Friday, March 16, 2007

The Ides of March

Last night the Last Amazon and I finally came home around 6pm to discover Montana sprawled and reclining in the lazy-boy with a dazed expression on his face and the television on mute.

Yesterday a horde of fourteen 12 year old boys invaded my home. The Last Amazon and I did what all real women do when faced with a similar situation. We left, leaving my oldest son, Montana in charge. A 14 year old male may not seem like the prudent choice for crowd control but I have never met a male who was so comfortable wearing authority. My mother and I have joked for years that Montana was born a man. I only regret that owing to our particular circumstances, the job of being the oldest male of the family has fallen on his shoulders so young. Momma would have liked to keep her boy - her boy a little longer.

Now Montana is not just tall for his age but broad with a deep rich baritone which seems only to grow deeper and louder with time. But it does come in handy for making his voice carry above the rabble. Just before I left the house, I did a quick survey of the room and saw that Montana stood a good shoulder above the pre-adolescent rabble, and was judicious exercising his authority well regulating the use of Xbox play time.

Isaiah Sender is the family social butterfly, and while I sometimes question his choice of friends; he has shown he will not hesitate to cut someone out of his circle when they cross the line of what Momma would consider socially inappropriate behaviour without any prompting on my part.

I have a rule in my house. One can have friends over whenever one wants - provided homework is done and the house is clean. This has managed to keep the crowds to a manageable level. The last birthday party I had in my home was my daughter’s 5th birthday. I swore never again would I host a children’s birthday, and so, birthdays became strictly an immediate family affair. Isaiah Sender was born in mid-July and as he usually travels to Nana’s house in the summer so consequently his friends are never around at birthday time. He cannot remember ever having a birthday party. Trust me, he had a few. I have pictures and scars.

This March break, I promised him he could have a party just to have a party. I made the promise back in December probably thinking March was too far off to concern myself with. Why I didn’t think March would ever come when it always does escapes me now. I suppose it’s because long ago, I learned the art of not worrying about tomorrows, and instead, learned to just concentrated in getting by one day at a time. If I lifted my head to stare too far into the future I would have given into despair. The children had already lost one parent so they didn’t need to lose another.

One of the hardest things about being the lone parent and mother to many is finding the time to spend with each child without a sibling hanging about. Years ago to compensate, I instituted a girl’s night and boy’s day – without the baby in tow. Boy’s day eventually morphed into Boys’ Night and was expanded to include the baby boy who conveniently fell asleep like clockwork at 8 pm every single time. This left plenty of time for me to party with my little man. With the passing of time the children’s social life and activities expanded - so girls & boys night was officially put on hold. I miss those times but I still treasure every minute that each child lets me come into their world and gives me their undivided attention.

The Last Amazon and I left the house to go watch the 300 and hang out together until it was safe to come home. Isaiah Sender promised the house would be cleared by 5:30pm but experience has taught me that nothing says dawdle like a boy. Besides, what’s time when you are having fun?

The Last Amazon loved the 300. She actually stood up, cheered and brought her fist down on the back of a chair in front of her when the Queen of Sparta stabbed a fellow Spartan in council chambers. My daughter is usually quite reserved and circumspect in public so I was somewhat taken off guard by her reaction, but you know, there is a reason I call her the Last Amazon - cross her at your own peril.

Afterwards, we spent time at the perfume counters and in the book stores. We ended our afternoon at a little bistro drinking gourmet chocolate and eating dessert. It was over dessert she let slip out that she had plans to meet up with some friends for a late lunch but ditched them to spend an afternoon alone with me. I was touched to learn that my fifteen (almost 16) year old daughter would still choose to spend time alone with her mother over an afternoon out with her friends.

But this state of grace didn’t end for me when we returned to walked thorough the door of our home. I came home to discover Isaiah Sender happy and content. Montana might have been dazed, confused and clutching a bag of chips in his arms, but I didn’t have a single dirty dish or glass. Montana had organized a clean-up crew before the rabble left. The floor had been freshly swept and the garbage taken out. In fact, my home was cleaner than when I left it. And so I ask; am I blessed, or am I blessed!


Michael said...

That's an impressive bunch of kids. You give me hope that there is life after 4...

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Michael, trust me in this, the adventure is only beginning. Just remember - enjoying the journey is more important than any given destination. Oh, and another piece of advice - have another (if at all possible) - 3+ is a parents dream -as one and two can keep secrets but never 3 or more. You will always know what's going on, and hence, look very wise.

Anonymous said...

Just read your narrative and really enjoyed hearing about the tribe -it warmed my heart. And you write so well!
We will be back in Canada next week, and don't have your email address with me. I will be in TO on March 30 -let me know if you and the tribe are free that evening.
An admirer from Mexico

Kateland, aka TZH said...

Ah, Le Grandpapa! We will be free on the 30th.

Michael said...

Thanks for the advice. Should't be too hard, as the wife wants 4 or 5...