This was what I heard as I stood toe-to-toe with Jack and Charlie last night, as they picked out clothes for the next morning.
"Nothing?" I asked, sure they were just exaggerating.
"No. Nothing," they replied.
Still very sure they were stretching the truth, I told them we would fully address the issue tomorrow... which is now today. I can now say, without a doubt, they were telling the truth. We spent the better part of two hours this evening, camped out in their bedroom going through the dresser and closet. We now have several stacks of clothes to donate. This purge leaves them with a pair of khaki cargo pants each and an array of shirts. (Sam, on the other hand, the sole recipient of the hand-me-downs, has most of what he needs, wardrobe-wise, but managed to outgrow all his jeans, too.) So, this weekend? It's a jeans-buying bonanza for the boys.
I discovered today that I -- somewhere in the past few weeks -- gained a few extra pounds. This? I am thoroughly unhappy about. Yep... nothing like getting ready for work in the morning, feeling like a wrapped ham in your clothing. The difference between myself and the boys is that my only option is to get my ass back to the gym and have three miles on the treadmill for lunch every day, rather than go out and have myself a shopping spree. And, yes, I started today.
Funny how the kids outgrowing some clothing can make you stop and think... they're growing up. Sure, it's happening every day, but we all get busy and don't see it. Lately I've been noticing small changes in the boys' behavior -- small steps toward a bit more maturity, a smidge more compassion here and there, and I realize that Sam at 9 and Jack & Charlie coming up on 12 are really growing up. Don't get me wrong -- I still get to hear all the petty bickering and arguing. (Oh, how I love the bickering and arguing!) But to realize there are no more fist-fights between them, or chasing each other down, only to catch and begin the pummelling... well, that's just an awesome feeling. I remember fully being in the midst of that behavior several years ago, wondering just when the hell all the fighting would end, and if I'd make it through to that point. "It has to stop sometime," I'd think, weary from playing referee and, literally, pulling them off each other. And now we've made it. I also noticed lately that those boys are really funny. Yes, once in a while they do manage to take a break from the typical "bathroom humor" that boys their age find absolutely hysterical, and say something witty or sarcastic. It still catches me off guard, but it never ceases to make me laugh. Really laugh. Especially Sam.
Change abounds in our house. Bobby just turned two yesterday. Two years old! And talk about a kid who has personality and a sense of humor? I guess that's what happens when your family is as big as an audience, and you are growing up feeling comfortable "performing." Things will change later this year for Tyler and Kate, as well. Tyler will begin his sophomore year of college on Purdue's main campus; something he is desperately happy to have happen. Kate will begin her senior year of high school at the end of the summer -- and so begins all the "last times" of her high school career. At the same time, as she begins preparing for college admissions (another for Purdue!) it marks all the "firsts" as a college student. Such wonderful times, full of excitement.
My hope is that with all the hustle and bustle of life, amidst all the changes, growth spurts and outgrown jeans... Jeff and I manage to stop and take notice. I don't want a single minute of this crazy life of ours to pass us by without pausing... letting the events sink in and giving us wonderful memories. We may periodically find ourselves in a place where "nothing fits," but with a little rearrangement and a little adjustment, we'll once again find ourselves comfortable.