Every year on your birthday, I remember the day you were born. This year is no exception. I was so excited for my little girl. I think about how you were such a good, quiet baby. How you would just cuddle yourself into me to snuggle forever. I think about how much you loved to have me read books to you. Your favorite, for a long time, was Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I bet we read that story a thousand times. You had the most amazing wardrobe (thanks to Diana and her consignment shop) As a toddler, your love for shoes began. We could not walk through Target without you finding some you just HAD to have. (I have no idea where you got that from.)
Today, on your 8th birthday, I’m surprised by how grown up you are. You want CDs, clothes and a mini fridge for your room. (to keep your water cold at night…or so you say.) You tell me you have enough Barbie stuff. But just when I think the little girl is disappearing too quickly, you remind me that you want an American Girl doll. And I think of all the times you’ve spent putting various babies and dolls to bed over the years. You have a very nurturing soul.
So this year, as we ROCK OUT to Selena Gomez (the only remaining Disney starlet to not let me down so far), I want to remind you of a few things.
You are beautiful, inside and out.
You are strong. There is nothing you can’t do…if only you’ll believe in yourself.
You are smart, WICKED smart.
You are hilarious.
You have a smile that can light up a room.
Your heart is SO big and so fragile. I love how you still come up to me looking for a hug, after finding yourself in BIG trouble.
You are so much a part of me. You put the song in my heart and the spring in my step. Being your Mom is one of the biggest gifts God has given me.
I love you, Bug. I hope you have a festive and happy birthday.
It’s a big day, little girl. I know you are dreading summer being over and therefore were not very excited for school starting, but just remember how much you love seeing your friends every day. I could also hear a little bit of nervous anxiety in your voice this morning. You said, “Maybe second grade won’t be too hard, because first grade really wasn’t.” You are worried needlessly. (It’s an inherited trait, sorry about that) You are a brilliant little girl with amazing social skills. Today, your smile and your enthusiasm will light up the room. You will make a new friend. TODAY. Because that’s how you are. You will charm your teacher. She will undoubtedly tell me what a smart, delightful little girl you are when I go for curriculum night. So enjoy your school year and keep your chin up. It will be an amazing year. Go have fun, Bug. I love you.
Yesterday, we were riding in the car. Simple errands: watering grandma’s flowers, picking up dog food, and heading to Tae Kwon Do. From the backseat…one sentence…It would suck to be made of spoons and told not to eat with your hands.
Only my kid…and where does he come up with this stuff?
Son, when you were young, we were in the emergency room almost every 6 months on the dot. There was the first time. You were just a year old, had been walking for months. Brenda was over for dinner. You tripped and cut your eyebrow on the full length windows we had in the living room. Brenda, Dad and I loaded you up in the car and took you and your very bloody head wound to the ER. I have since learned that head wounds bleed a lot and a couple of well placed butterfly bandages can heal them up in no time. There was the time you cut your face open at the baby sitter’s, just a month after the first accident and I was SURE they were going to take you away from us. Since then there’s been the broken wrist (both bones, requiring surgery…at 3, you even impressed your orthopaedic surgeon with your ability to REALLY injure yourself) Then there was the 3rd degree burn on your forearm that resulted in an ambulance ride. Man, you thought that was awesome, especially since the gauze on your arm was made just for you by Spiderman. Then the stitches in the back of your head and the ones in your forehead from falling off the dog house. (WHO does that???) You’ve always been nothing but boy. You learned very quickly to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and recover. But yesterday, ALL day in the ER, that was one the trickiest, most frustrating ER trips we’ve endured together. Physically, looking at you, you were fine. You had plenty to talk about and more than enough comments for both the doctors and nurses. You were cracking me up. This time though, they couldn’t fix you…or even pinpoint why you’re seeing double. You could describe it. You were sure it had never happened any day before yesterday. You were SURE you would know if you’d have seen people with 4 eyes before yesterday. You could read the eye chart from 20 feet away to the 20/20 vision line, almost perfectly. We made plenty of jokes about the CT scan, and whether or not they’d even find a brain in there…and that they would almost certainly pinpoint something “off”, but that’s just YOU. There was nothing. Yesterday, you were an enigma. Yesterday, we went home with nothing but a craptastic prescription for no fun. No TV, no video games, no computer, no books, no outside playing and you shouldn’t be left alone.
Today, I hope for answers. I hope for a game plan. I hope for some relief, because it’s far harder to leave the ER without answers, than it is to help hold down your young son while he receives his first set of stitches.
Love you, Bear. Get well soon.
Bear and Bug are again at the farm again. This time, just to play, as wheat harvest is over. In the old days, they may have written a letter home to share their adventures. Something like this…
Hello Mommy, Hello Our Mike,
Here we are at Gramma Grampas
Our days are very entertaining
They say we’ll have a lot of fun when it stops raining.
