I’m staring down the barrel of 4th grade for my son, and pre-K for my daughter…. I have found a weird limbo lately and i’m not sure I like it.

I am all too aware how fast my kids are growing. I cannot live *there*, though. Who can?! Who can live in the perpetual “This is the last time I …. ”  or “he’s never going to …. again” or “i’m done wiping other people’s butts!”. I catch glimpses of it here and there throughout the day. It tugs on my heart, of course. But there’s always a bickering moment, a tattling episode, a seemingly perpetual backtalk tirade to snap me back to the reality of, “Oh yea?! Well good!” in response to time passing quickly.

It’s different with my son than it is with my daughter. I’ve been picking and choosing the Scary Mommy posts or the sappy FB blog entries that get shared. It’s too hard.

My son is my first born. My first born happens to have been the most difficult child. Becoming a mother with this child is like being tossed in the ocean and then learning how to swim. I have written post after post about challenges that began with his colic at 2 or 3 months. The sleeplessness. The correctional helmet. The 2 year old back talk. The preschool biting, on and on and on with the challenges that put us now with ADHD diagnosis and Dyspraxia. Not only was I just trying to wrap my brain around becoming a mother, but there seemed to be a constant barrage of additional things to learn, practice, read up on, question, feel, think, present. And the kicker is, it doesn’t end! He’s always my first. My first in school, first dealings with teachers and peer issues. He’ll be (hopefully) the first to drive, date, etc. Its never going to get easier with him simply because he’s the first. But because of this, it’s like we’re figuring it out together. I’d like to say i’m hiding the fact I don’t know what i’m doing until i’m doing it from him, but i’m pretty sure he suspects something. This was apparent when he told me about a dream he had when he was 6 or 7; “Mom! I had a terrible dream that the house was on fire, and you didn’t know what to do. I had to show you where to get out and remind you to get my sister.”

Thanks, kid. Thanks for the confidence.

Is it going by quickly with him? Yes. It is. The difference is I feel I’ve been waiting for this time for him, though. He’s finally grown into the person his brain has been stretching to reach. We are settled in a house. His sister is an age where they can play together. He can handle some responsibility. It’s like he’s fitting into the britches he always seemed too big for. But I know all the challenges ahead still. We are still trying to find that magical medicinal prescription that will allow him to at least attempt success at school. Ironically, this is supposed to be decided while on summer break …. School is about to start and I worry about him making friends, getting a good teacher – or at least one that will give him the time of day – fitting in.

I have moments where I get to look in on him and appreciate how far we’ve come, and try and savor now because whatever is next will be saying goodbye to something else from him. He’s not always going to come to me with questions. I hope he does, but I know he wont. He wont always trust I know what the answer is. … especially if it’s math related. I cannot quite see how teen life will be with him, my only hope is that we don’t get shut out. That would kill me. He’s been everything so far. To lose him to himself would be devastating.

I look in on him at night and it’s easy to see the little boy I still have … and his long skinny arms and legs hint at what is to come. I just hope he can be happy. Isn’t that we all want?

My daughter. My little girl is in some ways the total opposite of her brother. He has paved such a winding bumpy path, that she seems like a cake walk. She is so ready to help and please and do for everyone. She has made being a mommy pretty easy. (shhhhh, don’t tell!) I do thank the powers that be for both of my kids, but in many ways she is a breath of fresh air.

She is growing and becoming such a little tomboy. She is surrounded by boys here, but godblessher, she hangs onto certain girlie things and it’s awesome. She loves pink, she wants to be a princess (usually hyphenated with something else like a princess-veterinarian) she loves anything sparkly and she loathes bugs. .. just don’t kill one in front of her. She is still struggling with the whole “i want to like it, but i can’t see it, touch it, or go near it” mentality.

My little girl is starting pre-K this year. It was a bit of a disappointment not to get her into kindergarten. Who wouldn’t want that $$ freed up? But I think if I look down just before ‘deep’, i’ll admit I’m glad she didn’t get into kinder. She seemed ready, but emotionally she’s still 4 which is right where she should be. She’s still 4! Where my son seemed always to operate in some ways far beyond his years, with her I relish being able to have her on my lap still, play with her hair, help her pick her clothes. (translation; reach what she is insisting on wearing) I am not waiting for some magic age where her mind will fit with her body because she is just right with herself in most ways.

With her, I know what’s coming down the pike and i’m trying not to let it terrify me… i can pretend ignorance with my son. I don’t know what it’s like to be an adolescent boy, but I remember all too clearly how my head worked at 11, 12 and 13 and it wasn’t pretty.

Sitting here at the end of another summer I’m befuddled. I’m frustrated at the week of long lazy days that are still ahead which translate to lots of bickering and bothering and arguing. I’m also nostalgic for a time when I could choose our days and take them where I want to, and have their little sticky chubby fingers grab for my hands as we run errands in the days before school was even on the radar. I’m also giddy with excitement at the realization one of them will be at school five days a week, while the other is still a 3/per. I’m pissed I have a cold right now and can’t jam all the activities in we didn’t get to do before they trot off to school. We were going to have adventures and stories and memories!

I’m looking forward to having some time where my brain is just my own. My thoughts get to actually play out until completion. I might even vacuum or wash something once in a while. I sure as hell haven’t done that over the summer!

I wonder sometimes if it’s time for me to try and join the workforce once again. This sanctuary volunteer gig has made me a bit antsy on the days i’m home. It makes me feel a bit idle being home when there are things to be done ‘out there’.

So i’m staring down lots of barrels right now. Immediately, however, the cold medicine is forcing me to focus solely on my pillow and some rest. This will have to do.

If your kids are not back to school yet, enjoy. Enjoy this time before they tangibly grow up a little and relish it all. You know, in all your spare time… when you aren’t picking up after them or cleaning something, or washing something, or planning something, refereeing something, time outing or consequencing something. Relish that 2.26 minutes left in the day when you see them as your babies still. Take that minute before you go to bed to check on them and remember how big that crib used to look around them. You have gotten them this far. You’ve managed it all until here. Surely great things are still to come?!


2 thoughts on “Barrels

  1. I remember being told that it will go far too quickly and it’s actually true. How I long for those baby faces and baby kisses, they are replaced by different joys yet, I do miss it. And the quiet that comes once they are back at school is bittersweet. (And sometimes rather fantastic but bizarrely, I still miss them.) Beautifully expressed Sarcy.


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