Tonite 14 and I were working the volleyball concession stand at 15's High School game. I have been able to send him to private school (the right move for him~his sister has NO interest in his school) and people from his middle school kept coming by to say hi. He hasn't seen these kids in 2 years, but they remember him fondly and were genuinely glad to see him. I am just so constantly amazed with the blessing that are my children. They are intelligent, attractive, really good people and I love them in ways I never really knew you could love someone.
So...as we were working and chatting, 14 asked if I ever reflected back on when they were younger. Of course, I said, we talk about stuff we have done all the time. No, he wanted to know if memories just sort of snuck up. If he only knew...
I can remember every moment of each birth, even though I had an needle in my back and morphine in my veins. I have the smell and feel of those little bodies imbedded in my senses. I can still feel the tug on my breast as they drew life from me the way I drew life from them. I feel the recliner under my back as I held both of them in the middle of the night and we ended up sleeping in the chair because it is impossible to get up with a 15 month old and a newborn. I lament every hour of sleep I lost as a newborn 14 slept in hour long spurts and we sat in the laundry room while the washing machine ran and I sang "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You" for the 10,000,000 time and meant it every single time. My heart breaks again as I think about 15 having to have blood drawn when she was 3 months old (it was just a cold!) and I could hear her screaming and I looked around the corner. She looked me square in the eye and I could hear her say "How can you let them do this to me?" and I had no answer and they wouldn't let me hold her. I have held them through a broken collarbone, jaw, arm, fingers, a couple of head wounds, bloody lips, a busted eardrum and a million scrapped knees, elbows, noses, bruises from baseballs, bikes, and one really good punch to mouth that knocked out 15's first tooth. I have cried at everyone of those emergency room visits, physical exams, and each and every shot they ever had.
I have screamed, whooped and cheered at 100's of musicals, baseball~basketball~volleyball~lacrosse games, band performances, tennis matches and gymnastic meets. I thought my heart would burst when I saw 14 hit his first pitched ball at 22 months, and 15 take the field for the first time in full gear to play lacrosse on the same team as the boys. Years of travel baseball and volleyball league have spent my time, yet filled my photo album with amazing pictures of healthy young bodies engaged in sports that built their stamina and characters.
I have hoarded these memories and more like a squirrel in the winter or a miser with his gold, for you see, as full as my glass is right now (oh and trust me, my life is VERY FULL right now) I know there is a small hole in the bottom of the glass. Their time with me is dribbling out and I can't locate the hole and patch it up. Every time I think about it, I feel the hole getting bigger. And that is really hard because I think every single day about them leaving me. I watch them teach each other now, instead of me. 14 helps 15 with Geometry and Algebra and she gave up her Sunday evening to read The Odyssey out loud to him and make sure he understands it for his test~both without being asked! They turn to each other for advice instead of me. Soon 15 will be 16 and begin the thing that will ultimately give her the ability to leave me~DRIVING! They will go to college, get married, make me a grandma and make me proud.
But tonight, when I tucked them in and kissed them goodnight, I leaned over and yes~ for just a tiny moment~a memory snuck up on me. I felt little hands and wet kisses and snuggley jammies and heard Good Night Moon and smelled Johnson's Baby Shampoo. I pulled favorite blankies up and placed well worn sleeping friends and turned on night lights. And I grabbed that split second and shoved it in the glass and hoped that this would be the one that plugged the hole up.