Friday, September 24, 2010
This week, I've had solo duty as parent. It has been hard. On Wednesday, I was trying to load up the car to go pick up my children and that takes multiple trips. I was trying of course to do too much and take all three out in one shot. But I couldn't get the door to cooperate. I had to leave it open. Having secured all three children in their car seats, I went back to shut the door, mentally growling..."Why does it have to be SO HARD?" and the phone rang as I got to the door. I went in to get the phone and found...I'd taken my purse and three youngest children to the car, but the keys and my cell phone were still in the home. If the door had locked, I'd have been stranded outside my house with three kids in the heat with six children waiting for pick up and no means of communicating. It would have been much worse. Said a thank you to a guardian angel, that things aren't as hard as I think sometimes they are.
2. Unexpected Grace
To get through a week solo, we've had to dial back and yet more has been demanded. And it has been beautiful to see my family rise to the occasion. My oldest two took on dishes and several mornings, got up around 5 to catch the bus rather than require a double run. The next two, took on making lunches and breakfast with varying degrees of success but I was grateful for the help. Even the youngers have tried to lend a hand where they could though I did have to stop the two youngest girls from trying to scrub the piano with a dish washing brush.
3. Reclaiming Parts of Self that were for some reason, stored away.
Sometimes, I fall into the rut of being the task master, never stopping, never resting, never letting anyone else enjoy much either; it's one of my faults. This week, I've had to soften up and wound up giving more hugs, less lectures, more solo times with singular children, less "Time to work...move move MOVE." and it's been nice, necessary, but also indicative that I could have been doing this part of it even with the knowledge of a relief pitcher (Dad) showing up.
There have been more quiet moments of conversation with me and more silliness this week with me than is normal. In regular time, Dad walks in and I become invisible, and all that banter with the kids is stored for him; I'm hoping we both get to share some of that when he returns. Having a kid ask, "Would you like to hear about my day?" the answer is "YES! Please tell me." This week has made me a better listener, in part because the person who is willing to listen to me talk the most (God love him), hasn't been here for me to lean on and pour everything out to; and so I've been quieter and more able to hear everyone else in this home.
4. Creative Nagging.
I now text and email my son with FYI's that he checks before he leaves school. It means I don't spend nearly as much time getting on him to do the business work he needs to address as part of senior year. It works so well, my daughter is now sending me emails and text message reminders of things she needs or I need to remember. It has cut down on some stress.
5. Rethinking it
The other day, my daughter got an email from a friend asking her what she thought of an outfit the other wanted to wear for a dance. My first glance made my heart go in my throat. It was too mature for someone only in her first year of high school but it wasn't my email, it wasn't my daughter, it wasn't my call. My daughter looked at it and started typing. When she finished, she looked up and saw my face. "Don't worry Mom." she smiled and showed me what she had fired back, "As you know, I don't like dresses, but that one is too adult." Cue victory dance in my brain. She then said, "See, now when I go to a dance, I'm wearing basketball shorts and a t-shirt." She'd tried wearing this to the last dance and I'd prevailed and made her change into more in my opinion appropriate attire for a social event at a high school. Now I'm thinking considering the possible alternatives....I may be okay with t-shirts and sport shorts.
6. Am I Over thinking it?
Being a foodie, I loved watching Top Chef DC on Bravo. Now they've started Top Chef Just Desserts and I was excited because I like the idea of desserts period. While I liked the prior show which seemed like a straight up cooking competition, this one seems a bit more raw, with one candidate being to my sensibilities, very very unstable. He has remained on past the first two cuts and I can't help but think the execs are thinking, fabulous gripping TV to have a problem child go through the competition. So is it voyeuristic and wrong to watch this show when there is this person who clearly needs help? Right now, I'm considering choosing not to watch the show until this person is not a contestant because it feels like willingly watching a train wreck for entertainment. Am I over thinking this?
7. Thank you.
Thank you to everyone who helped with the Fall Festival, with reaching out this week when Marc has been away, for reading my rants and stories and quips and stuff, for giving me your honest assessment of things, for prayers, for the gift of your time and your friendship. I'm working on being more grateful for all those gifts so secure in my life that have been given so freely, I often failed to see them until they are needed or taken away. Thank you.
Have a great weekend.
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