sighed. “Whatever we do today it can’t happen until after you get that taken care of, anyway, so go.”

I sent him on his merry way. While he was gone, I did a little prep work. I knew he would come around to the idea of a quick getaway once he had some time to get used to the idea. I packed up our winter gear. I gathered up holiday movies, our Christmas stockings and their stuffers, and prepped the boys on what they would need to pack. When he got home and realized how quickly we could depart, he just might give in.

When he got home, his attitude had been adjusted as I suspected it might be. We quickly tossed a change of clothes into a duffel bag, grabbed some food for the dog and a couple groceries from the kitchen, and hopped in the car. Three and a half hours later, after a stop for gas and the required latte bribe, we were in Steamboat. It’s not that we’re not spontaneous anymore. It’s just that spontaneity requires a bit of lead time when you have responsibilities. First you have to throw off your natural inclination to size up the amount of work the spontaneity requires. Then you have to let go previously visualized plans, no matter how loose and open they were. Then you have to be willing to give yourself over to the moment. If you can break through those three obstacles, adult spontaneity is entirely possible. A bit delayed, perhaps, but still possible.

Like Sands Through The Hourglass

Me and my two-year-old Luke
Me and my two-year-old Luke

Our youngest came down with a wretched cold on Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening I knew he would have to be home with me on Monday. When our boys first started going to school, I would cringe and whine when they’d come down with a cold, not just because I knew I would be getting sick too but also because I knew that meant they would be home with me all day again. After all, I’d just gotten them into full day school and had begun to relish my emancipation from non-stop, boy-generated sound effects and full-day indentured servitude. I’d recently rediscovered the perfection in silence. I didn’t look forward to relinquishing it for even one day. That was years ago now, though, and yesterday I had a different experience when Luke stayed home with me. We ran a couple quick errands during which he was honestly helpful. Then, at home, we worked together on some of his school work. We read together. We watched Elf. Other than his constant hacking and my fear of getting in germs’ way, it was a wonderful day.

This morning while Joe was showering for school, Luke crawled into bed with me. He was crying. He didn’t want to go to school today. He was stuffy and not yet truly better, but he probably would survive the day. It was a sketchy call. If I were a parent who worked outside our home, he’d be going to school. End of story. But, I don’t work outside my home. I could tell his tears were real. He was stressed. He had so much to make up from Monday’s missed classes plus there was an additional large project he’d been working on and was hoping to complete. Last year, before I knew about his dyslexia, I would have mercilessly driven him to school despite his protestations and gone to yoga class unabated. Today, however, I really felt for him. I could understand how having all that work looming over his head at the end of a full day of school would seem an insurmountable task. I’m not afraid to admit it. I caved.

So today I spent my second full day this week alone with my youngest. We picked up a few groceries, selected a couple dress shirts for Christmas attire for them, and then we settled in at home with a goal of completing two days’ worth of school work as well as finishing most of his big project that is due Friday. I worked with him and, with just short breaks in between, we busted through all his work. By 2 p.m. I could see his shoulders raise as the weight of his heavy, third-grade world lessened on his shoulders. He was smiling more. I could tell he was feeling better. A couple times during the day I stopped to wonder if I had done the right thing, bailing him out of his nerves like that. Had I given him an easy way out? He probably would have benefited from the opportunity to fall behind and catch up slowly, finally realizing that the world did not come to a crashing halt because it took him a couple days to finish his work. Instead, I somewhat selfishly looked into his teary, hazel eyes and saw my two-year-old son, the one who used to climb into my lap every day to give me a hug and tell me he loved me. I gave into my emotions. I was weak.

At 2:20, he was starting to miss Joe so we hopped in the car to pick him up from his full day of school. On the way there, we chatted a bit. Then it got quiet. Out of nowhere, my 9 1/2 year old hit me with this.

“Mom?”

“Yeah, sweetie?”

“I’m going to miss you tomorrow. When is the next time we can have a full day together?”

With this remark, I no longer wondered if I had done the right thing keeping him out of school for an extra day. I had. I got to spend two, uninterrupted days with my youngest son. When Luke said he would miss me, I was the one who got misty. The time I have left with my boys is precious and quickly slipping through my grasp. The days when we will sit together on the couch watching movies and sharing Skittles are numbered. The passing of time is a necessary evil during this journey through life. I missed two days’ worth of yoga classes and alone time during which I could have accomplished much during this busy holiday season, but it was so worth it. Luke got his peace of mind, and I got to have two-year old Luke back. You can’t put a price on the rare opportunity to flip the hourglass over even if only for a moment with your children. I have no regrets.

