Our days together when you were little and I was home with you was precious. I was blessed to be home with each of you approximately five years.
When Bubba was small I was all about us trying to go and visit family I seldom saw. I'd try to find ways to let him "help" me with my housework. We'd sit down after lunch while I rested and watched soap operas. He'd often be beside me in the little orange school chair Mama rescued from O'Neil before they tore it down. We'd color or play with play dough. He'd make snakes. I'd make hogs and rabbits.
I did most of the mowing back then. Sometimes he'd follow me around the yard in his car or on a bike. Sometimes he'd play with his Tonka trucks.
Every day I tried my best to have us both clean and supper on the stove by the earliest time Daddy might be home. But he was seldom home that early. Occasionally, if I knew he'd be later coming in, we'd rake in the yard, I'd fire up our little grill just for wieners and we thought we were having a blast.
Often times I'd put old records or tapes on the stereo during the day while I tended to things and we'd dance to one if it caught our fancy, sing along at the top of our lungs if the mood hit.
Sometimes you'd have me come out and get in an old hoopie frame that set on the ground and you'd pretend you were driving me to Bush Lake.
All the while during our days, I'd be drinking it in. Often thinking how I needed to tuck the smell, sight and sound of you away in a bottle to save.
Fast forward about 10 years and Bug is here with us. A different house, different time in our lives, different personality. Some things were very similar.
With Bug, I was more about getting her down to see your Granny often, since the older set was vanishing. And when Bubba wasn't in school, of course he'd be with us.
We also did our share of coloring. And Bug's favorite way to play with playdough was to use my cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Then she'd line them up and sort them by color and shape in rows on the table. Even as a toddler her "Monk" tendencies were showing. ;) (In the grocery store, I'd lose her behind me on the isle, as she'd stop to front the items and make sure all the labels faced the same way.)
To get outside, we'd usually go for walks around the yard back when she was in a stroller, stopping to see all the animals. Or ride off down the road on bikes once she had mastered hers.
Unlike her brother, she'd usually take a nap in the afternoon during my soap operas. And I'd get the rest and relaxation my 40 something self needed.
With Daddy working building cabinets with Uncle Tommy instead of in the oilfield, he was more often home at a regular time. So now, if we were outside in the evenings, it would be all of us. Cooking over the open fire. Classic country on the radio. Friends and family stopping by. Washers and forty-two.
There were new activities available to us. Picking dew berries at the compressor station to make cobbler. Rainy days finding me and Bubba sitting Bug in her high chair and trying endless hair styles on her. Baby beautyshop!
While cartoons were a treat I rented for Bubba when he was sick, Direct TV made cartoons a ready treat for Bug. And we'd all watch the really good ones, the classics together.
Just the same as before, I longed to drink it all in. Savor it. Save it. Like a treasure chest in an attic I could open and bring out and relive each moment.
I breastfed with both of you. Bubba was a lazy nurser that had to be supplemented. By six months, he had gradually nursed less and less until I was dried up. I cried myself to sleep that night. Bug on the other hand, caught on and never slacked up. She was 18 months old when I decided it was ridiculous that she still nursed twice a day and consulted the signs for the feet, stuffed my bra with cabbage and weaned her.
With Bubba, we tried in vain to get him to sleep in his own bed. So it ended up him on my arm each night and me saying "Shh...now think in your head like Pooh Bear". With Bug, I didn't even really try to make her stay in the baby bed. She went to sleep each night laying flat of her back beside my back with one foot cocked up on my hip.
Talk time. Talk time with Bubba was laying in the bed together, saying how we needed to go to sleep and then one of us would think of "one more thing" we just had to say. We'd giggle and cry. Finally in the wee hours we'd fall asleep. I'd give anything to steel you away from you wife for just one night and do that again.
With Bug, talk time by and large has been in the kitchen, or as I tuck her into her bed at night. Again, laughter, tears. I must go lay down...well, just one more thing.
I hope each of you know how very much I have valued my time with you. Life and circumstance sometimes demand we say not now, and how I wish it wasn't so. For the fullest days of my life are those I simply spent with my children.