Just like that… You’re 10.

Just like that… You’re 10.

It seems like just yesterday, you were placed in my arms, held up by your dad because to be honest, I was so drugged up I couldn’t function. But I remember that moment. I remember asking if you were ok and crying when they said you were healthy and safe.

It seems like just yesterday, you were taking your first steps at Thanksgiving lunch and getting your first teeth. Then you were riding your first bike, having your first little girlfriend, and having your first sleepovers.

It seems like just yesterday, you were nine. That’s because you were.

But today you’re ten. Ten.

That’s double digits.

Two hands.

You’re JAZZ HANDS YEARS OLD, Henry Love.

I’m amazed at the young man you’ve grown into. You’re the right amount of funny mixed with the right amount of sweet and sensitive. You’re really like a sweet and savory nut, if I have to be honest.

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Happy Birthday, Henry.

Here’s to a great year!

 

Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

I look at him, stomping around the house, being angry about whatever there is to be angry about today. Three minutes later, I watch him slip over to the sofa and sit as close to me as humanly possible without getting back in my womb. He nuzzles his head under my arm and I can feel him relax.

Things are changing.

Fourth grade is hard. Being almost ten is hard.

He’s not a teen, but he’s certainly not a baby anymore.

It’s a purgatory area, those tween years, of being immaturely mature and learning to move through life in a bigger way.

In the mornings, we fuss. He’d rather lay around and be lazy now than jump out of bed like he used to do. I can see the differences in the way he sleeps, the way he looks when he’s trying to wake up, and the way he almost needs coffee to get going in the morning.

Growing up isn’t easy.

4thgrade

His features are darkening. I can see the future in his eyes. The next few years will hold changes in his hormones and desires and voice… he won’t be my baby anymore. He’s already not my baby.

He and I wear the same size shoe. He’s not much shorter than I am. I get fussed at if I have to help him wash his wild and crazy hair in the shower because, “You can’t see me naked, Mom.”

These changes are inevitable.

This morning, after fussing to get up-get dressed-brush your teeth-why aren’t your teeth brushed?-get your socks and shoes on-let’s go-I said let’s go-come ON, I drove him to the path he takes to the school. I pulled over to the side of the road. Reaching over to open the door, he looked back at me.

“I hope you have a great day, bud.”

“Ok, mom. You, too.”

“I’ll see you this afternoon.”

He glanced quickly out the window, making sure nobody is looking, leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.

“I love you, Mom.”

“I love you, too, buddy.”

I’m aware that these days are numbered. The tales of my fourth grade tween are going to be tough – new and different. School, life, body changes, mood swings… they’re all things we’ll take day by day.

And if those days include a sly kiss on the cheek and a back rub to help him go to sleep at night, then I’ll take it.

This Week In Numbers: The Medical Mystery Tour

5 – number of days this week Henry or I have seen a doctor

6 – number of waiting rooms I’ve waited in since Monday morning. Add the one on Friday and you get 7.

13 – number of days I’ve now been dealing with a rash of unknown origin or diagnosis.

5 – number of different diagnoses for the rash on my body. It’s been shingles, staph, a bug bite, a fungus, contact dermatitis…

7 – number of shots Henry had to drain what looked like aliens out of an infected boil

365,397 – times I wanted to die on Wednesday

28,967 – times I wet my pants while vomiting on Wednesday

28,967 – times I didn’t care about said wetting of pants because of the 365,397 times I wanted to die

6 – number of hours spent at the ER

3 – number of sticks it took for the nurse at the ER to run an IV

2 – number of bags of fluid shoved in my veins in the ER

0 – sadly, the number of bags of vodka shoved in my veins in the ER

2 – number of complete blood panels run on me

4 – number of prescriptions I’ve filled and tried

3 – number of people in this house who are dying for this week to be over

1 – number of biopsies done on said rash by the bitchy yankee PA who made me feel like an absolute asshole for not having changed ANYthing I’ve done for the last 2 weeks. She couldn’t believe I hadn’t switched shampoo, detergent, or soap in TWO WHOLE WEEKS. What?

1 – also the number of HOLES I now have on my rash on my stomach

12 – number of Krispy Kreme doughnuts I bought on my way home from the last doctor’s appointment today

**************

I’m fine. I’m alive. Henry’s fine. He’s alive. Nothing is horribly wrong with either of us. Just one of those weeks that started off at the tippy top of the hill and rooooooolllled down swiftly.

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!

photo 3

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!)

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.

 

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