When the old squeaky bus from my kid's little Christian school pulls up out front of our house in the afternoon and my older three tumble out with red cheeks, smelling like glue sticks and leftover lunch, the quiet is instantly assaulted and Haley and I come to full attention. I think our sturdy house itself stands a little straighter as the noise, backpacks, lunch boxes, the order forms, notes, homework, all comes landing on the table amidst snacks.
The first hour is intense.
"I wanted to tell Mom about my day first."
"Why oh WHY do we have to memorize all of that?"
"I'm still hungry."
"Wait- I almost forgot to tell you everything I played at recess."
"I ate everything you put out but I'M STILL HUNGRY."
Then there is this moment. This moment after snacks, after the excitement and urgency has passed (and I'm laying on the kitchen bench under a mountain of papers) when every kid goes to their own corner. Darla grabs a book, Hudson sits at his little lego table in his room, and Everett is sprawled on the toy room floor with cars. They re-charge before dinner while poor Haley who's been alone all day meanders between them all waiting to play something...anything.
Two weeks ago I was recovering from the after school assault and dragging a laundry basket down the hall. As I walked by his open door, Hudson looked up from legos and said, "Hey Mom?"
"Yes son?" I prepared for the next story, need, or idea coming my way.
"I almost forgot. How was your day?"
I stopped short.
"Good. It was good. Thanks for asking, Hud."
"You had a meeting at the school, right?" He sifted legos through his hands. "How was that?"
"It went well- thanks for being interested. We talked about Family Fun Night and if the moms want to put it on again."
"What did you say? Are they doing it?"
I smiled and set the laundry down. "I thought we should. I love it and I think it makes new families feel welcome."
"Mom- did you say it'd be good for the school community?"
I burst out laughing. "Actually, yes. Verbatim. I said it makes families feel part of the community and gives them a feel for what it's like at our school."
He grinned and looked up from his creation. "I knew it. Good job, Mom."
This past week Hudson and Everett were on a bike ride and came across some chunks of cool looking wood. Hudson's always looking for a project so he brought it home. I heard him whispering to Sean about wanting to make something. He clearly had a specific vision because he told Sean exactly which drill he planned on using. Sean went out to supervise and when they came in a short while later, Hudson held out a pen holder complete with a nice pen Sean offered for the project. "It's for your writing desk, Mom- so you don't have to look all over for a pen."
He made one for Darla, too. One for her drawing and one for my writing. They are displayed proudly on each of our desks in each of our bedrooms.
I'm still figuring Hudson out. He's hard working and determined, yet sensitive and easily crushed. I was surprised he didn't love soccer but when he told me he's interested in baseball, I lit up. It makes sense- he has a little mosey to him but has bursts of focus and energy. He enjoys strategy but needs margin to daydream. He's best friend material. I watch his fierce loyalty toward Darla, his camaraderie with Everett, and his protective care and affection for Haley. Simultaneously, he's slightly introverted and needs time to process for the thoughts to come out right.
I found out from my nieces and nephews that Hudson keeps all the notes I send in his lunch in a little stack. He's shoved all the jam smeared, crumpled paper into a backpack compartment. I found the stash and asked if he wanted me to put them somewhere else.
"No! Mom, leave 'em all in there. I read them on the bus over and over."
I tried to act casually and not be the uncool mom that gushes over her poor boy. "Oh yeah?"
"I read them all on the bus almost every day... whenever I miss you."
Casual act over.
I tackled him with hugs and kisses.
Thankfully at seven he's still ok with that.
Just throwing myself out there a bit...