Walking to the park this morning, Roan said he felt like we were walking to school. School hasn’t started here yet, we don’t get there until September 6. So we have one week and one day left of Summer vacation. But today the air didn’t feel as hot and the air didn’t feel as wet. It was hinting that Fall could be somewhere near – but only if you really really listen. And Roan loves his school, and is an avid learner. Still, that kid isn’t ready to say goodbye yet to this Summer.
Neither is his mama.
I’m the same as everyone else, really – I love time to myself and a good routine that carves out quiet moments that I can count on. Roan being in school will make those times more frequent which is great. But not as great as having him around. When Sheppy and Smitty take their nap during the day (which totally is rocking my world by the way – three hours every day. Yowza.) Roan and I get some time together that isn’t centered around keeping these little firecrackers from killing each other, themselves, or us. Everything becomes quiet and calm, with the air conditioner playing a sweet ballad of white noise. Roan and I use this time to work on things. I write, he will do a math worksheet. Then we eat lunch and watch a Korean TV show together.
Regarding this Korean fascination happening. I don’t know. The shows we watch are subtitled and so I can claim that it’s a great exercise in reading comprehension for my boy. We just finished one called “Playful Kiss” which had the worst message on the planet. Essentially if you love someone enough, they can be awful to you and then you just keep loving them and then one day, maybe in the final episode, they’ll say something nice. Still – we were captivated. We were both appalled, and we were both captivated. There’s a lot to talk about – cultural differences, colloquialisms, fashion, love. Now we’re watching one called “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho”. A Gumiho is a nine-tailed fox. And this guy’s girlfriend is a Gumiho. In human form.
Whatever. I’m just glad we’re not watching Dora the Explorer, you know? Can’t stand her shoes.
And when our little twin friends are awake, we all get around this neighborhood together. We hit ice cream parlors, we hit parks, we sometimes just park our bodies on a footbridge over a busy expressway and listen to Shepz + Smitty scream ‘TRUCK!! CAR!! TAXI!! TRUCK!! AIRPLANE!! HUMMUS!” at rapid-fire rate (Sheppy loves Hummus more than anything and demands it pretty much all the time. He has garlic breath.) It’s funny and probably a little boring for my 8-year-old to spend an hour watching traffic but he’s not a big complainer, and usually tolerates and even sometimes enjoys these little non-climactic outings.
I just absolutely love having Roan around, to share all these things with; to share in the delight of his brothers learning, to share in the boredom and the excitement of every single day. When he heads back to school, probably some of my guilt will be lifted – the feeling that he’s not getting enough attention, or that he’s held back by having to do things for these little ones. When school starts, he will be surrounded by his friends and have all the proper academic stimuli around and not my homemade math worksheets and Korean television reading drama episodes.
When school starts, Roan gets to be his social self, which I’m learning is different from his home self, which I suppose is actually true for everyone. He becomes slightly aloof and cool. He taps his toe, rather than busting out his highly choreographed dance skills. He smiles more than he laughs. He holds a bit more emotion closer inside. He keeps himself a little guarded.
And I like that Roan protects himself because he needs to be protected. But I hate that he protects himself because I want this world to be safer.
I’ve worked with Roan this summer on finding his voice. He is cautious about expressing opinions, even ones that don’t seem hard to take. He is slow to express preferences about what to do with his friends, and will never ever say he likes one person more than another. Roan is cautious, in the extreme, about sharing information about anyone other than himself and is quick to say he doesn’t like gossip. So much so that I worry about him being able to tell me if things go wrong, with a friend or someone who isn’t a friend. So I’ve made him list things to me this summer. What are three things you don’t like to talk about? That went over horribly. He literally could not even say the words of the topics he doesn’t like to talk about. (Sex, swearing, and talking about things he doesn’t like to talk about). It took almost an hour to get these three things from my boy.
I’m sure he’ll be relieved that his teachers will not be taking this approach with him. Ah – mothers – crazy, each one of us.
Summer is saying good-bye, it’s true. As uneventful as this one has been, it has also been one of my favorites, ever. The change in the air makes me sad even though it feels good. Having so much time to try to figure out who my son is, this is a true luxury. He’s crazy complicated and super sweet. My Roan. It does feel like we’re walking to school.