Sunday, November 13, 2011

Playing With My Jonah

It stinks when my kids are sick. It seems like it has been one of those years where they have been sick often. I never want them to feel badly, but when they do, it reminds me of how much they still need me, even though they act all big and tough most of the time.

Monday Jonah felt rotten. He had a 104 degree fever, high for a seven-year old, and didn't feel like eating anything. He just wanted to lay on the couch. However, after three tv shows and a dose of Motrin, he was ready to play with his mommy. We played Nemo Go Fish. Total blast from the past. I remember the very first time we played Nemo Go Fish. In the kitchen of our old house in Raleigh, with Boompa and GG (my parents), Jersey GG (my grandma) and Jonah. He was so little, we had to let him lay his cards on the table in front of him. And since he had his cards laying out for all to see, we all laid our cards on the table. Interesting way to play Go Fish since we all knew what everyone else had, but Jonah loved it. We have played Nemo Go Fish countless times over the years, and still call the fish named "Bubbles," "Bubbly."

Then we went on to Toy Story Yahtzee, and finally Cars Uno. In the middle of Cars Uno, Jonah decided he was too tired and needed a rest so we took a break. It was so much fun to have uninterrupted time with Jonah.

A few hours later, he was up for playing again so we put a puzzle together--the way we have done puzzles since Jonah was very young. He sits at one end of the hall and I sit at the other end. I sort the pieces by "edge" and "middle" pieces, then start by "sending" him the edge pieces from the top. I send the top edge pieces, followed by the sides, and the bottom. We end with the middle pieces. I send two or three at a time. When I looked down the hall at my big Jonah concentrating so hard on putting a puzzle together he has completed at least a hundred times, I can still see his little face from years ago. Especially with his tongue sticking out. :)

Remembering the Funnies

"Were those some of the sweetest words you have ever heard?" I asked Justin one Sunday while we were all cuddling on the couch, watching the Panther's game. Jonah had just said, "Hold on, Daddy, I want to watch this punt return." I think Justin has been waiting all his life to hear those words.

There are some things my kids say that I wish I could bottle and keep forever. "Carson, I haven't been able to play with Mommy all day," Jonah said one day after school when he and I were hitting the tennis ball back and forth on the driveway. Just when I thought Jonah actually didn't mind being away from me all day at school, he melted my heart with a simple sentence.

My dad is one of the best storytellers ever. And I think he remembers about 95% of the things my sister and I said as kids. He remembers the funny names we gave to things: "ponge" for sponge, "cansackle" for sandcastle, "campsiben" for um....I can't even remember the real name for that one. He remembers that I would call and call for him in the middle of the night, afraid to get up on my own, but he'd often open his eyes to find Emily staring at him, having climbed right out of her bed. He remembers the way my mom, sister, and I used to get the giggles at dinner and laugh so hard we cried at the silliest things. Actually, we still do that. He REMEMBERS because these seemingly "little" things in life make up the big things. They are the stitches that hold our relationships together, keep us strong in tough times, and encourage us to make new memories. And he remembers because he retells the stories over and over, and we never get tired of hearing them.

The first person I want to tell when Jonah or Carson say something or do something funny is Justin...and then my mom and dad and sister. I wish I could say I have one great system where I keep all the cute things they say so I'll never forget them. My dad has always kept journals, and now he has the story of his life, typed neatly and saved on his computer. Somehow I missed out on inheriting his organizational skills. But I do have sticky notes all over my house and a "memo" on my blackberry called funnies where I record the cute things my boys say. I also believe the most effective way to remember the cuteness is to talk about it. So, as the boys get older, I have started to tell them stories. Just the other day Justin was reminding Jonah of the Christmas when all he wanted was green cake so we made a birthday cake for Jesus, and it was green. Carson has decided he is going to write a book one day about a boy who likes dressing up all the time because he remembers us telling him there was a time when we had to limit his changing clothes to three times a day (and we still have days like those).

And sometimes, I just want to remember things the boys say because they make me feel good. When Jonah chose my chocolate chip cookies over Joe Joe's (Trader Joe's) cream filled ones and said, "Mommy, you make the best cookies," it made my day. Such simple things...but so important in how we view life and all it has to offer. Makes me want to listen more and talk less, ask more questions, and make more time for family conversations so I can hear more precious words and stories from my boys who are growing up way too fast.