The eye of the storm?
It does get easier. I noticed this recently when I was able to take a shower one morning without having anyone barge into the bathroom or hearing anything crashing or anyone yelling downstairs.
This morning, for the first time, not everyone came bombing upstairs the moment they woke up. I was happy about that because I’ve had a rough time adjusting to the time change. Because I can’t seem to get to sleep as early as I should, it has been hard to get up the past couple of mornings.
Today, when I shuffled downstairs to get my coffee, I noticed that my middle son’s light was on. I went into his room and discovered that he was reading (!).
I went in to tell him good morning.
“Can I read by myself, mom?”
“Oh, sure. Of course!”
“No offense, Mom.”
“None taken, honey.”
I had lunch recently with a mom who has older kids. Her advice: “Cherish these moments. You’re on the cusp. It gets hard again. Wait until you don’t know where they are, and you’re waiting up for them to get home safely…”
I know she’s right. I know this is “it.” What is it? It’s the time where they’re old enough to go outside by themselves and shoot hoops or play in the back yard or with kids in the neighborhood. They can get dressed by themselves, albeit they are often challenged to figure out where their clothes are (“If you put your clean laundry away, you’d know,” I remind them). They can get their own snacks. I don’t have to do everything for them, but some things they like me to do. “Read to me, Mom?” (Even The Bigs ask). “Watch my baseball practice, Mom?” “Can you study with me, Mom?”
It probably won’t be long before they don’t want to me around so much anymore.
“At least you still have Youngest,” my middle son’s teacher said to me, when I told her “This is it.” Middle son will be off to middle school next year. I didn’t mean, “this is it in terms of volunteering at school (since no one really wants you at school when they’re in middle school!), but this is “it,” this is our life, it’s happening right now, it’s not a dress rehearsal. I better pay attention because I the blink of an eye everything could change.
One day recently, one of the Bigs came bursting through the door after school, “Where’s the phone book?”
“What phone book?” I imagined I’d probably recycled the one that comes in the mailbox, since I usually look everything up online.
“You know, the school phone book.”
“Oh, the directory. I have it in my office.”
He bolted up the stairs, while tossing over his shoulder, “I know who so-and-so likes. Well, I know her initials, anyway…”