You Are. You Really Are.

Copyright ThisNest

Copyright ThisNest

“You are important.” I say to him

“I am important!” he echoes

“You are special.” I say to him

“I am special!” he echoes

“You are smart.” I say to him

“I am smart!” he echoes

“You are kind.” I say to him

“I am kind!” he echoes

“You are amazing.” I say to him

“I am amazing!” he echoes

“You are so phenomenal.” I say to him

“I am so phenomenal!” he echoes

And he smiles with satisfaction. And my heart swells, as I also look to his little brother. And his little brother smiles with anticipation as we begin this conversation all over again. And I think…

You are. You really are.

Life Is Changing. Life Has Changed.

Copyright ThisNest

Copyright ThisNest

My first day of nursing school outfit is laid out. My dividers are snug in my new binders. My pens and highlighters have been carefully selected and zipped into their designated pockets…And my son has been gone a month now.

Life is changing. Life has changed.

I am heading into tomorrow, a tangled mess of emotions. Some describable…like I really miss my first-born son, and I wish he was here to see me off tomorrow.  Others not so much…only the nauseatingly joyful lump of nervousness and pride and fear and excitement that is sitting squarely on top of my chest, squeezing me a little more tightly with every minute that brings me closer to tomorrow. My first day of nursing school. My first day of nursing school!

So many happenings since we made this decision, as a family. Two years of sports seasons, a twentieth and twenty-first anniversary, braces going on…and coming off, first visits from the tooth-fairy (the last of these firsts for the Sparrows), the beginning of high school for one…and the end of it for another, our high school graduate’s flight from This Nest to his new home in California, first haircuts for long-haired little boys, and joys and heartbreaks, and laughter and tears, and a lot of really hard work and sacrifice…from ALL of us.

And the best advice I have ever gotten turned out to be true.

The time is going to pass anyway.

And here I am. After having worked so diligently (with the support of my phenomenal family) through all of my prerequisites, maintaining a nearly perfect GPA, completing my CNA certification, submitting my nursing program application…and waiting. Waiting and waiting ten long weeks for that acceptance letter.

Here I am.

Just me and the nauseatingly joyful lump of nervousness and pride and fear and excitement that is sitting squarely on top of my chest, squeezing me a little more tightly with every minute that brings me closer to tomorrow. My first day of nursing school. My first day of nursing school!

Life is changing. Life has changed.

I am ready.

 

 

Pissed Off

 

Copyright @ThisNest

Copyright @ThisNest

Our children are asleep. All five of them – sleeping under our roof. Together. Here.

Tomorrow will be different. Our roof will cover but four of them…and one will be several hundred miles away.

Away. Away from me. Away from us.

I cannot believe I am here now. In this time. In this place. This place that the older women warned me would arrive in the blink of an eye. And I did blink. And it did arrive.

“Oh, he’s so cute.” They would say.

“Enjoy it while it lasts.” They would say.

“Don’t blink.” They would say.

Damn. They were right. I humored their perspectives, and I smiled the way a new mother does as she dotes on her first-born child, and I agreed to “enjoy every moment” to appease those older women…

And I blinked.

Early tomorrow morning I will wrap my arms around him, I will kiss his face, I will smell his hair, I will hold his hand…

And then I will let it go. I will let him go. I will pray over him…and then watch the tail lights fade into the dark morning as his daddy’s car carries him away from me toward the airport.

And I will cry.

I am excited for him. I am hopeful for his future. I am nervous, optimistic, scared, happy, anxious, worried, and grateful.

But most of all…

I am pissed off that those older women were, in fact, telling me the truth.

 

Three Days

COPYRIGHT ThisNest

COPYRIGHT ThisNest

I laid in bed with the boys last night. I cuddled them to sleep and, after they had made their departures to dreamland, I tenderly kissed their sleeping faces and hands. After a three day weekend, out of town enjoying our Dee Dee’s MLK volleyball tournament, I was so happy to be home. Dee Dee and I had a blast…but man I missed the rest of us!

Back to my point.

I was gone for three days. Three days unable to kiss the little ones. Three days they were unable to feel their mama’s loving presence. Three days and I was so relieved to be reunited with them.

Three days.

Do you know that Frederick Douglass was torn away from his mama when he was barely a toddler? I am reading his autobiography and, as happy I am to be reading it…I am equally sickened by the details contained in each page. He was a precious little baby, who loved his mama, and then she was gone.

She would walk twelve miles, probably barefoot, over rugged terrain, in the dark…just to lay with her baby as he fell asleep. He would wake up and she’d be gone, because if she wasn’t back in her appointed field by sunrise…well, the details are grisly.

She died when he was just six or seven. He didn’t get to see her while she was ill. He wasn’t told of her passing. He wasn’t given the opportunity to attend her funeral (if she had one) or say goodbye. She was just gone from him.

So, after three days of missing them terribly, I laid in bed with the boys last night. I cuddled them to sleep and, after they had made their departures to dreamland, I tenderly kissed their sleeping faces and hands.

Their beautiful brown faces and hands.

And I mourned for Frederick Douglass (who was also biracial like my boys) and his mama (whose experiences I cannot fathom, and can barely bring myself to even read about), who were so brutally robbed of this most basic human right…to be a mother and son.

And then snuggled down into the blankets, I cuddled a little closer to my own.

 

 

Grateful Goodbye to 2013

2013,

As quickly as you came, you leave. You leave. As though, just yesterday, I welcomed you into our lives, full of the hope you promised to bring – today I reflect on those promises fulfilled, so gratefully.

I began the year, thankful to have been able to enroll in Anatomy & Physiology I – and I end the year having successfully completed that, in addition to II and III, while maintaining my perfect GPA.

I began the year dreaming of completing these necessary prerequisites, in order to be able to apply to the nursing program – and I end the year having just received my acceptance letter.

I began the year with two in high school, one in middle school, and our two youngest still at home together – and I end the year with a high school graduate, a high school junior who also attends college, a high school freshman, a new kindergartner, and one single Sparrow still waiting for his turn to start the adventure (and several young adults, whom I also happen to love very much, seeking paths of their own).

Kids with first jobs; one experiencing a firing and the other gathering the nerve to give two weeks’ notice, and both of them gaining some understanding of the real world (one got re-hired somewhere else, I’ll let you guess which).

Last babies losing first baby teeth, braces coming off of another, and a total of six wisdom teeth coming out of two other mouths – all of this leaving sparkling Sparrow smiles every where I look.

The end of a two year prednisone journey for a little one as he enters remission for his Nephrotic Syndrome – and prayers that his (so they say) inevitable relapse never finds its way to his precious kidneys.

The beginning of a bilingual journey for a little one as his name was drawn 20th in a lottery for twenty spots in our local Spanish Immersion kindergarten – and our astonishment at the rate in which he is soaking up his new language.

New driver’s license, first new car, all-star games and MVP awards, new sports’ seasons and last sports’ seasons, sprained ligaments, broken hearts, gaining new friends and losing some old ones, first bank accounts and debit cards, first field trips chaperoned and reminiscent of all the other first field trips I was also blessed to chaperone, first new apartment, babies growing into funny preschoolers, kids growing into high schoolers, high schoolers moving into adulthood, and young adults moving outside state lines to begin new adventures.

Too many firsts and lasts to list, 2013. I can barely fathom the speed at which you came and went. Your farewell takes with it the last year I will ever have all of my own babies living under the roof of their childhoods. I am devastated, and excited, I am nostalgic, and proud, I am nervous, and anxious, and happy, and sad, I am grateful…and I am blessed.

And I can’t wait to meet 2014.