On the Last Day He's Four

I have headphones in sitting in my favorite spot to work and I turned on Pandora.  I can never remember what station I was last listening to, so it's always a surprise what will come on right away, and One Sweet World just made my whole entire morning.

I'm having flashbacks to sitting in the back of a big van at 15 (maybe even 14?) on my way to Canada to canoe and camp for 2 weeks and follow it up with white-water rafting that was way beyond our capabilities and amazing.  The headphones are in and I'm listening to my cd player and watching insane scenery pass me by, getting pringles at gas stations and feeling the most freedom I've ever felt in my life.  I'm living in Teva sandals and bathing suits and shorts and the most tan I'll probably ever be in my entire life and feeling more peace than I've ever felt and it's the place I go back to years later when I need to think of somewhere that makes me happy.  Sitting on pine needles in the middle of the woods on the edge of a lake, eating cheese and crackers for lunch, jumping off of cliffs into lakes, dirty as hell and loving it.

I snap myself back to right now and look at my list of things I need to do today.  Pay bills. Clean and prep for Nick's 5th birthday party tomorrow.  Fold laundry.  Pause.

It was more than half of my lifetime ago that we went on those trips, two (three?) summers in a row, all to the soundtrack of Dave Matthews Band and Live and Sublime and I have no idea how on earth I came out of those trips not drinking or smoking, but I did.

I remind myself not to forget that today is an early dismissal and that I need to make pizza dough for us to make pizza tonight.

Tomorrow I'll wake up and be the mother of a 5 year old and 6-almost-7 year old.  I'll be a wife of almost 8 years. Tomorrow morning it will be rainy and I'll entertain 4 and 5 year olds with cupcakes and hard hats and cardboard box construction projects and I'll follow it up with dinner with family for his birthday and dinner again with family the next day for his birthday and in between I'll meet with friends to talk about the state of education and where it puts us and our kids and what we want to see change and I'll try to sneak in a few minutes here and there to choose flower seeds for my backyard flower farm this summer.  I'll wrestle with what to do about next year and job hunting and childcare and wish to just spend my summer with my hands in the dirt, watching plants and kids grow.

I'll remind myself that we need to plan a family camping trip this summer.  I've said it every year for years and we don't do it and I need to go and be outside with my family.  I need my kids to feel that freedom and the disconnect from the world for a while and be dirty and carefree and I need to sit around a campfire late at night with my husband and re-align my outdoor memories so that they catch up with my life now.  I'll play some Dave Matthews Band on my phone and it can still be the soundtrack, but it can be the one my kids remember from childhood instead.  My husband will choose for them to hear something else and it'll all melt into new memories of them being little and dirty and happy and all of us together.

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