Erin and Lana are in Europe on a school trip. Brent is home but leaves for work at 7:00 and gets home around 7:00. So Jerry and I are in Flower Mound to make sure Declan and Calli are fed and dressed and in school on time and make it to swim team practice, baseball, art lessons. And make sure laundry is done, food is on the table every evening and people remember to brush their teeth, do their homework and take a shower. Oh, and they need formal dress uniforms (shirt and tie) on a particular day, gym shirts on another, regular uniforms on another.
When we’ve done this before, it hasn’t been particularly easy. It’s not that we didn’t love it but toddlers and preschoolers are not easy and besides, they tend to be home a lot. Elementary kids get dropped off at school around 8:00 and don’t need to be picked up until 3:30. For the first time in my life, I’m seeing what it might have been like to be suburban mom with no job to run to after I got rid of the kids every morning. Trust me, it’s great. I need lots of reminding (Nana, did you make our sandwiches? Nana, I can’t find my tie. Nana, would you do my hair in a high pony tail?) but this is a piece of cake compared to life with preschoolers.
Today was a busy one. I did sea turtle lessons in second and fourth grade. Declan’s teacher let me stay as long as I wanted. I called it quits after 2 1/2 hours. The kids were still going strong but I needed a break. We had a video (Cara, of course) and craft, and games and a book and assorted activities to keep the kids busy and learning. Lots of fun. Fourth grade was shorter…only an hour and a half. They did need to get to math on time. Still, I had a wonderful time. There is something magical about sea turtles and something magical about introducing kids to them. I just love it.
Loved being back in the classroom but oh my, by the end of the day my voice was gone and I was so glad I didn’t have to do anything besides nag kids to do their homework and get dinner on the table. I doubt I could have done much more. It may be my age but my guess it’s that I’m just not used to it. I remember feeling this way for the first few weeks of school every single year. Once I got back into the rhythm of school days, I wasn’t quite so trashed.
Before we came to Flower Mound, we spent a couple days in Houston at MD Anderson. Even though I’m feeling fine, I hold my breath until the doctor comes in and says, “Scans were clear. Blood work looks good. You’re doing fine.” I honestly don’t hear much after that but I did hear them tell me that NEXT year will be my fifth year cancer free and they don’t need to see me any more after next year’s check up.
Funny, when I hear that, part of me (a big part of me) is cheering. The other part is a bit scared. I mean, for four years I’ve figured that if there was cancer it would be caught early because of my checkups. And we all know that the earlier you catch it the better off you are. So sending me on my way next year with no more CT scans or tests …well, what if it comes back and grows before I know it? Then what? Funny how these trips to MD Anderson have been given me an incredible sense of safety in spite of my fears each year that they’d find something.
And I suppose we’ll miss our good excuse to go to Houston. This time around we stayed with my niece, Jill and her husband, Mike. I loved having time to gab with Jill. She’s Erin’s age and so easy to be with. Loved her house, too. They built it last year and it’s just amazing. My favorite thing was Jill’s closet with this really high bar for hangers that had a handle that you pulled on and it made the entire bar come down so you could easily reach your clothes. Talk about using space well! As you can see, I am easily dazzled.
We went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science after my CT scan. Fabulous place. We were there for four hours and need to go back. There was a butterfly sanctuary where we just sat and watched them for ages. They landed on Jerry constantly but evidently he is way sweeter than I am. One butterfly…just one on me…and about 50 on Jerry. What am I…chopped liver?
The building was immense. One of my favorite sections was devoted to the Antarctic. Took Jerry’s picture there.
Books: Jerry and I listened to some Donna Leon books on the way to Texas (we drove) She writes a good mystery series that is set in Venice, Italy. Love the characters. Thoroughly enjoyable. And Barry, Erin and Brent’s neighbor across the street (who reads everything!) loaned me The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah’s newest one. It was beautifully written and made me want to go to Alaska (but not in the winter). It wasn’t a comfortable read. Domestic violence was a major theme and it is always so hard to understand why women stay in impossible situations. Books like this help me get a deeper understanding of why they do. Thanks, Barry. I’ll pop over before we leave to return the book.
I loved The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe. It’s the story of about twenty teenage refugees who ended up in Denver, Colorado in the newcomer class with a marvelous teacher who taught these young people how to speak English and to survive in today’s American city. Probably should be required reading for legislators and policy makers, along with Evicted.
And I liked Isabel Allende’s new one, In the Midst of Winter. It ended a tad too neat and tidy (you would have hated it, Deirdre) but I liked it better than her last one. I’ve read several of Kelly Corrigan’s books…reflections on her life. Tell Me More is her latest and yes, in spite of her life being damn near perfect, I love the way she writes. She’s incredibly honest and makes me laugh. And she’s wise.
Oh, and I skimmed Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury..way too depressing to spend significant chunks of time on it.
Erin and Lana will be home on Sunday night. Jerry and I are heading home on Tuesday and will be home on Wednesday night. I hope it’s shorts and tee shirt weather there. I am getting tired of jeans and sweatshirts and socks and sneakers.
Below is one picture of the other grandchild…the one I’m not seeing this week. Tough life she’s living!
Love to all