Friday, September 21, 2012

Anybody out there have mornings like this…. like, every single day?

This morning I got my daughters out the door before true insanity even began. Sometimes they start it. Sometimes there’s a forgotten assignment or an alarm that didn’t go off. Yesterday there was a hole that needed to be sewn up at the very last second, and the day before that I dropped one of them off in tears because of a friend issue. This all happens before 7:15 a.m.

Then comes the second fleet. I have to wake the first grader up. I’ve learned to take a few minutes of quiet for myself, plaster on a smile and some pep, and make him believe that the day is off to a beautiful and sunny start so that he has a fighting chance. Sort of like “kill ‘em with kindness”, it’s “trick them with optimism”.

Today I was booking on the Tooth Fairy. She hasn’t always been a source for a good start to a day. She’s very forgetful. VERY. Think how long it took her last time she forgot to come to your house and add another week. We made a sign for her. “Tooth Fairy ALERT!” We hang it in the hall now so that she knows, “There’s a tooth under a pillow in HEEEEEEEEERE!!!!” Sure enough. It did the trick. Luke got a dollar in trade for his first lost tooth.

Next obstacle: the homework that didn’t get finished the night before. How are you people doing this?!?! Maybe we’re placing too much importance on bonding time with Dad and the BYU football games. There’s not enough time in the day. We read Luke’s book one of the two required times last night before my patience was crying out for a respite. The credit I deserve just for that! Derek is a different story. He’s in preschool, so of course his homework can wait until ten minutes before we take him. I care about homework. It’s huge! But there are FOUR children! Two of them have math problems I don’t understand! The others, well, how tempting is it to cut through all of the sounding out and just blurt the word out to the child in answer? “H….H…H….ahhhh…” “That’s right honey, Home! Good job.  Oops. I accidentally told you that one? We better just skip this page.”

Reading groups will be starting soon in Luke’s class and if you make more than a couple of mistakes on a book, you don’t get to pass it off. This concerns him. I dropped everything to comfort him and make sure he knows that even if he makes some reading mistakes he’s still the smartest, coolest, most amazing kid in the world. We get through the second round of the book “Clifford is Tops”. It uses some outdated language. I have to explain to Luke why Emily is calling her Dad, “Pop” and he asks about three times why Clifford is “Tops”. Says that doesn’t make sense.

 Then he remembers that it’s library day, he’s very responsible about that. He needs me to read his library books to him before he takes them back. I read while he and Derek eat.

Shoes on, teeth brushed, cowlicks defying even the strongest of hair paste, Velcro shoes finally on the right feet and Luke is off to the bus stop in the nick of time.

I have the usual wrestling match with the pencil sharpeners. (Does ANYBODY out there own one that doesn’t give them fits?!?!) Then Derek learns how to write upper and lower case Bs. I realize that Luke’s library books are sitting in a nice organized pile on the chair next to the door. NOOOOOOO!!!! It was so cute the way he ALMOST remembered them. How can I let him go to library without them now?

Ryan needs to be dropped off at work today, the truck is being used on deliveries. We all jump into the van, Derek buckles himself. (Bless his heart for learning how to do it this week.) Ryan drives, I sit in the passenger seat groaning, sighing and muttering. Ryan laughs and calls me his little “Vexie”, he says I’m always vexed. I tell him the nickname is kind of cute and I actually prefer it to many of the others. I start telling him about some troubled girl Alli knows from school, but he interrupts me like three times to point things out on the sides of the road. Finally I tell him it’s impossible to have a conversation with him. He refocuses, reminding me of that guy on that commercial who is promised a Klondike Bar if he can truly listen to his wife for five seconds. Just then a woman drives by hanging a pajama top from her van window. “Oh. Go ahead,” I say. “I can tell you’re just dying to comment on the woman airing out the pajama top.” “Well WHAT is she doing?!?!” he says.

Derek is dropped off, library books are dropped off, Ry is dropped off, and I drive home in the precious quiet. I have two and half hours alone. I was sad when Derek first started preschool, but I quickly learned how good it is for him and me. I want to use it as writing time, but it’s awfully hard to put on the romantic goggles after the near drowning that my mornings always seem to be. I figured writing this blog post is a good start. Purge “Vexie” and then settle in to the fictional world. Besides, other Moms might relate. I can’t be the only one who has black and white visions of sending the kids off all groomed and well prepared, standing next to the door and placing a pert little kiss on the top of each head, while wearing a lovely circle skirted dress that shows off my trim waistline to perfection. Ahhh. The bitter contrast!

This is why we pick up the books I’m trying to write. Here’s praying for inspiration. Have a good day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Feeling

Do you ever get this really inspired feeling? You’re sitting in a meeting or you’re listening to a song, or you’re having a moment out of time with your family and you know you want to change yourself for the better? You want to keep this feeling and you want to change everything in order to do it. I trust the feeling. A lot of times things happen very fast to steal the feeling away. You burn the cookies, you stand on the scale, the teenager cries about her hair, and the first grader doesn’t want to go to school. Ugh. You want to replace the difficult, daily happiness suckers with a quick fix, a mental, forgetful thrill. So you turn on old episodes of the Vampire Diaries and you forget for awhile. You also forget the inspired feeling. It becomes enough to just get through a day, an hour.

I’ll catch people up for a quick second. My Dad passed away a little over a year ago. He was a hero. He wasn’t old. He hadn’t necessarily “lived a full life”. My youngest brother got married last weekend and my Dad didn’t get to be here for that. That’s okay, it really is, but I need you to understand that losing my Dad was tragic. It wasn’t “just” a part of life; it was one of those tragic parts.
(A picture we cropped and displayed at the wedding, in memory of my Dad. It's my Dad and my three brothers.)
When he passed away, a feeling came over me. In my heart, I like to believe it was a gift from him. I had faced one of the hardest things I’d face in my life and I had survived it. If I could do that- Bring it world! I could do anything. I immediately started this blog. I would make my dream of being a writer come true. What was someone leaving a mean comment? What was a harsh critique? What were countless rejections compared to losing my Dad? Nothing. I’d face them until I reached my dream.
I wish the feeling could stay.
When the writing world got overwhelming, there were plenty of other things for me to pour energy into. Summer vacation, my kids my kids my kids, the scale, food, the scale, food, kids' hobbies, kids’ homework, brother’s wedding, home improvements, and lots of Vampire Diaries.
(My brother and his wife! SO fun!)
(One of many home improvements I've been working on. I painted our dining room and refinished our table!)

…But sometimes… I’m reading a book, or I’m driving alone, or (like last night) I’m sitting with my family and Ryan Edward is telling the kids about how he hopes they don’t settle for mediocre. He hopes they keep trying to improve themselves every day, because greatness is built line upon line. I get that really inspired feeling, that energizing feeling. It isn’t constant, but it doesn’t give up on us. I think that means more than we realize.

My life has changed almost completely in the last year and a half. My Dad isn’t with us now. My childhood home, my peaceful escape is gone. My Mom is remarried and trying to make sense of so many things.
Ryan Edward is busy, busy accomplishing his goals for our family. The babies each have a whole blog post of concerns that they need their Mom’s help with, and jokes they heard on the Disney channel that they need to recount for their Mom to fake laugh at.
We all have a list like that, and we’ll get through it to face new challenges tomorrow. I guess I just wanted to say: that feeling hasn’t given up on me, and I bet it hasn’t given up on you, and I, for one, plan to trade in an hour of comfort food and attractive vampires today and do something about it.