Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Like Mama Like Son

Well, it looks like I wasn't the only one who didn't get a picture of my firstborn riding the bus on the first day of kindergarten. My mom sent me this picture last week . . . and noted it was my SECOND day on the school bus (sometime in August or September 1983 - I'll bet the exact date is written on the picture!); she couldn't remember why a picture wasn't taken on the first day!

Is it just me . . . or does Mason have my legs, knobby knees and all?!?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Teach me to number my days
And count every moment before it slips away
Taking all the colors before they fade to gray
I don't want to miss even just a second more of this . . .
It happens in a blink;
It happens in a flash;
It happens in the time it takes to look back.
I try to hold on tight,
but there's no stopping time.
What is it I've done with my life?
It happens in a blink . . .

~BLINK by Revive~

I've heard this song umpteen million times the past few months, but it wasn't until this past Wednesday that I really HEARD the words . . . it was like I was listening to the song for the very first time. And now I can't get it out of my head. Yes, I know this song is all about making the most and the best of your life, namely living for Christ. But during this season in my life, am I making the most and the best of being a Mommy? 'Cause they grow up so fast . . .

I am pregnant. BLINK. Mason is born. BLINK. We are celebrating Mason's 1st Christmas. BLINK. Mason is one! BLINK. After living in Louisiana for almost 7 years, we move to Mississippi. BLINK. I am pregnant. BLINK. Hannah Kate is born. BLINK. Hannah Kate is one! BLINK. We are moving back to Louisiana. BLINK. We still don't have to worry about kindergarten and where Mason is going to go to school until "next year." BLINK. "Next year" is here, and Mason is in kindergarten.

This past Monday was Mason's first "real" day at kindergarten . . . meaning he got on the bus at 7:00am, went to school and got off the bus at 2:50pm. So it was rainy on Monday morning. We watched for the bus to pass and then loaded up in the Tahoe to wait at the end of the driveway.We got out under the umbrella, and I was having a conversation with the bus driver. After all, it was the first time I'd ever even met the man so I made sure he knew who I was, who Mason was, where Mason went to school (even though that's the only school he drops off at!), who Mason's teacher is, etc etc etc. At the end of that conversation, which really wasn't as long as it seems like it was, I realize that Mason is NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. He's already on the bus! No hug. No kiss. No goodbye. No wave. Nothing. Now, granted, I'd already given him a hundred hugs and kisses and instructions and pats on the back and so on and so forth. But one more wouldn't have been so bad! BLINK. He's gone.

That was the longest day of my life! By 10:00am, the kitchen was spotless, three loads of laundry were done, folded and put away, the floors were swept, the bathrooms were cleaned and supper was underway. I spent all day counting down the hours and finally minutes until Mason would get off that school bus. I couldn't wait to hear all about his day and what he did and who he met and what he learned. I mean, Mason talks all the time . . . non-stop, I tell you! Often times I ask him to stop talking for five minutes to play the quiet game. He always looses at that one. But I was ready for it. The house had been too quiet, even with Hannah Kate and Connor, and I was lonely! Even with Hannah Kate and Connor. At this point, I have no idea what he did the first day at school. I only know that his favorite part about school was nap time! Seriously?!? Are you KIDDING ME?!? This child detests nap time at home! He doesn't even take naps anymore! And his favorite thing about the first day of school is NAP TIME?!? Well, maybe that's because his super cool Mommy covered his kindermat with camouflage fabric and monogrammed his name on the bottom in hunter's orange . . . so he's probably the coolest kid at nap time! Or perhaps the dorkiest.And . . . not only that . . . but I made chocolate chip cookies especially for Mason so he could have a snack when he got home . . . and also so the house would smell delicious. And do you know he didn't want a chocolate chip cookie?!? He told me he'd rather his candy that his teacher gave him! I mean, it's only the first day, and Ms. Alexander is already showing me up!

Oh yeah, and that sweet lil note I put in his lunchbox . . . well, surprise surprise . . . he didn't say anything about that either! Today he finally asked why I kept putting "that stuff" in his lunchbox!We asked him all kinds of questions all kinds of ways in an attempt to figure out just what his first day of school consisted of. And we got absolutely nothing! Finally I asked him if he missed me. He tells me every Sunday after church that he missed me while he was in Sunday School. He told me every morning after VBS that he missed me while he was in his class. So surely he missed me . . . right?!? WRONG. He said, "Nah," and then proceeded to head upstairs to play with his toys, at which point Seth says, "Well your Mama missed you. All she did all day was cry!" Mason didn't even turn around! BLINK. The first day of school is over.

