Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The "K" Word

If you would have mentioned the “K” word at this time a year ago, I would have shushed you and told you that word is banned in our household. 

Since the day they were born, I’ve been avoiding the “K” word. Back then, it seemed so far in the future. In fact, it was so far in the future I could actually say it without cringing. It wasn’t until they turned four that it became difficult to utter. The milestone that shall not be named. The Big K. The day of no turning back. Kindergarten. 

Not that I was being dramatic or anything. 

Some time in the last nine months or so, I accepted that Kindergarten was inevitable. Being a Mom of babies is exhilarating. Being a Mom of toddlers is frustratingly delightful. Being a Mom of preschoolers is enlightening and hilarious. And it turns out that being a Mom of almost-Kindergarteners isn’t that bad. It’s actually a little exciting. 

They are on the brink of a brave new world. They’ll experience joy and disappointment. Success and failure. Kindness and rudeness. Pride and frustration. And that’s just the first week. 

Although it’s hard not to dread the day that they stop calling our house their home, I’m trying my best to just savor this moment. Right now. Because when you think about it, this journey is far from over. And I’m lucky enough to get to enjoy it with them. 

A few pictures from Kindergarten Round-Up: 

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Dance Inside Her

Dance the dance inside of you. 

About a year ago, Claire said that to her Grandma. 

Much larger life takeaways can be gleaned from those words, but today I’m remembering them in their most literal sense. 

The girls signed up for dance again this spring. On the first day, before we got there, Claire was nervous. She strongly voiced her opposition the entire car ride there. But we convinced her that she’d have a great time. And she did. 

She wanted to go back each week until about mid-way through the semester. That night, the teacher asked them to find a partner. Naturally, she and Grace found each other. They did some joint leaps and then the teacher asked them to find a different partner. She reached for Grace’s hand as Grace hopped up to find a different partner. And then I saw the look on her face and it struck deep into my heart. A look of panic. My little girl who will approach anyone on the street and ask them their life story, had a moment of crippling timidity. She looked side-to-side and I watched as the fear of not having a partner spread through her. She couldn’t move, but she didn’t want to be partner-less, either. 

After that night, she told me each week she didn’t like dance and didn’t want to go. But we kept going. And she kept learning her positions and her dance. 

It was the week of the recital and she was telling me daily she wouldn’t be dancing in it. We talked round and round, but she held tight to her belief that she wasn't going. 

Shortly before the dress rehearsal, her anxiety peaked. Scott sat down with her and talked about being nervous and how it happens to everyone. He told stories of his own anxiety. And by the time we left for the rehearsal, her demeanor had visibly changed. 

She did great at the rehearsal and was no longer nervous for the recital that night. The recital was a hit — with nearly every member of their family in the audience watching as they showed off what they learned this semester. The best part, though, were the days following the recital. She wore her dance shoes constantly and kept doing the moves. “Mom, watch this! Look what I can do!” The pride she had in herself — especially after weeks of demanding to quit dance altogether — was amazing to watch. 

But what about Grace, you wonder? 

She showed no signs of nerves — she boldly walked in that first day, maintained focus during each class and was bubbling with excitement the day of the recital. On and off the dance floor, she is able to be herself with an ease that my 16-year-old self envies. 

This was a good lesson for Claire, but an even better lesson for me. I spent much of the spring wondering if dance just wasn’t her thing, but the more I reflect, the more I realize her anxiety was preventing her from truly enjoying it. Once she conquered that mountain, she was set free. She was finally dancing the dance inside her. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Rewinding: Fall 2014

So, I recently took a trip down memory lane and read about a dozen or so of my old blogs. And although I understand why I’m not writing as much as I used to, I know I will regret it later in life. 

These are some of the best years with the girls. Their awareness of the world is jumping by leaps and bounds and it’s truly amazing to watch them understand how and why things work. They are at this magical age of understanding most of what goes on, while still being so loving and innocent. 

Yet, here I am, failing to record most of it. It’s April and I still haven’t posted any birthday pictures. OF THEIR 5TH BIRTHDAY!!!! 

So, I’m pledging to myself (and I guess you) to try to write more often. I have so many stories I want to share with you and just don’t take the time to write them down. 

To get us started, we’re going to rewind the past several months and show a tiny peek at what you’ve missed. 

Fall 2014

Thursday, April 9, 2015

What If?

The girls have been playing this “what if” game lately. 

Mom, what if all the power went out?
Then we would call the power company. 
What if they couldn’t get it back on? 
They would. They always do. 
But what if they couldn’t??

Then I guess we’ll be stuck inside a J.J. Abrams show. 

Mom, what if we get to the Easter egg hunt and I don’t get any eggs?
You will. There are lots of eggs. 
But what if I don’t? 
You will. 
Grace will share some, I’m sure. 
But what if she doesn’t get any? 
She will. I’m telling you there are tons of eggs. All the kids get some. 
But what if we don’t??????


They are mostly these innocent, yet aggravating, what-if scenarios. But tonight, it took a slightly darker turn. 

After I told Claire that she wasn't in charge of Grace and didn’t make the rules for her, she said:

What if I am a grown-up and Grace stays a kid? 
That won’t happen. She’ll grow with you. 
But what if I do? Can I make her rules?
No. Even if that happened, I’d still be her Mom. 
But what if you died? Then I could be her Mom and make the rules. 
(Grace: I never want that to happen!)
Claire: I do. 
Me: Claire!! You want me to die just so you can make the rules for Grace? 

And then this look came over her face. You could tell she felt guilty. She kept looking at me and then looking back at the picture she was coloring. 

Me: Claire, you don’t mean that, right? 

A moment of silence. 

Then she doubled down. 

Claire: Yeah, I do. 

Then my heart broke. I knew she didn’t really mean it. I KNEW THAT. But it didn’t change how it felt when she said it. For context, just yesterday I read this article about how much your kids change when they get to middle school and how the dynamic changes and how shunned you will feel. So, I was already a little vulnerable on the matter. 

So, I just sat there, shocked at what she said and what I was feeling even though I KNEW she didn’t really mean it. 

A few minutes later I called her into the other room and she immediately crawled into my lap and rested her head on my shoulder. 

We just sat there like that for a couple of minutes before I said:

Claire, you really hurt my feelings when you said that. 

She slowly looked up with her own heart-broken look. She knew she had hurt me. And she didn’t mean to. She just wanted to make Grace’s rules — my death in the matter was just a means to an end. 

Did you mean what you said? 

She shook her head furiously and hugged me tightly. 

I know it won’t always be resolved that easily. I know she’ll say things she doesn’t mean. I know she’ll feel bad for saying them. And I know she’ll sometimes struggle to tell me that. But I also know that she loves me as much as I love her. 

But I may need y’all to remind me of that when she hits her teenage years.