Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tales From a House of Chaos

Somehow, I was under the crazy, misguided impression that now that I'm not in school, that life would be calm and quiet.  Not sure where I got that idea, but clearly that line of thinking was a rookie mistake.

Trying to run a smooth household, driving the boys back and forth to school and to Ethan's activities (soccer and cub scouts), tending to synagogue responsibilities, plus having time for Adam (and maybe even a little bit for myself) has proved to require artful execution and crisp choreography. 

Though school has been in session for over 3 weeks, this is our first "real week" in terms of having to do the whole sha-bang: be at practices, attend cub scout meetings, turn in homework, plus juggle my own activities and commitments.

During all the racing about, somewhere in between strapping Eli in his car seat to do nothing but tag along with me, helping with math homework and throwing dinner at Ethan on the fly, I've managed to learn a thing or two.

What've I learned?

...that Eli is a complete and utter nightmare to take to soccer practice.  He hates being there even more than I hate having to manage him there.  Sounds pretty mean, right?  Well, it's not.  First, all the other parents must have older kids because they all sit in their chairs, sipping cold water and leafing through magazines while watching practice.  I, on the other hand, am dripping with sweat and cursing under my breath as I chase after Eli who has gone onto the field for the 116th time while he screams Ethan's name.  There is a playground, which I took Eli to, where I was successfully able to occupy approximately 14 minutes of our time before I realized that the language coming from the "big boys" on the playground was entirely inappropriate for Eli to be exposed to.  What I want to know is where kids hear these words and furthermore, how they know how to use them in the proper context.  Thankfully, the coach's daughter adores Eli and was fantastic with him for the time that he would let her entertain him.  So, since Eli's just at that hard-to-entertain-and-contain age, I'm considering bringing along the DVD player next Monday.  And also maybe a straight jacket.

...that you should never, ever put a half pound of cooked pasta down the garbage disposal.  Ever.  And that having a friend that's also a plumber is a good thing.

...that your two-year-old shouldn't empty his little potty into the big potty by himself.  Unless you plan to wash your floors that day.

...and that as a mom, you're never enough of a veteran to keep from making rookie mistakes.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tales of a Fortune Cookie

Adam brought home Chinese food for lunch.
I opened my fortune cookie and it said:

Love waits for one thing, the right moment.

I'm not sure I agree.
I thought back to when Adam and I met.
It was not the right moment.
We were introduced by 
my boyfriend and his girlfriend.
His girlfriend told me they were getting married.
And I was devastated. 
(Even though I barely knew him).

Later, I broke up with my boyfriend.
And decided to enjoy the last of my college days
ignoring men and enjoying the company
of my zany sorority sisters, 
acting silly, giggling and generally wreaking havoc.

Against my better judgement,
I went on a date with Adam.
Imagine my surprise when I realized
that I'd met my husband.
This was anything but the right moment for me.
Yet, we immediately fell in love.
We had much in common, enjoyed the same things.
Dreamed big dreams.
But we also knew we were imperfect.
We argued.  We yelled.  We slammed doors.
We broke up.  Twice.
But we laughed.  Loudly.  And we spooned.  
And snuggled.  We held hands.
We shared inside jokes.
We went on adventures.
And we had each other's backs.  
Though we fought with each other,
we fought harder for each other.

We moved away together.
We began building a life.
We got married.
We had babies.

Adam grew up Jewish.
I didn't.
It didn't matter to either one of us.
Until I wanted a Jewish life.
So I studied.  A lot.  For two years.
And then I converted.
And on the day of my conversion,
I was in my bathroom, 
carefully getting dressed in a lovely 
black and white silk skirt and black sweater.

Adam came up behind me and put his arms around me.
And told me I was helping him to fulfill
his dad's dying wish.

I didn't know what he meant
but he went on to tell me that as his dad was dying
he asked Adam to be sure to marry 
a nice, Jewish girl.

I was stunned.
Adam never said a word of this to me.  
Never guilted me into converting.
Never pushed me toward it.
Never made me feel like I 
should be someone different.
Always just wanted me to be me.
And I realized how difficult
it must've been
to keep that secret from me.

