There are times when life just gets away from me in the busy-ness that is my world in the spring. I forget to look closely at the new buds on the trees, the flowers just starting to blossom and the plants that are just coming up and reaching for the warmth of the sun.
Instead I find myself running from the van, to the house, to the school, to the play date, or to the store. I find myself pretending to listen as Miss 11 tells me a story, and when she is done I can't remember what it is she said. I forget things I shouldn't and I stress over the scheduling of the weeks before school gets out.
Hubby is swamped at his job, so life here at home is my responsibility. Hubby has been coming home to sleep every other night, but by the time he gets here, I'm already in bed, and he is home less than 10 hours or so. His springs work involves our livelihood. There is no putting off anything at his job, everything needs to be done and done well for it to pay our bills the rest of the year. The stress he feels and puts on himself is sometimes overwhelming.
Here at home I attempt to deal with all the day to day drama without involving Hubby at all. His brain needs to be at work, and my brain needs to deal with 3 kids and the drama that goes with them. Though there are times that I simply cannot make decisions on my own about certain problems and I have to call for his input, but physically I am in charge here on my own for a while. It makes me wonder how single parents can ever make it without losing their minds.
There are times when he is walking out the door early in the morning, on his 16th day in a row of work, that I have to stop myself from begging him to stay home. Not because I need his help physically for a task or job of some kind, but just because I need him here to talk to, to hug and to touch. The kids need him here to talk to and visit with as well, and though none will admit they miss him, the girls both ask often when he will be home from work, if he'll be home that night, or if he has to work tomorrow, too.
Life here although busy starts to slow down a little bit this week with the return of summer vacation for the kids. Miss 11 had her last day on Friday, the older two have been done nearly a week. Hopefully that will mean more time to visit with each other, to play games, shop, go for bike rides and walks, and generally relax just a bit. But until Hubby can be home with us in the evenings and on weekends, even summer vacation, doesn't feel as sweet.
Yesterday my little Miss 10 aged up another year, so we now have Miss 11 at our house. Unfortunately she wasn't feeling 100%, so her day was pretty laid back, but fortunately she had the day off of school, so she was able to relax and take it easy. She was still spoiled and hugged and kissed and spoiled some more, so it worked out ok.
I've learned more from Miss 11 this year. Last year I posted all the things about her that were special and were learning experiences, and this year I learned even more from her.
I've learned that her abilities and accomplishments can shock me even when I thought I was prepared for them. I'm not a big believer in standardized testing, in fact I'd consider myself someone who has a loathing for standardized tests. (but that is for another post) However, Miss 11 has always, always scored below grade level in the reading portion of such tests. I know they were pretty accurate because I read with her a lot, and I saw the mistakes she made, and she didn't read up to grade level. We worked very hard to change that. This year, on her tests, she scored well above her grade level on the reading portion, and I wasn't surprised. Her reading abilities this year soared! She went from reading easy Disney Fairies books to reading eighth grade reading level books that our middle school classes read for English class, in one year! She is so proud of herself, and I can't ask for more than that.
Emotionally this year was also a big step. Although I knew they wouldn't end completely, the stomping, tantrums and crying rages, have diminished to such an extent that I can predict them, and sometimes avert them completely. They were few and far between this year, and it's because Miss 11 is finally learning to control her emotions.
Miss 11's anxiety, while not gone, has made big strides this year. Although she still gets very nervous, for nearly everything it sometimes seems, she is more willing to take that step and move ahead despite the nerves. This Sunday Miss 15 and her (male) friend decided they would take Miss 11 to the Hannah Montana movie as a birthday gift. Miss 11 was very nervous about it, in fact she said no at first. Even the day of, as she walked out the door, she gave me "the look" that says, "geez I'm not sure I can handle this." I gave her an extra hug, a squeeze of her shoulder and told her she would have fun, and she stepped out the door to do something she wasn't comfortable doing. A few years back she would have refused, ran back in the door and went to her room. She had fun, and she was brave.
Miss 11, you are an amazing child. You have taught us all patience, you have given us laughter and love without reservation. You know when I need a hug and you give them freely. Out of all three of my children you seem to be most tuned in to my emotions, you know when I'm upset, or happy, or sad, and you always ask what's wrong or make a silly joke to bring me up. You love your siblings beyond belief even though you never show them that. I know that at school when you add your intentions during morning prayer, that you always pray for Miss 15 and Mr 19. (your teacher ratted on you!) Wrestling with your dad is your adrenaline rush for the day, and though he doesn't tell you, he looks forward to every morning when you knock him over and wrestle before school starts. He knows that you show him how much you love him by picking on him, and you must love him a lot! Your generosity is above your years, gifts, letters, notes, and pictures are given to all those who touch your life. You are a light to all of us. Happy Birthday, Miss 11! May this year be full of even more amazing milestones.
