Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Summer Revelation


Hey Peeps—

I just had my biggest summer revelation of 2011:  I have not been alone since May 27th, the day my children were released from school.  I guess that’s a small lie, since I have been alone three times actually.  Twice I went to shadow my friend who is a Physicians Assistant, and once I had to do some other errands for my upcoming semester of Nursing School.  Okay, now that the truth’s been told, does being away from one’s children three times in a whole summer seem normal to anyone else?  Anyone?

The revelation was startling yesterday.  It happened at Wal-mart as Will, Faith, and I locked hands in the heat and walked to our car.  I never even go to Wal-mart, mostly because I hate it, but thought I’d take some time to be smart and do a little comparision shopping for school supplies.  A.  Their prices were no better than Target, and B. Checker #11 didn’t know my name like Shan over at Supertarget, nor did she tickle my children.  As we walked on the hot, black asphalt with our small purchase, the heat caused my children to groan and complain like I imagine animals living in the Sahara Desert or Arkansas, might do.    I reached into my imaginary bag of encouraging motherly comments, and realized the bag was empty.  I’d used them all up over the course of our exciting summer of camping, swimming, biking, movies, going for ice cream, and your plain ole’ run of the mill fun.

And since I like to keep it real with you, I think I should tell you my other summer revelation, partially thanks to Will who is six, and more observant than most.  The bottom line is this:  I am not aging well at all.  Especially from the neck up.  Will described it like this, “Mommy, you look like salami”. 

Last night when all five of us were home again, and all seemed right with the world, I called Billy outside to sit with me on the swing in our backyard.  Normally as we swing we talk about happy things like Smashburger, kittens, or cute things the children said.  Not last night though.  It was a family business meeting and this CMO—Chief Mother Officer—needed to let her partner know she needed a day off.

Billy is a smart man.  He saw the desperation in my eyes right away.  He listened and spoke calmly to me, like I imagine one might respond to a bear in the wild who was ready to rip someone’s head off.  The man gathered the necessary information, and went directly to work.  He came back within minutes with a list of fun and cheap activities he could take the children to next Saturday, in order to give his gal a little “me time”.   

Instantly the guilt washed over me, as I thought about them being away from me for more than two full hours.  What if they need me?  What if someone scrapes their knee?  Will Billy remember the Neosporin and bandaids?  Will he talk about me in a positive light, or refer only to me as “crazy mommy” when they wonder aloud why I stayed home.  It’s only three weeks until the children and I are back to school, and now I’m not sure I want to be away from them for even five minutes.  I’ll have to re-think this whole plan, maybe over a bowl of frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.  And chocolate. 

In the end I think I’ll let Billy take the kids on an adventure without me.  They will have fun together, bond, make memories, and maybe even miss me for the few hours they are away.  Fathers need to be as much a presence in their kids lives as mothers, right?  Perhaps the alone time will help me find some new encouraging phrases to put in my imaginary bag, and re-energize me enough to face a very hectic Fall schedule.  If nothing else, I’ll just sit on my swing in the backyard, and wait patiently for the garage door to open.  They will run all over the house yelling for me, fighting already as to who will tell me about their adventure first.  We’ll sit together and talk for a bit, and by the end of the night we’ll be huddled up on the couch watching The Cosby Show on Netflix.  A pretty sweet ending to what might be a quiet day.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My summer project: How not to die at Water World

Hey Peeps—

I think everyone should have a summer project.  For one person it might be making cards for the troops over in Iraq.  For another, perhaps it’s delivering meals to the elderly.  For me, I decided it was time to focus on my hair.  After several applications of olive oil to my head, you will be happy to know I think it’s working. My hair is beginning to feel less like hay, and more like hair.  And here’s a shocker:  no one told me it was a good idea to pour olive oil on my head, I came up with it all on my own. I saw my friend Mona the other day at Costco on “treatment” day.  At first she was embarrassed to be seen not wearing make-up, but once she saw my greasy up-do, she relaxed in the comfort of my ugliness.   I guess you could say that true beauty comes at a price. 

One thing I try and avoid is getting chlorine in my hair.  I take the kids swimming regularly, but I do all I can to keep my head above water.  At the neighborhood pool we visit, keeping my hair dry has been fairly simple.  However, Will likes to push my boundaries in the water, and has gone out a little too far a couple times.  I’m always right there with him, as a good mother should be, but I’m happy to say when I’ve saved his life, I’ve also managed to keep my hair from getting completely wet.  

Unfortunately last Sunday, when I had my NDE (Near Death Experience) at Water World, my head was completely submerged, undoing all of my hard olive oil work.  I also lost my $7.00 sunglasses, so that made me pretty mad too.  By the way, if you think you might be a “strong swimmer” but aren’t 100% sure, it might be best to avoid the Wave Pool at Water World.  Or at least stay in the shallow end…which I thought was for wimps. 

Everyone has been telling us we NEED to go to Water World—that if we don’t we are MISSING out on the BEST fun of our lives.  People I used to trust told me the kids would love it, and that we’d all come home safe and in tact.  We met up with some friends who go to WW every week, and they were excited to show us some of the best rides.  I tried to not be jealous of Jen’s ability to carry a 400 lb tube up a hill while talking effortlessly about giving birth without pain medication.  And then there was Billy and Greg bonding over some obsolete guitarist from 1987 that only two people in the world remember.  (Billy and Greg) 

After a few slides, we headed over to the Wave Pool, and our friends explained how to jump over the waves once they began.  Right before the first wave, Faith shouted she needed to go potty, so Billy and I swapped kids—he handed Will to me, and took Faith.  As they swam off, he yelled, “Keep an eye on Jack!”.  Wave number one came.  So far so good.  I jumped, Will screamed in delight.  Wave number two came.  I jumped, Will screamed again, and then I remembered my 11 year old son—the one I was supposed to keep an eye on, who isn’t a strong swimmer.  Wave three came, but I didn’t see it, as I was looking for Jack, in a sea of 4,783 people.  This wave pulled me under, but I managed to keep Will up.  The next 3 consecutives waves also pulled me under, and each time I popped up looking for Jack, while telling Will, “We’re okay Will!  Mommy’s gonna save us.  We just gotta get to shallow waters.”  At this point my friend Jen yelled to me, “Lisa!  Are you in trouble?”  I couldn’t answer, because I was drifting off toward the light. 

Somehow we made it out of the deep waters, to a place we could stand.  My sunglasses were gone, I still couldn’t find Jack, and my hair was completely wet.  The waves stopped, and my friend Jen helped me look for Jack.  We found him a couple minutes later, safely in Billy’s arms, along with Faith.  All I could do was laugh.  I probably should’ve been crying, and trying to find an on-site therapist for the boys, but instead we laughed.  Can’t help it.  It’s how we roll. 

Alas, it was not our Time…on the way home I told the boys we had to go back one more time before summer was up.  Sometimes you have to face what you are most afraid of, and swim right straight into it.  Or jump over it.  Just be sure to wear a swim cap.  And maybe a life jacket.