You Will Survive, Henry

We are ending our 2nd week of school for Henry.  2 weeks, or more specifically 4 days.   He’s in K2 and being his first time in school we have enrolled him as a T/Th student.   Again, let me repeat, we have finished 4 days and I can’t help but wonder if it will get any better.

For 4 days, I’ve dealt with a child who clawed his car window screaming for his Mimi.  For 4 days, I’ve dealt with a child who has attempted to lock me out of the car when I’ve tried to drop him off at school.   For 4 days, I’ve dealt with a child whom I’ve had to drag out of the car kicking and screaming and hand him off to his teacher all the while he’s reaching for me and screaming “no”.

I had hoped that we just needed to get into our routine, but it appears that drama at the car line drop off will be our routine for this school year.

This morning, Davey and I talked up school to Henry, as he fought me while I was loading him into his car seat.   Davey, my mini-me dork, LOVES school.  He reminds me of myself and how much I looked forward to school everyday, how I wanted to see my friends and my teachers, how I wanted to learn and become smarter, and experience new things.   Henry?  Yeah, to quote his words, “I not care about dis (his speech) stuff.”

So, after all of our playing up school and it’s many, many benefits to Henry, I thought for sure Davey and I had crossed the bridge and that Henry would be excited, or at least more willing.  Obviously, I thought wrong, as once again I’m holding up the carline to the empathetic faces of all the other moms, while getting Henry out, his arms gripped tightly onto his seatbelt while I’m pulling him by his legs.

I try encouraging words, tell him his teachers are going to be so happy to see him, or that they’ll be sad if he’s not there.   I talk about his friends and all of the fun he’ll have with them.   I talk about all of the cool toys they’ll play with and crafts they’ll make.  Finally, I’ve ended up with, “You will survive, Henry.”   Obviously, he doesn’t understand what I mean.

I don’t get it.  I don’t understand why going to school is so torturous, especially when I pick him up, he’s so eager to tell me about his day.   He has a smile on his face, tells his teachers “bye”, and climbs into the car already talking about the day’s adventures.   I want to tell him, “i told you so,” but I’m told that’s not appropriate.

My mother has her own theory as to why my youngest acts as if he’s going to the slaughterhouse when I drop him off at school.   He knows Davey is with me and he feels left out, anxious about what he’s going to miss, and not exactly eager to know that Davey is getting one on one time with me.   I want to tell him, that he gets three days of one on one versus Davey’s two, but once again  I don’t think he’ll understand.

I suppose I will continue to fight this battle and be thankful that my youngest isn’t my brother incarnate.   My brother once locked my mother out of the car when she got out to get him out for school.    I can see this same scenario playing out for me one day.

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I Did NOT Put This on My List

Christmas morning.  It’s a morning of exhaustion, for those elves who’ve stayed up well past their near geriatric bedtimes to put together all of Santa’s toys.   It’s a morning of anticipation for little ones as they try to contain themselves inside their rooms until the appropriate hour to awaken mom and dad, aka the elves.   For our house, appropriate time is when the digital clock in the bedroom reads 7:00.

Christmas morning.  It’s a morning of overwhelming excitement as children tear into their gifts, eager to see if the Santa at the mall, or the Elf on the Shelf, really does communicate with the “real” bearded fat man.

Christmas morning.  It’s a morning of reflection on our lives, who we are, what we’ve been, and Who was born on this day to save us all.

Christmas morning for me?   Well, that’s a whole different story, at least for this year.   This Christmas, I spent it wrapped up under four blankets, while everyone else walked around in shorts and flip flops with the A/C blaring.  It was 70 degrees and humid.   And as the sweat dripped down my forehead, over my arms and down my chest, I shivered and ached away.   For Christmas this year, the old fat man brought me a 102 degree fever and a case of strep throat.

My boys opened their gifts.   Did I get to play with them?  No.   My family opened their gifts.  I opened my gifts, although my fever had me a bit on the dopey side so I didn’t realize how wonderful my gifts were until Sunday.   My husband made a fabulous French toast and sausage breakfast.   It smelled good at least.   My family (parents, aunt, cousins) came to enjoy Christmas dinner at my house.   Me?  I was quarantined upstairs.   There was no fine China this year, no drinking from my grandmother’s crystal, no eating in the dining room, while listening to Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole croon.   Instead they crowded around the kitchen table, but still enjoyed themselves all the same.

