Friday, September 28, 2012

Pick A Mile

This morning I did it.  I signed up for the half marathon.  I'm not going to lie...I'm freaking out a bit.

I ran 8 miles last weekend and it was rough.  This Saturday I will attempt to run 9.5.  Next weekend it will be 11, followed by 12...and then the big day.  13.1 miles.

It seems insane to me.  Why in the world would I put myself through this?  This is why.

So here's the deal, I need a favor from all you folks out there that love me so much.  Running is not so bad when your mind is off wandering.  Running is tough when all you're thinking about is putting one foot in front of the other.

I need you to pick a mile.  Pick a mile and leave it in my comment section.  Pick a mile and email me about it.  Pick a mile and post it on my facebook page.  I don't care how you let me know, just pick a mile.  Multiple people can pick the same mile.

My thought is that I make a list and during each mile I focus on someone special in my life (that would be you).  I'll think about fun times we had together, upcoming plans, a special moment...whatever.  That's my job to come up with the content.  I just need you to pick a mile.

You can pick any mile except 12 or 13.  Mile 12 will be for Clif, Ainsley, and Freddie.  Without them being so awesome I would never have been able to get through this training.  Mile 13 will be for me.  Let's face it, this race is benefiting, or hurting, me the most.  So I'm going to give myself a mile.

So there you go...that's my request.  I need at least 11 people...I hope I  have 11 people reading this.  I'll write down your name next to whatever mile you choose and I will spend that mile focused on you and why you are so special to me.

It's the only way I'm going to get through 13 miles, 2.5 hours, of running.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Freddie Speaks...On Preschool

His little head pops over the crowd of 2-year-olds and the smile spreads across his chubby cheeks.

"Feddy, you mommy here" a little voice is heard above the rest.  But he's already running and skipping towards me.

"Mommy!" he squeals as he leaps into my arms.

"Hi buddy.  You ready to go get Ainsley?" I ask.  We're always in a hurry leaving preschool.  Ainsley's bus comes anywhere between 4:13 and 4:27.  It's almost 4:00 and who knows how long it will take me to drive the 3 miles to the bus stop at this hour.  Gotta love that NOVA traffic.  Keeps you on your toes.

He runs out the door yelling "Bye-bye Miss Efny" and heads down the hall.  His teacher's name is Miss Tiffany, by the way.

He giggles all the way to the car and climbs up in his seat.  I buckle him in as he smiles and says "Ove ewe, Mommy."

"I love you too, Freddie" I respond.

We pull out of the parking lot and on to the main road as he asks me about which direction we're going and tells me which way Daddy goes in the morning.  The kid is always interested in how we're getting somewhere.

"Mommy, I cy for ewe day a peeskool." (Mommy, I cried for you today at preschool)
"You cried?" I ask.
"No, my no cy for ewe." (No, I didn't cry for you)
"You didn't cry?" He smiles and nods in my rear view mirror.  "That's awesome buddy, I'm so proud of you.  You're such a big boy."
"Yesh, me big boy.  My happy peeskool.  Me ove it." (Yes, I'm a big boy.  I'm happy at preschool.  I love it)
"I'm so glad, Freddie.  That makes Mommy so happy!"
"My no cy for ewe a peeskool.  My wait for ewe and ewe come see me a peeskool.  We go get Aidey." (I didn't cry for you at preschool. I just waited for you and you came to get me at preschool.  Now we're going to get Ainsley.)
"That's right buddy, Mommy will always come get you at preschool."
"Yesh." He turns to look out the window.

"Yook Mommy, fietuck!" (Look Mommy, firetruck)

And with that my worries are relieved.  I would still rather be home with him.  I'd still rather not rush through traffic every night hoping that I make the bus on time.  I'd still rather be room mom and set up play dates and do laundry during nap time.  But for now, this is life and it's a good one.  And if my two year old is telling me he's happy, then that's all I need.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Mom (or Dad) Guilt

Freddie was very excited about going to preschool.  We talked it up and told him about new friends and playgrounds and teachers and arts and crafts.  Up until he started, he could only remember the in home daycare that he attended every day with his sister.

He talked about it.  He jumped up and down about it.  But then that day came and he was not thrilled.  I don't think he realized we'd be leaving him there.  I don't think he realized that Ainsley wouldn't be staying with him.

