Were we on a break? I didn’t intend for us to part. And yet…summer passed with nary a recipe. Why? Because I was too busy listening to the just-turned-5-year-old breathlessly tell me he has a new pet. “What is it?”
“A worm.” He is young enough that he still pronounces it “warhm”. “Quick – come outside and see!” So I dashed outside with him, his white-blonde hair flapping, his legs a patchwork of bug bites and scraps, the bruises of learning to swim, to camp, to bike without training wheels. He found the muddy patch and tugged me over. “Here’s my – oh, no! Where’s my pet?”
So I made jam and took my daughter sailing for a week on a wooden boat and dropped the oldest one – a teen now – off to work on that boat. And the 2nd oldest boy, self-taught on drums, started back at School of Rock on keyboard, drums, guitar, and vocals. And there was the dog. And dates with my husband. And dealing with a relapse of trauma.
And mainly, realizing that this summer of 2012, the End of Training Wheels Summer, would never be again. And yes, we are all always using training wheels in some fashion or other, but when your youngest is finished with the wobbly things that miraculously kept him from toppling over, it’s sort of a door swinging shut.
Perhaps it is a screen door – one I’ll always be able to look through, remembering but unable to touch. That hair! The soft skin, the newness of June sun and family trips in August, blackberry jam, and someone always yelling, “Mom! Mummy! Mama!”
“Ok, for real I have another pet!” The 5-year-old is thrilled to announce this. Sunlight shifts outside making it officially fall now, the grass mottled. “What is it?” I ask. “A ant.” He holds his hand out for me to see. I’ve got piles of warm egg noodles waiting to be made into kugel for the upcoming Rosh Hashana dinner. He furrows his brow. “Um, wait. I had it. It was right here…” he looks around. “Well,” he says, “my pet is somewhere in this kitchen.”