The vagaries of winter…

For J’s birthday the weather was lovely.  We were out there with no jackets or sweaters.  It was like spring, but perhaps sweeter because it was in January.

Cut to the past two days and the next three or four…it’s cold, people.  It has snowed, but not so much that we’re stuck.  Just enough to make a mess of roads, to freeze over, and to cancel school…

J is being philosophical about it.  Being stuck on the bus for hours a few weeks ago had an effect on him, and he doesn’t really like walking on icy roads so he knows there’s a reason for being stuck indoors.

He had fun on his birthday.  He went to watch Kung Fu Panda 3, and he had steak for dinner.  We made cupcakes, and had ice cream.  We even gave him a sip of wine.  Were it not because we are fiercely protective of his privacy I would show you his reaction.  He is NOT a fan of wine.  He immediately requested a second bite of his cupcake and said BLECH with perfect pronunciation and enunciation.  It could not be mistaken for anything other than BLECH.  Perhaps, someday, he’ll make peace with beer, or perhaps he’ll stick to soda…

Very little has changed about J since turning 21.  Well, perhaps he’s added a few more pin-up girls to his walls, but that’s about it.  I think we have altered our mindset more than he has, but I expect that’s normal.  He doesn’t fully comprehend that he is an adult, and we do.  Life, we know, slowly changes and there’s not much you can do about it…other than watch and adjust.

The next adjustment we’re facing, and it’s a big one, is TGG moving out, and helping J with this transition.  J is sort-of getting used to TGG’s absences, but seeing his room completely stripped of his belongings might cause him anxiety.  We don’t really know yet, but we’re preparing for some iffy situations in the coming weeks.

The first thing we’re going to do is repurpose the room where TGG is currently sleeping so it can be more of a hangout room for all of us.  We are going to have J help us choose what we’re putting in there, and -hopefully- this will help him adjust.  If it doesn’t, well, we’ll go back to the drawing board.

The way things are right now, we’re looking ahead to mid-May and the big changes in our family life.    We are planning a short vacation with just J, and the search for a hotel with adjoining rooms in our prospective destinations is an important aspect of the planning.  We are no longer restricted by the school calendar, and we can move freely to see the fall colors in areas far from home, or spending a major holiday elsewhere…  In a way, this is all surreal to us.  We can’t believe we have reached this point.

You always hear how life is about change, and often wonder how that is possible if your life seems so stationary.  One moment, suddenly, brings the realization that things have been shifting in a nearly imperceptible manner all along, and you are left wondering where the time went, and what you did with it.  I admit to sometimes looking around and seeing tangible proof that my/our time hasn’t been wasted.  Other times I’m left scratching my head.

I know, in my heart of hearts, that we’ve been “doing” things, and have “accomplishments.”  I don’t know how these rate in other people’s standards for “doing” and “accomplishment,” but I’m confident we’ve managed to evolve over time.  In what ways?, you ask.  Darned if I can list them.  We’ve moved, at best, at a glacial pace 9/10 of the time.  That we’re not competing with other parents to figure out whose kid is more advanced soothes my anxiety.  People have long since realized that they win hands down, and they’ve let go of the competition.

At a certain point in life, I suppose, the race to “be the best parent” is replaced with “be the best grandparent.”  Since we’ve entered that fray in a rather unexpected way, and the make-up of our extended family is not particularly traditional, we’re no even in the race.  We love our grandson.  We think he’s awesome.  We will encourage and support him.  We are there for him.  We are not going to let anyone put pressure on this disparate group of people who are involved in this child’s life to prove that he’s “good enough” at anything.  Our main concern is that he establishes a good relationship with his uncle J; this is proving tricky, of course.  J is HUGE compared to Little B, and Little B is still too young to understand that they share many interests.  That understanding will come in time, but when you look like a little mite compared to your uncle, well, the time might be a little longer than the rest of us would like.

J is, as we all know, a gentle giant.  He is Ferdinand the Bull.  He is Lambert the Sheepish Lion.  He is a sweet cupcake with a jam center.  He is kindness personified, and he is very gentle and quiet around his nephew.  Little B hasn’t yet figured out that, in this particular equation, he is most definitely the Alpha, but I’m sure that, as he approaches the Terrible Twos, he will notice that Uncle J is basically a human jungle gym with an excellent selection of toys, books and movies.

Life, as I said, keeps going whether we’re ready for it, or not.  The alternative, of course, is not to be alive.  And we actually enjoy the mess we live in, even if at times we don’t quite notice that things have altered over time, or if we notice that they haven’t.  That the kids are adults means we’re adults…amplified, and slowly shriveling.  We can deal with that, I suppose.  It does, as I said, beat the alternative…

And it snows again, and it’s cold again…winter can’t make up its mind, and ain’t that always the way.


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