I guess that's my fault for not preparing him.  I gave him all the good parts, but I neglected to tell him the parts he wouldn't like.  Honestly, I didn't even think about it.  I didn't think that keeping him apart from Ainsley all day, every day would be that big of a deal.

But it is a big deal.  It's a big deal that we leave him in a new place.  He likes his routine.  He's not a fan of change.  It's a big deal that we leave him with people he doesn't know very well.  He's not as outgoing as Ainsley.  He's shy at first.  It's a big deal that he's not with Ainsley all day.  She's been his constant for the last 2.5 years.  She's his best friend.

He's having a hard time adjusting and it's making my mommy guilt rear it's ugly head.

I thought it would get easier as we went along.  There's really nothing I can immediately do to change our situation.  We have bills.  We have debt.  We have responsibilities.  And none of those things can be met on one salary.  Clif may be the breadwinner, but my job and my salary are just as critical to our survival as his.

So accepting that, at this moment it's out of my control, I thought would make it easier.  My kids are getting older, they've never spent week days with me.  So it should be easier right?


Freddie is struggling through his days and it's tearing me up.  I can't stop thinking about it.  He's not doing better once we leave.  He's sad and he doesn't seem to be improving.  He needs stability...he needs security.  And right now, I don't think he has that.  Maybe time will make it better, but how much?  Is it fair that he has to feel this way?  I feel like he's missing out because of my financial problems.

So Clif and I are sad about it.  We want to make a change, but we don't know how.  Every penny we make is accounted for.  Even if we take the enormous cost of daycare away, it does not balance out.  We still end up in the negative.

I'd quit my job in a heartbeat.  If there's something quicker than a heartbeat, I'd do it that fast.  This place...this means nothing to me.  My one and only motivation for coming here day in and day out is $$$.  I spend a lot of my free time trying to come up with ways to make money at home, with my kids nearby.  It never really lands me anywhere productive.

There was a time that I was told to follow my passion and the money would come.  I actually believed that.  Problem is, my passion is my family - which I don't really see as a problem, but I'm sure my landlord would think differently if I stopped writing him a check.  There is no job that I have had or will ever have that will make me feel anywhere near as fulfilled as my kids do. 

So there's my rant.  Nothing new.  Same old feelings coming to the surface again.  But how do I fix it for Freddie?  How do I make sure he's living the happiest life he can?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Little Brothers

Ainsley is an awesome big sister.  For the most part, she tolerates Freddie's antics well.  However, there are times she gets annoyed.  I don't blame her.  He's annoying...especially when you're a big 5 year old Kindergartner and he's still kind of a baby.

But I tell her that Freddie will be her best friend for life.  Even though she may fight with him now, he'll always love her, always look up to her, and always stand by her side.

I'm sure she doesn't really get all that yet...definitely not when he's trying to steal her dolls.  Ainsley's the oldest, so she's asked to give in more, she takes the blame more, she compromises more.  But she loves that little guy with all of her heart.  Freddie doesn't often return those hugs and kisses.  He usually gets mad and pushes or hits or yells.

Freddie doesn't remember a day that he's spent without Ainsley.  When Freddie and Ainsley were in separate classrooms in a daycare in Richmond, Freddie was only 9 months old.  She's always there, even when Mommy and Daddy aren't.  There are times that he gets in trouble and goes to her for cuddles and love.

On the first day of school, he didn't know what to think when we all left him in that classroom.  He just stood there, kind of frozen, not sure what to say. 

When Clif and I picked him up that afternoon he asked about Ainsley.

On our drive home, he told us about his first day.

Freddie: Me cy a peeshool. (I cried at preschool)
Me: Why'd you cry? 
Freddie: Me wan Aidsey.  (I wanted Ainsley)

At the bus stop he jumped up and down every time a bus came, and was let down every time it passed.

When she stepped off the 4th bus that drove down the street I heard him yelling from 20 yards behind me.

"Aidsey! Aidsey! Aidsey!"

He ran and threw his arms around her before I could even tell her hi.

"I ove ewes Aidsey." (I love you Ainsley)

As a parent, you worry about everything.  You worry your kids will be lonely, that they won't make friends, that they won't know what to do without you, that you'll do something to horribly derail their childhood.

This makes me worry a little less.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Remember Me

"Okay," she laughs.  "Are you ready?"

