Bad Days

So today was a bad day.

Every so often the damn breaks and all the grief, and loss, and bitterness must flow.

And I let it.

Because most days it stays nicely pushed back, and most days I go on as if life is only slightly off center from normal. Most days the people who know me, pat me on the back and tell me they don’t know how I do it, and how amazing I am, and how they are in awe of how good the girls and I are.

Most days.

Not today.

Today the damn broke. Broken unknowingly by someone who didn’t mean to. Someone I asked for help from, but who could not do what I needed them to do. It was not their fault, neither of us knew the crack was sitting there silently waiting to be broken wide open. I should have suspected. I’ve been stressed and short tempered and moody lately. I didn’t know why, I just was. I think I get it now.

The most surprising thing I guess really is the thing that broke it open. People not really being there for you when they are always saying – just tell them if there is anything you can do.  It shouldn’t have been a big deal. People have their own lives, it’s a holiday week, I asked sort of last minute – but there it was. I hate asking for help, and I brought myself to do it and then walked away empty handed – it overwhelmed me.

And then I hated being overwhelmed. 

But I decided if the damn was broken I was going to let it flow. I wallowed in it for a good four or five hours. Wallowed.

And god bless ’em the girls they just went out and played. That’s what we do. We acknowledge when one of is having that kind of day or mood and we let them. We don’t tell them to stop. But we also don’t let it go on. We let it run it’s course and then we move on.

So that was today. 

Bad.

Tomorrow will be better.

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The Summer of Simple is very complicated it turns out

I’ve always hated routines, I don’t like planning, I want to figure things out as I go. I don’t like to speed time and energy fretting over stuff that will probably change as it’s getting done anyway.

Also I have issues with authority and routines and planning always felt like abstract versions of that. Neither person nor paper is going to tell me what to do. Damn it. So there.

But then along came Puddin’. And that child needs a routine. We learned this quickly when she was 2 1/2 weeks old and we dared have a friend come visit to meet her, she became colicky and was that way for six months. We learned fast, give this kid what she expects every day.  Almost 12 years later, she’s still that way, hates surprises, the unknown stresses her out. I have adjusted.

Evidently quite a bit.

If 2012 was a year in limbo, 2013 is supposed to be the year of the new normal. And we are still struggling to find that normal. It was to was to be the Summer of Simple. And for the most part it has been. But simple has meant no routine, because there was nothing to plan, nothing to coordinate and create a schedule around. It’s felt more like the Summer of Chaos. 

Evidently we all need a routine now, even Mama. Or shit just goes to hell.

So now I’m trying to figure that out. A routine for doing nothing, but you know on a schedule. Yeah that’s it.

This is going to be easy.

Literary Rites Of Passage

I bought Puddin’ some summer reading books for a graduation present this week. Yes, books. I’m on a simplify and add more value to our lives kick, and expensive gadget presents are out – books are in. More on that later.

This week, in addition to all the festive graduation stuff, they also watched “THE VIDEO” – yes, that video. The one where girls watch a different one than the boys.

So one obvious choice was this one…

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I’ve actually been a little surprised “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” has not come up along the way  because it was the must read book of my 5th grade experience.  But I’ve found that Judy Blume (at least our school) has become a casualty of Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid, and 39 Clues. If it’s not a series that Scholastic can push at the book fair then it doesn’t get attention.  Judy’s must read books from my childhood have sadly been overshadowed and over looked.

I’m on a mission to change that and to introduce her The Mother of the Young Adult Literary Genre. Because let’s face it – without Judy, there would be no John Green, no Sarah Dessen, no Cecily von Zeigesar, no Stephanie Meyer.

So we’ll start with Margaret. And after that will move on to Deenie, and Iggie, and Sally J .. 

And we’ll steer clear of “Forever” for a few years.. so she won’t pass a dog-eared copy around her 6th grade class like I did. LOL  (see what happens when mom’s don’t read)

I’d love to see Scholastic do a “Throw Back” themed book fair and feature some of the best loved YA books from the last 30 or 40 years instead of new stuff – wouldn’t that awesome!?!

I mean I’m sure that there were awesome YA novels published in the 80s and 90s that I never heard of since by then I was in high school and college and that whole internet thing hadn’t really caught on yet. But whatever those books are, they are sitting dusty on some library self somewhere, unknown to these kids who only get pushed the latest and greatest it-must-be-a-three-part-series-whether-the-story-holds-up-that-long-or-not from the publishers. (Insert publishers just care about profits these days rant)  I’m looking at you Divergent series, I’m looking at you.

