In less than a month, my kids will be done with this year of school. This morning Abe figured how many more days of waking up early were ahead. Daisy announced that, after today, there would only be three more Mondays left. And, already, notes are coming home regarding end-of-year performances, field-trips, and events -- the 4th grade Mountain Man Rendezvous, the 6th grade dance, 1st grade’s “Spring Fling”, the spring choir concert (all steeped in more than their fair share of excitement -- wrapped up in association with “the start of summer break” as they are).
With the school year’s end, we will morph into our summer routine and way of life; one that is very different from the scheduled and dependable layout of our school days. It’s a good different, a different I look forward to; but, as I contemplated it today, I realized that this will be the last month ever of this particular life – the one I am living right now. The one where I spend my days predominantly with these two little boys:
The one where I drag them both from bed – sleepy eyed and bare-footed – wrap them in their “blankies” and carry them to the van where half the neighborhood is waiting to be driven to school. The one where we come home and climb up to the counter for cereal or toaster-waffles while I review colors and letters, counting and writing for the few minutes that I have them still. The one where Jesse sneaks down to the kids’ sack-lunch supplies in the basement to choose a little snack for him and a little snack for Anders to have while they watch their morning Handy Manny or Jake and the Never Land Pirates. The one where they are two little brothers together following each other around, getting into toys, fighting for spots in the grocery cart, and sticking together at the Lego table in the gym’s nursery. The one where Anders takes his afternoon nap and Jesse shows me his various creations or begs to get strange items from the garage while I clean-up, catch up on emails, or even (as is the case at this moment) blog.
When summer break comes to an end, Jesse will head off to school. We will have a new baby (less than a month old). She and Anders and I will create new routines and systems. Life will be a different kind of happy and good.
I recognize that that’s what life does. It constantly morphs and changes and keeps you on your toes. It constantly gives you new rhythms to adjust to and new views to enjoy. It constantly hands you new challenges and new adventures. It constantly redefines your “normal”.
Already, in my relatively short life, a thousand stages have come and gone. Of course, simultaneously, a thousand new ones have started. A crazy river – hardly showing you one bank before it rushes on to the next.
I don’t intend to overly dwell on this month being an ending. I see all the exciting beginnings that come tied with it. But . . . I do wish my boys could remember this. I want them to remember being two little brothers alone in their days together. Just like I remember three little people home creating adventures together all day – with school still a far-off unknown. Just like I remember picking our lone “oldest” up from Kindergarten and going through his backpack and hearing about his day while his little sisters played in the kitchen. Just like I remember homeschooling two elementary kids while entertaining two toddlers and nursing a newborn. Just like I remember . . . so many other things; I want them to remember this.
So . . . I do the only thing I can to help make life’s constant motion stay somewhat permanent. I keep photographing it. I keep writing it. I keep trying to live it. I keep trying to remember all I can for them. . . . And all I can for me.
Also . . . a little conversation from this morning (followed by a few random cell shots from the past few weeks):
Me: Anders? What’s in your mouth?
Anders: Just a dog food.
Me: No, buddy. Don’t eat dog food, dog food is yucky.
Jesse (interrupting): Anders! Never tell mom you’re eating dog food. (Pause.) Also . . . never eat it.