We’ve been reduced to a family of three tonight.
After Katie announced to Auntie Angie (who was coming to pick her up for an impromptu play date with her cousin this afternoon) that she was going to “spend the night at your house”, a bag was quickly assembled with all a toddler’s nighttime necessities, a car seat was buckled into a relative’s car and a “be good, I love you” was whispered in a little girl’s ear as a kiss was firmly planted atop her golden-haired head.
“I will check in after the movie,” I told my sister-in-law before she left with the girls.
“She’ll be fine,” she said.
On to my next bag to pack.
Wyatt was to be spending the night with his grandmother in lieu of her coming to his birthday “party”. Another bag was stuffed with pajamas, change of clothes and toothbrush. Another child was told, “have fun, be good and I love you” by his parents.
And then there were three.
Husband, Wife and child (one child, one child who didn’t need a car seat or reminders not to run off into the parking lot).
One child who had been begging to see the movie “The Guardian”.
Not much convincing was needed to decide to sit in a movie theater for 2 ½ hours watching Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher (man, Demi Moore is one lucky . . . ) in this homage flick to the U.S. Coast Guard (amazing, absolutely amazing organization that doesn’t get enough credit for what they do). We sat, Brett and I and our little guy in between, and watched as the tummy-churning waves graced the giant screen in front of us. I even got to hold hands with my son during the really intense parts of the movie, an act that I will take full advantage of because I know, at his age, that this will not last for long.
And now we are home, home in a quiet house other than the sound of the Legos being shuffled around on the bedroom floor as McRae builds another masterpiece and the washing machine as it spins a new load of clothes in it’s basket (oh, and my fingers typing on the keyboard).
Sometimes, in a large family, you get lost in the chaos and the flurry of activity that takes over your life every day. McRae has definitely been feeling the brunt of being not the center of attention this week with his brother’s birthday festivities. I couldn’t help but notice the forlorn look on his face when he found out that Wyatt took his gift cards to Target (without his brother – which is like committing a felony in our house) while he was over at his friend’s house for the night. And now his sister’s birthday is in a couple of weeks and although her “party” won’t be as elaborate, it is still going to be all about her, as I feel birthdays should be. But there is a part of my heart that just wants to explain to him that we all get our moments in the limelight, and just because it isn’t his turn, doesn’t mean that he is loved any less. I wish that I could be assured that he believed that. My constant reminding him that he, out of all our children (I know, I make it sound like I have a gaggle of kids, not only 3) is the only one who has ever had us alone does not seem to sink in. So I am grateful to be able to have this day with just him, this time in between where it’s just us, like in the beginning.
I know that it is a constant tug-o-war, as all my kids need me in different ways. But I just wish there was a way to make sure that they know how much I love each and every one of them and how empty I feel when they are away from me.
Although I am enjoying the quietness of our house and the lack of sibling squabbles, I miss them. Although Katie’s bedtime routine has been exhausting, I will miss her little hand reaching up to mine as she lays in her bed next to me and says “hold my hand mommy” at 3am. Although Wyatt’s social calendar is fuller than a celebrity’s at the moment, and it’s become a struggle to dodge the requests for his company by his entourage, I miss the fun of just being around him and his constant compliments (because what girl doesn’t like to be bombarded with compliments by a handsome guy with freckles?).
And so, although the day has come to a close and there will be 2 unslept-in beds under our roof, I will try my hardest to remember what it was like when there were 3, only 3. I will feel lucky to be able to briefly return to this feeling, the feeling shared only with my firstborn. Because he, he is the only one who has ever had us all to himself.