one for the memory banks

You never realize the perfect times when they're happening. Only once in a while, you get a little glimpse, a hint that this is one for the memory banks.

Kiddo's violin teacher canceled his lesson, which gave me time to run by the store on the way home. No big. The boy went gallivanting about the neighborhood for an hour with his friends, so they can talk about boogers and superheroes, I will never know. I dug weeds out of the garden and cursed the rocks and nasty clay soil that grows nothing but junk weeds despite my best efforts.

Then the boy returned - precisely on time, because he loses bike privileges if he's late - and rode in circles around the parking lot while I finished weeding the flower bed. Then I enjoyed the last of the sunset, sitting in the Adirondack chair as he played soccer with the apartment building's wall.

The music rose in the deepening twilight, and when he looked over at me as Nickelback came on, I raised my hands in the awesome salute and headbanged. He declared that I am too old to be cool, stop trying. Twerp. The air was clear, the sky was beautiful and I wished on the evening star.

He made me laugh as he air-guitared, and pulled two dandelion stems to air-drum along with the music. Once the song was done, I made him go inside to de-grime himself while I put on dinner. I popped my head into the bathroom to tell him to hurry up.

BOY: What's for dinner?
ME: Tuna casserole.
BOY: Bleeech!
ME: Ahem.
BOY: I mean, yum. Yay. Awesome. I'm sorry!

I quietly went away. I quietly filled a glass with ice-cold water. And a moment later, when his attention was elsewhere, I dumped the whole glass over the top of his shower curtain.

"Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhh! Not cool, Mom! Not cool!"

Yeah, make fun of my cooking again and you'll get worse, boy.

He had three helpings of the tuna casserole while we watched STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

Now he's in bed and I am about to close up the screen door, because it's finally getting too cool outside to keep the door open. And I find myself wondering what other people do, people who have stressful plate-spinning jobs like mine, who have so many things that take up space in their hearts and minds. After a day like today, I could not imagine coming home to an empty house, with nothing but vapid television and the thoughts in my own head.

Instead I have him, and the way he makes me laugh. He gave me a three-page comic book he drew today at latchkey, titled "Bacon Tales: The Great Escape" following the adventures of several slices of bacon. I cannot make this up.

And when I tucked him into bed tonight, he said, "I love you, Mommy." He might be a little old to still call me Mommy. But I don't care.

Because it occurred to me, sitting on the Adirondack and watching him cavort on the tiny space of grass beside the parking lot that we laughingly call our "lawn," that these are the little spaces in time I have to hold on to for the rest of my life. He will grow up someday and I have to let him go, to be the wonderful young man he's going to be. He's only going to be eleven for this little space in time.

Someday we have to leave behind the wall where I've marked his growth since 2004. It's my dearest hope that he chooses someplace nearby for college, so he'll still come by on Sunday nights to watch something geeky and eat home cooking while he does his laundry. But that's my selfish wish, and wherever he goes, I have to let him go.

So I hold onto those sweet evenings in the twilight, when he still likes me enough to let me see him be silly, when he can still say, "I love you, Mommy" and means it with no affectation or nonsense. We don't have money, we don't have a real yard and he doesn't have most of the things I wanted to give him growing up.

But we have this evening, this little space of perfect. And it's one for the memory banks.


  1. Ahahahahaha...

    Kiddo is so funny. =D

    I think he comes by it honestly, though. =D


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