When There’s No School Monday

In my book, three day weekends are permission to take two full days off.  Why waste a perfectly beautiful, almost-summer day grading papers and answering emails when you can save that for Monday?!

So yesterday after I had finished my Saturday morning long run, Jay reminded me that it was almost time for him to retire to the bat cave for a full day of paper writing.  (Unfortunately the three day weekend rule doesn’t apply to master’s students.  Bummer.)  I knew that in order to keep both of us from losing our minds, the little people and I needed to vacate the premises.  It took a while to decide on a destination, but I finally landed on Holiday Lake.

Before lunch we fished from the dock and checked out what the rangers had to offer at the “touch table”.  After lunch we visited with the rangers again to make an owl craft.  I think perhaps the two poor guys had seen enough of us, so they suggested a short-ish hike to an overlook for us.  I finally took out my camera at this point…

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Bubba thought this tree looked like a train.  Minutes later, he got too close to the bank and completely submerged one of his boots.  He wasn’t such a happy hiker after that._MG_8608

Chica is into maps these days.  She was our navigator.
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I love this picture that Chica took…
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And of course if you let one try the camera, you have to let the other.
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Here’s where I count my kairos moments for the day.  I just sat on the bank watching them throw rock after rock after rock into the water.  This never gets old…for me or them.

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We visited the rangers one more time and tried out their casting station.  So fun!  I’ve already put this Backyard Bass set on our upcoming Christmas list!

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We ended the day with a few more minutes of real fishing and ice cream on the way home.  Bubba had missed his nap, so he slept on the way home and then even longer once we got back.  Perfect.

Come summer.  Come long, peaceful days of new adventures.

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A Few Moments

That moment (6:45 a.m., to be exact) when you start looking for your kid’s shoes and remember where they are.  On the porch.  In the rain.  And he only owns one pair.  Major mommy fail.

In that moment, my brain goes to two places:  1)  Who to blame and 2) How to fix it.  I can’t say for sure which came first today, but most of the time the thoughts come in that order, so let’s go with the blame first.  I could blame Bubba for them being out there in the first place.  Or I could blame Jay for not seeing them when he left the house earlier this morning.  But the truth is that I knew they were out there “drying” and had also commented that it looked like a storm was coming last night…I should have put two and two together.  So amidst my back and forth blaming and pity partying, I moved on to a solution.

Send him barefoot?  His class plays outside now.  Socks only?  Same thing.  Make him wear them wet?  They were literally dripping, so that might be considered torture.  Throw them in the dryer?  Not enough time.  Dig in the hand-me-down clothes in the attic on the off chance that there is something there that would fit now?  The probability is slim.  It seems  there was only one viable option:  get everyone to Wal-mart.  And fast.

Even while I was driving there, I was still riding that merry-go-round of blame and pity.  I actually called Jay and my mom to invite them both to my party.  But every few passes I tried to grab hold of at least the tiniest bit of thankfulness.  Maybe it was a good thing after all that we all got up at 6:00 and not 6:30 because we never would have had time for this trip.  Thank you, God, that I live less than 15 minutes from a new pair of shoes.  Thank you, Wal-mart, for having Bubba’s size in a pinch…and a belt for me because I couldn’t find mine this morning. 

I’m hoping these kinds of moments in the future (because I am sure there will be many, many more mommy fails) will be filled with more grace and thankfulness and less blame and pity.

That moment (7:15 a.m., to be exact) when you know exactly what your kid is getting ready to say, and you can’t stop it.  Your best evil eye and distraction conversation and silently willing her, “Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it,” are all lost.  “MOM, WHY DOES THAT MAN HAVE NO LEGS?”  Too late.

So you do the only thing you know to do.  You grab her by the chin, get in real close, talk real low, and try to explain right there in the middle of the Wal-mart entrance why her innocent question (at 115 decibels) is wrong.  And you pray that he sees you.  That he doesn’t think you are that mom who lets her kid get away with it.  “When you see people that are different, you do NOT point it out.  This can hurt their feelings.  If you have to ask mommy about it, you can ask me way later, when they can’t hear you.  That was very rude.”

It seems we have lots of these chin-grabbing, low conversations these days….about calling people fat, and private parts, and telling the truth, and not giving up.  If even a few get through, I’ll be glad.

Maybe today’s got through, because when he rang up Bubba’s shoes and my belt, she kept her mouth shut.  Or maybe she just didn’t realize it was the same guy.  Either way, he made a joke with us about the belt being “for the kids,” so I assume he had forgiven us.  And I forgave her too.

And finally, that moment (7:35 p.m., to be exact) when you suck it up and just play with your kid.  All you really want to do is check the day’s Facebook posts, or sit on the porch in silence, or maybe even wash some dishes.  (Ok, never mind on the last one.)  But she’s begging you, and you have no real excuse to say no, and worse, a friend who reminded you this very same day about the very same moment.  So you do it.  And it’s not so bad.

And you find yourself dancing on the sidewalk to the music in her head, dramatically passing a bunch of fake flowers back and forth.  Or pretending to be a monster and a little girl from the Brave Human World forming a new friendship.  Then she “reads” you a book in which she makes up every single word.  And you end the night by sniffing the skunk and stinkbug she has drawn on the Magna Doodle, clarifying which one is smellier.

