This past week my seven-yr-old, Laurelei, has been in a summer daycamp at the Missoula Children's Theater, learning her part as an Evil Magic Flower in the Wizard of Oz, so it's just been Riley and me at home. I love having both my children at home, and I love homeschooling them, but I really look forward to these opportunities to spend time with just me and my little guy as well. I don't know how it is for other mammas, but for me I think it has been harder to get to really know who my second-born is, because, being the second-born, he's never been the only one at home. Big sister has always been there, and had two and a half years of me all to herself before Riley came along. Laurelei and I, we've got the mamma-daughter thing down pretty well. Riley and I, well, I think we're getting better and better at the mamma-son thing. He used to get so frustrated trying to explain things to me, or show me things, because he didn't quite know how to put it in words that were not big sister's and not Mamma's and not Daddy's, but just his. But now, he's four, and he's so full of joy; so sure of who he is and what he wants. I pick him up sometimes and he puts his hands on my cheeks and turns my face toward him and says, "I love you Mamma stinker," and then laughs maniacally. Yup. That's my little boy.
Amazingly, the house that we share with family (them upstairs, us downstairs, shared kitchen) was pretty quiet this week as well and when I asked Riley what kinds of things he wanted to do, I couldn't have been happier that he wanted to spend some time in the kitchen. I love that it was just the two of us, in the mid-morning sunshine, making homemade yoghurt (when it's homemade, you just have to spell it with the H), banana muffins, and stemming and pitting all the cherries that we'd picked earlier in the week to make jam.
I don't know if, years from now, Riley will remember standing on a chair next to me and mashing bananas. Or squeezing the cherry stoner and watching the juice fly. I don't know if he'll recall taking a break and sitting on the counter with Mamma, our bare feet swinging against the cupboard doors while we ate a couple of PBJ's. I hope he will. But even if he doesn't remember in detail the smells and the sunlight and the closeness, I hope he remembers the feeling of learning through work, and of working by the side of someone who loves him more than any other little boy in the world.
And the fruits of our labors:
It’s good to be in the kitchen with Mamma.