Where to begin . . .
I realized on Tuesday, during the bewitching hour (that would be anytime from 5ish pm until my little ones are deeply slumbering), that Wednesday was a holiday.
Which means. . .
I’m slowing getting used to a new school schedule that’s vastly different from our former school district’s. I liked the old schedule better — we never had random, lonely Wednesdays off, only L O N G weekends and weeklong quarterly breaks. We do live near a military base, so being that it was Veteran’s Day, I absolutely see the importance of taking this day off. Who do I need to talk to — the government, perhaps? Couldn’t we just make Veteran’s Day happen on a Monday or Friday — I’m guessing the vets we’re honoring would also prefer a 3-day weekend. I should probably research this before blabbing my mouth . . . there’s likely a valid reason for it being on Wednesday.
Anyway . . .
After a night of musical beds (we all start off in various beds, and by morning, every household member has moved to a different bed), I awoke to Gil yelling at our children in Wallace’s room. I decided to not get involved, and closed my eyes hoping for a few more minutes of peaceful sleep.
I drifted off but was shortly jolted into the present by two small hands. I peeled my eyes open, and there was Wallace. . . completely dressed in his school uniform.
I didn’t say it, but my first thought was ‘what the fuck?’ No one EVER manages to dress themselves without me going behind driving the train — ‘Piers. . . tuck in your shirt. Wallace, you need a belt? I don’t know where your socks are. Last night we put a matching pair next to your shoes. . . go get another pair from your drawer.’
This getting-dressed dance continues until they’re either out the door to the bus stop or until Gil or I shuffle them into the car for morning drop-off. Usually it’s the latter.
“Wallace! Why are you wearing your uniform?!”
“I TRIED to tell Dad (who was now in the shower) that we didn’t have school today, but he wouldn’t listen.”
Again with the WTFs in my brain.
For the record, Gil NEVER does any of this morning nudging. Why in the SAM HELL did he decide that the very morning they don’t have school would be a fabulous day to nominate himself for morning duty?!
I walked into the kitchen to find Piers, also fully dressed, sitting at the table smearing peanut butter and jelly all over a slice of bread and wiping his ever-lovin’ hands all over his clothes.
Can I pause for a minute? I’m thrilled that my children are capable of making their own breakfast. I value assertiveness and self-sufficiency in today’s youth. I really do.
But for the freaking love. . .
I live in the laundry room. I have no interest in filthying up school uniforms on a morning when there’s NO school.
And while I’m griping . . . what in the HELL does it take to get children to use a napkin? I mean, we are relatively civilized people. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect that my eight-year-old know better than to wipe nut butter and strawberry jam all over his clothes.
And yes, I realize he’s just a kid.
And no, I do not expect either of my children to be perfect. I’m a pretty laid-back parent.
I’m just tired, y’all.
I’m having to continually remind myself that although a lot feels hard right now, it’s temporary. It’s also important to remember that in addition to all this parenting/family/life insanity, there are a gazillion beautiful, joyous moments wedged in between.
I started reading The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, to them last week. I’m airing my utter nerdiness here, but prior to having children, I never dreamed of the sheer bliss I’d get sharing books with them. A few nights ago, I became so engrossed in the story that I failed to notice when both were completely asleep. I think it’s fair to say that I am enjoying this nightly ritual most of all.
But there are other joyous moments. Last week, the sun finally busted through the clouds, so in an attempt to cease the opportunity before it passed, I told them to get their bikes and we’d go for a ride around the neighborhood. In the five minutes it took for me to change clothes, they decided a bike-ride/backpack adventure was in order.
By the time I was ready, they had loaded half their bedroom, food for a week from the fridge and multiple stuffed animals, and this is only a slight exaggeration.
I was blessed with can-do kids. It astounds me on the regular, but it is frustrating trying to figure out how much agency to allow and how to guide them without losing my shit and crushing their little spirits. They often act before they think, and I might as well give up trying to convince them that there are factors and info they don’t know. It’s beautiful and painful to watch, and it can be flat exhausting. It’s also challenging to stay mentally present without anxiously fearing the future.
Halfway through this post, a classic from my middle school days popped into my head. I’d say it’s more appropriate than ever now. Parenting is definitely Joy and Pain.
Happy Thursday, friends. I’m going to restock my supply of Natural Calm and flower essences before doing a little yoga. Namaste.