With not much to do yesterday (or actually many things to do that I was in deep denial about), I decided it would be a great day to take JH on the Max train to the Children's Discovery Museum. It's our favorite place to go, and riding the Max is not only an entertaining ride, it's my only surefire way to not get lost on the way. My nickname around here is Magellan. You get the picture. I also figured it was Joe-Henry's last chance to ride for free, since he turns seven in (gulp) a few days, and that's the cutoff age for free rides. When I told him this fact, he panicked, and said he needed to get a job so that he'd have money to ride. I told him if he takes out the recycling, I'd pay for his tickets on Max.
We had a decent time at the Museum, had it not been for the bossypants older girl in the play grocery store who hogged the cash register for the better part of an hour, it might have been a lot better. He asked nicely for a turn once, and she shoo'd him away with some lame story, so I finally told Joe-Henry to go tell her he only had a few minutes left to play so he needed a turn, she proceeded to give him instructions on the correct way to work the check out line. She apparently didn't know who she was dealing with, so he set her straight with something like "I've WORKED HERE BEFORE - besides, it's just PRETEND. THANKS ANYWAY."
He didn't add "BEEYOTCH", but I know he would have if he'd had it in his vocabulary.
And yes, I know, it won't be long now.
Aaaaanyway, on our trip home, sitting on the Max, I was kind of lulled into my post-chaos coma, staring openly at the mass of humanity sharing our ride: The older couple, nattily dressed, holding hands; the really young black kid with the amazing tattoo of what I'm sure was his baby on his forearm; the homeless guy with taped glasses, reading a philosophy book; the mom and her college-age daughter, her lap piled high with Nordstrom bags, discussing what kind of burritos would be best to buy to stock her new freezer in her new apartment. The daughter stared straight ahead, barely giving her mom an answer, while her mom did her best to engage her in conversation, talking about her new apartment and roommates, but doing her best to not sound like an eager puppy. "Wow", I thought, "couldn't she at least manage some eye contact? Or just a change in inflection? Throw your mom a bone, here - she's doing her best. She just took you to Nordstrom's for pete's sake!"
I put my arm around Joe-Henry, and absent-mindedly kissed the top of his head. He looked up at me, with a pained expression, and then rose up to his knees to whisper in my ear.
"Mom. It embarrasses me when you kiss me in public."
I looked at him, his sweet cheeks, his chapped lips, his tousled hair. Tempted as I was to be ornery and kiss his face all over, I managed to whisper "Okay, sweetie. I'll try not to do it anymore." I removed my arm from around his back, and sat, looking toward the front of the car, doing my best to choke down the huge lump in my throat. I knew this day was coming. I just didn't expect it so soon.
Last night at bedtime, we all snuggled on his tiny bed, all three of us, while he read to us from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. We laughed 'til we cried, and when it was time for lights out, I tucked him in, hesitating for just a moment.
"Mom. It embarrasses me when you kiss me in public. But not when you kiss me at home."
And with that, I got a sweet taste of my future as the mother of a big boy.