Scheduling is a bitch, eh?
Mom, I’d like to discuss my terms and conditions.
Meaning even though I’m an exceptional daughter, I’m doing this for extra money.
$5 an hour. Mostly filing, sorting, labeling, that sort of thing.
What about sick days and vacation?
You’re a freelancer, sweetheart.
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So I cleaned up my phone this past weekend and downloaded a mere 2,257 photos to my computer. No big deal…the downloading and sorting and nonsense only required a few lifetimes during critical REM sleep time.
But besides that, it was fun to scroll through the sheer randomness of so many everyday moments. Some of them have been shared here or on Instagram, but most were simply filed away in my Daily Life folder…the one that is bursting at its digital seams. As I scanned through the pack of images I realized I had not created a Rhetorical Questions post in quite a awhile. We are long overdue, right? Wait, don’t answer that!
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Should I hate myself for loving you? Do we give love a bad name?
You want to check out previous volumes of my Rhetorical Questions, don’t you?
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“Mom, did you know that I know what all the bleeped words are on the radio?”
“Mrs. McGuire, what does promiscuous mean?”
“Anachronistic?? No, I don’t know what it means but I love the word already!”
“What’s your definition of soon?”
“Ugh! We’ll see always means No.”
“Mama, you said I’m articulate? But I do NOT like being tickled.”
“Dad, there’s your funny and there’s our funny.”
“Do we still call it homework if we’re doing it on the bus and in the car?”
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Add your own in the comments!
Remember those several minutes at the party store? The ones in between choosing party favors and picking up balloons? Remember how we walked by the rows and rows of crazy hats and of course had to try on every last one? Remember how each hat solicited a ridiculous accent: an Arrghh matey or a Take me to your master or an I say ole chap? Remember how y’all skipped and sang and wanted to put on an impromptu play? Remember how I was right there with you, in the thick of it, ignoring both my lice phobia and the raised eyebrows of employees? Remember how much we laughed? Remember spinning and curtseying and doh-see-dohing? Remember how easy it was? Remember how it felt just like summer should feel and that we weren’t in a rush to do anything besides goof around in someone else’s air conditioning?
I remember. I also remember what happened only minutes later, though honestly I’d rather forget it. Can we go ahead and forget about it? Let’s forget about the mother of all tantrums that happened in the balloon line. Let’s forget about standing in the SLOWEST BALLOON LINE IN THE HISTORY OF ALL BALLOON LINES with a 4-year-old at my ankles kicking and screaming like a lunatic while dozens of families try not to stare. Let’s forget about the sweat beading up on my forehead and dripping down my shirt as I tried to stand firm and not overreact to the animal-child clawing at my feet. Let’s forget about how trapped I felt–wanting to bolt but knowing this was our last chance to buy Very Important Birthday Balloons. Let’s forget how much I hated my life right then. Let’s forget about the obscenities I screamed in my head. Let’s forget that I was That Mom.
Let’s forget about exiting the store with a gnashing, thrashing child slung over my shoulder, the sun bright on the cheery bouquet of balloons dancing above our heads. Let’s forget about waiting in the car until the screaming stopped. Let’s forget it was 103 degrees and that half the air conditioner vents were inexplicably blowing hot air on us.
Can we agree to forget about it all? I didn’t think so. Because really, who are we kidding? It will go down in my memory with spectacular and horrifying detail. And honestly the only reason that’s fine is because I also remember, with equal clarity, a summer afternoon a mere six years ago, in a similar store with a similar 4-year-old throwing an eerily similar tantrum.
And that child outgrew the fits. That child learned to be mostly reasonable. That child was eventually allowed to return to shopping centers with me. And you, my little Tasmanian devil, will learn too. And some day, in the very, very distant future, I will take you back to the party store. And when I do, we will head straight for the crazy hat aisle.
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More birthday treats from years past…
39 years + 364 days, but who’s counting?
On Being Nine
10 Truths About Hosting Your Daughter’s First Slumber Party
Today I found this drawing during a marathon cleaning spree in which I sorted through mountains of kid artwork, school papers and various other junk that has been collecting for months. A year if I’m completely honest. And by “sorted” I mean actually removing rather than just moving the mountains. The marathon was made entirely possible by the fact that the kids are spending the week away with their grandparents. I love a good purge and am happy to report that a.) I can now see the entire floor of my office and b.) Nothing was living underneath the piles.
A week ago I might have interpreted this little scrap of green paper with a raised eyebrow and a flash of concern. I might have tucked away the lightsabers (out of sight, out of mind) or accidentally broken the stick that has become The Best Shooter Gun ever. These weapons! I can’t escape them. Yes, it’s a natural phase for boys. And yes, we do our best to keep their play focused on imagination, not violence. But still, enough with all the blasting, shooting, killing and lasering. I cannot take another bit of it.
But that would have been me last week.
This week, I stumbled across the drawing and immediately thought, “Oh my sweet boy! Are you sending me a hug from afar? I miss and love you too!”
Sometimes a little distance is all we need.
In the weeks leading up to today…
I sketched out a summer mix of spontaneity and structure, forked over hundreds of dollars for camps, panicked that the schedule was too much, then panicked that it was not enough. Then panicked that I was panicking.
I blocked off vacation days, secured lodging, cashed in airline miles, and made plans for puppy camp. I rspv’d to four weddings, bought china, and found a perfect pair of dress shoes for my pickiest child. I purchased new swimsuits and fresh flip flops. Loaded up on sunscreen, hats and water guns.
I attended school parties, spelling bees and poetry readings. I navigated end-of-year nostalgia and tears…both theirs and mine. I hugged one child through a “I’m growing up too fast” breakdown and managed not to fall apart until I had left the room.
I made countless lists, crossed them off, then made even longer ones.
We unloaded the mountains of artwork, pencils, notebooks and report cards. We stashed the lunchboxes and hung the backpacks. Over french fries and salad, we toasted the day, then made a Summer of Fun list on scratch paper. On a whim, we climbed to the highest point in town and watched the sun fall on another school year.
I am mostly ready for this new season.
Yes, my “make it happen” list is still long. The closets are an unbearable mess. The artwork litters the house. The family photo albums remain unfinished. Several work projects linger.
I have no idea how or if my list will shrink during a season notorious for stealing my alone time. But I can’t argue with the calendar. The kids are ready for lazy days, late nights, fewer rules and more ice cream.
Summer is definitely here. And there is nothing left to do but dive in and play along.
Depending on the day, I find myself either madly cramming in every last project on my hefty To Do list, or paralyzed by those jobs that simply won’t get done before summer begins.
When I find myself overwhelmed, my first urge is always to freeze time. I’m a time junkie.
Just one more second…I swear that’s all I need.
So I do. I find my camera and I freeze time. And the results become a visual gratitude journal, complete with friends, family and the wondrous, inspiring place I call home.
When words fail me, my eyes save me. Every single time.