boy: a noise with dirt on it.

I’m going to warn you now that as I write this I am weepy.  I know I am more than a tad hormonal.  And stressed.  Those two things basically equal disaster for me in the sanity department.  So, I weep.  Today, I weep the sappy mommy weep.  It’s okay. 🙂

I was just chatting with Jordan’s (6) very first (and most favoritest) daycare teacher about him as a 2-3 year old.  And suddenly it hit me, I miss my baby.  Now, I know, I have these moments a lot lately.  A friend was just teasing me about how I really should not have stopped having babies.  (Trust me, if time and money were in unlimited supply, I’d be adopting those little suckers like there was a shortage.)  But, truth be told, I don’t want more babies.  I just want to relive some of the years with my babies, especially Jordan.  (Well, today it’s Jordan.  A couple of weeks ago it was Elle.  So don’t listen to me.)

I missed out on a lot of little moments with Jordan.  I was there for every one, but due to the nature of life at that time, there was so much that I wasn’t there for.  I was depressed, then I was psycho, then I was working, then I was caring for other people’s kids.  Now that I’m focused on my family, I miss the parts I missed.  I can’t help it.

Sometimes it’s more of a challenge for me to think of the amazing qualities my son has, because he is also… a boy.  It’s more obvious for me to think about the shenanigans he is up to and the numerous bonks and scratches and bruises and broken bones.  It’s easy for me to concentrate on the fact that it takes him twice as long to learn things than it did his sister: talking, writing his name (and various other “school” related things) and let’s just be real here, wiping his own butt (although, CONQUERED! Thank God!)  There is but one simple fact about Jordan that stands out more than anything in the world to me: He Is A Boy to the very core of himself and then back again.  He is a boy times ten.  And I love him for every single quality that is boy.  Even though it’s easier to worry and focus on the things that I just can’t even keep up with, it’s so gratifying to stop and realize all that those things mean.

He is constantly dirty.  He cares way more about discovering what is in the bottom of that mud puddle and how far he can splash it than he does about whether or not his shoes… or pants, shirt and hair for that matter… are clean for school. He devours bagels and toast and eggs without regard to how much of it is smeared across his face.  He enjoys the meal to it’s fullest and forgets the rest, even if that means he’ll be displaying his breakfast for all the bus stop to see.  You see, Mommy would wipe it off but she’s too busy chasing behind him with dropped shoes and a backpack and her hair standing on end to even notice.

He is always making noise.  He loves the sound of his own voice.  He loves the sound of his feet tapping out a beat to music only he can hear.  He loves the sound of chewing as loudly as possible for everyone else to enjoy the delicious meal he’s consuming.  He loves the sound of talking as loudly as he can so no one misses one single important thing he has to say.

He loves running and walking backward and sideways and jumping over things rather than walking around them.  He loves bouncing balls and shooting guns and flying kites.  He loves jumping in the deep end without a life jacket even though he doesn’t even know how to swim.  He loves riding fast and jumping curbs and giving me heart attacks when bones are broken and multiple surgeries are required to repair said bones.  He loves defying odds and growth charts and statistics.

He loves socializing.  He loves playing after school with friends.  He will play with a child that treats him like crap and bosses him around if that means he has someone to share his joy for life with.  He loves children that are smaller than he is (let’s face it, most of them are.) and caring for them.  He loves babies and toddlers and kids that are two years older than he is.  He doesn’t care.  As long as someone treats him with a tiny bit of kindness, he will overlook the rest of it and spend every waking minute devising a plan of how they can meet for a playdate every minute of every day.

If he knocks someone down in the middle of the basketball court, he will stop the game and go back to make sure they are okay.  He loves people.  He truly, deeply cares about them.

And he loves his Mom.  I have never felt more love from one single person or a group of people as I do my son.  I know my Elle loves me and we have such a special mother/daughter bond.  I know Jimmie adores me and would do absolutely anything within his power to show me that.  But the love from that boy is unmatched by anyone on this earth.  It just is.  I can’t explain it, I can’t rationalize it, and I can’t measure it.

