Friday, September 12, 2008

Home is where the Marine Corps sends us

Matt is coming up on the 11th year of being in the Marine Corps so I suppose that means we've been in it too. We have been so blessed with the communities and neighbors we've had during those years. The first couple years were harder since it was just me and Matt and he was always gone during TBS and the moments we did have were spent in the bathroom searching for ticks. EEEEWWWW!! What a honeymoon that was. Plus learning all the ropes of the military wives and the rules. Whew! Glad I'm all salty now because those were some tough times. ha ha. I don't think you're ever salty enough for the military and the curves it throws you. Your relationship with your spouse and your children can be seasoned enough to withstand the hard times and soft enough to enjoy the good ones though. In our 7th home, with one foot still out the door since we'll be leaving in 9 months or so, we are yet lucky again to get fantastic neighbors. The Neils are a loving, caring, fun family that we have quickly come to love. Brian is in Matt's class at Command and Staff school and they get along great. They are always talking about combat in one form or another. Elaine is a nurse at Mary Washington hospital and does the night shift a couple days a week so we work together getting our kids to and from school. She is funny and so genuine it makes you cry. We are constantly swapping recipes, making coffee for each other, planning dinner nights and just bouncing our thoughts off each other. I know we will be friends even after we are miles apart. As for the kids, William is so wonderful with Ethan and Mason. He includes ET all the time and never leaves him out even though he is only three and Will is 9. He is so good to everyone and his heart is huge. He will go so far in life. Grace is 6 and is the perfect playmate for Mason. Although Mason looks up to Will and wants to be with him every minute, he loves to play with Grace too since she doesn't play just girl games. She's his girl friend. He explained to me very well why this was: "Mom, Grace is my girl friend because she's a girl and she's my friend." I like that one! I can do that kind. Grace likes to play with Ethan too and because of the Neils, our family has settled into our Virginia home a lot easier than expected. Chelsea is their 15, soon to be 16 year old, whom is our babysitter and is sooooo wonderful with the boys. She is so fun and exuberant, not to mention absolutely beautiful. I love all the high school drama she shares with me too. Keeps me from wanting to turn back time.

Breakin' 5

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Last Comic Standing

The boys are going through this phase (thanks to some older kids in the neighborhood with very active imaginations) where they are scared of everything and are afraid to be alone. They literally run to be next to me or Matt anywhere in the house and they flat-out refuse to go into the unfinished basement of the house we're renting. Ethan was running down the stairs yesterday in a tizzy and crying and sweating screaming after me: I was at the bottom of the stairs and he was ALL THE WAY at the top. Trying to calm him down I walked up and met him in the middle and rubbed his back saying, " Ethan, its OK. You don't have to panic." He looked at me and furrowed his brow and said grumpily back "Mom, I'm not in a hammock!"

Mason had a cold just before school started and by the first day was better, thank Heaven. I was still keeping tabs on how he was feeling and how runny his nose was though so at dinner one night I asked if he needed a refill on tissues for his backpack. His reply was this: "No, ma'am. Mrs. Jordan has a nose sucker in her desk. She puts the big motor part on top of her desk and you walk over and stand in front. You put the mask on with a string, like this, around your head so it stays on. Then you turn it on and it goes SSSSSCCCCCCHHHHHHHHUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK!!!!!! Then all your boogers are all gone." He then continues to eat his dinner as if what he just told his mother wasn't the most incredulous, hilarious, crazy, that-could-actually-work bullshit story of the century! I could hear Matt telling me to pick my jaw up off the table between snickers he was desperately trying to hide behind his hand. 15 minutes later we finally get into the "You know what a lie is, right?" talk.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

