As soon as I realized that momentous fact this afternoon, a desire to start typing words that were all about me again, came back to me. Watch me get back to writing in the first person I thought! I had had no intention of starting my picnic of thoughts up again. I thought the time had passed, and maybe it has, but maybe, just maybe, it hasn't.
Today is Joe Brown's birthday. Once he was a baby and now he's nine years old. I don't know where the in-between went. I don't remember the time passing.
|"These years are endless but they cannot be remembered." - James Salter|
I have hugged Joe as many times as he would let me today. Birthday hugs where I tell him how proud I am of him and I let myself feel excited at the prospect of my son growing up into a young man. And that right there is my problem, the time I spend looking forward takes over the time I spend storing memories.
It's lucky I've got a therapist to help me sort this shit out.
I made Joe pancakes for breakfast and curry for dinner. He got a bike so cool that his grown father is jealous of it, and a big pile of books that should last him, oh, ten days.
The birthday interview held some chestnuts. I found out that he likes to say he wants to be an archaeologist but he doesn't really want to be one that much. He has friends that he likes a lot. Tom and Toby especially. He likes pizza and milkshakes and if you push him on the subject, he will concede that despite that blue phase he went through, purple remains his favorite colour. He likes to play on the iPad and play with lego and read.
He swims better than both his parents and he plays football on a Monday evening but can't imagine that anyone would want him on their team. He plays the trumpet but I think I'm more into it than he is. He wants to put his feet up and do nothing. I want him to have a go at EVERYTHING. Somehow we've got to meet half way.
There was a notable moment this afternoon which started with me making the beds. I hate making the top bunk. It's so hard to tuck in the side that's against the wall. But in a fit of enthusiasm this afternoon I got up there and got on with it. This involved taking all Joe's teddy bears down. Joe came in when I was doing this and he said "You don't need to put my teddy bears back up there. I don't need them anymore."
I looked at him. He looked at me. And I said "Is it because you're nine now". To which he replied "Yeah."
And I thought: so there you have it. That time has passed.
I put them in a trolley at the bottom of the bunk bed steps.
This evening Arlo discovered the trolley and said "Ohhh, look at these teddies. Can I take one to bed?"
"NO!" said Joe, "Leave them alone Arlo. They're mine." Then he sat down on his bunk bed steps and cried. He was tired. Arlo was tired-er so he cried more. I thought 'oh brother' and got busy wishing it was Ben's night to read stories to the kids. Jesse intervened and offered Arlo any of his teddy bears that he might like. Arlo chose two green frogs and all was forgiven.
There's a moral somewhere in that story isn't there? But I don't know what it is. Is it something about middle children? Or giving up the possessions of youth? Maybe you could pop it in the comments box if you figure it out.