We woke up Tuesday morning to a break in the rain. It didn't last long, but it was long enough that we were able to walk to the end of the driveway to wait on the bus. Since it was raining the day before, I wasn't able to get a picture of Mason on the school bus since I was trying to maneuver the umbrella and scope out the bus driver. So that was my mission on Tuesday morning. Mr. Louis, the bus driver, had to tell Mason to stop and turn around for a picture because the child was so hot-to-trot to get to his seat and go to school!And the rest of the day I spent counting the hours and minutes until 2:50. It's raining so Hannah Kate, Connor and I load up into the Tahoe to wait on Mason at the end of the driveway. He hops in the Tahoe and wants to know "what Hannah did today." Excuse me . . . Hannah? Ummm, what about MOMMY? When we get inside, Mason asks me if he has homework. He's been dying for homework. Yeah, we'll see how he feels about that when 5th grade comes around. Anyway, I look in his folder and let him know that he doesn't have homework. He's disappointed. He'd already told me he wouldn't be able to help Hannah Kate pick up anymore because he'd have to do his homework! He kicks off his shoes, turns around and heads upstairs. BLINK. The second day of school is over, and I still don't know what he did. But he did say that his favorite part of the day was nap time!

Today was more of the same. It was raining this morning so we had to take the Tahoe again to wait for the bus. But it wasn't raining this afternoon so Hannah Kate and I waited on Mason at the end of the driveway. I had this beautiful image in my head of him running off the school bus and straight into my arms . . . I'd swing him up in the air and give him a kiss . . . he'd grab my hand, and we'd walk back to the house. Well, he came running all right. He ran right past his sister and me! And he didn't stop til he got to the house! Hannah Kate and I were still standing at the end of the driveway, and Mason is already to the house! He didn't even stop to wave or say, "Hi!" It was such a pitiful sight. Really, it was. So Hannah Kate took my hand, and we walked back together. I mean, seriously, WHAT IS THIS? He's five years old . . . he's in kindergarten . . . so he doesn't need Mommy anymore?!? BLINK. It's over. He's grown.

Tonight at supper, I rather dejectedly told Seth was happened when Mason got off the bus. Mason spoke up rather nonchalantly and said, "Ha ha. Beat you, Mom." So I've been thinking. His reaction and response this week hasn't exactly been what I anticipated. Would I rather him crying . . . not wanting to get on the bus . . . not wanting to go to school? I guess not. But darn it, I just want him to miss me! Just a little! BLINK. Only this time I'm blinking back tears.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First Day

Yesterday was Mason's first day of kindergarten. It went a little something like this:

5:30am - My alarm clock goes off.

5:45am - I roll out of bed and get dressed.

5:55am - I wake Mason up.

5:57am - Mason asks why it's still dark outside.

6:00am - I fix waffles and bacon, Mason's choice breakfast on his first day of kindergarten.

6:05am - Mason sits down at the table to eat said breakfast.

6:25am - We finally head upstairs to brush teeth, comb hair and get dressed. It takes TWENTY MINUTES to eat ONE waffle and a piece of bacon!

6:45am - We go to the garage to load up in the Tahoe.

6:47am - I decide I want one more picture.
6:50am - I realize I left my cell phone inside so I have to go back in and find it.

6:55am - We are buckled in and heading down the driveway. The school bus that he will be or might be riding passes, at which point I scold myself for running out of kleenex in the Tahoe, but I finally manage to rummage around in my purse to find one last tissue. From this point on, every time I see a school bus . . . well, I don't have to tell you what happened! It was foggy and overcast with no Mr. Sunshine in sight, but I had to resort to wearing my sunglasses anyway. Mason kept eyeing me through the rear view mirror.

7:35am - We finally arrive at school. Wouldn't you know they are resurfacing the main road that the car pool line is required to use so it's only ONE LANE on the first day of school, and you have to wait forever on the lead vehicle!?! Seriously! I'm pretty sure they knew it was the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

7:40am - Parking is a nightmare so I make up a spot, and we finally make our way inside.

