At the airport with the boys, waiting in line to board their flight north to Mike, I quickly run through my parting routine.
iPods safely tucked away? Yes.
I’ll wait until your flight is in the air before I leave the airport, so no worries, I’m here. OK? OK.
You know you’re precious and I love you, RIGHT? Yes, yes, OK, Mom, OK.
A kiss for each of my babies, and then I put my hand on my hip and point my finger at them each, in turn. I’m not aware I’ve made this gesture, but I will be in just a minute.
To Jake: “NO. Bossing. Do NOT boss your brothers.”
To Riley: “Do NOT instigate. Yeah, I see that grin on your face, son. Do NOT antagonize.”
To Matt: ” Don’t get defensive. Just don’t go looking for a fight, OK?”
And they all start talking at once. Well Matt and Jake do. Riley puts his hand on his hip and starts shaking his finger at me, mimicking me, a huge grin on his face.
“Mom. Mom,” says Jake, hands up and palms out, a physical gesture urging me to be reasonable, to stop being so alarmist. ” I won’t boss. I’m not going to boss them. I’ll just help them if they need it.”
The man in line behind them has to turn away as he begins to laugh.
“Sweetie, the line between bossing and unrequested help is such a fine one, and I just don’t think you have the subtlety needed to handle walking that line. Don’t. Help.” One of the very best things about Jake is his ability to laugh at himself, and at this he laughs as he hugs me to him in a rough teenage boy hug, and tells me he loves me.
During this exchange Matt has been running a monologue. ” I am not defensive, I DON’T look for a fight. I am NOT defensive. Ri starts all the fights. All I did was sit on his face, and he PUNCHED me in the head. What? I can’t even defend myself?”
“I’m not allowed to even sit on the COUCH?”
“Dude.” I have no idea when the face-sitting-head-punching occurred, but I’m certainly reassured, now, that Matt won’t be defensive and look for a fight.
“Oh baby, I love you so much.” I’m going to miss the little pacifist, and I grab him and squish him into a hug so overblown and athletic he stops his bitching and laughs.
“Mooooooom, I can’t breeeeaath!”
And as I hug him I look at my Riley. Riley, grinning, eyebrow cocked, not-so-subtly pointing to Matt. His brother’s head has just popped off in Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, and he didn’t even need to say a word.
All I can do is sigh, roll my eyes, and love them with all my heart.