Tuesday, August 23, 2016

News & Notes, Where Did Summer Go Edition?

Seriously, how is it almost the end of August?  As usual, this summer has flown by, and I'm now in the panic mode of clawing on to the last bits of summer with every last ounce of strength I have.  I'm not ready to wear coats and socks again, or start planning our fall activities, or sift through loads of school paperwork.  Not that unscheduled summer chaos is much better, but I'm just not ready.  Maybe part of me is discouraged because these difficult family dynamics of ours have made spontaneous summer fun a bit more challenging this year.  I have had way less motivation to drag us off to some festival or lakeshore excursion or evening ice cream run because I know that most likely it will end with two cranky kids and two angry parents.  Everything is exhausting right now, mentally and physically.  So as much as I normally panic about the summer bucket list, I feel like this year I didn't even build the bucket list as much as normal because expectations were forced to be low.  Sigh.

Sunday I had a rough day.  For the most part it actually wasn't a terrible day.  Church went fine, the kids had a period of actually getting along, and we didn't have anything we had to do.  But I had a moment where I realized I was just spent.  All the noise, all the nitpicking between the kids, all of the stress associated with Jacob's issues, all of it just got to me and I shut down for a few hours.  No tears, just hiding from the world for bit.  We were back to the therapist yesterday, so hopefully we can try a few more things and see where it goes. 

On the bright side, we got some good news last week that Jacob has made an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) Lacrosse team.  It's going to be an interesting experience, as there are a few long trips for tournaments and it's going to be his first experience outside of the team he's been on since he started playing.  It should fill the gap before his fall season well, but we'll have to see where things go beyond that.  What we love about this opportunity is that it is a Christian-based organization, and he can certainly use more of that. They prayed in a huddle during tryouts, and I think that sort of practical application will be good for him.  He's so used to seeing prayer either at church or home and I think both of those things are sort of boring to him, so maybe this will help him see things in a different light.  He's excited, though, which is good.

We got his school packet last week, so now we know the name of teacher.  Unfortunately, his school is under summer construction, and they won't be having any sort of pre-first day event.  We're used to going in a week or a few days early, dropping off supplies, and meeting his teacher.  But even the event they were supposed to have if construction was done wasn't going to involve staff.  I know he's in third grade and we're getting out of the hand-holding phase, but this is his first year in a new school so it would have been nice to get a preview for this year, at least.  Of course, this is coming from someone who had home visits from my teachers right up through eighth grade, so I may be biased.  Those visits were awkward and nerve-wracking, no matter how cool the teacher, but I'm sure it made me feel a little better going in.  The other bonus of those preview days at school was that the rooms already had names on the desks so you could see who was in the class.  He'll be going in on the first day totally blind to everything, which carries some excitement all its own, but I fear that the unknowns of the teacher, classmates, and school will be a bit much for his anxiety level.  Even in high school I had an orientation that took the edge off a bit (or perhaps added to it!).  He has four days of camp left and then we have a week to fill between the two of us and my parents.  Hopefully we can finish up summer on a high note for him.

On the Carter front, we're definitely dealing with more attitude and listening issues.  I think he's learned some of it from watching Jacob, but the rest is definitely normal three-year-old stuff.  But as long as he still hugs me at the end of the day, we're good.  I did put away some of the little kid toys this weekend, including his baby basketball hoop, his ride-on car, and the beloved Incrediblock with the Peek-a-blocks, the fabulous eBay win I got when Jacob was only a year old.  That one is going to be a long-term keeper, I think.  The blocks themselves are pretty timeless, and the big block works for a lot of ages.  It was sad to see them go into storage, but it was time.  In their place we brought up the Imaginext Batcave, the one Jacob got for Christmas when he was the same age Carter is now.  I like to give Carter something around his half birthday since there's such a large gap between his birthday and Christmas.  He's loving all of the bells and whistles on it (elevators, light-up bat signal), and he's enjoying all of the guys that go with it.  There are a ton of other toys waiting in the wings, but we need to find places for them.  Part of it involves getting him a new bed with storage drawers, but with all of the other expenses lately, that's been on hold.  But he's getting to be such a big kid--taller every day, it seems--and eating like a house some days.  I can't believe he's only six months away from turning four.  I freaked out the other day when I realized that means that he's only six months younger than Jacob was when I got pregnant with Carter.  That doesn't seem possible. 

Speaking of not possible, 20 years ago today I left for college.  That means I met my roommate Mary 20 years ago today, which is mind-blowing.  How did my newest best friend become an old best friend?  That was such a monumental moment in life, for so many reasons, and I can't believe there are officially two decades separating me from then.  Last night I was thinking about that same night 20 years earlier, as I had a bit of a breakdown at bedtime worrying about what the next day (and the rest of my life) held.  I don't blame myself for being nervous, but looking back I would switch problems with my 17-year-old self any day! 

A few months back my mom gave me albums she had assembled over the years, and the drop-off pictures were in there:  
Sitting in my parents' living room with all of the stuff that was going to be loaded into the car momentarily.  It was an early morning and I was a serious grump about going, hence the forced half-smile.  I can only identify a handful of items, including a case of juice, my CD rack (with a towel taped over them), bedding, and a couple pennants.  It was a little overwhelming to be 17 and trying to move your life somewhere else.

Another half-hearted picture, this time half unpacked in my dorm room.  I'd have the walls and desk full of stuff rather quickly...but at least I had a place to sleep (albeit rather uncomfortably at that point, as I had not yet discovered the joy of the egg crate foam pad).  But how about that 90s look I'm rocking with the jean shorts?

This is the first picture of Mary and me together, probably a couple minutes after we met.  We had no idea at that moment that we'd just met a soulmate and the person who would make our college experience more wonderful than we could have imagined.  We were instantly inseparable and within a week I think we pretty much knew this friendship would be for the long haul.  But at that moment we had no idea what we were getting into and we just tried to put on a brave face for the parents.   
Oh, what I'd give to transport myself back to that day, adjust my attitude, and watch the magic unfold one more time.  I had no idea how monumental it all was.  It's so amazing to look at these photos and realize just how young we were!  Who thought it was OK to send that kid off on her own?!

It's been fun reminiscing today, but as much as I'd like to time travel, the reality is that I'm rooted firmly in the present--husband, kids, work, house--and those are the things that need my focus right now.  I wish it wasn't so exhausting, but just like my college experience, I hope there are happy things ahead.


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