Friday, July 22, 2016

Day Dates

It had been way, way too long since Arlo had seen his best friend. Since Halloween, to be exact. But despite months of not seeing one another, these two boys still know the drill. They talk about each other. Keep each other in their wild, little boy hearts. It's beautiful and a little perplexing. How do they remember each other so well despite so much distance, despite so much time passing? But somehow they do. 

On Tuesday it took a little while for Arlo to warm up to the pool. He has never worn swim wings or floaties, and watching his friend fearlessly jump into the water with his life vest on intimidated Arlo. He played with Felix's toys "on the lan" for a couple hours before finally venturing in. It always takes him a while to realize that he can stand in the water. 

As usual, it wasn't enough time. As usual, I wish that I got to see my friend more often. I wish that our boys got to grow up seeing each other day in and day out. But love and friendship don't need proximity, as it turns out. Two hours and state lines won't dissuade us. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

This Weekend We

Last week, Sena was at sleep away camp for the third summer in a row, and Gus was at sailing camp during the day. So from 10-3, Arlo, Alamae, and I had the house to ourselves. And mostly we did stay home, except for the few hours I was able to convince Arlo to go to the pool with me, even if his big brother and sister weren't there. Arlo is never much for excursions of any sort, and he is even less amenable to them when there is no sibling pressure involved.

But finally, on Friday afternoon things started to move back towards normal. Gus took Arlo and me sailing as a part of his end of camp festivities, while Claire watched a pouting Alamae on the shore. The bay was calm and the sun was bright as Gus explained the terminology while he steered and guided me on how to control the sail. He was composed and handsome and so grown up. Watching my son do something I know nothing about was as humbling as it was beautiful. 

We had to rush from Gus's camp to go pick Sena up her's. Upon finding her among the friends she made for a week, she almost instantly informed me that next year she is staying for two sessions. She never bothers missing me while she's gone, a fact that I used to lament but have grown to be proud of. The truth is I hope that she stays strong and independent, and that she never minds hot, bug filled days.

Instead of taking her straight home, we drove to the pool for what we have decided is going to be our new Friday night tradition. Claire, Andrew, Tom and baby Jeffrey met us there, and we swam until dark, eating pizza on the lounge chairs, and drinking grapefruit crushes to the sounds of splashing and laughter.

Saturday was book club, and luckily for me, it was a close meeting that started early enough that I could sneak in some time before heading to work. Unfortunately, I can't even tell you what book we were supposed to read. For the first time ever, I didn't read it. And I left before anyone started to discuss it in earnest. What I did have time enough for was to see all my friends gathered, babies on hip. To eat a banh mi. To be told that since I was the bossiest one around, I should get everyone to sing happy birthday to Ben and Ruby. To watch dogs jump and kids swing. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Us, Now

We are six. Ranging 34 years. Equally divided among genders. 

Two sets of greens eyes. Four sets of brown. Blond boys. Dark haired girls. One mom who desperately clings to her redheaded identity.

Just when I think that I understand who we are as a unit, things change. Personalities shift. Relationships realign. 

Gus and Sena bicker too much, but spend hours jumping off the diving board together. Arlo complains that Alamae pulls his hair, but encourages a gentle reprimand over any sort of punishment. "Teach her to be nice," he tells me. And then he eagerly accepts her apologetic hug.

I laugh at Tom's jokes. He makes me feel beautiful.

I worry that the neighbors hear me when I yell.

Dinner is at 6:15, just as it has been most of my life.   But sometimes I completely forget to feed my children lunch.