Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Running in Circles...Literally

The working subtitle to that title is...

New T-shirt idea:  I Spent 15 Minutes Trying to Come Up with a Witty Title and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt.  And an Even Worse Title


I sit on the couch with my leg out in front of me, ice firmly strapped to my knee, and a blanket draped over me to keep the inevitable chill out of my bones.

Cuckoo is running laps.  

TV room, game room, dining room, piano room, TV room, game room, dining room, piano room.

Round and round and round he goes.

Through the rooms named after their contents instead of their uses.

Until he stops.

Directly in front of me.

In the TV room.

He asks, "Who are you cheering for?"

Me:  Who's racing?

C:  Me and the magic people.

Me:  Well, you of course.

C:  OK, I'm in second.

And off he goes.

For months and months Cuckoo has had not an imaginary friend, but a magic friend.  His friend shows up every once in a while to go for a ride in the van or have a meal with us, but usually it is to play a board game with Cuckoo.  

After a week being cooped up at home with a mom who can't drive, the magic friend came to play, and the game of choice today is "race".

Magic friend brought friends of his own. 

From the sounds of it, there are quite a few.

Me:  Are you winning yet?

C:  (as he runs past for the 5th time he calls out):  There is one ahead of me and a whole bunch behind me!

On each lap, I gather a bit more information.  

Apparently, the magic people have wonderful sportsmanship.

C (as he stops in front of me again):  Time out.

Me:  Does everyone just stop where they are when you need to stop?

C:  Yes.

M:  That's awfully nice of them.

It seems they aren't very tall.  Or perhaps they have weak legs.

C (as he runs by for the 9th time):  I get ahead of them every time we have to do the jump!  They can't make it over!

Aha!  That's what the big thump is when he runs past the steps!

Magic friends have special magic powers.

C (as he runs by for the 14th time):  I have to be fast!  They can teleport!

Giant (who had just come into the room.  Where we keep the TV.):  Ha!  Teleport.

Me:  I thought that's what he said.  How does he know the word 'teleport'?

Giant:  Minecraft.  The efflins* can do it.

As I sit on the couch, with my knee sutured and taped, I ponder.

I ponder the the energy of kids.

Mine specifically.

At the recent 4th of July party/family reunion at my dad's, my cousin's husband commented, "All 5 of your boys are ALL boy."  I smiled and nodded.  "What gave it away?"

"We have been here for 7 hours.  They have not stopped moving."

No.  They rarely do.

My boys are bundles of irrepressible energy. .All of my boys, when they were little, used to run in circles through the house.   At some point, they each simply stopped.  They didn't stop moving, but they stopped running in circles taking them nowhere.

I wonder why.  What happens to make a child stop running in circles, racing imaginary magic friends?  I want to know so badly.  I find the workings of the brain and development completely fascinating.

But that's not why.

I really want to know because I still have one boy who runs in circles through the house.  One of these days, his run through the house will be his last.  I want to know which one.  I'm afraid I'll miss it for what it is, instead of mistaking it for the normal that will not change.

There are so many things I missed as the last time because I didn't know it was.  The last time a baby blew kisses.  The last time I changed a diaper.  The last time I fed a baby a bottle.  The last time a preschooler sang "I'm a Little Teapot".  So many last events.

I didn't notice the last times when I had so many little people scattered about my feet.

Now that I'm down to one little person, I am noticing.  And I'm trying to keep track of as many as I can.

I'm lucky to have older kids.  Just looking at my 15 year old, taller-than-me-by 5 inches boy reminds me that things most certainly change.  It helps me remember to appreciate all of these normal, may-be-the-last moments I see each and every day. These older kids also give me perspective.  Yes, I am seeing many behaviors and hearing many adorable mispronunciations for the very last time.  But I must keep in mind all of the first things I still have to see and hear from him.  His first day of preschool is looming.  There are plenty of firsts to look forward to once that hits.

This recovery from surgery is a big double-edged sword.  I'm having the time to observe and really soak in the wonderful and normal things my kids are doing, but I also have the time to dwell on the rapidity of time running at a full-on sprint.

Sometimes I just wish time was running in a circle, so I can relive all of these wonderful, normal things all over again.

But usually, I just try to thank my lucky stars that I see the things I see and can relive them in my mind whenever I darn well please.

Have mercy, I'm a blubbering mess, ya'll.

And I can't blame the meds.  I haven't taken a pain pill in 18 hours.

*A note of clarification, so Giant doesn't look like a goober to anyone who reads this blog and is also up on his Minecraft characters. (I would guess the number would hover around zero people, so if you fall into both categories of blog reader and Minecraft expert, let me know.):  Efflin isn't the word.  It's endermen who can teleport.  Sorry for the confusion.

Have a lovely day!


  1. And the really cool thing is someday they will be telling you what they remember from their childhood. You'll enjoy that too. Yes indeed.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. I am equally excited and afraid of what they will remember. :). I expect plenty of laughter as we all recount our own versions of family experiences.

  2. I wish to heaven that I could remember the very last time I hoisted a child onto my hip. How could I have missed it? It makes me cry, thinking of it.

