I guess I knew it was coming. Eventually everything changes. Kids grow up. Situations change. But, why does it have to happen to me? I wish I had known when the boys were little that I would miss it. But, I didn’t know it and I would not have believed it anyway. And, I can’t say that time flew by because while I was living it I felt every excruciating/joyful minute of it.
We finally found a night this week when all four boys were here in one place. We decorated our trees – yes, two trees this year! Somehow Mike and the boys make something as dainty as decorating a tree into a tackle sport.
I just stood on the sidelines, watching Christmas Vacation and counting my blessings (l-r: Dan, Ian, Andy, Tim, Mike – it’s nice that they’re interchangeable, huh?). We had fun – I had forgotten how ridiculous the boys are when they’re all together. At one point Danny inhaled a mouthful of tinsel. I’m not sure how that even happens. I stood in the background shouting (in my most compassionate Mom voice), “I AM NOT taking you to the Emergency Room for something this stoopid!” Ahhh . . . Merry Christmas.
We have a kitchen tree – which is bright and decorated with all of the boys’ ornaments that they will eventually take with them when they settle somewhere for good. It’s covered with gobs of tinsel and topped with our Harry Potter (Book 4) gnome. I love that gnome, though about half of the people who see it cringe and grimace and ask WHY????? C’mon people, this is the best use of an old pair of panty hose ever!
We also have a tree in the living room this year. It’s a skinny thing with fake snow that I’m sure will kill us with chemicals, but I love it so much. I put all of the other ornaments on this tree. I had never realized how many white ornaments we have. The kids swear it looks like a tree out of one of their old “I Spy” books.
December 19th marked the first year without Scout. I still miss her.
Today was Andy’s best friend’s birthday. Paul turned 14. (Andy will be 14 in less than a month!) We headed across the street for pizza and cake and general merriment. Our other neighbors joined us . . . they spent the day moving into their new house that is not in our neighborhood. Their son, Connor, Andy and Paul have been inseparable since Connor moved here. Talk about a sad group of kids.
As we adults were talking, we realized that today was exactly 7 years since we first met these neighbors. They were new. They came down for Paul’s birthday. The kids were little (Andy was 6, Danny was 14) and there was a bouncy house. The new neighbors handled all the little kids coming out of the bouncy house missing teeth with aplomb. I think we lost a total of 6 baby teeth that day!
Since that day there have been so many memorable events. Now, Connor has a learner’s permit. All of the kids are so grown up. And the little neighborhood posse is broken up. I think we’ll all remain friends, but it’s not the same if you cannot walk down to your neighbors’ house in your pj’s at 9 pm to see if they have two eggs and horseradish. You know?
Today, Danny and Andy did heavy lifting to help the neighbors move to their new place. Dan has been working all week on restoring the koi pond in the neighbors’ new yard. He’s fixed pumps and lights and all kinds of things that I would never have believed he’d be able to do just seven years ago.
This is the first year that the kids (mine and neighbors’) did not want to decorate Christmas cookies. I guess it’s time to retire my box of rolling pins for a while. I figure I’ll give the rolling pins as wedding gifts one day as they are marked with all of the kids names. Mike did get to make cut out cookies and decorate some with our youngest neighbor, Preston – 8 so that was something. Waaahhhh . . . .
So, deciding to eat the lemons that life has handed to me I decided to visit some websites and learn how to make those pretty cookies you see in magazines. (I’m joking about the lemons! My life is good, great even, but bittersweet can hit anyone at anytime, right?) If I can’t have kid decorated cookies, I want the other extreme.
And, once again, my inability to read and follow directions was brought to the forefront. Mike, not knowing the kids were not making cookies this year, made a boatload of sugar cookie dough. I think I have 12 dozen now. I did not start until about 9 pm last night. By eleven, poor Cally the dog was in a sugar coma from licking up icing and I was actually sugar-coated and crunchy.
I cleaned up, went back and read the directions. Funny how things work when you follow the instructions of multiple people who have taken the time and care to write out how they do things and photographed each little step. Who knew? They seem to be on to something. I’m off right now to fix last night’s cookies and start on the rest of them. I’m not sure I am cut out for this. (Get it? Cut out cookies . . . sorry)