Mainside.

Mainside.

This year, Henry’s week at camp is a big one. It’s his first year on the Mainside.

At Camp Winnataska, that translates to “the big kid side of the camp.” The last two years, he’s been on the Chico side with all the 6-8 year old campers, so last year he was one of the big guys on the Chico campus.

For the last few months, we’ve been talking about and getting excited for camp. He’s had his calendar filled out for the whole summer, counting down the number of weeks until he left. To say he loves it is an understatement!

On the way over to Alabama on Sunday, we met my cousin and his family. Two of his three kiddos were also going to Winnataska that day, and were going to be Chicos for the first year. Henry told them all about it and hopefully made them less nervous. But after we left, Henry’s confidence started to wane.

As we rounded the corner into camp, the chatter slowed down, in spite of him wanting us to HONK BECAUSE WE LOVE WINNATASKA!

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After standing in line, health-checking (aka lice-checking), we headed to the cabin — Chickasaw.

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Crossing the bridge that leads to the Mainside cabins was beautiful. They have an absolutely gorgeous setting, with still water and falls and plenty of area for climbing and exploring in the river. It’s one of Henry’s favorite things about camp!

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The cabin was huge! I don’t think Henry was prepared for how large the cabins were over on the Mainside. We went in and were greeted by young men who were still in high school and early college and looked like babies themselves. They showed us to his bed and gathered up his bags that had been delivered to the back of the cabin.

Henry’s bed was made. His fan was put away. I put his other stuff on his shelf and he quickly rearranged it. He put his pillow pet and Muffins perfectly on his bed, even though there were no other visible stuffed animals in the room. The chatter around the room was hilarious, but he was quiet.

And then it was time for us to leave.

There were kisses and hugs and a quick photo.

photo 4

We were off and before we were even out of the room he was chatting it up with the kid behind him.

He may be one of the little guys on the Mainside totem pole at Winnataska this year, but he’s sure to be having the biggest time yet!

(Don’t tell anybody, but I can’t wait to get my hands on him and get hugs from him on Saturday!)

With Privilege Comes Responsibility

With Privilege Comes Responsibility

All my life I heard that phrase: With privilege comes responsibility. 

I learned early to roll my eyes, mostly because I was a smart ass and did that kind of thing. But also because normally when that was said, it meant I was about to have to do something. Like, work.

I’ve never really thought about it much, but in my mind, I think I’ve NOT said that to Henry over and over again because I don’t want him to roll his eyes at me. But now that he rolls his eyes for all kinds of reasons, mostly because he’s a 9 year old boy who acts like a 13 year old girl, I figured “what the hell?”

We just moved this last week. With that move came a reason to start fresh on some things. One of those things has to do with giving Henry more responsibilities.

So Jason and Henry went to Home Depot and bought Henry a lawnmower.

Yes, we bought our 9 year old a lawnmower. It was time.

mower1

When he mows the grass, he will be earning money that will be divided into Spend, Save, Share. It’s time to learn these things that he needs to carry him through to adulthood. The lawn will be his baby.

It’s also time for him to start saving for a car if he thinks he wants one when he turns 16!

So today, Jason took him out for his first run in the yard with the mower blades on. It went well. Henry managed to mow about ⅓ of the yard before his hands got too numb and tingly. It was quite adorable.

mower2But then I looked at the pictures and realized that my baby isn’t a baby anymore.

He’s a little man. His face is changing, his attitude is changing, his likes and loves are changing. He’s almost as tall as me and his feet are bigger than mine.

He leads a pretty privileged  life. And with that comes responsibility. And that he’s about to learn.

 

A Mother’s Heart

A Mother’s Heart

On April 26, 2014, at the very first
Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta, I read these words.
I should tell you to bring tissues.
photo: From The Hip

photo: From The Hip

It had been a rough week around here between me and the 9 year old.

My husband had been traveling a lot and work had been stressful.

Henry and I had butted heads, talked back to each other, and raised our voices way too many times.

It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

I’m ashamed to say, I had yelled more than I should.

I’m sad that Henry had said “I hate you” more than he ever should. I know he didn’t mean it, but he said it.

He had already gone a few days without riding his bike to school as punishment for previous transgressions and at that moment, I may or may not have threatened to make him wash all of his clothes, cook his own food and pay his own rent for the rest of his life if he didn’t shape up.

Maybe I meant it. Maybe I didn’t??

