Because I had several empty nest years—loving each and every one of them, much of what I learned as a mother of growing boys has been lost. Now, with Casey, it is all new, often puzzling, often entertaining.
I think that kids are growing up faster now—milestones seem to creep up sooner—needs to know come earlier—baby teeth are replaced more quickly. I’m glad that I’m a stay-at-home “mother” this time around rather than the working mother I was the first time. However, I should clarify, I do not regret my career or working life, nor would I do it differently.
Casey is just 10 but already shows signs of eating like a future teenager. I can not imagine what he will be like in just a few years. Coming home from school, where he has already had lunch, he spends at least 20 minutes eating and drinking—milk, juice, yogurt, cookies, maybe some of last night’s left over, a bowl of cereal or what ever else he can scrounge, with fruit as a last resort. With all this, he never has an extra ounce of fat on his body. I think he burns it while he sits. The situation is that I am not sure if all of this eating is because of hunger or if he has found a way of putting off homework time. I strongly suspect it is a combination of the two.
He wants his own cell phone--now, tell my why a 5th grader needs a phone? In my past life as a school administrator, it wasn't deemed appropriate even for a junior high student to tote one. Now, I understand first graders think that it is a necessary school accessory. Casey does not have one.
Then there is that opposite sex thing. My understanding of elementary boy-girl relationships was that girls knew there were boys but that boys, really, were pretty unaware of girls. Boys had too many other interesting things to fill time with—you know, boy things. But, I was wrong.
Casey has two types of girl relationships. The first is “friend.” Several girls in his class qualify here—he really doesn’t seem to make a differentiation between them and his boy friends. The second kind is “girl-friend”--as in future wife. I don’t know how deeply embedded these feelings are and, they do so seem to be fairly transitory, but, they do happen. Encouragingly, he leans to tom-boy girls for his romantic picks.
If you read Casey’s blog, you are quite familiar with charming Camilla in Italy. Last year Cami was Casey’s sister. This year she has become Casey’s girlfriend with hints that they may even have “kissed.” Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from eyeing the ladies here. What I don’t need in the future is a resident Romeo.
Then there is the night when he let out an excited shout from the other room as he discovered hair on his legs. What an exciting night that was—for him. All I could think of was that puberty must be just around the corner. I really am not ready for the little boy to leave us. I want to keep the one who snuggles up on the couch, eating popcorn while watching some silly thing on TV or the one who wants gramma to lay on his bed with him for a few minutes at night—singing nonsensical songs or telling creatively bizarre froggy stories.
What I don't see happening is his being fanatical about doing his school work, using eyes to read or even practicing his karate. The "little boy" still controls his focus and drive. Nothing I say seems to penetrate this priority on play. Hopefully, with puberty, this too will change along with the voice. There are interesting years ahead! And, I look forward to them and the man Casey will ultimately become.
God sometimes gives us unexpected gifts. Our gift has been a grandson who enlivens our lives and makes retirement very different than the one we anticipated. He is a special joy. And that's "Casey." In 2006 we fulfilled our dream of living in Italy for a year. It was every bit as wonderful as anticipated. This blog begins in 2005 as we prepared for that experience. Since then we have explored many places together. That's the "Travel." And finally, I am a person of opinions--spiritually, politically, on just about anything and that's the "Other Stuff." Welcome to my blog.