I’m away for the week at a writing workshop on Whidbey Island. I’ve been here since Monday and so far it has been everything I could have hoped for. A dreamy location in the woods, surprisingly incredible food, quiet space to think and write and read, and an incredible group of writers and thinkers and imaginers to learn from and share it with.
However. I’m starting to miss my boys. I arrived Monday afternoon after dropping them off at school and having lunch with Jason — so really Monday doesn’t count. Yesterday was our first full day together so there were the unknowns and the excitement that new things bring. But now it’s Wednesday and I’m back from a run to the local coffee roaster with some of the women from our group and settled in next to my space heater for some writing.
And I’m missing my fellas. So I’m doing what any homesick gal would do. Scrolling through the pictures on my phone. Staring at my pixelated boys. Wondering what they are up to right now, this minute, at school. Is it PE time? Art? Recess?
Mostly I’m reminiscing about Gryffin’s birthday last week. He’s nine now. Just an old hat, no big deal, nine-year-old. It was his first year without an official party. He opted instead for a family dinner on his actual birthday, a weekend brunch with some of our closest friends, and then an afternoon at the (God help us all) Tukwila Family Fun Center.
As a parent, I have so often looked forward to birthdays and holidays with such high hopes. I think about them for weeks, imagining how we’ll all sit happily around the fire, perhaps opening a present or two, sipping our drinks, full of the warm fuzzies for how much we all love each other and like being together. But in reality, it rarely works out that way. More often than not, one of the boys will be cranky on Christmas morning or someone is crying through the birthday party because I put their socks on wrong, or we end up arguing ad infinitum until I feel like shouting, LOOK, YOU RIDICULOUS INGRATES, WE ARE HERE TO COZY UP AND MAKE SOME MEMORIES, SO EVERYONE CALM THE HELL DOWN AND LET’S GET ON WITH THE MERRY-MAKING.
But this time, wonder of wonders, it was exactly as Jason and I hoped it would be. From his birthday morning, to dinner out at Ba Bar, to brunch with friends and an afternoon with his cousins at the Family Fun Center, it was just what we hope a birthday would be. Joyous celebrating and happy recollecting, mixed with the now familiar pangs of parental sadness that our boy is growing every day further up and moving further out into the world, away from us.
I asked Gryffin on his birthday to name nine things that make him happy and here’s what he came up with, in order…
- Froggy (his stuffed frog that he has had since birth and still sleeps with every night)
- Cars (and trucks!)
- Peanut Butter
- Biscuit (our dog)
- Sharks (he knows a frightening amount of facts about sharks – if you have any questions about the 440 known species of sharks, just let me know and I’ll ask him)
- Math (seriously?)
- Mohawks (he currently has a “faux hawk” and I don’t think he really knows what an actual mohawk is)
- My new watch
Those things make me happy, too, Snacks. See you soon!