Selling My Sons To The Gypsies

Don’t let them fool you. They are not this quiet!

My weekdays begin in pretty much the same way every day during the school year. I don’t need to set an alarm because my boys, early risers that they are, wake me up by busting into our bedroom sometime between 6:15 and 6:45 a.m. They do this because years ago, when Joe was in preschool, we let him shower in our bathroom before school. Our brilliant logic was that 1) our shower is enclosed in glass, which meant less mess, 2) I’d have just one shower to clean instead of two, and 3) while he was showering I’d be able to lounge in bed and ease my way into my crazy day a bit more slowly. The arrangement continued to work great when Joe was in kindergarten and Luke began preschool. Two showers for the price of one, and I could be getting ready while that happened. Fast forward six years, though, and suddenly this arrangement is slightly less than ideal. Now they alternate showers, which means they’re using all my hot water. They also bicker about fairness like old ladies accusing each other of cheating at canasta. And, they’re doing all this in the space where I am trying to sleep. Not cool.

This morning was Groundhog Day all over again. Just starting on my sixth hour of sleep, the bedroom door flies open and as if the house is on fire the boys rush in fussing and yelling.

“I called it first!” Joe yelled.

“You were first yesterday,” Luke retorted. “It’s my turn to go first.”

“But, Luke, I got out of bed first so I could be the first in the shower.”

“It’s not your turn, Joe!” Luke complained.

I was livid. Well, I was as livid as an exhausted person who is barely awake can be. It’s not bad enough that I must wake up before 7 so the boys will be on time to the private school I chauffeur them to. Apparently, I’m meant to wake up to a noisy parade of foot stomping, whining, and caterwauling.

“Boys! Boys! Boys!” I yelled, without flipping over. “Please shut it. I don’t want to wake up to your fighting! Joe, it’s Luke’s turn today. Sorry.”

At that point, I rolled over to see at exactly what ungodly hour they had disrupted my REM sleep. It was 6:25. Are you kidding me? Twenty minutes earlier than my alarm was set? Then I noticed that Steve was still in bed. What the? He usually leaves for work by 5:30.

“Why are you still in bed?” I asked. He sat straight up.

“Why am I still in bed?” he asked right before he flew out of bed and headed toward the shower, boys still bickering over who was going to shower first.

“Your father. Your father is going to shower first because he’s late. Then, Luke will shower because you were first yesterday, Joe. End of story. Now stop fighting or I’m kicking you out.”

The rest of the getting ready process went smoothly. Steve was gone in a flash. Luke got through his shower quickly because his brother pestered him from outside the glass enclosure the entire time. I sat in bed waiting for them all to get out of the room so I could get ready and then make myself a latte, which I desperately needed. When I was a kid and we misbehaved, my mother used to threaten to sell my sisters and I to the gypsies. Are there still gypsies? If so, will they still hand out cash in exchange for random children? I try not to make empty promises, like the one where I threaten to sign away my legal rights to them if they don’t stop fighting. I mean, I’m fairly sure they know I wouldn’t really do that. At least, I don’t think I would. But, if they come in tomorrow morning yelling at each other before 7, I just might have to check into that gypsy thing a bit more seriously. Unless, of course, you know of someone who is in the market for a couple mostly sweet, slightly used, early rising children? You should know I’m not a great negotiator. I’m positive you could get a bargain. History suggests that I might be entertaining offers from serious buyers as early as 6:30 tomorrow morning. Only 24 days shopping days left until Christmas, you know.

The End Of The Tunnel

No one was harmed in the making of this lunch. How incredibly awesome is that?

Since my sons were born, I’ve spent more of my waking hours caring for them than I’ve spent caring for myself. I don’t mention this as a complaint. It’s just what is. It is the nature of the beast of parenting. When you decide to bring another life into this world, you change the course of your own irrevocably. With our recent revelations about our sons and their learning difficulties, I’ve spent more time doing things for them than I have in a while. My life has been a blur of paperwork, interviews, conversations, and applications. Because my husband is already a full-time, paid, paper-pusher elsewhere, these tasks fall to me. While all the filling in blanks and checking off boxes is tedious work, it’s infinitely preferable to all the nose and butt wiping I’ve managed to leave behind as the boys have gotten older. I’m still doing things for my boys, but at least the things I’m doing are becoming less odious. I’ve always felt it was a parent’s duty to do all they can for their children to give them a leg up in this world. Tonight I realize I was at least partially wrong.

