Nolan's birthday party was a fun, back-yard time on Saturday. The sun played peekaboo behind the clouds for most of the afternoon while nearly a dozen children 6 and under (most of them 3 and 4 years old) ran around the backyard wearing various Star Wars masks and helmets, brandishing lightsabers and blasters, and in some cases even sporting capes. While the parents chatted away, the kids piled into the battery operated Jeep (thanks, Grandpa C....the kind of gift only a grandparent gives) and drove around the yard at about 1.5 MPH. The car holds about two and a half kids. There were as many as six in it at one point, waving guns and lightsabers in the air, frosting-smeared faces hidden behind masks. A bunch of preschool sandinistas. I loved it.
We all enjoyed the party. And on Sunday, the boys and I enjoyed a respite from all the activity. Just the three of us with nothing to do all day except enjoy the sunshine in the backyard and play with all the new toys Nolan received for his birthday. And Monday was more of the same, including a few solid hours at the beach and hamburgers for dinner. The kids and I had much-needed time together. There were no meltdowns. No tantrums. No big chores. No issues at all. Just a couple of sunny, relaxing days for the three of us. I kept my phone(s) off for much of the weekend, too. If the kids are with me, then I know everything is okay. And if someone needs to reach me, eventually they will. But frankly, I don't really want the outside world to intrude when the birds are chirping and the kids are riding scooters in the driveway, wearing capes and singing "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!" over and over and over....
I think it's funny that I have two boys. It makes sense, really. As much as I would like a daughter, too, I think that the boys are my speed. My friend Julia, with whom I visited last week in Boston, quickly commented that she thought it was a good match. "You have energy," she said, and I do. Like the kids have said, "You're not a grown-up. You're fun!" But I also don't try to be their buddy. I am very much their mother, and they know that. Their fun mom. Their playful mom. Their silly mom. But always Mom. And if they don't listen and I start counting to three, you should see those little legs scramble.
At the same time, it's a handful some days, especially at the end of a long workday when all three of us are punchy and hungry. Heide came over for dinner last week, and after witnessing the flurry of little boy activity that goes on around my house in the evening, she said I was her hero for doing it all alone. "No wonder you're getting married!"
At first I took exception to that. But I understand her point. Still, I responded, it depends on the man. Would I want to marry a man who is a self-centered, irresponsible, childish boy? No. Would I marry a man who is responsible but playful, adventurous but not reckless? Yes. I don't need to be married. Marriage can be a hassle, to put it simply. But it can also be a rewarding, beautiful space in which to grow and thrive as individuals sharing their experience.
For now, the only vows I'm making are to myself and my children. I've vowed to keep this summer free and clear of any more planning or future-talk. I've vowed to immerse myself in the moment as much as possible, cultivating the little nest in which my boys and I grow and thrive and share. I've vowed to trust that when the next step happens, our wings will be ready to spread.