Thursday, September 26, 2013


Last night was Wednesday, which means no soccer practice, no piano lessons, no regular appointments for anyone.  We even ditched weekly Wednesday Family Beercan Sailing Night because we recognized our limits, and as Big Sis put it, "Mom, we need at least one night off."  Amen, Sister.  And she's not even a teenager.

So Wednesdays are rather fun right now, especially while I am not working.  We have time for stuff other than homework and a hurried dinner.  We talk.  We read books.  We make one another laugh (last night it was over watching Husband try to discreetly choke down his spinach).

We had enough free time last night for some reflection, too, and Big Sis led the charge.  Since her birthday in late August, which she anticipated with excitement, she has mourned being ten.  She would rather be five and carefree, it turns out, with more time for more creative endeavors and cuddling and dress ups, etc.  She looks on at my snuggle time with Tootsie with envy and sadness.  Her nostalgia and sense of loss are very familiar to me. Sorry, kid; that inclination to fondly, and often poignantly, recall sweeter, simpler times appears to be genetic.

And then she admitted she misses our old house, expressing longing for the cozy smallness of our bungalow.  We knew this already.  Her "own" bedroom is downstairs, which feels far away and alone, as our rooms are upstairs.  She's been sleeping with Little Sis, which is more than fine by (nostalgic) me. We are still adjusting, and we're nesting in a smaller portion of our home as a result, all five of us sharing two bedrooms for now.  We will have this house for a while, I say.  We can take all the time we need to grow into it.

But the house has given us all pause.  It's the easy target for my anxiety, a material example of the chaos I imagine around me in my new life:  boxes unpacked, pictures unhung, more square footage  unclean and unorganized.  I can relax, I imagine, if I just have the stuff put away, the house put together.

The canyon backyard, which I'd viewed as romantically magic and fairy-filled, has the specter of cat-killing coyotes haunting it.

But this afternoon Big Sister had a friend over who toured our house and declared, "this place is cool."  Soon all three girls were out exploring the canyon, breathless with excitement about the new frontier and paths they'd discovered. Her friend offered just the perspective Big Sis needed.

And when I listen carefully I hear the perspectives I need, too.  The novel I finished today reminds its readers that one can't care too deeply about others, and that we owe one another generosity and forgiveness.  My sister-in-law snuggles her baby next to me as I snuggle mine, mirroring the deep satisfaction of wholly enveloping another little life.  A fellow principal, also out on maternity leave for the beginning of her school year, replies to my email reaching out, "We can do this!" about being both mothers and principals.

We hurdled Hump Day, and maybe a few more bumps in the road this week, too.

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