Thursday, October 3, 2013

Shoes in the Closet...


This post was born of a comment dear Barry said to me yesterday.

I was cranky because a LOT of the shoes that he, dear son and dear daughter bring into the house do not get put away but end up in a muddle.  Like this.  Actually, EXACTLY like this:


I said "How can you stand it?" and he said "Now I just think that soon enough they will be gone and the closet will be very orderly and I will be very sad when that happens."

GULP.

And then I was emailing the lovely Dina over at My Superfluities, who said that all of her kids were in bed except  baby Angus and I went GULP! again, because I blinked five minutes ago and my daughter was born and then one blink later it was my son and now they are 21 and 18 respectively.

It is trite to say that they grow so fast, but they do.

It reminded me of reading the book Over and Over by Charlotte Zolotow, which chronicles one year in the life of a young girl through holidays and seasons, to my daughter and then my son when they were little.



I remember when they didn't know when their birthdays were or when Christmas was.

I remember rocking them to sleep.

I remember worrying about finding babysitters and friends and good grades and patience...

I remember carving pumpkins with them and taking them out trick or treating in their snowsuits and mittens and the boy always had to pee in the bushes, because, well, he just couldn't hold it...

I remember cozy flannel pajamas, hot chocolate, toboggans, Polly Pockets, Action Figures, Snow Days, sick days, chicken pox, decorating the Christmas tree, family fun Friday night when we would all climb in bed after supper on Friday and eat popcorn and watch a Disney movie.  I think of my parents still alive buying my children gifts and spending time with them.

Everything was magical.  Everything was cozy.  Except for the temper tantrums and hurt feelings and lack of sleep.  But still: everything was cozy.

I think of a Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson and our especial favourite The Land of Counterpane:

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

So today, I am officially looking at the shoes in the closet differently.  They are still here.  Thank God: they are still here....
 

56 comments:

  1. This post has made me feel very sad Wendy! My youngest is 3, so I have a long way to go before I farewell him out the door, but it does only feel like I gave birth to my oldest yesterday, and he's about to turn 8! xx

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    1. Heidi - do not feel sad! Enjoy it all! I am completely in the sucking-the-most-out-of-life-now-mode - maybe that's what happens to you when you are 50! I always knew this was happen and tried to be in the moment as much as I could be, which is not always easy when one has young children! But take those mental and physical snapshots and love them, love them, love them! Mine will stuck hug and kiss and like to travel with us, even at their advanced ages! And every age is fun!

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  2. Wendy, this makes me both happy and sad. Sad because you are going to miss your kids when they move out, but happy because you raised them in such a way that not only is going to enable to handle themselves but also because they are going to be out there being a real assett to the world. But for the time being, enjoy the shoes!

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    1. OH AB - that is so lovely! I don't think I will enjoy the shoes, but I will be immune to them! ;-) It's like that wonderful book - a perfectly clean house is a sign of a misspent life!

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    2. I'm stealing this quote next time my mom comes to visit.

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  3. That's so beautiful, I loved my childhood and felt all warm just reading that.

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    1. thanks Tabs - I loved mine as well - even cherish the crazy/bad stuff!

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  4. I don't even have kids but can relate, one of my freight ours is 13 and just went off to boarding school two weeks ago and I keep think but you were just 6 years old the other day...I am so glad to be temporarily away bc I am so used to her knocking on my door to tell me what happened in school etc....but yes enjoy everything!

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    1. I meant to say neighbours kids...iPad ugh.

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    2. Darn it, I was thinking that "freight ours" was another of your fabulous words!!!!! You should have just carried on - I would believe anything you say!

      I could never imagine sending a child away, though I know in certain places it is required or expected. I would have been so depressed to have missed the teen years!

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    3. I was thinking 'freight" - must be cool London term, I could have been using that next week!

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    1. BB - I thought of you when I wrote this! Of course there are trade-offs - that skinny dipping, for instance..:-)

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  6. NOW WE ARE SIX That unpaired jumble would undo me. And don't tell him I've written this, but as you know, Barry the Bomb is right, spot on.

    Beautifully bittersweet WMM. As The House at Pooh Corner goes, “Never forget me, because if I thought you would, I'd never leave.” xo

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    1. That boxed set is one of my faves! GF - I am learning to make a web site - you would be so proud!

      I cannot imagine you with that shoe jumble!

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  7. Wendy, you always strike a chord with me.

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    1. Fred - right back at you!!! Maybe if I can make it to NYC for the children's writing conference in Feb we can meet for coffee or dinner and I can wail all over you!

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    2. wouldn't it be fun if our paths crossed...

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    3. They might have to shut down the city.

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    4. Nah, I live in Noo Yawk, not DC. No shutting down here.

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  8. This made me cry, Wendy. My kids are 2.5 and so often I am not good enough about really being in the moment and enjoying it, and getting too wrapped up in the tantrums and the day-to-day struggle of balancing everything with parenting young twins. And yet, and yet and yet -- I love them so much. Your post today reminded me of Dylan Thomas's poem "Fern Hill," which is sad but so beautiful.

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    1. Oh I love Dylan Thomas - he always breaks my heart! It is funny, the afternoon my dad died last fall I read "A Child's Christmas in Wales" out loud to him (it was mid-November) - I couldn't imagine a more beautiful author and a more cozy story to listen to whilst leaving this world

      As for 2 1/2 year old twins, well, honestly - it is SO hard, isn't it? There were times I thought I was going mad and you don't sleep enough and this man you made these babies with sometimes looks like the enemy (but that is lack of sleep!) You know when you turn the corner? When they are about 3 or 4 and can sit in a room without you in it. Then you can both drink your coffee and read the paper at the same time and it is like someone has given you the keys to heaven! Of course, that might have just been me!

