Guess Who’s Back (Back Again)

Just so you know, it takes real restraint not to title every single post with song lyrics.

So…Silas is in town!  (For those who don’t know, he’s a 4th year podiatry student and has been doing rotations in different states since last May.  So we’ve seen him a total of 2-ish weeks since then.  Just to give some context.)

The boys are, of course, absolutely ecstatic.  Because dad is cool and fun and takes them places.

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But let the record show that I also climbed up (not all the way, though–it’s a 50-foot ascent to the tippy top) and, although I hyperventilated and had to use my freeway-driving pep talk (“You got this.  You’re doing it.  You’re not going to die.”), I did not have a crippling panic attack.

Look at me, bitches.  Conquering fears like a boss.

Or at least approaching them timidly.

Let the record also show that Noa likes Silas much, much more than she likes me.  I’ve gotten a total of two laughs out of her, yet every time she even sees her father’s face she breaks into the biggest, cheesiest grin I’ve ever seen.

It’s no big deal really–it’s not like I gave birth to her and have spent every day and night of the last 3.5 months slaving to meet her every need or anything.

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(In truth, I’m thrilled that she’s bonded with him–she’s a little stingy with her bonding and I was afraid she’d give him the stranger treatment.)

And for the first time in years, Silas doesn’t have to do anything.  No homework.  No shifts at the hospital.  No hours of studying. Boards are over.  Interviews are done.  Until his next rotation in February, we have his undivided time.

It’s a weird and foreign thing.  But also kind of awesome.

So in spite of my big “I’m taking 2015 by the horns and writing EVERY DAY” talk, posting will be sporadic over the next week or two.

Try to contain your despair.

Love to you all and hope you’re surviving and thriving in the month of bitter cold and high expectations.

 

(It’s our last few months in the land of heat heat heat so I’m trying to roll with the forecasted 80-degree temps.  This time next year I might be freezing my lamentably flat ass off…)

 

Planning and Chore Charts

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[selfies with muderous-looking cats…there are about a billion more where this came from]

After Silas left, I dove quite enthusiastically into organizing everything in my entire life.  You know I love me some lists and charts.

I cleaned the fridge, reorganized 2 closets, a few shelves, and our junk drawer, washed and vacuumed the car, made an elaborate meal plan and cleaning schedule (both of which are sitting, beautifully organized and ignored, on my fridge)…and started planning our homeschool trial run.

That last one alone has eaten up countless hours of research and planning and scheduling and crumpling and throwing away and dreaming and then trying to rein myself back in.  You see, I am a planner.  I absolutely love to research and chart and plan and organize and make lists with all of my pretty pens and think about how wonderful life is going to be according to my carefully constructed schedule.

I have dozens of discarded meal plans, cleaning charts, workout schedules, parenting plans, resolutions, and color-coded goal lists…all handwritten on just the right paper in just the right pens.

I am absolutely a planner…

But I am not a doer.

I probably execute about 3% of the plans I make.  My intentions are golden but they match neither my personality nor my energy level.  After a quarter century, this is finally sinking in, and I may actually be learning my limits so I can plan within them.

The first step in my grand plan for moving toward homeschooling was to bring some order to the aimlessness that is our mornings.  I spent some (read: a lot of) time making a job chart for the boys to help our mornings run a little smoother.  Against my own strict principles (you’d think after 4+ years of parenting I would have given up on trying to have principles) I found myself constantly picking up the boys’ messy rooms, and making their beds for them because trying to get them to do it seemed so exhausting.  Most of the time we left the house without their teeth or hair being brushed (maybe one, but rarely both), and I was tired of all of it.

So I came up with some ideas for morning chores, printed them onto cards, and organized it into the little system seen below (adapted from a much prettier one here🙂

 

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[Blue for Tesla, green for Desmond]

The first four cards on both charts are always the same–make bed, get dressed, clean up room, brush teeth and hair.  (And these four take the loooooongest to get through.  But!  We actually do get through them now!)  The last three cards are different almost every day, depending on what needs to be done that morning (or depending on how much time we have–I’ll assign easy chores if I know we need to be out of the house by a certain time).

We’ve had the charts for a couple weeks and it is so helpful to have a visual reminder of what needs to be done.  The boys can see what needs to be completed before we move onto anything else, and having everything listed in plain sight keeps me accountable so I don’t just give up and skip something or do it myself because I’m tired.

I’m not saying our mornings are super smooth and that everything gets done without dawdling or fighting happening (let’s be honest, most days it takes forever and there is always a fair amount of distraction and arguing), but things are much improved.  I can tell the boys (especially Tesla, who took to the chart immediately because he is really into knowing what everyone’s “job” is at any given moment) are learning to be a little more responsible, and they take pride in getting to put up that smiley face after completing a job.

20140603_092416 Desmond vacuumed his room by himself (!) for the first time ever this morning.  A couple of weeks ago he had no idea how to vacuum and also refused to even touch it unless I was holding his hand.  Note to self: see what happens when you are actually consistent?

This tiny success has given me just enough enthusiasm to power through the last bit of the homeschool planning I have to do.  I have almost everything we need so our tentative start date is next week!

 

6 Years

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He left today.  I cried.

I didn’t think I would, but I did.

It’s not like we’ve never been apart before.  I know how to be alone.  I’m good at taking up a king-sized bed all by myself.  But he’s never been gone for more than a couple of weeks.

This is going to be more than a couple of weeks.  It hit me this morning, as I was watching him leave.  I think I’ll settle in, and it will hit me again in a month, when I realize he’s not coming home (yet).  Not for a while.

I can’t pretend to understand what military wives go through.  They have it so much worse.  Silas will most likely be able to come home for a weekend in October after I have the baby.  After that, I’m not sure if we’ll see him again until May.  It’s possible, but I don’t want to get my hopes up.  Dashed expectations are what fuel the fire of misery binges.

Today marks six years of marriage.  That’s decent, right?  Neither of us is particularly inclined to romance or sentimentality, but I was thinking about all the “milestones” we’ve hit over the past several years, all of the “if we can just get through”s.  All the times I thought things would get better, easier, after:

-I graduated massage therapy school

-I had the baby

-Silas passed the MCAT

-I had the other baby

-Silas graduated college

-podiatry school applications were in

-pod school interviews were done

-the first (“hardest”–HA) year of pod school was complete

-Silas passed part one of the board exams

-second year of pod school…third year…

 

Every single time we hit one of those, we thought, “Whew!  I’m so glad that’s over!”  As if the mountain was behind us.  (Spoiler alert: THE MOUNTAIN IS NEVER BEHIND YOU.)

And now he’s embarking on his 4th and final year, traveling around the country doing month-long audition rotations.  After this, things will get easier, right?  Ah, but then there is boards part 2, residency applications and interviews, residency itself (3 more years, baby!), finding a job, getting settled in his career….

So I guess things never get easier, not permanently at least.  They definitely get different–that, you can count on.

So for traveling this long and winding road with me, for trekking up and down all of those damn mountains, for going through hell and back and not giving up every time the next gigantic peak emerged in front of us; and for being the husband and father and man that we always need…

I love you, Silas.

Happy anniversary.