This week, in honor of New Years, Kristen over at We are THAT Family, the mastermind behind...
...has asked folks to repost the one post of the year they most want people to read.
I find this kind of thing extremely difficult. I hate playing favorites. I can't even pick a favorite movie or book. It's pretty impossible to pick my favorite of my posts, some of which were very personal and important to me. I'm guessing this is how a mother of many children feels when asked to pick her favorite child.
But this one post from the summer pops out to me as somehow symbolic of my life, of my experience of motherhood, of this "second blooming" of my life, which is pretty much what this whole blog is meant to explore.
So here, from August 19, 2010 is...
That was the temperature in Valencia, CA today.
Which is where we were.
At an amusement park.
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know.
At some point I am going to learn my lesson and stop doing this stuff. Or at least I'm going to stop complaining about it. But Jude SO much wanted to go to Six Flags Magic Mountain, it's all he'd talked about for a week, and...
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know.
I've already taken the boy to the Santa Monica Pier Amusement Park, and Splish Splash Waterpark, and Adventureland, and the top of the Empire State Building.
Oh wait. Did I fail to mention the top of the Empire State Building? Sigh...
I took him to the top of the Empire State Building out of guilt over not taking him into NYC while I was at the BlogHer convention. Here we are...
But this Magic Mountain thing, I must say, was really most particularly grueling. This was far above and beyond the usual "taking a bullet of the kid" stuff. This was so miserably, ungodly hot and exhausting, that I honestly don't know when Jimmy and I are going to recover. We're just too damned old for this.
At some point, when we were trudging around Six Flags Magic Mountain, heading from The Jet Stream to The Ninja, I actually think Jimmy may have started to hallucinate from heat exhaustion. He got an odd little smile on his face, and started softly humming "Fly Me To the Moon" to himself.
Sometimes, when Jimmy is truly suffering, he will actually start to almost...enjoy the pain and misery...it's like he's sort of "getting off" on the horror of it all. That's how he managed to quit smoking. He started testing himself to see just how horrible he could feel - how much misery he could endure. And I think that's how he got today. Beyond the point of upset, he had reached a place of calm.
Pretty soon all the 60 mile an hour, 100 degree roller coasters started to run together in our minds. My feet began to swell, the muscles in my legs started to cramp, a hematoma appeared on my knee after riding something called The Gold Rusher, a cut on my hand after...I have no idea what. Then Jimmy wrenched his back on the bumper cars, and we decided that perhaps it was time to leave. But Jude kept shouting "The Log Jammer, The Log Jammer, The Log Jammer!" So we went on The Log Jammer, and everything is a blur after that.
Once we reached Dante's 9th Level of Hell, which was our car, and my little Prius's surprisingly powerful air conditioner kicked in, my mind started to clear a bit. Which was good, since I was driving. During the 40 minute drive home, both Jude and Jimmy fell asleep in the car, and I was left to my thoughts.
And I asked myself...what is this compulsion, this need to take Jude on every adventure he asks for?
Is it that he's an only child, and I fear that he's missing out on something, and I need to make up for it? Is it that for all of my years of childlessness I dreamed of having a little boy to do stuff like this with, and now that I have him I want to appreciate every moment of it? Is it that I'm an older mom, and I don't want him to ever feel that my age got in the way of his enjoyment of his childhood? Is it that I'm an older mom, and know I'm likely to die before his peers' mothers and I want him to be able to look back at a childhood filled with joy and adventure?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes.
And maybe there's a part of me... under the sunburn, under the aching muscles, under creaking joints...that thinks it's all...