Not gonna lie to you? This week has been busy as hell. Zucchini plants are taking off like I water them with coffee and steroids in equal measure, likewise my rosebushes, and the apricot tree finally put out fresh apricots. Two days later, my youngest stepson is still checking the tree every day for more.
Oh yeah, did I mention our youngest decided to hang out with me this week? Turns out he’d never had an apricot before, so when the first one was ripe and we were the only two home (dogs aside, fuzzy little permanent fixtures that they are), I pulled it off the tree, rinsed it off with the garden hose and split it with him. It was rich and perfect and still warm from the late afternoon sun. He’d barely even had the first bite swallowed before he declared his love for all things apricot. It made me smile, reminded me of me when I was his age and tried one for the first time.
He’s been running me ragged this week, the way the young always do.
We have a huge trampoline out in the back yard, and it’s always been one of his favorite things to do around here. When we first bought it, paranoid crisis planning sort that I am, I set out to dig a hole in our yard big enough to put the trampoline surface level with the ground(If you knew just how hard the dirt was in our area, you’d call me a masochist, and looking back, I can’t completely disagree with you), and with my husband and oldest stepson’s help, we put the trampoline in it.
Don’t get me wrong, they can still fall, but they can’t fall far, which I figured was far better than the alternative.
With his older brother back at their mother’s place for the week, since he’s not out of school yet, that leaves me to be the playmate of the week. Which means my “I’m getting too old for this” arse was out bouncing around on the trampoline with him and trying to delude myself into thinking I was a kid again.
I forgot about my age and the heat when he started giggling either the third or fourth time we played “Crack the egg” (It’s his favorite) and I sent him launching up into the air.
Don’t worry. For those of you who’ve never played, you sit cross-legged on the trampoline and hold onto your ankles with your hands, and its the jumper’s job to get you to let go of your ankles, and to topple over, thus to “crack your egg”. Good fun for the jumpee, great exercise for the jumper.
And guess who got to be the jumper. Yay me haha.
Trampoline aside, I’ve set out to do whatever I could to make this week special for him, as he isn’t often over by himself, and with him being 10 now, I know it’s only a matter of time before he wakes up and realizes he’s “too cool” to hang out with me.
He came across his dad and I playing Rock Band sometime in the not-so-distant past, and seeing his dad on the drums, he decided to give it a shot.
Less than two years later, he’s able to hold his own on almost every song on Guitar Hero 5 on the drums, and he likes having me play along with him on guitar. We jam along together and sing the songs we know, pretending to sing the songs we don’t, and we have a mutual agreement on a couple of the songs we played through once and “shall never speak of this again”.
I play on the easy setting, keeping my eyes on him with the understanding between us that if he messes up and gets booted, it’s my job to bring him back in, so he can get better. I love seeing how into it he gets, hearing him jam to Bon Jovi, and hearing him sing the Beatles when we chance to switch over to the Beatles Rock Band.
Most of this week has been about the garden, Guitar Hero and the trampoline for him, and camping out in the living room together till all hours, watching whatever on the TV together till he gets up and staggers down the hall, to go to bed.
I love seeing the smile on his face when he drifts off to sleep, with him murmuring in his half-asleep-already way about everything we did together that day, and what he wants to do tomorrow. Makes me feel good to know that though he’s on the brink of being “too cool to hang out with me” he’s not quite there just yet.
My husband took last night off to spend with us, sort of as a special day, and the three of us headed out to the movies. How could we not? The new Avengers is out, and hell’s gonna freeze before we miss that one in the theater. And yes, for the record, we always sit all the way through the credits, holding our breath for the spoiler scene. (Shawarma, anyone?) Our youngest was plopped down between us, stealing my popcorn and grinning ear to ear, practically bouncing in his seat with his big blue eyes glued to the screen.
Firecracker that he’s always been, there are very few things that can hold his attention or keep him still for lengthy periods at a time– video games, for one, but even those can try his patience, super hero movies for two (I think that’s true for the whole house. Especially Marvel and D.C.), and books. I was tickled to death to discover that he runs through books like I do, and he doesn’t just stick to fiction or comics.
A few years back, he discovered that I’d gone through E.M.T. training at an earlier point in my life, and that I’d in fact graduated and had my license for a time, and that sparked a curiosity in him. Then came the questions. Questions led to answers, that led to more questions. Fast forward a bit, and suddenly he, his older brother and I are standing in Barnes and Nobles, browsing, and the youngest sits down in the middle of the aisle with a children’s anatomy book, opens it, and starts reading.
He sat there for a good fifteen minutes solid without looking up, while his brother wandered off to check out the comics and I hung around somewhere between the two, to keep an eye on them both while they wandered the aisles.
When I came walking up to him as he sat there reading, he lifted his head, and he immediately started telling me what he’d learned so far.
We ended up leaving the store with the book.
Over a year later, he still comes over and tells me about what he’s learned that week– what the kidneys do, what the liver does. Telling me he may become a doctor when he grows up, and as bright as he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
It’s been a long and busy week, and I’m honestly sorry to see it coming to a close, at the memory of everything we’ve done together this week and how quickly the time will fly by– knowing the day will come that he trades out time with me for time spent with his friends or at work or off on his own.
For now, I’m content to enjoy it– to pop the popcorn and laugh with him as we stuff our faces and try to decide which Marvel is our favorite (His is Captain America, I have too many to choose just one), to have late night movie marathons and to play rock band together till he laughs and lets his hands drop to his sides because he’s worn them out, to “crack the egg” on that old trampoline and hear him dissolve into a mass of grins and giggles as I laugh along with him.
I treasure these days with him at this age, and I miss them already, knowing already that one day soon, they won’t be there anymore.
When that day comes, I hope he remembers them all as fondly as I do.