Family Legacies

My Grandma has been in the hospital for the past week.  (Nothing too serious…just a quick tuneup following a fall)  I didn’t get to be with her as much as we both would have liked because we agreed it wasn’t wise to have my 2 month old baby around hospital germs.  During the time we did share, I caught her up on recent antics of my crazy boys and we reminisced about past adventures in parenting/great-grandparenting.  We laughed about Jack exposing himself at the birthday party (last post) and about the time Logan hung onto the rising garage door.  Grandma and I also wondered what tales Norah will add to our collection.

On my drive home from the hospital yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about other family stories.  Cars next to me must have wondered why I was grinning and laughing to myself.  I am fortunate to come from a long line of storytellers and have spent much of my time listening to the same stories be told over and over.  My paternal grandfather once had a country music show in Branson, Missouri and was a gifted storyteller.  One of his life mottos was that if a story gets a laugh once, it bears repeating.  Granted I never lived with Grandpa Jim, but I never grew weary of hearing his “greatest hits.”  Over 10 years since his death, I fondly recall some of those tales.  Each family member seems to accumulate their own portfolio of personal tales.  In family gatherings, I know that when stories are told about my dad someone will tell about Dad getting chased by a rooster multiple times because after the first rooster attack his older brother told him that he had simply approached the rooster incorrectly.  I know that my mom once tattled on her older brother when he “hitted [her] back.”  I know that I will never live down licking the peanut butter off a mouse trap (when I was a toddler), misunderstanding a story about hallucinogenic frogs, or declaring myself a “badge hog” in Camp Fire (a scouting-type youth organization.)  I don’t mind that the stories retold the most are goofs or mishaps.  Wouldn’t it be boring if your legacy was just that you were meek and mild?  I’m sure that one of my cousins played nicely but that story just isn’t as fun to tell as the time he mooned the entire family…including my grandmother.  (Right, Potter?)  I enjoy hearing the stories because it means that I’m remembered.  Someone remembers me with love and laughter.  I’ve often grieved for the foster kids I work with that there often isn’t anyone to collect these stories and retell them throughout their lives.  We continue telling these stories long after people move out of our lives.  Trey and I tell our boys about their Papa Jack and Great-Grandpa Jim all the time.  Jack is too young to have any memories of his Papa Jack but he already knows that Papa Jack loved to watch sports and that Papa Jack wore his pants up very high.  My Grandpa lives on through these stories.

“Meatloaf” is a cue word for my family.  Anytime someone mentions meatloaf, giggles are sure to ensue.  As the story goes, my mom prepared a meatloaf one Saturday evening to be popped in the often before we left for church the next morning.  When we came home from church, we sat at the table and Mom served us our meal.  She made meatloaf fairly frequently so this was not a new recipe but this time something was different.  The meatloaf had small crunchy things on top that had collected the cooking grease.  Dad, David, and I raved about the delicious meal as we tasted the crunchy pieces.  Mom agreed that something was particularly good about this meatloaf but she couldn’t figure out what was different.  As she began cleaning the lunch dishes she continued to search her mind to understand what made this meatloaf better.  She considered the regular ingredients, reflected on the time in the fridge, and checked the oven temperature…and then she realized what had occurred.  After removing the loaf from the fridge, she failed to take off the plastic wrap before putting it in the oven.  The oven had melted the plastic during cooking and the juice from the meat was captured in the little crunchy pieces of melted plastic wrap.  Mom began crying that she’d fed us plastic.  My brother tried to calm her by saying, “Its ok, Mom.  Our poop will come out in little pre wrapped packages.”  Poor mom will never live down feeding us plastic wrap and the rest of us will never live down enjoying it!

I often wonder what stories the kids will someday tell about me and Trey.  What crazy family antics will become our legacy?  Last week, when my best friend and one of her daughters came to visit, I caught the oven on fire while cooking frozen pizzas.  For several days, Jack played out the incident with his plastic pizza and toy kitchen.  He’d put the pizza in the oven, close the door, and exclaim “Oh no!  The pizza is on fire!  Time to go to the restaurant!”  Perhaps this will be one of my parenting legacies.  It could be worse, right?

