I was almost done packing Liam's lunch and making his breakfast. If I waited much longer to wake him we'd most certainly be late for his first day of camp. I tiptoed down the hall to his room but stopped when I noticed a light on in the Rec Room. There he was, sleepy eyed and wrapped in White Bi, sitting at his desk and working on his newest Lego set.
"Hey, Bud," I said smiling. "I was just coming to wake you up. And now I guess I don't have to."
"Yep," he said, sleepily, barely looking up.
"You ready for class today?" I asked. I had signed him up for two weeks of SAVY where he'll be learning about algebra all morning and molecules all afternoon. Kind of a hard sell for the middle of summer.
"Okay. Well. Maybe just hop in a quick shower and get dressed, then you can build your set until it's time to go?"
I walked back to the kitchen to finish getting everything ready. I wrote a quick note for his lunch box. Hey Bud, I know this isn't exactly your idea of a fun way to spend summer vacation but just think, soon we'll be chillaxin in Hawaii! I appreciate you giving this your best today. Love, Mama. Then I walked back to the Rec Room to check on him.
He was still sitting at his desk, wrapped in White Bi.
"Hey Li, you really need to get in the shower. Then you can play with your Legos."
"I already took a shower," he said calmly.
"You did? Really? That was fast. Did you wash your hair?"
"Wow... Well, I guess you should probably get dressed."
Morning time is never this easy. Getting him out of bed, dressed, fed and out the door is easily a two man job. The only times I can remember him waking up early, before I came to get him, were days I never had to get him at all. Days when he knew waking up early would buy him some much needed alone time. He never wakes up early if he has to be in class. And certainly not for two new back-to-back classes in the middle of summer.
Who wakes up early for summer school?
The rest of the morning was equally painless and soon I was pulling up to our designated drop off spot at Vanderbilt. The kids who had already arrived were sitting in neat rows on the grass, waiting for camp to begin. The whole thing made me a little nervous. I mean, when was the last time I had to spend the day with ten people I didn't know and learn something new? I had no idea. But the idea of it felt a bit overwhelming. I wondered if Liam was feeling similar apprehension but he seemed to be completely unfazed. When I stopped the van he simply gathered his things, said goodbye and walked off to find his spot on the lawn.
Part of me still expects him to cling to my leg.
This is the third camp he's attended this summer. He did a week at Camp Widjiwagan, learning archery and making friends and cruising around the lake on a banana boat. Actually, he only rode the banana boat for a minute. Then he was like, "Get me off this crazy thing!" and spent the rest of the time watching the action unfold from the speedboat. He was there all day long, outside, in the sun, with a bunch of kids he'd never met before. He loved it. I still can't believe it but he really did. He's already asking to go back next year and spend the night.
After that he did a week of tennis camp at USN. It was just a couple hours in the morning but we had to be there at 7:45. That is really early for us. I'm not even that embarrassed to admit that one of the main reasons we love homeshcool so much is that we never have to be anywhere that early. Kindergarten and those ten fateful days of first grade were insanely hard for us. Being up and dressed and fed and out the door and on time five days a week was almost more than we could handle. Okay, maybe I'm a little embarrassed by that. What can I say? Mornings are just not our thing.
He handled it fine for tennis though, even though once again, I was dropping him off at a strange location with strange people and just leaving him there, expecting him to figure it out and fend for himself. It blows my mind to see him handle stuff like this. To just get out of the van and go. Go where? I wonder from the comfort of the drop off lane. Where's he supposed to go?! He might not know but he sure doesn't let that slow him down. He knows he'll figure it out or find someone who can help him. Either way, he's not worried.
It amazes me. How much he's grown and who he's become. He's like the light at the end of the tunnel on my hard days with Finn. Because when he was three we had our fair share of struggles too. I almost wouldn't believe it if I couldn't go back to my archives and read it for myself. This blog is a godsend for that sort of thing. A memory keeper that doesn't rely on my memory. Because let's face it, memory can have a mind of its own. Add in the rose colored glasses and hindsight being 20/20 and all that - who knows if what we remember ever really happened at all?
But I'll remember today. Liam sitting in the grass with the other kids as nonchalant as anyone I've ever seen. Finn's blond hair blowing in the breeze as I pushed the stroller down to the duck pond and back up the big hill. Mama, if I'm calm and quiet on our walk can I please have some chocolate when we get home? Their laughter swirling around them as they took silly picture after silly picture with the photo booth on my computer...
This is why I take pictures, why I write things down. The moments go by so fast. Like, poof, and then they're gone forever. I like having a little something to hold onto. Something that tells the story of our lives and lets me savor our time together just a little bit longer.