We’re at grandma’s this weekend. Spring Break started when school closed for the day yesterday.

The boys pulled out the chess and checkers box and roped daddy and grandma into playing with them. I was in the middle of washing dishes when the young one asked for someone to play checkers (I’m not the family chess player – I’m too competitive to play it because I’m not very good and you can only get good if you play more and I don’t play more because I hate losing and so on and so on).

It’s funny – sometimes I feel like an outsider in my own family. I suppose it comes down to the fact that I’m not extremely maternal. I honestly never planned (or wanted) to have children. I mean, I wanted to when I did, and I’m glad I had them, don’t get me wrong. But it was quite literally never in the cards for me and not something I ever expected I would want to go through that.

Sometimes they drive me up a wall. But even people who dreamed forever of having children feel that way sometimes, I know. They bring me great joy even so. And I feel guilty when I feel mad at them for acting like they’re 13 and 10. (OK, almost 11.) Because they are 13 and 10 (almost 11). They are still little children.

So right now they are playing chess and checkers and I’m sitting on the sofa glancing in their direction, wondering how these small people evolved from these crying blobs I gave birth to. They were gorgeous crying blobs and I fell in love with them immediately. Thinking about it, I was more patient with them when they were crying blobs than I am with them now, when I can actually talk to them and reason with them and threaten to take away TV and iPad privileges when they’re acting like little monsters.

And now my 13-year-old just beat his father at chess. And Daddy’s not a bad chess player, mind you. I mean, he’s not a competitive player, but he’s played ranked players and done pretty well. I just walked over, though, and the boy had Daddy down to just his king, while still having three pawns and a knight in addition to his king. I watched the last several moves as he pushed his dad into a checkmate.

I love being a part of my family, but also being an observer. I need that distance sometimes, to feel more a part of the whole at others.

And right now, I watch the two little ones surrounding grandma as the younger boy is about to beat her at checkers.

Life is good.

Photo by Michal Parzuchowski via Unsplash.

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