 

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And done.

I have multiple drafts of things I’ve written but discarded or forgotten on my phone and laptop.  I keep an ongoing list of possible topics for future writings.  Sometimes I fail to include enough information leaving me to wonder what I was hoping to remember when I revisit the list.  For example, my current list of topic prompts is as follows:

  • pinterest
  • pervert squirrel/possible psychosis
  • lifetime realities
  • misplaced anger
  • church
  • local restaurant
  • girl
  • posts
  • flaming pizza

While I recall what three of the nine prompts refer to, I have no earthly idea what I was intending to write with the others.  (I’ll leave you, the reader, to wonder which of this list could show up in a future entry.)  These forgotten essays perfectly demonstrate a strength and a weakness I have.  I am a creative thinker and often come up with great (in my opinion) ideas.  However, I often lack follow through.  I used to spend all of my extra spending money on craft supplies.  I threw my efforts into preparing to become a clay sculptor and a seamstress.  I bought items to embroider, glass to etch, scrapbooks to personalize, and metal to personalize with vinyl.  I went through a period in which I intended to create door wreaths to sell and another period of designing garden flags.  Cards were stamped but never sent, homemade paper was made but never used, and wire was ready to sculpt.  I collected the supplies, dreamed of the projects, but never fully committed.  Each venture began with a whirlwind of creative energy but fizzled out once I had to complete the project because the brainstorming and dreaming that I love was now over.

Ironically, although I flit from project to project, I don’t like the feeling of having something undone.  I hate opening a closet and seeing incomplete or untouched projects sitting on the shelf.  Every time I spot the incomplete advent calendar that is hidden in a dresser cabinet, I resolve to have it completed within the next month.  That advent calendar has been in progress for 6 years.

Those who know Trey and I well would likely chuckle at the fact that the thing that drives me craziest about my husband is when he begins a home improvement project but then moves onto another project before completing the first.  In fact, I believe I’ve written past blogs about having a toilet on our front porch due to a lengthy bathroom remodel.  (Update: the bathroom is completed and glorious!)

Logan and Jack are 6 and a half years apart.  After we had Logan, Trey and I knew that we wanted two more children.  My pregnancy, labor, and delivery experience with Logan was difficult and traumatic.  I wasn’t in a big hurry to repeat the process and when I became ready, it seemed like life kept getting in the way.  Trey and I waited out another deployment, multiple moves, unemployment, financial challenges, and anxiety before Jack decided to make his appearance.  From the moment that I learned i was pregnant with Jack, I felt as though something was missing.  This feeling left me consumed with guilt.  I loved and still love Jack with all of my being.  How could I not believe that he was enough?    My maternity leave was spent trying to find a balance between my newfound love for this new child and overwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety, and shame.  I recognized that people I love are praying fervently for one child while I was holding a perfect child and yet wanting more.  I worried that I would never feel satisfied and also worried that if we never had a third child, that I would be forever left with this awful feeling of leaving things incomplete.  I cried countless tears over having to return to work because I felt so unsettled and depressed.

I wrote the following a little over a year ago:

I’m 36 years old.  Some days I feel like I’ve lived an eternity and others I look around and feel like an imposter playing house.  I hold my kids and wonder who let me be responsible for these precious lives.  There are days that I can’t shake the idea that I’m missing something.  Trey patiently rides the waves of my anxiety that I’ve chosen the wrong career, I was called to do something different with my life, concerns that we will “never” reach goals we’ve set as a couple, or assumptions that I’m failing he and the kids.  Don’t get me wrong, I know I have a great life.  I have a career that is fulfilling and challenging.  My husband loves me and endulges my eccentricities.  Logan and Jack adore me and make me proud every nano second.  We are a part of a church community that enriches not only our lives but our community.  Trey and I are surrounded by friends that make us laugh, challenge us to be better people, and pick us up when we are down.  We both come from supportive, loving extended families that remain invested in our lives.  I have plenty of stuff.  While we never feel as though we have enough money, we are able to pay our bills and support ourselves, something we haven’t always been able to do.  Trey came home from Iraq, physically whole and ready to move on.