As the hours inched on toward bedtime, I realized I needed to make Luke’s lunch. I didn’t want to. I just did not feel like it. As a rule, not feeling like it is not ample enough excuse to avoid the task, so I suck it up. Tonight, I was happily lazing on the sofa researching spring break options and watching Sunday Night Football. Making lunches sounded like a dismal reason to get off my expanding hindquarters. So, at 9:15, when my son should have been headed up to bed, I made a lazy parent decision.

“Luke,” I bossed, “go make your lunch.” There. No longer my problem.

“You want me to do it?” he asked, surprised.

“Yep. You know how you like your sandwich. You will make it better than Dad or I could, anyway. Get busy.”

At this point, I was certain I would encounter verbal backlash or, at the very least, a small whimper or whine. But, none came. Luke simply marched into the kitchen and started gathering his materials. In five minutes he had assembled his lunch: a PB&J (crusts jettisoned, of course), a plastic sleeve filled with organic yogurt, a small container of Goldfish crackers, a “healthy” (read: no food coloring or high fructose corn syrup) fruit roll-up, and an organic vanilla milk. He shoved it carefully into his Star Wars: The Clone Wars lunch box and was about to flee the scene when I called him back and made him clean up the mess, which he also did without fuss. Then he headed upstairs to play a round of Draw Something with me on his brother’s iPad while I stood there, jaw hanging open and hand scratching my head.

Years back, I had allowed our sons to make their own lunches one time. It was only one time because they had assembled lunches filled with Halloween candy, cans of soda, and a measly sandwich. In the process, they had turned our kitchen into a replica of the food fight scene from Animal House, and I’d had to shoo them out and start over but with twice the amount of work. I chalked it up to immaturity and boyhood. I figured they weren’t ready. In fact, I wondered if they might never be ready. Tonight, though, our 9 year old son made his own lunch and it was no big deal. There was no whining. There was no colossal mess. I was tempted to look around for the hidden camera. He’d completed the entire task without drawing blood or destroying the kitchen. And….and…the best part was that I hadn’t even had to get off the sofa for it all to happen. Perhaps it wasn’t the best lunch in the history of lunches and yet it was because I hadn’t had to make it.

It got me to thinking. My boys might be a lot more capable than I’ve previously thought. I started to wonder if I’m doing too much for them. Perhaps they’re at the ages now when they are ready to take on greater responsibility. Not only would it save me some work, but it would also give them an opportunity to experience all they are capable of. It will build their esteem. It will increase their skill set. Holy cow! I’ve been robbing my children of the gift of self-sufficiency. Well, no more, I say. There are so many things I should not be doing for my boys. The possibilities are endless. Wait. Just ahead. Do you see it? That light? It must be the end of the tunnel.

 

The Babysitter Confession

Free babysitters everywhere!

We’ve never had to pay an actual sitter. Shocking, I know. Our sons are 9 and 11 and, for their entire childhoods, when we’ve needed a date night or decided to go away for a weekend, we’ve had family members available to watch them. This situation was partly by design and partly the result of fate. When we were in our early 30s and decided we might like to have children, we moved back to Denver to be closer to family. This wasn’t as much a babysitting ploy as a desire to have our children grow up near their relatives. Both Steve and I grew up at a distance from our aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins, and we knew we wanted something different for our children. In 1999, when we first moved to Denver, we had three sisters and one grandmother nearby for babysitting. After Joe was born, Steve’s parents did what they said they would never do; they bought a second home here so they could see their grandson more often. So, soon we were up to three aunts, a grandmother, and a set of grandparents. Five years later, my father moved back to Denver and we both had our entire families within 30 minutes of our home. And, as fate would have it, no one else in our family has children, so our boys are the only grandchildren and the only nephews. People actually want to spend time with them. Yeah. I don’t get it either.

