To start Little has been sleeping much better the last few nights. We moved him to a toddler bed and when he gets up at night he comes for a hug and returns to his bed. I guess he just needed to feel like he had a choice in the matter... who knows? I am full up on gratitude for the past few nights of mostly uninterrupted rest.
Mom & Mother, yes with a capital M:
Next I have been working on a book for Big for his birthday. I thought I should finish compiling all of my notes and thoughts from the first ten years of his life. I plan to list 111 Big memories in honor of his 11th birthday. For some reason I thought this would be a difficult task... it is not at all. As I let my mind go I have 1,111+ Big memories, the hard part will be narrowing them down.
On the topic of memories; I had a conversation yesterday with a very dear Mom friend, I mentioned the Big book and she shared with me that her Mother had saved EVERYTHING from her life and her brother's lives. She talked about how her brothers are not that into have their old Scout uniforms, track jerseys, art pieces and every sparkling trophy and as much as she can appreciate the sentiments my Mom friend was clear, "I don't want all of their stuff in my house either."
Her Mother held onto the parts of their lives that honored their successes. She collected these pieces of their childhood in a way to preserve the journey and in a way to acknowledge what had come before their present selves. I am not saying that Moms that do not save every bit don't love their children. My own Mom was just saying how she wished she HAD held on to more of the little pieces of my sister and me along the way... I don't question that she loves me in the absence of my fifth grade Science Fair poster board, but sometimes I too wish I had a few more pieces of my history cluttering up a corner of my basement.
I hold on to things. Some items I plan to re-purpose, other things I hold on to until I find just the right person to pass it along to. Some treasures are mine alone and yet others I will offer to my boys one day. I am certain they won't want all of that "old junk" either, but I hold onto it because I really savor my children. I love the way they smell (yes, even as Big takes on big-boy aromas). I love how their personalities evolve, their voices and vocabulary change. I love their humor. I love their serious times. I love listening to them breathe. I love the big, big questions as well as the little ones. I love how Little challenges me in ways that Big never would have. I love that Big still hugs the Moms goodbye when he leaves any given play date and always says thank you. I love that the distance in their ages allows me to be acutely aware of how quickly the time passes from one stage to the next.
I was reminded in that conversation with my Mom friend how close she and her Mother are. She was able to laugh about her Mother's sentimental nature with an honesty that comes from of real friendship. In a stunning twist this very dear Mom friend was delivered a blow the very night of our conversation. Her Mother, her best friend and confidant passed suddenly and without warning of a heart valve rupture. I am sure my Mom friend would trade all of those mementos for one more second with her Mom - but those mementos are items her Mother cherished as milestones marking the lives of her children - the very people she grew within her. Her Mother was free with her love for them, even without the mementos- they knew she adored them, but still she collected items of reflection - a shrine of her love for them.
There are many things I would do different in my life, but being with our boys everyday is not one of them. Taking time to adore them as well as preserve some of their history will never be moments wasted. I hope to pass on to my boys some wisdom and a lot of passion along with the mementos. They will know it as adults that I love them deeply, even without boxes of stuff... but I plan to leave them treasures anyway but not too many as I don't have a lot of storage space.
Moms- hug your kids twice tonight for all of the Moms who cannot.