Tuesday, August 17, 2010

First Day of School

End of the summer. Kids have been home for two and a half months. Nightly football games. Daily wrestling matches on the living room floor.

Now, all the kids are in bed--Richie and Johnny going to bed early voluntarily. Tomorrow they start school--fourth and second grade, and J.J., later in the month, kindergarten. They're listening to the iPod.

Seeing them, I think about how, when I babysat in grade school and high school, I imagined how my own family would be. And I think about how, now, my family is much different than I imagined.

I thought the pillows would remain on the couch at least 80 percent of the time.

I thought they'd curl up and read during the day.

I thought they'd fall in love with Walt Disney movies.

I thought they'd collect teddybears.

I thought I'd be the sweet mom at the grocery store.

Instead, they tear the pillows off the couch and block each other with them.

They spray the hose at each other during the day, chase each other around the house, and occassionally curl up with a good T.V. show.

They love sports movies. Rocky, Rudy, Hoosiers, and Cinderella Man are in our Netflix queue because we are having a bit of an underdog marathon.

They collect football cards and silly bands.

I grounded them from T.V. for two weeks today in the grocery store because for the past 10 years they've poked and pushed and even wrestled each other in the aisles. And at the end of two and half months, I'd had it with the roughhousing.

But during a quiet moment like this, I realize with a knot in my throat: This is nothing like I thought it would be because it is way better.

Today, Johnny said of a game they were playing in the neighborhood, "Richie is my go-to quarterback. He has a way better arm than I do."

Now, they're sharing the iPod earphones and listening to a lullaby they thought J.J. would like.

And I'm thinking, the craziness is part of it. It's a real family, and it's messy, but in the end, we're a good team.

I told the boys, "Other teams might come and go, but do you know the one team you'll always be on?"

"Us," they said.

"Yep. Your family," I said.

The boys looked at me like I was going to tell them I was dying or something.

Because I don't typically talk like this. I'm not the type who walks around saying, "I would rip out my right ventrical to make you feel my love." I know people like that, and that's not me.

So I said, "Who here hasn't brushed your teeth?" I knew one of them hadn't. I have a sixth sense about that type of thing. And I was right.

But I know now that I was wrong earlier this summer, when I thought, "I can't wait til school starts." Now I know that when I flash the photo of them in their blue slacks and red shirts--similar to the Catholic school uniforms I've been seeing on my friends' Facebook pages this week as other schools started, I'll feel the same pangs I always feel.

Gosh, what a sob story. Seriously, they'll be home at 12. It's a half day! And Lord knows they need something to do for three-fourths of the year! Best to change the subject. Who here hasn't brushed their teeth?


Blogger Tim Higgins said...

The end of the summer seems always a time when we look at the passing of time and the changes in our lives and those of our children.

Fortunately for us, those children usually turn out far better than our meager parenting skills deserve. That doesn't make them perfect (far from it in fact), but it does every moment with them special. Strangely in fact, it is their minor transgressions that we will look back on with amusement in the days that lie ahead.

Of course, by then we will also be able look forward to when they have children of their own and have each of those personality quirks that made them so frustrating and endearing revisited upon the original perpetrators.

The trick, which you obviously already understand, is to take notice of each moment passing and treasure each one.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go brush my teeth ...

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, Bridge...once again, you nailed it...what a great entry. thank you. it is bitter-sweet, and as Tim said, we have to "be there" for those moments that go so fast. i love the "real and messy" family. we are all so dang lucky, you know? i miss you girl. you and justin are just wonderful and have the BEST boys in the world.xoxo-erin

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely put Bridge(as always). MJG

2:45 PM  

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