I’m sitting in a darkened
I had just finished a

I had two sobering incidents

I had two sobering incidents yesterday. The first happened in the car. Now, recently whenever we’ve been in the car for any length of time, Raphael and I have had the following exchange:
R: Mama? Whatcha doin’?
M: I’m driving, baby. What are you doing?
R: Ah’m in mah car seat.
M: That’s good, baby.

Now, that’s not that amazing of a conversation, I’ll grant you. But it was repeated, word for word, seven trillion times. At least. If I tried changing even one word I would be corrected severely.

R: Mama? Whatcha doin’?
M: I’m driving. What are you doing?
R: NOOOOOOO! SAY dat ONE Ah drivin’ BABY!
M: Alright, sorry.
R: Mama? Whatcha doin’?

And so on. Sometimes he would repeat the whole thing over and over and over and over…until I was banging my head on the steering wheel.
But yesterday there we were tooling along, and Raphael pipes up from the back seat, “Mama? Whatcha doin’?”
I replied with pavlovian promptness, “I’m driving, baby. What are you doing?”
But then there was silence. I glanced in the rearview mirror and he was staring pensively out the window. He seemed to be trying to remember the next line…but after a moment he shrugged and went back to telling knock-knock jokes with Max. I realized it had been a week or two since we’d done our little shtick. And in the meantime it faded from his mind. Raphael was done with that bit of his childhood, and now it only exists as an echo in my mind.

The next thing was a phrase I heard as I was attempting to serve the boys their breakfast. Raphael was newly-awake-cranky, and wanted me to pick him up. He trailed me in the kitchen, pushing on my knees and whining, “Mama, hold me up. Hold me uuuuuup” As soon as I could I picked him up and hugged him close, charmed by the wording, “hold me up.”
That afternoon, Raphael woke up from his nap just as I was fixing dinner. He trotted into the kitchen and took his place at my heels, shoving at my knees in great irritation. “Mama,” he moaned, “pick me up.”

The little bits of the boys’ childhoods get left behind them, scattered and forgotten except by me. And even I sometimes lose track of which bit belongs to whom. That was Max, right, who called sprinklers “splinkers?” Tre was the one who called chocolate "chlokit?"
I’m left with this ringing in my head, the remains of jargon I once shared with the boys. When one more piece of it moves from reality into memory, I’m reminded that it’s true, what they say. They grow up so fast. One day soon I’ll be dredging up all these goofy memories to comfort my lonely heart. Maybe I’ll even miss the moments like yesterday, when I found Raphael scrubbing the window track with my toothbrush.
Hmm. Then again, maybe not. That was pretty gross.


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