Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Break 2016

Spring Break is here. The air conditioner is running.
I undertook the monumental task of sorting clothes last weekend. I didn't think it was going to be as monumental as it was, but apparently I kind of threw things around in boxes willy nilly last year, and this year I paid the price. I boxed up the size 18 months and the size 4 years, and every one of their long sleeves and pants.
And tomorrow it's a high of 68 and a low of 48.
Guess I jumped the gun. March is like that.
Greystoke has had a continuous ear infection for a month. He finally kind of slept last night, meaning I think he only woke 2-3 times from 10-6. Today he was less cranky and demanding and I think he has finally turned the corner. I am tired of ear infections. Tired of watching his misery.
And most of all, just tired.
I feel kind of old. My neck hurts most of the time from sleeping in strange positions.
But when I stop to look at him for even 5 seconds, I just totally melt. His tantrums are adorable. I love when he twists his face up and says: "no!" Especially because he usually cracks up laughing almost immediately after. He's my sweet little tow-headed baby.
Today I took the boys to Incredible Pets.
Aquaman is trying to convince me to buy him a snake. He said "Mom, I just need someone to talk to, you know? And you won't buy me a dog?"
Does he know the right thing to say to a mother, or what? So I told him, we're not getting a snake any time soon, but let's go to the store and pretend we are, and pick out one and where it will live.
I didn't feel that gross about it.
But after about 10 minutes of being surrounded by snake cages I was totally grossed out. I can't. Not yet.
Not a lizard either, sorry Greystoke. A little dog and all its trials is looking better and better. Or a parakeet. Or a fish. Yes, a fish in a little bowl. The perfect pet.
Other than t-ball, and church, and Incredible Pets, so far our spring break weekend has been spent entirely at home.
We made pancakes. I told Greystoke to say "Pancakes!" and he gave me this look...."No!" Oh, couldn't you just kiss those cheeks?
It rained yesterday. And they bounced all over the bed, and we made Lego creations, and built towers with blocks. And just when I was starting to lose my mind from being inside, like Florida does, it stopped raining. And we remembered the puddles.
We have made so many puddle memories here. Aquaman thinks he is too big for almost everything these days. Playgrounds are boring. The zoo is old hat. He's usually much too busy to bother himself with puddles. But yesterday he played in them again.
When he was a toddler it was only wheels. Pushing bikes or cars or trucks through the puddles in the road. He loved watching them spin. Sometimes I already wonder where the time went. There's no going back, and that's a sad thing, but it's a beautiful thing too. It reminds me to seize the day, enjoy the moment. This might be his last time in the puddles. Probably it won't be. Hopefully it won't be. Almost 6 years we have explored every puddle in the neighborhood.
Aquaman was almost the exact same age that Greystoke is when we moved in.
It's so interesting to see how each child approaches life differently, still with the same zest, but at a different angle.
What an intricate and amazing creator we have.
Wipe out.
He's growing up. He's able to laugh at his wipe-outs now (occasionally). Once, he told me when I got mad at him for laughing when I was upset with him: "mom. If I don't laugh, I will cry, can I just laugh?"
Sweet boy.
The Dude is enjoying t-ball I think. The first inning of his game on Saturday he fielded every ball. He was all over, pushing his way in, fighting for it. Totally the opposite of soccer.

After that, the coaches made him stand on 3rd base the rest of the innings to give the other kids a chance.
But you know what that crazy kid tells me? "I think I liked soccer better than tball."
Soccer, where he barely went after the ball and played patty cake on the field with his team mate the whole time. I think he says it just to say it. Just because it feels good to be contrary. Just because he's The Dude in all his 5 year old glory.