7:45am - Mason is seated in the gym for the morning assembly. I leave. I'm also thankful the Tahoe is still intact. My husband would not have approved of my parking spot! But there was no way I was just going to drop him off at the door and let him walk in by himself!
8:00am - Wal-Mart doesn't have what I'm looking for so I just go home.

9:10am - I leave to go back to school to pick Mason up. The school day was only a half-day for kindergarteners. I don't know about you, but I don't see how two measly hours count for a half-day! I mean . . . really! That's nothing but a tease! He doesn't have school today, and he goes tomorrow for ONE HOUR for a "kindergarten test." I haven't even mentioned that his test time is 7:30am! And then his first full day of school will be on Monday. So, in essence, we will really be starting over on Monday.

9:20am - I get stuck at the draw bridge.

9:30am - The barge finally moseys on through, and the draw bridge is back in place.

9:45am - I finally make it to Ms. Alexander's class, and Mason asks me what took so long!

10:00am - We are on the way back home, and it finally hits me how exhausted I am. And to think we have to do this all over again . . . for 180 days?!?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Night Before

Twas the night before Kindergarten,
and in the Bayham house
Mason is asleep
and Daddy on the couch.
Hannah Kate is at MawMaw's
and I have managed not to bawl.

Uniforms are hung
in his closet with care,
but his backpack
still isn't here.
He has a lunch box -
Batman, that is -
and his school supplies . . .
well, you should've seen that list!
Looking back
we had a great day.
Both Connor and Ray Ray
were here to play.
I will the clock to stop
or slow down at best,
but the minutes flew by
as the sun set in the west.

Jesus goes with him
I told him not to forget.
We said a prayer,
and the pillow his head hit.

I have to let go,
I have to keep a smile on my face.
I don't expect to sleep tonight.
I'll just thinking of my Mase.
I love that boy!
He's my joy and my pride.
These past five years
have been quite a ride.

Tomorrow is a new day;
it'll come quick enough.
But I have no doubt
it'll be a little tough.
I'll give him a hug,
a kiss and a wave.
I've already told him
to be real brave.

But it isn't him
that needs all of this -
the pep talk, the hugs,
the cheers, the kiss.
He will be fine.
I know it for true.
You see I'm the one
who's feeling many shades of blue.

"He will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast
because he trusts in You."
~Isaiah 26:3

Monday, August 09, 2010

One More Day

A couple of weeks ago, we took a long-time-coming, much-needed, highly-anticipated VACATION! We spent several days in Destin, Florida. And what a trip it was . . . most definitely the. best. vacation. EVER. The sound of the crashing waves and sea gulls overhead, the smell of the salty ocean air, the feeling of the sugar white sand between my toes . . . there's nothing like it! Words can't describe what this vacation meant to me, to us. But this picture does:This was our very first morning (we arrived around 11:00 the night before) on the beach, our very first picture. We were out early. There was hardly anyone there except us. And Mason couldn't wait to crash the waves. He turned around, looked at me and threw his hands up in the air. That first day we were on the beach all day before driving around the city, taking in the sights and filling our tummies at the Back Porch restaurant. My favorite part of that day was playing with Mason in the ocean water . . . helping him maneuver his boogie board . . . chasing little fishies that were swimming around . . . I will always remember this day with Mason.

This trip for me meant a lot of things in a lot of ways. But perhaps most important was being a mommy to my first born, my boy, my Mason. He just celebrated his 5th birthday. And you know what that means. Kindergarten. Let's just say this mommy is having a HARD TIME letting go! I know, I know . . . I'm not "losing" him. He isn't moving out and going to college or getting married! But he's GOING TO KINDERGARTEN!

As long as we were at the beach, I didn't have to think about IT. IT was still two weeks away. IT even seemed like IT wasn't really going to happen. At the same time, I felt a burning in my heart to savor each moment, each picture, each word, each meal . . . every single second of every single day . . . to the fullest extent possible. I was not ready to let go. I was not ready to release him to someone else's instruction for six hours a day five days a week. I still am not ready! I can hardly stand the thought of not knowing exactly where he is and what he is doing and what he is saying and who he is talking to. I mean, that's where I've been the past five years of my life . . . the entirety of his life!

I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life has been to be a stay-at-home mom. Yes, it's been a tremendous sacrifice in so many ways. It's been difficult. There have been days that I wanted to send him off to school until he's 18 years old! But these days . . . these past five years . . . are priceless! In the blink of an eye, in an instant . . . it's over. Five years. That's it. I am so thankful for these five years and the memories we've made and the things we've learned and the places we've been. There may be many more years to come . . . but none like these first five years. I will always treasure them close to my heart. I will always wish I did better, too.

