little moments of hive mind

baby herding
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

Warning: sappy.

We used to have it every day: All sitting together watching our kids swirl around like little cartoons of brownian motion on lawns, in sandpits, sidewalks. Now that I don’t have a baby or a toddler, my pace of life is different; our kids are all in different schools, and I’m not such a strong part of that Hive. But once in a while it’s still there for me.

I think the feeling comes back when our kids do something kind for each other. Here, Moomin and Iz were riding herd on baby Mali, to bring her back from her explorations across the park. It’s sort of… a moment you realize is what you were hoping for and visualizing years ago when they were standing around in diapers drooling and throwing sand in each other’s faces while we tried to pretend they were “playing”. This sort of picture, or Eliz. picking up Mali and carrying her like something off Cute Overload. It’s that we are all looking together and there is a muted, and mutual, awareness of “Awwwwwwwwww.” Even though we bribed them with quarters and ice cream to watch the baby, we could pretend it was altruism and filial feeling blossoming in the hearts of our young sprogs!

Another nice moment that was collective – Leelo shocked me by *smiling* at me. He’s autistic, and for years now he’s known to say “Hi Badger” when prompted (sometimes unprompted!) which always is a bit of an honor, and, well, yesterday was the first time I’ve really seen him smile. He smiled at me, he smiled at his mom, he smiled when his dad showed up. It was just a flash, but it had his eyes in it, you know? I nearly burst into tears. And then he sat down and leaned up against me, and just sat there, quietly, hanging out and looking around. That’s surely new. I was wrapped up in half the picnic blanket, and smoothed part of it around his shoulders, and he didn’t squirm away. There was a sort of pause as the moms contemplated this as a group. We didn’t need to go into it, but… a shared meaningful moment.

What I mean is: we’re not the point anymore. They are. They are so much more their own people. We can’t throw them together and expect them to work because they’re around the same ages. Our own friendships are about us – but over time, also about them. So it’s amazing to feel so connected to all of my friends’ children and to worry over them, and to be proud of their triumphs.

Anyway. I wasn’t feeling super healthy and so, when Rook got there, I stayed just a bit longer to watch him run up and down the field with all the kids in a crazy soccer game. & then limped off to drive home and go to bed early!

I hope this summer has a ton of hanging-out and watching our kids do amazing things!

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