I have journals scattered to the four corners, online and offline; handwritten words that are letter-dotted with twelve-year-old-girl-bubble hearts, dramatic monologues of my first (second, third and fourth) broken heart, billions of blog entries, and some that are typed (yes, with that old fashioned instrument one calls a typewriter). As the snow falls in April, and I try to write my two college papers (yes, I am back in college and that is another story I need to tell), in my classic avoidance-styled behavior, instead of doing what I need to do, I think about last night. I should have been putting Eli (12) Kyle (14) to bed (because it was late and that’s where they were supposed to be), instead I kept them up so we could watch old family videos. Damn you, David Adams! Damn you, for converting our old videos to digital. I love these videos and I cannot stop watching them. I cannot stop watching as little Eli holds a brown paper bag over his hand, and when asked, in his raspy little two-year-old voice, he responds, “This is Angry Puppet.” Eli laughs, crumples Angry Puppet into a ball, and when asked what he is doing, Eli quickly throws Angry Puppet, bows his head, and switches to a somber tone, “he is sad because he misses his mommy.” Five-year-old Kyle comes into frame. He announces, “I am going to do one of my latest styles.” In the background you hear Eli, “I am stepping on this.” Kyle runs across the dining room floor, landing sweet-breakdance-move after sweet-breakdance-move. He stops, literally spits on each hand, we all laugh, and watch as Kyle does his sweet-breakdance-move again. A few moves later five-year-old Kyle tells me, “my hands are sticky.” “That’s awesome!” Fourteen-year-old Kyle responds.
Yes, I wanted to reach into those videos and will myself back right to the moment where the boys were outside playing in the crazy flower sprinkler. And yes, that flower sprinkler was crazy. Hooked onto the hose, it whipped all over the place, squirting water indiscriminately. The boys spent hours entertaining themselves and hiding from that thing. I wanted to be there and I wanted to hold on to the moment I was already in. Picture my hands outstretched, one reaching back and one holding, holding hard onto now. That is how I picture it. So I held those moments the best I could. I let the boys, one snuggled up on each side (thank god they still snuggle), stay up a little longer, and listened as they deconstructed their young selves. I feel selfish and I feel grateful. I know this. Each minute I spend with Kyle and Eli I am blown away with how lucky I am. It has not been easy having children, yet somehow Kyle and Eli snuck through all of my infertility madness. Wait. Let me correct myself. If any of you know either Kyle or Eli, there was no sneaking in through my defective-infertile me. My boys are smart, strong, bad-asses. They fought. They fought to be here and I am so freaking grateful. I am blown away. They fought to be here and I get to be a mom.
“Mom, my leg hurts. Mom, Mom, I need to go to bed!” Eli was done and wanted to go to bed. “Mom, really. My leg hurts. I am tired.” We packed up my laptop, the boys headed to their room slapping each other, when a very tired Eli began saying something about having to sleep in the same room as Kyle. “Can he just go away? Kyle, Kyle, sleep in mom’s bed.” Between houses and moves, we are temporarily in an apartment, Dave is still commuting to San Francisco, and with limited space the boys are sharing a room. I’d say a good 87% of the time they love it. Last night Eli simply wanted Kyle to shut up and go away. “Mom, really, I cannot sleep in the same room as him.” To this I responded with, and as I pointed to my middle, “Hey, you used to live in here.” It made no sense, except it broke into the moment of crabbiness I created by letting my boys stay up too late. I need to say this. My boys are awesome. They are sweet, kind, funny, and smart. Yes, they fight, but they also look out for each other. Their bond has never changed. I love my boys, and I do not understand why I get to love them so much and then send them on their way. It is brutal, this love. They were both in bed, I shut the door because Kyle yelled from his bed, “Mom, please, SHUT IT ALL THE WAY!” I shut the door ALL THE WAY, and as I walked away, I heard them laughing.
6 thoughts on “Keeping My Moments Here is the Best I Can Do”
Beth, love the nostalgia. It’s funny you write this, because my boys and I were just watching old videos as well, and laughing ang loving the people we were and the people we are now 🙂
Between houses and back in college…wow, Beth, these have me intrigued! And I was just thinking recently how I need to get videos of my now fourteen year old son onto digital. Thanks for the reminder. And hang in there with all of the changes going on in your life. We are still here. 🙂
After a mean day, something made me think to go looking for you, and here you are! A warm and lovely post that makes me feel like we have just talked, and such a sense of a shared mom-of-boys-these-ages connection. This sentence is a gift, and so how I feel these days: “Picture my hands outstretched, one reaching back and one holding, holding hard onto now.”
Ok Kevin, please forgive my delayed response. Can I use finals as an excuse? Please? Thanks for your kind words and for getting it. You always do!
Andrea, Please forgive my slow reply. Life is crazy, but that it no excuse. I love that you get it, and I love that you remind me that we are still here. Yes we are! Get those videos on digital. They are a lovely and most hilarious gift. Thanks for the encouragement, and know I think of you. xo
Sheila, you are so lovely! I know you get it, and I am sorry it has taken me days to respond. I am sorry you had a mean day, and am hoping things are better. Thanks for your most awesome feedback. It means the world to me. And your liking my sentence, is my gift! Thank you! Hope to talk soon! xo