Friday, August 31:

Friday . . . one student in school, two students awaiting their start-date of September 17. One preschooler who alternately yearns to grow up and then tells me she is never going to school. Ever.

My husband has decided that every Friday night will be Date Night, and so every Friday afternoon has turned into Frantically Clean the House and Listen to the Preschooler Cry About the Babysitter Coming Over Afternoon. Which, believe me, is as fun as it sounds. Our 9-year old went to spend the night with his best friend and the neighbor came to spend the night here, just ensuring balance in the universe. (Four kids under the roof at all times. The universe demands it.)

We went to dinner at Applebee’s (we had a gift card!) and then we walked on a local 3.5 mile trail.

Saturday, September 1:

I took my daughter with me to run birthday-party related errands. First, the grocery store to buy the balloon she saw a week ago that I had previously refused to purchase. (A Sesame Street bus balloon, of all things, a show she has disdained for at least three years.) Then to the Dollar Store for more helium balloons and then onto Costco to pick up the cake and a hundred bucks’ worth of other stuff I didn’t know we needed until it jumped into the cart while I wasn’t looking. This is why they check the receipts at the door, you know, because the merchandise is always hitch-hiking in unsuspecting customers’ carts.

The birthday party started at 3 p.m. and although the weather forecast was iffy in previous days, on Saturday, the sun shone and the temperature hovered around 75 degrees. The pool was mostly deserted, so Grace and her four little friends swam to their hearts’ content.


The only glitch occurred when my husband lit the birthday candles (five candles!) and the wind blew them out before she had a chance. (Our rendition of Happy Birthday was slow, I guess.) My husband said, “You only brought two matches!” which was true. The big box of matches I keep in the kitchen was down to two measly matches, but I thought two matches for five candles was a pretty excellent ratio. I failed to consider the velocity of the wind. And so, she watched in horror as the wind blew out her candles.


Lucky for us, one of our guests came up with a lighter. Hooray.

Yes, that’s a stork on her cake. She picked it out, despite my best attempts to persuade her to choose a princess on her cake. She thought this was a duck and a duck was just what she wanted. She is five and she knows her mind.

Sunday, September 2:

We entered church and half a dozen people said with great enthusiasm: “Happy birthday, Grace!” And she looked puzzled because I had neglected to explain that we were celebrating her birthday a day early. So, during a quiet moment, I explained that her Real Birthday was on Sunday but that her party was on Saturday. She accepted this explanation. And then we took a bunch of pictures in the fellowship hall while my husband preached in the sanctuary.

100_1429.jpg That’s her new dolly, Emma, and her new kitty that purrs.

I cannot believe that five whole years have passed since I gave birth in my bedroom to this long-fingered and long-toed baby. I cannot believe that she’s so much like me and I’m not sure whether to be amused or alarmed. (My husband finds it hilarious to watch me dealing with my Mini-Me because his Mini-Me, our 9-year old, is such an easy, delightful, sweet child and my Mini-Me is sassy and talkative and did I mention SASSY? And the talking? The never-ending TALKING PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!? I am not that talkative, though I might admit to a wee bit of sassiness.)

Okay, where was I?

Oh yeah. I have a five-year old now. For the first time in fourteen years, all of our children are five or older.

A funny thing. On the way home from the pool (she and I went alone), she insisted that she wanted to walk home. WALK HOME! I said, “No, it’s too far!” which is true. She went on and on about walking home and tried to wheel and deal: “Okay, fine, next time, tomorrow, I’m walking home!” I laughed to myself because when I was about four years old, I spoke from the backseat of our car. “I want to walk!” I told my dad. He totally called my bluff and stopped the car along a city street in Tacoma and told me to get out and walk. So I did. I began to walk down the street, unconcerned about being alone, unaware of the danger of a darkened city and then he pulled the car up alongside of me and said, “GET BACK IN THE CAR!”

Monday, September 3:

Labor Day. Sleeping in . . . how much do I love having children who are old enough to let me sleep in? My husband took the kids to the pool for a couple of hours and I shopped the Value Village fifty-percent off sale. I saw a movie. Oh! And my son? The easy-as-pie 9-year old? He spent the whole weekend at Hood Canal with his best friend . . . his entire report to me was this: “Oh yeah, we had fun. We could bullheads with a net! About eight of them! And then we let them go!”

