Access to the Teacher’s Lounge

I watched as he picked up the menu and extended his arm. Gone were the days where he could read the beer list with his arm bent. I smiled, and I welcomed him to my world. Yes, Rob and I have reached the age of seeing things better from a distance.

As a kid in elementary school, I remember being fascinated with what I imagined was taking place behind the teacher’s lounge door. If I happened to walk by the teacher’s lounge when a teacher was either entering or leaving the room, I would do my best to peek inside, hoping to get a glimpse into the private club. Ever curious, I find myself drawn to the ways and the world of adults. To me, growing old is getting like getting an all-access pass to the teacher’s lounge

In 1982, John Cougar Mellenkamp released the song ‘Jack and Diane’. The lyrics of the song included, “Hold on to 16, as long as you can.” The lyrics continue, “Changes come around real soon make us women and men.” When that song was released I was 13 years old. And, I remember thinking the 3 yrs I had before turning 16 would take forever. Finally, when I turned 16, I listened to the song again, celebrating the fact that I now had access to an exclusive club. Well, maybe not that exclusive.

Growing up and growing old brings with it many experiences. As a kid, I marveled at the aging process; now, I find humor in the fact that I am experiencing first hand what I found fascinating as a kid. I held on to 16 as long as I could, but really – the age of 16 hasn’t got anything on other older ages. Sure, not every age-induced experience is pleasant, but I’d much rather experience growing old than miss it entirely. Now excuse me, I am going to see how many gray hairs I can find on my head. Yes, I am looking forward to getting gray hair.

Observations and Birthdays

Joe, 9lbs 8oz

This week, Charlie celebrates his 4th birthday. When the boys were babies, I would go in their room and watch them sleep in their crib. I was always amazed how big they looked in their crib. It seemed their growth became more obvious at night, when they were sprawled out in their bed, lying motionless.

Joe, small enough to fit in a nursing pillow.

Even now, when I check on the boys before I go to bed, I see how they are filing up their twin beds more and more. My boys are getting so big. I am watching it unfold in front of me, yet it still seems to happen in the blink of an eye.

A time when baths were taken in the sink.

Joe and I were watching TV early one morning. He was sitting on the table in front of the couch, while I sat on the couch. I watched him, sitting on the table, and I couldn’t help but notice how big he was getting. Then I was reminded of the fact that he is starting Kindergarten in August, and his big boyness became even bigger to me.

Just home from the hospital with Charlie.

I eventually said, “Joe, you are getting so big.” He quickly replied, “I know.” Then I asked, “Are you excited about getting big?” He mumbled, “Yes.” Shortly after, Charlie came in the room and sat on the table (apparently our couch & chair lack comfort). And just like I noticed with Joe, I was amazed at how big Charlie is getting.

Joe checking out his new baby brother, Charlie.

I’m no longer watching them with my breath held, as they attempt to climb up to the couch, chair or -ahem – table. They are old enough to go outside without Rob and me following along immediately. Strollers, cribs, high chairs and diapers are all things of the past. Entertainers, bouncy seats and push toys are long gone. Now it’s Tinker toys, Lincoln logs, Legos
and 100+ piece puzzles; Crayons, paints,
glue sticks and scissors.

Brotherly trust and brotherly love

I am enjoying the boys more and more as they grow. I love listening to Joe and Charlie interact with each other, each one confident in his knowledge. Joe is the teacher, explaining things to Charlie. And Charlie is the ever-trusting younger brother, seeking Joe’s advice on the littlest thing. “Joe, should I use the orange crayon or the red one? Orange or red, which one?”

Brothers sharing

When out of various stages, it becomes easy to romanticize about newborns and infants. But, I’m not looking to experience the sleepless nights, colic cries and changing of diapers again. Still … little outfits, sweet baby breath, tiny fingers on a tiny hand holding your seemingly gigantic thumb tightly… Well, maybe one sleepless night. Happy birthday, Charlie; I love you.