Wait, Pre-K Leads to Kinder.

Today was the Thanksgiving picnic on the playground at school. Lily chirped around happily, swinging by us for one quick bite, and then back to the swing set again; repeatedly. The weather was great and the ambiance relaxing, so my mind did what it does when the world stops spinning- it gets slow and thoughtful.

Slow and thoughtful thinking on the playground led to a few fluttering realizations.

1). Look at all these cute kids. This school has the cutest little ones on earth! They are all flooding around me! I love this age.

2). Awww look at that little toddler! She looks just like Lily did. Little wobbly legs.

3). All the rest of these cute kids are about the same size as she is.

4). Oh no. We’re almost done here. 

5). Oh no. Don’t go.


What “Mom’s Day Off” Should Actually Include

Today I sat in the back seat.

I rolled the window down. All the way. And held my hand out into the open air, twisting it around to cup the breeze in my hand as it passed by.

I laid down completely in the back seat and stretched out, not having to be responsible for anyone or anything. I folded my legs comfortably, spread a blanket across my lap, and closed my eyes. As the road twisted and turned, i smiled. I recalled doing this as a kid, trying to guess where we were at based on how sharp the turn felt. 

I listened to my dad and my brother converse with one another, hassle each other, and then sit comfortably in silence. 

When we arrived at our destination, I hopped out of the car with one quick fancy step, smiling that there was no car seat to unstrap, no shoes to retrieve, and no preschooler to beg and plead to please exit the vehicle immediately.

As we headed toward our table for lunch, I felt myself floating toward my seat, slowly pulling it back from the table, and sitting down on my own accord.

Once handed the menu, I perused it leisurely. No reaching across the table to prevent renegade crayons from rolling onto the floor, no explaining about rules and manners, no searching through my purse for items of entertainment. 

See, I love being a mom more than I have ever loved being anything. She and I are compadres, we are soul sisters, we are forever threaded together by our love. 

But today I was just me. Old school, original me. The me that ponders over the colors of a fall tree, the me that stops briefly in the parking lot to take in a breath of fresh fall air, the me that closes my eyes for a moment, with faith in the world, faith in my dad and brother. 

Once you become a parent, it becomes your turn to drive. To monitor the crayon situation, to make sure bites are taken, tushes are in seats, pleases and thank you’s are said. That hands are held in the parking lot, that there’s no running ahead, that there’s no touching things, no breaking things, no excessive dilly-daddling ensuing.

But that day you get off, when you can close your eyes and breathe in the fresh air, and smile at the familiar laughter and bickering, it’s a step back in time. And today, it was glorious. 

About Thanksgiving 

Alright so everyone complains about how we skip right over Thanksgiving. Well I’m going to pause right at Thanksgiving, and give an assessment.

Thanksgiving week often brings people into town; family members you see maybe once or twice a year, things like that. And those people are instrumental because they’re fundamentally a part of your upbringing and their arrival shifts tectonic plates that subsequently recreate your childhood before your very eyes. 

I’ve decided I love this. And also, I dread it. 

I love it because who doesn’t want their four year old to see their far away living relatives. It’s part of the creation of her little sense of family, it helps her to see random parts of your personality that she doesn’t often get to see. Especially the parts that were formed when you were her age.

Like take for example, my brother is in town. Him being in town is the bombdiggity because of the following reasons; he always wants to travel and do stuff, and he knows how to convince your dad we need to drive thirty minutes out of the way to enjoy some lunch place of yumness that you all seem to forget to go to on a regular basis. Your daughter brings out this charm in him that only you knew existed, being little sister. 

But then what happens every time, and I often forget… Or suppress… That his arrival puts me RIGHT BACK into little sister mode, youngest daughter mode, can anybody hear me maybe I need to make a loud and inappropriate joke mode. 

So last night, I did what any good Buddhism-reading westerner does; I tried to just.. notice it. Become aware of the need to crack loud jokes to get the attention back onto me. 

And let me tell you, it was spiritual.

No it wasn’t. Noticing it made the clicks in my brain start clicking more loudly. Trying to hold it back made my legs start tapping the floor more feverishly. Wait. What did those books say again? Noticing is magic? Or was there some other extra step? I can’t remember! I want to make a loud joke! But I’ve already made nine annoying and irrelevant jokes in the past six minutes! What are they are talking about right now? This feels like a grown-up conversation. I have nothing to add. I must not be a real grown-up! I was a grown-up last week though. I think? Why is this happening? When are we going for ice cream? Why does my daughter get something in the gift shop now and I never do anymore? When did I stop getting stuff in the gift shops! Where is my blanket! I want mozzarella sticks! She’s so adorable right? I’m still adorable too! Am I not still adorable too? Is this a problem? This feels like a problem. 

