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Stop the Clock!

Brenda St John Brown

As of today, there are 10 more calendar days until back to school. Part of me is all like, "Yay! Back to schedules and exercising and writing time." But, I'll admit, a big part of me thinks, "Damn. Was that 8 weeks already? Can't we have a couple more? Pretty please?" A couple more weeks of sleeping in, dinner at 7pm (or later) and "reading lunches." Dinner is a family affair in our house, but lunch is anything goes and The Boy and I are both avid readers.

And, yes please, if I could, a couple more weeks with The Boy? 

He's 10 now, which means he's old enough to have a conversation and do most of the mundane things for himself, but young enough to still put up with my requests for a hug without rolling his eyes. And I request A LOT of hugs because he's 10. I know these days are fleeting. 

I vowed to myself at the beginning of the summer that I was going to appreciate my time with him -- our time in NY visiting family, the beaches of Croatia, the rainy days at home. Not every minute has been great -- we're a lot alike and, frankly, we get on each other's nerves sometimes -- but the not-great times have been moments, not days. 

I don't know how he'll remember this summer when he's older but I imagine it will be the "big" moments -- trekking around NY with his older (aka cooler) cousin, laughing with his first childhood friend, eating barbecue, swimming every day and attending his first baseball game. He'll likely recall the waterfall park in Croatia, the seaside restaurant where we watched the lightning over the hills and cannonballing off the boat ramp into the clear warm Adriatic Sea. He'll take for granted being able to walk to the park with friends by himself, but this summer was the first time he did it -- with a watch strapped to his wrist and strict instructions on when to be home.

These are big memories at 10 that swallow up the smaller moments. Him sitting on the couch with my dad, poring over baseball cards. Listening to the guy at Port Authority tell us how he slept there once during a winter snow storm and realizing our 2-hour delay really isn't so bad. Playing limbo and jump rope and soccer tennis, each with its complicated "rules." Chasing dandelion fluff and making wishes. Eating record numbers of blueberry waffles for breakfast. "Helping" Grandma play Trivia Crack and realizing he learned one of the answers from the book he's reading now.

The list is endless. I haven't written nearly as much as I'd hoped this summer, but it's hard for me to feel upset about, looking back at the summer I've had. I feel so lucky to have had this time, even as I panic slightly about deadlines. Because I know I'm going to write a lot more books, but I'm never going to have another 10-year-old. 

If anyone who's been there/done that has a magic potion to eke out a few more days, I sure would love it if you'd pass some my way. And failing that, I'd like to be so bold as to suggest that we ALL slow down -- take that second look, listen, laugh and be present. Maybe then we could all gain a few small moments we wouldn't have had before? Because that's the biggest thing I've learned this summer. The moments are always there if you make it a point to see them.