And yet, something always feels missing or incomplete.  Its hard to put into words what this feels like.  Sometimes I wonder if the missing piece is a spiritual deficit and so I pray.  Other times I feel as though I am grieving a child that I have never conceived.  I am scared that these feelings will never cease and that I’ll forget how to breathe.  

Trey and I talked in depth about whether or not a third child was in our future and considered it for a period of time.  I worried that the desire for another child was similar to my project planning and that should I add another child to the family, I’d continue to be left with the feeling of being incomplete because it was less about the child and more about me not being in a state of personal health.  Not long after I wrote the words shared above, my heart began to feel less burdened and I began to feel more at ease.  The change came slowly but was welcomed.  I remember looking across the table at Logan, Trey, and Jack and knowing that I had what I needed and that I could choose to move on from feeling incomplete.  Trey and I began talking about purchasing a bigger camper and began planning future family adventures.  Life can be funny.  Just as I came to change my focus, we discovered that I was pregnant.  Throughout the pregnancy I felt like I was in a state of shock and was utterly terrified that once the baby was born the pains of feeling incomplete would still be there.  When people asked if I was excited, I’d fake an appropriate response while attempting to ignore the doubts in my heart.  Trey and I agreed this would definitely be our last child and scheduled a vasectomy before my due date.  I spent time meditating on and praying for peace of heart and for the depressive fog to stay away.  I didn’t want to spend another maternity leave and another few years fighting those feelings.

April 18, 2016 I met the newest love of my life.  I have written and rewritten multiple drafts trying to accurately capture the feelings I felt looking at Norah’s sweet face.  In addition to the flood of love for her, I felt my love multiple for Trey, Logan, and for my silly Jack.  I return to work in a week.  Part of me is dreading my return because I know I’ll have less uninterrupted time with all three of my kids.  However, unlike either of the other returns from maternity leave, I am excited to go back.  I can’t wait to establish our new routine, our new normal.  I know with my entire being that my family is complete.  I feel utterly satisfied and complete.  My typical anxiety over how we will manage our money, time, and energy remains but no longer do I wonder if I’m ever going to feel complete.

I will certainly dream of more projects that will end up incomplete on a closet shelf or under the bed, but I know that my family is complete.  Our best adventures are yet to come.

Timing

 

I haven’t published anything I’ve written for six months.  I suppose that work, family, soccer, and pregnancy muddled my brain and left me without energy to edit and share my crazy thoughts.  During this hiatus, I’ve continued to write for myself but more importantly, life has marched on.  A friend once commented on a previous post that we needed a reality show to be filmed in our home.  I appreciate that the stories I share about my life are entertaining and relatable to others, but was left feeling a little insecure about her comment.  Is my life more chaotic than most?  Are my boys more random and wild than most?  Surely not…  In order to reduce the self scrutiny and ease bubbling social insecurities, I’m telling myself that the adventures in my home are typical antics with atypical documentation.  Kids are funny.  All kids.  Life is funny.  All life.  We just need to do a better job recognizing the joy in the every day.  We need to do a better job recognizing life’s unique sense of timing.  During the moments when life stressors roll in like a heavy fog, it is even more important to seek out the joy.  I cling tightly to the old homage that one can choose whether to laugh or cry.  Of course there are moments in which the tears flow freely and with recent hormonal surges there have been more tears than I care to admit.  Typical stressors like having to return to work following maternity leave, anxiety, being worried about money, car trouble, learning to balance three kids, ongoing house projects, and fatigue muddle my brain and threaten to mute the laughter at times.  Thankfully, I am surrounded by joy; piercing, invasive, and persistent joy. 

