Mornings

by Jennifer on May 19, 2014

I hear the door quietly creak open and the warm body of an 8 year old wearing Lego Star Wars flannel pajamas climbs into the sliver of space at my back that is left on the mattress.  An arm circles my waist and a chin nuzzles itself onto my shoulder.

In these last few minutes of darkness, before the sun has made its appearance, before the day begins and the clocks start ticking, I am reminded of how big he has become.

His brother, in the middle of the bed, of course, sleeps with his little knees tucked up into my stomach and his head at my chest…a reminder of how small K used to be.

These last quiet minutes before the day begins remind me of how temporary it all is, how fleeting these morning minutes are, when they are both still small enough for a last early cuddle.

Number 3 is expected in September and as new babys tend to, will likely require my attention at this hour and all hours and these moments will fade away into the mist, like all other discarded stages of our lives together.

I try to tell myself that after a few weeks, perhaps I can have this back.  Maybe Number 3 will begin to sleep later after a time and I can find a way to get them all into the same bed in the morning for a snuggle session.

Probably not.

These mornings set the mood for our day.

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The sun is gone and the three of us are once again in the same little nest, Where the Wild Things Are open on my lap.  As I make my way through the story, sandwiched between Big and Little, I can see nights, not so long ago superimposed on Now.  Nights of reading this same book to K, the space on the other side of my body empty.  The days of One seem like another world to me.  I wonder if Two will feel the same, not so long from Now.  And I smile that he still sits with rapt attention while we read this book when the worlds of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter are just a wall away.

“Wild thing!”

“I’ll eat you up!”

And I wish that I could.  I wish that I could just consume it all before it leaves, as it will.  It always does.

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And Suddenly You’re Three

by Jennifer on February 11, 2014

I guess I missed it.

The part where you really started to grow up?

Somehow it happened without me being conscious of it, despite my colossal efforts to soak up every little minute with you.

One day my eyes opened and your legs were long enough to outgrow your 2T clothes and you were stringing together words non-stop in the style of your big brother.

And I have to wonder if this is how it’s going to be from now on, you marching ahead and me tagging along behind asking you to hold my hand.

Between babbling about Skylanders and making up stories at bedtime, my mostly silent (and compliant) baby is a thing of the past.

I guess I have to accept that.

You’re supposed to grow up; it would be a very bad sign if you didn’t. But you’ve been my “baby” so forgive me if, like your brother before you, I still hold onto you a little too tightly.

I’ll hold onto your hand when you’ll let me.

I’ll hold onto the sweet weight of your body when you want me to carry you to watch cartoons in the morning.

I’ll hold onto you when you crawl into my lap and play with my fingertips.

I’ll hold onto you when you greet me with the biggest hug you can manage, and your smile…I’ll hold onto that smile too.

I’ll hold onto you for as long as you will let me.

 

Sawyer Couch Pic Resize1 And Suddenly Youre Three

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Making Christmas

by Jennifer on December 24, 2013

I looked over the Christmas list with a sigh.  It listed each gift, whether it was from Santa or Mommy and Daddy and whether or not it had been wrapped.  I actually had to scroll down to see the whole thing, the fact that made my stomach turn over.

Why did I buy so much when I work so hard to be sure I’m not raising entitled little boys?

The size of the list felt very un-Christmas like and the feeling in my chest felt even worse.   What was I doing?

This had been a working list.  I watched it grow longer and longer as the days went by and I was the one responsible for managing its heft.  I could have and should have cut it off at many points.

But with each new gift I bought, I never felt finished.  I never felt Christmas was “ready”.  It was always just one more thing and I will be done.  It didn’t feel like Christmas yet so I must not be finished with my shopping.

It didn’t stop at presents either.  I bought massive amounts of outdoor Christmas lights with the grand plan of creating a truly fabulous yard display for the kids.  It just didn’t feel like Christmas so surely a yard full of lights would help.
I ended up returning them to the store.

I bought tiny trees for each boy’s room and the playroom.  I bought ornaments for the trees and we decorated them together.  With Christmas tunes.

I recorded every Christmas show I could find that was age-appropriate on the UVerse.

It must be the weather.  Except that the weather has been unusually chilly for Texas this year.

