Tuesday, September 13, 2011

She's Back

If anyone has been wondering if I have quit writing the blog, the answer is No. I have made several attempts over the last few months, but there were a few reasons that my train of thought was uncontrollable and so now with a quiet morning ahead of me I thought I would give it a whirl.

Reason number one for having thoughts derailed: I am absolutely terrible at maintaining any sense of routine when my kids are on summer vacation. I tell myself I will write, work out, meet friends for coffee, clean my house, grocery shop, shower!! Yet when they are around it is so easy to slip into the vegetative state. The kids are also avid readers. So a typical summer morning has us wandering around the house in our pj’s with a book in hand, eating something absent mindedly, and finally ready to move onto something else at lunch time. So, having read half the day away and with questionable substances in my stomach I am disinclined to work out because then it will be even later before we get going and my body is all jittery from whatever I’ve consumed.

During the school year I do a reasonable job of working out three or four times a week, cooking with regularity, and keeping us all on track. By June it’s all too much and I need a break too. To be honest, by the end of summer I am pulling out the draw string shorts. I gotta, for reasons easily figured out.

Reason number two for derailment: “The Summer of Decorating!” Four years ago we bought the worst house in the neighborhood and have gradually fixed it up ourselves. We have now survived “The Summer of Demolition,” “The Summer of the Deck” and “The Summer of Flooring.” At long last we undertook having our kitchen remodeled, painting walls, and general fluffing up. For those of you who don’t know me, I’ll explain one or two apects of myself, but very quickly. I don’t like clutter, tolerate change, and love to daydream.

The daydream is that the house will reflect who we are, and be both cozy and comfy without looking full. The reality is that for three weeks we had furniture from all the bedrooms all over the house while we painted, and then we began the kitchen. At some point we restored the bedrooms to order, somewhat decluttered the family room, and I declared that we needed one public room in our house that didn’t have kitchen stuff in it.

I can be a bit like Gollum. Walking around the house whispering under my breath, pacing back and forth wondering where all clutter comes from, focused on the ring, the ring being uncluttered beauty. Here’s the problem, it’s all a day dream. For every project anyone takes on it begets two or three more. If you clean a closet you end up at making a donation to the local second hand store, buying organizing devices at another stop, throwing stuff away, and then the culminating project which is trying to get what’s left back in the way you want it. (This often necessitates another trip to a hardware or general purpose store.)

My husband is Samwise Gamgee. Steadfast, patient, willing to bear the burden of wearing my ring… hmm, that could be taken literally. I really mean the ring of uncluttered beauty. Last winter we finally finished remodeling the downstairs, and bought new furnishings for it. For three weeks it was as I had wanted. Then Kinect came into our lives. The furniture started being pushed this way and that to create the optimal playing space, and after five minutes (which was interminably long to me) my husband saw the terror in my eyes and put it all back where it had started out. We laughingly joke that I have OCD, but sometimes I think I’m one laugh away from going over the edge.

Always, always, always, keep your eye on the prize. It is now September, and I have worked out a handful of times, I am writing a blog, our bedrooms are ship shape, the kitchen is mostly finished, and all that I had hoped it to be. All is perfect… well, mostly.

Oddly enough Tori Spelling comes into the story. I was reading an interview of her in Parent Magazine. She was laughing at herself because she thought that once she got her children past the toddler phase life would get so much easier. Her children are three and four. In my world that is still toddlerish. I have always said that having children are the great equalizer in life. Whether you are rich or poor, you will have to deal with a cranky, stinky, over tired child. You will find out who you are and what you are made of.

So our daughter has dipped her toe ever so lightly into the pool of Middle School. With it has brought, through her eyes, tremendous change. She has a new school, new teachers, and mostly new classmates. No recess, gym every day, and all that goes with a little girl transforming into a young lady. We now get up an hour and a half earlier so that the preparations can begin. In truth she walks out the door looking very much like she did in elementary school, but it takes longer.

I will confess to the fact that no matter what time you make me wake up, I will always hate it. Even if I get eight hours of sleep, I hate getting up. I have to talk myself through it every day. But I digress…

There was choice in our daughter entering Middle School; she lotteried into a “choice” school, so there is the option of her returning to her elementary school and resuming life as she knew it. Just like her Mama, she tolerates change. She doesn’t long for it, she doesn’t hate it. I see my beauty struggle and every part of me wants to help her, and I know that accepting change is a necessary part of life. She keeps looking at me with these big brown eyes, wanting answers, suggestions and I think permission to quit.

As a person who moved often, I feel like I have a good understanding of what she is going through. So, we have been chatting about my life and how I coped, we’ve had family pep talks, and asked her to look at the pros and cons of her decision. Just last night she looked at me with tears and asked for help and I gave her my most honest answer, I told her that I had given her all the information I had, that I didn’t have anything new to share, and that I hadn’t purposefully held back the really useful pieces of help that I could give her for the most critical moment. I was tapped out. She just laughed.

I asked her when she thought she might feel like she had adjusted, her answer was, “At the end of the school year.” I’ve often sought a word to replace dazzle. But dazzle me she does.

I think back on the days when she was a toddler and how challenging some moments were, but in fact, they were only moments. Eleven summers ago I remember sitting in a rocking chair in front of wall of large glass windows with my daughter snuggled up in my lap. We were looking out at the garden and the several bird feeders outside. Quietly rocking. She and I watched the birds bob and weave their way to food and dart away from unfriendly feeders. She loved sitting there observing the world whoosh around her. Today when she climbed in the car to go to school she gave me a smile I remember first glimpsing eleven summers ago. There was something in her eyes that spoke of her soul, her mettle, her character. What exactly lies behind that smile I don’t entirely know, and never will, because it is only in the unfolding of her life that we get to know her.