2 Years, 2 Long

Sometimes it’s really hard to be a grown-up. Like, when your four year old’s best friend is moving to Wisconsis and you’re supposed to be all:

I know, that’s really rough, Mary Bullock. You’re going to miss her a lot. It’s ok to be sad.

When you really want to stamp your feet and be all:

NO. DON’T WANNA.

about the whole thing.

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Her name is Emme. E-M-M-E, the first name that Mary Bullock learned to spell after her own. They have been practically inseparable since the first week of their two year old preschool year, when Mary Bullock held her hand and walked into their classroom so that Emme wouldn’t cry.

They fight a lot– over who gets the red plate, who gets to marry Liam, who gets to be the Pet Doctor and who has to be the sick pet– you name it, they can go nose to nose over it. Oh, the drama.

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But when they’re not pinching, poking, or otherwise provoking each other, the love they have for each other is fierce.

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Mary Bullock thinks about Wisconsin a lot when we’re driving in the car on the way to school.

How will Emme get to Wisconsis?

Is Wisconsis near Avondale?

How will I have play dates with Emme when she moves to Wisconsis?

How long is she going to be in Wisconsis? Two whole DAYS?

(No, baby, not two days. Two years.)

TWO YEARS?? TOO LONG!!

The kind of stuff that makes me cry and thank God that Mary Bullock can really only see the back of my head from her car seat.

Sometimes it’s really hard to be a grown-up.

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PS. Katie- I promise I won’t tell you I love you– ever— but thank you for helping me do life the last two years. It didn’t suck.

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Eenie Minie Mo, I’m It!

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I remember back when I was pregnant with Bo. Back in the good old days. Back when he was contained so neatly in my belly. Limited mobility. No verbal skills. No poop creeping up his back and onto every nearby surface…

When I told people my bump would turn out a baby boy, they gave me the look.¬† The just you wait look. And really, I couldn’t have been more skeptical. I rolled my eyes at more than a few people who tried to warn me about boys.

Mary Bullock was– I mean, is— a force of nature. Stubborn as the day is long. Personality that radiates from every pore. Hands and eyebrows that say as much as her words. As a two year old, she was exhausting. So when people warned me that boys are busy, I wondered: how much busier could it get?

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Oh y’all. Those were famous last words.

The child runs me ragged.

He climbs on our countertops and eats coffee. He goes in the dishwasher and runs around the house with the kitchen shears. Try to get him to brush his teeth, and he disappears underneath Tucker’s crib and has to be dragged out by his big toe. He uses Tucker’s bouncy seat like a Bo-sized trampoline. With Tucker in it.

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And speaking of Tucker, Bo loves him. Which, for Bo, translates into wrestling him while squealing– really, do your best high pitched voice here– HIIIII TUCKA WUCKA!! HIIIEEEE!!! Until Tucker cries or I peel him off, whichever comes first. There are some days when Tucker cries just to see Bo coming.

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And it’s not even worth the effort to get mad at him. Even if he pouts for a while at being corrected, within minutes he’s rubbing his little hands together, plotting his next exploit.

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But oh my goodness– the love. When Bo says I love you, Mama, he’s not saying it because I’ve prompted him, or because he thinks it’s what I want to hear. He’s just spilling out the contents of his heart at that moment. Sometimes I see him in the rear view mirror on the way to school with his brows knit together.

I miss you, Mommy, he says.

But I’m right here, Bo!

When I’m at ‘cool, Mommy.

He slays me daily.

Bo says nanksyoo for thank you, and I will admit that I am totally guilty of prompting him to say thank you not because it’s good manners but because I love to hear him say it.

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And even though this boy

wears

me

out,

he is such a blessing to me.

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So really I should be the one to say

No, Bo, nanksyoo.

For Moose (late, but I know you understand)

The morning of Mother’s Day, Mary Bullock bit her finger at breakfast biting into her doughnut. Her face crumpled in surprise and pain, and she climbed into my lap, her feet already hanging most of the way to the floor only four short years after I held her in my arms the day of her birth.

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I felt terrible that she was hurt but pretty sure she’d survive. So instead of getting her a band-aid, I held her in my arms and squeezed her tight. I kissed her wet cheeks, the freckled ones already losing their baby squishies.

She will be too big for my lap one day but never too big for my arms.

*****

All week last week I thought about my mother. I thought: more than she would like flowers, or cake, or a trip to the spa, she might like to hear just what she has meant to me in the last thirty-four years.

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So I thought about it, and thought some more. And I then got distracted by messes, and laundry, and cooking dinner, and watching my babies ride their bikes and trikes in the driveway. But in the middle of all of those distractions, I was still thinking. But nothing that I thought ever made enough sense that I could attempt to convey it in words.

And then today, just a few minutes ago, actually– four minutes from what is sure to be the end of the boys’ nap time, the only time I have in the day to convert the drivel in my head into sentences– I read a piece in the WaPo about motherhood and planned obsolescence¬†and then I knew just what I had meant to say.

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Mama, you will never be obsolete.

You taught me how to tie my shoes, and now I can tie my own shoes, yes.

You taught me how to drive, and now I can drive myself, yes.

But anyone could have taught me how to tie my shoes or drive a car.

You are the one covered me with love, acceptance, and encouragement even at my worst.

I will never outgrow the need for that.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is: Happy Mother’s Day! Don’t clock out yet.