by Jessica Ehlers, May 22, 2011
It was bound to happen. He's so close to being five. Certainly other kids have done it earlier.
We were visiting my parents at their homestead in Albion where dinner is lovingly prepared with whatever is in season. It is a good season right now. Cannellini beans, leeks, garlic, greens and tomato sauce canned from last season with mystery herbs and it was a delicate spring soup. Not that the little man will partake in anything like that. He'll eat pesto because we've been making it since before he could walk but no thanks on the soup, he says. Before we ate, we held hands. It's a family custom out there. Very non-denominational but heavy with gratitude. The little man likes to say "And thanks for God!" And while my understanding of things of faith are less concrete, I appreciate the sentiment.
After he finished his whole wheat pasta, heavy on the butter and Parmesan he waited patiently while we finished ours. When he heard me scraping my bowl with a spoon, he tucked his head under my arm, eyes bright and hopeful. "Is it time for dessert now?" I smiled. Out came the Tillimook French Vanilla and Pompa's secret chocolate sauce (Hershey's). Afterward, bath time.
It always reminds me, on these Sundays when we make it out to Albion of the time the little guy and I lived with my parents. Was it two years ago? Ish. It was September when we arrived. It was a shaky time in my life but living with my parents made it lighter because their house is bathed in good food, warm fires and the staunch knowledge that these loving folks had my back.
So bath time. He likes to use all of Grandma Susan's rubber duckies and being a swim instructor, she has many. One with glasses and a computer, one with a top-hat, even one with a Menorah. I think she gave the Santa one to the little man some time back.
Afterward, it is laying next to the heater while I wrangle him into his jammies. Usually, this is when I load him up into the car and drive back home to Fort Bragg. But tonight, he said "Mamam, don't you remember what we were going to ask Pompa?" I thought back. Oh right. He wanted us to sleep over but I wasn't sure tonight was a good night so I gave him fair warning that maybe they'd want us to stay another night.
Upstairs, he hid behind me as I told my dad our idea. Then the little man says, "Mom, I want to stay here with them by myself." And I do a double take. Surely this is barely news-worthy information. For me, this is huge news. His first night away from his mom or dad. Sure, it's Pompa and Grandma Susan. Sure, we lived there for a few months before we got our own place. I think it has something to go with impending Kindergarten. It isn't like he hasn't been his own man since before he could walk. But he's been walking for some time now. Running, really. And apparently now sleeping over at his Grandparents house. Here's to
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