Saturday, January 20, 2007

Time marches on

Tonight friend of ours came over, bringing their two sons. How amazing two watch their oldest and Gavie share the oversized sketch book and make blue circles on their respective pages. How fun to hold their youngest, who will be one on Gavie's fourth birthday. The seven of us sat around the kitchen table and shared pizza. Us adults talked about the excitingly mundane: insurance, taxes, work. We joked, too, of course, she and I playing "I knew you when."

She knew me just as the big guy and I were buying our first house and just starting a three-year road to conceiving. I knew her when she and her big guy were just starting to date, just taking those first steps into committment. Naturally, I teased the hell out of her.

We both started at VADU the same year. I left the following June, fleeing to higher education. I've had three jobs since. She'd still there. (Believe me, I'm saying that with admiration!)

Time marches on. Eight... or is it nine?... years now and our little boys are making friends.

When they left, we happily picked up the chaos that a three and two-year-old leave in their wake. We love washable crayons and berber carpets, for they let boys be boys. Plastic bins let us toss trucks and Fisher-Price Little People in haphazardly and with ease. In all, it was a whopping five minutes. I've never been a particularly fussy woman when it comes to Gavie. True, I have issues with letting him out in public in mismatched outfits or his favorite but well-worn sweats (never!!), but I've yet to flinch when it comes to messes made in the pursuit of fun.

Growing up, dreaming about families and kids, I never really knew how much I'd love these nights. They aren't exactly the most exciting -- no dancing, no crowds, no late nights. Stumbling in at 3 a.m. was never my way, I don't think I've ever done that. The last time my friends and I went dancing, in fact, I left at midnight and didn't drink a thing beyond a Pepsi. Living the wild life, which according to the media is the way to go for someone of my youth, was never quite my thing. Still, sitting around talking about insurance was not something I ever gave much thought to.

I'm looking forward to doing it again.

We're watching Cars right now. I'm sitting on the couch, and Gavie is bundled under an afghan. He's falling asleep, slowly. Louch that he is, he's fighting it. Like his father, he doesn't seem to require much sleep. In about a half hour, after he's completely out, I'll carry him upstairs and relish holding my baby. He's getting so tall, too soon I won't be able to carry him. Even now it's getting tricky. When I read to him, he's too lanky to hold on my lap. Balancing him and a book no longer happens. Actually, just cuddling on my lap is becoming a challenge because he's all arms and legs.

In pictures he looks older then almost-four. My baby boy now tells me he can do things all by himself. He wants to do everything by himself. "By myself, mom! All by myself!"

We finally got our family portrait taken. It's hanging over the fireplace to the left of the wedding portrait. To the right is Gavie's third birthday portrait. He's standing there with a smile on his face, unguarded. I can see his dad's features in his small face. He's his dad all over again -- though he inherited my nose.

"All by myself," he announces daily. By the minute, it sometimes seems. When he tries to prove that he can do things by himself we often have to run interference between him and a number of everyday household items that almost-four-year-olds aren't quite capable of handling alone. You know, like emptying the Dustbuster. Operating a screwdriver. Putting hand lotion on the cat. (Well, trying to anyway!)

"All by myself." My baby's growing up. It's going to be a heck of a ride, I suspect, whatwith his tendency to have an answer for everything. He may look like his dad, but he sounds like his mom.

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