I nod.

"You are going to live in a mansion, drive a tractor, marry Micheal Jackson, and have seven kids."  We look up from the paper and erupt in giggles.  I roll back onto the cool concrete and catch my breath.

"Want me to do yours again?" I ask.

"No, let's go play with your Barbies." She responds and we run across the driveway and in my front door.

I have lots of memories of her.  Her grandparents were my neighbors.  Her cousins lived across the street.  We didn't go to the same school.  We lived in different states.  I can't remember ever meeting her parents.  But we used to fantasize about going to college together and being in each other's weddings and living next door to each other and our kids playing together, just like us.

That was probably 25 years ago.  We moved away, and I don't think I ever saw her again but she left a mark on my heart.  I remember our summers together - exploring the woods, picking berries from my grandmother's bushes, dancing in my front yard, kickball in the street.

Her cousin friended me on Facebook.  Immediately I thought of her.  Wondered where she might be.  Thought about what she might have done with her life.  Was she married?  Did she have kids?  Does she ever return to her grandparents' house and remember those long afternoons?

And then...a picture of a little girl on her Facebook page.  One that looks just like her with long dark hair and a big, bright smile.  It is the little girl I remember, the one that will always be in my mind because that's how I saw her last.  The grown woman in the other pictures seems distant - not necessarily the same girl.  But am I?

Would she recognize me?  Would she accept a friend request?  Even the anonymity of the online world doesn't provide the cover I need to be brave.

I click the message box and cautiously type, "Hi, do you remember me?"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

News Bulletin!! Hell Freezes Over, Talking Goat is Elected President, and Pigs Sprout Wings

Remember this post?

Well, last night we moved the bed back to Ainsley's room.  I had been thinking I wanted to try it, but our nights and weekends have been so busy that I really didn't think it would happen until the end of this month.

But then, last night Ainsley...I mean, I'm almost afraid to type it...ASKED to move her bed back.

Clif and I both stared at her dumbfounded for a few minutes, then immediately moved the bed before she could change her mind.

So she got her new unicorn pillow pet, her new LED night light, and today she gets a sticker towards going to Chuck-E-Cheese.

And bedtime went perfectly.  No serious tears, there are always whines and fake tears.  No getting out of bed.  No 5 million bathroom trips.  No fights.  No screams.

I went upstairs an hour later and she was her herself.  I asked Clif to slap me to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

I wonder if her bus driver is slipping her happy pills.  Maybe her teacher is hypnotizing her.  Because seriously, not in a million years could I have dreamed of this happening!  I was sure the move would be painful, and may not even work until she was 22 or so. 

These kids keep me on my toes, that's for sure.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kindergarten Eve


I'm going to try not and cry as I write this.  But I guess it would be better to do it now instead of at the bus stop tomorrow morning.

Tonight feels different than most weekends coming to an end.  Tomorrow you take a huge step in life.  You start Kindergarten and you are so thrilled.  I am so excited for you.


I'm petrified.  So afraid of something hurting you or scaring you...I just want to hop on that bus with you to make sure you have a seat.  Then I want to follow you to your classroom to make sure you don't get lost.  I want to sit in the room all day to be sure you're heard when you need to be.

It's really hard to let you go.  I know you're not going to college or moving across the country, but this is a big let go for me.  I've always been the one in control.  Sure, you've gone to daycare but it's different.  I don't get to drop you off in your room and chat with your teacher and call to check on you.  I have to just trust that it will all be taken care of.  I have to trust people I don't even know to make sure you're okay.

Are you ready?  Have I taught you what you need?  Have I prepared you?  Do you know enough about strangers?  Do you understand that other kids can be cruel?  Have I showed you how to be kind and brave?  Do you know that no matter what, we will always love you?  From the depths of our hearts.  You can always turn home for comfort and answers and support.

I feel like there's so much we haven't covered and now here we are on the eve of Kindergarten and I'm speechless.  All I can do is smile at you and kiss your forehead, afraid that the tears will spill if I utter a word.

My head knows this is what's best for you right now, but my heart is aching.  Tomorrow I'll wave goodbye to a little girl riding on a school bus,  but all I'll see is that perfect, sweet bundle they handed me five years ago.

I love you Ainsley.  You're going to rock the socks off of that Kindergarten class.

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