Last night our home tackled some new stages.
Although they could have appeared to be small to the outside observer, or could have been small in the minds of my children - they were not small to me. Mostly, because I know that those are the things that lead to the grand.
Son #1 has been preparing a road trip. This is a big deal. Why? Well, with the new driving laws teens are not permitted to drive any of their peers until they have had their provisional license for 5 months. Well, 5 months for my son was October 5th. Knowing this, Son #1 has been in full preparation mode all week.
Son #1 will be driving four of his longboarding friends on a trip to Pennsylvania in search of hills to "bomb." He asked permission to take this trip earlier in the week.
My husband was initially opposed to it. He stated that he was concerned about him being the one responsible for the other kids.
I was surprised to hear that he was so cautious. I reminded him that Son #1 was 17 years old. That when we were 17 years old, we had been piling into cars with our friends for at least a year. That him driving alone was not intended to last forever. Still he remained hesitant. Then I further reminded him that when he had been a mere 18 years old - he drove his parents' car across the country from Maryland to California with his girlfriend.
Yea. There wasn't much left to counter that one.
So the trip was planned.
Last night Son #1 washed his car. Printed out maps. Entered addresses into his GPS. He packed up his equipment. And firmed up all of the plans with his friends. His excitement was palpable.
During the planning of this trip last evening, Son #2 was headed out with his friend. Son #2 is almost 16 years old. His time out in a car on weekend nights has been limited to his brother being the driver. However, last night, I gave permission for Son #2 to go out on Friday night with his 18 year old friend as the driver. I know his friend. Their family. I trusted the situation. But thought more than once about the fact that he was out. Out without his brother. Out without his older brother being the one to be in charge. I had turned over my trust directly to another teenager. Just as these other parents are turning over their trust to my son for this road trip to Pennsylvania.
While these two decisions were being made and planned, Daughter was preparing to go upstairs to shower that evening. She always showers the night before since she has to get up so early for her commute. A couple of weeks ago we had had a conversation about the fact that she was considering that she wanted to shave her legs. There have been several comments made and she was feeling self conscious so I told her that one weekend I would show her how to shave her legs.
Apparently, this would be the weekend. As we headed upstairs and I planned to give her the instructions - I poured myself a glass of wine.
We headed upstairs. I gave her instructions and wished her luck. She showered in my bathroom and I decided to wait on my bed and watch some television in case she needed me.
I picked up the remote and immediately went to the cable guide to see what was on. The first thing that caught my eye?
Little Bear was Son #1's favorite show when he was little. I turned it on. The memories began to flood my mind.
Working in the kitchen. I would hear Little Bear's music softly playing.
Changing diapers on the family room floor. I would hear Mama Bear's soothing voice.
Laying on the couch with my sick toddler. Distracted from the tummy ache while Little Bear went on adventures with Duck, Owl and Cat.
Baking cookies in the kitchen with all four kids - racing back into the family room to see Little Bear while we waited the 8 minutes of baking to be finished.
As I sat and watched Little Bear last night - I closed my eyes. When I closed my eyes - time had not moved. The familiar background music. The house smelled the same. I could hear Son #1's precious gravelly voice - "Mommy, Wittle Bear is scooping the moon out of the water to give to Mama Bear." It was all as it had been back then.
I watched the whole episode. I was reminded of the gentle ways of the characters. The moral of each story. The fantastic imagination that each of those characters taught my children to embrace.
My time was abruptly interrupted when Daughter came out with blood pouring down her shin. When Son #1 entered my room with the announcement that everyone would be here at 7 am the next morning. When Son #2 returned home from his Friday night excursion.
This morning Son #1 has left on his road trip.
Now I am sitting here thinking.
My children watched Little Bear as a television show. But on the bookshelves in my living room - you will find my collection of "I Can Read" books from when I was in 1st grade.
In my 1st grade reading collection, I still have my "Little Bear" books.
I took the book down and flipped through the pages. It smelled like when I was a little girl. Like my house. Like my mother was in the kitchen baking a pie. Like we were snuggling on the couch reading about Emily. I remember wishing I was Emily.
I began thinking how much I miss Little Bear.
Then I thought -
Something tells me - MY mother does too.
"Mother Bear: (accepting a hug from Little Bear) Oh My Goodness! You are getting so big!
Little Bear: But not too big, right?
Mother Bear: Never too big. You will always be my Little Bear."