Jack slow danced across the grass. The dusk light escaping behind the bushes where fireflies twinkled. With smooth steps, he silently approached a sparkling bug. His hands reaching toward the moon.

I watched cross-legged from the front lawn. Admiring his dedication. Amazed at how old he looked. It feels like boyhood happened so quickly. I can barely remember his sweet baby babble of mispronounced words.

Now he’s almost 6 years old. Growing long hair like a hockey player. Obsessed with the difference between amphibians and reptiles. More interested in his friends then his mom. And, devoted to learning to read this summer. My little boy is just a boy now.

Traits of his babyhood have carried over. Like his nighttime blanket and fascination with how everything works in this world. His silliness and stubbornness. He would rather be outdoors then playing with toys.

But, his hands are now tough. His responses a little snarky. His preference is a shower in the morning. And, his music interest is all his own. The dirt under his nails is permanent from searching for worms to feed his snake, Laser.  I swear my voice is pouring with pleasantry as I kindly ask him to remove his plate from the table. Eyes rolling he says, “I’m just finishing my milk, mooooommm.” A warm shower in the morning wakes him up. His words. And, his song requests switch from Luke Bryan to some rapper covered in tattoos and gold chains. 

My favorite boyhood moments are the little ones. Early mornings when he asks me if his clothes match. His innocence shinning though his eyes. The times he invites his little sister to play. His soft voice showing her the steps to take as they pitch a fort together. The true laughter that comes from a sarcastic remark I make. An understanding that had soared over his head a year ago.

The jar of lightening bugs glows at my feet. Jack races over, adds another one to the collection.

“I love you, bear,” I say.
He glances at me. “Love you too, mom.”
He darts away, still hung on catching the twinkling bugs.
“You’re going to have to let them go,” I call. Still stuck in this boyhood moment.
“I know, I’m going to before we go inside,” he quietly calls back.

I smile. I miss that little boy. But, I sure am glad I let him go. Just in time to see this wonderfully intuitive and glowing kid in front of me.


An Unintentional New Beginning

Tonight, I rocked my 3-year-old to sleep. Her eyes fluttering. Her legs to long to curl near my waist, dangled over the chair's arm. The cold chill of winter seeping through the window above my shoulder.

I hadn't rocked her to sleep since she was 18 months old, at most. And, it was in our old house. Our first house. Her first room. Painted a light yellow. Trimmed in purple. Her door just a few steps away from mine. Home. 

Now, we were years ahead and it was if my mind had just caught up. Slowly rocking. The dark glow of night bouncing on her rosy cheeks. I missed our old home. I missed our old life. The one we left five months ago.

It was the middle of summer, Justin and I had been lazily browsing house listings on a regular basis. I wasn't too serious. He was. The night before we had the Realtor over to sign the papers and hammer the 'For Sale' sign in the front yard, I hesitated. I can never commit to such a big decision. The whole cause and effect theory consumes me. The year ahead was already harvesting big life changes - why add one more?

It didn't take long for Justin to convince me. Not 24 hours after listing and our first home was sold. A few weeks later we found the new home. 

We spent the rest of summer packing, moving, vacationing, then packing and moving again. A few boxes remained when autumn blew in and our almost 5-year-old started kindergarten. I kissed his cheek. Kids poured around me and Ella as we watched him walk into school. My voice cracked as I told her to never grow up. She started a new preschool a few weeks later. Just like that, our new life had begun.

I hadn't anticipated a new beginning. Yet, everything now seemed so changed. Our routines were different. Jack was a kid with big words and independence. Ella started using the potty. Defiant, but still sensitive. I found a balance with work and family. We were all growing, not just the kids. 

Sometimes I still mourn our old house. Our old life. Simply because the kids were little. Their first crawl. First smiles. First everythings were at that house. I miss the expected. The secluded master bathroom. Hearing Jack kick off his blanket as I fell into sleep. The sun streaming through the kitchen window every morning. The creaky pantry door. 

Most times, I'm in love with the new. Saturday mornings of hockey practice and donuts. Ice skating and boating out the back door. Coloring on the back deck. Breakfast surrounded by the sunlight. And, the smell of coffee greeting me every morning.

I stopped rocking. Ella's deep breathes filling the still room. As I softly laid her in bed, I realized that's exactly what I needed. To really see the life in front of me. Listen intently as Ella recites a fairy tale. Build a master suite of Legos with Jack. Skate on the ice. Live this life. Break the old habits and just spend a little time rocking. 

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