When my mom found out I was having a boy, she asked me to make sure I didn’t spoil him rotten as most mothers do with their sons.  “Don’t baby him and treat him like he’s special just because he’s a boy.”  Well, oops.  I guess I’m failing because he is special.  He is my boy and I cherish him.  He drives me batty and I have to punish him twice as much as his sister to make sure he doesn’t turn out to be a criminal, but he is absolutely 100% special and I will treat him that way every single day of his life.

Elle often tells me, “I’m Daddy’s Princess and Jordan is your special boy.”  She doesn’t mind.  She will openly admit Daddy is her favorite and I’m second fiddle.  And I love every single moment of it.  Because I know she’s secure in our relationship and that she knows her daddy cherishes her.

Jordan will wrestle with his dad for hours every single day if he can.  He will annoy his sister and get into trouble six ways till Sunday.  But when I walk into a room, he melts.  And so therefore, I must melt too.  It’s simply impossible not to.

january second

On Monday Jimmie and I slept in while the kids generally run amok around the house for a few hours.  It was glorious.

I never really dream (or remember my dreams) because I sleep too hard.  But Monday morning I had all sorts of dreams.  I don’t remember the bulk of what happened, I forget as soon as I open my eyes, but I do remember they were all about the place where I was born and where many family members still live.  I haven’t been in ages, but my dreams were full of memories of the tiny town I spent the first eight years of my life in.

Once I awoke, I lay there trying to recreate the town in my mind.  Jim and I talk on and off about taking the kids there and showing them where I was born.  So as I lay there thinking what it would be like to visit this strange land called Arkansas and the family the kids would meet, etc. it dawned on me , as it regularly does, that the one person I would love to see isn’t there anymore.

You’ve heard many a funny story of my Arkansas Grammy, her funny anecdotes and her priceless advice about washing out “weeny bags” to use as zip-locks.  But I’ve never talked about what a sweetheart she was.  She was as simple as gardening dirt and as everyday as an ice cold Budweiser.  Her laugh was a tinkling cross between a giggle and a chuckle and she was beautiful in her own unique way.  She was a feisty and rambunctious redhead (once upon a time) and had a flair for drama.  She was, on all accounts in my book, a perfect grandma.  And she made me feel so, so special.  She adored Elle once she was born.  Elle was two when cancer finally beat her.  My Grammy was 73.

I didn’t appreciate her nearly enough when she was alive.  I didn’t call as much as I should have.  I never visited.  I was wrapped up in me and early adulthood and she fell by the wayside.  I can’t think of anything I regret more now.

Monday morning, when I dreamed of her home and times I spent with her chasing me in the back yard with a “switch” threatening to “tan my hide” but never following through, I had no idea what that day was.  When I lay in bed thinking of visiting and then realizing she wouldn’t be there to spend time with, it completely escaped me that it was that time of year again.

And then, when I got up and was moving through my morning rituals, it hit me.  I called to Jim and said, “I think this is the day my Grammy died.”  I couldn’t believe it, it left me breathless for a moment.  I’m not one for keeping track of the sentimental.  I couldn’t tell you most people in our family’s birthdays, much less the day anyone died.  I always think of her at Christmas because it was her absolute favorite time of year, and I remember going to my mom’s Christmas day to say my last goodbyes.  But I never recorded the day of her passing to memory.  I hate dwelling on those things.  I couldn’t even go to her funeral.

It’s taken me a couple of days to be ready to confirm my suspicions, but I decided to look up her obituary to face what I already knew.  Monday morning, January 2nd, was the seven your mark of the last time I spoke to her.  As she lay in my mother’s guest room, in a hospital bed they brought in to keep her comfortable, my heart was so broken I couldn’t even say goodbye.  The woman with such a zeal and love for the most simple things in life was laying there lifeless and in pain.  It was heartbreaking.  I wrote her a letter, which I don’t think my mom was even able to read to her, and said goodbye in the only way I could.

Elle and I flew home that morning, and I believe she passed that night.  I could be wrong about the days, but I think that’s about it.  My mom said she told her Elle and I were home safely and everyone was where they were supposed to be, and if she wanted to just let go now, she could.  My mom left the room to get her something, and when she came back she was gone.  She left as simply as she lived.  She was beautiful.

So, Monday morning, I believe my Grammy sent me a dream and some wonderful memories.  I think it was her way of saying, “Don’t you forget me Missy.  I’m keeping my eye on you.”    It was my best Christmas Gift ever.