I’m gonna help you

I hear the little footsteps picking up speed. I try to keep quiet while I pull out pots and pans which will be used for dinner. I’m quiet because I know what those little footsteps mean. It means dinner won’t be made in an hour, but closer to an hour and a half. It means there will be messes, and lots of measuring spoons and cups and water on the floor. It means I will hear, “I wanna do that!” and “Let me stir.” and lots of “Uh-oh, I didn’t mean to do that.” It’s inconvenient to have her “help” in the kitchen. And I feel terrible for saying it, but sometimes I’d rather do it myself because I just can’t stand to be bothered with that extra half hour and don’t even get me started on the mess.

But I am working on changing my ways. I have to trade in my wanting to be efficient and mess-free for treasured time with my little girl. Right now she wants to be with me, to “help” me. She chooses being with me in the kitchen over movies, dolls, and playing outside. Who knows how much longer this will last. Who cares if it takes longer, or I have a little more mess to clean up and more dishes to wash?

I guess I care. I care too much about that stuff, but I want to care a whole lot less about it. Because I know that one day, probably much sooner than I expect, she will want to be with her friends more than me. She will think she knows more about life than me. She’ll be texting me saying she won’t be home for dinner, which will be followed by me crying tears into my meatloaf, longing for the days when I had my little helper.

Oh geez…I need to get to the kitchen immediately. Time to bake something.

“It’s happening again.”

This is what my sweet youngest brother would say, at six years old, when our little sister would start her reign of terror by smacking him, taking away his toys, just being a big meanie for no reason. The sad part is that she was probably only about four at the time. He was older, and bigger, but he didn’t want to hurt her by getting even. So he would calmly sit there saying “it’s happening…its happening again” while she unleashed. I think my mom finally resorted to telling him to just hit her. Hit her back. Hit her hard. But I don’t think he really ever did. He couldn’t bring himself to do it. Too sweet.

Today is a sort of “it’s happening again” kind of day. There’s no hitting involved, but I’m sitting on the couch in my PJ’s looking for every excuse to not scrape up the oatmeal off the counter. I’ve returned emails, checked every blog, poured a second cup of coffee…I’m running out of excuses. Josie has been running around with no pants on refusing to get dressed because why should she? Momma’s not getting dressed. Makes sense.

I will get moving, eventually. There’s guilt, in the form of a sink full of dirty dishes, coming up to smack me in the face. I know I should hit back, but I don’t have the energy. I’d much rather just sit. Just a little while longer. “It’s happening again.”

*It’s important to note that my brother and sister are now on good terms. They are both college graduates, married and raising their own children. So I guess things turned out alright, in the end.

A different day

 Another first day of school has come and gone and it didn’t look the same way it has in the past. Up until yesterday, we made sure everyone was ready, backpacks on, photos taken in the front yard youngest in a stroller and we all walked together. For three blocks we would discuss expectations and excitement for what the day would bring, coffee in hand and a slight chill in the air.

Yesterday looked different. Charlie has moved on to middle school, Coleman is on safety patrol, and Judah goes to school all day now. And, let’s face it, Josie is getting a little big for the stroller. So instead, we all piled in the car, dropped Coleman off at school early so he could do patrol. Then we headed to the middle school to drop off Charlie and watched him walk off into the abyss of puberty. And then it was back to the elementary school to say goodbye to Judah for a full day of school.

That left Andy, Josie and me to walk around Greenlake, run a few errands, and make it home in time for a new tradition: back to school naps.

It didn’t look like it once did, but it’s a new season. And it’s good.

Almost there…

It’s September 6th and our kids still have not started school and it’s just getting downright embarrassing. Everywhere we go I hear, “your kids haven’t started school yet? When will they get out, in June?” Just for fun today I told a lady they wouldn’t be getting out until after the fourth of July. I know, it was kind of mean, but I couldn’t help myself.

We all know that around here it’s only natural that kids go back to school 1-2 days after labor day. Anything more and you’re left with them fighting over who has more moles and inventing a game called torture which involves rope, handcuffs and a large ice pack.

So it’s time already. The supplies have been bought…all 120 pencils and 29 glue sticks. The kids are ready. I’m ready. I need more of a reason to get up in the morning than breaking up fights over moles. School is good for all of us. Routines help us stay out of trouble. And as my dear sister-in-law pointed out on a recent visit, I come up with a system and I like to stick to it. I didn’t realize that I say “I have a system, don’t mess it up,” on almost a daily basis. I’m not proud.

Only three more days. I’m hoping to enjoy it, enjoy our unusually warm weather and in the meantime prepare my first-day-of-school-system.

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