Hello again! If you hadn’t noticed… a bit of a “blog break” just happened.
Things got a bit crazy over here with clients, workload, summer “adventure mom” escapades (i.e. I’m a professional uber driver), and manning the needs of the Murphy Empire (we are a two company entrepreneurial household over here, where duties often intermingle)!
… but I’m finding the time, and creating the content (including a few new design reveals!) to get back into the swing of things for Fall (yes, FALL… can you believe it?).
My littlest starts pre-school tomorrow (jumping for joy, yet crying at the same time), and my six and a half year old son is off in Connecticut on what looks to be an annual trip for years to come!
Trees, and creeks, and running barefoot through the hills… and… stitches (we’ll get to that in a bit).
What I want to talk about is one of my first lessons in parental expectation and the first time said son broke my heart.
Last summer, at five and half, was Parker’s first trip back East to stay with his cousins (three boys, as sweet and as fun as can be).
They live in the countryside in the northwest corner of Connecticut in a charming little town covered in hills, and trees, and tractors, and trampolines.
It’s the kind of existence where you open the door, the kids run out, and you don’t see them for a few hours… and that’s completely okay.
As a child, you don’t get that kind of autonomy in LA.
That kind of freedom… if only for a few weeks… is what I long to give my kiddos, which is why we hope to make that trip every year (and maybe leave Avery next time if she shows us she is ready).
But something unexpected happened when Parker returned from his two weeks away.
I waited impatiently and full of excitement as my sister-in-law made the drive to our home (she has business and a house in LA, so she is able to fly back with him). I knew Parker would be tired and most likely sad to leave our East Coast family (they are a SUPER fun crew)… but I imagined with anticipation his little five year old (at the time) body bounding up the stairs with a big smile and an even BIGGER jump into my arms as he told me how much he missed me!
Instead… I opened the door to a sulky, clearly despondent kid who made a beeline for the couch and immediately laid down, ready to burst into tears at any given moment or movement.
The cousins gave their goodbye hugs… and I was left, feeling a bit uncomfortable for the first time around my own child, as my “baby” (HE WAS FIVE) asked for some space and privacy.
All I wanted to do was to smother him in hugs and kisses… and instead… I got the big “kiss off”.
I walked into the kitchen… and I sobbed. Literally sobbed.
What’s happening? How could this be?
… and then it hit me like a ton of bricks…. oh FUCK… he’s just like me!
Fiercely independent and adventurous beyond his years, Parker is happiest “on the go” (just as I was at an early age).
… and “re-entry” is hard and tricky after vacay (even for us adult types), but my expectations created a movie scene like moment without calculating what might be going on in HIS emotionally charged and fragile state.
So I wiped my tears, gathered those little pieces of my shattered heart back up from the ground (is that “movie like” quality enough?), decided to do the dishes (I always do the dishes when I’m mad or sad), and waited for him to be ready… for me… in whatever capacity that might be.
It only took about twelve minutes (I still remember) until I heard, “Mama… can you come snuggle?”.
I walked calmly (RAN) into the living room, curled up behind him and didn’t let go until I knew I had to.
And we have to… over and over and over again.
So, lesson learned.
I observe more… “fantasize” less. I mean, that’s a general rule of thumb anyways, right? Why do we have trouble adhering to this rule as parents (remember those fantasies about holding your angelic newborn, as the light of dawn streams through the window of your perfectly put together nursery? Mmmmmhmmmm).
Well Parker is off again on another great countryside adventure, which he literally began asking about MONTHS before school even ended.
Patrick, Avery and I waved to him from the car after he gave us a quick hug goodbye, jetted off to the playground with his cousin, and we took the train back to NYC for the night.
Cut to… the stitches.
As I was writing this post on the plane… we get a text from Patrick’s sister asking us to face time when we get home. Patrick has that “gut feeling” something happened.
Sure enough… as we were flying through the air… Parker went to pee in a stream (yes… you heard that right) with his fave cousin Vincent, and stepped on a broken piece of glass that the boys had forgotten about from the day before.
First day. Gash in the foot. Emergency room. Five stitches.
Our family said he was brave. Hardly a tear. AMAZING.
But the armor cracked once he saw us on Face Time.
Ouch. There’s that heartbreak again.
Just let go…
Side Note: I would obviously be rushing back to get Parker if I needed to, but with our amazing family, and his cousins who will still make the trip a blast (I already have video proof), I am completely confident that he does not want to come home 😉 .
And also… make sure that when you do leave your child… you leave ALL of the necessary medical information (copy of insurance, permission to treat note for family, detailed instructions about what is allowed to happen at a hospital, or what your child is allowed to receive in the way of medication, etc.). We were literally on the plane while this was going down, so we are very thankful to Patrick’s sister and her husband for being so well informed about our beliefs and needs. I mean, we are only talking stitches… but it’s important!
I leave you with a quote:
Kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run. Barbara Kingsolver
Ok… I’m not leaving you yet. But this is it. I promise!
The above stitches incident was a lesson in preparedness, especially while traveling.
I am actually very nonchalant when it comes to travel. I have a trusting nature. I travel light. I don’t pay more for insurance or extra phone coverage, etc.
… and I am not by any means an alarmist.
But things can go wrong (way worse than stitches in a foot), and this story by fellow LA mama Kelly Zajfen really put things into perspective for me, since we plan on traveling abroad with our kiddos.
Read what happened on Mother Mag, and save her list about WHAT EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW while traveling!