So, I thought I might share some insight about when my boys were young. We had a lot of fun together. Their childhood was unique, of course, just as everyone's is. Let me share a glimpse of what ours was like when they were my little men...
It's about 1998 and Mike had a traveling job. His office was on the outskirts of Washington, DC and he would fly out of Albany early Monday mornings and fly back late Thursday nights. The boys were young, probably six and three when it began but they got acclimated to it pretty quickly. Mike would pack his luggage on Sunday nights and we basically sat on the bed chatting while he routinely loaded up his bag.
It took a little getting used to on my part; I would get pretty agitated on a regular basis. I always assumed Mike was having a fabulous time eating out and leisurely watching TV in his hotel room as I frantically made dinner, took the dogs out, did laundry, gave baths, stuffed Jeremy's back pack for school and read bedtime stories. I would typically get myself worked up pretty good - and be horrifically mad at poor Mike by the time his plane came in on Thursday nights. I imagine he dreaded coming home to my wrath... How unfortunate.
But that's not the story I'm telling here...
What I wanted to share was what we did from Monday morning till Thursday night. We actually did have fun... in between my mood swings of annoyance at my life and the lot God saddled me with and the good time I thought Mike was having... (If only I could carry that small burden now! It' nothing in the scheme of things - it doesn't even register on the scale).
To begin with, it seemed every Monday morning Jeremy started the day by asking me where his dad was. I'd say, "He went to work". Jeremy would say "Did he drive or did he fly?" "He flew" I'd respond. That was usually followed by a scowl from him - but it didn't last long, we'd get on to breakfast and making the bus in time for school. Jeremy just needed that minute to process what was going on in his world. Once he digested it he was fine. What else did he know? This was his norm. He probably thought every dad flew away for a few days.
Chris had no idea, of course. He was merely three. All he needed was a TV show and a snack. Life was good from his perspective. I envied that. I envied both boys worlds - to be carefree and have someone do all the work! Oh wow, if life was only that simple.
I keep wandering off the vision though.
This isn't really a story, so to speak, just a tidbit of what a week was like when the kids were small. I have no moral to the story or advice to share. Just showing you what we did as opposed to what you do - or did when you were young.
So, what did go on in our house? Usually something like this... Jeremy would get on the bus for a half day of Kindergarten right out in the front of our driveway. Once I had one out from underfoot I might take the chance of running an errand or two with Christopher. That was an enormous challenge. He was a holy terror in the store. Not that he was a crier or a fit thrower, he wasn't but he was fast as lightening and would be gone in a flash. He would not sit in the grocery cart, could wiggle out of the wimpy seatbelt provided and took everything off the lower shelves. He was more work than I could handle. He would make me sweat and I worried people thought I was a bad mother and couldn't control my child. How was I supposed to suppress that personality??? I preferred to go without than to take him shopping. I did the bulk of my weekday shopping at Stewart's or Cumberland Farms gas station and I did all the wrong things by leaving him in the car and running in as fast as I could! It was just so much work to unbuckle him and take him inside. He was so inquisitive, I couldn’t trust him for two minutes. I would hurry into the convenience store and glare out the window constantly. The cashier probably thought I was a lunatic. I would lock him in the car and run thru the store grabbing more than I even needed - just so I wouldn't have to travel out again too soon. Jeepers creepers!
By the time Jeremy got off the bus I had Chris down for what I hoped would be a nap, wishful thinking. Chris did NOT nap... he barely slept at night for God's sake. He definitely didn't want to nap. He must have feared he'd miss something? I know I was exhausted though, daily. Even Jeremy would crash on the couch after school for a bit. We all needed a rest, Chris not so much. We would plop down but Chris would still motor around using my "Tony Little gazelle" (unmotorized treadmill type thing - go ahead and google it) or bring us his Legos or puzzles to work on. Jeremy and I just wanted quiet! We rarely won.
By evening, after a cold dinner for me most nights, we'd venture to that "oh so relaxing" bath time... That time when the body starts to shut down and realize sleep is on the way... Jeremy and I were usually ready for it. Chris had his own agenda. His body clock ticked to a different time. He didn't decompress as quickly as we did.
I remember that I used to let only one of the boys sleep on Mike's side of the bed at night. They would compete for the spot. I had tried allowing them both in there at one point but the arguing and poking at each other drew me to stop. Nobody got any rest and each of them wanted to be in the middle. One was always cold or hanging off the edge of the bed.
It was too much! This nice gesture went haywire on me. I can't recall exactly how I picked who got to sleep over but Jeremy tells me he thinks I used to have them pick a number and that I rigged it so he would win more often. Ha hah! Seems to make the tiniest bit of sense to me though because Christopher's room was much closer to mine and he was only steps away. Jeremy was clear down the hall and around a corner. I suppose I could see why I would want them both as close as possible. On top of that, Jeremy was three years older and more likely to manipulate the game in his favor. Can't blame him there! Chris never seemed to mind too much. He always talked to us from across the hall to see what we were up to... Like we were up to anything but sleep! He exhausted us.
One of the funnier things I do remember about Thursdays was that it was "dad's coming home day"... We spent from Monday thru Thursday doing whatever our normal week was but on Thursday's when we finished dinner the three of us ran around the house like wild turkeys picking up our mess. I had a round, blue laundry basket that I would hold and I would call out "trick or treat!" and the kids would race around and find something to toss in it. It was typically a bunch of scattered toys or used socks, anything that didn't belong where it was. We desperately tried to pick up and make the house presentable for dad. Why? I have no idea other than I guess we figured he had a long week and didn't need to see our mess. He probably couldn’t have cared any less.
So, that's just one little glimmer of our younger years. We had our challenges but we also had a ton of fun. I'll share some more sometime. I hope it makes you stop and think about what you used to do. I know it's different than what we did, but it's fun to recall regardless. I hope you got a smile out of this one.
Thank you for reading.