I’m pretty sure July 3rd is ‘Take Your Kids To Work’ Day. I asked Mad Dog about it, but he wasn’t buying it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my time with my boys, in fact it’s kind of awesome. Being able to hang out with them with no agenda has been incredibly fun. However, after they spend loads of unstructured time together, this leads to frustration and maybe occasional acting out. Therefore, please, “Take Your Kids to Work” Mad Dog.
In all seriousness, I am grateful how much I enjoy their company. This is the reward of parenting. All the blood, sweat and tears has paid off. Not to say their won’t be challenges ahead, but at least for this moment, being a mom is a lot of fun.
Moving forward I understand that they will not want to hang out with me forever. Even though I am entertaining, am an excellent Jazzerciser (this is cutting edge cool, right?) and know a lot of really famous people:
Ah, but we will always have the memories of this summer … I intend to make the most of them.
I was curled up in bed as another round of coughing wracked through my body. I had been sick for four days and knew something was not right. My body refused to heal and I couldn’t figure out why.
I had enough sense not to Google my symptoms. In my weakened state any glimpse of doom I might read would derail any chance at wellness.
I croaked out his name and asked him to join me in my room. I asked him to Google dehydration for me.
He sat with me a long time. He patiently read through each symptom discerning what he could share with me in my fragile state and what he could not.
After a few moments, we confirmed it. I was dehydrated. Full Speed helped me formulate a plan to get me feeling better. He went and got me some Powerade.
This made me cry.
This confused him.
I went on to share that I was so proud of him for being a good caretaker. I then confessed that the girl he may or may not have been messaging (he will neither confirm or deny this allegation), made me emotional. Of course I am so happy he has found someone who has peaked his interest (or not), but I am sad he is no longer my ‘baby’.
This made me cry harder. Torrents of tears and emotions poured out of me and nearly washed both of us away.
He continued to sit with me.
He offered words of comfort and reassurance without judgment.
I said, “I don’t know if you realize this, but I am teaching you how to be in a relationship. When your future (current?) girlfriend gets emotional you will be prepared. You will know how to handle it just like you handled this situation with me. In fact, you may wonder if ‘that’s all she’s got?’ because I admit, I may or may not be a tad more emotional than your average woman.”
With that, I let out even more tears. When I was done, he twisted off the cap to my Powerade, handed it to me and left me with a hug.
As he left the room it hit me hard.
I was training him how to be a husband.
In my complete expression of what was in my heart and my mind, I was showing him how to sit with another’s vulnerability.
Showing Full Speed the truth of my inner world is a part of husband training. The other half happened nearly two decades ago. It started the minute I fell in love with Mad Dog.
At the time and being only twenty-four years old, I could not know how he would be as a husband and father years later.
He has far exceeded any expectation I ever had.
Every day he shows my boys what it means to be a husband. They watch how he works tirelessly to provide for us and how he will do anything to make my dreams a reality.
When Full Speed clicked open that Powerade before he handed it to me, he did so after watching years of Mad Dog doing the same.
In no way am I saying that Full Speed is required to get married. It is his life to live and it is frankly, none of my business.
My business is to stay truthful. To continue to be authentic in how I live and love.
Sometimes I am embarrassed by how much emotion bubbles out of me at the most inopportune moments, but it is who I am.
In a way, this may be where my greatest strength originates.
I am lighting the way for love for both my boys.
True love. The love that is most real. The kind that endures the ups and downs of living a life together.
The kind that takes you on unexpected adventures but also finds your heart tucked safely inside gratitude simply by being together.
Full Speed clunked his way through the school library doors. The past couple days tested him. A cold slowed his usual enthusiasm for life and by the looks of him, I knew his day drained what little energy he had left. He sat in silence while I finished up my volunteer tasks. Once T.Puzzle arrived, we made our way to the car.
I asked Full Speed point-blank, “What did you have for lunch?”
He said, “Nothing.”
Nothing! Alarm bells rang loud and clear in my head. He passed on breakfast and instead of forcing the issue, I made him promise to eat something at lunch.
Once lunchtime arrived, his appetite would reappear. I counted on that and said as much to him.
To hear him say he ate nothing all day seemed unacceptable.
“You. Are eating dinner. No negotiation. Understand me?” I said.
He nodded in defeat.
Later, at the dinner table as T.Puzzle described his luncheon with the principal (as an honor, not a punishment, thank goodness!), something in the way Full Speed’s eyes twinkled, made me question if he skipped lunch.
“Full Speed, did you really not eat lunch?” I said.
“Alright, I guess I’ll just look it up on your lunch account and find out for myself.”
“Yes! I had lunch! Okay?” he said.
“Why would you lie about that?” I said.
“Because then I would have to admit you were right. My appetite did come back and I was hungry. I already had two days of feeling sick. I couldn’t admit that my mom was right and I was wrong on top of that!”
Like a lunch after hours of not eating, victory never tasted so sweet.
I am kind of a mess right now. If you ran into me on the street, I still appear normal on the outside, but inside me swims the anxiety and tension of moving my family to a new state. This is all a normal part of the experience.
What isn’t normal is that my boys are not really freaking out. I mean, aren’t they supposed to be freaking out?
Here’s a recent conversation I had with them:
“Are you nervous about going to a new school?” I said.
Both said, “No.”
“Are you worried you won’t make new friends?” I said.
Both said, “No.”
“Are you concerned that you won’t be academically prepared when school starts?”
Both said, “No.”
Can you spot the pattern here?
Maybe instead I should ask, “Are you worried your mom is going to ask you so many questions about whether or not you are worried that you may tune her out completely?”
Thank you to the stars above for giving me two, level-headed sons that tolerate my dramatic inquiries and love me anyway.