Sunday, February 16, 2014

The End

The kids keep doing and saying so many cute and funny things and I find them slipping between my fingers because I am failing to record them and they end up scattered and lost. I hate that. So even though my blog has been a source of pain for me, I am returning to it as a place to paste down our memories before they blow away.

October was obviously hard. But both the boys had birthdays that month. I let myself off the hook from throwing them a party with friends--we had cake and presents as a family, at least. But I find myself in awe of just how big and old they are now. Andrew is 8. Will is 6. And here in mid-Feb they are creeping up on being halfway to 9 and 7. Life has changed so much so quickly. It is all such a cliche until it happens to you.

I remember when I turned 7 I cried because my little A.A. Milne book Now We Are Six no longer applied to me. Now it makes me sad because it almost doesn't apply to half my kids.

Will, at 6, is extremely sweet and sassy. For this first time, I am able to get a more objective sense of him as a person. I was surprised this year at how extroverted he was at school, how social and happy and bubbly. As a much younger guy, and as a baby, he was so much more mellow and serious than Andrew, but I am realizing now that that was probably largely due to just being younger, a follower to his older brother's leadership. He's tough, too. He is laid-back about most things, pleasant and easy to be around. If he didn't have any issues at meal time, he would be my easiest child right now.

Andrew surprised me this year with how difficult an adjustment he had to Spring Hill. He was overwhelmed by the large size of the school and class. He didn't like how noisy it was; he rarely spoke in class. On the other hand, he made a lot of friends and was very successful socially. I was way off in my predictions. I was concerned that he could possibly be a discipline problem at school, when he was (thankfully) the opposite. But his reluctance to speak during class time worried his teachers and basically amounted to nonparticipation.

Andrew and I struggle when he does not want to do something that simply must be done (swim team practice, homework, chores), but he also has a sensitivity to him that is constantly catching me off guard. I was unloading dishes from the dishwasher last week--the week from hell when Brigham was out of town and I had a stomach bug. I was holding Claire on my hip and he knew I was sick. "Oh Mom, no! I hate to see you doing that! I will do it!" even though it was Will's job that week. He jumped up from his ice cream and took over the work. I realize that I often fail to give him credit for how remarkable and tender he is. It is like I expect all of that and am irritated when he falls short instead of the other way around. He is such a charming little guy, and I am sad to see a bigger boy emerging in his little face. 8 is young, but 10 is just around the corner. He has already left behind those really early stages of childhood and it breaks my heart to dwell on that thought for long because I feel that I didn't quite soak it up and treasure it as I ought to have. I was just so busy.

Those days when it was just him and me don't feel so long ago at moments like this when I am sitting alone and remembering them. I guess this is what life is.

So, as one dad, now gone, wrote long ago about a boy, also long since passed away, this is for my little guys tonight.

When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three,
I was hardly Me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

If only they could be.