Thursday, March 27, 2014

Just a Turn of Luck

Have I mentioned it's Spring Break?

It is still Spring Break.

Yesterday Drew and I had a day all to ourselves. I've missed some other days with him this week because I've been subbing. We talked about spending some time together and what exactly the budget would allow. Which, let's be honest, is not much. Please see: underemployed.

Luckily, my kids are easily entertained, pretty grateful with small gestures, and I'm real good at stretching a dollar, y'all.

I mean, like, really good.

I don't like to brag, but making do with what I have is a skill I have long held. I can do it with clothes, food, crafts. Whatever the situation calls for. This has worked well for me in my life. I have spent many seasons of my 37 years needing to stretch the dollar.

So. We put a plan together. We would go to our very favorite store: McKay Used Books. Like I had to even say it. I'm so thrilled my kids have developed a deep love for the store I love. Which, side note? My boy kid has fallen in love with reading!!!!!!!! I can't even describe my elation! I hold it close because if I were to even hint at the thrill I have seeing him lay on his bed and read, he'd quit in a hot minute. He is devouring chapter books and will sometimes choose to read over locking his eyes on a screen of some sort.

Back to the plan. We gathered up some books and headed to McKay's to see what we could get for our haul. This would determine our plan for the remainder of the day. We were hoping for big money, no whammies.


This is when our luck started to go sour. The system at McKay's was down and they were not able to process any orders. I'm sorry, what? I have been going to McKay's for 20 years, since it was a tiny hole in the wall, slightly shady establishment on Kingston Pike. Never, in all my years of going there, have I heard of this happening. Drew and I just looked at each other. What were we doing to do now?

Drew had a gift card to Sweet CeCe's burning a hole in his pocket and determined that fro yo for breakfast sounded like a great idea. (He also said, "Mom, I'm just going to get one topping so I can buy something for you, too." This boy. You have no idea) We pulled up to Sweet CeCe's and it was closed. Apparently, not enough folks want fro yo for breakfast. Now what??

We decided to go next door to TJ Maxx where I tortured Drew by looking at purses and shoes. Then I decided this was turning into the very worst mom/kid day ever for him. He asked if we could go to Game Stop. While I would rather gouge out my eye, I told him of course we could. We decided to walk, which was one of the best decisions of the day. Crossing the very busy road at a dead sprint hand in hand turned out to be the most exciting event of the day! (As the day went on our crossing got more and more treacherous each time he told the story. No idea where he gets it)

After I almost fell asleep standing up in Game Stop we headed home to have some lunch and bide our time before the yogurt shop opened. We had grilled cheese sandwiches and watched sports. It was the least I could do.

We finally ate that fro yo and his pride at buying me a treat was just about more than this mom heart could take.

We only had a little time left before we had to pick up Emily from school so we headed to a playground that is sort of on the way. We swung on swings side by side. And then we decided to get out his baseball gear and toss the ball around a little. Only, his baseball bag was not in the car for the first time in about 3 weeks. Seriously. We were not having the best luck. And how there was not a random ball in the back of my car is beyond me. Had we needed most anything else, we could've found it. The back of my car is home to a wide assortment of stuff on a regular basis.

In a last ditch effort at fun, we ran across the parking lot to a new store where everything is less than five dollars and bought a ball. We invented a game and spent the next hour smacking a little foam ball around a big field. It was awesome.

I know for sure my kids will not remember most of the stuff I buy them. I do hope they remember some of the fun things we did together. I'm serious about making memories. And while we cursed our luck yesterday, I think in the long run the day will seem pretty lucky after all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It Wiggles!!

We are in the midst of a two week Spring Break. TWO WEEKS. Here's the thing. I am not bummed out about spending extra time with my kiddos. The problem is, two weeks is too short to establish a new routine, but it's too long to just languish in the relaxing. You know? We are, without a doubt, routine people. I guess my kids are probably that way because I'm that way and they've spent most of their waking lives under my direction. Whatever the reason-nature or nurture-we all run better with a plan in place.

Last week I hosted Spring Break Camp for my friends and neighbors who perhaps needed just a tiny break from all the quality time. But even that didn't go as planned. I had a stomach issue (I say issue because I'm still not clear on what it was...) and had to cancel one day. Add to that the WEATHER (snow and freezing temps) and it has made for a less than stellar situation all the way around.

I've been trying to embrace the haphazardness of it all and just go with it.

Yesterday, I got a text from my brother (did I mention he's back in NASHVILLE?? He is. I'm totally pumped. I've already seen him more in a two week span that I did in the six months previous. Holla!) asking if we could meet up for an extension cord drop. Emily had dance class in the neck of the woods where he works, so we planned to meet after her class.

We met Uncle Sam at McDonald's. The kids had a beverage and then headed to the indoor playground. This was a great plan. They could do what they do best-run and make mayhem. Sam and I could do what we do best-sit and flap our jaws. All was well until Drew came running out of the playground fish tank letting me know that Emily was crying.

