Friday, October 20, 2017

Stolen Moments

About an hour before these photos were taken, all of us (except Scott, but only because he was at work) were yelling at each other. Someone wouldn't stop singing, which annoyed someone else. Someone else was annoyed by the other two someones bickering and someone else was just screaming at anyone who would listen. So, off to the park we went and the wind blew away our grumpies. 

I love school days out. They feel like stolen moments. Some moments are better than others, but I'm glad to have them all. 







Monday, September 11, 2017

"Friends"

Ugh, guys, it’s happening already and I’m woefully unprepared. I probably would be unprepared at any age, but second grade seems entirely too early for mean girls. This isn’t the first time that anyone’s ever been mean to Grace. It’s happened several times — once right in front of me (that kid got one heck of a mom-stare). But it is the first time it came from a “friend,” someone she really likes. 



So, Grace is normally pretty talkative. Talks my ear off about all kinds of things. But lately I’ve been noticing some things she’s keeping tucked under. 

Out of the blue the other day, I asked her what the best and worst parts of her day were. The best was something like lunch, but the worst, well, the worst just knifed me in the heart. She told me that at recess she was walking with her “friend” to the swings and the friend turned to her and said “Stop following me!” And Grace, feeling the sting of rejection, stuttered for a moment and said “I’m not following you, I’m going to the monkey bars.” I gently prodded for additional insight into the details and her emotions. She then spilled several other similar experiences where this “friend” made her feel unworthy. Grace asked to sit by her at lunch and the girl “allowed” her to sit across from her because the seats next to her were saved for other friends. She waited to walk inside with her “friend” and the friend said snottily “why are you waiting for me??” 

I knew if I pushed too hard, she’d get defensive of the girl. So I didn’t say all the things that were swimming in my head and dying to burst out of my mouth. I sat back and listened, asking a thing here or there. And then I dropped a couple of seeds about what true friendship means. 

Today, she mentioned again about how this “friend” said something about how Grace couldn’t possibly be reading as fast as she was — laughing at her in front of other classmates. Reading is not one of Grace’s strong skills, so there was another layer of pain wrapped in that taunt. 

And I’m just sitting here with a lump in my throat and my heart feeling like it’s tied in knots. Objectively, I know there is a silver lining to surviving mean girls (or boys). Her empathy for others will deepen, her definition of true friendship will develop and she’ll have a story to tell her son or daughter when they come home with tears of their own. I know all of this in my head. But my heart — my heart hurts. I have no idea how many times a day Grace feels unworthy — like she isn’t good enough to be this girl’s friend. I know I’m only getting bits and pieces of what she’s feeling, because rejection is hard enough to live through, let alone recount in detail. 


I just wish I could protect her from it all, ya know? 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Most Magical Summer Ever, Vol. 3?

Ha! I tricked you. You thought we were done. But we aren't done wrapping up summer yet! These are all the bits and pieces of our summer that didn’t fit neatly into a category. Those are the real sweet moments, aren’t they? The ones that don’t have a label or a name or a time, but that just happen and you want to remember them forever. 






























And our summer wrapped up with a lot of good family time … 







The Most Magical Summer Ever, Vol. 2

I know y’all are on pins and needles waiting for the conclusion to The Most Magical Summer Ever. Without further ado … 

Vacation and Summer Sleepover
Ok, so we’ve finally reached the much-anticipated vacation. A friend of ours invited us to her destination wedding in Cancun and we were happy to hop on a plane, enjoy a few kid-free days and celebrate her beautiful wedding. The kids, meanwhile, were happy to spend some quality time with the grandparents. Henry went to my parents’ house and the girls went with Scott’s parents. We decided that all three might be too much for one set of grandparents, especially since one of those three was Henry. Henry asked about us one time and after that, seemed fine with his new living arrangements. The girls had a grand time, too. And Scott and I — well, let’s just say it was AH-MAZING. We woke when we wanted to wake, we leisurely got ready, leisurely ate breakfast, leisurely swam, leisurely walked, leisurely … leisurely … leisurely. Exactly what the doctor ordered for two parents who hadn’t been away from their kids for any extended amount of time in more than five years. 






Camping
A couple weeks after coming back from that leisurely vacation, we took our annual camping trip with my side of the family. In addition to camping, we also celebrated my parents’ wedding anniversary and my nieces’ birthdays. I didn’t grab many pictures, unfortunately, but it was a delightful trip!







Volleyball Camp
This is one of those activities that the girls signed up for at the beginning of summer and then complained about it when it finally rolled around. Scott took them to a few volleyball games last fall and they were pretty into it, so we signed them up for a couple of camps to see how they liked it. The first day of camp was the only day I had to drag them there. The coach was fantastic and they had so much fun, they didn’t complain the rest of the week. Each day they had some contest (crazy shorts, crazy socks, crazy hair, etc). This was crazy shirt day and Claire won!



County Fair
Growing up, I loved the county fair. There was something about the livestock, the carnival rides, the funnel cakes … it was an exciting few days during the monotony of the summer. The girls are developing a similar affection for the tradition. Henry loved it this year, too. Maybe a little too much. When it was time to leave, he threw an embarrassingly huge fit. I just dragged him out by his toes, smiling and nodding to all the people wondering if I was kidnapping that child. No, no, he’s mine. You think I’d kidnap this hot mess? Hopefully he’s a touch more reasonable next year. 












Parks

Oh, the parks. We played at parks like it was our freaking job. We hit all the usual ones, then the less usual ones, then the water ones, and we even hit one in a nearby town. After we tired of the traditional parks, we started in on the school playgrounds. We were interested in finding out which school had the best playground. For a small fee, I’ll let you know how they ranked.