Last night I went to sleep overwhelmed by exhaustion. We had a full and busy day. After breakfast, we left for a hike at Angel Island. The kids watched a movie in the car on our way to Tiburon. On the ferry ride, Uri wanted to be on the top deck and Eden at the bottom. Thank the fairies for Dar, who stayed below while Uri and I braved the wind up above.
|Uri on the ferry
We wandered about the island for a couple hours. The sun shone brightly on this perfect San Francisco day. We saw a solitary hummingbird perched on a brightly colored bush. Eden climbed by herself to peek through a window in an old Fort building and jumped down with my help. On the way back in the ferry we sat quietly together on the top deck, shivering slightly in the wind. We stopped in San Francisco to visit my cousin and his wife who had just had a baby and ate cake and gefilte fish and drank tea while the kids played on our iphones. On the drive home I struggled to stay awake in the car.
The moment we got in the door, Uri asked: “Will you play ping-pong with me?”
|Kids exploring old site in the fort
Oh dear fairies. Now? I’m so tired. We just spent the entire day together! Can’t you entertain yourself for a while? The reply: a long and disappointed face. Back turned. Walking with heavy feet away. And me? Struck by guilt, I realized I just said no to an opportunity for closeness, for love with my preteen son. How many more opportunities like this will come my way as he grows up?
I put some rice on the stove and called out, “I can play ping pong now.” His little face appeared no more than a split-second later. “I’m ready!” He announced. And we played ping pong and baseball and basketball. Uri kept complimenting me on my improvement in these three branches of sport. But how could I not improve? I’ve been practicing them on a daily basis whenever he is around!
|Eden in the window
In the last month, I have been scheduling special time with the kids — a time in which they each have me entirely to themselves and we do whatever he or she wants to do. The kids were enthralled. They are voting for longer and longer special times, even when I am busy with other stuff. My morning read-while-I-eat routine has been shifting to play-Go-Fish-with-Eden while I eat. My afternoons have been spent playing ball sports and jumping on the trampoline.
I give the children more of my attention, and I am amazed by how how much time, attention and love the children invest in me back. After all, they could be playing on the computer or watching TV. But it seems that at 11 and 9 they still long for mommy-and-me time, just like me.