On Monday my middle son turned 26. He celebrated by taking the day off from work, sleeping in, and then relaxing on the back porch with Belle, reading and drinking his coffee.
He's definitely a child after my own heart.
The day started out a rainy one. But by the time Belle and I went for a walk, the sun was fighting for the day and we were blessed with a rainbow.
Of course, Daniel missed all of that.
He had originally planned to meet his brother for dinner... until both of them realized they would have to fight traffic to do so, with one coming from the north side and the other from the south.
That's no way to celebrate your birthday.
So, since the rain pushed past and it turned into a gorgeous day, he, TG, and I headed away from traffic into the hill country to Marble Falls, where we celebrated with an early dinner at Doublehorn Brewing Company, which I happened to catch on an episode of Daytripper.
Daniel appreciates beer. I love trying new places. TG likes to eat. It was a win-win, all around.
Later, I made the traditional birthday Cyclops Cookies. Yum.
(Tom's in Florida visiting his mom and a few brothers. He missed out.)
I admit that when these two kids moved back home after being mostly gone for a few years, it required quite an adjustment. We had gotten used to, and actually really, really enjoyed, our empty nest. Less laundry, less cooking, more quiet, more, um, freedom.
On top of that, when kids leave, they accumulate stuff. When they move back home, their stuff no longer fits in their old bedrooms. It kind of overflows into the rest of the house.
But the move home is temporary, so you don't want them to get rid of the stuff. Consequently, my house feels a bit like a warehouse.
The past two years have been a real challenge for me, though, and having these two kids home has been such a blessing, for me, besides a way for them to save money. Not only do they help out around the house, but they've provided emotional support as I've dealt with my dad's illness and death, my mom's issues, starting a new business, and most recently, dealing with an aging puppy.
When twenty-something kids come home, it's not the same as when they were teenagers. It's more like having roommates. They pay rent and they're expected to pull their weight.
Mine have specific jobs around the house. Plus, without being asked, they help with my mom's laundry, visit her, and help with the dogs. If I have any special requests, they are on it.
Most important of all these days, they make me laugh.
Your kids are always your kids, of course. You worry about them. You want to give them advice. But if you're lucky, like I've been, they're also now your friends.
When the stuff - or the noise - irritates me, I remember that before I know it, they'll be gone again, only coming home for a day or a few hours every now and then.
So I will ignore the extra boxes, tune out the noise, and cherish these days with them now, before they're just memories.
P.S. Thanks to all of you for your condolensces and prayers for my old puppy Max. I appreciate all of you who say you'll miss him, too.