Before the Chuga was born, I was a mother of only boys. I knew Thomas' friends by name and color, Bob's vehicles were practically a part of the family and Buzz and Woody were constant playmates.
Then she was born and I became a mother that had kids, not just boys.
Life changed for those boys when she entered our hearts. Our home had more pink in it than ever before. We suddenly had Strawberry and friends to contend with, not to mention pink castles (sans dragons), pink blankets, pink shoes, pink doll clothes and…even pink toothpaste.
Sometimes I have to remember that I have kids.
Two of which are boys.
Last night after calling the boys in from playing in the yard, I noticed the sun gracing Colin's shoulders as he walked in the front door. I told him "go back outside, we're taking a walk." And then I told Benjamin to get his shoes on.
We walked down the cul-de-sac that faces our home and towards the lake in the distance. The snow from last week had melted and the geese were circling in slow, lazy loop-de-loops. Benjamin held my hand and skipped happily. This was fun. Colin walked at a distance, carrying his ripstick skateboard and kicking the loose gravel with his feet until I told him to stop. Why did I tell him to stop?
The sun was setting and it was a beautiful evening. The kind of evening that makes your heart long for summertime and those nice long evenings that go on forever. I called Benjamin over to the barbed wire fence that borders the lake. Before I could stop him, he tried to jump over the fence but of course, noticed the barbs immediately. He looked disappointed. He asked why there's a fence and I explained about private property, blah, blah, blah. He gazed wistfully out at the lake. And the geese. And then turned to me. Colin's behind me climbing on a wall.
My first reaction was to tell Colin to jump down from there. But then I remembered.
And then I told Benjamin to climb up there too.
We hopped down and walk a bit down the fence line. The boys kept picking up sticks and waving them a la Luke. I constantly fight the urge to tell them to put the sticks down before you poke your brother's eye out.
We stop for a moment. Benjamin runs up and down this drainage ditch like it's the yellow brick road leading somewhere mysterious. A family in their front yards stares as I ask the boys to sit. In the ditch. They throw rocks. (my boys, not the family). Have sticks (of course). They snicker. They were little stinkers.
Then it's time to go home. Gillian is waiting at home with Daddy. Her fever from this week kept her at home…looking out the front door and waving at us from across the road.
This time Benjamin runs ahead and Colin walks with me. We cross the road and then open the door to happy little girl sounds and the immediate assault of outside wiggles and noises being thrust inside four walls spread between three children.
I tell Russell how I loved that time. How different it was being with just the two of them. It felt different. I had to remember not to scold, or be too worried. I had to tell my inner mama that "boys will be boys."
And I am so glad they are.