Tag Archives: school

The summer of her discontent, or not…

As I sat down tonight to blog (oddly, not about what you’re about to read, so you’re welcome for the topic switch!), I forgot my password, as I do every single time I sit down to my computer for one reason or another. I am completely the reason I cannot have nice things, and it is part of my charm. Sitting at the keyboard, I racked my brain trying to remember what email address I even use for this thing, when I heard footsteps coming down the hall in my direction. Since I am the only one home right now who was not in her assigned bed, I knew it was one of my kiddos. And, to be honest, I wasn’t surprised.

“Hey, you. Go to bed,” I sighed – not looking over my shoulder because everyone knows if you make eye contact with the bed-wanderer, you have to have a conversation with that person that usually ends up with no fewer than 4 sips of water and a 2 snuggle minimum – wondering if I would ever figure out how to get back into this thing.

“Uhm, okay, nevermind…” Aaah, yes. My oldest. I knew it. Forgetting all about passwords and email addresses, I stood and moved to the couch and invited her to sit down with me. Tears threatened to spring forth from her eyes.

“What’s wrong, Lovey?”

Sniffling, the tears came. “I’m so sad summer has to end. We had so much fun…”

Tomorrow is the first day of school for our district, and trust me when I say that my children are very much ready for school to be in session and the routine and craziness that ensues from that. It’s obvious in their behavior and their actions that they need routine like fish need water, and the school year provides routine that summer does not, especially with me also not working a traditional full time schedule. So, they’re all ready. Go to school, kids. It’s time.

What shocked me was the fact that she said she had so much fun this summer. This summer was, thankfully in many ways, one of the most low-key, chill summers we’ve had. For the first time since 2015, I didn’t require any surgeries this year (yet!! lord knows there is time). So, I suppose that’s been a big bonus around here. But, fun? We didn’t do much! We put vacation on hold because we’re surprising them with a big trip in the spring, but we told them that we put it on hold while waiting for their dad’s work schedule to change. This, of course, is not a lie, but it was all they knew as to why vacation had to wait. We didn’t get to Kalahari like we had planned (but we will!) because I worked a ton this summer in my day job, and I ended up doing a lot of writing projects as well. As I rolled through the things we wanted to do and didn’t do in my head when she said, “fun,” I lost sight of what the summer did consist of…

We went to the drive in a couple times to see kids’ movies that they loved. We stayed up too late and caught fireflies. We wanted to get “real TV” and subscribed to DirectTV, so the girls were able to rekindle their love of mindlessly watching television without typing anything into Netflix. We watched a lot of Cartoon Network and got reacquainted with our friends in Teen Titans Go!, along with other shows we’d lost touch with (and I have rekindled my love affair with HGTV). We did a few small road trips but not even all the ones we wanted to! We had a pool up for a while, and then one of the littles replaced the plug with a water bottle cap – which is not effective at plugging a pool – so that wasn’t long lived. But, we also got a splash blob, which is my favorite thing ever. We grew a garden, and they learned about how plants go from seed to table, and they even got to help us harvest things (and still do, since it’s still going!). We celebrated two birthdays! We created outdoor living spaces on our patio and brought the backyard to life. They played in that backyard every single day, some days ALL day, and we had lots of baths that turned the water brown with dirt and smells that only can be recreated in Ohio summers. We did lots of library days and read books and made Lego things and painted  and all of that fun creative jazz. We had a lot of ice cream for dinner, and for other things as well, and ate out more meals in three months than we usually do in a year. We spent more money on little toys and gadgets they wanted than I ever care to admit. We said “yes” a lot more than we said “no,” and I suppose, at the end of the day, that’s what makes the memories that count when you’re small.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and unbridled happiness, however. We had lots of frustrating moments with raised voices and pounding countertops and slammed doors. Lots of tears over sisterly injustices and parents who “just don’t understand.” Lots of “PLEASE GOD GO TO SCHOOL SO YOU STOP KILLING EACH OTHER” and more than one occasion of one of us girls begging their dad to take us to work with him (usually me). We talked a lot about being grateful for what you have and taking care of those of us in this world who may not have as much as you do. We talked about a lot of big picture world and society issues. And, yes, lots of bedroom cleaning and chores and the things that no one ever wants to do. I tried very hard to get them to learn the importance of pulling their own weight, and how not everything is going to be fair because life is one big unfair bullshit ride a lot of the time, and what is more important is grace and being a team player and gratitude and all of that shit that you say and then you’re like “Yes, I am nailing this parenting thing cuz look at their faces looking at me, nodding and getting this…”

Those moments – the ones that involved lessons learned and some yelling and maybe some tears – are what stand out to me as a parent. The discontent is what sticks out to me, and maybe that’s because I am naturally predisposed to remember negative things and experiences and sort of file away the good for moments when the negative gets to be too much. But, as my blue-eyed, blond-haired, lookin’ more like her momma every day child sat hugging her knees, laughing as I talked to her about how good things need to come to an end and that she wouldn’t want the summer to last forever because it would lose its special magic, it hit me. Kids need time and energy and space to run and roam and to fight with each other and figure things out even when they drive their parents nuts with it all. What I saw as a summer of discontent with all of the things we “didn’t do” was a summer of fun and freedom for the kids, and it was such a fun time that the thought of it ending brought my kiddo to tears…

What the fuck happens to us as adults that just kills our joy?

