Today was an insanely busy day of cleaning. Trying to get the house on the market is a lot of hard work. We scrubbed baseboards, windowsills, bathrooms, and cabinets. I came down the hall at one point to see Grace (11) with Abby (3) on her shoulders wiping the top of the doorframes that Grace couldn't reach.
The hard work paid off. We were so far along on chores that we took a break to play. When Shawn got home from work we went to the park to enjoy the last bit of sunshine before a cold front rolls in tonight.
It was a bittersweet moment. Hanging out with the family was fun. Abby (3) took her shovel and pail and dug in the big sandpit. Shawn asked her, "Whatcha making?" Abby answered, "A hole." (in that "duh" voice.)
Tonight, though, was a milestone marker. For the first time ever, my son, James (13), didn't play. He stood around, he watched Abby play, and sat on a bench and stared off into space, bored. I realized that He has outgrown going to play at the park.
Watching him sitting on the bench, my mind raced back to our first trip to the park. 10 years ago,newcomers to the area, we went to Fairview Park for the first time. I slid open the door of the minivan, and James shot off across the grass to ride a big purple dinosaur bouncy thing. His blond chili bowl haircut bounced sky high as he squealed with delight.
He and Grace raced from slides to swings and back again as I followed with Katie in my hip. They played until they were exhausted, falling sweatily asleep in their carseats on the way home.
Over the years we have picnicked, birthday partied, and celebrated soccer wins at the park. We explored the creek, and imagined incredible adventures together. We conquered the gigantic climbing rock, and learned to swing on the monkey bars.
Tonight I realized that a beautiful chapter of my life is closing. Don't misunderstand me, I am excited about our future. I am enjoying my kids more at this point than probably ever before. I am certainly looking forward to the next few years left with my kids before time for college. But tonight I realized that my little blond baby boy had turned into a giant, gangly, long-legged man. And for just a few minutes I missed my baby.