Tag Archives: Attachment

Raising Dad

Our youngest has just ripped one into goal. He is thrilled; a huge white smile opens up in his latte-hued face. While G is being congratulated by his teammates, and even though he wears sports goggles, I witness him searching the sidelines. His eyes roam and then spot us, but it is confirmation he seeks. From Mark. The smile widens further when he realizes that the goal was seen. Dad’s smile is as big, if not bigger. They exchange hardy and two-handed thumbs up.

My heart smiles.

A is in the big chair snuggled up to Mark, in a serious discussion about something deep. She loves the “deep,” the “chewy,” and the complex. He loves to challenge her. His nonverbal posture shouts full engagement. She is rapt in attention while he speaks to her. Seeing them like this, even though a common scene, causes my heart to swell. Tears prick my eyes.

I smile and go on.

J walks though the kitchen. Mark “checks” her into the wall. She laughs and does it back to him. This goes on a few times. This “checking” is something he began with her when she was just a wee thing. Introverted, she preferred to remain passive about everything. His goal was to help her instill “backbone,” understand she can be tough, that it’s expected she’ll stand her ground with others.

I am glad.

I watch my son with his girlfriend. H towers over her diminutive frame. I observe the way he looks at her, the manner in which his eyes dance as he takes her in. His large hand is gentle on the small of her back as he guides her through the building. He treats her with respect, compassion and grace. He has learned these things from his father, his role model.

I am proud.

Saturday mornings around here typically begin with a singing father and kids making pancakes (chocolate chip, apple-cinnamon, and plain dusted with powdered sugar) from scratch, accompanied by bacon, and fresh oranges. I often sleep in, or “lay in,” listening and enjoying happy composition of creating our weekend kickoff meal.

I am full of joy. My children are rich in the light and love of their father, and I am grateful.

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Filed under The International Mom

Tweaking Us

Holden successfully completed his first year of college and arrived home sicker than a dog. His temp spiking as his body sought to recover from the enormous lack of sleep, poor food choices and long hours of studying for finals. He looked haggard, and it was difficult to understand him because his voice was almost gone. As soon as Holden was in his own bed, the sleep that eluded him came fast. He slept like a baby and became healthy again.

He arrived home sans his vast collection of nasty looking high tops. Also missing were the all-too-low-riding jeans, shorts and pants (“saggers”). During his first year of college he morphed into a prepster and now wears items like whales on his ties, sailboat adorned red shorts, slim above-the-butt properly fitting brightly colored pants, polos, and Sperrys. My, my, my…

When we left him at college last August Holden was madly in love with rap and hip-hop. His musical tastes broadened; he became a raving country fan. He attended the Brad Paisley concert the other night.

It’s cool. We’ve been preppy. We enjoy country.

Holden has been fortunate to secure fulltime summer employment (achieved when home during spring break). The hours are long, but the pay is fair. With driving, he’s gone for twelve hours long, so I don’t see him much. The “missing” I felt while he was away at college hasn’t fully abated.

Warned, I was ready for his newly expanded independence. Well, I thought I was.

Really.

How wrong I was.

Having a child home after they’ve been away for an extended time is an adjustment, for everyone. We have to become used to being physically together again and work through and come to an agreement about the expectations, rules and checking-in that are part of being a cohesive, connected and thoughtful family unit.

We’re tweaking us as the family dynamics change. When to step up, when to step back. The “dance” has changed. I still get to do Holden’s laundry and make his lunch. So far, so good…

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Filed under Epiphiany, Family, Growing Tweens & Teens, Rite of Passage, The International Mom

Homecoming

We’ve been inundated with fits of young-girl giggles and wrestling matches. I’ve witnessed my kids all over each other, savoring the closeness of being together—all six of us—for the first time in seven and a half weeks. Holden is home, if only briefly and it is good for all of us, to be “us”…

I was straining not to step into the security zone as I eagerly waited and finally saw my oldest walking towards us in the airport concourse. A grin was plastered across his face as he spied us. Holden carried his duffle bag in his right hand, backpack strapped to his back, one ear-bud in and the other dangling down towards his left shoulder. He looked taller and older in the time he had been at school. His hair was definitely in need of a trim.

Finally, I was able to touch him, to stand up on my tippy-toes, throw my arms around my son and kiss him. I was crying and didn’t want to let go, but it was important that I share him.

“I missed you so much, Mama,” Holden kept repeating.

Mark gave him another big teary hug and Greyson threw himself into Holden, requiring a mid-air catch. Aubry wrapped herself all over him, guiding him to our parked car with an arm around his waist and a satisfied smile on her face. Josi was less demonstrative, but her happy and quiet closeness was palpable. A close friend, who was also present to welcome him and was picking up another close friend arriving in another concourse, was all but forgotten as we made our way home.

Homecoming is incredible, but it is also bittersweet—tinged with sadness because Holden will leave to return to college. And his departure once again reminds us that we are now in this new chapter of parenthood, parent-child, and sibling-sibling relationships. We are really letting go. He is growing up and away, but hopefully he will always return, feeling welcomed and oh-so-loved.

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Filed under Family, Growing Tweens & Teens, Rite of Passage, The International Mom