Jason had to be made out to be the bad guy, the one I threatened to call so he could “handle it” and he’s the one who actually got to handle it when he got home.

I don’t like that I had to stoop to that because my GOSH I hated it when my mom used to threaten to tell my Daddy when he got home what I had done wrong.

So imagine my surprise when I was doing JUST THAT?

Finally, I had to make good on an earlier threat and put Henry to bed early — and without supper! I mean, it was like 6:30 early. But it had to be done or I was just a pushover.

I sat with him and we talked about a magazine he had been reading and school and how he was going to respect me more. We were both mad and frustrated and insanely tired.

Then he started crying a little and asked me to stay while he tried to go to sleep. He rolled over and guided my hand over his heart — covered it with  his own small hand — and he pressed it to his chest as hard as he could.

His other hand held on to his beloved Muffins like his life depended on it.

I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed with love. There’s a pretty good reason why that’s my Henry’s middle name.

I laid there for 45 minutes with his heart beating perfectly in my hand. t felt like I could just reach in and grab it if I wanted to.

My brain told me this was one of those “Mom moments” I needed to hold on to.

So I stayed there, watching him doze off into dreamland, eyes twitching and mouth moving slightly — in awe that I was chosen to be his mom.

As I held his heart in my hand, I also realized how much like his brother he seems, and how much alike I think they would be if Charlie was alive.

But comparing a 9 year old to a baby who should be 11 but will always be 24 days old?? That’s ridiculous.

When Henry sleeps, though, even at 9 years old, it’s so clear to me that they have the same skin and eyes and that funny droop on one side of their mouth.

It’s very rare these days that I stop and think, “What would life be like if Charlie and Henry were growing up together?”

I think I don’t allow myself to think these things because honestly, it hurts to imagine it.

But then there are moments like these.

Moments when I am reminded how much they look alike and how I’m sure their personalities WOULD BE not necessarily the same, but complimentary to each others.

There are these moments, as a mother, that take my breath away.

It’s moments like these when I really remember that I have two sons and am forever mothering two sons.

One is here and one isn’t.

One has a heartbeat I can feel and one whose last heartbeat I felt in my arms.

One says things that break my heart and the other I carry in my heart.

One can wrap his small hand around mine, hold it to his heart, and make me realize that my life is complete because I am the mother of two.

 

The Ace Bandage Incident

I got a call from school the other day. Monday, in fact, after I’d been gone all the previous week and NEEDED to be at work for at least 16 hours that day.

The nurse started out by saying, “It’s not an emergency” as usual. But then went on to tell me that this was the second time he had been to her office complaining about his knee hurting. Now he was dragging it. I should probably come and take him to the doctor.

She put him on the phone and he sounded pitiful. “Mom, I didn’t tell you, but I hurt it on Saturday. It didn’t hurt too bad until yesterday at lunch, but we were having a lazy day so I didn’t really tell you then. Can you come get me?”

So I went and got him. I drove 45 minutes to get him, took him immediately to Urgent Care where they looked at him and prescribed advil and rest.

He looked at the doctor and said, “But I’ll need an ace bandage, right?”

Right then I knew I’d been had. The boy just wanted an ace bandage.

I remember those days. “Mom, my ankle hurts, can I get an ace bandage? Mom, I hurt my wrist, can I get an ace bandage? Mom, my XYZ hurts, can I get an ace bandage?”

I knew how to wrap every joint on my body with precise, medical-grade precision. I could have been a sports medicine doctor at age 9. Now my son was doing the same thing. Which begs the question, “Are kids born knowing what ace bandages are?”

The doctor told him it wouldn’t really help, but he insisted. “So advil and an ace bandage will help it feel better, right?”

She finally, after looking at me, agreed that it might make it feel a little better.

Off to work we went. A 45 minute drive back so I could keep on catching up on the million things that were on my desk gave us time to discuss the fact that unless he’s got a bone sticking out of his body, blood coming out of his body, vomit coming out of his body, or a fever that is insane, he doesn’t need to have me come pick him up from school. Ever.

After dragging his leg the rest of the afternoon like he needed to have it amputated, we stopped and got him an ace bandage.

And whaddya know?

No more knee pain.

It was an ace bandage miracle!

Wordless Wednesday: Finishing

Wordless Wednesday: Finishing

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

1 mile run – 8:20 finish.

He flew over the finish line.

HL Finish W&D13

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