Now, before you go off on how lucky we are to be in this situation, how lucky we are not to have to pay someone to watch our children, I need to tell you what it costs to have your family members watch your children. It’s not a monetary cost. But, trust me, there’s a price for their services. For example, when family members watch your children, your home is an open book. They have unlimited access to your dirty bathrooms and your unorganized pantry and they’re family and working for free. So they’re not afraid to help themselves and to snoop around. You come home from a relaxing evening out and are greeted with “You have more hair spray than Donald Trump” or “I’m going to borrow all three seasons of Arrested Development that you own on DVD.” And, you can’t mind because they just spent three hours with your boisterous, exhausting children with ADHD so you didn’t have to. As much as you’d like to protest, you’re powerless.

Another hidden cost is extracted through paybacks. Your sister comes over and spends eight hours with your kids so you can go on a long bike ride with some friends. You have a great time and find you are actually excited at the prospect of sitting around watching Madagascar for the 99th time with your kids now that you’re home. And, just as you’re thanking her for babysitting, she casually mentions that she could use some help with a little project she needs to complete at her house next weekend. Oh…and you might want to bring that steamer you own because the wallpaper you’ll be helping to remove is really stuck on there. Well, there is no getting out of that situation. She helped you out. She expects reciprocity. You must comply.

Tonight I discovered the highest cost of all. My sister and brother-in-law came to spend two and a half hours with Joe and Luke so we could grab some wine and tapas at a local wine bar. We had a magnificent time talking about our hobbies and many things other than our children. The boys were thrilled to show their uncle their new Skylanders characters and do battle. When we returned home, we discovered that our children had been loaded with candy and taught some new songs. Thanks for that, Uncle Chris. Tonight as I drift off to sleep I will be singing a never-ending tune about a moose that stood around with one hoof on the ground. Not sure exactly which second-rate summer camp taught you that ditty, but I’m ever so grateful. Could you please teach the boys the diarrhea song next? That would be awesome.

Oh. All right. I jest. Of course we’re eternally grateful for the years of dedicated service our families have put into being the best aunts, uncles, and grandparents in the world and caring for our boys with the same love and devotion we would. (Scratch that…they’ve probably cared for our sons with more love and devotion than we have…or at least more patience.) I can’t imagine how many thousands of dollars we’ve saved in childcare over the past 11 years, not to mention how fortunate we’ve been to know that our boys were actually safely engaged in play rather than placated by a television for four hours while we paid some random teenage girl to talk incessantly on her cell phone to her boyfriend. Still, when the boys are old enough to stay alone for a couple hours on occasion next year, I’m probably not going to miss the guilt I feel when I have to find someone, anyone, to hang with our boys so we can grab dinner. It will be nice to be free of that monkey. Come to think of it, I’m definitely not going to miss the moose from that song either.

 

 

Kids Only Lose Sleep For Something Truly Important

Luke and Motty-O feign sleep

Our oldest son has never been a good sleeper. I used to laugh when people told me that I should “nap when the baby naps.” That would have been a perfect solution to my exhaustion if I hadn’t had to drive him around just to get him to go down for a nap and keep him asleep for that hour. Luckily, our youngest is a better sleeper than his brother. Last night, however, he was restless. By 10 Joe was asleep, but still Luke was not. Hubby asked me if I would go in and say goodnight to him again because that might be just what he needed. So, I did.

I walked into the boys bunk room and, sure enough, Luke was in bed but wide awake. I told him I knew exactly what he needed and traipsed off to their play room to retrieve Luke’s most favorite stuffed animal, a grey Webkinz horse named Motty-O. (Don’t ask me. He was 4 when he named it.) Our creative Luke has a series of stories about this horse, whom he has informed us is from Kentucky and sleeps standing up. We know this horse’s entire back story, a fact I’ve perpetually found charming. When I handed Motty-O to Luke, Luke smiled and hugged him. He stroked his tail thoughtfully and suddenly looked quite sad.

“What’s the matter, Luke?” I asked, worried by the face that usually proceeds his tears.

“Nothing,” he said, still stroking the horse’s tail.

“Are you worried about his tail, sweetie?” I inquired “You know, the more you love on an animal, the more threadbare they begin to look. That’s not a bad thing at all. It’s a sign that you love him the most.”

“I know,” he said with tears welling up in his eyes.

I’m not the only one who has had a long and rough week. Although he’s been taking it like a trooper, Luke was the one who received the dyslexia diagnosis and began tutoring for his disability. He’s the one who has to think about switching schools and feeling different. I started to wonder if his tears had less to do with his horse than with other things he must certainly be grappling with at this time.

