I dropped Lucy off at school on Wednesday and when we walked into the room, a blonde-haired boy spotted her, broke into the biggest grin his face could hold, jumped up and shouted, “LUCY!!!!” He ran to her with arms open and they hugged tightly, bouncing up and down and giggling. They were so happy to see each other.
“That’s my friend, Mom” Lucy beamed. Her heart was full. She gave me a quick kiss, tossed a, “Bye, Mom” over her shoulder and took off to play with her friend. (This friend is the one she told me she would marry one day, if they “grow up at the same time.”)
If there’s a small child who loves you, chances are you’ve been greeted like that and you know how great it feels. That’s how Bee and Lucy welcome me just about any time we’ve been apart. Julia used to do the same thing. Used to. It’s part of growing up, I guess. You don’t often see such exuberant greetings among adults, save for military homecomings and long-awaited reunions. Still, I’m afraid I’ve been a bad example, anyway. When it comes to the passionate expression of emotions, anger probably tops my list, though that isn’t an accurate reflection of what’s in my heart.
It wasn’t so long ago that I jotted a note to myself to be sure to let my children know I’m happy to see them – to stop what I’m doing for a few seconds and take the time to make eye contact, smile and greet them when they get up in the morning, come home or enter the room I’m in. I realized I was actually struggling to stop typing on my computer or scrubbing the toilet or making dinner to properly acknowledge them. Dave, too. I’m not sure why it’s hard. In fact, it seems silly that I need to improve on giving deliberate attention to the people I love so much and spend most of my time caring for, but I do. Watching Lucy with her friend reminded me of that.
It really doesn’t take all that much to make someone feel sure of your love for them.
Lucy is due to be home from school soon. When we hear the door open and Phoebe goes running for it calling, “Lucy, you’re home,” I’ll be right behind her. She won’t have to search for me to tell me she’s back. I’ll hug her hello and I’ll kiss my husband. On the lips. For more than thirty seconds.
On Friday, I attempted to take all four kids – for the first time since I’ve had four kids – out with just me, and the van blew up. There was what seemed like a little explosion under the hood, then it lost power, and when I pulled over there was all kinds of fluid leaking out. The kids were pretty sure we were going to die or at least have to spend the night there, and then it started to rain. It was really pouring by the time Dave showed up to get us. We had to wait for my mom to get there, too, because we all won’t fit in one car. So, I still haven’t been out anywhere with just the kids and me all by myself, because the world isn’t ready for that, I guess. The universe said so by killing my van.
Mother’s Day was lovely. I was the recipient of a green plant, some brilliant original artwork in my favorite medium (crayon), and a gift card to the spa! The spa!!!!
I was the giver of LOVE, in the form of photographs.
I had seen this idea at The Inadvertent Farmer and knew it was a perfect gift for my mom, so I quickly printed the letters and snapped the photos.
Then I had them printed and framed them – for at home.
And after seeing the idea at I Can Teach My Child, I made them into magnets – for her to take to work.
I also used them to make her a new Facebook timeline cover photo that I fell in love with so hard, I was inspired to update my banner here. Take a look at it. What do you think?
Yep, this girl.
(You know I mean me, right? The one behind the camera.)
She played shortstop.
She had four at bats.
And hit every one.
The kid loves softball. I love that she has Dave to share it with, because I’m not all that sports savvy. (Did you know you aren’t supposed to call them “points” when they score in softball? They’re “runs.” And, of course, I knew they were called runs, but aren’t they also points? Isn’t scoring a run how you get a point?) I don’t know much about the game, but I know my daughter. Playing softball makes her feel good about herself. I absolutely love watching that.
This is what a Time Out looks like.
Those photos are of two of my favorite moments from the weekend, probably because they’re one of the few where I wasn’t screaming my face off about something. (Something like Phoebe taking all the containers of yogurt and opening each one – all six of them – and squeezing them just to feel it ooze over her hands and onto the table and chair and floor and rug. Or something like Julia and Lucy wearing boxes and beating each other brainless in a game of “Robot Fight Club.”)
I’ve been yelling too much, lately. It seems to be what I do when I’m sinking. And I know, I know. There’s lots of good advice out there. Take deep breaths. Count to ten. Try whispering! Ask myself, “Who’s the grown up?” (It’s best to ask and answer that question in one’s head. Yelling, “I AM THE GROWN-UP” to the children doesn’t convince anyone.) But when I get in a cycle of going from zero to nuclear explosion in six seconds, what I really need is a Time Out.
So this is what a Time Out looks like.
For me. (Not the kids.)