First Day of School (*sigh*)

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Well, today marked the first day of the school year for us pseudo year-rounders here in ATL.  Just as quickly as it came, summer break has slipped through the sands of the hourglass.

(*sigh*…Sand…)

I digress.

Just a few weeks back, I found myself on the precipice of a BREAK!  A break from extra-curriculars, a break from carpools and drop-offs, a break from “have-to’s” and “do-this’s”.  A break from playdates, parties, teams, crowds.  A break from wondering what horrible disease the kiddos were going to bring home to share with our crowd of five.  A break for THEM (from all the “have-to’s”, “do-this’s”, schedules, and carpools).  No homework, no alarm clock, no reason to stop playing in the street at 5pm.

And now I’m in need of a new break.  A break FROM them!

A dear friend of mine spent her summer living in India, where her hubby worked each day till 7, and there was no babysitter to be seen on the far side of the Atlantic.  She literally spent every moment of a pregnant month with her two kiddos!  Pretty sure I saw her skipping out of the school this morning….

Typically for me, the joy of not having to face all the pencil markings on my calendar (Yes, I still use a paper calendar.  Old school, baby!) outweighs the fact that no pencil markings means no time sans children.  The sheer bliss of the sun kissing my tank-topped shoulders trumps the weight of three sweat-covered complaints with legs chirping in my ears.  The ecstasy of waking up at 7:00 (I dream big) deafens the sonic boom of large tiny voices that live in continual conflict.  I grow numb to the truly maddening realization that my mini-people are physically incapable of getting along and that I no longer know how to walk anywhere without shuffling eight legs instead of just two.  I brush off the fact that I haven’t spent time with another grown-up alone, written in my journal, attempted a blog entry, or skittered to LA on the elliptical machine without three other athletes-to-be in tow.  

None of it matters, because we are on BREAK!!  The sun is shining!  The pool is warm!  We are together! 

I.  LOVE.  IT!!

Until I don’t.

Then I suddenly realize that I haven’t seen another grown-up alone in two months.  I haven’t shopped for groceries without reminding little people that the carts aren’t bowling balls and the food displays aren’t jungle gyms.  I haven’t written in my journal or attempted a blog entry since the final school bell rang.  I haven’t listened to the waves.  I haven’t had one. moment. of. sibling. peace.

And then just like that….summer’s over!  Before I had the chance to realize what was going on.

And just in time to save me from realizing what was going on.

So here I sit.  11:30pm after the first day of school.  After the first bell rang, the pencil markings started adding up, two playdates occurred, groceries were shopped for, lunches made, and a blog post entered.

I don’t think I’m ready for this.

Or maybe I am….

 


The Ides of May

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I made it!  I did! The swirling vortex of death tried to suck me under, but alas! The vortex availeth not.

May.

Curses to May.

Pretty sure it’s of the devil.

All I know is that sometime around April 15, I can feel my heart rate begin to increase, the pulsing in my head becomes akin to a gong-ish choir (“gong-ish”…feel free to borrow…), and I think I can actually see minions squeezing the very life out of my calendar.  Jen Hatmaker referred to May and the chaos it ensues as a “turmoil of doom” (http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2013/05/30/worst-end-of-school-year-mom-ever) and HOLY MOLY! Is she ever right?!?  December’s got NOTHIN’ on May.

Between end-of-the-year performances, parties, celebrations, commemorations, tournaments, games, and awards ceremonies, I’ve got no time to make the 9 teacher gifts I need!  Not to mention the thank-you cards and obligatory gifts for the coaches, bus drivers, crossing guards, janitors, music teachers, mailman, and that guy you see walking down the street every day.  Then don’t forget that you’re a room parent, Jess!  That adds on planning parties for every class.   Let’s just throw in two field days, three field trips, and 7500 play dates.

And just for kicks, how about Hubby’s 40th birthday?!  Sure, because Party Planner Galore can handle that too!  NOT.

