Tag Archives: parenting

The hugeness of ordinary. 

Tomorrow Jr “graduates” kindergarten…

Yesterday he started intensive swimming lessons in a building that I remember being a department store.

This week my social media “memories” keep reminding me that 5 years ago I was saying my final goodbyes and leaving our treetop brushing condo for the last time, and pointing my packed Keri-mobile toward the town we had selected.

The town where I was raised.

I’m going to tie this all together, I promise… stay with me here.

Time passes.

Amirite?

Time. Freaking. PASSES.

And the version of me sitting, this afternoon, in the present-day, in my newest (and still unnamed) MUV, waiting outside of the school to get Jr after his last full day of kindergarten?  Well, she was scrolling through Timehop cooing over pictures of younger days in her kiddo’s life when this came up:

Today… 5 years ago today, after a particularly (shameless) emotional last night spent in wine-soaked bitterness deep reflection, I walked out the door of a home that had meant so much to me and to our little family, for the last time.

It was SHIT timing to see that particular gem, people.

The bell was going to ring, and I was about to walk, FOR THE LAST TIME EVER, and pick up the kiddo who in this family is THE kiddo, from kindergarten for the last time.

EVER.

Just like that time I shut the door to my beloved (though outgrown) Tree House for the last time.

EVER.

So I hiked down the grassy slope toward the kindy playground in a blurry haze of ridiculously-ill-timed but totally appropriate tears, and waited for my ginormous son to emerge from the door where I had dropped him off a pretty-much-pre-schooler just a few months ago.

He is fairly used to my being misty eyed, so he just handed me a paper light-saber he made with his friend and told me he didn’t forget his jacket as he burned stride-rite rubber  up the path away from the school.

He ate his snack and added to the Lego world he is building in our family room while I stared at him more than my spreadsheets for the next hour or so, then it was time for us to leave for his swimming lessons.

When I was growing up here (yep… right here, in this town, where you’ve been back for 5 years so get over it, Keri,) I took TONS of swimming lessons.  I was a TERRIBLE pupil.  I was scared of everything.  EVERYTHING.

Until my mom abandoned the lessons we had been plugging away with, summer after summer, and tried a totally different place.  With teachers who were supportive but still firm, and a bit of a different approach.

BOOM,  I was a fish. You couldn’t get me out of the pool. (You still can’t get me out of the pool in the summer.   Pool good.)

After several rounds of typical rec center lessons for Jr, I am after the same water epiphany moment for Jr, so I signed him up for THE swimming lessons that get results in our area.

It isn’t your typical pool – it is a fancy-pants situation built just for swim lessons, and it is in a shopping center that has been around as long as I can remember.

Actually, it occurred to me today (of course) that it is in the spot in this particular shopping center where a location of a small Colorado department store called Eakers used to be.  Where my mom used to take us to get school clothes and birthday presents for family and coats and all of that… Where my sister and I probably picked out bathing suits for swim lessons when we were Jr’s age.

If you are thinking that this thought made me tear up AGAIN while in the observation area of my kid’s swim class as I also saw him finally stop fighting his back float in his teacher’s arms – you are clearly catching on to my uncontrollable blubbering unique sensitivity.

Because Time, effing passes, people.

Department stores turn into swimming pools, hometowns get left, and sometimes returned to, babies become 1st graders, and a million other insignificant-yet-everything little changes connect our pasts and our futures and on and on into forever.

 So I guess it’s just another “no big deal except everything” kind of week in Keri-land.

Pass the kleenex and the wine. 

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Six.

 

six

sigh.  SIX

So last month Jr turned 6.

Six.

S.I.X.

I still can’t wrap my head around the concept.

Don’t get me wrong, he is every bit the 6 year old, all full of energy and sass and silliness, and sucking up knowledge like a brain vacuum clad in an ever-rotating sheath of superhero wear.

But still…  He’s just a baby, right? I mean – he was JUST a baby. In his itty-bitty baby-wear, cozied down with me in his nursery all dozy and smushy and sweet….  He was JUST a toddler.  Clinching his tiny little potato-fists as he teeteringly ran around the back yard collecting rocks and referring to himself in the not –quite-correctly pronounced 3rd person. (“Coo-Cur fill bucket with rocks, mama.”  OK buddy. Andplusalso please never stop saying that.)  He really was JUST my tiny little guy.  And now he is an almost-1st-grader, leaving me in the dust on his two-wheeler with no training wheels needed (Hey – he beat me,) and just generally being a super big boy.

So this year when we talked about what kind of birthday party he might want, he wanted “just friends mom!”

Oh.

(We compromised and had grandparents too – a decision which saves my mommy butt a bit later in this fateful tale.)

So, after closing my eyes and saying a little prayer, I sent out invites to 6 of his little buddies with the words “parents welcome to drop off, or join in the fun” included.  On Purpose.

Um yeah – they ran like the freaking WIND from our lego-birthday-décor-laden house that day, people.

Straight up – I felt the breeze off their backs.

I don’t blame them a damn bit.