So why does it still feel wrong?  I have done – no, overdone – everything I can imagine to make it feel like Christmas is, well, tomorrow.

I thought about our last Christmas in our old house, the way the lights from our tree would fill the whole room at night, the way we had to be extra quiet when putting out the presents because the boys’ rooms were so close.  I remembered, with a smile, hanging the boys’ stockings on either side of the television in our fireplaceless house.  I thought of the sound of footie-pajama feet shuffling down the hallway in the morning.  That special day felt like a big cuddly snuggle.  That was Christmas.

This house still feels cold and empty and my efforts to make it feel warm and full of life seem to have failed.  No matter how long that Christmas list is, I won’t feel “finished” this year.

I wish I had realized that from the beginning.  It would have been good to know several stores ago.

I’m so thankful to have my sweet boys and for us all to be healthy and comfortable and the last thing I want to be is ungrateful.  I’m not – I’m very appreciative for those two little blessings of which I feel completely unworthy.

But I’ve had a hard time making Christmas this year.  And my time is up.

challenge141 Making Christmas

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Tired

by Jennifer on December 11, 2013

I have a headache and I’m sleep-deprived but my “baby” is almost three years old.

What could be wrong, you ask?

My son has the habit of wanting to nurse all night long.  ALL. NIGHT. LONG.  After nearly three years, you would think I would be used to it and to a certain extent I am. But I think even a sound sleeper would wake up to tiny, cold hands fumbling with her nightshirt and grumbling in the dark.

And sometimes I just want to sleep.  And sleep for a good, long stretch.

I try to tell myself to enjoy this time because a year from now, things will be different and I will wish to be awoken by  little creeping toddler fingers on my chest…several times a night.

But I remember telling myself that exact same thing the year before that.  And the one before that.

Sometimes nursing him is my favorite thing in the world.  I love the quiet time to examine his flawless skin and beautiful eyes and his gentleness.

And sometimes I’m ready for it to be over.  But as soon as I say that, my body reacts and the voice in my head says “No!  Don’t say that!  You’ll eat your words.”  Blasphemy.

But sometimes I’m just tired and really want a night of uninterrupted sleep.  I’m not even sure I’m capable of that at this point.  I’ve spent every night with him for his almost three years (except for the three I was in the hospital for surgery and we all know hospital sleep is never uninterrupted).

I love him so much and I love the bond we have and I know it will end all too soon.  And I love how much he loves it too.  My oldest was fed formula so I never understood the attachment babies can have to nursing.  It’s safe to say S would choose to nurse over any other activity or food.

And I don’t want to resent these moments…but I’m tired.

Really tired.

And I’m only nearing the end of writing this and already I have that feeling in my stomach.  The one that says I shouldn’t say these things.  I should be grateful for every moment.  I should just trash this post because somehow saying I’m tired of it on occasion may cause him to stop and then think how sad I will be to see this time end.

I will be sad…but well rested.

And I am grateful for this time.  But gratitude is so  much more difficult when you’re freakin’ tired.

challenge139 Tired

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Morning

by Jennifer on November 15, 2013

Barely-there light, little sips of coffee, Imagination Movers on the television and the soft touch of warm flannel at my right.

The warm flannel is covered in puppy dogs, smells like a cinnamon roll and snuggles into my side.

This is Our Time.

Little Boy K climbed on the bus a few minutes ago, T has left for work, our to-do list sits idle as nothing is open this early.

This is Our Time.

S and I can stay on this couch, numbing our minds with Disney Junior, or we can go in the playroom and play trains or we can read a pile of books about dinosaurs or Where the Wild Things Are or battles between scorpions and hornets.

Reading Morning

We can take our time getting dressed.

This is Our Time.

This day will wait for us.

Relaxed Morning

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Missing

by Jennifer on October 22, 2013

I looked up from my work and realized he was gone, that there was only one other little body in the room, not the two I expected.

I did a quick scan of the areas I could immediately see to determine if he was hiding behind a couch with a horde of Iron Men, talking to himself, or if he had built a quilt fort somewhere I hadn’t noticed…but nothing, he was gone.

In his room, surely, where he spends more and more of his time these days.  I know part of it is having a little brother who wants to play with his big brother all of the time and as an older sibling myself, I understand the need for space and privacy.

