Friday, September 13, 2013

The Pied Piper

My girl Meems is dying for a sister.  Anyone who knows her or has read about her knows this.  DYING.  Specifically, a younger sister that she can carry and dress up and mother and mentor and who can be her student when she's playing school (because her little brother is having none of it, unfortunately).

Lucky her, Tuesday through Thursday she gets a gaggle of 'em.

Those are the nights we have football practice.  Seeing as it's little boys who are still just a tad too young to drop off for practice (and the fact that Richmond weather dictates at least one fast-moving thunderstorm/threat of a thunderstorm a week), there are plenty of parents (and therefore siblings too) hanging out in their collapsible chairs fantasizing about being somewhere else and trying to figure out how they're going to get everyone fed and in bed before 11.

Meems has made a few friends at these practices.  There are a couple girls roughly her age, and considering they are all in the same boat (the S.S. Boredom) they enjoy running around doing cartwheel after cartwheel.  Meems is a cheerleader.  There's always a cheerleader practice, and down deep inside, all little girls are crazy about cheerleaders.  Meems enjoys teaching them her cheers and just hanging out.

The bonus is that there are some younger girls too.  Who see the big girls running around and follow along.  The older girls are very sweet to these little girls and let them play along.  Which satisfies Meems' craving for a little sister, as I frequently see her carrying one of the smaller girls or scrunching down to talk to the little ones at eye level.  I love watching her at these times.  There she is in her element, all sweetness and love.  In 5 minutes she might bop over to her chair for some water and pop me some attitude or accusingly declare that she's hungry (because clearly I'M the one keeping her from her dinner) and then skip off to return to her sweetness.

The other night, while we were at a scrimmage, I noticed several other little girls had joined the gaggle.  Girls from the other team, apparently.  There is a certain solidarity in these football sisters -- a certain unspoken bond.  Meems, as usual, is leading the little ones around.  They follow her like she is the Pied Piper.  Skipping after her until she stops, turns around and scrunches over to talk to them.  Then she turns around and they are off again, following, squealing with delight and laughter and general little girl chatter.  It's not until she runs closer to me that I realize what I have mistaken for squealing is actually yipping, and what she's turning around and scrunching down to say to them is "good doggie.  wanna treat?"

She has convinced all these little girls to pretend they are dogs.  DOGS.  And they are happily panting along.  It's not a malicious endeavor -- that's something that would never occur to Meems.  I look around, slightly mortified, so see the other moms' reactions.  None.  No one is upset, no one is yanking her daughter away.  I wander over to Meems, innocently ask her "whatcha' doing?" I explain to her that maybe the other girls don't WANT to play doggie, to which she replies "it was THEIR idea!"  Seeing as all these panting, yipping girls are smiling, I decide to let it be.  One little girl is chasing her tail.

No harm done here.

Unstructured play generates creativity, no?  Isn't that what it's all about?

Her older brother is mystified.  He tells me he'll never understand girls.  Truth kid.  But I can't  help but see he's a little impressed with his sister right now.  Heck, I am too.  Solid leadership skills.

That kid is going to rule the world one day.  There's your proof.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

There He Goes

Will started middle school yesterday.

I have been dreading anticipating this moment as much as he has these last few months.  In my heart I know he's fine.  But he just seems like he's still my baby.  My little baby.  And I cannot bear that he's growing up so fast.

He asked me in the spring (apparently, he had been plotting how to let me down easy) if I could NOT walk him to the bus stop this year.  Well, of course I won't!  He's in  middle school!  He's got a reputation to establish and maintain!  I am not going to be that mom who can't let go!  I KNOW when to let go!  No, my feelings are not hurt (they truly weren't)!  I totally trust you (I do)!  You haven't NEEDED me to walk you to the bus stop for a long time (but I have).

Yesterday, my friend and I spied watched as her son and Will got on the bus, from the safety of her very shaded driveway.  It was more to satisfy my curiosity than anything.  The middle school bus stop has always been a big mystery.  And now the mystery's been solved.

Today, I watched as he left the house, turned the corner, and walked out of sight.  How is it that a kid can seem so small and so big all at once?

And why am I having such a hard time with this?

I immediately came inside and squeezed the 7-year-old nearly to death.  I just needed to absorb the sweet warmth of a little one, to hold on tightly to that child for just a minute...

...so I could bear to let another one go.