Oh wait! I remember one more thing! At about 8 p.m., I went outside to collect an errant water bottle and noticed how still the air was. I thought it was an ideal time to spray the weeds and grasses in the back yard with RoundUp. And that, my friends, is how I single-handedly brought about the largest rainfall on record for that day in history. Oh yes, and not just rain, but thunder and lightning. (You’re welcome, Pacific Northwest. I will try to use my power for good.)

Tuesday, September 4:

Back to school, except for the teenagers who sleep like hibernating bears. I appreciate the quiet mornings, perhaps because they argue so endlessly when they are awake. (Including just now, while I type this . . . I responded to their argument by unplugging the cable that connects their computer to the Internet. That was quite effective in getting their attention. Now one of them lingers behind me, clearly wanting to say something . . . wait. I’ll ask. “What do you want?” “Well, two things. One, I heard something. Two, I’d like to plug the Internet back in so I can get that thing unlocked and get you to put in the password because tomorrow you’ll be busy with all those kids . . . ” HA HA! I didn’t even say “yes” but he plugged it back in . . . and I let him because he wants the password to the local Christian radio station’s website.)

Oh kids. What fun.

I put in the password and overhead them saying, “Okay, I’ll forgive you but only a hundred and fifty-two times.”

“Actually, in the Bible, it’s seventy times seven.”

Even about this, they must argue. It’s in the Teenage Handbook of Behavior To Drive Your Mother Nuts.

Well, so, we’re caught up. I had imagined I’d opine about giving birth, about my dad’s birthday (he would have been sixty-five on Saturday if he hadn’t died of melanoma when he was forty-seven), about the end of summer and the passing of time, but . . . no. Time swept me along and I failed to narrate my way through the days and now they’re gone.

And so it goes.

8 thoughts on “Catch-up

  1. Mel, nice to see you back 🙂
    Also, I miss my dad terribly these days. Just another part of life, eh? Hugs to you, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Grace!


  2. I must tell you what I did on Tuesday morning.

    I grabbed a cup of coffee and reclined on the loveseat in my breeze-way at the ‘new’ house.

    It’s on the street that I spent FIVE LOOONG YEARS bringing kids to and from school.

    I watched harried mom after harried mom – and a few dads – bring their high-schoolers to school on the first day.

    I was NOT one of them. I didn’t have to get up, get kids motivated, make sure they had everything, load them in the car – the car they wanted to drive themselves in – no arguing at all took place.

    And, for the record, out on my breeze-way, I smiled a lot.

    Having adult children is WOOONDERFUL.

    (i did wonder why i couldn’t have lived here when they were in school and they could have walked but i didn’t let that steal my joy.)


  3. Wow! I would love to have a date night once a week (or even once a month) but sadly baby-sitters are difficult to find. I am also thankful my children are old enough to allow their mother a nap.


  4. Oh, I hear ya, my sista. When Kathryn and I clash, and I ask my husband why she must be like this, he tells me, “Because she’s you.” This does not endear him to me.

    And the talking! Once, when she was three, I asked her, as sweetly as possible, to please stop asking why for 10 minutes, and then after that I’d answer all her questions. She said, “OK,” then, without missing a beat, went on with, “How? How does the spider….?” Sigh. The girl always needs an audience. Thus, theatre camp.


  5. I had to laugh at your walking story because I have a similar one. When my sister and I were younger we would fight constantly, and on one of our many treks between Nebraska and Minnesota after visiting grandparents we were fighting in the backseat of the car. My dad said, “You girls knock it off or I’ll pull over and you’ll walk home!”

    Needless to say, we kept fighting, so my dad, thinking he was terribly clever pulled over and told us to get out of the car, on the highway, in the middle of the night, with 2 feet of snow on the ground. Of course, we got out and started walking. I’m sure my dad said exactly what yours did, “GET BACK IN THE CAR!” He had to chase my younger sister down, though because she took off running down the highway the minute she got out of the car.


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