Him: "I just want to hang on to whatever time left we have to do things as a family"
Me: "I think that ship may have sailed honey."
Him: "No. No it hasn't. I refuse... you're coming with us."
Me: "So even if I'm not on the ship, but the rope is wrapped around my ankle, and you're dragging me behind it?"
Him: "Yup. You're coming with us."
Sunday is our 7th wedding anniversary, and remarkably, neither one of us is itchy in the slightest. We are still in love most days, but more importantly, genuinely still liking each other. And while it's been only 7 years, the last 15 years we've enjoyed each other's company is something in itself to be content with. Our relationship has changed considerably since the boys were 1, 2, and 8 ish. The everyday all consuming tasks of parenthood have been replaced by independence and self sufficiency. This of course means that while we've done a relatively good job in raising decent human beings, it leaves us with gaping holes in the fabric of our everyday, that honestly I am having a tough time mending.
BBoy is full time at the grocery store where he works. Last year, we took him to the dealership and he bought, off the lot, his first car. Shortly after that he got promoted to supervisor, and about 2 months ago he moved out of his mother's into an apartment with friends, about 20 minutes from here. While slow, it seems that once the ball of adulthood started to roll, it caught some momentum. He'll be 24 on Saturday and he finally seems happy. Now if we could just get him to cut that hair of his and maybe get a shave....
Oldest and I have been touring colleges as he starts his Senior year in eight days. While he will likely apply via the common ap to 6 colleges just to increase his options, he has narrowed it down to his top two, Worcester Poly Tech and Wentworth. He is planning a major in Mechanical or Civil Engineering, with a minor in college girls and off campus parties, because that is how he gets a rise out of me. He forgets as he throws out these off-handed, instigating comments about prospective college life, his instinctual decisions have more to do with academics and structure, so in my heart I know he'll be fine.
He earned his varsity letter for Track in javelin last year and continues to make the honor roll. He has had his heart broken several times in the last year, mostly by girls that were not right for him, and once by one who was. The road of relationships is long and winding with many potholes and avalanches along the way, unfortunately you have to get hit by a lot of rocks before you learn to look up, duck, cover, and sometimes get off the road all together. He's working two jobs this summer, and he's struggling to balance time with friends, the jobs, summer school work, and his own interests. I rarely see him to be honest, and when I do it's to ask if I'm cooking dinner.
And in roughly 80 days he will no longer be a child. My first baby will be 18.
Youngest, on the other hand is 16, and oh what a full year he has had. He won a $500 scholarship as runner up for the National Boys and Girls Club Youth Of The Year. He got his permit and is slowly, ever so slowly, learning to drive. He has a girlfriend, at least I think that's where this friendship is going, because he doesn't say much and what he does say is an incoherent mumble. He earned his second year on the Varsity wrestling team last year, and continues to wrestle for a private club. He works out 3 hours a day and recently completed 2 of the three races in a Spartan Trifecta. If you're not familiar, a Spartan race is an extreemly hard core mud/obstacle race varying in lengths of 3-13 miles long. It's insane and he loves every second of them.
He finished his Eagle Project and is now an Eagle Scout. His Scout friends are following suit and I suspect that he'll stick with it until his friends are also done or until he ages out. He and I are starting to tour colleges next week. His career choices have ranged from Plumber to Armed Forces, and from Engineer to Sports Science. Also under consideration is the ever popular, but less profitable Hobo Studies, also known as riding the rails and eating tuna from a can. Most likely he'll fall somewhere in the middle, working his way through a local, affordable college as a plumber's apprentice, and then getting a job working for Spartan designing obstacles for insane races world wide, thus seeing the world, but being able to afford the good tuna from a pouch rather than a rusty can. In the meantime, he is also working two jobs over the summer, trudging through school summer work, balancing friends, wrestling, finishing driver's education, and random scout outings.
Which brings me back full circle to the ship sailing on family fun. The husband bought these concert tickets months ago. Months before coordinating 4 jobs of the two in house boys and the full time wacky retail schedule of the one who doesn't live here. Months before we both had a new Postmaster, new supervisors, and new rules of taking time off. Months before we all had these enormous things on our plates and we forgot all about said tickets.
But there there were. Real tickets, not even eTickets, sitting right there on the table. Which lead me to booking a hotel, the boys coordinating their schedules, and rearranging appointments. It was quite a big deal, but it was doable.
And then, five days before, I was not given the time off.
And I was left with the choice of going, or not.
I struggled with this for days. So much so that I flaired my diverticulitis and had to switch to a nearly all liquid diet for 3 days. I considered not going at all, which the husband wanted no part of. Regardless, this ship was sailing, and in the end I really wanted to be on it.
So I went. We took 2 cars. Youngest rode with me down and we talked the whole way. Real, articulated words. The two hours flew by. I drove back just after midnight with BBoy and Oldest in tow. Oldest just wanted to sleep in his own bed and I think BBoy just wanted to be home as well. Husband and Youngest stayed the night, a smart choice on their part since the husband had been up for 22 hours, and Youngest knew there was no breakfast food at home. They arrived home, after gorging themselves on the casino's buffet, around one that afternoon. As for me, I had about 3 hours of sleep before heading back to work all day, in oppressive weather, worsened by the easy-bake-oven of a mail truck I deliver out of for 5 hours a day.
It was less than awesome.
But as I think back, looking down the row of them all singing together, containing themselves just short of dancing in the seats, it was worth strapping myself to the sail of this family's ship, regardless of where we we go, or how rough the seas may be when I get home.