Quinn and Grey were sound asleep on either side of me, sprawled out on our beach house’s living room fold-out couch, heads tucked into the magical space between a mom’s neck and shoulder. After much struggle, Iris was finally asleep in the bedroom, tiny legs tucked under her, old enough to sleep on her belly without sending her mom into a panic attack.
I could have been watching Bravo. I could have been asleep myself; precious, precious sleep. Instead, I took in the Disney Channel’s programming announcement with an audibly pleasant sigh and, I kid you not, said out loud, “Now this is the sweet spot.” Selena Gomez’s “Love You Like a Love Song” played for the 978th time that day and I stretched out, satisfied with my night.
We rented a beach house on Mobile Bay in Fairhope, Alabama, again this July. One full month of snuggling in bed together way past bedtime (Dad had to stay at home during the week to work), eating cake for breakfast (both boys celebrated their 7th and 5th birthdays in July), late afternoon walks down the expansive pier with ice cream truck treasures in hand, and hours of coloring and reading on the worn wooden front porch as the sun went down over the bay.
I soaked up every moment, storing it away, prizing every kiss from kids convinced they are getting too old for all of this showered affection. How could I not? The growth spurts were not escaping my attention. The curly locks finally coming in for a daughter wont to combing her hair with toothbrushes and pencils. The smell of feet, dear mercy, when did the smell of feet arrive?
We are home now, barreling quickly into a week of significance: Grey starts kindergarten on Thursday, Quinn enters the second grade on Thursday, and I fly to San Diego to host a party for thousands of brilliant minds on, you guessed it, Thursday.
Unfortunately, my actual flight is on Wednesday. I am going to miss Grey’s first day of kindergarten. I fully expect to go straight to parenting jail when I touch back down in Gulfport on Sunday.
Our family makes a big deal of everything. “Milestones” is a term I use loosely, as pretty much everything qualifies as a milestone in my enthusiastic opinion. First t-ball practice? Let’s go to the bounce house place! First real t-ball game? Let’s go out to dinner! First report card? Hit the beach! First library book? Obviously, we need to spend an hour at the bookstore tonight!
As parents, we want the kids to feel seen. Making sure they know we see them in not only their big moments but also their small moments is a specialty of ours, particularly those small moments they don’t expect us to notice (minute 5:00 of the below video is where I talk about noticing those small moments).
But oh my. You can imagine the significance of First! Day! of School!!! And I’m going to miss it.
You can bet your first lost tooth that I have plans to atone for my absence.
When the boys go to bed on Wednesday night, first day of school jitters bouncing around in their tummies, they’ll find two little bugs waiting on their bunk-bed shelves.
I bought Hallmark’s Bug ‘Em encouragement bugs last Valentine’s Day and had a ball using them through the end of the school year, leaving little notes in the bugs’ grasp and filling their “shells” with small surprises of sour candy or notepads or graphic pencils.
Notes that read “I am so proud of you” or “You are going to KILL it today!” or “You have the best laugh.” Simple things, small things. My favorite things.
The boys haven’t seen the Bug ‘Ems all summer and I can’t wait for them to find them waiting, armed with notes from me, wishing them luck and love, designed to encourage them to lead with their chest, head high, eyes bold. My mother-in-law will be here to help my husband while I’m away, including rearming the little critters with new notes both Thursday and Friday mornings.
Just to let the boys know I’m thinking of them and that I know they’ll rock their first days at school. Most importantly, to remind them that they are seen. Adored, glommed on with kisses and hugs, and utterly seen.
“Grey, I love you. I’m so proud of you! Give me a kiss… come on, give me a kiss!… (insert faux-begrudging kiss) Grey, do you ever get sick of me telling you I love you and giving you tons of kisses?”
“No, Mom, it never gets old. Oh wait… it just did.” (insert maniacal laughter from both of us because that line was a seriously quick quip from Shake It Up on – don’t you know it-- the Disney Channel)
• • •
Hallmark is a sponsor of VelveteenMind.com through the end of 2011.
Although I bought my Bug ‘Em bugs on my own long before this partnership, this post is part of their Life Is A Special Occasion blogger campaign. Sign up for their newsletter for discounts, news and updates on both the campaign (you might see me and some truly fabulous bloggers in there soon!) and products to help you celebrate those small moments. Did I mention discounts and special offers? Oh, how I know you.
On a personal note, this is a fabulous writing challenge for me, exactly the kind of partnership I adore, and one I hope you’ll enjoy (read: it will kick me into “write more!” gear!).
Opinions are always my own, usually long-founded and always resistant to suggestion. ;)
Now then, we haven’t talked in a while, so tell me: How do you use the small moments in life to encourage those around you? You know how I love your small details. I thrive on your details.