Be it “a God thing” or the ability to independently create moments of joy, life presents needed moments of joy at the most opportune moments.  Have you noticed life’s perfect comedic timing?

My grandfather loved sports, especially life sports.  He was the ultimate fan and he didn’t hold back his vocal support of the teams he loved.  As he got older, his timing slipped.  His once witty and well timed loud comments to officials, became delayed and a bit more random.  I remember noticing this age-related change as a heart-wrenching clue that he was aging and this introduced me to the sobering concept of the finality of life.  Rather than cry at his obvious aging and cognitive changes, our family found humor in his shouts for referees to clean their windshields (?) or other instructions given once the game play had moved on to something else.  These funny game day goofs were made all the funnier by my Grandma’s eye rolling and head shaking.  Although, to be perfectly candid, Grandma’s response to Grandpa’s heckling remained the same over the years.

Someone once said that an infant reveals their smile when the mom needs it most.  I’ve found this to be true three times now.  Just when you feel as though you will never sleep again or that your nipples are going to fall off your body, a sweet smile starts in that newborn’s eyes and washes over their entire being.  Perfection.  I dare anyone to feel sullen or angry when these early grins happen.  In my fatigued, postpartum state, I found (and keep finding) myself holding Norah at odd angles to force her to make eye contact.  I then make the strangest faces and noises in hopes that she will reward me with those perfect smiles.  The truth is that she isn’t going to smile on command, I have to wait with baited breath for her timing.

At the ripe old age of 9 1/2, (How long do we maintain the importance of the halves?  I may begin planning my 37 1/2 party?)  Logan is becoming more and more aware of the value of timing.  He is presently working diligently to discover the secret of perfectly timing requests for additional privileges.  For example, waiting until I’m busy nursing or completely overwhelmed to manipulate the outcome in his favor.  He has also been working on his comedic timing.  His sarcastic rebuttals vary between being inappropriate arguments and genius observations.  We, as parents, are faced with the task of helping him differentiate the two with hopes that he uses this knowledge to keep himself out of trouble.  As he becomes more aware of the power of humor, he also has become more aware of various humor platforms.  In the past year he has followed a couple sassy behaviors with a request for me to post it on Facebook.  Nope.  While I do enjoy sharing our antics, I don’t want him to “play up” behaviors for some sort of misguided attempt to “Kardashian.”  He enjoys when I share “timehop” reminders of his past silliness but we’ve talked a lot about how these stories were funny because he wasn’t trying to be funny.  Again, it is all about timing.

Jack, on the other hand, is a natural born entertainer.  His sense of comedic timing is an instinct.  He is wild, carefree, and so full of joy.  While Logan is my physical daredevil, Jack is my social daredevil.  He is a pleaser and seeks moments to make those around him laugh.  This effort is combined with his general goofiness to create a mashup of chaotic joy.  I giggled once when he called me “Mr. Mommy” and so I’ve become “Mr. Mommy” every time.

Jack and Logan have proven to be a perfect comedic team.  Logan recognizes the importance of timing and Jack has natural timing.  Yesterday, as we drove to my niece’s birthday party, I told Logan that my niece was having a sleepover with lots of her friends so there would be lots of girls when we arrived.  Logan groaned, partly because of the prospect of spending the afternoon with giggling girls and partly due to my teasing him about being a “soccer stud” around the ladies.  I jokingly told him he needed to wink and say “Hello Ladies!” upon our arrival.  He told me in no uncertain terms, that he would NEVER say anything of the sort.  He then paused, grinned, and said “But Jack will!?”  Logan then spent the next few minutes teaching Jack to point and said “Hello Ladies!”  When we arrived to the party, the lesson was seemingly forgotten when then boys laid eyes on a giant inflatable water slide in the yard.  They joined the girls on the slide and had a fantastic time.  Several hours later, it was time to say goodbye.  Before leaving, we prompted Jack to potty.  Since he was wet and had muddy feet, we took him to the side of the house and asked him to pee on the privacy fence.  (Note: If you aren’t a boy mom, this probably seems inappropriate.  Peeing on things is a hobby for my boys.  Most trees and rocks in my yard, have been watered by Logan, Jack, and…ahem…Trey.  Norah will not be encouraged to pee on fences…unless there is an emergency.)  Jack pulled his swim trunks all the way down to his ankles and leaned his body forward against the fence to do his business.  Logan was mortified and pleading with the adults to stop Jack.  In that moment, something clicked in Jack’s little mind.  This was his moment!  He turned around, pants still ALL the way down, began waving, and shouted “Goodbye Ladies!”  Timing.  Perfect comedic timing.  Trey, Logan, and I laughed the ENTIRE way home.  Logan remarked that this story was going to be one repeated anytime we tell stories about Jack.  Poor kid already has a bit of a legacy at age 3!?