Seriously – when was the last time you saw “A Wrinkle In Time” featured at the book fair? That book alone hooked me on Sci-Fi for years to come. That book changed me in ways only a great book can. It set me on a path of interests that I would never have followed other wise, it made me like science and math and effected choices I made about education and professions.  And let’s face it, as entertaining as Vampire Boarding School Series are – and I admit they are… they just don’t have that kind of effect.

So help me out, what other awesome books for middle-schoolers came out in the 80s and 90s that I don’t know about ..what are some can’t miss it books from the last 30 years that a soon to be 6th grader should be reading?

All Field Trips lead up to this…

The 5th grade field trip to Disney is a rite of passage here in Florida (it happens again as a senior but that is an entirely different story)

It was an amazing day. Seeing these kids go to Disney with 200 of their classmates, children they have known in many cases since Kindergarten. Remembering them as kindergartners… this one cried, that one still ate paste. Now she is taller than me and he looks me in the eye when he speaks finally.

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Even as parents it felt like a milestone, a graduation of sorts.

We are the same parents who have been going to The Zoo and City Hall, and the Symphony for the last 6 years.  Sometimes we don’t even know each other’s name – we’re just Sally’s Mom, or Joey’s Dad. We know each other by hat and sunglasses and hairdo.  But we know each other – because 4 years ago you helped me find the lost kid in my group and 2 years ago I took your group when you started feeling bad in the heat. We are not friends but we know each other, we trust each other. We’ve looked out for each other, we’ve had each other’s back.

And this week we jumped off a cliff and took the whole crew to Disney and sat back and watched them run as pack, only supervising them from a distance and we talked and laughed and reminisced.  I don’t imagine that middle school field trips will be be the same. They won’t need us like they did in elementary school. This particular group of parents won’t come this way again.

So here’s to the Field Trip Parents for the Class of 2020. We made it through six years of Florida sun, community theatre, and snotty museum docents , we kept them alive, unscathed, and awake  through Alligator Farms, Zip Lines, and Peter and the Wolf.  

We always made it home with as many as we left with.

They were all good days. Salute.

I’ll see your Auditory Reading, and raise you a Math Cake

Last week Jen Hatmaker wrote maybe the most perfect Mom blog post ever  – if you haven’t read it, go now quickly.

Seriously right! We are all feeling it. And this year I got the added fun of having a 5th grader graduating from elementary school. Which I’ve learned involves all the emotional “When did these babies grow up so fast” heartbreak of a high schooler only you still have to drive them everywhere and chaperone field trips.

But each year I get to add one more level of #momfail to this whole season .. my youngest daughter’s birthday falls on the last week of school every year.

Yes, birthday. The last week of school. There is a reason she starts reminding me her birthday is coming up right after spring break.

So while my older daughter, October Girl has always gotten jumpy houses, bowling allies, & sleep overs.. whatever the age appropriate extravaganza is  June Girl gets to “have a few old friends over to swim, but it’s not a party.”

So we start each year inviting only a handful of her closer girlfriends and them inevitable 80% of the moms call me to explain why they cannot attend… dance recital, all star tournament, grandparents are here etc. and we end up with maybe two friends coming over to swim for a few hours on the Saturday before school is out.

This year I had the pleasure of THE DISNEY FIELD TRIP the day before our it’s-not-a-party day. So I left the house at 5:30 am to ride a bus to Disney  (trust me this will get it’s own post) that returned 14 and half hours later at 7:00pm  only to realize I had no cake, no snacks, no prep at all. Well crap. I ran to Publix and Target and grabbed a few things, and headed home. I had this under control, it was going to be okay.

When it came time to bring out the I-got-a-cake-but-is-still-not-a-birthday-party cake, I plopped the candle on top, lit that puppy, and headed out the back door. I walked out to the expected squeals and joy …except for the birthday girl herself. She is looking me with that special disappointment face.

“Mom, I’m 7 now, I’m turning 8” – she points to the cake.

Where I look down and realize I have stuck the “7” candle I was so proud of myself for having just two minutes early.

Crap. Crap. Crap. I can fix this!

I run back in, grab a standard run of the mill cake candle.. slam it in the cake.

That’s “7 + 1 Missy” I tell her – it’s a Math Cake.

Math Cake

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In typical Fancy Pants fashion, she quickly reversed the candles, declared herself 17 and asked for a car.

I. Am. Not. Kidding.