Hmm. I bet we’re going for ice cream today. Maybe they’ll take me to the lake so we can go paddle-boating.

I’ll have to ask. 

Paper (Half Shirt) Gowns

This afternoon I received a rather alarming text message from a cousin of mine.

I am sitting in the doctor’s office… Wearing a paper gown… That’s a half shirt. It’s a half shirt. And I’m freezing.

After a few texts back and forth of omg lol omg, I learn that the paper half shirt is pink. They’ve really got their hands on what matters.

She continues, I’m freezing cold in a pink paper half shirt, about to meet a doctor I’ve never met before; Hi! Nice to meet you. I’m naked.

We agree this is hilarious but also, appalling. I’m going to write them a letter! She says finally. I’m going to tell them this is not how you treat people!

I agree. Why don’t you go ahead and get started? You’ve got time. You’ve got paper. 

We snort laughed via text and she made it through (I think) but it really does beg the question- is this how we treat people? How much more demeaning can we possibly get? There have got to be small changes that can be made. Thoughtfulness. Decency. 

Because I can’t remember the last time I met someone for the first time, naked. 

Because, never. 

If Chewbacca exists, this is my Marriage

Craig says, “So I was talking to the Star Wars guy (move on) about how there is some print of Chewbacca that people are trying to say is actually of an Ewok.” 

I get up from the couch and grab a pillow. “Hold on. If we’re gonna talk about Chewbacca, I need to lay my head down on something. Okay I’m ready, go ahead.”

So he starts to talk again and I said, “But wait. How do you even confuse the two? Chewbacca is this huge-”

He says, “Exactly. See where my mind goes is that South Park episode with Johnny Cochran.” 

The Johnny Cochran Defense-

“This is Chewbacca, an 8 foot tall wookie that lives on Endor. Why would an 8 foot tall wookie want to live with Ewoks. It doesn’t make any sense. So if Chewbacca exists then you must acquit.”

“It’s definitely not an ewok.”

It’s 3am I must be lonely

Last night, at about 3am, Lily drunkenly stumbled into our bedroom. I woke up instinctively feeling the floor to my left move (it’s one of the benefits of being hard of hearing) and found her hair on face, full moon, and the all too familiar smell of 3am pee-pee. I stood up in the darkness, held my hand out to pause her and said, “Howld bon. Lemme goin get da wipes. Frstay here bwaby.” No sooner did I stand up, she flew like a weightless astronaut into the bed, succumbed her head to my pillow, and pulled my, MY blanket up to her chin. 
So I stood there. The pee-pee soaked full moon was now in my spot. Her bed was temporarily inoperable, and I asked myself the question I ask myself at 3am, “Am. I. Awake. Enough. To deal with this. Properly.” Deciding no, I hauled off to the sofa with a tiny square pillow and a blanket you could swaddle a newborn up in. I did not fall back to sleep. Thank you so much for asking.

This is life with a four year old.

Today she went off to school, in great spirits as always, because thou shall not show our teachers thoust truest selves. Upon picking her up at the end of the day, her teacher gently approached me. “Does she, have sunburn? Or something? She has a red mark on her forehead. I touched it and asked her if it hurt and she said no.”

I stared at her with my most polite having it together mommy face and then said, “Oh! The pink on her head! Oh yeah no, that’s not sunburn. Yeah, no. That’s from Halloween. It’s hair dye. It hasn’t come off yet.” 

Walking down the hall to her classroom and having diverted that, I pick her up and we head out for the weekend. As I load her into the car, I notice her Avengers lunchbox doesn’t have her name on it. I pause. “Am I. Awake. Enough. To deal with this. Properly.” I asked myself again. 

I decided no, and tossed poor Ethan’s lunchbox into the back of our car. We’ll wash his Tupperware nice and clean, I tell myself as we drive home. It’s fine. Then I remember her lunch box. I packed everything in zip lock bags this morning, and I actually hear myself say, “Dangit! Now all Ethan’s mom has to do is hold onto it, and I’m all washing dishes.”

I need to go back to work.