Spring Outbreak 2020

I’m billing Dad for my room.

Day 1 of Spring Outbreak 2020 and The Hubster worked from home. He evicted Sophia from her bedroom, which she rarely uses other than for throwing her clean laundry on the floor and housing her private library of books, stuffed animals, and abandoned craft projects.

“Why can’t you use Ethan’s room?” she retorts.

“Ethan’s room is a hoarder’s room; there’s no space!” True. LEGO are strewn all over the place, pieces in all phases of LEGO project life: spares, in progress, and completed builds. His book cases are full of books, LEGO, empty QT cups, towers of empty cereal bowls he eats from at midnight, and yes, laundry on the floor. But it’s dirty. His three roommates consist of a keyboard, a cello, and a guitar, leaving little room for visitors. Not that we want to visit.

I’ll visit Ethan’s LEGO room any day!

We don’t have a desk in our bedroom. We bought our home without a dining room, spare bedroom, or home office. Out Sophia went.

Boredom begets creativity. I have plenty to keep me busy. Sophia on the other hand, after watching too much Disney Plus, charged her dad for use of her bedroom.

We’re tight on space to offer Sophia Suites to non-family members, but for those of you having to work from home, maybe a trip to the QT for a cherry lime Freezoni is enough compensation for kids you may have to evict from their, ahem-your, spaces. I’m ready to try it as a beverage mixer.

Milestones

I don’t cry at those big milestones like the first day of kindergarten or the end of fifth grade ceremony or the eighth grade social.  It’s gradual and comes in spurts.  Like crying for a whole month every day on the drive home from work when you find out that the details of maternity leave suck and you’ll have to take your baby to daycare sooner than you wanted.  Hell, it sucks when you realize you have to drop your baby off at daycare. Period.

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You don’t cry on the first day of kindergarten.  You cry at night at the end of the first day of kindergarten when you process the first day of school (and work), when you pick up your kid from after school care and the counselor tells you another kid hit yours because he stood up for and defended his new friend.  And his little cheekbone is bruised under his eye.  It hurts that you have to spend all day with strangers’ kids, defending them from the meanies in the classroom.

You don’t cry on the last day of school.  You drag yourself from home, exhausted, then sleep in from a year’s worth of sleep deprivation and grading and meetings and motherhood.  Then you have to figure out what kind of fun stuff to do because, thankfully, the summer is long, or at least it used to be.  But you cry when you have those PD days and you have to drop your kid off again at daycare because the summer isn’t long after all.

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You don’t cry on the first day of middle school because you’re pulling teeth just to get a picture and rushing out the door to get child number two to, you guessed it–daycare, while trying to make it to work early enough so you can welcome the new sixth graders whose parents are crying all the while trying not to crack your ankle while running in heels.  Gotta make a good first impression, but in the back of your mind you get choked up because you ran out the door saying “Have a great first day, don’t miss the bus!”  You cry months later when you hear them practice the cello in the middle of the year and it sounds like real music, when you’re frustrated because they don’t seem to care about their school work, and when they upgrade to buying clothes from the men’s department because they somehow became too big for the clothes in the kids’ department.

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You don’t cry when you drop them off at the eighth grade social.  You cry months before when you drop them off at the high school orchestra’s incoming freshman meet and greet, in the middle of the grocery store.  You decided to run errands because what’s the point in going home if you’ll have to turn around to pick them up again as soon as you arrive?

It’s a gradual process, this milestone thing.  I didn’t even think about it until my Facebook feed (thanks, social media) reminded me.  At work.  So I cry at my desk and remember and look forward to what this kiddo will do in high school.  We didn’t have an eighth grade graduation, but we had plenty of milestones in between.

Happy New You

Another year in the books.  If you consider January first the beginning of a new year.  I go with the flow, but I prefer the new year to begin at the beginning of the school year. Technically, I’m half finished with a new year.  It also depends on life’s circumstances.

When I was an expectant mom, the year began with the news, then it progressed into trimesters.  After each of my two kiddos were born, I broke up time–beginnings and endings–by month.  Now that I’m in grad school, it’s moving to semesters or sessions. Chunks of three, fall, spring, and summer (which used to be) break.

How is that resolution thing going?  I don’t like them.  They sound so…legal, official, unbreakable.  Even though we all break them before they start.  This year, I found a thread on a Facebook group about focusing on a one word resolution, you know, one of those character flaws we need to improve so we don’t overwhelm ourselves and fail before we start or figure out ways to cheat.  One word.  Really?  Who came up with that?  It’s a great idea though.  But one word.  For twelve months.  Aren’t we supposed to focus on small do-able goals so we keep it up throughout the year?

As I thought about it, I couldn’t come up with only one.  Happiness. As in choose to be happy every single day even when you want to retreat into a cave or take off on a one-woman road trip to see if anyone will look for you when you’ve been missing for a week. Patience.  Ah, patience.  Sounds really good, but a whole day, let alone the whole day, every day, for a year?  I decided I didn’t like her.  She doesn’t like me either, but my other word possibility, acceptance, is our mediator.

Acceptance, as in suck-it-up buttercup and put on your big girl panties because this is how it is.  Change it or move on, but don’t think about whining.  I tap into my inner toddler too often. And the inner toddler needs to calm down and breathe because her face is turning purple.  Which brings my next word, breathe, and it makes me want to cry because I can’t take the yoga class I took last year where I learned how to breathe again.  I breathed for a whole hour once a week and flitted out of the room only to come home to start suffocating on busyness all over again.  But that one hour a week was my retreat.

Only one word.  By the time I got to breathe, I became frustrated and deemed myself a failure because I couldn’t come up with one word.  That’s like asking a parent to name the favorite kid.  You just can’t.  can’t. Other people happily posted their patient, accepting, breathable words.  I crossed my arms and my brain grunted and grimaced in its best two year old way while I told myself it didn’t matter because most people don’t keep their resolutions, but it bothered me.  Why can’t I come up with a word?

With so many areas to improve, how could this be so difficult?  I’m a lover of words, how could I possibly not have one?  After about a week something surfaced.  Three.  Out of all of the words in the English language, it’s three.  As in the trinity God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three because that’s the first place I need to focus.  But my relationship with God is like that of a teen with her parents.  They kick around trying to go against everything that’s good, decent, and right.

My three is so much more.  It means to focus on my husband, my thirteen year old boy, and my six year old girl. Spring semester, summer semester, and fall semester.  Mind, body, soul.  Wife, mom, daughter.  Triple Sec.  Menagè-á-Trois (the wine). Strawberry-basil mojitos. Happiness, patience, acceptance. Carbs, protein, fat.  Breathe…

How’s that resolution thing going, or did you decide on the one word?  Or, in my case, three.