Spiders and cobwebs cloak the front porches lining our streets. Kids are over-extended, but vibrant with energy from trunk-or-treats, block parties, and school festivals. Mine certainly are. Six o'clock came way too early for the Gemelli household this morning. I can appreciate the fact that not everybody participates in Halloween. I get it.
But as for my family, I'm going to tell you how Harry Potter became an evangelist this week. And J.K. Rowling might drop her butter beer at the news.
The dog leash is wound tightly around my wrist. Her little body begins to shake the moment the bus comes lumbering around the corner, eventually rolling to a stop. She chases her tail, excited and anticipating boy cuddles after a long school day apart. Oversized backpack slung over his shoulder and a coat hanging off one elbow, my youngest meanders down the bus steps, hollering final goodbye's to his friends. He doesn't notice that his brother isn't following behind like usual. Chattering. Gathering things that have likely dropped on the floor during the ride. I think of a million reasons for a delay by my social butterfly.
But then, he appears. Eyes welling with tears, he stumbles down the stairs and throws himself into a bear hug, burying his face in my jacket. Alarmed, I guide his eyes up to mine and give him a questioning look. "She said our house looks stupid, Mom. She thinks we're funny and she made fun of Jesus."
The water is 85 degrees but the air is cool. Parents line the pool deck with sweatshirts and towels draped tightly over their shoulders to cut the wind. None of the kids seem to notice as they giggle their way through swim practice. They're immune to cold at this age. A parent catches my attention as she begins to get a little loud in her attempts to usher her daughter to the dressing room to change clothes.
Dear sons, with forced smiles because your Mom took way too many pictures of you that day,
It's me again. As of this week, I'm a 34-year-old woman. To you, I know it sounds ancient, but as best as I can remember, I was a teenager last night when I went to bed. The other day you asked me how many days I had left to live. You promised you'd miss me if I died and assured me we'd meet in heaven when you guys "get old" too...like 35 or 100.
I figure with your woeful understanding of age and ladydom, we could tackle the Mars and Venus birthday situation together. It's my job to help you navigate the world of women long before you even attempt to chart the solar system.
Maybe someday you'll get married, or at the least, you'll go on a few dates and keep kind female friends. This is pending your ability to conquer the toilet seat situation. I have faith. You've mastered the monkey bars and can swirl spaghetti on your forks now.
Here are a few things you should know about when your wife turns 34...
The little girls who go to school with my sons are absolutely precious. Adorable! I grin every day as I watch them bounce through the doors in hair clips and matching outfits. Once in a while I find myself wishing there was a little more estrogen in my own home, a fantasy quickly replaced by the memory of how difficult the infant years can be.
I enjoy talking to other parents and I especially love to hear about how friendships are forming in their classrooms. I hear a lot about "besties" and requests to get together. The only comments that ever force me to pause sound something like this, "I asked her if (my son) is her boyfriend, but she said they're just friends."
It's happened on so many occasions these past few years. As parents, we don't mean anything by it. We think it's cute and we're programmed to have conversations like that with our adult friends.
Sadly, no, my son can't be your daughter's boyfriend.
Here are a few reasons why...
Dear sons with your honey-colored, summer hair and those mischievous grins,
I picture you twenty years from now, launching into a world full of adventure and choice, creating stories written in your own script and choosing partners to pen them with. By that age, your Dad and I will (most likely) find you (slightly) intolerable. Because, if you're anything like we were, you'll believe you know more than parents do about all the things. I'll pray about that in advance...
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.