We are in our last week visiting my parents in Connecticut. That means our long-awaited annual journey and stay here is more than half over. This year it was even more hotly anticipated because I had to work my ass off to afford the airfare, given the whole stay-at-home-mom-with-trickling-freelance-income thing, and I was so much more proud of myself this time when I clicked “purchase” on the airline’s website because of that. Every extra dollar I earned or found went into the “Connecticut” envelope in our cash box. I did sponsored posts, pimped out essays for page views, hosted a cocktail party, and sold my soul to a cereal company.
It was worth it.
These three-week stretches of togetherness between my children and my extended family are precious because they get to create memories and know these important, special people better every year. The boys remember where the snacks are at Aunt Kathy’s house. They look forward to the slide party at Aunt Karen’s house. They know their way around Nana’s building now. And they miss their cousins after having such great times with them every summer.
This year I have noticed Kyle noticing that he’s no longer the precocious, adorable center of attention. After all, we finally have a little girl in the family.
Kyle is so big now – he is on track to be 6’6″, the pediatrician said, and he is now the size of an average 11 and a half year old. But he still has the emotional mind of a 9-year-old – testing boundaries and wanting to act older, but still a little boy.
With Uncle Fireman Kevin. My how you’ve grown (this picture will slay you).
Kyle loves the adoration of his grandparents and aunts and uncles, the encouragement, the applause. I could see him elbowing for attention among the smaller, cuter members of the family.
I have to stay out of it, though, because it’s a transition that he has to make. I need to step back and let him make friends (or not), be social (or not), enjoy the moment (or not) on his own.
I kind of hate it. I think the transition is much harder for me.
Every year when we come here the passage of time is so evident. We see my friends’ children and they play for a bit and I pray that they grow to love each other like I love their parents. But they are growing up so quickly that my once-a-year mission might not be able to keep up. They were babies together. And now they are almost done being little kids. Ouch, my heart.
I think I spend a lot more time lately writing about Brady because he still has a baby-like cuteness about him, and his new gap-toothed smile is a sign that his little-boy days are numbered too. One minute he’s playing with bubbles and showing uncensored joy, and the next he is too cool for the universe on his new skateboard.
Meanwhile Kyle can now cut his own steak. And eat the entire thing. And somehow see it through his way-too-long bangs that I want to brush out of his eyes every second of our lives.
If only I could pause time.
Oh wait, I can. A little bit. Every summer.