3 Whole Hours and Nothing to Do

Here we go! Number two is gone! I was really nervous to put Ethan in school since last year was such a fiasco, but he was persistent and kept asking when he was going to school. Walking his big brother to the bus stop every morning was a bit of a push though I think. Normally shy and not one to instigate a conversation with people, ET has always had separation issues. When we would be in a store and someone would comment on his hair or blue eyes or just general adorableness, he would get a grumpy lower lip and grunt "Mommy! She's wookin' at me!" If I would be talking to someone he would physically turn my face toward him and say "Don't talk to her Mommy! Talk to me!" So the relief that I felt when we walked through the preschool doors and he kissed me and said goodbye is inexpressible. Don't get me wrong. I'm dying that he's so grown up and is ready to leave, but the long way we have come to get him to go and talk to other kids or be with other people is paying off. He comes home and says it's 'Awesome!' Today, Thursday, was his second day and I used my 3 hours a little more productively than Tuesday's. Tuesday I wandered around Target for the ENTIRE time< my mouth hanging slack, I'm sure, in a numb what-do-I do-with-myself kind of way, putting unnecessary things into my cart. Don't ask what I bought. I have no recollection. Today, however, I bought 3 sweaters, 1 pair of red velvet 'Rock Star' pants, 1 pair of black flats, some gummy frogs AND I did my Pilates workout for 45 minutes. I'm feeling so good! Got an iced coffee to reward myself. Missing Jackie lots. So much these days. Need my shopping buddy back. My coffee buddy. My everything buddy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Look Ma, I'm Riding With No Hands

My mother is a little bit taller than me
But who knows how long it will be like that
Cause things are changin'
I get a little taller every day

My father is a little bit smarter than me
But who knows how much longer things will be like that
Cause things are changin'
And I've been changin'
I get a little smarter every day

My dreams are a little bit bigger than me
But who knows how much longer things will be like that
Cause things are changin'
And I've been changin'
I get a little bigger every day

Ho-dee-oh, over the rainbow
Hi-dee-hi, to the top of the sky
Look at me, ma, I'm riding with no hands
I do the best I can

I didn't even get the opportunity to cry and grieve properly on Mason's first day of Kindergarten. Trying to get him to hold still for a picture in front of the house was tough. His smile belies the angst he is feeling. His feet are really moving in the picture they are just moving so fast that they appear stationary to the untrained eye. He wanted to get going and I was an obstacle in front of the big yellow bus that he was sure he was going to be late for if I snapped one more picture. So, I took pictures as the 3 minutes played out. Him waving goodbye and then running to the bus stop. Boy, was he surprised when I showed up to wait with him. That's right, Mr. Fluffernutter. You got me for another 13 years. There was no talking him out of NOT taking the school bus the 1/12 of a mile to the school regardless of the fact he would just be sitting there for the half hour it takes to pick up the rest of the neighborhood who actually needs a ride. I showed up at the school about 5 minutes into the beginning of class so I could drop Mason's class supplies off and was barred at the door in a very 'friendly' way. I understand it's difficult for some parents and children to be separated so they didn't want my presence to disrupt the flow of things. Fair enough. I poked my head in far enough so Mason would see me and he did; he blew me a kiss and without further ado nor a second glance, went back to listening to his teacher. The lump that had been forming all morning was rising and the tears were stinging the corners of my eyes. How can he have gotten so big without me seeing? Haven't I been here all this time? Haven't I made it a point to be here for him all this time?Haven't I stayed home and been the special person he always went to when he was sad, happy, hurt, proud, silly? When did he stop wanting to share his time with me? Will he want to again? All these self-pitying questions are just that; self-pitying and pathetic. It's life. It's part of being a mom. I'm glad Mason's independent and willing to explore things that are unfamiliar to him. I love that he is daring yet cautious. He is charismatic, funny, absolutely adorable, and so polite at other people's houses. He is gracious, confident with a small degree of humility, giving-especially after he's had a turn, smart-oh so smart about crazy things like how much a Virginia opossum weighs, and creative. Most of all I love that he is such a great combination of me and Matt. He has my eyes and freckles, but Matt's lean build and thick can't-do-nothing-with-it hair. He has Matt's confidence and our compassion and willingness to help others. Maybe no-hands is OK as long as he stops once in a while to make sure I'm still watching.