On feeling like a terrible mother.

I got a call from the school the other day. It was a Thursday, right around noon. I wasn’t expecting to receive a call from the school for anything. Before I even answered the call, I thought, “Oh no, what’s up with Reese?”

****

Back in September, a note came home from Reese’s teacher with an offer to send home an optional homework packet. I wrote a note back to the teacher telling her we’d love to have a homework packet and one was sent home the following Monday along with a daily reading log.

Soccer started for both girls that same week. With soccer came practices and an inconsistent schedule. We weren’t getting home for game nights until after 7 PM only to have to rush a dinner and get the girls showered before bed.

A few weeks after school had started, the last week of September, I suppose, I opened Reese’s weekly folder to discover an un-touched homework packet and a reading log with nothing more than Reese’s name scratched across the top, and two squares colored in.

In that same folder, on the opposite side, I found three permission slips. Two for upcoming field trips and one stating that Reese has been identified as a kiddo that could use some extra reading help and that they’d like our permission to take her out of class to join a reading program.

My heart sank. Her teacher must think we are horrible parents that don’t give their kid the time of day. I felt like it was my fault she needs extra help. Maybe if I hadn’t forgotten about that homework packet. Maybe if I had been more diligent about squeezing in reading every night. Maybe if I was more creative at working “learning” into our conversations. “what are you making for dinner, Mom?” “Reese, I’m making Tacos. What letter does the word T-t-taco start with?”

The next day I emailed the teacher. Mainly to check in and see how Reese was adjusting to kindergarten. The teacher replied that same afternoon saying she would send home test scores from their recent assessments and assuring me that Reese is doing fine.

Her scores from the beginning of the school year showed Reese as “high risk.” The most recent scores on the test showed great gains and progress. Of course, all I could see was that label.

****

I took a deep breath in and answered the phone. The call from the school had nothing to do with Reese. It was in regard to her sister. Why did I assume it was going to be a negative call about Reese?  I chatted with the teacher that called, hung up the phone and despite the pleasant nature of the call, I felt like a terrible mother.

That Reese

I witnessed something remarkable the other day.

I took part of the day off of work so that I could chaperone Reese’s first field trip. We went to the pumpkin patch, but the field trip itself has nothing to do with this story.

Once we were back at the school, we had about 20 minutes to kill before the end of the school day. After the kiddos had the classroom cleaned up, and their week’s worth of papers stuffed in their backpacks, their teacher let them have free time.

At that point, she looked at me and said I was welcome to take Reese and get an early start on our weekend, but I had to wait for Rylee either way, so we hung out in the class. I stood off to the side and watched the classroom dynamic.

Somewhat off-topic: I’ve really been curious about the classroom dynamic and how Reese is adjusting to kindergarten. Often times she’s over-tired and very emotional when she gets home, so I can’t help but wonder if that’s how she is throughout the day, or if it’s saved up for when she’s at home. I was really thankful I had some time to just sit back and observe.

Immediately, all of the kids but one headed to the back of the classroom where there are books to look at and tubs of toys to play with. The one kid that didn’t go with the rest of the class? Mine.

Reese walked over to her teacher asking something I couldn’t quite hear, waited for the answer, smiled and quietly went up to the front of the room, where it’s clear they do their circle time, reading/letter practice, etc. She turned on the little karaoke machine, had the microphone in one hand, picked up the “pointer stick” with the other and started playing teacher. At this point she was “teaching” no one, but was reciting what I can only imagine is their typical daily routine.

All by herself, as content as can be.

After a few minutes of playing teacher by herself, one little girl went over at sat on the rug in front of Reese. Her eyes lit up. She was so excited to have a student. She called up her student to the front and together they practiced their sight words. Holding the microphone for her student, and pointing to each word. Within a few more minutes, there were five kids sitting there, letting Reese be their teacher.

A couple of the kids started arguing about who got to stand up and read the words into the microphone next. Teacher Reese diffused the situation quickly and the group continued playing happily until their real teacher said it was time to clean up and head home.

At home, I see the Reese that is often over-tired from school. I see the Reese that does everything in her power to push all of her sister’s buttons then gets mad when her sister retaliates. I see the Reese that hates brushing her teeth and hates going to bed. I see the Reese that doesn’t want to play what her siblings are playing but also doesn’t want to be left out. I see the Reese that’s loud and that likes to push boundaries.

The Reese that I saw that afternoon in her class? She’s independent. And content. And doesn’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. That Reese going to move mountains. Because when she talks? People listen.

I’m happy I got to see that Reese.

The universe is oh-so-funny.

So, last week I was lamenting about how busy we are. And that I’m sure my past self has felt the same way before.

Well, apparently right about this same time 6 years ago I was feeling the same way.

What’s hilarious to me is that was back when we had 1/3 of the children we do now. And Rylee wasn’t even in school or playing sports. Funny enough, I even say “I hate to think about what’s it’s going to be like when Rylee is in school or playing sports or she has a sibling.”

