Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not Any Other Saturday

Today was interesting.

David went hunting in Sedona and took Grace with him. He dropped her off at her cousin's to spend the night. Both she and Casey (said cousin) were so excited that neither of them slept last night, so I don't know how well their plans to stay up until 2AM will go.

Anyhoo, here I was with Jack, Henry, George, and Nina until 4:30.

Now, you may have gleaned that I've been spending a lot of one-on-one time with Jack lately.

Grace and I have many girly days where we go shopping, out to eat, or whatever. We've also gone on several trips together.

I spent the vast majority of Henry's life with him from the age of 4 months until he turned 3. He was receiving so much therapy outside the house and I was required to do so much inside the house that we were pretty much connected to one another for many years. Not surprisingly in hindsight, Jack (even at only 18 months) often acted as the therapist's "assistant" with Henry. The kid could totally fend for himself while Henry wouldn't touch food or move a limb to get anything he wanted, so I thanked God for Jack's self-sufficient nature and went to grab Henry a rattle. Or a Cheerio.

George, as I've mentioned, didn't cut the cord until he was 3 1/2. He now wants nothing to do with me, which is somewhat upsetting, but he's a bit of a "Daddy's Boy" these days. Truly, he was on my hip, like an interesting fashion accessory, for the first 3 1/2 years of his life.

And Nina, well, Nina is obviously with me most of the time these days.

So Jack has sort of gotten the shaft, as they say. And I'm greatly enjoying making it up to him.

The kid is so multi-faceted it's unbelievable. He's athletic and domestic and kind and funny.

This afternoon I asked him to go with me on a mountain bike ride into...can you guess...the mountains. Our neighbors told us about a trail up into the mountains behind our house that sounded fun.

Of course, he agreed.

On the way up the hill (the very steep hill), I hear him behind me profess, "I love my life."

Now, most 7-year-olds love a lot of things: their toys, Wii, days off from school, ice cream...

But to say, "I love my LIFE" as a 7-year-old?

I somehow doubt that happens all that often.

It was the most Zen statement he's ever made --- totally void of materialism --- and only focusing on how beautiful the day was, the fact that he was out enjoying it on his bike and, I like to think, the fact that we were out and about together.

So then we head up to this trail.

Now, let me preface all this by saying that I was not wearing a helmet. But I survived. Barely. And I wrote Liz Helmet on the Target list the minute we returned home. My dad will have a heart attack over this. But, like I said, I'm fine. Barely.

Now, when you're mountain biking with your 7-year-old (and looking muy cool with the baby seat on the back of your most fab Diamondback mountain bike that was given to you by your fab husband 11 years ago --- and hasn't been ridden know, because I got pregnant about 6 minutes after the gift was presented and stayed that way until...well...recently) and every 8 minutes or so that 7-year-old turns his head 180-degrees to the right to inquire, "Mom? You okay back there?" you start to feel a bit...well...old.

Then, we hit this huge downhill...all rocks...and, did I mention, I didn't have a helmet.

I told Jack, as we sat perched at the top of this very steep hill aware that there was nowhere to go BUT down, that this is why we wear helmets. So if you go over the handlebars and hit your head on a rock, the helmet protects your very delicate and important brain.

The whole way down I'm going, "Do not go over the handlebars. Do not go over the handlebars."

We made it, and Jack goes, "Mom, if we hit another hill like that, I'm going first. I think I need to test it for you. And do you have a CLUE where this path will end up?"

No sir. I do not.

So, another hill we hit and, as promised, Jack raised his hand and said, "Stop. I'm going first."

I truly felt like I was younger than he is.

So, after we made it down that hill (with the damn baby seat bouncing like mad the whole way down), Jack goes, "Mom, you really do need a helmet. Because if you fall and get hurt, I'll be lost."

"Jack, somehow I am quite confident that you would find your way home."

"Well, that's true," he confided. "But I wouldn't know what to do with your body."


I said, "Jack, this raises an excellent point. Next time we do this, I'm bringing (along with a helmet) my cell phone."

Jack says, "Yeah, you need to teach me how to use that. In case I have to get someone to come get your body."

Also lovely.

So, an hour later we finally arrived at an outlet from which I thought we could get home. And as we came up over the hill, we saw David, Nina, and George. David was like, "Good God - where did you come from?"

Jack answered, "Don't ask."

I love that I have 5 kids who are all SO different from one another that I can so clearly identify what it is about each of them that is special and unique. I can have 5 special and oh-so-different relationships at the same time. I know without doubt that two of them will scream at me for much of the day, two of them will be eager to go on any adventure with me, and one of them will do something amazing each day like clap or laugh or get a tooth.

As Jack said so well, I love my life.


Trendy Mindy said...

Great story Liz!! Made me laugh of course all of your writing does :)

"Indescribable" said...

WOW! Your kids are great, and you should probably get a helmet, teach them to use the cell phone and keep enjoying them! ( But you knew all that!)

The Gresham Clan said...

Love this story - isn't it amazing how wonderful and unique kids are? You have such a great way of telling about them!!

Easties and Co. said...

LOL!!! I love that Jack was pondering the difficulty with "your body" of if you were to get hurt. I want you to post (with a pic!) of you and your new helmet when you get it so the rest of us don't have to worry about "your body" either. :)


be_a_Mary said...

awww. i love this. such a great story.