Friday, August 11, 2017

It's Mid-August and We're Practically Feral

My actual children doing back to school shopping at Target. 
My family is so busy all year that we crave the freedom and flexibility of summer vacation, especially after swim team ends. Our alarm clocks go off by 6am all year, except for this magical time between swim ending and school starting. There is a downside, though. After about 10 days of not having a reason to wake up early, our days lose all sense of order and we become more or less feral. 

Here are ten reasons why we can’t handle not having a schedule:

10. Bedtime? What is this word you speak of? Last night my 8 year old went to sleep at 10:15 and we all thought it was “early”.

9. Breakfast? The most important meal that nobody eats anymore. We’re all sleeping in and nobody wakes up at the same time, and no one seems to be hungry when they do get up. This of course leads to hangriness which leads my kids to argue with each other.

8. The sibling squabbles. Dear God save me from how much these children are fighting with each other over stupid nonsense. I’d send them to their rooms, but at the moment those rooms are so messy that I’m not sure they can even get in there.

7. The messes. On a normal day, we have a time when things get done. Dishes are put in the dishwasher, clutter on the stairs is carried upstairs, socks and shoes - carelessly kicked off and scattered around - are dealt with. But not now. Now there is just stuff EVERYWHERE. 

Random Observation: There are half-empty drinking glasses in every room and it’s getting weird. Remember that movie Signs from like 15 years ago? It’s like that.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Last Good Race


When your children stop doing a sport or an activity that your family has been part of for a long time, it's a milestone. We've been on a swim team for eight years and now my kids are ready to move on (even if I'm not). Being on that team is what made the amorphous collection of pre-planned subdivisions where we live feel like a community. It was also something that we did together - all the kids on the same team and the parents serving as volunteers. It was a shared experience. 

At our last swim meet, my friends and I alternately cheered as our kids competed, ate italian ice, and fanned ourselves in folding chairs trying to stay cool in the merciless mid-Atlantic heat. After four hours, we were tired and impatient for the last event of the night. 

When it was time, we stood by the fence to watch. I'd been fine the whole evening, anticipating this moment. This was when I'd let myself get emotional. This was when I'd savor every second because the ending of it all was going to feel real. I braced myself.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What I Didn't Say Before Try Outs

My oldest is trying for a high school sport today. Here's what I said to her: 
  • Have fun! I love you!

Here's what I wanted to say/blurt out like a crazy person but did not:
  • Be confident! Even if you don't feel confident! You can do this! 
  • Listen and be coachable! Make eye contact and let the coaches know you're hearing them and getting it!
  • If you make a mistake, just own it and reset with a great attitude!
  • I'm not going to be in the parking lot frenetically playing Candy Crush wondering how it's going. That would be super weird. 
  • Give high fives and praise to your team-mates for good play! Spread a positive attitude! 
  • DO NOT GET CHATTY WITH YOUR FRIENDS.
  • If you have a choice between diving for a ball or a pass you probably won't get and letting it pass you by, YOU GO FOR IT.
  • Ask questions and be focused!
  • I AM SO PROUD OF YOU AND HOW HARD YOU HAVE WORKED.
  • It may not work out and that's ok. We'll have a huge pity party for one day and eat all the chocolate and Chipotle and then regroup and move forward. 
  • OMG I'M FINE I'M NOT EVEN NERVOUS WHATEVER THIS IS ABOUT YOU.
  • Hydrate!
  • Offer to help/say thank you/be respectful/all the things we raised to you do. 
  • Know in your heart that who makes it is about the team and not about you and that's how it should be
  • There's a lesson in everything and it will all be ok so just have fun and relax.
  • I will be totally cool and not at all twitchy on the ride home tonight and wait for you to tell me about everything in your own time EVEN IF IT KILLS ME.
  • I love you so much and I am your biggest fan and you are the most amazing kid. And these are not tears in my eyes I have allergies so shut up.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Giving Formula a Ride

For the past couple of years, I've been giving baby formula a ride. Once every month or two, I drive it from my pediatrician's office to the local family homeless shelter. The companies that make formula send it to pediatricians everywhere in the hopes that they'll give it away to their patients, who will like their products and start to buy them. The practice we go to is large and as a result, they get sent a lot of formula and they often end up with too much. 
It drove the staff crazy because sometimes they literally couldn't give it away. Once they had to throw it out because they lost track of the expiration date. That spurred one of the (amazing) nurses to ask me if I still helped with homeless families and if so, would I take several cases of formula over there for her. I was like YOU BETCHA LADY, THIS STUFF IS EXPENSIVE. GIDDY UP. So now whenever they have too much baby formula, they call me and I come pick it up. 

Today I got to drive 17 cases and that was pretty awesome so I decided to tell you about it. Not to be annoying like - oooh look what I did, I'm so fancy and helpful - but because maybe you also go to a big pediatric practice where you live and they have extra formula and you want to give it a ride. Or maybe you volunteer someplace with hungry families and you read this and thought - Hey! I could maybe get them some much-needed free stuff! 
Sending hugs & extra air conditioning (because it is too hot to function in Virginia),
J

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Monday, July 17, 2017

The Ritual Cleansing

On May 22nd, my 30 year old brother died unexpectedly. It was a pulmonary embolism. 


For almost a year preceeding his death, he'd been in crisis due to mental health and addiction problems. On the day he died, we thought we stood a chance of getting him back, but of course now we'll never know how his life might have turned out. 
His memorial service was yesterday. My sister and I are really close and we got each other through it. This has been dark, messy, dirty grief - the kind you don't even know how to talk about. 
After the memorial, we drove off as fast as we could to a secret beach on Deer Isle, Maine and we dove into the freezing cold water. We jokingly referred to it as a ritual cleansing. The water was so cold that it hurt to go under. But I made myself do it and when I came out, I felt wide awake. My skin tingled and my lungs filled with air and my toes were deep in sea weed and I looked up at the sun. Some mist was rising off the water and we watched the wind blow it out to sea.


(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2017

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