Wednesday, July 19, 2017

World's Best Sister

This past February, I sent my brother a coffee mug for his birthday
It said World's Okayest Brother
Made me laugh really hard 
Made him laugh too
Not long after I sent my brother that mug, I decided I should get my sisters the same mug....
But with a twist
As I am sure you know, I have five younger sisters
Really I have 6 ... my brother's wife who has been with him for 20 years, given us three nephews, attended countless family holidays and has been made to cry by at least two of the Kearns girls
If that does not make you an official sister, I don't know what does
That's a grand total of 6 sisters, all younger than me
So I have ordered 5 coffee mugs which say World's Okayest Sister
And here's the twist
1 says World's Best Little Sister
This weekend, we'll all be together for the first time in who knows how many years to celebrate my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary
At some point over the weekend, I shall gift my six sisters, at the same time, the six mugs
All six mugs will be wrapped and passed out..... RANDOMLY
May the odds be ever in your favor

Breakfast is served!

From June 23, 2017

We recovered from last night
We made it through the morning with minimal opposition and when Sean left for work he promised he'd put the door back on this weekend
Lucy sat at the kitchen table reading whilst I threw together her lunch and snack 
But then it occurred to me I also had to make breakfast
Nothing was striking her fancy: cereal, toast, scrambled eggs, an apple with cheese....
The clock was ticking
Lucy was lolly gagging and I was quietly getting myself worked up
I took a deep breath and gently prodded her
Last day of school kiddo! We can't be late!
Ok Mum, just surprise me she said sticking her nose back in her book
I threw the refrigerator open again and looked harder
Three minutes later, breakfast was served:
Orange Jello (it was sugar free) with a dollop of whipped cream and a hard boiled egg
And two gummy alligators leftover from her trip to Chutter's Candy Shop (I substituted those for her regular gummy vitamins because I am that cool of a Mum)
I tossed the plate down in front of Lucy and with an exaggerated bow and in my worst French accent wished her Bon Appetit!
Lucy looked at the plate and its contents
Then looked at me
Oui Oui?
Mum?! What is this
Breakfast is served! I said sounding like Meg Ryan mocking Kevin Kline in the underrated, and most quotable, movie French Kiss
Oh Mumma! Is this what happens when children push their parents over the edge?!? We get Jello for breakfast?!?!
This is only the beginning kiddo, only the beginning.....!

I took the door off the hinges....

From June 22, 2017

The last week has been tough
Lucy has been out of sorts more than I care to admit
Meltdowns, temper tantrums, crying jags and defiance at its best illustrate the past few days at our house
I chalk it up to end of the year angst ... 
It's the last week of school and everyone is just done
We all try to keep it light with Field Day, Ice Cream Socials and a Community Cookout.....
But who are we kidding
We're just all fucking done - mentally, emotionally and physically, we all just need a break
Last night, in a lucid moment, Lucy said her outbursts can be attributed to the fact that she is nervous about third grade
About what we ask
Her response?
Oh for fuck's sake - multiplication?Seriously???
No, we did not say that to her
Instead, we gave her a cash course on multiplication:
Anything x 1 is that number
Anything x 0 is zero
Multiplying by 2s 5s and 10s is like counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s
We did not touch 8s or 9s because they still screw me up,so does 7
Not the point
Point is, we distracted her from being nervous
But don't think for a minute that distracted her from being a twit
Tonight at pick up, she started ramping up
And you know when you know its only going to go downhill from here but you should try to make it go up?
And you know when you know as a parent you should really try to right the sinking ship?
Well, I failed ...
at both ...
It ended with some yelling, stomping and door slamming...lots of door slamming
And no one slams a door like a girl
So in the process of having a fit and falling into it, I took her bedroom door off the hinges
Not one of my finer moments but the door slamming stopped
And then, I see this memory pop up
Look at that little sweet potato pie!
My favorite is the one in the high seat, pony on the top of her head and that goofy open mouth grin/laugh
She still makes that face
I had her in bed by 7:30
She needed it and so did I
She asked me to sit with her for a few minutes
So I did
She grabbed my hand and closed her eyes
A few minutes passed and I heard her muttering something
Luce, what are you saying
I'm doing the Our Father, it helps calm me down and makes me fall asleep
Oh, ok
I was not sure what else to say so I just sat next to her
She fell silent and I gave her little hand a squeeze
She opened one eye and with a little smirk said
Too bad we don't have any Holy Water you could throw on me huh?!
I'll have Sean put the door back on in the morning.....

Lucy hates the last day of school....

