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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Turning Corners

The dust is settling! Well, as much as dust ever settles for me, I guess.

The dog days gave reprieve this week to some beautiful 80-85 degree days. Not much reprieve from the kamikaze bugs, however. We are filling three "beetle bags" a day full of those wicked wicked Japanese Beetles. The bags won't catch the ones that are four times larger, though. Nothing catches them; they are practically indestructible. These critters threaten to ruin six precious weeks out of every summer for me. That's about the span of their God-forsaken lives. I know I'm dramatic, but so are the critters zooming about in droves across our five acres. Disgusting!

I've never been a big fan of summer time. I know that sounds odd to a lot of people, but I'm not a hot weather person, never have been a big fan of swimming or other summer sports, and I've already made my point on the bugs. Last week a client informed me that she saw a Black Widow spider on the doorstep of my office. This week the same client came in with one of those giant green June Beetles riding on her shirt. She must have it out for me.

Despite not being a big fan of summer, I am really enjoying it this year. I am loving the long lazy days with the kids. I have been really really busy with work, but I have been determined that I will play harder than I work. I've been robbed for too long of my time and energy and emotional and physical resources with the inane ordeal I've described here in bits and pieces over the past couple years. I've put it behind me now, and I've found a good groove with the work of managing my own private counseling practice. Now I am putting my attention towards living up the summer with the kids when I'm not at work. The pressure of homeschooling is temporarily lifted, although we continue to read, read, read (because we love it), and are doing a unit on oceans followed by a unit on Oregon in preparation for our nine day stay in Yachats, Oregon in October. Dear Daughter is so excited to have the ocean in her backyard for the week. The kids will get to meet their only cousins for the first time and enjoy seeing their Grandpa and Grandma M.


Dear Son has decided he likes swimming pools after all. Last week I took the kids to the community pool and they both played in the water for three hours and still begged to stay longer. We've also gone to the downtown water fountains to play, to the library lots of times (completed the summer reading program already), to friends' houses to swim in their backyard pools and play on their water slides. We've had water fights in the backyard, played on the slip and slide, and gone to the movies on hot summer evenings.

Earlier this week I took the kids to do some errands and just meander wherever we felt like meandering around town for the day. As we drove along in the family-mobile, I looked in the rearview mirror at the two sweet little heads bouncing along in the second row seats, and I felt my heart swell. I told them that I love being able to just "goof off" with them some days. Dear Son's impish little four-year-old face erupted in all dimples as he grinned, and his yellow curls wiggled as he giggled. He shot a grin across the row to his big sister, who was also grinning and giggling. "What's 'goof off'?" Dear Son inquired with delight because he apparently thought "goofing off" sounded like great fun. It was all I could do not to pull over and wrap my arms around him and kiss his chubby little cheeks.

"Goofing off means having great fun doing whatever you feel like doing!" I informed him, and we proceeded to do exactly that for the day.

Yes, the dust has settled. I have the distinct feeling that it's not just the dust from the past several weeks, but also dust from the past couple years. I'm breathing, relaxing, enjoying peace and calm, and finding my space again. In this space there is room to really notice and appreciate my children--to push all potential distractions aside for pieces of time and just notice them, invest in them, and thoroughly enjoy them.

My girl child is so big now that I can no longer pick her up. She is already disappearing into her bedroom with the door closed to listen to music and read books. She's not quite seven. This isn't supposed to happen until she's 11, I thought.

I can still pick up my boy child, but he is over 40 pounds now, and all legs. There isn't much time left for holding him like this, and it breaks my heart. He loves to mow the lawn with me every Saturday, and I envision 1o years into the future, his yellow curls blowing in the breeze as I turn the mowing completely over to him and he speeds along on the mower all by himself.

When they were each babies, and then toddlers, I wanted it to last forever and felt my heart ache at the thought of them growing into "big kids." While I cherished those years, I'm finding a different joy in getting to do more activities with them now that they are older. We can now spend an entire day "goofing off" around town with no concern of when and where we can change a diaper, have a bottle, find a potty chair, take a nap, or have a screaming tantrum. We can just go wherever the day takes. us. Dear Daughter still has this thing about "I have to go potty" at the most inconvenient times, but she is also now old enough that I can let her go to public restrooms by herself so long as I can watch her go in and come out the door. in fact, I had a moment of great satisfaction and liberation when we went grocery shopping this week.

In the check out lane at the Stuff Mart, my cart was full, and Dear Daughter said, "I need to go potty." Of course you do; it's the most in-opportune time possible. Dear Son piped up, "I need to go potty, too!" Dear Son is quite opposite of his big sister. I have to require him to go potty sometimes because he doesn't seem to notice or care about going until he has to go so bad that the pressure makes it impossible to aim, and it sounds like he is going to pee a hole right into the back the toilet. In short, when Dear Son admits he needs to go, it's serious and there isn't much time to think about it.

I chose a check-out lane where I had a clear visual shot of the women's rest room, and I asked Dear Daughter to take her little brother with her and stand outside the stall door while he goes potty and then have him stand outside the stall door while she goes potty, and then wash their hands and come back to me in the check-out line. I scrutinized every person who entered or exited the restroom until they returned to me, grinning and carefree. It was a freeing moment in which I found great liberation in their growing independence.

I thought to myself how some people barely reach this point with their kids and they bring another baby into the picture. I am quite satisfied to have just two. I can love and squeeze two at the same time. I feel good that attention divided between two is still a generous amount of attention. I can go grocery shopping without having to leave them with a babysitter. I am sure those with more than two are satisfied in their own ways with their beloved brood, and I don't fault them that. It's just not for me. I'm not wired with that kind of patience and tolerance. My heart is overflowing with what I already have, and what I have is enough.

I realized this week that once again we have turned a corner, and Life is good.


Zip n Tizzy said...

This whole post left me with such a warm feeling.

I know that "goof-off" smile, and before you even said it I was thinking, "Ah, it's so nice now that our children are getting old enough that we can REALLY enjoy them."

Then I read the rest of your post.

I'm right there with you. I appreciated babies, but even at the time, I knew it was hard hard work and looked forward to this day. Now is the time that I want to slow down, when they're both capable and full of wonder, but still like puppies. I have to remember that each stage will be wonderful, including when they're grown and our job is welcoming them back for visits and trying to get out of them what they're doing out in the world.

But this time is very special. I'm glad you are having a good summer.

MGM said...

Having a great summer, Z & T! It's great to see you around again!