Friday, May 15, 2015

Note to the Boy Sleeping in the Dryer Box

Note to John: If you're going to take up residence in the dryer box, please send a change of address card to your mother.

See, John, your mother is slightly neurotic. You may or may not have taken note of this fact. When she ambles into your room to do the old rise and shine thing, she's taken aback when she peers into the top bunk and spies no John. Naturally, since she is not a complete nut job, she quickly considers that you could be a) in the bathroom or b) taking in a little Scooby Doo before school.

But when a) and b) don't produce one sleepy, brown-eyed John, she instantly leaps to c) which typically goes along the lines of CHECK THE WINDOWS! CHECK THE YARD! SOMEONE STOLE MY KID!

I wish this were a bit of bloggy hyperbole, but, sadly, it is not. I go from zero to CALL THE COPS! in about the time it takes to say Looney! Tunes! I probably need to examine why panic is so often near at hand.


I can think of any number of valid reasons.


The Internet.

Helicopter parenting.

Too many horror movies as a teenager.

Mary Higgens Clark Where Are the Children? type pulp fiction as an adult.

Yes, John has taken up residence in a dryer box. He sleeps in the box at night and makes improvements upon the fort by day. As I zipped through the neighborhood the other afternoon, John spied an amazing box on our neighbor's front walk.  Can John have the box? I quickly texted my friend. It's yours for the having, my friend responded. The dryer box now has a sizable and tasteful addition.

If you're in need of a cathartic cry, please read this piece by Ann Voskamp.

So much of motherhood seems eternal -- and I am mean both the good and the dreary. The laundry will never end, but you'll always have a small hand in yours as you cross the street. Sibling squabbles drone on and on and on, but you spend a good chunk of every evening reading books on the couch. Tense words fly over homework and curfews and screen time, but late nights end with tight hugs and early mornings begin with shared coffee.

I find myself on the brink of something.

My oldest is moving toward adulthood. The braces are gone, the SAT has been taken, college looms in the not so very distant future. Meanwhile my youngest is taking us through our last set of firsts.

Our last set of firsts.

She's about to lose her first tooth which will be our last first tooth. I won't have another first day of kindergarten. She already swims, but she doesn't yet ride a bike. Yes, there will be more firsts. But unless a really, really big surprise comes our way, these firsts -- the tooth, the bike -- will be our last firsts.

A part of me breaks when I think about these things.

But another part of me quickly texts my friend to get that nifty box.

Handle with care, reads the top of John's dryer box.

This cardboard and duct tape behemoth is not exactly the decorating statement I had in mind when I envisioned John's new room. But babies don't keep, as the saying goes. John is welcome to sleep in his ever-growing, double-wide fort.

(As long as he keeps his mother apprised of his whereabouts).


kviz said...

I spent most of my 13th year in a dryer box in my bedroom. John is getting an early start!
And he is surely not as dramatically melancholy as I was at that age.

Kris said...

I'm trying to enjoy my "last firsts" as much as possible, but I'm slowly running out of them. *sniff*

Debbie C said...

That is so John, he is so funny and cute! You just have to love him!!

Kelly Dolin said...

Kath - I think I spent my 13th year living in a tent. And I'm glad he's not usually melancholy.

Kris - Let's savor them!

Debiie - Yep! Loved the field trip pics.

Christine Laennec said...

That is very sweet - except for the moment of total panic. The other day our daughter confided to me that she sometimes gets irritated at her Dad because he just doesn't get upset enough when there is cause for alarm!