Tag Archives: kids

The Day Before

Jr in our happy place

 

 

I used to write.

Constantly and continuously.

Like breathing in and breathing out.  I wrote.  In journals and blogs and letters and cards – long essays and stories; short perfectly crafted emails; for pleasure, for introspection, for work.  My life was filled with the beginnings of ideas jotted on scraps of paper or margins of more formal notes for work.

My entire understanding of the world came through how I wrote it down.

But I have realized – completely – I don’t write anymore.

 

In March I sent in the deposit for a membership to the local private swim and racquet club that I had been saying for years we should join.  I told no one – not The Mr, not Jr., not Dr Sissy or my parents.   I just filled out the membership, got the confirmation, and held it in my head as a signal that I believed better days were coming.

And the school year ended – summer opened up for us like a blooming carpet of possibilities, leading us to find a new level of freedom in the outdoor spaces Colorado does so very well.

With few exceptions, Jr and I found ourselves at the club every day – weekends were marathons with fully packed coolers and gallons of SPF used.  Weekdays he would amuse himself around the house until I wrapped up my workday and we found our way to our favorite table in the late afternoon shade. 

It was our happy place.  Our safe place. There in the uncrowded expanse of the pool deck, with space to spread out and ample access to snack bar soft pretzels,  we could frolic fully without sacrificing our care of the work and the warnings from Dr Sissy and BIL and all of their medical professional counterparts who were (and still are) pleading for caution as we navigated our newest version of “normal.”

There were other activities too – lunches on the patio of our favorite local haunt, backyard happy hours with our favorite winery friend, and long weekends for Jr and The Mr spent with my parents at their condo in the mountains while Binky the aging wonderdog and I enjoyed the silence of a temporarily empty house. 

It was supposed to be our in-betweener summer.    “Outside good, Inside bad” was the motto, and we felt like we were so far away from the previous summer spent circling our little neighborhood and floating our tubes in the extra large backyard paddling pool.  We were on our way to Jr returning to school safely, and in the meantime we were just lounging in our little oasis – me refilling my mimosa while Jr practiced his front flip off the diving board endlessly.

Life was good.

But it staying that way wasn’t in the cards, was it? I started to see the worry and hurt overtake my sister and brother-in-law on our frequent Duo calls again.  Nervously glanced at the calendar as the first day of school crept closer. Did my best to temper Jr’s concerns about upcoming changes in his world.

I have been blessed with such a kind-hearted kid. Actually, I would bet we all have – kids are amazing, aren’t they?

He wants to know everything (sometimes he thinks he already does,) and he wants to try everything and he wants to show people how to care about others.  Which is awesome, but is also a lot.   Goodness knows as a grown up, I certainly haven’t found a way – so instead we took advantage of every last minute of summer we had together.

The day before the school year started, we found ourselves out in the center of the pool, Jr on his watermelon floatie, me whirling him around and around playing “washing machine” as he likes to call it.

I spun him away, laughing and waving as he floated just out of reach – and he momentarily stopped smiling and paddled back quickly.

“Mom – don’t let go.  Spin me and spin me – but hang on.”

And so I did – and there we were –  just him and me hanging on to each other – laughing and spinning in the sun and willing time not to move and stretching the moment out into forever.

I knew I wanted to write about that moment – to capture it and keep it and hold a piece of it.

But I don’t write anymore – because writing it down won’t keep tomorrow from coming, won’t let me protect him or anyone else I love. Won’t make the world kinder or the truth less terrible than it really is. 

And because like all who are not entirely consumed by selfishness, and like our world itself, I am forever changed.

Still, somewhere in my mind and my heart – him and I are spinning alone together in the clear blue water, sun on our faces, not letting go.

 

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Halloween Hangover

Jr BEGGED The Mr to blow up the Minion “just one more time” after Halloween. This happened. Look dude, when vampire Minion passes out off his pumpkin on the front lawn, Halloween is over, m’kay?

It’s snowing.  Along the Colorado front range tonight, it is FINALLY snowing.

Thank goodness – maybe it will serve to usher out what I have started referring to as our “Halloween Hangover.”

This year, in this house, Halloween just won’t freaking die.

Jr has been busting out costumes (or random parts of costumes) from the stash in his dress-up corner, and emerging from the basement play area to “trick or treat” though out the house.  He sets up stuffed friends with craft pom-poms at various locations and proceeds through the house collecting the pom-poms in his PB Kids personalized jack-o-lantern bag, and then comes back to the TV room for “the Halloween party.”

This party involves playing the Peanuts theme song and dancing. Over and over.

And over.

Don’t get me wrong – I totally believe in the Great Pumpkin, and I am strangely proud of how long a 5 year old can ration a candy supply (1 piece in his lunch, 2 pieces after school,) but let’s move Spookley off the top of the toy bin and start shining the play stove to cook up some Turkey, eh?