Greystoke is a totally different audience than The Dude was back when Aquaman was playing tball. I had to hold The Dude back from charging the field at every game. Greystoke, true to form, just watches the game. He's a visual learner, the first of his kind in our family, and I marvel that his hands are not always everywhere like theirs were.
Aquaman was a different kind of a tball player too.
He sat in the dirt and built tracks. Often, he didn't realize his team had left the field until they started batting. I love these memories.
Greystoke has already woken up once, screaming and clutching his ear, after sleeping only 20 minutes. I hope it is not going to be a long night.
JT is on his 2nd 18 hour day in a row. I know he must be so tired, racing around the hotel getting everyone drinks and bringing them ketchup.
This time of year is always so hard. It's so much work for him, and it's so lonely for me.
He was off on Friday and he didn't have anything he had to do. No work, no Trinity Fitness training. He came home and we all got to eat dinner together. We went and got ice cream and ate it at the park. The older boys watched part of a movie with him. We crammed a month's worth of weekends into one night, and though I have been doing pretty well with it all, this time of year I always struggle with contentment in it.
It blows me away that most families get to spend almost every weekend together. I wonder how different life would be if it was like that for us.
It's not, and that's ok. But sometimes it just hits me for a minute.
I was sitting on the ground by myself at the tball game on Saturday. When Aquaman was in tball, I remember feeling so insecure because other kids had their mom and their dad there. They weren't trying to corral the younger siblings and cheer for the older one, and drag a cooler full of snacks onto the field by themselves. I felt unloved and embarrassed.
I've grown up since then. I know that I, and my boys, are not unloved just because my husband's job and now jobs require him to work the weekends in the spring.
And as I was sitting on the grass there in my one tank top that is not all stained up and my favorite pair of shorts and feeling slightly awkward but mostly just fine, one of the other mothers came up to me and said "we were just talking about how calm you always are. You've got these 3 boys, and you're doing it alone, and you look so happy and calm."
And I could tell she meant it sincerely, and not in a weird underhanded compliment kind of a way, and I breathed a silent prayer of thanks to God, because that is what hard things do for us, when we sit back and rest in His arms. They make us stronger, they make us calmer. They help us look around see that things are not so bad. Things are actually really really good.
You have to see the bad first, you have to feel the sad, at least I think so. To really know the glad.
It's getting late, and I should be going to bed soon. Greystoke will be up again soon, if I know Greystoke. JT still won't be home for hours, and I'll sleep fitfully until he's beside me because I always do, just knowing he's out there all sweaty and tired.
It'll be an early morning since we have to be out the door by 7 on work days. I feel tired already just thinking about it.

But it's spring break, and I'm glad for that. Aquaman got his report card last week. He is below grade level for neat handwriting and correct punctuation and capitals and doing his personal best, and his teacher said he still feels that he is not trying, but I can tell you something else. He's not anxious anymore. He's not crying. He's not exploding the moment he comes home. He is turning in his writing and he is doing the best he can emotionally and physically do, and I am happy with how things are going. For the first time in his school career I did not check the box requesting a conference because I don't see the point in rehashing our differences. One more grading period and then it will be summer and next year we can start again.
In the meantime, he is loving the gifted program. He has reunited with his best friend from kindergarten who is also in the class. They actually play like regular kids on the playground. I can't tell you how it feels to watch him giggling and being lighthearted and not fighting with another child on the playground. To see them sitting close to each other and his not feeling invaded. There are many complicated days ahead for us I am sure, but things are better right now, and for that I am very thankful.
I don't know what we'll do for spring break. Hopefully I can convince them to spend some time on the beach. I know once the water is warm, they will love it there again. The pool is still kind of cold. We've spent a lot of time just at home. Our little house that still doesn't feel that little really. Just...home.
This morning I set my alarm earlier than the kids have been getting up, but somehow they got up earlier too. I sat away from them, desperate for a few quiet moments before the flurry of another day began, and found myself in Isaiah:
"You are my servants. I have chosen you. I have not turned my back on you. So do not be afraid, I am with you. Do not be terrified, I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. My powerful right hand will take good care of you. I always do what is right."
Isaiah 41: 9-10
"Family of Jacob- you are as weak as a worm! But do not be afraid."
v 14
Sometimes you read a verse, and you just know you can shut your Bible and go forward because you have heard from God. I heard Him there. I heard him in my laughter. As weak as a worm. Fragile and helpless.
Right where he wants me to be.
And not afraid.

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