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    2. Oh WMM, that's beautiful. I cut my dads nails the day before he died in hospital as they were really annoying him. I used to read him the Grapes of Wrath when he was lying on his ventilator at home - it was my way of saying I love you and others have suffered all through life.

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    3. Oh the Grapes of Wrath is a perfect "seeing you out book"...

      I'm a planner and a bossy one at that, so I"ll make sure I put my order in for what I want !

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  9. Oh this is so bittersweet, Wendy.
    We're still in the thick of it here, but jugs in how fast the last 12 years have gone, I know that my rascals will be leaving in 6 - 10 years time and it will speed by....

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    1. Thanks Ruth! Well you know it hit me the other day - I haven't been in my old job for 9 months! I am well and properly out the other side! It really does go by quickly!

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  10. What a touching post. It's so true. Some days I can understand why some moms in the animal kingdom eat their young and some days they're so adorable you want to hug them forever. Children grow up too fast nowadays. Isn't it so Barry (and most men) to put everything in perspective while we obsess with little things? As for the culprit who does not put the shoes away in our house, I plead the fifth!

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    1. Marie - you made me laugh out loud! We all have our "things" don't we? Yes, Barry will be quite please to be quoted thusly when he reads this post - so often I am giving him the gears!

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    2. Marie - you made me laugh out loud too!

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  11. Maybe try baskets? Just lovely post. Even though they are not here, I keep their doors closed. Because it's still a mess in there.

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    1. Ha! There are basket up above but we tried baskets below and it became a mucky mess - this time of year is so bad for that! I think I would close their doors, too! Of course the next question is: how long after they leave is it politically correct to "do over" their rooms?

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    2. They will keep coming back I think for awhile, at least my older probably will. I have used the closets, though, for some of my out of season things. I'll always keep the beds in there for visits.

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  12. What a sweet post. I have just one child and I think it's even more bitter sweet to watch him grow and change so fast. He is getting older, but I surely don't feel any older.
    Enjoy the noise as I call it.

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    1. A! I still feel 14 most days! I think they passed me somewhere along the way! They sure did from a height perspective!

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  13. I could cry! We haven't had a visit with our son since Labour Day weekend and I've been feeling sad about it all week. He's coming home next weekend for Thanksgiving, that can't come soon enough. I so miss those times when they were really little. Just hearing the Franklin the Turtle theme song is enough to send me right over the edge.

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    1. OMG - me too! And I won't let anyone speak badly about Barney! When my daughter was 3 and I was breastfeeding my son and was SO tired, I used to lock us in the bedroom and she would watch Barney and Sesame Street!

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    2. Wendy Barney saved my life when G was born. Old Rascal was 2 years old and it was the only time he would sit still. GO BARNEY!

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    3. Really - we should start a fan page....My kids are embarrassed by him now, but I love him!

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    4. I actually went to see Barney live with my kids. I was a hormonal mess at the end of the show with tears in my eyes.

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    5. Oh that is so funny! It reminds me of when I went with my daughter to see Mr. Dressup during his farewell tour - I cried the whole time - she was only 3 and didn't really have a clue who he was - for me - he was my entire childhood wrapped up in a bow!

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  14. A wonderful post Wendy - Barry is a very wise man. My husband and I are almost out the other side, the youngest will go to uni next fall. There will always be a place for them at home with us when they need it, but we are having fun making plans for when we are empty nesters.

    But you're right, it's simply shocking how quickly it all goes by.

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    1. Hi Patricia! It is amazing, isn't it? I just can never get used to it, though in the near future, I will be having a hard time remembering when they lived at home!

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  15. Aw, this brought tears to my eyes reading this. My kids are nearly 4.5 and 3. Even thought there are lots of times these days when I am caught up in trying to clean up messes and spills, and stressing over how the house is a complete disaster zone, I still look at them and I can't believe they were little babies just a short while ago. Now they are running around and having funny conversations with each other. This is a wise reminder of how precious the time is.

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    1. Louise - your girls are sweeties! All stages are fun and I have a good pal who just became a grandfather and he says that is the sweetest part of all.. Although having your own babies in your arms cannot be beat I think!

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  16. You are right, Wendy... don't sweat the small stuff. :)

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    1. and messy shoes are definitely the small stuff!

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    1. Thanks - and would you pick up the shoes when you come in the door? ;-)

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  18. Barry sounds so sentimental, which is very sweet. Oh, the disorganization and mess of children might drive me batty, but then again, I might be too busy and tired to notice or care.

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    1. I think you will have your hands full with the twins and may not be quite as concerned!! But yes, sometimes it will definitely drive you batty!

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  19. Hopefully there will be some grandkids in your future. Now that I have two small grandchildren, I can tell you that you have another chance to experience all the joy. You also have the perspective of how fleeting and previous the time is. Plus you don't have all of the mess!

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    1. Teacups - that's what my friend John tells me! And he is an awesome granddad!

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  20. My sister and her four-year-old daughter just left after a week's stay. It was so wonderful to have them and to do fun kid stuff. I turned 37 on Friday, and I swear, my biological clock is ticking so loud you can hear it in Ohio.

    We do not have a mud room or a hall closet, so I nailed a hanging shoe organizer by the back door. Not ideal, but at least I don't trip over shoes now.

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Kindness is a virtue...