As life progresses through natural hills and valleys, tears will flow and laughter will roll.  I pray that with these kids and my sidekick, we will continue to seek out joy.  I have faith that one of life’s gifts will continue to be perfectly timed moments of this type of relief.

Goodbye Ladies!

Sleep Tight

I used to be a sound sleeper. I could sleep through my brother playing loudly in his room, through thunderstorms, and through typically busy nights in the residence hall.  The only noise that was certain to wake me as a college student was the click the fire alarm made just prior to sounding the full alarm.  To this day, my heart skips a beat when I hear a click in the night and my body becomes ready to jump into action to clear the hall.  #RAprobs

My identification as a heavy sleeper ended when Logan was born. Suddenly I was able to anticipate his cry and awoke with the slightest movement, even when he moved into his own room across the house.  My sleep became even less deep when Jack came along.  Now my subconscious was tuned into two breaths.  To make matters worse, every person in our house talks in our sleep.  A typical night will include Trey muttering incoherently between snores, Logan yelling about a soccer goal, Jack singing about animals, and…well…my talking doesn’t bother me so I won’t detail it here.  Ask Trey though, he typically keeps a list of absurd things I tell him in the night.  For example, apparently I was concerned that one of my fingers was missing the other night.

sleep1Some nights I wander the house feeling simultaneously feeling pity for my wakefulness, jealousy that every other creature in my house is able to slumber, and gratitude that the boys are able to sleep so soundly.  I’ll admit that there are nights that I lie next to my beloved husband plotting ways to enact revenge against him while he snores.  Surely dumping a large glass of ice water on his face or suddenly playing the cymbals would be forgivable offenses?  Logan and Jack may be high energy during the day, but once they are in bed, not even a marching band can wake them.  Despite my envy, I do pray #3 will sleep as well as the boys have been able to do!  Even my dogs are great sleepers.  If sleeping were an Olympic sport, and dogs could compete in the Olympics, Banjo would surely be a medalist.  She is able to sleep in the most absurd positions.  I wish I could have a little hound DNA!  sleep2

In an attempt to improve my ability to tune out non-emergent night noises, I’ve relied on various sound machines over the past several years. I initially used a clock radio that had a bubbling creek option.  Trey hated coming to bed and hearing a creek all night.  I recently discovered an app on my phone called “Rain, Rain” that has introduced new soundscapes.  My current favorites are “Rain on Tent”, “Rain on a Tin Roof”, and “Crackling Fire.”  To make the app even more exciting, users can piece together various sounds.  I have enjoyed putting off sleep while pretending to be DJ Snoozie Snooze and dropping dope beats of rain drops, wind storms, and high tide, yo.  While the app has multiple sound options, I have caught myself daydreaming about additional sounds I’d like to add to the mix.  Below is a partial list of sounds I’m proposing to help all of the light sleepers block out their responsibilities in order to get a better night’s sleep.