And anyway – it would be FINE, right?  I mean come on- one kid couldn’t even come, so it was 6 boys including Jr.  I had lego-themed activities to do, there was cake to be eaten, and presents to be opened…  It was only 2 hours – it would fly by, and I was totally prepared.  No Problem.

Um.

Problem.

So each of them had 2 little lego guys and accompanying cars to assemble, and we all got together around the table so they could get started.  The first set was tough for them, and I thought I was sitting pretty – PLENTY time consuming and yet entertaining for them, it seemed.

BUT WAIT.

They. Got. Faster.

The second set went super fast for each of them, and suddenly we were moving into “guess how many legos are in the jar,” a good 20 minutes or so before I had hoped to.    Plus, there was yelling.  EVERY COMMUNICATION from 6 year old boys in a flock is apparently done at MAX volume.

The Grandmothers must have smelled my fear – both have backgrounds in education, and they swooped in, offering the cheddar bunnies and veggie tray to the kiddos and creating an on-the-fly coloring contest while I regrouped.

Cake was eaten and gifts opened in what MUST have been record time, and then we ushered everyone outside to play (and yell some more) in the back yard.  It immediately started to gently rain.  We did NOT immediately go in.

At the two hour mark, parents (looking relaxed and refreshed,) returned to collect their offspring, now happily attempting to build the tallest structure they could from Jr’s collection of duplo blocks.

Jr looked happy, the Grandmas looked tired, and the house looked like a nursery riot had broken out.

So I guess that = success.

But hear me now people.  Believe me.

Next year? Next year we are going to the damn skating rink.

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DON’T GO!!!!

Oh look…  it’s January, 2017… As in, AFTER the holiday season.

No more singing along with Bing Crosby (or tap-dancing with Danny effing Kay,) or indulging in my mom’s fudge or cookies both or Christmas songs on the radio, or Elf-on-the-shelf escapades, or get-togethers with friends and family or staying in jammies all day long just because you can…

I feel as though I have barely blinked, and now it is time to take down all of the holiday cards I looked so forward to finding in my mailbox each day.

Oh the glorious mess.. I even put them on The New fridge!

This year, more than other years even, I seem to have a significant case of the post-holiday blues.

I can’t let it go.

Tonight, after everyone is in bed, I am 100% sure I will sneak over and turn on the Christmas tree lights.  I will sit in my cozy Vicki’s Secret reindeer jammies with my hot toddy (hello, first cold of 2017,) in the glow, wondering where the season went.

Oh yeah… soooo twinklehhhh.

I can’t watch TV- flipping to the Hallmark channel to find Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia having reclaimed their nighttime reign from the grips of the 24/7 holiday romance offerings made me shoot the candy cane in my mouth clear across the family room.

They traveled down the road, and back (to Hallmark) again.

In the coming days I will watch the lights being taken down around the town,  (granted it happens slower along the Colorado front range where us natives like to leave up outdoor lights until after the National Western Stock Show is over, toward the end of January,) and I will stifle my urge to scream “DON’T GO, HOLIDAYS!”

I can’t hide it, I am having a tough time closing the door on it all this year.

For goodness sakes – it’s becoming a THEME on Instagram for me:

Santa charm still firmly affixed to mimosa, as seen Jan 2nd.

Yep

Even Jr is over me it at this point.  Yesterday, on his last day of holiday vacation from school, I took a break from reports on my laptop for some coloring time (we lovey the coloring… I will color with that kid until College if he lets me,) and I busted out the pile of holiday coloring books when he said I could pick the picture.

“MOMMMMM!!!  Not those! Put those AWAY! It’s OVER!!”

Poop.

Are you sure?

(He is still letting me watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and my two new favorites from this year:  Nina’s Hanukkah Adventure from SproutTV and The Snowy Day from Amazon.  For now.)

Maybe it is him getting older, or my parents getting older, or ME getting older (yes, we all do that, Keri;) or Jr being on break for so long and us getting into a new routine, or the sense of uncertainty 2017 is bringing, or  missing the family in Texas we didn’t go see this year… or it is just subconscious laziness about putting away the holiday décor.

Maybe, as I used to dread and now pray, I truly am turning into my mom.

The snow falling outside would have seemed festive just days ago….  Now it is just going to make getting Jr to school tomorrow a PITA.

The Christmas sock collection is getting put away, the wreath is down off the door, and laying out a spread of appetizers can no longer pass for dinner (OK lets not get crazy, Keri – that will ALWAYS be dinner at your house.)

Sigh.

Can I just cling?   Just through one more weekend… Just until this latest cold/snow snap moves out of the Colorado front range?

Then I promise to bring up the boxes and un-deck the halls.

(But I am keeping the damn coloring books out.)

The stash.

Shhh…  they are hidden behind the table by the couch, we have a brand new box of super sharp crayons from Santa if you need to jingle some bells or something to get you through.

No judgment from the girl clinging to her pikes peak blend with 3 pumps of SF peppermint, yo.

None. At. All.

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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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