Today Max and Raphael finished school for the year, complete with the ritual flinging-of-the-workbook down the stairs. Actually, Raphi ran downstairs and fetched his back up for at least three extra flings. The boy, he knows how to party.
Naturally, this contributed to a celebratory mood in the house. Tre has been lurking about, waiting for his brothers to FINISH, FINALLY, so we wouldn't all be trapped in the house anymore. Once the last book was flung, the three of them ricocheted around the house like so many pin-balls.
And of course, this led to friction. I keep telling myself that the bickering will end someday, but I'm beginning to suspect that it will be when they leave home. I tossed a random library trip into the afternoon, but there wasn't time to do much else, and by the time I settled into the kitchen to make dinner, the three of them were sullen and bored and utterly convicted of the wrongness of the others.
"Why don't you ride your bikes to the park?" I like to throw out suggestions like that, just to be sure I get my daily quota of eyeballs rolled at me. Tre had JUST THAT MINUTE figured out what he wanted to do (not go to the park with his brothers), Raphi was furious that Tre NEVER wants to do ANYTHING with him EVER (I wonder why?), and Max didn't want to ride his bike allll the way to the park, just to listen to them fight(insert sanctimonious shake of the head), when he could do that right here and watch an episode of Phinneus and Ferb that he'd only seen fifteen million twelvety eleven times.
"Yeah, yeah," I said in my sympathetic way, "go anyhow. You don't have to enjoy yourselves, you don't even have to stay and play. Just GO."
In case you are wondering, I am a horrible person who is ruining their lives.
They stomped out the door. Just then Clay arrived home, and he mercifully whisked Sophia outside so she could stop "helping" me so much with dinner. As the noise and angst drained out of the house, I tell you the truth, I just lay down right there on the kitchen floor and stared at the ceiling.
Transitions are hard, and this summer is going to be chock full of them. In the next 10 weeks, Tre will be spending about 5 of them elsewhere. Camp, family visits, whatnot. All summer long he'll be coming and going, and I truly believe this is best for him. He seems to crave activity in a new way, and would be miserable hanging out at home with the neighborhood kids.
But when he does come home, I don't think he realizes how important he is to his brothers. Raphi, in particular, has been simply beside himself since Tre's school ended. He dogs his big brother, alternately fawning on him and bugging the ever living crap out of him. Tre just thinks his little brother is being annoying, and rarely recognizes how much he is being adored.
Our family computer, the desk top in the living room, is set up to scroll through pictures randomly for a screen saver. I love this, and spend more time than I'd like to admit watching the images roll by. There's one picture in particular that haunts me. It's from about three or four years ago, the day after Halloween. A squirrel was eating the jack-o-lanterns on the porch, and all three boys are kneeling backwards on the couch, watching. I remember being tickled by all their bare feet, lined up on the couch.
Now, when I see that picture, it tugs at me. For so long, our days were like that. It was me and the boys, and we surged our way through adventures together. We listened to the same books, we went to the same museums, we ate the same lunches. We were a team.
And now, as I guess it should be, our team is unravelling. If Tre isn't at school or a school function, Max is off at his chess club or youth group. Raphael sticks closer to home for now, since it isn't wrestling season, but he is already peeking over his brothers' shoulders to see what might be out there for him.
I know they're not gone yet, though, and I'm determined not to miss these times we have together. Sometimes it's hard, though, to fit back together into a whole.
Eventually I got up off the floor (it was, and is, sort of filthy), and finished making dinner. Tre burst in the door just as I was taking glasses out of the cupboard to set the table. I handed the glasses to him, and he took them and grinned at me.
"Yeah, you were right. We had fun." His cheeks were pink and his eyes were bright, and soon his brothers piled in behind him. There was much noise and laughing and jostling for position. Clay and Sophia came home, and we all settled into place around the table.
Sometimes it seems like all our edges no longer fit together, but sometimes...sometimes they do.