Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Need You

As this school year started I noticed something.  Maybe I'm getting older or maybe time is moving faster, but I looked at my kids as they walked to their respective school buildings and they looked older.    And I noticed this like a slap in the face.  The last three weeks or so of summer vacation began revealing this in their behavior, too.  I have a special relationship with each of them and these relationships are slightly different from each other.  Some are more challenging and take a little more work.  Some I abuse a little because they are easy to maintain.  But I have seen each of them grow recently.

I'll start with the baby.  He's, well, the baby.  He, like his big brother was at this age, is very attached to me and I absolutely love it.  We go everywhere together.  We battle each other daily but that unconditional love is strong, fresh, new....  And 2 1/2 is such a great age.  I love our conversations, I love listening to him me, to his siblings, to himself.  He's such an amazing little person.  he has bits of each of his siblings in him, I can only imagine which parts are from Chase.  I love watching him grow up and spending most of his waking moments with him.  He melts my heart in many ways and not a day goes by that I am not thankful he is part of our family.  He takes his nap in our bedroom and I am sometimes at my desk when he wakes up and comes downstairs.  First, sometimes, I'll hear him wake up and talk, then I'll see the door handle turn and finally the door opens and out he slumbers, or sometimes pops, blanket in hand, paci in mouth.  Sometimes he wakes up cheery and sometimes he wakes up a little cranky, needing a little more time to perk up.  When he does this, he cries for me.  Usually I run up the stairs and meet him at the top and carry him down, whether he's happy or sad.  But sometimes he makes it down to the landing before I get to him and he says these words that I can't forget.  I hear them in my head often and I don't ever want to not hear them.  Because they are words that he won't say forever.  They won't always come so easy to say to me as he gets older.  (like ELEVEN) He says, "Mommy, I neeeeed you."  And it's with a whimper and a sad voice and gets an immediate response out of me no matter what I'm doing, because I can't let those words go unheard and unnoticed.  Ever.  I don't want to.  I can't.  The truth is, I need him, as much as he needs me.

Reese walks into his school all by himself because Karly is no longer going there.  He physically looks bigger.  He's getting tall.  But our relationship has grown, too.  There was a point in the summer that I was concerned he was "pulling away" from me a bit and I figured it was just part of him growing up, though I hated it.  But recently, and maybe because Patric's gone so much, he's gotten closer to me.  I am so thankful for this and try to take special time to talk with him about whatever he wants to talk about.  I'm so afraid of the day he stops that and let's just hope it's not in the near future.

Karly.  She's changed the most this year.  She is getting tall and really growing into a little lady right before our eyes.  She's really at a tough age in that she is in between being a little girl and being a teenager and one day she wants to be one and the next day (or minute) she wants to be the other.  We try to deal with this as best we can but some times it gets a little tense.  Many times I catch myself getting caught up in her frustrations too much instead of letting her work through them in her own space and then coming back to her after she's seen things in a different light.  She is so amazing and beautiful and smart and funny.  And she is one who already has a tough time saying those words I so love to hear from Owen.  She says them in a different way and I have to pick up on that better.  I'm trying, but I don't always see how and when she needs me.  I really want to get better at that and think I am.  I love being there for her.  I love this more than anything.  I love for her to see that she needed me and I was there for her.  I love her.

Emma.  A true gem in my life.  She is my rock.  She takes care of me in ways I don't even know sometimes.  Because sometimes I'm too busy taking care of her, or so I think, but in the end, she's the one who's doing it.  She is the strongest person I know.  She's got the toughest job because she's the oldest and gets all the tough jobs and expectations because of that.  But she's so impressive.  She has the will of a soldier and the skills to do whatever she wants.  She has made the biggest strides in our move.  She has all kinds of friends (though she doesn't admit it often) and she is one of the smartest kids in the class so her teachers all love her.  And this year being an 8th grader, she is top dog.  I love watching her at her school.  I can tell she is comfortable where she is.  I know her insecurities too and my biggest hope and dream for her is to instill in her confidence.  I wish I could wrap it up in a little box and watch her open it with a big smile and put it on like a robe....and never take it off.  But I can't.  And sometimes she is so hard on herself that she loses faith in herself and I am trying everything to not let this happen.  She is such a beautiful girl from the outside in and I know she'll see this one day.  She does now sometimes, but just forgets goal is to make her feel this all the time.  She is my light some days.  And always my friend.  We talk about things that I would talk about with girlfriends.  I'm so lucky to be her mom.

And as I see these kids for a brief moment walk into their school buildings, I think about what it is I need to do and can do to make this growing up process go better and maybe a little slower.   And I am brought back to the baby.  Just as he so easily tells me, "I Need you mama", I pick him up and love and squeeze him....something I realize I don't do as often with the older kids.  And I have changed this.  I have given them more physical contact with me.  Not as much as Owen gets, but I sneak in a kiss on the cheek or a shoulder to shoulder nudge or a big bear matter how big or small....but a touch and I hope I don't ever forget to do this.  Because time starts spinning out of control and when I stop and look back, I realize what I missed.   I working on it.  I'm working on doing and saying what I feel to them and trying to get the same thing back.  "I love you" and "I need  you" are words that need to be heard....and never forgotten.

Love you the the moon and back, to Chasey and back,