OR – if we MUST – then at least relent to letting mom pack up the colorful leaves and decorative gourds in favor of mistletoe and tinsel and stockings hung by the chimney with care, shall we?

We have had years of being fairly frightened of Halloween. Last year I had to carry him out of the garage kicking and screaming to get the trick-or-treat train movin’ around our ‘hood.  This year suddenly he is determined to see it last for.ev.errrrrrrrr.

The ridiculously warm weather has been no small contributing factor, I think.  I mean, it still LOOKS like Halloween outside – all leaves crunching under his little feet and clear blue sky against not-quite-yet-bare trees.  I get it, I really do.

But I am not here for it anymore, people.

The minute we got him home from school, I dressed him up like Ralph’s little brother in A Christmas Story and shot him out the back door to frolic in the 1/2 inch or so that had accumulated thus far.  Because we are moving on, yo.

MOVING. ON.

So snow on, snow storm…. blow the Halloween Hangover from these halls, pronto.

 

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They are all my child.

This weekend I was watching my son running a neighborhood playground through its paces with a buddy from his T-ball team, when my phone started buzzing with news updates.

There had been an accident involving a bus filled with athletes from the high-school in our neighborhood.

Reading the details beginning to come in regarding the crash, I fought (and lost) a battle with my tears as I thought about those teenage passengers returning from a weekend trip.

Because once you become a mom- once you have a child – they are ALL your child.

Every baby that  you see precariously practicing their walking skills on a blanket in the park who makes you gasp and unconsciously reach out your hands when they fall forward, no matter how far away you are, is your child.

Every name on every tag on every giving tree at Christmas time – with wish lists ranging from the grandiose to the basic, is your child.

Every neighbor kid with a skinned knee, every story of a food reaction in the school cafeteria, every little one you see struggling to keep up with the others at soccer practice… they are all your child.

And so also, the picture of the boy sitting quietly in the middle of the aftermath of an explosion halfway around the world, caked in dirt and blood, is your child.  The Amber Alert that wakes you at 3 a.m. providing details of a kidnapping, is your child.  The bus full of high school athletes that crashes on the way back to the school after a game, is full of your children.

The hungry, the abused, the hurt, the abandoned -are all your child.

You think what you would think if it was your child…. You pray the child isn’t scared, isn’t alone, isn’t in pain….

Knows that they are loved.

Because your heart IS that mother’s heart.  We are connected by the most primal instinct – to nurture and protect our children.

And so we cry.  And we pray.  And we hug our own children a little tighter.

But also – we act.

We reach out, we plan and we fund-raise and and we search and we work and we raise our voices to anyone who will listen for the little people who make up our worlds, both very near, and very far away as well.

Because they are all our children.

_____________________________________________

The following sites are accepting donations for those affected by the bus accident in my community:

The driver of the bus was tragically killed.  She was a mom, a wife, and a grandmother. You can support her family here

Three coaches were seriously injured in the crash. You can support them and their families here. Two of the coaches have been released from the hospital.

Coach Kroupa remains hospitalized with severe injuries. You can support him and his family here. (This gofundme was funded to 150%! Thank you!)

A Legacy High Senior has a general gofundme page for those affected. The school administration will have oversight of the funds. You can support the page here

 **If you are in Broomfield or in the surrounding communities, an online auction organized by the Broomfield Area Moms FB group is taking place with all proceeds benefiting those affected. More information is available here.**

 

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One of the crowd.

Well, we are in week 2 of Jr’s kindergarten adventure and we have all managed to get where we need to be with all of the crap we need to have, including pants (no small victory,) in a timely fashion every day.

So I guess we are all going to survive the switch, (but reading of any heartfelt ruminations is still on hold until further notice, TYVM.)

I did come to a semi-jarring realization yesterday, not about Jr, but about my own role in this whole daily drop off scenario.

Years ago I made a vow — through gritted teeth with narrowed, shade-throwing eyes — to the baseball-capped, yoga-pants clad, latte-toting super-star suburban mommas piloting their perfectly organized MUVs in and out of the preschool parking lot – and to myself.

I wasn’t going out like that.  See, I proclaimed it in my very first post.   “Walk among them, don’t become them.”  (Thank you Suburgatory, for the best line ever.)

Look, we can pretty much agree that I lost my “cynical Keri” street cred a ways back now… probably around the time I started skipping through the local café giving everybody the winky finger guns and trying to hug an entire town.

winky jesus

Winky Jesus loves you, and so do I, Hometown.

But what I saw yesterday, when I glanced at my reflection in a window of the school while standing on the kindy playground, made me gasp audibly:

Note look of horrified realization.

Oh.

My.

Damn.

