One Family, Two Worlds

I stood on the sidewalk between two worlds.

I waved my Bigs goodbye as my Littles waited at home, playing. This is the point of my life now, two worlds within our own little family life. And it hurts, and it is difficult, and it is exciting.

This year I have been home with our youngest son. A few weeks ago, his kindergarten-age brother was home with us due to an appointment. Bearded Husband waited at home with the two youngest while I walked the oldest two up the street to school.

The seven-year-old immediately put his hand in mine, while the nine-year-old was somewhat surprised when I took his hand. “It’s not often I get to walk with just you two,” I said as way of explanation. And I miss it.

Daily I’m torn between the needs of the four.  The youngest two need more practical help and they all crave my attention and time. It is challenging to keep a balance.photo-58

“You don’t have to walk us all the way, we’ll can do it ourselves,” said my firstborn and his brother nodded in agreement. It’s not far, this walk to school, but that day the distance across the field felt like a portal. It was the path leading to independence, self-reliance, and growing up. A world apart from me.

I was glad, and proud, and I was sad. I miss you.

I miss your little hand grabbing mine. I miss you needing me to help you with your zipper. I miss you running and jumping up to squeeze me around my neck.

I need to savor this time while they’re on the cusp of growing up, becoming too big to hold my hand. 

I returned home, opened the front door and immediately was transported into a different world. A world of of booster seats, endless games of Candyland, and snuggling on the couch with a picture book. Piggyback rides, and play doh, and bubbles.

I love that the Bigs start the coffee in the morning for me. I love when they empty the dishwasher without being asked. I love when they offer to push the youngest on the swings. Their sense of humour and the running jokes we’ve developed –  I love it. I love the young men they are becoming

But I miss it. 

I miss their small hands and the smell of baby shampoo. I miss the days when they could fit on my lap. But they are getting older. And so I will let go, but in increments.

That day, the day they decided to walk on their own, I stood on the sidewalk until they reached the school yard, waving every time they turned to check if I was still there. And I was, waving to my boys who were far enough away that they couldn’t see the tears in my eyes.

Tears because I miss it, but I love who they are becoming.

It hurts, and it is difficult, but it is exciting, always exciting.

Me, The Maze, and My Boys

The boys begged me to take them to a local farm that has some fun attractions, including a corn maze. So one morning we hopped in the van and took off in hopes of high adventure in a corn field. We were not disappointed.

Come see our fortress!
Come see our fortress!

“The maze is ready!”

“This way, Mommy!”

“Come on, Number 3, let’s go see! We’ll show you around!”

“I wonder if they made it trickier this year!”

The Bigs could not wait to get going and rushed ahead, encouraging their younger brother.

“Don’t worry, Mommy, he’ll be with us,” they reassured me.

I was in charge of the littlest Little who was not going to let those big boys out of his sight.

The first time I took them in the maze I had Number 3 in the baby carseat and was hesitant to let them explore. The owner knows me and could see the slight worry on my face as I contemplated how I would schlep the baby and the boys through the mucky field.  She asked her kids to take the boys through and they were thrilled. And I released my hold on my boys a little.

The next year the four of us went in together. Number 3 was toddling after his brothers while I stuck close behind him, catching him before he tripped on a rogue cornstalk or tumbled a little on some uneven ground.  I could here the older boys giggling with delight as they tricked me, hiding between the rows. And I released my hold a bit more.

Wait for me, guys!
Wait for me, guys!

The third year, I had a newborn again, but had grown wiser and put him in the Baby Bjorn so I could venture into the maze with the three boys. Now the games included Tag, Hide-and-Seek, and racing back to the top. I lagged behind, but was able to keep them mostly in my sights. And my tether to them lengthened and loosened again.

Last year, our baby boy was a spunky one-year-old up on Daddy’s shoulders, then Mommy’s shoulders, then back to Daddy. He loved spying his big brothers from his perch way up high. There was no point in trying to hide with him on your team since his excited yelps gave us away every time. My baby was becoming a Boy. And I released my hold on them a little bit more.

This year, we had incredible fun together, me and my boys. The only rule I had was that if I called their name really loud, they had to reply so I knew they were okay. And I promised them that if they needed me or just wanted to know where I was that if they called, I’d stand in one spot yelling, “Right here!” until they found me.

You can learn a lot from a corn maze.

There are many different paths, some short, some long, some smooth, some a tad treacherous, and it’s up to you to choose which one you want to try. It’s okay to double-back and try another path because eventually you’ll get to where you need to be.

You can choose to run, walk, or saunter. Maybe do a little bit of each.

You never know when you might discover a hidden fortress, a secret lair, or an amazing spot for a fort. It’s okay to go off the well-trod path, but not forever. Someone made the paths for you because they knew the best way to travel through.

A corn maze can be fun on your own, but it is better with a friend, and even better with a group. Sometimes it is good to hold hands, but it’s okay to let go, too.

There are dips and bumps and mud and itchy things along the way, but the adventure is worth it.

And if you ever feel alone or afraid or unsure, stop and call your mom.

“I’m right here. Right here.”