“You know, Luke, sometimes if you’ve got something on your mind it’s better to talk about it. Maybe if you tell me what’s making you sad you’ll be able to fall asleep better?”

“Nope. I’m fine,” he replied even as he opened his eyes wider and looked up at the bottom of his brother’s top bunk to keep the tears from falling down. Just like his mother, Luke likes to believe he can handle anything without any additional help.

I sat on the bed with him and stroked his hair, hoping he would open up but he didn’t. Finally, he asked me to leave. It was around 11:30 when he at last surrendered to sleep.

Tonight, I finally pried from him the reason why he was so sad last night. It wasn’t that he was worried about the dyslexia or the tutoring or the idea of switching schools or even the idea of possibly having to move. It was something I never saw coming.

“I was sad about Motty-O,” he reluctantly admitted.

“Sad about his tail falling out a bit?” I guessed.

“No. It’s something else.”

Having been something of a stuffed animal freak myself, I dug deeper into the stuffed-animal-lover psyche to try to extract the thing that might make him sad. Then it came to me.

“Are you sad because you won’t always have him with you?” I asked.

“Uh huh,” he said, tears once again pooling beneath his sweet, green-hazel eyes.

“You will always have Motty-O, Luke. I still have my most precious stuffed animals,” I said. “You know my orange dog, Drooper? I’ve had him since I was 9 years old. I’ve had him with me for 35 years. He went to college with me. He’s traveled with me. I will have him forever. And, you will have Motty-O for your whole life too.”

At this point, a couple tears leaked down his cheek.

“I won’t have him when I die,” he said as more tears fell.

“Oh, Luke,” I said, hugging him, “I believe you will have Motty-O in Heaven. I believe Heaven is filled with all the wonderful things you love and cherish in your life. Motty-O is part of our family. He will be in Heaven with us. I just know it.”

“My other animals too?” he asked.

“Most definitely,” I replied, relieved to know that he wasn’t suffering any ill effects from his diagnosis.

I can’t help but laugh now at how it all played out. Last night, Luke couldn’t sleep. I thought it was because of the same things that have been troubling my mind this week, so I gave him the one thing I thought would be the greatest comfort to him. Instead, that was the one thing that made it more difficult for him to fall asleep. I’ve got to learn not to project my concerns onto my little guy. Of course he’s not got insomnia about his reading issues. Why would he worry about something he’s always known? It’s the mysteries of the universe that keep children awake, mysteries like what happens to our stuffed animals when we die. That’s the only kind of mystery that is worth losing sleep over.

What’s The Exact Opposite Of Cats In The Cradle?

The loves of my life

I love travel. Although I love my home, if I can fly somewhere every 3 months I am over the moon. Most of the time, we take our boys with us when wanderlust strikes. Tomorrow, though, hubby and I are skipping town for a few days. Literally. A few days. A couple hours before bed tonight, our oldest comes into our room crying because he doesn’t want us to leave. His face is wet. His eyes are red. He’s been suffering in his room quietly until he could stand it no longer. This breaks my heart. It also tells me something. Hubby and I do not leave our sons often enough.

I know that he’s eleven and that in just a few short years he’ll be smiling as he slams the door behind us when we leave, so I should treasure his hysterical tears now. But, I can’t. They make me feel like we’re not doing enough to prepare him. I love my sons, but I do not want them living in my basement and delivering pizzas for a living. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just don’t want them doing it from my basement. They’re more than welcome to pursue that life path for themselves from a crummy, garden level apartment that they finance themselves. No judgments from me. Make no mistake about it, though, as much as I love my sons to infinity and beyond, I want them to leave me someday the way they are meant to. I want them to grow up and have their own adventures. They can miss me, but they’ll have to leave me to make that happen.

We gave Joe tons of hugs and told him that we trust him. We told him that we’ll miss him oodles and will FaceTime with him every day. We told him that he’s brave and strong and that he’s got this. We told him that parents need time together alone as a couple so they can stay married. We told him that his little brother would protect and care for him. I don’t think it made much of a difference, but he did finally fall asleep. I know that someday he will walk out our front door, his car all packed for college, and when he drives away I will cry just like he did tonight. I’m sure it will be my ugliest cry ever. But, there’s a part of me that will be so glad to take that burden of sadness away from him. I can handle it. I think.