After work, I went to a spin class, lifted some weights, took an extra long shower, and stopped for a yummy salad on my way home. Then I entered the nice, quiet house I had so long anticipated . . . and I walked past the boys' shared room. It was too quiet. There was no Jon to follow me happily around the house, crawling from room to room on all fours. There was no Ryan to be insanely sweet and tell me for absolutely no reason, "I wuv you mom," approximately one minute before slamming his big brother roughly with a fist. There was no Jacob to talk my ear off about the really strong Pokemon cards his friend has.
Yeah. It was weird. I kinda missed them. I'm pretty sure it's the doomed Mommy Catch-22. You can't wait for a child-free evening. And when it finally rolls around, you miss your freaking kids! They are both a blessing and a curse. But a curse that I would never wish away and one that I feel oddly lucky to have.
Obligatory family holiday photo
For the Fourth of July, we attended an annual bocce ball tournament at a friend's house. Every year all the friends get older. And yet, somehow, every year we are still pretty much the only ones with kids. As my husband competed in the all-freaking-day tournament, I chased after Jon, pulling pieces of cardboard, leaves, and rocks out of his mouth, chastised Jacob for continually running across the bocce ball courts, and broke up fights between the older two.
This guy is fast!
A rare moment of siblings being nice.
"Oh, you're just sitting down? Ha! Come catch me!"
Fourth of July requires patriotic props.
And patriotic props require funny baby poses.
My wistful thinking didn't last long. Soon, I was walking three children to the beach, my arm full of floaties (face blue from blowing them all up), buckets, shovels, and one squirming, half-clothed 8 month old. And as our friends sat under the shade of the trees, sipping beers, I watched an 8 month old baby discover salt water for the first time, laughing delightedly at the sound and feel of his own splash.
I played king-of-the-dock with a beaming six year old before we counted to three and jumped into the cool water together, in between the slimy patches of seaweed that floated by and tickled our skin. I dug holes with a three year old intent on building a sandcastle all by himself.
A game of catch with Dad
My favorite picture of the day. Look, the beast naps!
As the evening rolled in, our friends had moved their beers and their conversations to the deck. But my husband and I supervised a very safe (and very lame) firework show for three mostly excited kids. Our fountains shot an entire foot into the air before spilling brightly onto the sand. A humorously tiny show compared to the loud booming explosions overhead. We lit smoke bombs and ran through their many colors. We yelled, scolded, and wrung our hands as Jacob kept trying to light all the fireworks himself.
Ryan is not a firework fan. He kept his hands firmly planted against his ears, even when no one was shooting off fireworks.
"I think I see some sand to eat"
The amazing fountains
And of course, smoke bombs!
It was a hectic, crazy, busy, exhausting day. I didn't get to sit in lawn chairs and drink beers. But I'm pretty confident that I'm etched into the memories of three (ok, maybe two), happy and loved little boys. And I'm pretty sure I gained some memories of my own. Memories that will make me smile from a nursing home bed someday. And THAT is priceless.
The consolation of wrangling children- someday, when you are old and wrinkled and on your death bed, the thought of chasing tiresome children will make you smile fondly.