That is legit the ACTUAL textbook image of what I had described as being “them”  just a few years ago.  AND I QUOTE, “… yoga pants and performance fleece and pony-tails sticking out of baseball caps; with perfectly lined eyes…”

(Well, I suck at eye make up so that part is NEVER going to be me, but  still… I mean, come on.)

Whoa.

WHHHOOOAAAAAA.

Holy athleisure wear, Batman.  I was the creature I feared all along.

Even more fascinating – I totally get it now. Momming of school-aged kiddos is intense, yo.  Jr’s start time is a full hour earlier than I used to drop him off at his previous daycare/school.  Two minutes late? Too bad. Your kid is tardy, thanks a lot, Mrs NOT Mother of the Year.   That early ass roll-out time means that I have kissed my pre-dawn TV workouts buh-bye; we are already in full-on morning prep mode at that time of day now.  AND GUESS WHAT – if I put on the clothes when I get up, then I actually get a workout in right after I bid Jr adieu in the kindy yard and low-speed it out of the school zone. If I am wearing something else?  Nope, I end up putting off the putting-on of workout wear, and it just never happens.

ANDPLUSALSO – there are ample pockets for my stuff, it is toasty if the morning is cool, and if I notice a smudge of WTF on Jr’s face right as we get a foot on the playground, I don’t have to worry about jacking up work wear using my sleeve as a face wipe. (Yup, I said it.)

It’s like wearing a suit of mom armor.  I can’t hide it – I am converted, and I hadn’t even noticed the change.

The truth can hurt, Keri.

But it can also set you free.

:::raising giant Starbucks cup :::

Here’s to being “one of them.”

one of us

 

 

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Not a “Kindergarten Mom” post.

I mean, just ♡♡♡♡

As Jr’s start date for Kindergarten looms ever-closer, friends and family and fellow moms have sent me links to many “open letter” type articles and blog posts…

Posts with titles like “On your first day of Kindergarten,”  and  “To my baby as she goes to school” and “The day my youngest started Kindergarten” (none of these are exact, but you get my drift, yes?)

In the past I have read these offerings fondly, I have even sent them on occasion as parents who have blazed the trail before me sent their respective littles off to Kindy and beyond.

I am here to tell you that I love each and every one of you who have sent those pieces… and I love and respect those who have so eloquently written them.

But people, I can’t read that shit right now.

Straight up, yo –  I am like, barely hanging on by the grace of God and Chardonnay and  a substantially unhealthy decent amount of denial.

It brings “I can’t even” to a new level.

Monday Jr started his last week of Pre-k at the day care center he has attended since he was 1.  I cried my “waterproof” mascara off  TWICE before 9 a.m. that morning. (I haven’t bothered trying to put it back on since.)

I woke up at 3 a.m. today, and I went into his room and turned on his soother and just sat in the glow watching him sleep.  (How much would that mess him up if I was THISCLOSE to his little face and he happened to wake up!? Screw saving for college, we should save for therapy.)
And this is just me, left to MY OWN thoughts on the subject, which are always scattered and fragmented and not all organized and beautiful and all of the things that the authors who wrote those posts and articles offer up so amazingly well.

If I read just one of those heartfelt examples, I have zero doubt that I would be reduced to a simpering, sobbing puddle of mom who runs to find Jr and tackle him in a heap of smother-hug on the floor, and NEVER gets my mess of a self up again, forevermore.

Because I think part of what is (barely) keeping me from losing it just now is that I kind of CAN’T put all of this into words….

I look at him this week and I see the eyes that have glanced curiously back at me, color matching my own perfectly, since minutes after he was born.  I hear echoes of his in-utero heartbeat on my stork radio monitor,  feel the cozy calm of his nursery enveloping us with the city bustling  below our beloved highrise “treehouse,” his first home. I smell his tiny baby lavender bath wash, taste every tear I have cried in fear and frustration and joy for him- all in an instant.

I see also in those eyes his entire future. The first inklings of his hopes and his dreams.  The challenges he will face, the obstacles he will overcome…. The love and the loss and the joy and the pain and the terrifying, beautiful BOUNDLESS promise that lives in that 40 lbs of human whirlwind.

I see it all.  And  I lose my words.

And I think it is saving me to know that for now.

I swear I will start a Pintrest board for all of those (no doubt awesome) posts, and I will read them around Halloween, when all of this is normal and routine and I can be only a semi hot mess mildly teary and slightly nostalgic about the next few weeks.

Right now it is way,  WAY too much.   Right now words aren’t tools, they are weapons coming at my tender mom-heart.

There is room in my little corner if you want to join me for denial, prayer, and Chardonnay, my fellow Kindy moms…..

No Kindergarten mom articles allowed though….  We don’t have enough tissues or box wine for that shit.

 

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