Parker, Ryan and I travel to Chicago every year without the Dad. Ken spent his summers in Manhattan at his grandparents' apartment with his mother and siblings (no dad), and he considers this annual trip of ours to be our 'New York Summer'. So he has some time alone at home, which must be nice - I've never had that come to think of it.
This year was wonderful; the boys are old enough to leap:
OFF diving boards
AROUND a 38' racing sailboat doing 8 knots easily
ON a trampoline barely in line of sight from a window,
OFF a rowboat into a lake and swim to shore. After dark.
Because - I've had a leap of faith. At 9 and 8, they are getting to be grown-up little boys.
There is very little arguing and misbehaving these days. They settle disagreements quickly between themselves and are still each other's best friend.
They proudly wear white button downs and properly tied neckties to events.
They are not spilling a drink at every meal, so they can now get something besides water. This is a Big Deal. They are using steak knives and cutting their own food with proper grips.
Both started back to school today. Parker told me he was fine and waved me off "Go check Ryan. He's bound to have an issue with something, Mom." Ken showed up so he waited with him. I think Parker was thrilled to see Ken there.
Ryan was glad to have me wait with him, but when I waltzed in with him into the building, he yelped "Oh, GOSH; you aren't coming IN, are You?!" and the two Special Ed aides laughed and one said "Time to let him go, Mom." So I let him trot off, all by himself. Then I sneaked in another door! He lit up when he found me, looking in through the classroom door, a few minutes later. He yelped "That is MY MOM!" and the other lurking parents smiled at me.
Second grade is still so very young. After waving to Ryan, I trotted off and helped wrangle 1st graders for an hour - getting their supplies peeled out of their paws and placed in their desk (why in the hell didn't most of the parents sharpen those pencils, as requested - ACK?!) and 2 of them were crying for a while. It was very sweet to see the other little ones try to comfort them, offering pats and tissues which of course made them cry all the more.
Anyway, Chicago was amazingly wonderful this year. We took the train into town. The adults ate at Carnivale, and the babysitter and kids ate at Oak Street Grill. They wouldn't come off the beach until 8:30, and took a cab to Carnivale to meet back with us around 10! We caught a really late train back, and the kids slept curled up like cats in the single upper seats. Ryan wouldn't wake up so I had to lug his heavy butt down the spiral stairway, knocking his noggin a few times. Still, he slept. I plunked him down on a big seat and ran back upstairs to wake up the other children. They staggered around like drunks - it was after midnight and they'd had a long day of sun and water.
We went to parties at homes with moats and mile-long driveways, where a distinguished, very old gentlemen told me I was beautiful. We partied at houses where I introduced Net Musique.com to the hosts and we danced our butts off in backyards and kitchens. We ate our weight in Polish deli goodies. We drove around in fancy old cars with the tops down and didn't care if our hair got trashed. We spent a day on Lake Michigan, sailing on a 38' racing sailboat, drinking and eating and just enjoying life. Feeling lucky to have such great friends. Loving that my Godsons are growing into such fine adults and going shopping at IKEA to get one set up for his college dorm.
But the thing that took my breath away was watching both our sons navigate easily in new situations; seamlessly blending in, tolerating huge changes in bedtimes and dinner times, not complaining about endless bug bites (25 one ONE LEG on Parker) or humidity and the expectation that they will happily do whatever. I don't remember any crying, in fact. A first. Ryan never "Lost It" once. And this is something I will treasure. Ryan has really turned a corner with his emotional stability.