Monday, October 26, 2009

Are we the only ones?

DH and I saw each other for about 15 minutes this afternoon. It was a lovely little date. And we had a great visit. About our "normal" state of chaos.

I've had a nasty cold the past week or so, and it's really done a number on me - I think the cold medicine has made me particularly panicky about dumb stuff. Stuff like Lillian's special bag, among much other stuff. Poor DH must be beyond frustrated with me at this point.

On Thursday when we picked up the girls from preschool, Lillian came out with a canvas bag. I had her bring it back to her teacher to ask if it was supposed to be left there. The teacher said it was a Sharing Bag or something like that and that it was mentioned in the newsletter. Lillian was expected to bring it back on Tuesday.

This weekend, I dug through all kinds of papers and artwork and newsletters and junk mail, but to no avail. No newsletter explaining this bag. So I sent the teacher an email, asking for more specifics. Do we need to bring it back with stuff to share (i.e. snacks) or something of Lillian's to share for a Show and Tell type of thing? No response. And of course, the newsletter section of the school website is empty. I finally gave in and bought a big pack of snacks to bring incognito in case that's what's needed. And I helped Lillian pick out a special toy to share. Wonder how it will go...

I mentioned all this to DH this afternoon and he chuckled, commenting that the teacher would understand - life with preschoolers is chaotic. Then I pointed out that our life is way more chaotic than most, which is why I'm becoming neurotic in so many ways. He questioned me. Duh.

I work full-time days with a workload that could easily take at least 80 hours a week to fulfill. The kids are shuttled between daycare and school. I raise them and have all the house duties on my shoulders alone in the evenings. He works an evening job for 40 hours a week, and spends his daytime hours trying to start his contracting company here in a new community, as well as finish up our basement (which I'm convinced will never be fully complete, but that's another post). We still haven't moved into half our house, which means our three-stall garage is still full of boxes and I'm still parking outside. In our freetime, I'm having foot surgery and colds and other dumb stuff, trying to find some "normal."

We then talked about how almost all the other preschool kids are dropped off by moms in workout clothes and big fancy SUVs, clearly not ladies headed for the office. No wonder they always seem so calm and slow-moving. And no wonder we always seem to be on the run. But I guess it's par for the course. It's the decision I make each night - to read and work puzzles with the kids, to enforce bedtime routines and ensure we all say prayers - instead of plunking the kids in front of a TV and working on unpacking and organizing. It's a conscious decision, and though there's some sacrifice of sanity, I do deep down believe we're going in the right direction.

But man... is there hope? Will we ever get to be just a couple of 40-hour/week workers on the same schedule, eating as a family and visiting without one of us having to be home on sick leave in order to do it? Some day...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Patience of a Saint

It's a phrase I hear often - in the top 10 of most repeated phrases. "You must have the patience of a saint." And each time I hear it, I smile. Not because I actually am patient - in fact, I am one of the least patient people on the planet - at least on the inside. The reason I smile is because that phrase brings to mind my mom, every single time I hear it. Because she IS as patient as a saint. Perhaps she is just plain a saint. Too early to know for sure.

I had the wonderful opportunity to see Mom's patience in action just this past weekend. She took me in to the surgery center at 4:30 a.m.(!) on Friday to get my foot operated on. And when I woke up, she stuck with me as I faded in and out, never getting frustrated when I'd stop the conversation mid-sentence.

Throughout the weekend, I was not a model patient - well, maybe I was a good patient, but not a good hostess. I sat back and let Mom and the kids wait on me, and Mom wait on the kids, and also do some major slave labor. With a song and a smile, she just kept asking how else she could help. Even when the kids were whining, not feeling good, fighting, being toddlers, she smiled and tried distracting them with games and activities. All the while, she had the washer/dryer going all weekend and scrubbed stuff every time the house quieted with nappers.

If any of you know my mom, this doesn't sound like anything new. After all, she's been the Mrs. Cleaver role to many of our childhood friends. She's one where you just know that her true calling is to be a mom, whether to her own children or someone else's, she's always a mom. She nurtures, she has wise advice when she's asked for it, she doesn't push, she doesn't pull, but she always helps keep the big picture in perspective. She's one of those people who, when she says she's going to pray for you, you know she's going to do it diligently.

This semester, she's teaching a few college classes on top of her full-time career. Building a stronger base for her retirement (see? wise...), she's swamped every day, weekends included. Her patience is getting a real run for the money and poor Mom is simply dumbfounded by all this. And yet, she politely responds with the ultimate appropriateness, sounding patient as ever, continuing to lead by example.

I sure hope I pick up more of that patience trait as life goes on - it seems to really suit her well. May God bless my patient saint of a mother.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


As the kids and I snuggled into a pile of blankets on the floor with a pile of books tonight, Lillian looked up at me and grabbed my nose. "Mom," she said, "You have a big nose. It's almost as big as Daddy's."

Breanna piped in, "Almost, but his nose is big big big, like this," as she extended her arm all the way out to show how incredibly long the nose is. "His nose is like bumpernickle's."

"Bumpernickle?" I asked.

"Yes, that naughty boy who didn't tell the truth," she explained.

Lillian quickly corrected her, "That's not his name. It's Radicchio. Silly girl."

None of them noticed that I was laughing so hard I had tears.