Friday, July 16, 2010

Chillaxing

We're moved into the house enough to find the measuring cups, toilet paper, underwear, and the Wii.

The kids are done with their camps. It's the middle of July. No one goes outside - except to swim - in July. July is also the month where anyone with a Texas residence leaves the state and vacations elsewhere. Okay, so there are a few stragglers - none of which my kids have made friends with yet. A fact I am constantly reminded of.  Incessantly.  Several times an hour.

There are still so many, many boxes to unpack.  And spices to organize.  And pictures to hang.

But every time I look around, the kids are underfoot.  Literally.  Like a pack of puppies nipping at my heels.  Except for two of the puppies, who have developed an unfortunate sleep disorder - that of sleeping too much - and must be forced out of bed with a fire hose, although a younger sibling spraying water in their faces is almost as effective and much less soggy.

They are driving me insane.

They are driving each other insane.

When I was packing to move, I don't remember the kids being in my face so much.  But I must remember. They had friends. Not yet the case here in this new neighborhood.

When I packed, they didn't mind me ignoring them because they were busy, busy, busy with school and friends.  As I'm trying to unpack, my ignoring them gets a little tricky.  I'm the only one they've got.  They don't need an unpacker/organizer lady scuttling around their house.  They need their mom.

So . . . I repeat, over and over in my mind:

Dude. Chillax!

I gleaned this timely gem of advice from Gru of Despicable Me fame.  Gru started out despicable but ended up being kinda okay because he saw that some kids needed him.  I'm hoping to do the same.  Maybe I wasn't despicable, but I certainly have been less than fully engaged.  And I see that my kids definitely need me.

So we've been Chillaxing. Swimming. Library. Wal-Mart. Hobby Lobby. $.50 ice cream cones from McDonald's. Smoothies. Games. Reading.  Swimming some more. Parks only once on a rainy day - it's too dang hot most of the time.

The unpacked boxes, unhung pictures, unorganized spices - they'll still be there when school starts.

Me?  I'll be chillaxing with my kids.  And maybe my kids will think I'm okay.

Anyone want to join us?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blink


Published in The Cross Timbers Gazette, July 2010 (click HERE for the link)

Waxing Nostalgic and Neurotic after watching Toy Story 3 . . .
The Blinking Game.  I played it on car trips, during church, at the dinner table.  To win, you simply had to be the last to blink.  With eyes watering and stinging, the game seemed to last forever.  But, in reality, it never lasted long.  Because no matter how hard you try - how much willpower you have - Blinking is simply inevitable.
As a kid, it felt as if I was forever waiting - for kindergarten to start, sleepovers, vacations, birthdays, a job, my first kiss, more independence.  But as I walked across the stage at high school graduation, I clearly recalled my first day of kindergarten and realized that all that waiting amounted to a couple of blinks. 
It seemed like only yesterday.  Surprisingly, I wished to be in kindergarten again – as long as it wasn’t when I sat in the corner of the playground and cried - if only for one day.
Then came college, during which I waited some more – to find my way around campus, get enough sleep, finish the next research paper, graduate, eventually get a real job. 
Seriously, that was just yesterday.  Not so surprisingly, I’d love to experience college again – as long as it’s not during finals week – if only for one day.
Marriage and five kids came with the next few blinks.  I spent several years in a fog – the fog of diapers, tantrums, sleepless nights, endless laundry.  But it was always balanced out and made magical with sweet baby smell, hugs, kisses, complete adoration of toddlers, pure joy.
Only yesterday I was rocking my babies to sleep.  I find myself longing for that stage of life again – as long as it’s not the week everyone in the house had the flu - if only for one day.
I blinked again – as slowly as possible, but not nearly slowly enough.  My oldest will be starting high school in the fall.  The fog hasn’t cleared, it’s just shifted  – it’s now the fog of carpools and soccer and basketball and piano and homework and broken hearts and cell phones, wanting to string kids up by their toes, serving frozen pizzas at least twice a week.  And laundry.  Always the laundry. 
But it is always balanced out and made perfect with play dates at the park, vacations, late night heart-to-hearts with teenagers, an unexpected hug and “Love you, Mom!” as someone is running out the door.
At some point in the future, it will admittedly be nice to have more time – for my career, to organize the thousands of pictures sitting on my computer, to learn a new hobby, to breathe.  To get all that laundry done. 
The irony is that when I’m standing in my perfectly clean and organized laundry room, nothing left to wash, it will seem like yesterday when the laundry was endless.  And I have the feeling that I will really truly wish for more laundry – even if it’s the laundry from the day when the whole family ran outside in the rain, dragging in no less than a ton of mud on their clothing.
Please.  No more blinking.
I’m not ready.
But it’ll happen.  Because no matter how hard I try - how much willpower I have - the next Blink is simply inevitable.
And when I’m standing on the curb waving goodbye, eyes watering and stinging, all the blinking in the world won’t be able to hold back the tears.