Monday, October 13, 2008

All My Pirates have Sailed Away

My babies were birthed in a rhythmic pattern every couple of years. After the third boy, my husband bought a personalized license plate which read, "3 Sons", and my childhood Barbie doll heads fell off ( a scary omen). I embraced the Mom-role enthusiastically, after which followed a flurry of themed backyard birthday parties.
There were also t-ball, soccer, and basketball teams. We never did the music lessons, however, because someone gave us a piano, and I stuck it in the playroom. No musical genius emerged or even gravitated toward it, but they did "take to" the computer and the video gaming console. Oh, well.
We had an acre backyard crowned with a massive spreading live oak tree. I lobbied diligently for my husband to build a tree house. Eventually, the tree house did come to be, complete with zipline. Sword fighting pirates and Jedis with light sabers began to fill the yard daily. (Historical anachronisms mean nothing to grade school boys.) The skull and crossbone flag flew proud and high in the live oak branches.
Eye patches, hooks, and swords were commonly found about the Kinleystead. There were many treasure hunts, and I could write the most challenging clues which my children became very skilled at cracking.
The pinnacle of our pirating was Stuart's 6th or 7th birthday party. I made Jeff, against his will, appear as Cap'n Hook. His very- cool costume was something my grandfather used to wear to some sort of masonic meeting, and I even blackened his face and teeth. He was more than a slightly grumpy participant. But, it was possible to rent a clown...just not a pirate...and I was desperate.
Anyone who has ever enjoyed a hummingbird feeder will understand that they hover about the garden, squeak and war against each other delightfully for a season. One day, abruptly without farewell, they are gone.
It's the same with Pirates. They just sail away. And leave the swords and eyepatches lifeless on the playroom floor.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Open Windows

My college guy called me last night. He wanted me to know that he had received his "Happy Fall" package and that it was awesome and would be great for weekend eating! He was extremely tired, as West Point Cadets tend to be, and was heading to bed early. So, after visiting briefly, I said, "I'll let you get on to bed. Thanks for calling."
" is everyone?" was his response and a window was opened for an extremely chatty 30 minute conversation. (Mother of sons are not used to this.)
I'm slowly morphing into Mom- of -College -Person. I would talk to him every day if I could, not to instruct him on his life or to tell him what to do, but just because I miss his voice, his loud techno music, his messy room, his very smelly socks, and all his friends.
It takes a lot of discipline to be a mom in this new role. I'm learning to give him space, to keep my advice in check, and to become less instructor more cheerleader.
I'm in a unique situation with few of the "omg, my son's a college freshman" fears. (I'll save those for next fall when Stu is a freshman.) Clayton's school cares more about his grades than I do. They care more about his health and what he eats; he can't skip class -ever, and his room has to be spotlessly clean. (I'm still in awe that Clayton received the award for "Best Room in his Company". The last two months of his senior year, I had put a "CONDEMNED" sign on his door.)
Open window moments don't come frequently, and I want be wise enough to recognize them and discerning enough to not force it open myself.
I am pausing from my busy Thursday to paste this "Open Window Encounter" into my mental scrapbook.