Have I mentioned how much I loathe parties?  Asking me to plan one could only be topped in joy by a delightful trip to the ER to have my stomach pumped.  I remember the days when birthday parties were something along the lines of “Hey friend for life, come join me for cake!  Maybe we’ll play Red Rover while we’re at it!”  Now, the decorations, the games, and the food all have to match the theme.

A theme?!  Isn’t the theme “I’m getting older today!”?

Argh.

The part that frustrates me so is not the elaborate necessity of the various party parts, but rather, the fact that I have decided I need to succumb to the elaboration.  I now spend over a month planning each party because heaven forbid the guests at my “Spy” party should eat cheese cubes instead of Babybel cheese discs cut to look like ninjas.  

Anyway, I digress.  

If April showers bring May flowers, I have no idea, because I’m too darned busy to stop and notice them. Basically, I just put my head down, keep my breath steady, and plow through, not looking up in a vain attemp to avoid passers-by asking me to volunteer for yet another class picnic.  

I stand now as an elite member of my ever-growing clique of fellow mommies who has actually forgotten a child at school.

Oh yes. It has happened.

But hey!  While he was there, he was able to distribute the nine teachers gifts, homemade cards, and myriad thank-you notes.  Let’s just say I planned it that way.

And now here we are; in June.  Praise The Lord and Hallelujah!  I do believe I can hear the angelic choir singing.

The blissful days of summer.  Where my ever-present munchkins get to scream their bloody heads of at each other for 14 hours a day…and I’ve never been so glad.  I’ll happily take the screeches of sibling rivalry over the domineering demands of May.  For an hour or so…

Welcome, summer.  I’m so very, very glad you are here.

And reader, I’m glad you are here too.  Thanks for not leaving while I was M.I.A.


Mommydom Is…(Part One)

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Welcome to a four-part series on Mommydom.  I hope you can relate.  Feel free to add at will:

Mommydom is:

1. Walking to and fro anywhere but on an actual sidewalk.

2.Finding yourself saying sentences that would be absurd out of context: “Son, stop eating the furniture!”, “The dog’s tail is not a microphone!”, “Get your finger out of your brother’s nose!”

3. Saying goodbye to using the potty alone.  Ever.

4. Having your college-level English skills abandoned for the likes of such vernacular as “potty”, “boo-boo”, “sleepy”, “calapitter”, and “ouchie”.

5. Checking every plate at every meal to ensure the presence of all food groups and each color of the rainbow.

6. Investing in a personal, transportable IV of coffee.

7. Butterfly kisses, Eskimo kisses, fish kisses, and sucking on puffy cheeks till they pink with color.

8. Daily dance parties.

9. Jumping in puddles.

10. Seeing life anew through virgin eyes:  every sight a wonder.

11. Stopping to smell the flowers…literally.

12. The warmth of tiny fingers curled into mine.

13. Sticky faces, sticky hands, sticky tables, and sticky kisses.

14. Getting over “sticky”.

15. Watching your heart walk around outside of your body.

16. Fearing for the well-being of that walking heart every minute of every day.

17. Lessons learned:  some by kids, most by parents.

18. Sleeping as a communal activity.

19. Prayers over boo-boos, bad dreams, separation anxiety, broken hearts, and hurt feelings.

20. Being willing to play dress up, defend your…well, your anything, slay giants, and drink gallons of “tea”.

21. Bubbles: not just the soapy kind.  Bubbles from noses, mouths, bottoms, and bubblegum.

22. Becoming numb to bodily fluids.

23. Developing the ability to carry four coats, three water bottles, two soccer balls, a purse, a book, a box of crayons, Goldfish, a blanket, and an open cup of coffee all in one armload.

24. Rejoicing in the quiet moments…then wondering why they are so quiet.

25. Willingly surrendering time to yourself in exchange for snuggles.


The Big Race

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I had the privilege of running a couple of road races today with my little buddies:  a one-miler for Little Man and a 5K for Big Boy.  Racing has long been special to me, and I have enjoyed watching that trend carry on to my mini-humans.  Something fun that we can do together.  I just love that.