  • Golf on tv
  • An ethics training
  • My husband talking about my need to stop online shopping
  • My husband talking about our need to create an updated budget to assist in growing our savings
  • Television shows about Alaska. (Excluding the one featuring the Brown family. They are an intriguing social experiment.)
  • My dog, Mojo, snoring
  • 401K explanations
  • Someone reading a “to do” list
  • The sound of my dryer indicating there is laundry to fold
  • Car wheels on the interstate
  • John Mayer (excluding his blues work) and Coldplay

Until I am able to add the above to my sleep soundscape, I’ll continue to work to prefect my mix with the options I’m given.  I do understand that in just a few short months, however, I will be adding a new person to the home and my sleep will become even more sparse.  At that time, I’ll go back to the drawing board and try to invent new ways to maximize my sleep time.  What sounds work for you?

The Mouse-Rat Black Hole

This morning on the way to work, I noticed a dead mouse in the middle of the road and my mind began to go in overdrive.

  • How did I even spot the mouse?  Did I wake up with super sonic vision powers or was this mouse a victim of medical experimentation and had grown to an unusual size?
  • Could the mouse have actually been a rat?  I think rats have thicker tails.  This guy was belly up in the road making his white abdomen the prominent feature.  Do rats have dark backs and white bellies?
  • Was the mouse-rat large after dining at a nearby restaurant?  Note: I’m not sure I want to visit the nearby restaurants in the near future.
  • Mouse-rat was the name of the Chris Pratt character’s band on Parks and Recreation.  I miss that show.  I do love Chris Pratt…and his new abs.  I also love Amy Poehler and want to see her new movie with Tina Fey.  I wish I could spend the day with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.  I would want to eat at a quirky little restaurant with bad service and laugh with them about the décor.  I would hope the restaurant didn’t have a mouse-rat problem.
  • I wonder if I hallucinated the brown back on the dead mouse-rat.  Maybe it was all white and was actually an escaped “pinkie” destined to be fed to a large snake?  A movie or book ought to be written about a league of mice raised to feed reptiles working together to escape and create a new peaceful colony.  The plot would be similar to The Rats of NIMH, but without the NIMH part.  Perhaps this could be a sequel.  I’ll add this idea to my list of scripts I ought to write but will never find the time to do so.
  • I miss Pinky and the Brain.  I wonder if I’d still find the show as funny as an adult or if I’ve moved on intellectually.  Doubtful.  I’m still a child at heart.  Not in the Peter Pan syndrome sense but as seen in my immature humor.
  • Divided highways make it difficult and inconvenient to turn around and pass a mouse-rat again.
  • If I can’t confirm the existence of the mouse-rat, Trey will never believe that it was seen!?  He’ll remind me of other animal encounters that I was not able to confirm.  (ie. The black snake that I witnessed falling from our ceiling into the middle of the sunroom never to be seen again, the chicken that jumped onto my windshield and rode there 2 blocks before I could scare it off with the windshield wipers, and the sheep that was in the middle of the road near Logan’s school.)
  • Do other people spend this much time thinking about nonsensical things?  Isn’t my ability to get lost in an absurd black hole of imagination a sign of creative genius?
  • Tigers and lions are capable of breeding.  I wonder if mice and rats or mice and gerbils are capable of breeding?  Ligers are beautiful but die at an early age due to their hearts being incapable of pumping enough blood for their gigantic bodies.  I wonder if mice-rats or mice-gerbils would have similar issues.  I don’t like rodents and don’t want to live in a world with rodent hybrids but feel that this information will be beneficial in a future conversation.
  • I need to blog this episode of free association.  Granted, I haven’t added to my blog in months and this would make a very odd comeback, but perhaps someone else’s encounter with a mouse-rat will be validation for someone else’s mouse-rat encounter.  Wow!  How many people have mouse-rat encounters?  I’ve heard that Conway has a rat problem but could it be this bad!?

And this, my friends, is why I have difficulty doing anything productive with my life.

