It’s been a long time since I wrote much about parenting.  About my babies.  My kids.  They are hardly babies anymore, but they are.  Still.  I’ve had a heart bursting with feelings and a head full of thoughts.  I don’t know how to organize it into anything meaningful on this blog anymore.  I can post pictures and recap our fun adventures, but that’s not all there is to it, is it?  There’s this feeling, this tug at my heart.  Maybe it’s the weather.  Maybe because vacation’s over.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t taken a picture on my DSLR since we got home.  Maybe because I just don’t know what to say sometimes.  I don’t know – I feel like I’m missing something. Or that I’m going to miss something. Do you ever feel that way?

Theo.  Theo is so big now.  So smart.  He is starting to understand things that are more complex.  I can reason with him sometimes, where Dexter is the exact opposite.  Theo knows how and when to use his manners.  He thinks ahead.  He was using the bathroom the other night and while pondering life, sitting on the potty, he flicked the loose side of a bandaid on his thigh repeatedly, mumbling under his breath.  He’d gotten his flu shot earlier.  He didn’t want me in the bathroom so I was kind of hanging around in the hallway and caught this glimpse of his reflection in the mirror, looking so grown up.  I stopped and listened to him grumble “I’m never getting another stupid flu shot again.”  Automatically, my bad-word radar went off and I said “What’d you say!?”  He looked up like a deer in headlights and said, “nothing! I said I’m not getting another flu shot.”  He knew he’d been caught.

And this silly, simple moment became something bigger to me.  My kid, who was so brave for his flu shot, was so ticked off about it 12 hours later that he was “cursing” (for all he knows) under his breath about it when he thought I wasn’t around.  But he knew that he couldn’t kiss his mom with that dirty mouth, so you better believe he cleaned up his language when pressed about it.  He says please. He says thank you.  Granted, he doesn’t do it all the time but at least I’ve taught him something, dammit.  Some common courtesy. 

I love him.

Sometimes I just look at his innocent face in the rearview mirror while he’s looking outside and feel this swelling sensation inside.  Time is flying by.  I think about how small he was when we brought him home.  I think about his extensive vocabulary now and how he’s telling stories and jokes (bad jokes, and he doesn’t really understand the whole punchline thing, but still).  And I think about how he still asks me to sing to him at bedtime, like I did when he was just a few months old.  I think about how he still sucks his thumb when he’s tired.  Sometimes I yell at him and wish I hadn’t.  I am becoming painfully aware that you only get one chance to raise your kids and it flies by. 

Dexter.  My little blonde bear.  He’s such a busy body. He’s becoming such a big boy too.  He looks up to Theo in every way, but he’s so different from him.  He’s not a deep thinker like Theo.  He blows whichever way the wind does.  He doesn’t stop moving long enough to process things.  He’s sweet. He’s loving. He carries stuffed animals around like they’re babies.  His language is also expanding rapidly.  He doesn’t like the dinosaur costume I bought him for Halloween so I asked a friend about borrowing an old costume of theirs, a Donald Duck.  When I asked Dexter if he’d like to be Donald Duck for Halloween, he said “Ummmm, probably I’m gonna be Goofy.”  Ha.  He is goofy. 

I love him.

What he doesn’t know is that I would do anything in the world for him.  That he’d probably get whatever he wanted if he just asked with one of his big bear hugs.  Sometimes after he falls alseep in his big boy bed, I go into their room to make sure they are covered up.  Just to stare at my boys for a few more seconds that day.  Because I know they will never be this young again.  Soon enough, they’ll spend the night with a friend.  Before I know it, they’ll be on their own.  They won’t need me to brush their teeth.  Dexter wore underwear to a restaurant for the first time this week. No accidents.  My big boys are getting bigger.  They’re still so little, but not as little as they once were.  It’s kind of sad.  I will touch their faces and kiss their heads and pick them up and carry them around for as long as they’ll let me and as long a I am physically able.  They’ll be bigger than me in no time at all. 

Man, I love them.  No one tells you that motherhood is about one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking things you’ll ever do.