It was an awesome (long) holiday weekend. I took Friday off, planning to get things done around the (trainwreck that is our) house, then - last minute - decided to keep the boys home. They're only little once: I've been hearing that lots lately, along with the "soak up every moment of the next year" reminders from friends whose little ones have just gone off to kindergarten (or the fourth-grade), a year, or a few, ahead of Jules.
So we three stayed home and we went to the aquarium and we ate crepes for lunch, out. We headed home and played outside. New friends invited us to a pool party and when Jon came home we all rallied and went. The kids had a blast. The dads took the kids home to bed and a bunch of us ladies lingered, then landed on a Sarah's porch for a nightcap. Good times.
On Saturday, Jon made crepes (yum) while I slept late (yes, grateful), then we rode our bikes to the farmers' market where we bought plums and tomatoes that were sweet as candy, bags of mesclun and spinach and a bunch chard so pretty I was tempted to put it in a vase and place it on the mantel. (Okay, not really. But it was a good-looking bunch of chard.) Later, back at home, the boys played pirates and super heros, searching for the treasure Jon had hidden. I read my novel on a poppy Adirondack chair, sipping green tea, with a soundtrack of little boys' laughter.
Sunday, we woke up early and drove to Jon's parents' house in the Adirondacks, where his parents pulled the four of us behind their boat on a raft until Kai (literally) fell asleep. The sun was warm, the water was shimmery, the boys were adorable and so happy. Jon and I acknowledged that this was a pristine "good old days" summer memory in the making. Back at the cabin, Jon's parents cooked us dinner, poured us wine and built a fire in the pit for S'mores. After the boys were in bed, we played Mexican train dominos. (Grateful for fantastics in-laws who treated us to an uber relaxing day in the mountains.)
Today, was a lot of prep for the week ahead but I got in a great run, another dinner - cheeseburgers and veggies from the market - out in the gazebo. Right now, as I look through my grateful, retrospective, lens the weekend was ABSOLUTELY perfect. What drops away when I capture the gratitude are the little annoying moments, the moments that define reality... the ones that make me question if I'm doing enough or doing it right. The moments like the ones...
... when, on Saturday, the boys were running around with Jon (whom they often request when it's my turn to pat their backs or read them books), laughing their heads off, and I felt that I could just disappear with my novel and no one would ever notice.
... when, today at the store, Kai threw the vanilla greek yogurt in front of the olive cart and it splattered all over the floor and, then, when I was dealing with that mess, he proceed to dump a bag of Cheerios (which I gave to him as a distraction) on my head... and all of this entertained Jules wildly.
... when, today again, in a big parenting fail, I found myself locked in stubborn stand-off with Jules.
I'd told him, "No. You cannot give Dempsey more treats."
He'd ignored me completely and headed out the back door with the jar. I grabbed it from his hands. He held on tight. "No more treats."
In a basketball game, the ref would have called jump ball. In a situation where the mom was acting like a proper adult, well, I'm not sure what would have happened. But here's what did happen. I pried the jar from Julian's grip. Because I am bigger and stronger ... and, apparently, a bit of a bully.
And then he punched me in the arm.
What did I do? I yelled like a crazy person, "we do not hit." Then I forced him to sit on the black couch for four minutes. I set the microwave timer.
After the timer beeped and J came over to apologize (me too), I asked him to look me in the eyes while he said it. He did. And this is what he said (after sorry), verbatim: Mom, I see myself in your eyes. For real. It looks just like me but smaller.
He meant it literally: it's the first time he'd noticed his reflection like this. But I heard something much bigger. Jules is, in so many ways, a miniature version of me. He's passionate. He sees through bullshit and lazy answers. He wants to know why. Why, why, why. He's a man with a plan who know what he wants. He likes to be in control. He doesn't like not to be in control. I get it. And it's nice to get a little reminder sometimes that that little person you're raising is just that - a little person, not a little extension of yourself. It's even nicer when you get a reminder in a way that melts your heart, right when your heart needs warmed up.
I have a lot to learn about parenting effectively, I do. But I have good little teachers who deliver lessons in ways that speak to me. For that I truly am grateful... just not in the moment.
Like I said, it was a great weekend. For real.