 

 

Embracing the Unexpected

A couple of weeks ago, Jack’s daycare called with news that he had woken from his nap with a fever.  I picked him up and took him right to the doctor’s office.  By the time we saw the doctor, the magical powers of Tylenol had begun to work and he was feeling slightly better.  Jack eagerly stood on the scale when prompted and kept repeating “I see doctor now? I see doctor now?”  I chuckled to myself about his excitement to see the doctor compared to Logan’s near phobia of shots that often prevents him from even reading stories about characters who visit the doctor.   When the doctor came into the exam room, Jack narrated, as he does these days, the entire visit.  “Doctor tickle Jack’s ear?”  “Doctor look Jack’s mouth?”  “Doctor talk Mommy?”  Once the ear infection was located, treatment options determined, and the doctor left the room, Jack looked at me and shared his disappointment.  “Doctor not say ‘no more monkeys jumpin’ on the bed.'”  Poor guy.  The doctor just didn’t behave as Jack expected all doctor’s ought to behave.

You don’t need me to tell you how life is full of unexpected moments.  We all are faced with surprises, twists, turns, and potholes.  Each time I begin to pout about an unexpected challenge, Trey reminds me that this is a typical part of life and that I need to move on.  I feel like I’m good at embracing the ironic, funny, and absurdities around me.  Too often I internalize the difficult unexpected life moments but ignore the exciting surprises.  Maybe I just need more practice with the exciting surprises!?  Perhaps the lottery commission will gift me with a surprise winning ticket if it is to help me learn this lesson?

Lately, I’ve enjoyed watching the surprise on people’s faces (or surprised emoji’s) when I’ve revealed our third pregnancy.  I’ve laughed at how many people thought we were joking because a third pregnancy has been that unexpected.  Logan’s reaction, however, has been my favorite.  He’d become worried because I had been so sick and assumed I had cancer.  No anxiety with this one, right?  Poor kid is his mama’s son!?  Anyway, he burst into tears one evening before going to visit his grandparents because he was afraid I was dying and he didn’t want to be away from me.  Trey and I hadn’t planned to tell him until after we’d been to the doctor but clearly we needed to ease his worries.  We sat him down in the floor of his bedroom and explained that I did not have cancer and he didn’t need to worry.  Hoping he remembered me being sick with Jack and then getting better, I prompted him to remember the last time I was sick like this.  Despite my prompts, he just couldn’t imagine that we weren’t there to tell him bad news.  Trey moved on and said “Logan, how would you feel about getting a new brother or sister?”  Logan was clearly not expecting this question and replied, “We’re getting rid of Jack!?”  Trey and I lost it!  We weren’t expecting that response!  Poor Logan!  We’ve since teased him that he’d better be nice or we’ll keep Jack and get rid of him instead.  He is mildly amused.  He expects the teasing.

My brain is currently swimming with all the “what if’s” that come with pregnancy.  “What if we can’t afford another child in daycare?”  “What if we can’t afford a larger vehicle?”  “What if this baby is just as wild as my other two!?”  “What if Trey and I never have a clean house again?”  “What if I never lose pregnancy weight?”  “What if I lose one of my kids…I can hardly keep up with the two I have!?”  “What if zombies invade and I can’t grab all of our necessary belongings for a life on the run AND my three children!?”

I don’t have all the answers and the difficult reality is that I may never have the answers I need to chase away this anxiety.  In the meantime, I’ll focus on embracing the unexpected; welcoming the surprises, enduring the challenges, and laughing about the ironies.  One thing I can expect is to be entertained daily by my two creatures who give me anything but the expected!

“Jack, did you have a good day at school?”
“YES!”
“Jack, did you make good choices?”
“YES!”
“Jack, did you push your friends?”
“YES! He’s all better now!”