But I miss having him in front of me all of the time.

I miss overhearing his two-sided conversations.  They told me so much about what was going on in his life and his thoughts.

And I know that is part of growing up and getting older, a gradual need for a slow separation.

That doesn’t mean I have to like it or that I do not miss him.

As parents we often want them to stay little forever, because that means they stay close.  And the emptiness in the living room now is a reminder of the more permanent emptiness that will come some day, long before I’m ready.

But the important thing is that it comes when he is ready.  This is his childhood, I’m just lucky enough to be along for the ride.

 

I’m back at Yeah Write this week after a prolonged absence.  I would blame that on a couple of things but who really cares, why?  Missed y’all!

challenge132 Missing

 

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Dragons

by Jennifer on May 28, 2013

“Mommy.  See dragons?”

With my eyes still closed, I felt his tiny hands climb up my chest.  Warm air hit my cheek, and I recognized the sweet smell of toddler breath.

“Mommy,” was in my ear as the clouds of sleep drifted away.  I childishly grabbed at them, not quite ready to give them up.  I weighed the likelihood of him falling back into sleep if I just kept my eyes closed a bit longer.

“Mommy.”

I created tiny slits with my eyelids to see if he was looking at me.

Yep.  He was.

“Mommy. See dragons?” S lifted his arm and pointed out the window over our bed.  “BIG ones,” he emphasized with a whisper and irresistibly big two-year-old eyes.

I lifted myself up and looked out the window onto our front lawn.  I stared past our big oak tree and the baby swing, still in the quiet of the morning.

“See them?  See dragons?” he repeated hopefully.

I smiled, as much on the inside as a soft joy filled me as on the outside, for him, and relaxed my eyes.

And I saw them.

Dragons.

Lumbering across our front lawn, wings folded tight against his body, slick, shiny scales reflecting a pale blue in the morning sun, was a dragon.  He was magnificent.  I recall having seem him a time or two before, in my younger days.

A few paces to his right sat a smaller version, reddish in color and resembling one of S’s favorite toys.  He lounged on his hindquarters, complacently surveying the yard with an air of regal ownership.

“Yes, baby.  I see them,” I whispered, grabbing him in a hug. “Such a spectacular way to wake up, with dragons in the yard.  We are so very lucky to have dragons.”

And I meant every word.

 
challenge111 Dragons

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Nap Time

by Jennifer on April 30, 2013

Nap time is one of my favorite parts of the day, a trait I share with many mothers.

But not for the reason you may think.

Not because it signifies break time for Mommy (because the way nap time works in our household does not involve break time), but because it is quiet time where I can lay down beside you and think…

…about how quickly you are growing…

When we started these naps, you were a tiny little bundle, then eventually your feet reached down to my stomach and now you sprawl out across the bed, your toes extending to my knees.

…about how quickly you are changing…

You used to fly through the world free of the typical dependencies and attachments of babyhood, no pacifier addiction or required blanket.  Now we trek off to bed dragging Woo-Hoo the Owl, Tigey the Lovie and Mank-Mank the Mickey Mouse and sometimes a truck or two…or three.

…about how quickly life changes…

The days of carrying you to bed are over as you now drag me by the hand to “nur-nur night-night”, turn off the light and turn on the sound machine yourself.

This time is becoming less and less frequent.  This time, once a daily requirement, is now a special treat for days when the rest of life’s obligations do not get in our way.

Often I will look in the rearview mirror of the car to find your eyes closed and my heart sinks, knowing we have missed another nap together.

I have had people groan to me about what a pain it must be to have to nap with you.

“Think of all you could do during that time.”

“That’s when I get most of my work done.”

“What do you do while you’re laying there?”

Yes, think of all the dishes I could have washed, all the clothes I could have folded, all the emails I could have answered during those hours.  But dishes, dirty clothes and emails will still be there when this time is gone.

I chose instead to lay with you and watch your gray eyes get heavy with sleep and finally close.  I chose to watch your chest rise and fall with the sweet sound of your breath, to inhale the warm smell of sleep on your hair, to see your eyelashes flutter when you dream, and enjoy the silence that comes with knowing you are safe and content beside me.

