In Love Again
I'm in love again. Oh, what a sparkly, full-of-hope phrase: "in love again." I get that fluttery feeling at least once a day when I'm with him. He charms me in the most unexpected places and delights me in surprising ways.
I didn't expect to find love in New Zealand. Maybe it's the warm sunshine, the tall fern trees or the sound of the South Pacific that beckon from every corner of our temporary slice of paradise. It's easy to fall in love here. It feels right.
My guy has thick, brown hair and blue-green eyes. He loves to run, just like me. He radiates a seemingly infinite reserve of energy. He's outgoing and claims to have "heaps" of friends, although sometimes, he can't remember their names. He likes to pretend he knows more than he really does (hmm...is that a typical male trait, I wonder?). He'll say, "I've been here before," even when I know he really hasn't. For now, I understand and forgive him his idiosyncrasies. Such as:
-He never pays for anything
-He often doesn't pick up after himself
-He can't drive
-He has 2 volumes: loud and louder
By now, you've probably figured out the love I've found (re-discovered is more like it) is my 5-year-old son, Finley. Of course I've adored him since the start of our journey – even since before he was born, but something's different here in New Zealand, in this place called the Bay of Plenty. Sure, the routine of school, sports, plus regular dinner and bedtimes has made Finn much easier to live with and easier to love (Finley's 7-year-old sister, Fiona, has always been a more manageable kid). But equal responsibility for this renewal of affection sits on my motherly shoulders. For the first time since I can recall, I'm not rushed. I've allowed myself moments to stare into my boy's big blue-green eyes and melt. I'm no longer in a constant state of hurry-hurry-hurry out the door. I have more time to show, give and recognize love.
I have the luxury of bringing Finley and Fiona to and from school each day, where I walk them to their classes and kiss them goodbye (when they let me). Day One of the pre flight-of-mum smooch, Finn said, "Not in my class. Someone might see!" Now that he's used to the farewell kiss, he doesn't resist. I smile and trot over to my parking space, knowing the next 6 hours, sans kiddos, are mine. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.
I've watched Finley at school, playing Bay Blades (a top-like device) with the other boys; ("1, 2, 3, Let it RIP!"), chasing after a classmate; ("Hey, I know that kid...I wanna say 'hi!'") and beaming with pride as he unveiled his latest work of art: ("This is the best night ever. I made a painting for you."). I was the one beaming when Finn showed me his reward for being good in class: a blue and white hackey sack. Finley's teacher has a "tick chart" (check mark chart) to acknowledge good behavior. My son filled his chart and got a prize. Finn has started to recognize basic words and can read me a story before bed. Good on ya, son. Good on ya.
I'm not saying my little guy is perfect: He still occasionally balks at bedtime, refuses to return the book/stuffed animal/toy to his sister, and believes each piece of litter is a treasure to harvest. We have some work to do, my love and I.
That's okay. God willing, I'll be loving Finley and Fiona from Terra Firma a few more years. And maybe someday, Finn will drive me around town, pay for dinner, speak softly and pick up after himself. A mum can dream. And love. If I do nothing else during our time in New Zealand, I can say I found love. That should count for something. Or everything.