Backpack Treasures

Yesterday was the first day of school.  Logan headed into school with a shiny new backpack, new shoes, and hope for a great year in the 3rd grade.  I was on pins and needles all day.  I couldn’t wait to hear his report of the day.  As soon as he got in the car after daycare, I launched my assault.  Questions and queries flew at him faster than he could respond or dodge.  I wish I could have been a fly on the classroom wall to watch him throughout the day.  While Logan patiently answered “mom questions”, Jack kept interrupting by shouting “BAAAAA!”  Still, the information gathering continued.  When we pulled up at the house, Trey joined in the attack. “Who did you play with a recess?”  “How do you like your new teacher?”  “How much of the teaching did the teacher do and how much did the student teacher do?”  “Is so & so in your class this year?”  “Did you behave?”  “What did you eat for lunch?” … He humored us with answers, patiently redirected Jack’s ongoing “BAAAAA”-ing, and provided additional minimal details of his day before rushing back out of the house for soccer practice.

While Trey and Logan were at practice and Jack was busy playing and yelling “BAAAA!”, I decided to stay on top of chores this year.  At the risk of being too organized or productive, I declared it was time to clean out Logan’s backpack from 2nd grade. Inside his old backpack was a virtual time capsule of the previous school year.  I reflected on his (mostly) good behavior as I thumbed through his behavior folder and shook my head at the hoard of erasers in the inside pocket.

That is when things got weird.

Among the discoveries was an essay he had written titled: How to be an Outstanding Soccer Player LiIMG_2600ke Me.  The essay was well structured, had excellent spelling and punctuation, but was in no way humble.  If there were an “American Idol” show for aspiring soccer players, I fear Logan would be the one prompting tweets like “Clearly his parents only talked him up and never confronted him with reality.” or “This kid might be delusional!?”

I also found a love letter to me!  I’m certain I’m nearing the end of the years in which I’ll find sweet crayon masterpieces in my honor.  (Ahem…there was also a love letter to someone else but I’ll allow the kid a tiny bit of privacy in that matter.  At least my IMG_2604love letter included rainbows and hearts.  Hers just had hearts and dumb ol’ flowers.)

How and why the kid was carrying around 5 year books is beyond my understanding.  Only 3 of the year books were his own, the rest being from Trey’s junior high years.

In addition to the heavy year books, Logan had squirreled away 7 chapter books.  I can’t fault him for this practice.  I ALWAYS have at least my Kindle on my person but often carry 1 or 2 or 7 other books as well.  He’s my kid!IMG_2605

In the same pocket as his eraser hoard, Logan had 15 of Trey’s business cards.  I’m unsure if he was trying to find IMG_2601new sale possibilities for the pipeline or planned to make throwing stars out of the cards.

Perhaps my favorite find in the depths of the backpack was an orange paper in which Logan had stretched his critical thinking skills by brainstorming classifications.  On one side, he had written “Dads” on the top and listed things “nice” dads do and things “mean” dads do.  Apparently “nice” dads make dinner and kiss their kids good night.  Mean dads give spankings, yell, and say no.  “Nice” moms kiss their kids good night, smiles, say yes, and buy their children stuff.  This list for “mean” moms was longer than any other category and I will purposely neglect to include what these horrible people do because I’m clearly NOT one of them!?  IMG_2602

I could gush on and on about how much I love my kids but anyone who knows me knows this fact.  I could also go on and on about how excited I am for each new year and stage but I’m pretty certain I’ve already written that blog entry.  Instead, I’ll say that I’m glad I’m documenting the contents of the 2nd grade backpack and can’t wait to compare/contrast each year.  I originally intended to donate his old bag but after going through all of the contents, I couldn’t let it go just yet.  For the time being, it is tucked in a cabinet for another use.  As I cleared the table and put the backpack away, I realized I hadn’t heard Jack’s little voice in a couple minutes.  I found him around the corner wearing his Daniel Tiger ears and playing with a toy.  I ask him “Jack, can you believe Logan is in 3rd grade?!”  He replied, “I not Jack! I goat!  BAAAA!”  Perhaps Jack will want to use Logan’s old backpack when he is in 2nd grade?  Goodness knows what we’ll find in that crazy critter’s bag!?IMG_2599