Monday, September 26, 2011

Clean-up in Isle 5

It is one of the last warm days of the season.  A sweet gift that Mother Nature placed gently in my lap with a pleasing smile and a little wink – because we know that this is the end of summery weather.    Just around the New England corner it will turn chilly and well, you know what happens next.  And don’t say ski-season – because I don’t ski.

Knowing that today was going to be warm and sunny and everything that I love, I had a day planned around this seasonal swan song.  I wasn’t called into school to work, so I was going to get my house stuff done and out of the way and spend a good chunk of the day writing.  And then – I was open.  A walk and some yoga on the beach and then I was going to take the girls afterschool for ice cream downtown.  My intention was to be productive and be outside.  I was going to go to the beach – and be super fun mom with ice cream treats by the water on a warm, sunny day.

And then, I received the dreaded phone call from the school nurse. 

“Hi Stephanie, this is the school nurse.  I have Katie here.  She threw up in class.”

“Really?  My Katie?  Are you sure?”   (I could feel the nurse rolling her eyes at my question.)

“Yes, I’m sure.  You should come get her.”

Of course I got her.  And she was looking pale and pasty and droopy– nothing like the bouncy girl that I kissed goodbye on the lips an hour prior.  She looked like a little girl who just barfed in a waste paper basket in her class – apparently her teacher had quick reflexes.  (Thank You!)

As I helped her out of her dress, into PJ’s and settled her in on the couch with a blanket and the throw-up pot, I had to resist the internal urge to feel a little pissy about the situation.  “Damn,” I thought to myself, “This is not how I envisioned my day.  It is too gorgeous to be inside with a barfy daughter.  Rats!”  I mumbled and grumbled and tried to get over it.  It’s not like she planned on getting sick to be a brat and ruin my plan to walk on the beach.

Isn’t this the beauty, the reason why I have a flexible job – so when I get the barf call I can drop anything and zip right over and scoop up my girl?  Isn’t this part of my job description – no matter how beautiful the weather or planned out my day. Sometimes it all has to stop and I have to change everything I thought I was going to do.  As I worked out my mood I came to realize that it is one of the aspects of parenting that I am good at – I am a flexible person.  As much as I need to work on organizing I am very adept at being adapdable.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cruise Control

This house is quiet and it is kinda freaking me out.  For the first time in nine weeks I have been alone in the house for hours at a time.  The girls are in school - that beautiful, exciting, noisy place for six hours.  Even though they are in there for six hours, somehow it translates into feeling like only about two for me.  Similar to the human/dog years ratio.  For every three hours the girls are out of the house it only feels like one.

                I am not in any way, shape or form begrudging this blissful time alone.  What I am experiencing is a temporary adjustment period.  I am not all weepy when dropping them off at school, clutching and sniffling into their clothes while they are at school.  But there is a little getting used to moment for me.

 I spent two months being a drill sergeant, camp counselor and chirpy Julie McCoy cruise director every moment of the day.  From the moment I woke up it was a steady, forward motion – “Girls, get on your bathing suits, put yer sunscreen on!  Let’s make lunch, pack it up, find your flip flops, and turn off the TV! ” The girls responded with a similar barrage of demands, “Momma!  Can we have ice cream, momma watch me jump in the water!  Momma did you see that perfect hand stand!  Momma I need a Band-Aid!  Momma!”   

Every day the girls asked the question, “What are we doing today?” I answered clearly and consistently.  We went to the beach and the pool and visited friends, went through cases of sidewalk chalk, ate ice cream and picked blueberries.  We squeezed every ever-lovin’ drop out of our summer– we are all tan and happy.

                And now, my motivation in the form of two highly energetic daughters has changed.   I have to be my own cruise director – and that is not so easy.  I feel hung-over from the summer.   Every day I want to do everything and nothing.  I want to read all afternoon.  I don’t want to spend my time cleaning, but I want to clean that damn shelf in our living room that makes me grrrrr every time I pass by it.  I want to get back into yoga. The list for the cruise director is endless.   For today, I was able eat lunch without talking to anyone.  Baby steps.