You’re never going to guess what I’m doing this weekend. No, really, you’ll never guess. Try…
If you guessed “attending a party to celebrate Arkansas’ birthday, fully planned and funded by my nine-year-old son” you’d be correct.
You didn’t guess that, did you?
We do not live in Arkansas, nor have we ever visited, but thanks to Google Maps, older son has been obsessed with Arkansas since November of last year. (Most kids surf the internet, my son spends his time on maps.) He saw pictures of the Ozarks and Lake Ouachita and he’s been appealing to our love of nature with the camping/hiking angle since then.
If it weren’t so far away, he probably would have worn me down by now. But Moms have long memories and the last car ride full of jabbing elbows, arguing and “are we there yets” is fresh in my mind. And that was just to the grocery store 🙂 The thought of 20 hours of the same elicits a knee-jerk (but still firm) “no”.
Seeing that Mom can be in immovable object, he approached things differently. In December, he said he was going to have a party for Arkansas’ birthday in June (Arkansas became a state on June 15, 1836.) “Oh, okay,” I said, figuring he’d forget about it or move on to something else. I like to save my “no” answers for things that won’t disappear on their own.
He never did stop talking about that party, and when he gave me a hand-written party invitation in April to copy, I had an inkling the party wasn’t going away. I knew for certain it was “go” when I woke up three weekends ago to find my entire dining room rearranged for party games. (“I have to start getting ready for the party,” he told me.)
I’m enjoying his excitement over the whole thing. Last night, he asked me, “Mom, will you be so proud of me if I plan this three-hour party and everyone has fun?”
What I wanted to tell him was that I’m proud of him because of who he is; his sweetness, his quest to learn, his interest in geography and nature, his growing sense of responsibility and the glimpses I can see ever more frequently that remind me one day, in the not-too-distant future, he will be a man I’ll look up to (figuratively and literally.)
Now, I can’t get too sappy with my boy, or he’ll run away, like the quail family in my front yard when I try to take a picture. I simply told him, “son, I’m already proud of you because you are you,” and gave him a hug.
The hug went too far.
He wriggled out of my grasp and put some distance between us. Specifically, two rooms and a closed door.