Today as I began taking down my Christmas decorations, an overwhelming sadness washed over me.   I missed Christmas.   In my 40 years on this earth, I’ve never missed Christmas.   It saddened me, almost as much as it saddened me when we realized we would no longer have Christmases with my brother nearly 10 years ago.

The days flew by, the weeks were inundated with parties, gatherings, socializations, but I still felt empty and I was hoping for that Christmas magic on Christmas morning.   I’m saddened over not enjoying a dinner with my family, it’s not every day when we’re able to get together like this.   I’m saddened over no family pictures in front of the Christmas tree.  We’re not guaranteed another day.   Which one of us may not be here next year?

My boys were clueless to mommy’s absence, thanks to Santa and my family.   I’m grateful for that.   Truly, I am.   I’m grateful for a family who gets along together so well that there was harmony between them and my husband in the kitchen.   They were apparently like a well-oiled machine.   “We just seemed to fit together,” my husband said.  “Least amount of stress I’ve ever had in the kitchen.”

I suppose I should look at this bout of strep throat in a different light.   At least it happened when my husband was home and didn’t have to work the next day.  He was up every 3 hours trying to get my fever to break.   At least I was able to actually get some rest while being sick, an anomaly in itself.   In the end; however, I keep going back to one thought over this horrible Christmas…what did I do so wrong this past year for Santa to feel like I deserved strep throat as a present?   How about just keeping me off your list altogether, Santa, if this is how it’s to be.

I hope you all had a wonderful, family-filled, waistline bulging, ugly sweater wearing, Christmas Story watching, action packed, and most of all BLESSED Christmas.

Goodbye, Christmas.

I am sad, truly sad. I hate when Christmas is over. I adore the feeling of love, hope, and celebration. It is truly the most wonderful time of the year. Alas, all good things must come to an end and with that here’s a quick glimpse of how we spent our Christmas.

I expected Davey to be difficult. He is, of course, at that age where he wants to open EVERY present, but thankfully he asked everyone’s permission to help them. In most cases, his “help” was really just him devouring the paper all by his lonesome. This year; however, was truly different and my oldest made me beam with pride. For every gift he received, BEFORE he opened them, he thanked every one with huge hugs for getting him a gift! How crazy is that? He didn’t even know what was in the gift, but yet he was so ecstatic to receive one he immediately had to thank the recipient. And what’s better than that? When he opened a box full of clothes, he didn’t once complain about the clothes not being a toy. He gave even bigger hugs! What’s wrong with my child?

Decorating trees
Decorating trees

Henry wasn’t interested in any gift. Surprise, surprise! He wasn’t even interested in tearing apart the wrapping. This worked well with Davey as it gave him more gifts to open. I guess what surprised me the most; however, was Davey sheer excitement over one particular gift…SOCKS! Yes, I just typed that word. My three year old was excited over socks, but here’s the kicker, they were not just ordinary socks. These socks had Lightning McQueen on them. You can never go wrong with anything Cars or Planes. Those Disney movies, and their spinoffs, are winners in my household.

Decorating Trees
Decorating Trees

The funniest and almost most mortifying (at least for me) part of Christmas Eve was the moment I opened a gift with Davey’s help. Inside the gift were two new bras to which my son exclaimed, “Mama, look, these hold your nipples. Aren’t you excited?” Yes, my three year old blurted out those words. If I hadn’t been surrounded by family I would have been mortified.

Decorating cookies
Decorating cookies

All in all, Christmas did not disappoint. We continued with old traditions, started new ones, and celebrated our lives and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This year, Davey new more about the Christmas story and could practically repeat it himself. He was eager to tell everyone the true meaning of Christmas and that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We baked cookies together, decorated trees, and gave each other love.

Helping in the kitchen.
Helping in the kitchen.

And all though this mama slacked with her Elf on the Shelf responsibilities, all of your posts and pictures have encouraged me for next year.

putting out reindeer food.
putting out reindeer food.

Now it’s onto the tedious and saddening task of undecorating my trees and placing them into hibernation until next year.

So, from my family to yours, we hope you’ve had a very Merry Christmas. I pray that you’ve all remember the true meaning, and you celebrated it. For the New Year, I hope it is a blessed one and that if you’ve never experienced our Lord’s magic and gifts that you find a way to Him.