Saturday, March 31, 2018

Relaxed, Finally

The last Saturday before spring break ends is a hard day - there is no urgency to complete the to-do list that has followed me around all week (that can happen tomorrow), and there is no motivation for me to do much of anything (although there is lots to do).  So, I helped my nieces and nephews color Easter eggs - and I came home and read my book, until it was done, without interruption. 

And it felt awesome.  Relaxed.  Finally. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spent last evening with some of my siblings and their kids at my parent's house.  It's never really relaxing these days, six nieces and nephews under the age of six means there is not much adult chat, and someone is always in need of attention (diaper, crying, hungry...).  As the oldest in the family, it's with mixed feelings that I reflect on these evenings.  Not long ago it was me with the crying children, but with mine off to college, I feel both the freedom from having little ones and a longing for them as well. 

R texted me from college randomly the other day and said, "Mom, I can't wait to have a kid.  You'd be a great grandparent."  Picking up the phone, I had to check that there wasn't another message woven in. I was relieved when she said, "No, I just meant you would have so much fun with the little ones, and wouldn't that be fun."  

Whew, I thought. I'm perfectly happy with the freedom I have now, and I'm not ready to head on to that next phase in life.  Sometime, though, won't that be fun.  

Monday, March 26, 2018

Facebook Vacuum

It's so easy to get lost on Facebook.  I tell myself that I'm just going to check and see if any family member or friend has posted anything interesting...Three hours later, I've...
  • checked out three amazing weight loss apps
  • closely read multiple recipes for yummy food I'm never going to make, and often I watch the how to video as well
  • read hundreds of comments on the politically charged post that my cousin posted, gasping regularly at what many people express
  • watched puppies slide down a slide
  • watched kittens curled up in flower pots
  • learned how to reuse plastic bottles to make really fascinating things 
  • checked out a cool guinea pig haircut
  • checked up on my children's most recent posts
  • stalked friends of friends, who are not my friends but whom I know, and look at the pictures of their beautiful lives
  • learned how to paint jars to look like antiques
  • taken a few quizzes - where I should live (of course, not where I do), grammar quiz (of course, I'm a pro!)
  • watched videos of speeches, protests, and comedy shows
  • watched my favorite education videos (Gerry Brooks) and laughed hysterically
  • read articles on how to adjust to your kids growing up and going to college (and cried, usually)
  • traveled vicariously by exploring my adventurous friends travel pictures
It is a very interesting and engaging way to learn new things - and hard to pull away from sometimes.  

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Love This Southern Tradition

Today the hubby and I went out for breakfast.  I had the special, eggs benedict and avacado, and he had a western omelet.  Both were good, really, but we both agreed that the best part of breakfast were the grits. 

I had to look up what they really are.  "Small grains of minced white corn boiled in milk or water," this description just doesn't do them justice.  These grits were creamy white, with a velvety smooth texture in my mouth.  They were not watery, but not so thick and dry that the spoon stood up. These were not instant grits - these had been cooked by an expert, for a long time.  A pat of whipped butter sat right on top of the pale pile, waiting for a shake of salt and pepper, or Tabasco if you wish.  A quick stir streaked the white with yellow, and I dove in. 

There are many people who don't love grits, but before you say you won't eat them, I totally recommend finding the right place to try them.  City Diner in Falls Church is the right place if you live in Northern Virginia! 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Can't Take the Middle Schooler Out...

Whoever thought it was a good idea to send middle schoolers to school when there was even one flake of snow on the ground, was obviously not thinking.  Our March snow arrived yesterday - and we all quite enjoyed the day off because of this snow.  But this morning, as hundreds of middle schoolers unfurled themselves from the confines of the buses and onto school property, all I could think was "Mayhem, we will have mayhem." 

And sure enough, I spent most of my 45 minutes of duty this morning hollering, "Put the snow down.  Yep, you, Put. The. Snow. Down.  Drop it," and gesturing with my hand an opening of the fist and downward swing. And I repeated this exercise this afternoon.  Ludicrous, I know, but they all got where they were going safely.

As the last bus pulled away this afternoon, one of my colleagues lobbed a huge snowball towards our school resource officer, hitting him perfectly.  There is something about middle school students and staff that is just drawn to that snow. 

Next time, they're not coming back until it's all melted, none of them. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Changing Terms

Negotiating communication with one's spouse, in the newly empty nest, can be challenging. For the last 21 years our communications have centered on, or been impacted by, the presence of our little people; now we have been abandoned in this nest by those little people to rediscover each other.

My husband's parents shared a piece of wisdom with us early in our marriage: "Give yourself a couple of years before you have kids," they said, "and get to know each other better, because when the kids are gone, you will want a "couple" relationship to return to."  We followed this suggestion, but now find ourselves returning to (rather quickly, it seems) couple status, and I'm struggling a little with the increased communication that occurs because two people spend a lot of time together again.

Early on in our marriage, communication was easy and unfettered.  We talked about what we wanted, when we wanted, typically uninterrupted.  Soon, however, our attempts at communication were interrupted by wails and whines of nonverbal need. Typically when these things happened, one, or both of us dropped what we were doing, a conversation was postponed, or a project put down, to address the immediate needs of our progeny.

Later, our communication focused on the physical needs of the kids, ranging from, "Are you able to fix dinner?" to "I've got a late meeting, are you able to do pick up?" And, the days flew by so swiftly that there wasn't much time for additional communication.

Most recently, during the last years of high school our conversations have gone like this: "Did you see R this morning?  What were her plans tonight?  Was she driving?  Who was she with? Did she say when she might be home?"

Now, spending more time than ever together, even with both of us working, communication (how and what we say to each other) needs to perhaps be more carefully considered, before it is begun.  While the emptying of the nest may make some aspects of life more simple, there are other aspects that rise in complexity.  Continuing to reflect on this, for me, will be important.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Snow Day?

The prediction of snow still, even after all of these years, makes my heart skip a beat and my mood swing upwards.  Yesterday I spent in a slump, mostly doubting the varied predictions that were being thrown our way by our local meteorologists.  "Well, it could really be bad," said one, while another stated, "There is a chance that nothing could come our way." 

Today it poured rain, all day long; and the temperature slowly dropped over the course from when the kids were dropped off until they got picked up this afternoon.  As the temperature dropped my hope began to pick up.  Maybe the snow that may or may not arrive will give us a day off of school?!?

The irony is, even if school is cancelled, administrators often still report - so I might not have the day off - but, the energy is contagious and the excitement for a day off leaps like a flame from one staff member to the next.  When the children walk out to the buses, they too have caught it...."See you Thursday, Ms. E. Smith!" one hollers. 

"Ice cubes in the freezer tonight, pajamas on backwards," I hollered back, smiling and waving as the buses pulled away.