 

sawnap Nap Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joining in with the Weekend Moonshine Grid.  Stop on by to read some fabulous posts from some fabulous people.
moonshine Nap Time

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Beware the Bitter Fruit

by Jennifer on April 16, 2013

As we stroll through the produce department of Whole Foods, Baby S’s chunky little toddler arm shot out and snapped back like a pale rubber band. He looked up at me and smiled, both hands proudly gripping a gigantic piece of fruit.

“That’s an orange,” I said, enunciating carefully. Silencing the little voice in my head cautioning me from encouraging him to get grabby in the grocery store and overcoming the wave of frustration I felt at visiting our second grocery store of the morning, I took a deep breath and relaxed into the opportunity to have a teaching moment.

“Do you want that orange?” I asked. Even though I know Baby S does not typically show an interest in food, there’s something about being surrounded by rows of organic free trade produce that always inspires hope that it is possible to have children with appetites and eating habits worthy of a public service announcement. It is why I always end up throwing away rotting apples at the end of the week. I always think THIS will be the week the boys decide they simply must have apples in multiple colors and varieties at every meal.

I felt the excitement at a healthy food discovery creeping up into my stomach. As I looked at Baby S’s sweet face gazing in wonder at the picture-perfect orange in his lap, I just knew that this was the day Baby S would develop his love of fruit. I saw him moving on from fruit to bananas and strawberries and ultimately even transitioning to vegetables (none of which have I ever been able to convince him to try in his two years on this earth).

“Smell it. It smells so good,” I said, lifting the orange toward his nose. “We can get that if you want.”

“Eat?” he asks, my hope for a major food breakthrough reaching a fever pitch.

After explaining that we buy fruit before we eat it since the cost is based on weight and by eating it we would decrease its weight and therefore be stealing, concepts I’m sure he understood completely, I turned to complete my shopping.

Tossing some bananas into the basket, I noticed Baby S had jumped the gun in spite of my explanation and had his little teeth sunk into the bitter outer peel of the orange.

Uh-oh.

I watched his face screw up with distaste as my hopes for healthy food nirvana dissolved.

Thunk. The orange hit the bottom of the basket with the sound of broken dreams and utter rejection.

“No like orange!”

Damn. Next time skip the lecture on proper fruit buying procedure and just peel the stinkin’ orange.

challenge105 Beware the Bitter Fruit

 

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Moving On…

by Jennifer on March 5, 2013

Squeezing the foamy grip of the stroller handle, I lean the wheels to the right to dodge the sinkhole in the pavement.

I know where it is without even looking.  Twice a day, going and coming, the sinkhole and I do battle with the stroller wheels.

I will miss the sinkhole.

My sneakers scuff the uneven rise of the aging pavement in our neighborhood, pavement that other mothers have walked their other children across on their way to and from school for the last half century.  They were scuffing their shoes on this sidewalk at the same time my own mother was in school just a few miles away.

I will miss being part of the life that passes through this neighborhood.

The wind blows through the oak trees towering above us, beginning as a whisper then accumulating and roaring over our heads like a wave.  It sounds like fall; it sounds like spring; it sounds like a storm is coming; it sounds like my grandmother’s house; it sounds like home.

The trees are not like this where we are going.  I will miss that whisper.

With each block we pass, Baby S and I, I flip through the images of my two boys growing up here, chasing their friends through the neighborhood on their scooters, their bikes, and some day their cars.  I sift through the visions I have spent the last few years cultivating of what their lives would be like, their school, their friends, flip my mental pencil around and slowly erase my boys from those pictures.  They will not be here.

We are leaving.

I will miss those visions because now I know that is all they will ever be, pieces of my imagination.

Letting go is not only about the things we will miss, our familiar sounds, our customary routes, our habits.  It is also the loss of what we thought would be, the lives I thought they would live.

Their lives will be different.  Hopefully not worse, hopefully (although it feels beyond all possibility) better.  But when you’re happy, it is hard to picture that something else, something so different from this, could ever be better or even a close second.

But I hope it is.

I’m hoping we just don’t yet know what we are missing…

 

Linking up with Yeah Write this week.  Lately, I’ve been waving through the window at you guys rather than stopping in for a coffee.  Hopefully that will change…

Stop by for some great reads by some great folks…
challenge99 Moving On...

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