Thanks, friend, for the reminder that I’m not the only one who would rather do anything but the thing that will bring me the most joy.  May we both have eyes to see those things and courage to do them.

“Don’t have a great day, just grab a couple great moments.”  —Momastery.com  

Summer Day #19: Pool Fingers

Like most preschoolers, Chica is fanatical about band-aids.  She finds one little red mark and begins begging for her mind’s cure-all.  She knows I usually don’t give out band-aids freely, so she has learned to use my buzz words like “blood” and “liquid” when trying to convince me of her dying need.  This morning while I was serving up her Cheerios, she said, “Look Mom, I need a band-aid for all my fingers.”  Before I even turned around to inspect her hands, I began preparing my usual, “You’re not bleeding so you don’t need any band-aids,” speech.  Boy, was I surprised!  Pool fingers!

We spent nearly the entire day at a friend’s pool yesterday…swimming, eating, slathering on sunscreen, and just generally enjoying good company.  After hours of jumping in and pulling herself back out, Chica had rubbed each of her fingertips raw.  I agreed to band-aids for the two worst fingers (Chica was stunned at my sudden generosity), and I quickly decided that a backup plan was needed for the day.  We were planning to spend a few hours at another pool this morning with some of her school friends, but I knew I didn’t have enough band-aids to repair the damage this would cause for tomorrow.

In my end of the school-year day dreaming haze a few weeks ago, I created an A to Z summer list.  I had great visions of each summer day being brought to us by a different letter (think Sesame Street) complete with outings, snacks, crafts, library books, and a photo book to prove it.  HA!  Then the summer actually started, and I realized that 99% of that was out of the question.  When you can’t find time to shower and feed yourself from each of the food groups, there is certainly no time for letter-coordinated crafts and library books.  However, the list is still posted on my refrigerator, and today it served as inspiration instead of just a mocking reminder that I am not SuperMom.

H is for Hike

H is also for horses, hopscotch, hats, haircut, and hula hoops, but hike caught my eye as the most doable activity for the moment.  Chica and I had to hunt our “fast shoes” (this is what she calls tennis shoes) that had long been neglected in favor of flip-flops and water shoes.  I quickly grabbed the few other essentials (like fruit snacks and cereal bars, of course), and we were out the door before 8:30.  I was determined to beat the hot sun to the punch.  Thankfully we live in a city that boasts beautiful urban trails less than 10 minutes from my house, so it was a quick and easy decision about where to go.

Chica wasn’t quite sure what to expect on our hike.  She needed to know if it would be scary and if we might see any lions or bears.  (I knew last night’s bedtime story was a bad idea, but sometimes there’s just no turning back after you’ve started.)  I assured her the most exciting animals we might see would be a squirrel or deer, and this seemed to satisfy her.  Those first few steps into the woods were awfully timid and slow, and I wondered if I had been a little too optimistic with my visions of my little family hiking.  Soon, though, she was bounding along, pointing out treasures and gathering items for her nature “collection.”

The best part of our adventure was the swinging bridge.  In my before-kids days, I flew across this bridge with ease while trail running.  Today I’m not quite so brave (maybe it had to do with the precious cargo on my back…Bubba), but I had to feign bravery to get Chica to cross.  We decided together that the best option would be for her to cross by herself since she would shake the bridge much less than we would shake it together.  She chose to go first, and she kept looking back every few minutes…partly to check that I was still there, but mostly for me to repeatedly remind her how brave she was being.  She’s her mother’s daughter when it comes to needing constant words of affirmation…I’m just a tad bit more subtle in my asking though.  : )

R is for River

After a quick snack of fruit snacks for Chica and a cereal bar for Bubba and me, we headed back the way we came and to our car.  I decided to do the thing that makes summer such a glorious time…let one adventure lead in to another.  Since Chica had asked about hiking to a river but we had really only seen a creek, I asked her if she wanted to drive to a spot where we could stick our feet in the river.  She agreed, and we decided on Percival’s Isle.  This happily led to much conversation about what an island really is…I think we’ll be stuck on this topic of discussion for a while.

We narrowly avoided a group of about 25 preschoolers looking for a place to swim (no joke….one is enough, people!) and found ourselves a spot to sit and play by the river.  Bubba and I sat in the shade, watched birds play above us, and breathed in the cool breeze. Perhaps the most memorable part of our morning is when Chica found a worm that she just wouldn’t let go.   I marveled as my usually prissy, can’t-get-dirty, won’t-touch-bugs-kinda-girl sat down in the mud and dug a hole for her worm with her hands.  She actually asked me to take off her band-aids (apparently pool fingers heal quickly) so she could better feel the worm and water.

My friends lately have been talking about these kairos moments.  My best understanding so far is that there are moments where all things fade away and you are truly experiencing life and love and God without any other distractions.  Watching Chica play while holding Bubba, his sock feet getting dirtier and dirtier by the minute, this was my kairos moment today I think.  This….this is what summer is about….time for unplanned adventures where one thing leads to another effortlessly.  This is who I was called to be for this day, at this moment.  And it was good.

I’ve contemplated starting a blog for a long time.  Today I’m giving it a whirl.  It may turn out like the A to Z list on my refrigerator, but I’ll never know unless I try.  I hope this will be a space where I can reflect on life as a wife, mother of two, teacher, and wisher.  I plan to write about my kairos moments and my not-so-kairos moments.  Come along for the ride.