This weekend as I finished scrubbing the final toilet in my house; the youngest graced the doorway with his presence. Sweet as you please he asked,
Can I help you put up Halloween decorations, Mom?
My immediate thought was why bother? We would not even be home on Halloween and it was only four days away. Daily, we brush by the boxes of Halloween decorations in the garage as we come or go on our merry way. As I stood I stared at his hopeful face and I sighed. His excitement and Halloween spirit couldn’t be contained as I grumbled my assent.
It was then that I had to check myself. As the years of experience continue to pass I realized I have become jaded. I’d like to think that I am more realistic, logical, efficient. But really it is laziness; plain and simple. After two hours of cleaning my house I didn’t feel like decorating it for four days for one child. The older siblings and hubs were happily in the man cave gaming together on headsets.
Later I shared this with the hubs and we both sat; shoulders touching This son had also asked us when we would be picking out pumpkins at our local pumpkin patch. When my older sons were his age we made the trek up north to a real farm. They took hayrides and train rides and we roamed dried fields of corn searching for the most perfect pumpkin. The older two are 21 months apart and have benefited from the stay-at-home mom who constantly created crafts, attended playdates, and recreational activities. We visited local parks daily as we counted down the days, on a paper chain, that their father would return home. I volunteered in classrooms and stood by the gates at school’s end; happy to see them. Our days were busy and fulfilling.
These days my three sons walk home; the working mom no longer standing at the gate. Parents text pics or share stories of the shenanigans my boys are doing on the short trek they walk. A fellow dad has taken it upon himself to give us updates whenever he sees our family. It truly does take a community to parent children and I have many watchful eyes and ears that help me parent my own. The only time I am in classrooms, now, are for parent-teacher conferences or the occasional party. I am grateful that I have this flexibility. But I am also sad for my youngest son; the one that grows up faster than the others; thrown into his older brothers’ busy timelines, hobbies and activities. The days of crafts, parks and playdates are non-existent. Our days are still busy but with homework assignments, musical notes and other activities. It is the days when there is nothing on our schedule that are fulfilling.
And so I struggle. It is the fight for balance in our lives, every day. My tipping point. Little things DO make a difference. The sole benefit this son has is having two parents present; the hubs no longer on active duty.
It was a simple thing to take some time to place skulls, coffins, pumpkins and lanterns throughout our home. It meant the world to my son. This morning the hubs allowed me to detour, en route to work, to the giant superstore. As I paraded the Halloween t-shirts to the whir and thunks of machinery he rolled his eyes. But I saw the slight grin. Tonight we will visit our suburban pumpkin patch. I have already mentally filed the date for next year when we will make the trek to my favorite farm on the gold coast. I am balancing the scales at the present moment; tipping them in my favor.