The boys have spent the last couple of months “training” for this race.  Their rigorous work includes one 45 minute “track club” once a week, many of which were rained out.  That being said, preparation was not at a maximum for this rip-roaring event.

 I tried several times to get them to practice outside of track club, offering to run and lunge hither and yon with them, but each attempt was met with such contempt that I must admit, I gave up.  Each time, I lost the battle to their whines and complaints with the self-argument of, “Why would I want to waste my time dragging them through the streets?  Let them learn the hard way!”.  Yes, I lost my battle each time…save one.  On my winning day, I did indeed do some dragging, but to my delight, Little Man met my match and ran his little heart out, earning himself a pair of new tennis shoes (don’t tell him he actually needed them…).  Big Boy, however.  Well, let’s just say he heard many a parental discourse on the importance of trying your best over the next day or two.

So today was the big day!  In times past, preparation has equaled that of this year, but Big Boy was still able to pull of a magnificent performance, probably fueled by his desire to show off in front of his classmates, many of whom were running alongside him.  This was Little Man’s first event, and his tenacity was palpable.  Maybe it was the number of times he said, “I wish this day had never been born!” that clued me in.

In order to be a good mommy, I promised each boy that I would run alongside him in his successive race.  To my utter delight, Little Man, in all his nervousness, didn’t stop one time!  He ran the entire mile like he had jets on his feet!  The pride and self-confidence he gained today was a much needed gift to this anxiety-ridden peanut.  I was so proud of him.  I’m still beaming.

Then came the 5K.  An important piece of information to share is that this particular race is a qualifier for a much larger race.  That being said, I value my personal race time for this event, and in times past, have let Daddy run with Big Boy so I could clock in properly.  This time, however, I decided to forfeit.  That’s right.  I left my own desires in the dirt to race with my boy at his pace(aren’t I amazing?!).  I knew that he wouldn’t go down without a fight on those roadways, and I wanted to cheer him on.

Only in my dreams.

That child flat out quit running by the first 1/4 mile.

I watched as all my competitors blazed by me, happily leaving me in their dust.  (Ok, truth…they all gave me that “knowing look”.)  My legs tried to LEAP off my body and run the race themselves because CLEARLY this was not what I had planned.  This is not what my LEGS had planned!  And this walking?  Well, walking was NOT on my radar (I don’t rest, remember?).

“It’s ok, Jessica.  Enjoy your time with your son.  Encourage him.  Spur him on.  Feel his pains.”

“Mom, my ankles hurt.  My knees hurt.  My chest hurts.  My stomach hurts.  I need WATER!”

REALLY, kid?  You’re WALKING!

“That’s ok, honey.  Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth.  Let the downhills take your body with them.  Work on the uphills.  Rest on the downhills.”  (Just MOVE, kid!!)

Yeah, he wasn’t having it.  He saw through my attempts at sympathy and felt my frustration.  I wanted to be there with him, to sympathize with him, to run with him, to encourage him.  Yet my body wanted to RUN.  I was having an internal collision!

The very last stretch of the race, and the finish line, were on a steep decline.  I let him know it was coming and worked to encourage him:  “Ok, buddy, here we go!  Downhill the rest of the way! Go, go, go!!”

And “go” he did.  He totally left me!  Flew across the finish line, leaving me 50 yards behind, and, if I’m honest, leaving me to look like a total doofus crossing the finish line at a–oh, I can’t even type it–45 minute run time, 20 minutes past my average (I need to pause to cry.)  I was so humiliated that I didn’t even cross the finish.  I just couldn’t do it.

What a fool I am!  Here I was sacrificing my run to spend time with my buddy, and yet I realize; I didn’t really sacrifice anything.  My heart was still in the run, not in the boy.  How often do I do things like this?  How often do I “give something up” for someone else only to find out it was really for me after all?  Far more than I would like to admit, I’m afraid.

And now I’m even more humiliated.