Tag: motherhood

I Mean, They Have Wine There, Too

I’m supposed to be on my way to Albuquerque tomorrow, for my organization‘s writers’ retreat. Workshops, writing time, discussion groups. Friends who have brains like mine. Friends who are on social media right now talking with each other as they pack, excited to meet up with a blueberry margarita in 

See What I Did There

I’m in my office, sorting through some manuscript notes. Cian walks in with a handful of toy dinosaurs, dumps them onto the carpet, and sidles up beside me, draping himself against my side in the way little children do, so that he’s kind of Velcro’d 

Because Seasons Change

David and Cian and I just dropped the girls off for their first day of the new school year. First and second grade. Tiny plaid uniforms. Backpacks that still look a bit too big for their little bodies. Saoirse told me last night that she wasn’t ready for the year to start–this summer had been too nice. Too much fun. “Relaxing,” she said. You know already that I felt the same way. I wasn’t the Author this summer, or really even the Author Mom. I really didn’t have a choice to be anything other than Regular Mom once vacation started, and while I’m not so sure I want to know what that means for a burgeoning writing career, these past weeks were some of the best that I can remember. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a choice: I had to be in the mix with these three kiddos whether I wanted to be working or not, so I just gave myself over to it. It was the first time since I started writing toward publication that I didn’t feel utterly guilty, like I was failing at something. I guess it showed.

Quinlan said last night that she was nervous for today, but that it was an excited nervous, the butterflies-in-your-stomach kind (Saoirse said that bad nervous felt like fireflies in your stomach, so butterflies are much better). They had smoothies for breakfast. Saoirse was able to get hers down, but that was it. Quinlan didn’t drink hers, but managed a scrambled egg (microwaved in a mug, happily prepared by her big sister). David said it reminded him of his own first day of school, when his mom would get up early to cook him a special hot breakfast, and he’d be so nervous he could barely get it down.

8.22.16. First Day. Cian classroomThe girls. So happy. So nervous. They said hello to the teacher from their kindergarten days, who was on parking lot duty for the first week. We greeted the principal, and the church pastor, both with smiles on their faces. Saoirse asked that I not make her and Quinn stand in front of the school to take their picture, and I swallowed hard and gave her a hug. And then I watched my girls walk into school and I burst into tears. I mean, tears. In public. In front of people. Who does that? I never have. It’s just: First grade. Third grade. Already. We got back to the van and I straight-up ugly cried.

David just walked into my office and dropped a kiss onto the top of my head. He said: it’s so quiet. I’m used to having them around. This is a good thing, but…it’s just so quiet. Cian is sitting on my lap right now, watching me type. He starts preschool in a couple of weeks. Just a couple of days a week, but here we go. It’s going to be quiet.8.22.15. First Day. Girls shoesMaybe it wouldn’t feel so strange if David and I weren’t both home during the day. Maybe if we were both out of the house, working away from home rather than right here, right in the middle of where we live our lives every day, we wouldn’t be so emotional. But probably still so. It all goes by so quickly. I don’t think I’ve ever had this rough a time with it. I mean, there are always a few tears when this milestone comes, but enough already. This is embarrassing.

This morning after we came back home, I sat down here, at my desk, and opened my laptop. Cian brought in a few toys and started playing at my feet, talking to himself mostly, and sometimes to me. I watched the school bus go by outside the window, carrying the public elementary school kids who start their own first days today, too. Parents posted pictures to Facebook of smiling kids, of handheld milestone signs, of themselves leaping in the air for joy. And I wondered why I’m having such a hard time this year until: I started out as a stay-at-home mom to one. And now there’s just one at home. Dude. That happened fast.8.22.16. First Day. girls classroomSo now I sit here while Cian curls himself into a ball against my chest, clutching his stuffed T. Rex. “I miss my sisters,” he says. I tear up again, on cue, but tell him that it’ll be okay. That he’ll see them soon. And I turn again to my laptop, open up a new page, and I do what comes next.

I begin to write.

Sick Day

He ‘s been fighting a cold for over a week now, along with both sisters, on and off. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t tell where one child’s infection ends and another’s allergies begin. I took both him and Quinlan to the pediatrician this morning, 

Not Exactly What They Mean by ‘Mic Drop’

The kids are making Easter cards for their grandmothers right now while I clean (and by clean, I mean excavate the house from the inches of dust and dirt and clutter that accumulated while I was avoiding cleaning). Quinlan saw me mopping the floor and 

Your Thursday Morning Pep Talk

I was brushing Saoirse’s hair this morning before school, which is always a task that takes approximately 23 minutes longer than expected (kidding. But it’s a pretty intense process. Which is why I usually let Quinlan do her own hair–all those curls! all that high-pitched screaming in pain! all of that chasing her around the bathroom because she keeps running away from me!–and tolerate the fact that she will perpetually–and quite happily, mind you–look like she got into a fight with a rapid flock of geese. One battle at a time, people). We were talking about…something. I don’t know what. Probably about how long it takes to brush her hair. And then this conversation came out of the blue, as they tend to do:

SK: “Mom? At the game last weekend, when they [the announcer] asked all the teachers to stand up so people could clap, why didn’t you stand up?”

Me: “I don’t know, Seersh. Probably because I’m not a teacher anymore.”

SK: “But you are a teacher.”

Me, shaking my head: “Not anymore, kiddo. It’s been so long since I taught I would’ve felt funny standing up.”

Saoirse was looking at me in the mirror as we spoke, and I watched her face break into this massive grin.

“You teach US!” she said. “You should’ve done it.”

10.15.15. Teacher. Girls walking into school 1

David and I were just talking about it the other day: that I’m so far removed from my teaching days that I almost feel like I can’t lay claim to having been one. That’s so weird to me. But on some levels it makes sense: I don’t feel wistful anymore on the first day of each new school year. I don’t see myself stepping back into the high school classroom full-time again, but that’s mainly because I’d have a crap-ton of classes to do in order to get my certification reinstated (because you know I didn’t put it on hold before I left, of course. Thinking ahead isn’t exactly my strongest skill). But I’m still insanely proud to have been a teacher. I still feel like I’m a sister to the teachers in my life. And I definitely still feel like I want to raise my hand when I’m around a school and say, “I was here, too! I get it. I understand.”

10.15.15. Teacher. Girls walking into school 2

But I’m not anymore. So I didn’t stand up during that moment in the stadium on Saturday. I didn’t have a right to: working school teachers are a special breed, and deserve to be recognized as such. But it’s so neat to hear that my daughter sees me that way. Do you realize that, friends? All of our kids see us that way. We’re always being told that we are our children’s first teachers. And duuuuuuh, of course we are, but still. I can’t tell you how good it felt to meet SK’s eyes in the mirror and see her grinning at me like that.

I’m not a teacher to all anymore. But I am a teacher to a few. And by golly, this class of mine is pretty damned spectacular. 

10.15.15. Teacher. Kids legsIt almost makes me look forward to doing the girls’ hair tomorrow. Not quite, of course–I’m proud, not insane. But almost. 


And Then She Turned Seven and I Maybe Cried

Last week, somewhere between a family party on Saturday (with my brother and his wife in town from Milwaukee), and a weeknight meal and another get-together that went late, a sudden cold that required two days of school absence and a good dose of Free Willy and Dolphin Tale 2, a Friday evening pizza 

But Even Then

It happens all the time, you know. All. the. time. In the kitchen. “Ma.” From his crib. “Mama.” Before lunch. “Mom.” Following me down the hall. “Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom.” When I’m in the bathroom. “Moooooooooooommmmmmmmmmm. Mom.” When I don’t realize he’s right behind me, arms raised for