In the past month or so, the kids and I have been on a hurling course through the universe of homework, school, babysitters, after school activities, sport practices, team games, slumber parties.
And that’s just basically Maddie.
At this point, I’m just trying to keep up with Luke and Maddie’s schedule. I always tell myself, “Just stay a day ahead and you’ll be alright.” This works about 80% of the time. The other 20%, I run out of time to make a healthy dinner so I order pizza, I forget to print something out for Maddie so I have to make a late-night run to my office, I forget to send Maddie to school with money for something so I have to leave work for a minute to drop it off, and I forget to pay Luke’s daycare provider (even though I DO have the money) until she has to call me at least 3 times.
I also: forget to return that important paperwork to Human Resources, forget to pay rent (just remembered today!), lose some student’s essay (I’m convinced it’s in my car somewhere), go to the wrong restaurant to meet a friend and then wonder why he’s not showing up, almost run out of gas because I didn’t have the time to stop and refill my tank, ignore Halloween and not put up one decoration, and run out of milk, juice, bread, eggs, and wine!
The list could go on and on. I don’t think that I’m a failure though. I just know that I’m really busy. And the kids are busy. And life is just a bit crazy right now. But in between these moments of chaos, we’ve had some incredibly fun times.
Like attending Natalie’s 5th birthday party and getting to see my best friend Denise (Natalie’s mom) and her family.
Then there was Halloween, and I ordered the kids costumes just in time. I like to make sure the kids are themed, and so Maddie picked a Sesame Street theme: she went as Big Bird and Luke went as Cookie Monster. It wasn’t nearly as inventive as last year’s costumes (when Luke was a gnome and Maddie a pink flamingo, so together they were my lawn ornaments), but they still looked cute:
On Halloween, Maddie had her first ever school dance (during the day). I decided to stop by on my way to work and take pictures, but after 5 minutes, the literature teacher approached me and kicked me out, saying “Parents are NOT allowed.” Like I knew this (side note: had I read the weekly announcements, I guess I would have known this.). At least I still got some good pictures. And observed that Maddie was NOT bumping and grinding with some 8th grade boy (I’d kill him. And her.)
Luke was with his father on Halloween night and Maddie and a bunch of friends went trick-or-treating by themselves, so I had 2 whole hours to grade at a very quiet coffee shop. Did I miss watching the girls trek from house to house? Hell no.
But lest you think I am a bad parent, I made up for it later in the evening because after trick-or-treating, Maddie and four of her friends came back to our house for a sleep-over. Between the sugar high induced tween excitement and chatter, I sat on the couch with a glass of wine and read the New York Times. It’s amazing how adept I am at tuning things out (i.e. tween chatter). Everyone had fun. Everyone was happy.
Maddie’s school had its annual blessing of the animals, so we dragged ourselves to school at 8a.m. with our dog, Baily, in tow. This may not seem like a difficult task, but getting all of us dressed and presentable and fed with a dog that had to look good too was quite the feat.
Amidst the dogs, cats, turtles, fish, and birds, someone brought in his pet cow. How awesome is that family?
We drove out to a coastal town to celebrate Maddie’s old babysitter Amy’s birthday. Amy babysat Maddie from the time she was 6 months old to 7 years old. She was the best. I often referred to her as my husband. Being able to celebrate with her made my heart sing.
This is what makes Amy so great: in the middle of her own birthday party, she spend almost an hour with Luke digging in the dirt until she found a bug (a walking stick no less!) for Luke to play with.
I don’t work on Fridays (as in, I don’t have to teach and instead just get to stay home and grade, so technically, I guess I do work on Fridays), and Luke and I always have a Friday date. He gets to choose what we do and where we go. Almost every Friday, he chooses to go to the barn so he can feed the animals. We always end our date with a sandwich and ice-cream.
Sometimes, though, Luke just wants to lay in bed and watch a movie, and I happily oblige.
Other times, he just wants to sit and play with me for hours, drawing and building blocks.
(Luke’s drawing and interpretation of me. A friend said it looked like “Family Circus,” and those are just my footprints from running around. If this is the case then Luke is more astute than I believed him to be.
I think my favorite dinner guest may be Andy because he plays so much with Luke, distracting him as I finish dinner. He’s a great uncle!
So despite all the chaos and the forgotten dinners and missed appointments, we’re hanging in their, perhaps even prospering as being a family on the go. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I look to my kids to see if there is disappointment in their faces. Usually there’s not. Instead I see smiles and love, which makes me appreciate our lives, in all its craziness.