Sunday, July 31, 2016

Unsucessful Denial

It's the last day of July?! WHAT HAPPENED. ??!!??!!!?????

Gah. Can't deal with that trauma. Won't even think about it another second. Onward. Denial, you know? It works. For awhile.

Actually, I have done (most of) the girls' school supply shopping. (Why do we always forget at least one item on the school list, why?????? Maybe because the list is so long and the font is so small?????) Oh God, remember the Flair pen??? Thank God there are no Flair pens on the list this year.

I know. It's CRAZY. I bought the school supplies in July. (Recall that in MN, school does not start until the day after Labor Day. Hence, school shopping in July is crazy early.) This would seem to contradict the notion that I am in denial regarding the fact that summer is 2/3 over. However, I have learned to do it early so as to then put it out of one's mind for longer. Of course, there is still the backpack shopping, and the shoe shopping, and the clothes shopping, so..... never mind.

In another contradiction of the theory that I (successfully) practice denial when it comes to summer's fleetingness, lately I have become beset with paralyzing attacks of grief regarding my past autumns as a full-time stay-at-home mom. More specifically, I recently realized that I only had 1-1/2 years of sending my daughters to all-day school while remaining a full-time SAHM. (I started working part-time at my girls' school halfway through Genevieve's 2nd-grade year, then moved to full-time the following fall.) I only experienced two Septembers (those glorious, sun-drenched, still-warm days of early fall!) of sending the kids back to school and then reaping the blissful productivity of full autumn days at home---time to preserve the farm produce, time to clean the closets, time to run during the day and grocery shop and manage the children's and the household's myriad needs, time to bake homemade breads and cookies and pies and full dinners!

Just two times this happened. This makes me so, so sad. I miss those days terribly. I miss having time to get so much done, I miss not feeling like a frantic hamster running on a wheel but never getting anywhere. I miss the more relaxed pace of my life back then--coupled with, at the same time, a better handle on family projects and my kiddos' needs. In my mind, I think I felt like I was home forever, maybe because there was pressure to get out there and contribute financially to the family. But honestly, there was only a year and a half that I was home with both children in full-day school. That's not very long in the grand scheme of family life and parenthood.

And honestly, as I've said many times, I do love my job at the school. If it paid even half a living wage, it would be the PERFECT JOB for me, as far as jobs go. My first full-time year, I literally never once missed being home full-time, never once regretted working. However, by midway through last year--when, I guess, the novelty was wearing off and the sense of being constantly behind on everything at home was increasing with each passing month--my work-BFF and I had begun sniffling together on our afternoon breaks about our past SAHM lives and how much we felt that role was our true calling and what our families truly needed.

So, it's hard. I love that school, those kids, my co-workers, my supervisor, the schedule, the work. But I still pine for those two lost Septembers, and I try really hard not to notice how fast the summer weeks go.

In other, less depressing news, my Elin Hilderbrand obsession continues. I'm on book six now. (The Rumor, Barefoot, The Matchmaker, The Island, Summerland, Silver Girl.) Thank God she's so prolific. I can feed my addiction for months to come! Hurrah. At least I can live in permanent summer via E.H. novels.

And as for now? I've planning Genevieve's 10th birthday (already! gah! August!), I'm taking the girls on day trips here and there and to all their activities (including Tae Kwon Do, where they both earned their brown belts and BROKE THEIR FIRST BOARDS this month, omg), I'm scheduling my pre-school-year work trainings (no comment; or rather, see above for numerous comments) and the girls' pediatrician well-checks, I'm running when it's not 92 degrees, I'm hosting playdates and eating ice cream cones and listening to the birds sing outside my patio door.

August is lush. The corn is high. The flowers are electric pink and red and yellow. Focus on that.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July, in All its Glory

Ah, summer. Is there anything better? Doubtful.

It's a different sort of summer for me. My girls are old enough to be dropped off at the pool; no more do I spend every afternoon on a lounge chair with a book, dipping in when I get too hot. That said, I am still at the pool plenty of afternoons.

Elin Hilderbrand for the win

It is the summer of Elin Hilderbrand novels. Oh, my. One of my favorite friends, a work bestie, introduced me to her recently, and I'm now officially addicted to her books. Her women characters--they are mostly women protagonists--are charming but flawed; thus, they are so relatable. Note: these books are sometimes referred to as romances, or as beach reads, and while I would agree with the latter (in the best sense only: absorbing, summer-set, beachy, warm), the former really isn't quite right. Yes, there is often romance of some sort. But Elin Hilderbrand's themes--as far as I've read so far, anyway, which is just three: The Rumor, Barefoot, and The Matchmaker--are more complex than simple romance. Because life is complex! Motherhood, infidelity/divorce, cancer: These are Hilderbrand themes (beyond the largest and most obvious theme of Nantucket/summer/beach). I could read one after the other nonstop, like eating popcorn or those unwrapped miniature Reese's peanut butter cups that come in the stand-up bag.

It is the summer of girl projects and greater self-sufficiency. Children grow, after all.

A summer of fewer trail runs, more interval runs--because they give me smokin' legs, of course! (I can't sprint in the woods--too paranoid of tripping on a rock or a root and wiping out.) I miss the trails but love the results. I also highly recommend this 30 Day Squat Challenge, which I did last summer and again this past April, and have kept up since then (not every day, but I do about 350-400 squats [in sets of 50 with a short break between sets] a few days a week, and nothing has benefited my rear view, or my weak running hips, more, ever, so there's that).

Speaking of legs, here are the shorts I picked up on a Target run the other day, that my youngest said were "pretty good, but kind of look like pajama shorts."

I wore them anyway.

My girl! Who is she to talk? She'd wear pajamas all day if I let her!

So, we took a family trip to the Black Hills/Badlands. The South Dakota Wild West, you all! It was fantastic.

That was just a tiny fraction of what we saw of course. You'd hate me if I uploaded every photo.

We are home now, and back to basketball, Tae Kwon Do, mountain biking class (them); and interval runs, many squats, and Elin Hilderbrand novels (me). We are back to wishing every perfect summer day would never end.