Todd and the kids are currently up north. I am alone in the house. Even Molly has gone up north. The house is silent.
I am packing my bags for Mexico. In a little over an hour I will pick up Todd's mom and his two sisters and the four of us will drive down to Chicago and stay overnight so we can catch our early flight the next morning. I am really looking forward to this trip.
And yet, I miss them already. Actually, the minute they pulled out of the driveway I missed them. Well, if I'm honest, I missed them even before they left.
Looking at the photos from the first and last day of school has really hit me. These kids are growing up. It is all going so fast. Seeing the physical evidence of their growth makes me want to enjoy every single second I have with them. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous. Yes, my kids make me crazy more often than I care to admit. The fighting and complaining and not listening, it is enough to make me lose my marbles. But when all is said and done I can't get enough of them.
A couple of weeks ago Joey and I were standing back to back to see how close he is to catching me in height. He was at least an inch or so away. Standing next to him yesterday we discovered he is no my same height. A couple of weeks, people! That's all it took.
Joe is going into eighth grade now. Eighth grade. I just don't see how that is possible. He came home from the last day of school excited about summer and about his new crush (who not only went to school with him-she was a graduating 8th grader- but is also our neighbor). Feelings were confessed to each other and Joey's heart was bursting. Of course, he understands he is too young for dating but just knowing that his feelings are reciprocated put him on cloud nine. I suggested he ask her if she wanted to ask her to go for a bike ride and his nerves as he awaited her answer are something I will never forget. It was a precious moment. And that 20 minute bike ride was a moment I'm sure he will never forget.
Even as I write this I wonder if it is really mine to tell. He is growing old enough that his stories are his own and I'm just fortunate enough that he still confides in me. I don't want to break his trust and at the same time I don't want to forget these precious moments with him.
Tommy is moving on to middle school. Of course he will be at the same school he is now but it is still a big deal for him. A big change. He is nervous about the multiple teachers and the added responsibilities and homework that comes with middle school but I have absolutely no doubt he will handle it all beautifully. This year in 5th grade has really been a year of growth for Tommy too, and he has become such a diligent student, working hard and earning good grades.
Ben's class is so large that it is broken into two different classes (unusual for a parochial school but our school is growing quickly under our new fabulous principal). The teacher Ben had this year will be moving with the third graders to fourth grade. Ben was desperate to have his same teacher next year instead of being switched to the other teacher (who is also fabulous). I told him I would put in a request with the principal and when I did she told me that his teacher actually requested that Ben be in her class again as well. The love is mutual. This is the first year Ben has ever enjoyed school and the teacher has made all the difference. She acknowledges all his efforts and good behavior (almost every day he was "off the chart" on the good behavior chart) and Ben could not be more thrilled to see her again in 4th grade.
I can't even sum up how well Grace did her first year in full time school. All of the kids in her class went to kindergarten all day but Grace was only in half a day. I was slightly concerned she would be at the same academic level as all the other kids but my concerns were immediately wiped away when she started 1st grade. Grace's reading just took off and halfway through the year she began reading chapter books. She is a girl after my own heart and is always walking around with a book in her hand. Just precious. And math! The girl is a super genius! Amazing.
Grace is a mama's girl. She was not happy about leaving me behind nor was she happy that I will be gone when they get back. Tears were shed. Hers. I kept mine in. Barely.
So here I sit. Simultaneously excited and melancholy. I am ridiculous.
I really am looking forward to this trip. I have never taken a vacation without Todd or my kids. It is a new adventure for me. And I am excited.
I just pray that God keeps my precious kids safe and happy until I return. And hopefully they won't grow too much while I'm gone.