What? You’ve heard this one? Ok, well since it’s not 1950, I simply call every once in awhile to check in on them and see what they’re doing. Last night was no exception. I called and Bear answered the phone. I asked him about whether or not he’s been having any fun, and whether or not he was practicing for his black belt test, and whether or not he was getting along with his sister. He answered everything honestly and we had a very good discussion. I asked if his sister was around and he stopped suddenly and said, “Oh, Mom, one more thing…I need you to buy me new underwear and new swimsuits. It seems that Dad hasn’t done that since I turned 8. My boys are starting to suffocate.” [stunned silence] “Mom, are you there?” “Oh, yes dear, ok, I’ll try to do that before you get home. What kind of underwear do you prefer now, boxers or briefs” “Which ones are the loose ones” Ok, you get the idea, right? We discussed the merits of each type of underwear in depth. Then the netting in swimsuits. Then we decided that when he got home he’d throw away everything that was too small and I would supply him with a couple of different types, so he could scientifically determine whether he was, indeed a boxers or briefs sort of man. At this point in the coversation, I think I’d been pushed to the very brink. “Son, I’ve had a much longer than anticipated and frankly desired conversation with you about your balls and your undergarment, is your sister around?” “Oh….ermmm…yeah….uh, that was awkward, huh Mom.” We both laughed and off he went to find his sister. She was too busy making walkie-talkies make farting noises to really talk to me.
Dang, I miss those kids.
Yesterday I took the kids to Bear’s end of season baseball party at Dairy Queen. It wasn’t easy with the laundry list of things we had to do: pick up our pottery from last week, feed the dogs, get Bear to Tae Kwon Do, get Mommy’s nails done, shower and get in bed by 9 or 9:30 AT THE LATEST. However, I did consider it important. The last game was a bummer of a loss, the boys left tired, frustrated and fighting. I really wanted to give Bear a chance to remember how much he loved playing and he really did like his teammates. Also maybe give Bug one more chance to drive me crazy with how much she hates her brother’s baseball games and is it time to go yet and “Mom, order me the BIG sundae” followed almost immediately by, “this is cold, I’m done now”. Oh yeah, this was going to be fun.
By the time we got there, only a few kids were there. My kids ordered. Bear wanted a 4th of July Ice Cream cake, because they were 50% off, he settled for a strawberry, marshmallow, hot fudge sundae in a chocolate dipped waffle bowl. (My stomach crawled into the back of my throat as well, but he ate EVERY. LAST BITE.) Bug, she ordered a LARGE double fudge something something blizzard…which when I translated for the Dairy Queen lady, came out small. (Oops, my bad) Bug was saddened, but moved on nonetheless.
As we sat with the coaches and the team, the head coach asked each boy what their favorite part of the season was. One counted his total number of strikeouts, one said he loved playing catcher, several of them said they loved the nine-inning game that lasted until 11 pm. (I, on the other hand, did NOT.) When it came around to Bear, I expect him to say something about stealing bases, particularly home. But he did not. He loved his double play. (Ah, yes, a great memory I had forgotten.) But that’s when his coach said something I’ll not soon forget. See, Bear loves baseball, but he’s not the hero on the team. In fact, sometimes I feel like he’s sort of overlooked because he’s NOT a pitcher, or one of the best hitters, or a fast runner. But his coach said, “You’re one of the only 11 year old I know who’s ever gotten two double plays in such a short season.”
The smile didn’t leave his face for hours. He has already said he’d play again next year for this same coach. It was an incredible outing, if even the slightest bit inconvenient.
Now, you might be wondering what happened to Bug during all of this. Believe it or not, she sat quietly at the table, ate her entire blizzard (there’s first time for everything, apparently.) The only time she spoke up, it was to share a bit of a story from their latest trip to Kansas. My little sheltered princess told a tale that went a little something like this:
*Shudder* Well, I guess she can’t ALWAYS be a princess.
This week, Bug and Bear are off on a grand adventure. They’re harvesting wheat at their grandparent’s house. This is a tough week for me every year, as even talking to them gets difficult because harvest is an 18 hour a day job. This year is no exception…but last night, I caught them waiting to empty the semi at the grain elevator. We had a glorious talk, even if it was interrupted by dropped cell phone coverage half a dozen times.
Bear was ecstatic (!!!) that he drove the grain cart that the combine unloaded into. His dad told him early on that that would be his job this year. He was so nervous before they left. He just knew that he would fail. But when I talked to him, I could tell how excited he was that he had done it and well.
Bug, well she’s not driving stuff, but she’s writing stories while riding in the tractor/combine/semi, etc all day. She was wound up excited (!!!) when I talked to her last night. She had a ton of stories to tell me about and a bazillion questions about what I had been up to.
Being away from them is tough, but now that they are older, we have real conversations over the phone while they are gone. They’re so expressive and excited about their time on the farm. The adventures and opportunities that await them in that world are something most kids never get to experience. So this year, I choose to be happy about them being away. I choose to be happy about the experiences they are having. And I especially choose to be happy that from hundreds of miles away, I can feel their joy, their love and their excitement for life.