This week marks the beginning of a new school year, for me (as a teacher) and the boys. The end of summer came just in time–the boys were starting to lose it. It rained buckets all day Monday, and the family spent the whole time cooped up inside. The boys tore through the house, getting into everything. Their adventures led them to the spare bedroom closet where they: found their Halloween candy bags and practiced trick-or-treating, brought out our Christmas stockings (and kindly distributed them to all of us–including pets), and went through Pam’s twenty spare purses and collected all of the loose change. Later, after hearing them rustle around upstairs for a good while, I went up to check on them. This is what I found:
The boys were gearing up to have an underwear fight. When I asked them how you played the game, they said, “You just load up with all your underwear, then you start to throw it at the other person.” My first thought: The bus will be here in less than 18 hours. I gave them the refrain they are already sick of hearing: “Have fun, but be sure to clean up when you’re done.” When I left them to continue on their merry way, I began to reminisce about our summer. We spent a great deal of time together. And I enjoyed most of it. I am a big proponent of giving them structure at certain times of the day, then letting them have free reign to discover things on their own–just to be; to cultivate the art of hanging out and finding stuff to do on their own. These guys are goofy, they are funny, they have wild imaginations…Which got me thinking about their best scheme of the summer.
One afternoon, as they were playing, I found them traipsing back and forth from the upstairs to the refrigerator in the garage. Each made a trip with a Dixie cup in hand. “What are you guys doing?” “We’re trying an experiment.” “Cool–wait! You’re leaving a trail. Your cups are dripping.” “Oops, too full.” “Be careful.” “Okay.” I went back to folding laundry; they went back to experimenting. Later that day, as I was giving them a snack, Owen rushed out to check on his experiment. He came back in, beaming. “It worked!” “Awesome, buddy. What is it, exactly?” “Our pee. We froze our pee.” “WHAT!?%?& We do not freeze pee.” “We added toothpaste and soap,” Hayden said. “Guys, no more freezing your pee.” “Okay.” “Oh no-and you left that trail all the way to the fridge outside.” Big laughs from them, and then big laughs from me as I went to find a mop.
Later, when we were filling in their mom about the experiment, Owen said, “It tasted weird.” “Oh, God, Owen. You tasted it?” she cried. “No more experiments with pee,” I said.
This one is destined to become a classic. I’ll be sure to tell it when one of them brings a date home for dinner someday.
And here we are. Summer will quickly fade into fall, and time will continue to have its way…I get so nostalgic at the beginning of the school year. There is a buzz in the air–a sense of promise and discovery. I think of my own school memories, and wonder how did I get to be 42 so fast. Then I see these little explorers, raring to get on the bus to discover more on their own, but looking behind to make sure we are still there. There is no more hand holding at the bus, and rarely a kiss in public, as these guys go from toddlers to mature first and second graders. I think how quickly these years have flown, and will continue to fly, and that will mean less hand holding, fewer kisses goodbye, and me no longer able to lift them in my arms. But I will carry the memories of these boyhood adventures in my heart for the rest of my life–even the one’s found in Dixie cups.