Even when I was working full time plus on my business, I was almost always able to pause in my day and meet Young One as he got off the bus after school. This flexibility was really the best part about being a business owner. I wish I would have taken more "because I'm the boss" benefits than I did, but, hindsight is 20/20.
My day is still bracketed by the departure and the arrival of the school bus. Every morning is a bittersweet goodbye, every afternoon a warm welcome home. I get a little apprehensive each afternoon, I have to admit. Could today be the day he comes home in tears, slighted by a friend, bullied by a peer? Is today a celebratory day or one in which he's hardly in the door before he blurts out after school plans with a friend? Is there a joke, fresh on his lips, ready to be delivered in a "wait, wait, I got it wrong, it goes like this" kind of way?
I am so blessed, feel so privileged to be the one that's there for him, no matter what. A constant presence. A ready ear and a welcome home. My job is to make sure he feels valued, important, supported. I do it gladly. I can't imagine giving that position to someone else. I can't imagine missing out on this.
A snack or a drink is usually the first order of business. It's not just a habit, it's a necessity. Lunch or brunch as we now call it takes place at 10:30 in the morning. By afternoon, there's at least one hollow leg to fill.
Today, however, it was a quick drink and a rush to the garage to hop on a scooter. Up and down the driveway and our block, he punctuated his laps with glimpses of his day. "I lost a tooth in Mr. Skinner's class. He asked if anything else was going to fall off?" "The girl in the locker next to me had so much garbage hanging out of her locker it jammed mine!" "Did you know that DJ Hero Renegade gets better reviews than the old regular kind." "Some kid's baby sister threw up on his SHOES. Isn't that gross?"
We talk. Occasionally he asks me about my day. Sometimes we just sit in companionable silence. It's not a huge part of our day, but it's a necessary one. The winding down, transitioning into home life again.
"You're my touch stone, Emma." A quote from Terms of Endearment.
I hope that I am Young One's touch stone. Someone to come to, listen to until he can speak no more, a place that gives him rest, a sounding board. I hope that I can always be that for him. I don't think there's any more important thing to be.
The house smells like baking apples! What a great way to make a house feel cozy and welcoming. Warm apple sauce that simmered all day makes a great after school snack. It's very easy to make and can lend that Martha Stewart/June Cleaver sort of sense of accomplishment without mental anguish, a starched apron, or Valium.
All Day Applesauce
Fill your crock pot with washed, peeled, cored, and slice apples. Overfill it if you can. Sprinkle with brown sugar and a liberal amount of cinnamon. Squeeze in half a lemon. Simmer on low until softened. Taste for sweetness and add a little more sugar if needed. It's best if left a little bit tart.