Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pre School

My older son did not attend pre-school.  He had 'school' at the home day care he attended. The baby, my baby, of necessity, will start preschool at the ripe old age of three tomorrow morning.  Both kids will be in school for the first time in my mothering life.

They have been in the care of other people from 10 weeks and 6 months each.  Leaving them with someone else while I go off to do something or other isn't new. 

There is a finality to school.  It's a sort of 'parking in place'.  It's a milestone.  It's the place where one looks back and says, "Something started there."

I don't go to or raise my kids in a church with any special ceremonies or sacrements to mark growing older.  I miss the idea that when you do a particular 'something' you are somehow more mature.  I remember never feeling more beautiful or grown-uppy than in the splendor of my first holy communion dress and veil.  I remember the confirmation retreat where I received a letter from my mother sharing all her hopes and dreams for me.  These rites of passage marked a place in my faith, my soul and my life.

My kids don't have those.  School is the only thing marking the passage of time.   

Tomorrow, they will both be big boys with backpacks going off to conquer brand new worlds.  Worlds without me in them.

I want to mark the day, somehow.  Maybe we'll go to Chuck E. Cheese and earn more meaningless crap for the toy bins.  Maybe we'll eat breakfast for dinner.  Or maybe I'll write a blog and print it in a book for them to read someday.

There was once a famous book called, Everything I Ever Learned I Learned In Kindergarten.  Here's my short list to share with my two educationally bound little fellas.

Everything I Ever Learned Began in First Grade and Pre-School
A List Dedicated to My Ian and My Caden-The Coolest, Smartest, Funniest, Awesomest Kids I Know

1.  Painting and art time is cool.  It lets you know creativity, in any form, is messy and always best done in an old, comfy shirt.
2.  The best thing to learn first is that you will always have something else to learn.
3.  Other people's lunches always taste better (unless it's that kid whose mother wears birkenstocks and recycles...I'm pretty sure his won't taste as good).
4.  Color your papers the way you want to, it's one of the few times when you get to color your world.  In the future, other things will color your world-jobs, faith, money, people's expectations.
5.  Friends come and go, but mommy's will never leave.
6.  The glue smells yummy but tastes awful.
7.  If someone calls you a name, it's only because they feel that way about themselves.
8.  Remember to hug your mom when you get home, because she missed you more than you will ever know.
9.  School is now your job.  Do your best and you'll be rewarded.  Do it not so good and you'll stay until you do your best-because I said so and because I'm the mom and I have already been through it.
10.  Remember, school is only a part of your life, it is not your life.  God, family, school-in that order.
And finally, know you are loved, cherished and enjoyed by Mommy, Daddy, Father God and all those whose hearts you have captured.

Happy first day baby Caden.  Happy first grade Ian.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Peace Out with the Hermit Crabs

I recently sent my husband to another state to work his dream job.  It's 5+ hours away.  In short, I am now a single mom. 

This has brought with it some major adjustments.  It means I have had to learn to not call out for help when a pull up explodes with poop or when the kids run in opposite directions.

It also means that I do not unplug often.  As an overcomer of depression, I know that 'unplugging' and taking care of one's heart are critical.  If I go down, the ship goes down.  The other night, this became painfully obvious.

It was one of those nights with epic tantrums and nearly dead pets.  Hermie, our beloved hermit crab, had shed his shell and was walking around the cage naked.  There are few things as gross looking as a hermit crab with no shell...ewwww.  My son was upset and insisted we go to the pet store to get Hermie a bigger shell he would like more.  An hour later, laden with a new tank and 'Jason' (Hermie's new crabby brother) we came home late for dinner. 

You can be late for many things in our family, but not for a pasta dinner.  My dad had cooked it, dished it out and was sitting down to eat within minutes of our arrival home.  The baby, now a robust three year old, has taken this moment in our familial journey to test the 'pout to get what I want' approach. Unfortunately, the pout is more often than not accompanied by a large wail and crocodile tears. This night he barely made it through dinner and it didn't look promising for him to survive the evening.

The rest was a blur of wailing, answering random kid questions, "Mom what is the biggest state in the world?" and getting ready for the next day.  After they were in bed (kids and Pappy), I found myself wandering around the downstairs.  I had that gnawing feeling that indeed I had stuff to do, but couldn't remember what it was or even where to start.

I sat down on the porch in front of the new fish/hermit crab habitat.  I watched as they walked side by side.  One flipped the other over then tried to help him sit up.  They touched with antenna as if to say,"Hey, I know you. You look just like me."

I found myself at peace for the first time in the day.  Peace out with the hermit crabs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In Gram's Attic

It has been exactly 30 days since my last post.  There has been a lot of life in my life.  I appreciate anyone who still checks in.  Have much to blog and am glad to have a moment to virtually sit down with you and share what is memorable to this mama.

I moved 11 times from birth to age 18.  I have moved 7 times since attending college.  Long ago I resigned myself to the fact that any remembrance of my childhood was long since tossed.  It is why I have chosen to keep pieces and bits for my sons.  I want to have the books, folders and a box or two of school projects long gone brittle with age. 

With my mother's death followed so closely by Gram's passing, I have found myself with the un-enviable task of going through their pieces and bits of memorable stuff.  My mother kept every card I sent her.  She kept all the pictures I sent, not in the frames so often provided, in the envelopes in which they arrived.  She didn't put out the pictures, rather kept them in drawers. 

Gram was even more sparing in her amassing of memorable stuff.  So when my Uncle called to say I could come fetch what remained of Mom's from Gram's attic, I had no expectations on what I would discover.  To be honest, I just wanted Gram's cast iron cookwear, long seasoned and tasty in it's browny slick cookingness.  The cookwear was nowhere to be found.  What I found was far more delicious.

In boxes in the corner was my childhood.  Papers from elementary school.  Report cards.  Baby blankets and dolls.  Small reminders that at one time I existed and I liked shiny blankets from Korea.

I couldn't sort through it.  I couldn't sift for very long.  The memories threatened to choke me more than the rotted insulation it was all covered with. 

So, it is done.  Mom's house is on the market.  Gram's house soon will be.  The bits and pieces of their lives have all been sorted and spread out among children, grandchildren and the dumpster.

I am thankful to have found my childhood in Gram's attic.  Now I can continue to unpack the boxes of my mothering adulthood.