web analytics
Writings on Motherhood, Judaism, and Happily-Ever-Afters

July 2018Monthly Archives

Samuel Earl – on the eve of his 12th birthday

I don’t believe he’s going to be twelve years old.

When I look back over the past twelve years, I find myself thinking about how I’m never quite sure what I’m doing with Sam.  He was my first natural birth, because Jessie was a c-section, and I had no idea how to push.  Everyone kept telling me to push, and I was confused and bewildered, and I swear to God, he just pushed his way out on his own.  He knew what he needed, what he wanted, and he made it happen.

Same thing with nursing.  I had nursed Jessie, but that was a completely different experience.  Sam was a voracious nurser, and nursed for comfort as much or more as he did for nutrition.  I was baffled by it – I had taken detailed notes on how long and which side with Jessie for weeks – but with Sam, he nursed so consistently, so often, I gave up tracking it on the second or third day.   Again, he knew what he needed, and he made it happen.

I didn’t initially get that Sam had an anxiety disorder.  I thought it was normal separation anxiety, maybe a little more pronounced because he was a boy.  He wasn’t anxious when he was with me.  Sam knew what he needed to feel safe, and he fought like hell to make sure he got it.

When we made the decision to pull him out of public school, I was terrified.  I had no idea how to homeschool but I knew trying to force him into a public school setting was harming him.  When he was in the accident – suffice it to say that terror was the least of what I was feeling.  It was the very worst time in my life, and even now, writing about it is enough to bring me to tears.

But I will say that Sam knew, all the time, exactly what he needed.  We just needed to learn to listen to him.

I’ve learned to trust him, to give him space to come to the decision on his own, whatever it is.  To give him the safety and security to grow and learn and struggle and dream, and I know that whatever Sam ends up doing in his life, he’s going to do it better than anyone could have imagined.  Because this kid is the strongest person I’ve ever met, with a better sense of what he needs and how to make it work, and I am constantly in awe of his ability to handle impossible things, to find a way to make it okay, and to quietly work to achieve his goals.

Happy birthday Sammy – my buddy, my guy, my killer of bugs, and lover of dogs.  You are amazing and inspiring, and when you sing ‘It’s Raining Tacos”, it’s the best thing I’ve ever heard.

Heat Wave

We don’t handle the heat well.

I mean, we try.  But my family is not one that enjoys weather extremes.  We are made for the in-between seasons, balmy spring days, when the leaves are just poking out and the air finally feels warm after months of icy hell.  Pumpkins and cranberries, when the foliage is changing and we can crunch thru the leaves when we walk the dog.  This is just ridiculously hot, all the live long day and the nights are worse.  Everything is so STICKY.

We’re six days into a seven day heat wave, and counting the minutes until Friday.  Raging thunderstorms seems like a perfect way to celebrate Sammy’s twelfth birthday, and I can’t wait.  For the drop in humidity – I’m wistful and slightly intimidated by the prospect of my baby boy turning twelve years old.

Jessie is drowning in summer reading, as per usual.  It’s tough to tell how much of it is self-imposed, because she really does seem to exist at this hyper level of stress, but as she says, she likes it that way.  And she’s self-aware enough to know that it’s a choice she makes, she’s choosing to be in an academically advanced program, and to take a bazillion AP classes.  She could drop down to an honors level, or even choose to be homeschooled if it was too much (and I’d be fine with either of those choices), but she really does like going to school, and loves learning.  We’re moving ever closer to her thinking about college, and that scares me more than the idea of Sam being one year away from teenhood.

Julianna is having a low-key, quiet summer.  Sam’s busy with homeschooling and sleeping (because he still does that like it’s his job), and Jessie’s constantly in the middle of one project or another.  Julie is drifting a little. I need to get on top of that, schedule her some playdates or get her doing more homeschooling activities.  She was adamant that she didn’t want to go to camp, and I didn’t want to pay money for something she didn’t actually want to do.  But I’m noticing a lot of general moodiness and she’s bored.  Which could be the heat – I’m pretty moody and bored too, because it’s too damn hot to want to go anywhere or do anything.