Edited to add: Today I found out that Miss 11 volunteered to serve as an altar server for a funeral mass. This is another of those big steps she's taken this year. One more notch on her belt in her quest for doing things that make her nervous. When I asked how it went she said, "good, only 3 or 4 people cried."
I had planned to wait for this post until Love Thursday, because lately I'm kind of having a hard time feeling the love on that particular day. But I am so excited and blessed, that I have to share the love today, and not later this week.
Last night was a band concert for Miss 15. It involved bands from grades 7 to 12, along with jazz bands and brass ensembles. Knowing that Miss 10 had band practice, volleyball games and track practice after school last night, we decided that Miss 10 could stay home with Hubby to work on homework, showering and night time before bed activities. I was to go to the concert by myself, which is fine. I knew with all the grades involved it was going to be very crowded, so two less people would be ok.
As the concert progressed and after I had listened to one song from Miss 15's concert band, the band director, Mr. R., began speaking. Assuming he was talking about the song they were about to play, I sort of tuned out a bit. (I know, shame on me!) One of Miss 15's close friends was sitting beside me and sort of bumped my elbow to get me to pay attention. Mr R. was discussing a young lady in his band who was in need of another heart procedure. He was talking about the costs associated with it and the fact that this was the second time she was having it done. I paid a little more attention at that point, thinking, "Oh my gosh... he can't be talking about Miss 15." Mr. R. continued saying the bands he conducts had all taken two days to bring in some cash to help pay for this procedure and would "Miss 15" please come forward and accept this money from the bands to help pay for her medical costs. She stood up and Mr. R announced the total at around $380 from the students, he also said he intended to use 25% of the proceeds paid for admission to donate as well. I was astounded, shocked and misty-eyed. Miss 15 sat back down with her band, and Mr. R also told the audience that he was sending around four young gentlemen with baskets, and if the audience was so inclined would they please put in the change from their pockets if they would like to help out with this cause. Again, I was astounded and again I got tears in my eyes. I watched as person after person dropped money in the baskets, even high school students sitting and watching their friends play in the bands.
Later during the concert Mr. R. brought Miss 15 back on stage after another band had finished playing. He brought her close to the microphone and he spoke again. He thanked the audience profusely and commented on their generosity and giving spirit. Then he announced to everyone as he handed Miss 15 a stack of money that the audience had raised over $1,700. There was applause, and there were more tears from me. After the concert Miss 15 and I went to find Mr. R and to thank him. We brought the money home and dropped it on the table to show Hubby. We both teared up again. This was such a shock, and we were so surprised.
This morning I opened an account at the bank to keep this money safe until it is used to pay for the procedure. The total was $2,331. There was a check for $100, so we can easily thank that person for their generosity, but there was also a hundred dollar bill in the mix. Someone anonymously gave one hundred dollars. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around that. (Miss 15 came home for lunch today and is highly suspicious the anonymous donor was her English teacher.)
We feel blessed. We feel humbled. We feel grateful. There are so many, many people in our community who have needs much greater than ours. Yet the audience and band had it in their hearts to support Miss 15 with this generous donation.
Because we rarely accept or ask for help from anyone in any part of our lives, this generous outpouring has given has terrible guilt, not that we are ungrateful in any way, but we feel as though people are just being too kind. There is no way that we can thank everyone who gave money, there is no way to let people know how very, very much this meant to us. But we are grateful, and we are blessed to live where people give, and expect nothing in return.
Although my finger is not healed, I am getting more and more feeling back in it, outside of the throbbing that I put up with the first few days, I couldn't feel a thing on it. Now when I touch something to it, I almost can feel it, mostly though it sort of feels tingly, like it's been asleep. Although I can almost type with it, it's not easy, so forgive mistakes and lack of posts for just a little while longer.
Miss 10 is enduring a cold the later part of this week. It's so unusual to see her lethargic, and not hopping around like a maniac. Once in a while she'll spark into her old self and hop around, or giggle maniacally, but she's been pretty subdued. It makes me want to snuggle her up and sit with her until she gets better, but then the germ-phobic in me has other ideas. I try to balance the two sides of me, but I know a better mother would just sit with her and snuggle and baby her to no end. I take good care of her, but I just can't get too close for too long before I just have to go and wash my hands. In less than two weeks she'll be turning 11 years old. She's so excited for her birthday. She has the day off of school and everything!
Hubby has been working hard trying to get ready for seeding season. Normal years he has already been in the field by now. This year the snow, melting, cold temps and just this week nearly two inches of rain have really put him far behind. That means he is getting to the point where stress is getting the better of him, it also means that I sleep with a tooth grinding maniac. Sometimes the noises incorporate themselves into my dreams.
We have had clouds and gloom for days. Today we have had flashes of sunshine. When I see these flashes I run out on our deck and just stand and bask in it. I can't wait until we have a full day of sun, I plan to sit in it, work in it, sleep in it, read in it, walk in it.... you get the idea.