Now, that ^^ is just sad…
(but, I have spent enough time around both children and adults that I don’t doubt it!)

The fine art of saying, “NO!”

I’m a yes girl. I am so bad at this, and I know I need to stop. Need something done? I’ll do it! If I can’t do it, I will learn how and THEN do it!! I really, really need to learn how to not be like this. However, I don’t like the feeling of letting people down. So, I take on responsibilities. I do too much. I am constantly working on something, and while I ADORE every minute of my job, the extra stuff outside of my job, I don’t necessarily need. Committee meetings and stuff for my career: necessity. I am known for saying that my life is PR, and that is the God’s honest truth. With my career, I will do all the things because doing all the things gets you to where you want to be. It’s that simple. And it’s a fact I accept and welcome with my chosen career path. I dig what I do, and I do what I dig. It’s that simple. No complaints about my job. Ever. I love it. LOVE it!!!

However “doing stuff” is not necessary. I do…stuff. Everything. I don’t know how to stop feeling like I have to DO EVERYTHING! DO ALL THE THINGS! ACK!

I have my own business with Premier Designs (which I also love). I can do that when I want and not do it when I don’t want to. Which is brilliant, really. A lot of Direct Service (ah ha! I did not say sales!) companies are not like that. So, I am blessed in that. I also am going to be teaching CCD again in the fall at church. Which is something I don’t need to do. But I will do. Because they need asked me. I don’t know why I feel like people need me. No one needs me. Well, no, that’s not true. My children need me. My husband needs me (though I realize that sounds ridiculous, as we are adults who are pretty self-sufficient, but we do need each other). But, my cross to bear is that I don’t know how to say no to people. Shawn is notorious for commentary when I take on extra projects, but he will never tell me not to do it. Which is good in some ways. But this is bad in others: I think sometimes I need someone to tell me to knock it off. I need someone to say to me, “This is enough. Where is the time for you? Where is the time for…breathing?” And then, that person needs to MAKE ME DO NOTHING! That’s the key. That’s what I need.

My girls come first, and they always have me when needed. But I know that my other stuff takes me away from them and I hate that. I feel guilty for leaving them, and I also feel guilty for letting other people down. WHY does it matter so much to me what anyone else thinks/feels? It shouldn’t. No one ever asks me how I feel lol. Very few people give two flips, and if they do, they have a crap way of showing it sometimes. But it’s OK. Because, I don’t “need” other people to ask me how I am doing. Because I am too busy worrying about what I can do to make their lives better. Why do I run this race? Why do I turn myself inside out sometimes for other people? Why am I always so exhausted and in need of about seven extra hours a week …???

The answer is simple: it’s just who I am. Ah, yes, friends. I am a pleaser. OH the life and strife of a pleaser. I need to learn the fine art of saying no. I need to know how to not feel the insatiable need to be everywhere, to do everything. Everclear said it best when they said, “You always try to be everything to everyone.” Do you know that line runs through my head all the time? Like a weird anthem, it saturates my brain. I can’t turn it off. And then? I do something. Shawn’s favorite thing to say is that if I ever had free time, I’d just find a way to fill it up. Ugh. I don’t know why I am so afraid of…being. Just being.

I don’t think it stems back to any deep, dark past trauma. I have no recollection of someone desperately needing me and me not being there for them. And then them falling off of a cliff and dying in a fiery accident. No, no, that never happened. I could blame it on my dead grandma, but that’s silly. It would be irrational for me to believe that she “needed” me to cure her cancer at age seventeen when I could not even cure my rampant acne and boy craziness. No, she’s clear. I really don’t know where it comes from. I guess it could be just because I was never popular in school (this is not one of those bully stories, though I do have a lot of “mean girls” stories, but this is not that time). I wasn’t popular because being me wasn’t cool. I was smart. I wasn’t the most attractive banana in the grove. I didn’t have a lot of friends, but I am damn glad that the few I had that were worth keeping are still with me today, and the others who aren’t don’t need to be. I think it’s because I never felt, in my adolescence, that anyone needed me back then. But, see, that makes no sense really because I was a pleaser back in the day, too. Was it first grade? Kindergarten? Where did the madness start?

Ah, yes. Lady Gaga reminded me. I was Born This Way. I have always been this way. And, sadly, I don’t really see it ending. I do know I need to take more time for myself and my family. I need to do things that seem silly and have nothing to do with my career. Sometimes, being silly is what needs to happen. Sometimes, being still is the only thing to be. I have this quote on my fridge, and I read it every morning (and never listen to it, really). It is from Ashleigh Brilliant and it reads:

Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possible do is take a complete rest.

Isn’t that brilliant (no pun intended)? Why don’t I listen to this? I’d like to meditate more. Swim. Work out. Do yoga. (hot or cold, it doesn’t matter). Write more. Something. I need to do some more things for me. Because multitasking has its place. And somehow my life has become multitasking’s place.

I need to reclaim some pieces of me, before I am stretched so thin that I can see through myself.

Because when you’re that busy, others can see right through you, too.

Doesn’t this look like Heaven??

It would be perfect, if it were right here:

I need to live on a lake… Water is what calms me.

What about you? What do you do to relax? Give me advice. I obviously need it… 🙂