Yesterday I got to walk Deeder to his second day of summer school. Of course I remembered our long walks together in Vermont. He had his blue camouflage backpack on and green sneakers, a blue T shirt that had the characters from Mario across the front. We’d missed the bus yesterday because he’d taken a minute too long to tie his left shoe and along the way near the end of the block his right shoe’s tie became loose and he stopped to tighten it.
We were four minutes late for school, but it was pricelessly worth the potential tarty mark (although hopefully it is the only dock for the summer session). My son and I don’t get the time alone that we used to in which he feels free to voice his private thoughts and I just felt so blessed to be given this opportunity to hear from him. He called me Mommy and held my hand, talking openly and pausing to look at a squirrel scurrying along one branch and jumping to a nearby tree. That’s a morning I can’t live again or step back into to change a word that either of us said. I’m glad I let him take the second to look at the squirrel and that I fought the urge to pull him along and remind him of the need to hurry along to school. He has at least 9 years of school left, in that moment I thought What’s a few minutes? Yesterday was the day before my son’s 9th birthday. This is the last single digit number and Lord willing I have so very many years ahead to celebrate the amazing gift God gave me on July 15th, 2006 when I was 21 years old. We had 22 months together before his sister was born, and I’m thankful that I wrote every day and took about a dozen pictures each day, rooting even the smallest pieces of our daily routine into my mind forever. When did that stop being the most important thing to me? Deeder’s youngest sister turned 3 this past February and what better time than now to resume my postings of the basic things. It’s the basic things that make the memories that stay forever. Not the gifts, but the giving of time. The conversations, the involvement and caring. I remember sitting and building block structures with him, talking all the while, noting his cute life observations and taking him to library hour and music class, swimming in the summer and walking over the bridge to New Hampshire to shop at Walmart together. I remember all of this, not just because I was there, but because I took videos and pictures and wrote it down.We’ve been in WA 6 years now and have traditions like going to the Northwest Washington Fair every August and love that as a family. This year will be the first that we don’t have to bring a stroller along with! Deeder loves being the leader in our touring of the barns and choosing which rides to go on. Since we’ve been there are new traditions as we’re a family of four kids, and love that our oldest got to have these siblings as much as he thinks he would appreciate less noise and excitement around him, it’s absolutely healthy that I’m not his only playmate at home. We’ve developed a tradition of going to North Dakota every summer to visit Darren’s side of the family, and what a terrific experience that is for all the children. Darren and I always talk about how wonderful it would be for Deeder to be on a farm daily and have chores to do, animals to love on and see grow. There’s an openness of land that our children just aren’t really exposed to here and we see that difference, absolutely, but when we make our return drive to WA it does feel like home. That said, we also would love to get back to Vermont one day to show the kids where our journey first began. I remember looking over this sleeping baby thinking how great it would be to see him running around, riding a bike and telling me all kinds of stories and drawing pictures, painting and learning to read. He’s nine now, where’d that time go? He enjoys computer games, has some favorite YouTube channels that he tunes into daily. He watches Cartoon Network’s Teen Titan’s Go and in school writes about his cat, Tony Chesnut. He shares a basement bedroom with his brother and has the top bunk. He’s not a soccer star, or a math whiz, but he’s my son and deeply loved, cherished and celebrated.