Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Then there was one.

Today is a momentous day for me.

Today is the first day of school.

Abby is now an 8th grader.  This year she's top dog.  Next is high school, which I'm so excited for because it's the beginning of the end before so many beginnings!  Yesterday she was a busy girl.  While I was out with the younger 4 following a crazy schedule (soccer practice, cub scout pack meeting, and steep hill grass sledding experiments (doesn't work w/o moisture, btw)), she got bored.  So she found a couple of online tutorials & made a pair of capris and cutoffs (seen above); cleaned up & took down the makeshift table the guinea pig was on; cleaned out the guinea pig supply cabinet &; made it a kid-blanket storage (GENIUS!!); and moved Wes's toddler bed from my room into hers.  Whew!  Maybe I should ground her from pleasure reading more often!

Alex is starting 6th grade, and man he's nervous!  The kids' school is grades 1-8, so he'll be on the same campus, see the same teachers and hang around with most of the same kids.  But still, this is something new.  7 periods, lots of books, more homework, more responsibility, and a completely new routine in uncharted territory.  He'll do fine, but he's nervous.  To add to it all, I went to sign him up for the area's rec league soccer & there aren't enough boys to make even a single team in his whole age group.  Crazy.  BUT!  If you buy eight completos, iss only eight dollars!  [Sorry--one of those tangential quotes that happen around here.  Other common ones infiltrate scripture study, such as whenever we read the word "Behold" it's followed by "Tai Lung!" (Kung Fu Panda) or "destruction" followed by "o henhouse" in a Scottish brogue (The Adventures of Mr. Toad).  It's a weird little thing we do.  For the original, you'll have to check out Kid History.  Come to think of it, do it anyway.  Totally worth it.]  BUT!  The middle schools around here just opened boys soccer up to 6th graders, so he's going to try out for the school team for the middle school that we feed into.  He's nervous about that, too.  Even more so because the scheduling makes it so that if he makes the team, he'll miss the first 8 weeks of Social Studies.  Thankfully he's smart, a hard worker, driven & disciplined enough to do the independent study on his own.

Lee is in 3rd grade.  I'm not exactly sure how that happened.  Looking back on when his older siblings were in 3rd grade they seemed so much bigger!  But he's ready.  This summer he picked back up the 4th Harry Potter book he was reading a while ago & finished it.  Of course, that's the only movie that we don't own, so we have to get it from the library so he can watch it.  It's killing him to wait, but at least the next book came in!  (Can't find ours.)  He didn't need me to go with him into the classroom this morning, so today was the first First Day I've simply dropped them off & left.  *sigh*

Cora is a kindergartener, and the only word I can use to describe her is excited.  Excited for work!  Excited to learn!  Excited for friends!  Excited for a teacher!  Excited for recess!  Excited, excited, excited!!!  Last week she had a practice week where she & the other kinders went for a half day just to get the feel of things before the 'bigs' flooded the school.  Her teacher (who's fabulous) was impressed with how easily she made herself at home, felt comfortable in her new surroundings & started making friends on the playground.  She'll do so great!

But as momentous as the first day of school always is, all this is not the reason that today is momentous for me.  Today is new and a little scary for me because of this guy.

This is supposed to be his sad face because he's all alone.
You see, I don't know what to do with just one kiddo at home.  Sure, I've done it before, but that was before Alex was born.  And before that, Abby was a toddler.  And she was a baby.  And she didn't move much.  But now.  Now I've got three whole years of this crazy monkey who likes to climb on stuff, explore, experiment, get the guinea pig & carry her downstairs (ack!), open the door to let himself outside (double ack!!), and be generally independent.  (Just now he opened the fridge, grabbed the NEW carton of almond milk, took off the lid, pulled out the seal & carried the milk across the house to me.  "Mom, I waht mi-yilt."  This.) 

His "mad pace."
And in the meantime I have more responsibilities.  12 years ago I needed to cook, clean & take care of a baby & 2 adults.  Now I've got a myriad of other adventures I've embarked on, including figuring out how to earn an income from home, keep up on the laundry, volunteer in the schools, weed the flower beds and generally be the SuperMom that I already am.  With a "helper."

With a helper who no longer has someone to play with. 

I really don't know how I'm going to do this.

But this I know.  I know that I'll cherish these last three years of my sweet boy at home.  I'll hug him, squeeze him, read to him, make cookies with him, teach him his letters & numbers, store the sound of his laughter in my heart and do my best to keep him small.  It won't be easy, but it'll be worth every precious moment with him.

Friday, August 15, 2014


In life, we are presented with choices: forks in the road.  Sometimes that fork looks more like a dead end; sometimes it's clear choice--left or right; sometimes that fork looks like it slipped into the garbage disposal and we wonder what the heck piece-of-junk options we have from which to choose.

At our current juncture in Life, Riah & I are at a fork.  However, our fork is more like a trailhead with multiple signs, and lots of trails...some clearly marked, some barely visible through the underbrush.  The variables boil down to schooling, income and residence.  Psshht!  Trifles.  How to get from Point A to Point B.  The B resources would easily allow us to start on that path, but we don't have the B resources while sitting at A.  Ugh.

The other night we were up late--really late--discussing options, punching numbers and talking of the grown-up stuff that I didn't know was part of the bargain way back in high school when I longed to be a grown-up.  (It's a bit overrated at times.)  I had interviewed for a job that sounded like it would be a great a few years.  But the main problem is that the hours would have me leaving before the kids were up for school, then off work after my new kindergartener is out.  (Due to schooling eccentricities, the older 3 are at one 1-8 school we love, but Cora would be on her own at a different elementary school--no kindergarten.)  I'm just not ready to miss out on my last few years of Wes, as well as the contact with Cora before & after her fun entry into the world of the Big Kids.  Going back to work full time would break my heart and create some serious logistic issues.

So that night I sobbed cried to my Heavenly Father, "Where's the solution?  I just don't see it."

The next morning I woke up Wes by sitting on the side of the bed.  (He had climbed into ours overnight, which is par for the course.  He's a major snugglebug.)  His first words were, "Oh, there you are."  (With the exact tone and voice of the Lost Boy in Hook.)  My sweet boy who's getting so big so fast crawled into my lap, snuggled himself into my arms and said contentedly, "I'm home."

I'm home.  Probably the most perfect way to summarize the feeling of a child wrapped in his mother's arms.

I cried.

"Yes, baby.  Yes you are."

I still cry.

Riah, who was right there to witness this little miracle, said quietly, "You can't work full time."

And so for now my main job will continue to be at Home with my sweet boy wrapped in my arms.  Right where I belong.

PS--this morning Riah started down one of those overgrown paths that we hadn't really seen at first glance.  The next couple of weeks will be a little crazy as he walks two paths at the same time (I'll be stocking up on 5-Hour Energy bottles), but it's what we need right now.  The Lord does provide in His way and in His time.