Friday, September 16, 2016

Because it's Friday

What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, my daughter was on the auction block, I was ready to run away from home, and what little homework my kids brought home was more confusing than iTunes. Today, my daughter brushed her hair without me asking, I'm home sick, and the children have not run away. I'm calling this a win.

At 11, Ethel was less than thrilled about going to summer camp this year until she found out that some of the kids from the last couple summers would be going again this year. Fred is rather indifferent about these things, but will sometimes admit that he'd like to stay home once in a while instead. This summer we totally lucked out in the game of childcare, in that my mom agreed to take the kids for a spell over the summer. Yes, that's right, we were CHILDLESS for THREE WHOLE WEEKS!!!!

What do parents do when their children are gone for such a time? That's a really good question, and we spent the whole three weeks trying to figure that out.

Loaded and ready to head to sunny skies.
Ethel doing her best, "I'm not going to cry".

For the kids, there was plenty of fun, sun, swimming, junk food, sleeping, and time with their Nani. Nani has reunited with a friend from high school who is also navigating his golden years on his own, and they have joined forces to navigate those years together. In talking to the kids about how to address him, Fred offered the sweet name of Professor Poopy Pants, after a succession of other names which can't be blogged at this time. The kids took to him like butter to toast, especially Fred, and they had such a great time in Florida, as pictured here:

Hi, Mom! It's so SUNNY!

So what did Mommy and Daddy do for three weeks? Well, I'll summarize it by telling you that the house is clean, the kids' rooms are cleaned and purged, and we kept the three fish and two cats alive. Another big win. Prior to departure, Ethel's greatest fear was that we would let the cats and fish die, as parents are apparently inept when it comes to feeding and caring for animals. The argument makes total sense to an 11 year old, so we agreed to do our best with the pets, but made no promises. We won the bet. We did get to see the kids on Skype on occasion, which was reassurance that they were not running away with the circus. Well, sort of.

We did get out a little and have some time with friends, Daddy tried to learn how to take a selfie, we went away for a few days, and, best of all, I had a break from the never ending cycle of trying to plan and execute meals that all of us would eat. The grocery bill was lower than it's been in 12 years! Sadly, my life is exciting enough that this made me super happy. As in, I haven't been that happy about groceries in a long, long time.

Daddy trying to learn the art of the selfie.
I admit that the last week of the trip, I was pretty anxious about the kids' return. I was both excited and bummed about planning meals, the start of the school year, and early morning alarm clocks. You don't realize what takes up your time until your kids are gone. A friend of mine was right when she said, "It makes you wonder what you'd be doing with your time if you didn't have kids". Yes, this. Nobody needs anything. Nobody interrupts you with demands or fights. The house was so.very.quiet. And clean.

Little humans make such messes. Little humans usually don't clean up those messes. Lucky for our little humans, we got a brand new vacuum cleaner while they were gone! In all honesty, this excited me more than the grocery thing. It's wonderful. We have now taught the kids how to use it, and using it is on their list of weekend jobs. This does not excite the little humans. At all.

We're off to a good start to the school year, too. Ethel started 6th grade and takes the bus for the first time. She joined cross country, and came in 12th overall for 6th grade girls in her first meet. She's got a strategy for placing higher in the next meet. Fred is in his first inline hockey league. Skill-wise, he's in the middle of the pack on his 10-kid team, and is getting better each day. Scouts is back in swing, and we're about to become popcorn pushers. Oh how I love that popcorn.

Where do we go next? Well, Ethel has declared that she is going to make her Halloween costume this year. She wants to be a unicorn. When asked about this costume, I was advised, quite gruffly, "You'll SEE!". Will she trick or treat? "Of course, why wouldn't I {complete with eye roll}?". Stay tuned. Fred is still undecided on his costume.

Until next time.....