From June 20, 2017

Lucy loves the first day of school
Fresh pencils, new markers, a new folder most likely adorned with a kitty or a tiger and a box of crayons that increases in count as she gets older mark the rite of passage to a new school year
I gave up buying her "school clothes" because really, there is no difference in her world
For Lucy, the first day of school is a Holiday
So it should not surprise you when I say Lucy hates the last day of school
And as Lucy closes in on the last day of school (this Friday), she is getting anxious
She'll have no routine, no constant and for her, that is sometimes a bigger battle than we realize
But worse, she'll have no Mrs Plamondon
Last week, Monday to be precise, she started to get morose about the impending end of school days
On Friday, she observed she had one week left
By yesterday, she was in tears
This morning, when she woke me up at 4:46am, she was downright inconsolable about it
Mumma.....Mumma.... she said as she nudged me
I grunted
Mummmmm-aaaaa she hissed into my ear
I snapped to attention
What's wrong honey?!?
I'm sad
What now? I shook my head trying to clear it
She sighed and I heard that lump in her throat threatening to turn her voice into a choking sob
A tear dropped from her eye
I threw back the covers, pulled her to me and hugged her
Did you have that bad dream again I whispered
No! but thanks for reminding me about that Mum! she snort cried, I don't want to leave Mrs Plamondon...
The tears were now falling from both eyes and her voice was cracking
I gently guided her out of our bedroom and into the spare room where we could talk without waking Sean or Ziggy who was now sprawled out on Lucy's bed
We climbed under the covers and lay on our sides facing each other
She threw her arm over my shoulder and held my hand with her other hand
Yeah pal
She took a breath and blurted out
I'm sad school has to end and Mrs Plamondon won't be my teacher anymore and what if I don't get Ms Dabrieo and what if we move this summer and what if Mrs Plamondon moves or quits and what about Mrs Raposa? I barely even see her and now I won't see her at all in summer and I just got to do Lunch Bunch with Mrs J and now I won't even get to see her every week and why can't I just stay in school for the summer? We have to be off for two whole months and it won't even be fun because the Club isn't even open yet and if I can't go to school can I just go to work with you and now we're not going to Universal and.... I love Mrs Plamondon......her voice gave way and she stopped talking
I brushed her hair out of her eyes
She scrunched up her face trying to stop crying
Honey... I stopped and just let her cry because sometimes, we all just need a good cry
A few minutes passed and she wiped her eyes and nose on my hand
You know how you always ask me to stop growing up? And how I always tell you I have to grow up...that I want to grow up?
I chuckle...I do Luce
Well Mumma, I don't really want to grow up....I just want it to stay the same like it is right now with me, you Daddy, Ziggy and Mrs Plamondon as my teacher...
I hugged her closer
I know honey
She threw both arms around me
Mumma! I just want to be 8 forever! And in second grade!
I kissed the top of her head
Me too pal, me too
I rubbed her back until she drifted back to sleep
I watched her for a few minutes and tried to remember what I felt like at her age
And then I remember being the same way as a kid
I remember adoring my teachers thinking they were the smartest, coolest people I would ever meet in my whole life
And I imagined they all led perfectly glamorous lives
And I remember being more upset about not seeing them over the summer rather than not seeing my friends
I remember worrying about growing up and what I would do without the safe confines of my little world in Orrington, Maine which revolved around my parents and my siblings and the summer months in ORA baseball/softball
But I did it
I grew up, slowly but surely...and not without bump and bruises and lots of mistakes along the way
There were classes I barely passed in college and the time I had to come clean and tell my Dad I started smoking because it is a long ass drive from Syracuse, NY to Orrington
Then there was the time I wanted to drop out of college
But I graduated, with honors
And moved cross country to Illinois - jobless
But then I landed a great job landed which led to some everlasting friendships
There was a blackout here and there and one or two nights in a holding cell
But I can remember at least two midnight runs into Chicago in search of a tattoo parlor, countless nights at the bar (Fanmarker) admiring Bill and his ass (Dunbar was there too!) and a whole lot of laughs
There was a heartbreaking loss of a job and a heart broken and mended over countless relationships
There were friends made and lost
Weddings attended followed by baptisms and sadly, funerals for some who were far too young and a couple divorces
There were at least three apartment moves then another cross country move to Medford
A new nephew, the loss of grandparents, a new sister-in-law and more nephews
And then there was Sean
And love
And marriage
And Lucy
And now, on the cusp of 45, and another brother-in-law and a niece, and a house, and a new job and a hysterectomy, I long for the simplicity of being 8
Until I look down at my sleeping daughter and realize 8 is not as simple as I think
Because if 8 were so simple, she'd not have dried tears on her little cheeks and her arms would not be wrapped around my neck
If 8 were simple, she'd not worry about growing up and having to leave her Mum and Dad
And she'd not worry about Ziggy dying...or us...or her grandparents...
At the breakfast table, Lucy babbled on about her last test of the year, the Community Cookout we'll attend tonight at school and the ice cream party her class is having Thursday
Hey Goose - you ok?
Yeah Mum! Why wouldn't I be?
Well, you had a tough time earlier this morning...I trailed off not wanting to make a big deal about it
I know Mum, sorry about that ... I was just having a moment ..
She paused as she dropped her breakfast dish in the sink
I do that a lot don't I..have moments...?
You do, I answered carefully, but we all do pal, that's part of growing up and growing old....and it's what you do with those moments and how you react to them that count
Lucy turned and looked at me
So maybe I should work on the reaction part and not the moment part....right Mum?
I nodded
Lucy grinned as only she can - that grin that tells me she is about to say something pretty stinkin' cheeky and says over her shoulder as she walks away to get shoes and socks on
So that's why I have a therapist!
I'm starting to wonder why I don't have a therapist .....