Sunday, October 24, 2010

hope for the past

Last night at Will and Andrew's joint birthday party at cub run rec center (where Andrew wants to have all his future parties!), I was struck by my typical wholly unoriginal insights that nontheless feel quite profound. I was watching my two sweet boys blowing out the candles on their cake (Will was more adept at this than Andrew) when it landed on me out of the sky that these kids were mine--my blessing, my responsibility, people who had been entrusted, 100%, to me to raise. They aren't just these people I live with and love. It is a feeling most parents probably wake up in the morning with, but somehow something about the sight of them, no longer babies but ever-changing people of their own who rely upon me to throw them parties or to not do so, brought home to me how awesome and overwhelming the parental duty is.

This morning I woke up to a wonderful poem (thank you, Missy and Garrison Keillor) that tied all my feelings from last night so well together with my Sabbath thoughts (yes, I do have them).

Thanks, Robert Frost

Do you have hope for the future?
someone asked Robert Frost, toward the end.
Yes, and even for the past, he replied,
that it will turn out to have been all right
for what it was, something we can accept,
mistakes made by the selves we had to be,
not able to be, perhaps, what we wished,
or what looking back half the time it seems
we could so easily have been, or ought…
The future, yes, and even for the past,
that it will become something we can bear.
And I too, and my children, so I hope,
will recall as not too heavy the tug
of those albatrosses I sadly placed
upon their tender necks. Hope for the past,
yes, old Frost, your words provide that courage,
and it brings strange peace that itself passes
into past, easier to bear because
you said it, rather casually, as snow
went on falling in Vermont years ago.

We leave tomorrow, Porter, Will, Aunt Abby and I, that is, for Charlottesville, a place that once I couldn't bear to think about because of all my regrets associated with deciding not to attend law school there, after all. Now I hope I will associate it as the place where Will's feeding problems met the begining of their end. I am optimistic that our two weeks at Kluge's Children's Rehab center will be a turning point in Will's life.

Last night at their party, we lost track of Andrew, something that can be a bit alarming at a pool. We spotted him moments later, drifting through the lazy river with two of his friends and no parents. That was a bittersweet moment, but far more sweet than sad. The on

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Andrew at 5

I will waste no time expounding on my shock that my little Andrew is already 5 years old or the passage of time or the passing of life. It would take forever and I am too exhausted to even attempt it. Andrew is a delight and I think that 5 years old is a pretty great age for a kid to be. So I will get right down to recording exactly what he is like at this moment in time.

At 5 years old, Andrew can ride a two wheeler. His Tourette's-style exclamations designed to attract the attention of any passers-by of "Two wheeler! Four!" is now officially outdated.

He is a huge help with his little brothers. He can operate Will's machinery, to the point that I am not grateful and awed when he does it but rather irritated and scolding when he doesn't. The sight of him in the rearview mirror holding that little machine and pressing the correct buttons when it jams is something I will always treasure.

Andrew is as philosophical and introspective as ever. This should no longer be a surprise to me, but somehow he always comes out with something unexpected. The other day I made him hold Porter in the tub (see above). This was the 4th day I had bathed the boys in this way and Andrew's attitude had migrated from thrilled to begrudging. Porter loves bathtime and thrashes wildly, making holding him rather difficult. Andrew was anxious to return him. "Mom, is this what you do all day?" "Yes, Andrew, but I do it while making lunch or playing with you or doing dishes." I thought better of my response and clarified that I love my job as their mom and wouldn't trade it for anything. "You wouldn't?" Andrew asked, incredulous.
"I would, Mom. I would trade it."

For a more indicting example, but one I should record, happened the other day during a frustrating moment. I had forgotten to open the clamp on Will's tube after hooking him up and the force of the pent-up formula caused the formula line to burst out of the g-tube, spilling and spraying formula all over. I had to scramble before Will threw up (for some reason any time a port opens like this, Will vomits). I have been rather on edge these past few weeks and have not been at my parenting best, so I was probably sighing and mumbling and heaving myself dramatically around the kitchen. Realizing that I might be sending the wrong message to the kids, especially poor Will who is the real victim in all of this, I apologized and explained that I was not mad at any of them--I was mad at myself for my mistake. Andrew remarked. "You might feel mad at yourself, but you act like you are mad at Will." He was right, and as much as it hurt to hear, what a blessing he could remind me of that.

Andrew's love of women and female beauty continues right along. It first manifested itself in his crush on Dolly Parton when we was, what, not yet 2? Now he points out the incongruities btwn the bodies of supermodels and actresses and my own body, specifically our stomachs. One recent conversation centered around appropriate swim attire for me as opposed to other women. I, apparently, fall into the category of "Big Mommies" and must wear a tankini that covers my stomach while the other women can wear bikinis.

Andrew loves Star Wars, backugans (sp?), building elaborate things with Trio or Legos, swimming, reading and going for walks. He loves spending time at my parents house, which he does quite a bit due to Will's medical appointments etc. He loves to set traps for people and is still unrealistic about the scale of his trap compared to the size of the people to be trapped. His favorite tv show has shifted this year from Scooby Doo to Penguins of Madagascar. His life ambition is to use his career as a helicopter pilot to launch him into space. He is still as sweet and sensitive and tender as he was when he was just a tiny little thing that would only sleep while held. He also still gets out of bed occassionally to play and hang out with us, and I am still putting up with it and then letting him sleep in til the last possible moment. We are chronically late.

When I was in college, I read this poem and was immediately drawn to it. I guess in some recess of my brain I could recognize my future (as a 40 year old man), and now that I am rapidly approaching the stage of life described, I love the poem even more. I still see it primarily as a poem that applies to my age cohort, and that even though I feel that Andrew has grown up so fast I know that he is really still only 5 years old. And that is still young, even if it is no longer tiny or toddley. Yet I can feel creeping into the back of my mind thoughts about Andrew someday learning to close softly doors he will not be coming back to. It makes me grateful that today, right now, when sent to his room, he tends to slam doors as loudly and rapidly he can.