I should let you know that this is not an unusual occurrence. I did not run in panic to find her because if I did that every time Drew reported she was crying I'd have a torn ACL. But, there was another Mom in there, so I felt Mom shame and went to check on her.

Y'all. She was having a full blown panic attack. When you're a mom you know the difference between your child's cries. Emily has quite the repertoire. This was her whole-body-shaking like she'd just seen a mascot cry and it does not bode well for anyone involved in the situation.

She was waaaaaaay up in the play structure. Like at the tippy top. When I finally got her to calm down enough to talk to me, I asked her what the problem was. She wailed like an ambulance siren, "IT WIGGLES!!!!!!!!!" Say what now?

It took me a solid two minutes to figure out what in the world she was talking about. Finally, she moved a little and I could see that the "pod" she was in sort of tilted a little when you crawled through it. Sort of like a teeter-totter. I have no idea why. To add to the thrill? Anyway.

I thought for sure if I sent Drew to rescue her she would pull it together. Nothing doing. It was me going to get her, or she's living in the wiggly pod.

Never have I been more thankful for my leggings, which is saying something because I love them like a part of my body. If by some weird chance I had managed to put real clothes on that day, there's a good chance I'd be going to visit Emily at the Green Hills McDonalds!

I'm going to be brutally honest. Those are some snug spaces in that play structure. I was nervous. Of course the other Mom was watching all of this unfold. I know what she was thinking. I know because it's exactly what I would be thinking if the leggings were on the other person. "Whew. Thank goodness that's not me."

I finally made the climb to Emily after one wrong turn, and found her shaking and stuck to the spot she was in. I basically had to reach in and lift her out of the pod, which is no small feat when you're sitting down.

About that time my brother walked into the play area. He was due back at work and brought my stuff to me. He had a look on his face that can best be described as, "What in the actual heck is happening here?" I wish I could say I've never seen this look on him before. However, his nieces and nephews pull shenanigans that blow his mind on a regular basis.

I retrieved Emily and made the announcement that we were leaving. My children acted indignant. Are you serious? Did they miss the fact that I just shimmied my way through the play structure. Emily insisted that she would be brave if she could traverse the structure on Drew's lap. And bless his heart, he let her. He would basically rip off his right arm and give it to her if it meant she wouldn't throw a fit. We're working on that.

So, the moral of this story is, if you plan to hang out with me and my children, prepare yourself for absolutely anything.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Yoo Hoo!

It's the world's worst blogger, checking in to say I'm alive and breathing.

My last post was two days before Mom's birthday. Last year I walked into my season of grief with a plan. This year I wanted to pretend it wasn't happening.

Two years. It's been two years since my Mom left earth. I somehow thought I'd be "farther along" the grief trail by now. Maybe I didn't need a plan because I had already been through all the "firsts".

I case you're wondering, grief is not a trail. It's like a weird fog that creeps in without you really noticing. You only notice it once it's totally clouded your view. It can come any time. There is no time limit.

I know. I know no one really wants to hear about the grief. It's uncomfortable. Even though I have experienced deep grief, sometimes the grief of others makes me uncomfortable. I feel like one of my gifts is encouragement. I want to use my words to help others feel better. When my words fall short, I get uncomfortable.

So, I get it.

But, all I can do is pretend it didn't happen or tell you about it. Lucky for you, I'm telling you about it. The good news is, you don't have to look me in the eye. :) You can read and feel uncomfortable all by yourself!

The pattern of grief for me begins in December. December is when my mom got her diagnosis, and really, it was that day, not the day of her death, when everything changed. The weirdest part is, my BODY remembers. Even when my conscious mind is not paying attention, my physical body begins to grieve. Are you weirded out yet?? And, it seems that each time it's going to take me at least a week to figure out what's going on.

By the way, December is a really unfortunate time to be struggling. Around here it is brutally busy and there is no time to be under grief's fog. As Anne Lamott says, "Sometimes grief can look a lot like narcolepsy." (I could hear some of you getting heart palpitations at my mention of Lamott. Relax. I have not subscribed to her beliefs. I just like people who tell the brutal truth.)

The good news is, I have these two amazing kids who make it impossible for me to stay in bed for three months. I have these two kids who are seriously awesome. And hilarious. And tender-hearted. Someday when they're old enough not to be weirded out, I'll thank them for bringing me through times like this.

Outwardly, I kept going for those three months. My conscious continued to try and ignore the situation. My body continued to let none of us forget.

Y'all. Missing her does not get one tiny bit easier.

I don't like to admit that I still really struggle with every tiny bit of it. My poor sisters have to rehash the same doubt filled conversation with me about once every six months. But, it's where I am.

Some of you are racing to your prescription pad to write me a prescription for some nerve pills! Believe me, I'm keeping close tabs on the medication needed line!

Last week, God and I had a moment of grace and the fog lifted for now. I'm looking forward to a time out in the light!