I told this story to my mother the other night.
And my eyes filled with tears.
Adam's silence about knowingly 
letting down his father
in return for a life with *me*
overwhelms me with love.
And then knowing that we didn't 
let down his dad after all...  
...it humbles me beyond words.
It makes giving Adam a Jewish family
all that much more rewarding.
And it makes the process of converting 
all that much more
pure and meaningful.

So does love really wait for the right moment? 
I don't think it does.  
In fact, I think love might even make 
some moments disappear forever.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Plan B

It seems I'm all about
Plan B these days, 
what with taking an
open-ended break from school and all...

...so today, when the 
we planned to go to
got rained out, we had to move
to Plan B.

Ethan doesn't like Plan B's 
anymore than I do.
And my way of trying to teach him
to embrace the Plan B
is to tell him to
cut the crap
& quit complaining.
Adam's method is a lot better.
He points out the positives
and encourages Ethan to do the same.

But, our Plan B was a success.

We ate.

We drank.

We danced.

We watched the world go by.

I was in charge of
controlling the chaos
& keeping the troops happy.
I think I did ok.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mother's Intuition

Remember yesterday when I said 
something was "off" because the house 
was so quiet and things were running so smoothly?  

Turns out, I was right.  
Darn that mother's intuition.
I went upstairs to find this in Eli's room:

Instead of napping, Eli was redecorating.  
With the contents of his drawers and baskets.

Oh.  And, he had turned all
his lights on.
Using his rocking giraffe 
as a step stool.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Something might be off...

....because dinner is prepped, the Rachel Zoe Project is on in the background, Ethan is up in his room playing with Legos and even Eli has stopped knocking on his door screaming at me to "peas open door!" when he should be napping.

...the transition to the big boy bed has not been as smooth as I hoped.  In fact, it's been somewhat disastrous.  My little Eli, who has loved his bed and gone to bed (literally) with a smile on his face almost since the day we brought him home from the hospital, now screams, cries and tears around his room putting on a freak show for me every night.

...last night (or rather, this morning) at 4:30, I heard him on the monitor and peered at the video screen.  He had turned all the lights on in his room (by standing on his rocking horse, er, giraffe) and was scrambling up on the bed, standing on it for several seconds, and then scrambling back off to go stand by the door to scream my name.  I really, really didn't want to get into the middle of his madness so I watched him from my end of the monitor and eventually the little darling turned off all his lights and crawled back into bed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tales of Nursing School Drop-out

After spending last semester on an unintended sabbatical, I spent the summer registering for spring classes, and then subsequently orchestrating, planning and rearranging my family's schedule so I could make the class schedule work for us.  I thought I had it down.  Which I did.  And I thought I was comfortable with it.  Which I wasn't.  But I pushed the creeping thoughts of discontentment to the very back of my head, comforting myself with the knowledge that with big goals comes hard work.  So I set about getting ready for the semester.  Books were purchased, sitter was confirmed, game face was on.

And then, I yanked the rug out from underneath myself.  As much as I love being a student, as much as I crave being a nurse, something was holding me back.  I spent a sleepless night imagining scenarios of how the fall could play out and then rearranging those scenarios so I could get comfortable with them. But the comfort wasn't coming.  It's not the hard work, the long hours, the lack of sleep, the difficult exams.  I can manage all that.  That's the easy part, believe it or not.  But, I hate quitting.  I'm not a quitter.  I made a commitment to myself to get a nursing degree and I didn't want to lose my focus, no matter what might be getting in my way.  Except that what was clouding my focus was the idea that two, possibly three, nights a week my boys wouldn't have dinner with me.  Or with Adam.  As much as my kids and I adore my sitter, she's not me.  Clouding my focus was also the idea that I wouldn't be the one driving Ethan back and forth to soccer practice every Monday (and that I wouldn't even be the one to see him off or to meet him back at home).  And then forget the time just spent in class...there's the exams, the hours and hours of studying, spending Sundays studying while Adam spends time with the boys instead of actually being with Adam and the boys.

I finally had to face reality: though I desperately wanted it to, my school schedule just wasn't fitting into the framework that I want for my family right now.  It's the right decision.  For the right reasons.  I'm sad.  It's difficult to put myself on the back burner, but I have every confidence in my sensibilities and I know I'll never regret this.  Nursing school isn't going anywhere, but man, are my kids growing fast.

So I'm not quitting.  I'm not letting go of my dream.  I'm just asking it to sit tight for a while because I still have a little more work to do here at home.