Friday, November 9, 2007

In Five, Four, Three....

Time is giving me the business these days - it is moving too fast, and I can't keep up. My bones and muscles strain at the effort, but it just isn't happening. My dishes sit in the sink for two days because I've been gone from sunup to sundown and so has my husband, my laundry is piled high, and my son is a few inches taller than he was this morning.

He has a birthday coming up, and it is striking me particularly hard that he is no longer little. I mean, of course, he is, but now he's a KID. Not a baby, not a toddler, not even a little boy, really, but a kid. And a boy kid at that. Gone is the little one who thought pink converse were all the rage, and wanted to be Ariel for Halloween. This kid hides his eyes when he sees people kiss, and says loudly and emphatically (YUCK!) He still tells me that he'll play with girls at recess, but more out of necessity - with his syndrome, he just can't run as fast as the boys, so he's stuck there playing on the playstructure. But he's NOT playing house with them. He is driving a bus, or a train, and if they want to play house, well, they'd better move on back. It will be interesting to see what happens when he sees his favorite friend in the world - Grace - next week at Disneyland. Will they fall into their old, easy friendship, or will it be something new, fraught with gender issues? My bet is that they'll be a little nervous at first, but then will relax into their soulmate status, and have the time of their lives.

I always feel like I'm shot out of a canon when his birthday rolls around. Thanksgiving arrives just as I'm cleaning up the wrapping paper from his birthday, and then Christmas, with it's preperatory madness is breathing down my neck. But this year, it's something bigger - it has more to do with years than months or weeks. Decades, in fact. Soon, before I know it he will be ten. When I held him in my arms in the hospital, ten wasn't even in my vocabulary. People who had toddlers were bearers of ancient wisdom, and people with ten year olds, well, they were just too old to remember what it was like. There was no way they could even remember that far back.

I have news for my old self - that might be true of some parents. But I remember. If I close my eyes, I can still smell my baby. He doesn't smell like that anymore, not by a long shot, but I'm going to keep sniffing, because someday, sooner than I care to realize, he won't let me sniff him at all. I still will, of course. Surreptitiously, while getting my mandated one hug per visit home, when he comes back from college on break with mountains of laundry and stays for fifteen minutes because he's heading out with his friends. And honestly, it's what I want for him. That his luck holds with his syndrome and that puberty doesn't bring about health challenges, and if it does, that they're minor and maybe only embarrassing, but no not even that. I'm his mom, I can wish for that even if it isn't necessarily realistic. And I fervently, fervently wish that he has good friends that love and understand and honor him, and make him laugh, and appreciate his gifts and challenges. I have friends like that, and it makes the world a much better place.

In the meantime, he's still six for another six days. I think I'll go take a whiff right now. I'm still bigger than he is, for at least another year.


Franklin5 said...

And now you've made ME weep, so we're even.

This is so gorgeous and so heartbreaking that I can barely catch my breath. And even as I'm drowning in tantrums and pee-pee accidents and that panicky feeling that I can't... hold... on... for one second more to this insanity that is my life, I'm begging and pleading with the universe: stop. Slow down. Don't let them grow up too quickly. Let me find a moment here and there to savor it all.

Sigh. Annie, when the time comes, can we be neighbors in the retirement villa? So that, when Charley and Trey have had it up to HERE with our yapping, we can pull up a chair and rhapsodize about our days as young(ish) mothers? And bask in the glow of frequent visits from J-H and the muppers? Can we? Please?

suttonhoo said...

If your posts aren't making me laugh out loud they're making me weep and shake -- and yes, AT WORK, thank you very much for outing me to the world.

love this post, dear friend.
love you.

give that big boy a hug from me.

Clara said...

Loved this. Brought tears to my eyes. Glad I am not the only one with stacks of dirty dishes lying around!

The smell thing is so strange yet true. My older guy is 3.5 and I feel like his childhood is RUSHING by.

Anonymous said...

Sign me up for the room next door in that villa with you and Franklin.

anniemcq said...

I love you guys so much. Thank you for all your sweet comments, and Clara, I'm glad to hear I'M not the only one!

I've had a very emotional day, for some reason - just really thoughtful and can't seem to shake it. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

And that retirement villa? I can't wait. Joe-Henry saw a commercial for one up here called Willamette View, with all the old people just having the best time, and he said "That's so pretty! You guys can go there when you get old!" Join us, won't you?!

English Garden said...

Annie, as always I love your writing, they do grow up just too dang fast don't they?!! When are you guys in disneyland? we are going to be there this Tues (13th).

anniemcq said...

Claire - we're flying in later in the week.