Gremlins of the Heart

Is it mean to call my children gremlins? I don’t think so. After all, they are my children and they’re spoiled rotten. And I love them. I really do. But I’m not big on the days they’re home sick with me. My youngest son is actually fine when he’s home alone with me. He pretty much stays in his room and builds with Legos or Bionicles for hours. It’s my older son, my 5th grader, who is social. He’s tender hearted and loving and chatty. Which means even if I’m trying desperately hard to get revisions done on a book and have gently encouraged him to lie quietly in his bed and feel better fast, he still talks to me. ‘Mom, did you know Vince Carter…’

‘Mom, in last night’s game, three Packers were injured…’

‘Mom, eleven former Mariners are playing in the play-offs with other teams…’

I try really hard to do the professional Mom, ‘Mmmm, mmmhmph, hmmmmm, yes.’ But Jake’s too astute for that. He wants real conversation back. And I can’t write great tight meaningful prose when I’m trying to figure out which sports team/player/stat we’re discussing now. Versus the one discussed two minutes ago. Versus twenty minutes ago. Versus an hour.

I love my boys. I do, I do. But school’s vital. They have to go. Never mind their college education and future. They have to go so I can get some work done.

The problem is, the minute I say that, the minute I’m halfway honest, the guilts come and bite me in the backside so hard. And then the guilts move up to my heart and grab and stay. I know from losing my dad when I was fifteen that nothing lasts forever. I know from being a teacher that kids grow up and go away, marching into adulthood on their own two legs. I know I’ve great wonderful boys that love me to pieces. So how I can want them to go to school? How come I need them to be quiet? Why am I always so #%&$! conflicted?!?!

But it’s quiet now in Jake’s room. He’s being industrious–he’s cleaning his room (which means dirty clothes get stuffed into his dresser and clean clothes are heaped behind his shoes in his closet) and then he’s going to read in bed. I can hear him walking down the hall to hang up a towel and my heart does its little squeeze. He’s only ten and he’s nearly as tall as me. He wears a size six shoe and will be big like his dad someday. To hell with my revisions and getting work done. I think Jake needs Mom. I think Jake needs a hug.

I think I need a hug more.

By posting a comment, you consent to have your personally identifiable information collected and used in accordance with our privacy policy.