I really can’t help but laugh at myself.

I guess I take comfort in knowing that I’ve always felt like a hot mess? Actually what I really take comfort in, is the fact that looking back 6 years, I don’t remember feeling that way at all.

So, note to future self: You’re doing great! Keep on keeping on.

Busy.

You know what I hate? That when friends I haven’t seen for a while ask me how we’ve been the only answer I can ever come up with is, “busy.”

Or when someone asks me how my day was and I can’t think anything to say besides, “busy.”

At what point will I just accept that “busy” is just our new normal? Or maybe, I’m just not willing to accept it as our new normal. And also, what would I say then to those questions?

How was your day? … “normal.

How have you guys been? … “normal.

What kind of answer is that, even?

But, it’s true. Three kids is a lot of laundry, a lot of morning chaos, a lot of food to cook, a lot of dishes. Two of them are now in school so there are more lunches to make, more schedules to coordinate, more reading to be done. Two of them are playing sports so there are more practices to go to, more games to cheer on, more water bottles to fill, more team snacks to buy. Outside of the kids, there are careers that we love and aren’t going anywhere. The property that’s not going anywhere. Etc., etc. etc..

It’s just busy. But it’s our normal.

If I’m being completely honest? The constant dashboard of family stuff, work stuff, house stuff, that I have running in my head leaves me right on the verge of being completely overwhelmed. There’s always one.more.thing. that should/could/needs to be done before I can sit down and relax in the evening. That magical time of sitting down and relaxing seems to be getting later and later in the evening as time goes on.

It’s just busy. But it’s our normal.

So, I’m asking myself, why am I even here? In this space, I mean. Typing these words when there are so many other things that should be done right now. Why am I even contemplating the idea of adding yet another one.more.thing. to that dashboard in my head?

I’ve gone almost an entire year within nothing new here. So why now? It’s been so long, I even typed in the URL of my own blog wrong when I decided to log in and click “new post.”

The novelty and shiny-ness of the internet has long worn off. There’s just so much noise anymore. I actually kind of hate it lately. Social media in general, I mean. I took the twitter app off my phone. I’ve been clicking “unfollow” more and more. I’ve even said out loud on more than one occasion that if I didn’t have to have it for work I wouldn’t. And that realization actually kind of makes me sad. I miss the “good old days” of social media, ya know?

And maybe that’s just me in general lately. I suppose that’s why I’m here right now. Reminiscent of the “good old days” of being less busy. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself now. I’m sure that whenever those generic “good old days” were, I also felt busy all the time. Maybe I just handled it all better?

I don’t even know. I’m just rambling on at this point.

It’s just busy. But it’s our normal.

It’s the last Fri-Yay of the year!

Ok, so it’s been a while since I’ve turned out a FriYay post, but I had a good run there for a while. Actually, we’ll go with good-ish. But when I logged into my dashboard this morning to mark some comments as spam, I realized today is Friday. And the last Friday of the year.

Awesome things from this week-ish…

1. I got to have lunch with a couple of old coworkers. One of which moved to California and was home just for the holiday break. It’s always fun to catch up with old friends!

2. Andy started framing part of the wall for my office! Yay!

3. I guess Christmas was technically earlier this week, wasn’t it. That was pretty awesome. Cooking Christmas morning brunch with my dad has definitely become a highlight for me.

4. When we lost power for 5 days, that was less than awesome, but what was so great was all of our friends and family that offered up their homes for showers and hot meals and even places to crash if we needed it. I ended up spending a lot of time at my Dad’s house during that time so I could shower and work.

Photos from the week…

Part of a wall! Operation convert part of the garage into an office/guest room is a go!

We ended up at my Dad’s house on Sunday, the week before Christmas. I snuck this sweet photo.

Julia and I ran a 5k race in 26 degree weather to kick off her birthday. We both ended up with 3rd place in our age brackets. HEYO!


My dad and I making brunch on Christmas morning.

Sweet niece snuggles on Christmas day! I had drool spots on my top the rest of the day, but it was worth it!

I really really love my new coffee mug.

Things I’m looking forward to next week…

1. Tomorrow night we are headed to some friends’ house for dinner. I doubt we’ll stay there to ring in the new year, but it’ll be fun to hang out with them for a while anyway!

2. I leave on Wednesday for a 5 day trip to Texas. It officially kicks of show season for me which means I’ll be gone a week at a time every other week for all of January and half of February. That’s less something I’m looking forward to, and more just something that’s happening.

3. Taking down the rest of the Christmas decorations.

4. Going hiking with my sister, cousin, best friend and her cousin tomorrow morning! We heard that the butte may be closed due to those ice storms we had recently so we need to check on that first. If it’s closed, we may just end up somewhere drinking mimosas. Either option sounds like a winner to me!