We are spending a few days at Izaty's Resort on Lake Mille Lacs at the invitation of my MIL and SIL. After a nice dinner in a really beautiful evening, the crazy kids of Krinkeland went crayfish hunting-- with their hands!
It's been a busy, fun day. Grandma R., the kids and I had a full day at Bunker Beach water park... And then Todd and I spent the evening taking in "South Pacific" at the Guthrie Theater. So awesome! So exhausting!
Madeline had a friend over to play today. After they'd exhausted themselves, I offered to drive the girl home, and both girls asked whether I would turn on music in the car. I couldn't immediately find the "Frozen" soundtrack-- their first request, so I suggested "Seussical." Then, I tried to not split a gut as Maddy tried to explain the plot of the musical to her friend, who had never experienced it:
"Oh, this musical is so fun! You know, it's like all the Cat in the Hat stories rolled into one! There's the Cat in the Hat (singing)! And there are these tiny, little people, called Whos. You know the Whos? They are so little, you can't even see them... But they live on this speck of dust and only the elephant knows. Everyone thinks he's crazy, but he's the only one who really knows. Well, he and Mrs. P. (the kindergarten teacher who played the part of Gertrude in our recent community theater production) are the only ones who really know the Whos. (singing) 'We're Whos here, we are Whos here..' Oh, that's the General! Do you know the General? My dad is the General! (friend: 'Your dad is the General? What's a general?') You know, a general-- it's a teacher. He teaches kids about WAR!" (friend: "Wow.")
After we returned the friend home, Madeline commented, "Mom, can you believe she's never seen 'Seussical?' 'Course, I think seeing it about two times would have been the right amount. I saw it too much."
My kids are exhausting, confounding, amazing... I guess that's true for everyone and their kids, huh? I'm having one of those days, no-- weeks... Months? Years? when I really wish someone would just tell me how to do it. What is the right way? I need some direction-- the right way to be a mother, the right way to be a wife, the right way to be a friend... 42 years roaming the planet and I feel I have absorbed exactly zero tips. Objectively, I realize no one has all the answers, but, sometimes, it sure feels as though they (think they) do.
I took the kids this afternoon to open swim at a nearby school. Weird, I know, since it's prime-summertime and we live on a lake, but the weather has been iffy this week, and they wanted to practice their newly acquired swimming lessons skills. We entered the building together, and the kids went through their respective locker rooms to get to the pool, while I took a different route to the viewing area. I stood for a time, surveying the scene. I found the girls, but I could not find my boy. I looked for a really long time... and the pool was not very full... I could not find that boy.
There was a bit of panic-- Was there some problem and he was wandering then school, looking for me? Was he being held hostage in the locker room? Had he been kidnapped? WAS HE ON THE BOTTOM OF THE POOL? I scanned and scanned and scanned, in full lifeguard mode. I was weighing my options, whether I should call down to the girls or walk all the way around to the pool deck. I adjusted my glasses and went down that diving board lineup one more time.
Benjamin was there.
I had seen him a bunch of times, but he didn't register, because, truly, I didn't recognize him. I didn't remember which swim trunks he was wearing. Ben has obviously spent the summer growing, getting taller and filling out. He is 10 years old. He swaggers off the diving board and lazily crawls to the pool wall.
Mom: "Hey, where are you going with that stack of towels?"
Madeline: "Well, I needed one, so I came in to get a clean towel off the laundry pile and I thought to myself, 'I might as well put away all these clean towels where they go,' and so I am putting them away."
It took fourteen years of parenting four children, but my work here is done.
AFTER performing in two shows on Saturday, Amanda and Elisabeth begged me to attend a special release party for the new Harry Potter book at our local, beloved, independent bookstore. Dad and I had other plans for the night, but I put them on the presale list and sent them off with Uncle Terry. We got a few raised eyebrows from other parents, but, you know what? I don't really care. I know from experience that it's difficult to immediately unwind when you come off stage. Plus, HARRY POTTER! (They did sleep until noon today... And then kept reading.) I didn't want to use up my cash and I wasn't exactly sure how much the books would cost, so I sent along a signed, blank check. More raised eyebrows, to which I responded, "If my biggest worry is letting my kids loose in a bookstore with a blank check, I am one happy mama!"
The kids and Dad had a great time with SOAR Arts, performing in "Seussical," and Madeline and I really enjoyed watching them! It was especially special that they got to learn the music from Uncle Terry and share the stage with cousins Kazmer, Solomon and Oliver-- there was always someone I love to watch! But, I confess, I am greatly looking forward to the few weeks of actual summer we will now get.
We are celebrating Benjamin's birthday, almost two weeks late, with friends today. There has been swimming... And tubing... And SO MUCH fishing... These kiddos are like a small tribe-- they love and fight like siblings and we love having them around. Happy belated 10th birthday for Ben and friends!
I feel as though my relationship with my oldest daughter turned a corner today. I am stil processing this...
She approached me in a quiet moment, with that kind of sheepish expression that I know means an uncomfortable question will follow:
A: "Mom, would you permit me to wax my upper lip? Because I feel like I might have a 'stache coming on."
I stopped what I was doing to give Amanda my full attention. I moved closer to her and examined her face, carefully, slowly.
M: "Honey, I see absolutely nothing that would need to be waxed from your upper lip. Nothing."
A: "Well, have you ever waxed your face?"
M: "No, I haven't. Typically, it's women of different ethnicities, who have darker coloring than we do, who find they want to remove facial hair. Yes, there is fine hair all over your face-- all faces-- but yours is blonde and completely unnoticeable."
A: "Mom, are you sure?"
A: "OK. But, if you did see hair on my lip would you tell me and let me wax it?"
Forgive the absence of many posts this week. All our fellow musical theater friends will understand: It's tech week-- and this was opening night! Amanda, Elisabeth and Benjamin, along with Todd, have been rehearsing for the past seven weeks to perform in "Seussical" with SOAR Regional Arts, the nearby community theater founded by my sister and brother-in-law. Three of their children are also in the show, so it's been quite the family affair!
Here's a link to a brief, promotional video for the show:
I am a never-stay-at-home mom to four children and a dog, and a wife to one always-comes-home-late husband. We are living our dream on a lake. Before all these other people showed up in my house, I was a journalist, producing local television news. Now, I'm a freelance writer (for hire!) and a totally amateur CrossFitter. I shop too much, worry about my kids too much, and drink too much iced coffee. I am a Catholic, trying to model Christian living, and failing every day. I am an opinionated cuss, but I am the most loyal friend. I am praying for you, and I sure hope you're praying for me, because I really need it!
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