My son W is one of those kids who never stops. Even as a little guy he would go at full speed until he collapsed.
He's always been in search of what's next. An adrenaline junkie, adventurer, risk taker, try everything, run before you can walk kind of kid.
If he could go to college and major in play, he would.
The kid who will run a 5K, play in a lacrosse tournament, play basketball with his friends and ride bikes for hours, then follow up with a baseball game and declare it "best day ever!" He has a lot of "best days ever!" At 14, I don't know, nor have I ever known anyone who can live life more in one day than he can.
Friday, he had an early morning cross country practice. After running 7 miles, he came home, went to his last gym workout, mowed the neighbor's yard, mowed our yard, took care of the neighbor's dog, went to his friend's house, then rode his bike to the river for the afternoon. After coming home, took the dog for a walk on the skateboard, threw some lacrosse balls, ate dinner and then played the XBox with a few friends before being forced to read and go to bed.
This is a typical day for this child.
It's exhausting. For me. Not for him. I like to say he squeezes the juice out of every single day. All the juice.
He doesn't do anything small -- everything he does is full tilt. And he's not afraid of much, which is both a blessing and a curse. How many times as a little boy did I hear other moms ask "you're letting him do that?" Truthfully, for some reason I just knew he could. Or he would at least try. As long as it was within reason and he wasn't hurting himself or anyone else, it would be considered. That's not to say he hasn't hurt himself on occasion along the way. This is the kid who broke his thumb playing trampoline soccer, and who created the game "big wheel slingshot" and plays basketball on skates. At 6 months, he figured out he could roll across the room to get where he wanted to go. He would roll all over the place, and he was fast, and once he reached his destination he always gave me the biggest smile and would kick a little. He was the Mario Andretti of crawling, and had barely mastered walking before he looked at me, pointed his finger and said "wun." When I left him alone for 2 minutes at 13 months to retrieve laundry and discovered he had climbed up on the dining room table and was trying to swing from the chandelier, I just knew. This kid could be the death of me.
Or, he could teach me a few things. And he has.
Say what you will, he lives life. I mean, really lives. And always has. And he has taught me to let him (within reason).
And isn't that the point? None of us know how much time we have. Isn't it a shame NOT to squeeze the juice - every beautiful, delicious ounce of it - out of every single day?
Sunday, I dropped off my sweet T at sleepaway camp. He's never been, and after 2 years of wanting it, it finally happened.
And it's about to kill me.
He hadn't even been gone 12 hours and already I felt like I might not survive.
This is new to me. Not because I don't miss my kids when they're away, I do, but it's hitting me hard this time.
I mean, I didn't see my oldest for two weeks last summer because of camp and visits to his cousins' house, and I didn't feel like this.
My daughter went to her grandparents' for a week last year and I didn't miss her at all (but that was because she didn't give me a chance -- girlfriend sent me 176 texts over the course of 5 days, not to mention 2-3 phone calls a day).
T went to his gradparents' for a week earlier this summer, and I was fine. So what's up?
I can't talk to him. And he surprised me when he got homesick at his grandparents' house. And he hasn't been away really at all since he was tiny and now this is twice in one summer.
And he hugged me so hard and for so long on Sunday that I thought he might have cracked my phone. And said "I love you Mom...sooooo much." And then hugged me some more.
And I don't know what that means. Was he feeling nervous? Was it just a love gush? Was he trying to keep it together? Did he think I was trying to? Was he so, so happy? Was he thanking me for sending him? Or was he just being a love bug?
To be honest, he's been pulling away from me lately. Totally normal, he is 10 after all. But he's my baby and I'm not ready. Little Meems has always been immensely, securely, in the fold. Seriously, she may never leave. She still says that when she grows up she wants to get married, have babies and move back home. Lord help us. And W, well, he's been been walking away from me since he could walk at all. Those two are total opposites. T is to gray what the other two are to black and white.
He's going to have so much fun. He told me he was looking forward to a sense of freedom the most. I want him to experience that too. I'm so excited for him.
Maybe it was I love you and I'll miss you and I'm excited and I'm nervous and I'm feeling a little insecure and also secure right here and goodbye and thank you. All the feels, all at once.
Maybe it was just a mirror of my own feelings. All the complex, confusing, overwhelming, make-you-crazy mom feels.
All at once.
I'm counting down the days until I pick him up, but I am enjoying my time with the other two. My biggies. Life with them is so different when there's no little around.
If you saw the number 13 today, would you recognize it?
Today, 13 has curls. Giant dimples. Twinkly blue/green eyes. Today, 13 is small in stature but big in heart. 13 is spunky and will challenge you. It will downright make you want to pull your hair out sometimes. 13 likes to hold hands with the people she loves. Even though she's 13. 13 loves BIG. When 13 loves you it's with everything she's got. Today, 13 is wearing her favorite glitter Jack Rogers and pearl earrings. She's excited to wear a little mascara. She's thinking she needs to wear more. She doesn't.
Today 13 has her whole life ahead of her. 13 is going to do great things. I just know it.
Today, I officially have a high school freshman, a 7th grader and 5th grader.
Gulp, high school.
I'm still kind of shocked.
Today, to celebrate the last day of school, the freshman and 3 friends took off on their bikes for a fishing trip they planned. My son and his friends finished packing up their tackle and a bag of snacks, then hit the road and as I watched them ride away I thought, please God, don't let this end.
My daughter is celebrating her 13th birthday with her friends today. It is a sweet group of girls and I sit watching them laugh and play in the pool the way girls do, complimenting each other on their swimsuits and hair and lamenting about braces and just building each other up with love and I see how far we've come from last year - a tough year that shook her confidence - and I think please God, don't let this end.
In my youngest son's pocket today, I discovered a note entitled "for emergencys [sic]". Inside is spy information, along with his code name and status. He told me the other day that when he grows up he wants to be a CIA operative and a music producer/DJ. Not "or"..."AND." So the note makes total sense, really. The rest of it, well, if you know him you know that makes sense too. He dreams BIG. His imagination is too vast to see - these little snippets are but a glimpse into his world. He's so big lately, but this reminds me he's still so little and I think, please God, don't let this end.