“Hi Mom! We’re home!” Wil and Brad yell.
The door bangs shut as scampering feet run into the mudroom. Coats and backpacks are hung up on the appropriate hook, shoes are taken off without asking, and hands are washed before snack. Both sit on their stools and smile. “What’s for snack?” they ask.
I am uneasy at how uneventful the after school routine is.
“How was your day boys?” I ask. I never do get an answer other than, “Fine” but I ask anyway. It is a matter of routine.
“Fine,” Wil answers.
“What about you Brad, how was your day at school?” I ask. “Fine,” he replies.
Ah, there is the standard answer. I feel better about how the routine is going now.
As I stare at them eating grapes and fish crackers, I realize my seats are not in the front row anymore of their life. Six hours of their life passed by at school and I wasn’t there to see it. All I know is everything is “fine”…
Since when did I end up in the cheap seats? You would think being pregnant and giving birth at least insured me a VIP seat. Little did I know swollen ankles and cravings for cumquats would put me in the obstructed view seats.
When they are babies, you have an “on stage” seat to your kid’s life. While feeding, changing or holding them, you are 8 inches away from the drooling and cooing face.
When they are toddlers you chase them around but still are in the front row. You are their guide, voice and shield if a verbal dart is thrown or a fall is imminent.
When they are school age kids, your seats have moved back a few rows; the front row seats are filled with teachers, friends, coaches, and lunch counter ladies.
By high school you are up in the balcony trying to catch a glimpse of your teenager. Sometimes the only way to know what is happening in their lives is to investigate their dirty laundry.
Every once in a while your seats move down to the front row again. The occasional weeknight dinner where every chair is filled. Or the family vacation where it’s just your family; void of friends, extended family and video games. Some of the best seats in the house are during a car ride in between activities. For just a moment you have the theater alone with your child.
I am jolted out of my contemplative trance by a wayward fish cracker flying through the air meant for a sibling.
“MOM, he threw a booger on me!” yells Brad.
“I did not! He made a face at me!” yells Wil.
“He touched me!”
“Well, he breathed on me!” And so it goes…
I just stare at them…and stare. “MOMMMMMM! Do something!” they both yell. Perhaps I don’t want a front row seat all the time, and this would be one of those times.