July 19, 2010

So many songs about rainbows

Saturday morning, when I came downstairs, the kitchen was clean, just the way I’d left it the night before. The living room was clean. There was no one sleeping on the couch, no empty glasses on the counter, no laptops strewn about. It felt wrong.

My three oldest kids and some of our extras spent the weekend at an Ultimate tournament in Country to the North. That left just my husband, With-a-Why, and me home in a quiet house for three days.

“Do you think With-a-Why is going to be lonely?” my husband asked me. “He’s used to the whole gang being here.”

“Maybe we should take him out for ice cream,” I said. “We could go to the duck pond.”

“Um, he’s fifteen now,” my husband said.

I keep forgetting that. My youngest son is a teenager now, lanky and tall with long hair that hangs in his face. In my mind, he’s still a little kid.

Luckily, not everyone thinks that way. Quick, one of our college-age extras, has never treated With-a-Why like a little kid, but rather a peer his own age. He showed up Saturday afternoon, and the two sat and played chess for several hours. That night, my husband suggested we go to the movies, and the three of us went to a movie that involved a complicated plot and lots of men with guns. I think it might be the first time we’ve gone out with just the three of us.

Yesterday afternoon, I walked around Pretty Colour Lake with an out-of-town friend and his two young kids. We did the same kind of things I used to do with my own kids – balancing on a log over a stream, skipping stones into the lake, swimming at the beach, and having a picnic on the sand. The shallow water in that small beach is fun for little kids but not so much for anyone taller.

I thought back to the many times I’d sat on that beach with my own kids when they were little, watching toddlers playing in the sand or splashing in the water, and it felt like a sudden shock to realize suddenly that those years are over, that my kids are mostly adults.

Earlier this summer, when I was driving With-a-Why home from a piano lesson, he was singing a song from the Peter Cincotti CD that he’d been listening to. It’s a song I was listening to on the way to Bison City the week I helped my grad school daughter move from one apartment to another. The Rainbow Connection is most famously sung by Kermit the Frog, but in my son’s voice, the lyrics seemed especially haunting. The end of the song was playing in my head last night as I fell asleep, thinking about all the precious things I keep trying to hold onto in this summer that is going by so quickly.

“Have you been half asleep
And have you heard voices
I've heard them calling my name
Are these the sweet sounds that called
The young sailors
I think they're one and the same
I've heard it too many times to ignore it
There's something that I'm supposed to be

Someday we’ll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.”

7 comments:

kathy a. said...

my husband and i have these conversations all the time, now that the kids are more or less out of the house. son lives nearby, and i have to bite my tongue for fear of saying something that he will take as treating him like a child -- which he isn't, but he hears something from the past. my husband has far more trouble with our daughter, whom he still considers his little baby girl, even though she has been in college for 3 years and an overseas program since last august.

ThirdCat said...

I just love the rainbow connection. I'm doing something the same down here in the winter, keeping hold of something, or perhaps savouring it as it slips away, reminding myself how lucky I am to have good times to savour.

heidi said...

Love that song.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I never really listened to those lyrics before. The sweet sounds that called the young sailors... As a parent, it's so heartbreaking; but as the young sailor, hopeful.

Lilian said...

I'm really, really jealous of our mutual friend & kids who got to go to Pretty Color Lakes with you 'cause I won't get to do it later this week. Sigh. In any case, I'm so happy you got together. More happy about this than jealous, that's the truth.

Too many good things have been happening in my trip, so it's OK if it doesn't have the "cherry on top" of our meeting. Someday, someday...

jo(e) said...

Lilian: We need to coordinate our summer schedules better so that next time I'm here when you drive through.

Jennifer: I assume that the "sweet sounds that called the young sailors" is supposed to refer to the mythological Sirens. Not sure that has anything to do with my blog post, but still, I've heard the song so many times this summer that it's come to represent the feelings I'm having.

julieunplugged said...

sniff sniff. Ahhhh. Lovely recallings and also the interesting way you adjust to new combinations of family.

I had one of those moments the other day picking books for Brave Writer. I realized that I wouldn't be reading aloud to any of my kids any more. That moment made my heart hurt. It's so strange to be beyond little kids... a season of life when you have four or five that spans decades. So glad you knew, and I knew, to enjoy it.