Independence

School’s back in session, the sun is shining, and I have time! Time to read, write and play with my 3 dog babes! School started this week and it is the first year that our minions are riding the bus.

Facebook abounds with mothers (and mockers) with tears in their eyes sending off precious bundles that just yesterday were babes. I particularly like this one:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1322461.html

I like it because it pretty accurately depicts how most of us felt and or now feel.

Standing at the bus stop the first morning this year, I got the familiar catch in my throat. It was nothing like that first day, the first year, the oldest kid – I remember feeling pretty nervous, sad, and anxious for him to get home. I just wanted to know that he was okay, that it was a good day. I called to them both, “Have a great day!” with camera positioned and ready to snap a quick ‘getting-on-the-bus’ picture. This is what I got:

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1st Day of 1st and 2nd Grade!

There were no tearful last-minute run back and hug mom moments, not even a goodbye! They didn’t even turn back around! And you know what? I was actually pretty glad. I’m glad because I’m so happy they are confidently heading into school and excited for their days. This phase is pretty awesome. Because really, isn’t that what mothering is all about? We work each day to slowly work ourselves out of a job – so they are independent, functional adult human beings who are capable of going after life.

Day 2 of school and we miss the bus.

So much for having my “mom shit” together.

We flip a u-turn and head to the other bus stop and wait. The bus arrives and another dad comes running down the street, flush-faced daughter in tow, backpack swinging wildly as she races to keep up with her dad. I ask the driver to wait for one more. The kids all get on and the dad and I share a knowing smile.

“Nothing like starting your day with an adrenaline rush!”

I agree and laugh. “Almost better than coffee! Here’s to another great school year!” I raise my coffee cup to him and head off back home. I walk the dogs, I pick up the house. I do some doggie school homework. I do some writing. I look at my watch and realize I have about 10 minutes until I need to head down to the bus stop and pick up the kids. I get into what I’m doing. I look back at the clock and realize I’m 5 minutes late.

In the space of 30 seconds, I panic slightly and ask myself rapid-fire: “Do they know how to get home? Will they look for traffic? What if someone grabs them? Will the bus driver not let them off if I’m not standing there? Where will I go to pick them up? Didn’t someone say there are convicted felons registered here? What if they fell asleep on the bus again and the driver forgets it’s their stop and what ifwhatifwhatifwhatif…….”

Breathe. I hastily dash out the door and make it to the end of our block. I see their little heads bobbing as they walk proudly in a single file line on the narrow part of our road that has no side walks. They make it to the corner. They both stop, they look for traffic. The cars wave them across and they make their way to me on the sidewalk. I grin and Hannah swaggers up, chest puffed out, “MOM! WE WALKED HOME BY OURSELVES! I’m SUCH a BIG first grader!”

“Mom, I had us walk single file like you do when there is no sidewalk,” Jake reports, in his usual just-the-facts-ma’am style.

Then they both beg me to stay home the next day so they could walk ALL the way home by themselves. I exhale. I make no mention of the fact that I was late, or having a slight heart attack; that this was all part of my master-mom-plan to give them a little more independence. I take another deep breath.

‘NO!’ I wanted to scream. ‘You were JUST MY BABIES IN DIAPERS yesterday! What are you thinking? Are you crazy? NO you cannot walk 2 blocks by yourself! Someone will call CPS because I’m a neglectful mother!’

But I say none of that. I shut up my helicopter-mom alter ego and simply say, “Perhaps I can just meet you on our corner for now. Then see how it goes.” They think that’s a brilliant plan. While we are eager for growth and responsibility, perhaps just for a bit they can move into independence with baby steps. At least for their mom’s sake.

 

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Weekend

Sigh.

The fall around our house is busy. Probably not as busy as some, but for us it’s the busiest season. Eric is umpiring football (nearly every night). Our kids are starting to get involved in extracurriculars, school is in full swing, I went back to work, and I decided to throw in marathon training to the mix. What was I thinking?!

Last weekend while playing with the neighbors, Hannah “was defending Jacob” and gave a 3 year old a bloody nose. Screen time privileges were revoked. In the past week we have racked up 8 weeks of no tablet time due to various things of which I have simply had enough. Things like arguing about who sits where in the car.

Every. Single. Morning.

Things like “this is my door, she has to go to her own side!” or “I don’t want him to be looking at me right now!” “STOP LOOKING AT ME!” and scream-crying, and whining in general. I can feel my skin crawling thinking about it. It’s a GREAT phase. (Sarcasm really does deserve its own font!) There is a reason I refuse to take my kids to the grocery store. Not because they can’t behave. They can and do when necessary. Mostly it’s because I just don’t have the patience. (I’ve prayed for patience before, but often when I do, God, in his great sense of humor, continues to place me in situations where I then have to exercise that patience. No more patience prayers!)

Yesterday was fun. The kiddos played outside and Hannah got into all kinds of muddy fun.

After we told her not too.

After I told her not in her dress.

And her new shoes.

She then received an outdoor shower via the hose, as did her new shoes. (Side note: Kohl’s brand Jumping Bean shoes wash up nicely!) Afterwards she was to dry off inside and change. She put on a fancy dress up dress to come back out in. She was denied entry to the outdoors until she had proper attire. Like how I phrased that? That is not *quite” how it went down, but you get the general idea.

I went to work this morning after setting up the kids to play Monopoly. Eric had a late game last night and was waking up watching the news on the couch. Flash forward to 11:30 when I drive home and I pull up and see the garage door half way open but completely cock-eyed. Like this:

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Not our house, but this is exactly what it looked like!

This should have been my warning to turn around and run. I didn’t heed that warning. I walked to the front door and as I tried the locked handle, I could hear stern voices. My husband’s stern voice. I braced myself.

As I slid my key out of the lock and swung open the door, I was met with a bounding soaped-up (but not yet rinsed) Chihuahua. I lifted my eyes to meet Eric’s and I knew. It’s been a continuation of my previous night. Poor Eric.

“Hi! Mommy! You’re home!” exclaims a completely naked Hannah.

Yep. I am home.

I caught the dog (after some calming and coaxing her off of my now wet bed) and got her rinsed. While I was already done with one, I quickly scrubbed up the other dog. Eric came in to give me the rundown of my time away from the asylum. Turns out Hannah was inside because she was bored of playing outside and then had the brilliant idea to give the dog a bath. When Eric came in to see what she was up to, she told him I said she could wash the dogs on her own.

So. Not. True. Needless to say, it had been a morning for him as well.

Now I sit sipping an adult beverage, Eric is at yet another football game, and tonight? Tonight there is a thunderstorm rolling through and I’m looking forward to an early bed time for the kids and a “non-eventful” Sunday for all of us!

Cheers to the weekend!