I've had to hold my big girl panties up with suspenders ever since we got home! I could feel it as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot of our hotel to return home . . . you know, that sinking feeling in your gut when you know something's coming that you really wish would just GO AWAY. But you also know it's not. Mason's enthusiasm for school has seemed to wane a big during the course of the past month. When he asked the question, "Can I go to school now?" and we finally answered, "Yes!," he seemed to change his mind about the whole deal. Well, that's fine with me! But really though . . . he knows me inside and out, and I can not even give him an inkling of what I'm feeling on the inside because then he'll know just how really yucky I feel, and I don't want him to feel yucky about it, too.

So we went to orientation last Tuesday. Fake smile, fake excitement, fake enthusiasm . . . fake fake fake is exactly what I was! As we headed out the door and down the sidewalk to the parking lot, Mason cut his eyes at me and said, "I don't like this place." My response? "Why, Mason, this is such a lovely school! And your teacher is lovely, and you're going to sit at those cute little tables with your new little friends, and you can put your brand new Batman backpack in your sweet little cubbie. Wow! This is a great place!" Lies, I tell you. Nothing but a pack of lies! Well, his teacher really is a cute little thing . . . she's younger than me, I'm most certain . . . not that that's a bad thing . . . I'm just sayin' . . . and everything is brand new and freshly painted. But it's a lie in that it isn't how I'm feeling on the inside. I want more time! Can I at least have just one more year? As of right now, I have only ONE MORE DAY . . . the first day of school is Wednesday . . . day after tomorrow . . .

I am certain I will be a complete and utter wreck on Wednesday, quite possibly nothing but a puddle! Somehow I have to get him up, feed him breakfast, dress him in his purple shirt and black shorts (yes, I KNOW . . . whoever chose black for school uniforms . . . I mean, really, you know how much I LOVE black . . . but not for school uniforms!), brush his teeth, comb his hair, drive him to the Iberville Math, Science and Arts Academy (some folks call it the Academy and some folks call it MSA . . . I'll be calling it MSA because the Academy just sounds a bit too stuffy for me!) and escort him to his classroom . . . without losing it! There are many hard moments in parenting (late nights, sleepless nights, cries that seemingly can't be soothed, discipline, correction, potty training, correction, discipline, picky eaters, discipline, correction, ear infections, correction, discipline, . . . I could go on forever), but this - for me - will be the hardest!

Well. I digress. This was supposed to be a post about our fantabulous vacation to the BEACH! So. Our first day. We've established how much Mason and I are lovin' it. But let's just say that Hannah Kate isn't feeling it yet. She wasn't certain about the first feel of the sand between her toes (she was only 9 months old the last time we went to the beach), and I think the sound of the crashing waves actually scared her. She really didn't want the sand anywhere on her body, but it didn't take her long to figure out that she'd be feeling sand until at least 2-3 days back at home. She hung in there and finally let me carry her into the ocean. She also had a death grip around my neck. And that was the first day.

The second day was spent at Big Kahuna's water park. All day! Mason later said that was his favorite part about the trip. Hannah Kate loved it, too. Even though she was too short for the water slides, she had a blast in the kiddie pools and kiddie slides and fountains and such. I had the most fun racing down the slides with my Mason. When we returned to the condo later that afternoon, we went back out to the beach. Again, it was the same as before. Mason was digging it, but the only thing Hannah Kate would do was dig in the sand.

The third day was spent on the beach and on a dolphin cruise. When we went back out to the beach that evening, we spied another cute little blonde headed girl about the size of Hannah Kate and her family. Only this little blonde was actually playing in the ocean and having a great time! I guess Hannah Kate got a little jealous. Or maybe she finally realized it wasn't so bad after all. I can now say with all confidence that I'm pretty sure Hannah Kate is going to be a beach girl, too, just like her Mama! She chased the waves and jumped in and ran back . . . and then she even grabbed her Daddy's hand and let him lead her through the waves to deeper waters. This is one of my favorite beach pictures of Hannah Kate. Even ballerinas go to the beach!I took . . . a bazillion pictures . . . but here are a few of my favorites in the slideshow below. In the meantime, I have only ONE MORE DAY . . .