    And you need to listen to The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell on YouTube. I always do when I get in these moods.

    1. Picking a child up is one I will miss terribly. Fortunately, our youngest is quite small on the growth charts, so I still get to carry him if I want.

      I'll head right over!

  3. I had a picture of you sitting on the couch and Cuckoo running round in circles all the time I was reading this - I wonder if he'll remember it when he gets older?

    When I was in my early teens we had a tv programme called The Magic Boomerang - in any given situation or crisis the young boy who owned it would throw it, and in the length of time it took to go out and come back time would stand still so the boy could change the situation and stop bad things happening. I've often wished I had one of those so I could make time stand still and savour those moments which eventually just won't occur any more.

    1. I hope he does. And if not, there's always the blog to read and remind him. :)

      I remember a similar show but without the boomerang. It would be a grand thing to have.

  4. Oh I love this. Mostly because it contains my favorite "In the Coop" family member, but otherwise it's a lovely introspective piece. :)

  5. I remember as a kid being asked if adults could "have some of my energy" I thought they were crazy, and even crazier when they told me " one day you will ask kids that." Now when I visit my godson and his brothers and they run labs around the house for 30 minutes straight I think back and am like, you are totally right... where is that childhood energy?

    1. It is so true. Why can't we have that kind of energy our whole lives?

  6. We live in an apartment complex right by the community pool that has a fence and sidewalk along the entire perimeter. I sent my kids out to play, and when they asked if they could take any toys out , I said no they would only be out for a little bit my 4 yr old started jumping up and down with excitement, "you mean we can go outside and run in circles??"

    1. Hahahaha!!! Awesome!

      When we are out waiting for the big kids to finish practice or play a game, the little boys will frequently ask if they can run around the track/field/court. I have no idea why it is so much fun.

  7. Did you really need to post this during the 5 week period when I'm an empty-nester? Now I'm missing my kids' younger selves. This post is absolutely beautiful.

  8. for some reason my comments keep getting lost here! I put one on last night and this morning.... Im sure its me!

    Anyhow.... as I was saying... this is one of the most lovely things Ive read about family! If I had known my kid wouldnt still be wearing a big red clown nose , a cowboy hat and yellow rubber boots to the grocery story when he was 25 I would have savored those moments even more!!!

    1. Well, I hope it's you, because I wouldn't know what to do to fix the problem. I am sorry it keeps eating your comments, though.

      You're so sweet. Thank you.

      The image of your son going to the store like that make me smile. I love seeing kids all decked out in public. "If I had known my kid wouldn't still be wearing... when he was 25" Ha! That is a great sentence.

  9. I have definitely had more than a few of the "where the heck did the time go???" moments of late. I'm more than happy to not remember the last diaper change, tee hee, but certainly miss so much more.

    Hope you're back on your feet soon. Take care.

    1. No, I don't miss the diaper changes. I did when I was in the throws of potty training, but once they were trained I didn't miss them. I'm surprised that I don't remember the last one, though.

      Me, too. I'm losing my mind sitting here all day! Thank you.

  10. *has no idea about Minecraft*

    I'm so happy that even though your knee's all sore, you're getting such AWESOME silver linings out of it. How beautiful :) I love Cuckoo and his magic people :) His imagination is *incredible* and I hope he hangs onto that, even if the running in circles stops.

    1. You're not supposed to know about Minecraft because you're an adult. Only kids know anything about it.

      Thankfully, imagination can last far longer than the running in circles. Hopefully I'll be able to enjoy all sorts of creative stories from him for years to come.

  11. Wow, Christine, if recuperating from knee surgery has given you this awareness of being on the lookout for "lasts," it's a good thing you had it. I've never really thought about "lasts" (until it's too late), everyone is always so concerned about "firsts."


  12. observations such as these would've led me to a novel plot about paranormal children and ghosts. but that's how my brain works. :)

    Hope you're recuperating well! This was a sweet post that made me smile.

  13. nice post.
    as to the question/hope:
    "...One of these days, his run through the house will be his last. I want to know which one. I'm afraid I'll miss it for what it is, instead of mistaking it for the normal that will not change."

    I would submit that you are noticing, you will (now) know.

  14. OK, I'm not sure why I know the MInecraft thing, but I do...maybe because I married a total geek who knows of such things? That could be it.
    This is so beautiful, Christine. I often feel like that and sometimes I get a little panic attack about it as Zilla is my one and only. So all the firsts and lasts are the only ones and I feel like I've probably missed far too many and try to hang on to every single second. It's a double-edged sword, isn't it? Wanting to see them grow, but wanting to keep them right where they are every precious second. I got teary in the car this afternoon because one of these days she is going to leave me. OK, it wasn't as simple as that - I was talking about a scene in the movie Steel Magnolias where the mother is helping the daughter to get ready to leave on her honeymoon. Ever since Zilla was born, that one makes me cry my eyes out and it never did before. Anyway, talking about that I got all bent out of shape because one day she really will leave...and I can't stand it. Crud, now I'm blabbering right along with you. Gah!


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