I want to remember

A few weeks ago P. Bibby helped me unload the dishwasher. She arranged the plastic cups on the counter and declared "these are the kings of Enchantia!" in a loud voice. She was wearing a rainbow tutu and her cape that is supposed to be Elsa, but looks more like a Mexican wrestler since it was purchased at some tourist trap in Ensenada. It was one of those small, but memorable moments that I want to remember forever because it was weird and cute and hilarious. 

Most days I can't believe that my baby is five-and-a-half, can dress and feed herself, and is going to kindergarten every day. In many ways, the intense baby years are behind us and are not coming back. I'm slowly getting rid of baby toys, board books, wipes, and other paraphernalia stashed in the corners of my house. Longtime readers of my blog will probably know how happy I am to leave those years behind--the stress and angst of the last decade are quite thoroughly chronicled here. At the same time, I feel a bit lost and a bit like things went much too quickly. I wish I could have had more time as a stay-at-home mom with little kids, especially in a nice house with a husband who had a stable job. I barely got the chance with P. Bibby, and sometimes I feel sad that she has spent a lot of her early childhood hanging out with other people instead of me. 

But, as I tell the kids a lot of times "you get what you get and you don't get upset". As I type that, I realize that it probably sounds like trying too hard to shut off negative feelings, so maybe I shouldn't say it too much. I think it's OK to feel sad about the things you don't get or the ways that life is unfair. At the same time, you just have to move on from where you are at. I still don't like working full-time, especially during the summers. I wish I were home more, had more flexibility, or even more vacation time. I have, however, started enjoying the evenings and weekends more with the kids. It's partly the fact that I feel more relaxed than I did when they were younger, and partly because they are more capable and we can feel like we are doing things together, rather than me just bossing them around. In the evening I have the kids rotate between the jobs of preparing dinner, cleaning up after dinner, and helping with the dishes. They are all enjoying this, and I like spending time with them in the kitchen. It's also nice on weekends to have kids who are old enough to get up before I do and feed themselves breakfast, and leave me alone while I shower. Bliss.

This summer we spent a week on vacation, and while vacations as a parent aren't always relaxing, it was still a lot of fun for all of us. We drove to Las Vegas for a few days, then down to California for a few more days. In California I found a great little house for us to rent a few blocks from the beach, and we spent two days at Legoland as well. We walked on the beach, explored the wetlands, ate fish tacos, rode most of the rides at Legoland, and got pretty sunburned. The driving was not pleasant--I like to travel, but long drives apparently make me stressed out. Other than that, it was a nice trip. I'm glad I spent the time and money to go, and I know the kids appreciated it. Next spring I'm hoping to do a study abroad, which will mean that I won't have time or money to take the kids on vacation next year (hopefully more on that in a different post--trade-offs can be hard).

Now we're back in school and everyone is happy with where they are. S-Boogie is in seventh grade, which means she gets to be at her own school and she gets exciting classes like band, Spanish, and advanced math. Little Dude is in fourth grade, and takes his morning responsibility of walking his little sister to school very seriously. P. Bibby is happy to be in kindergarten in the mornings, and in the afternoon she gets bussed to the daycare we used last year. I started another semester and am taking a fun class on databases and searching (yes, it really is fun). I had to fill out a progress report and realized that I can graduate next December. On the one hand, that feels like a long time to go, but on the other it means that there is light at the end of the tunnel! 


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