On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.


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It’s my birthday today. I’m now in my early 40s. And to celebrate this new year, my thoughtful children gave me a few gifts. Sort of.

S and I were up around the clock last night. Her Dexcom alarmed at hourly intervals to let us know that her blood glucose (BG) was climbing higher and higher. When it reached 348 at 4:40 AM, I decided it was time to change her insulin and cannula site. The alarms stopped, and her BG plummeted to 50 about three hours later. I made coffee to celebrate.

H was a bit more traditional. She presented me with a very fancy shoe box that she wrapped in ribbon and tape. I opened her gift to discover a diorama of me dancing–or throwing my arms out in great happiness–in front of our new house. I look pretty good in green Sharpie! She also made me this card:

It's a taxi delivering a birthday cake at a bird crossing. Best card ever!

It’s a taxi delivering a birthday cake at a bird crossing. Best card ever!

G informed me that she would have my gift ready after school today. Of course this promise makes me suspicious since she had a very busy weekend of mixing up crayon makeup in the upstairs bathroom, opening spilling a glow stick after I sent her to bed on Saturday, and cutting up another article of clothing. Her creativity knows no bounds. Instead G called me from school at 8:30 this morning to ask me to drive over her uniform skirt and shirt. It’s another long story, but I doubt she forgot to wear her school uniform because she was working on a birthday card.

I’m old enough not to need birthday presents. Okay, I do enjoy opening a few. A church friend hand-crafted a card and included one of my favorite Bible verses.

But now, this is what the Lord says–
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:”Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine.”
Isaiah 43:1

And I have other thoughtful friends and family who know me well enough to surprise me with much-appreciated presents: new running socks, a copy of All the Light We Cannot See, some cash to go shopping and highlight my graying hair, a Starbucks card, and this lovely birthday cake that I found inside my front door as I was getting ready to drive someone’s uniform to school.

My neighbor Sam's famous Victorian sponge cake!

My neighbor Sam’s famous Victorian sponge cake!

It’s enough to know simply that I am loved. Ryan is buying me a house this week, and a friend offered to watch the girls so that I can eat lunch in adult company. And I just opened an email from our real estate attorney in which he informed me that we having a negative balance due. We’ll be buying a house and getting some spending money in return! That’s a win-win situation.

I’m heading out the door for a celebratory run. I am more than loved: I know I am blessed. Today I can barely keep my eyes open from this morning’s early festivities, and I don’t know what antics G will create tonight, but life is pretty good at 41.

 


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Adventures in (Single) Parenting

Thursday was another one of those days. Nothing good ever comes when one of my children gets up a full hour ahead of me, and G did not disappoint me. She confessed to eat two pieces of pound cake for breakfast, but I can roll with that one–especially when the pound cake is full of pumpkin and stevia.

It was hours later that I discovered she’d gotten up at 6 AM to spend a little time on the roof and eat pound cake. It started over (my) coffee when she asked me if I’d ever been on a roof when I was a girl. I thought little of her question at the time, but it made more sense when I noticed a pile of blankets and towels, a half-eaten piece of cake, and a pile of pollen on her bedroom floor. Oh, and the window was open, and the screen was missing.

Sigh. Some of you readers are probably judging me for still being in bed at 6 AM; some of you might even be thinking, That mom needs to set some boundaries. And then there are those of you who know and love someone with ADHD. I bet you can top my story with one of your own.

Trying to stay two steps ahead of a child with high impulsivity and low self-control is a daunting challenge when Ryan is away from home–and also when he is here. Did I mention that he started five weeks of flight training on Wednesday? And that he is a 10-hour drive away?

Thursday was also co-op day. I taught two lessons on Wolf Kahn and pastels; took S and H to the park for a picnic lunch with another homeschooling family; squeezed in the rest of our lessons at home; dropped H at her practice; drove 4 girls to S’s practice; and coached S’s soccer team. On the way home, I removed S and G from the car so that I could drive the last quarter mile in peace. Yes, Thursday was just one of those days. We grilled our dinner, two children cried over having to take showers that included shampoo, and I finally sent them all to bed. Except that S and H decided they’d rather sleep in my bed. I didn’t fight their choice since it meant I wouldn’t have to walk down the hall multiple times during the night to check blood sugar.

And that is why I don’t have the energy to beat G out of bed. Instead I wrote her a note. I taped it to the window since I assumed she might want some fresh air again.

Dear firstborn daughter,

I hope you enjoyed your time on the roof this morning. It must have been cold. And it probably wasn’t as exciting as you thought it would be. In the future, do not go on the roof if I am asleep or unaware. If something should happen to you, you’re going to need me to call 911 or drive you to the emergency room. Do not think that I won’t find out either. I always find out.

Love,
Mom


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Top 10 Reasons I Haven’t Been Writing

1. We’re buying a house.

It’s been 11+ years since we last purchased a house and another 5 years since we sold that house. In the meantime, all the rules for buying and selling a house seem to have changed. Our lender wants a ridiculous amount of paperwork and documents from us. By ridiculous, I mean that it would be easier to file all of our taxes for the next 10 years. Yikes! We’ve brought three children home from the hospital, and the nurses and doctors were far less concerned about our ability to support these small humans financially than our lender is.

2. We close on our new house next week.

That means that our mortgage broker and his assistant are two of our new best friends. We exchange all sorts of emails with them and with our realtor and her assistant. Also, I make weekly phone calls to our insurance company. USAA has long been one of my favorite companies; that is, until we tried to get them to agree to our closing date. The fact that they didn’t care what our contract said made us feel a little cooler towards them. And then one of their agents made a little typo. No, we are not moving to a street with the word Silly in it. Yes, it took a good hour to fix that error.

3. We’re packing up our house.

Actually Ryan is the only one packing up the house. He has successfully packed up the garage since that is his special manly place. I managed to secure about 20 pounds of clean packing paper, and I’ve cleaned out 3.5 closets. We’ve found a home for our microwave, but we still need to convince someone to take our 10-year-old television. It’s a flat screen and works beautifully; it just happens to weigh about 50 pounds. I’ve been listing clothing on ebay and sent off a bag to thredUP, but I refuse to start packing boxes until the calendar says it’s May.

4. I cleaned the house last week.

I mean I really cleaned the house last week, and it took the full week. Do you know how hard it is to clean a house when children live there? Especially when these children do not appreciate sparkling toilets, floors free of hamster shavings, folded laundry inside dresser drawers, and toiletries hidden in cabinets? In full disclosure, I only deep-cleaned the house because the owner needed to take pictures so that she can find a new set of renters. After she left, it took us a mere couple of hours to put everything back in its usual state.

5. We have to finish our school year in 6 weeks.

H has already finished her second grade math curriculum, so that’s one less subject I have to consider. (Now she’s happily working through the third grade book but confused over her second grade status.) S and H need to finish their science lessons, H has to finish the third volume of world history and The Twenty-One Balloons, and I still need to find a chapter book series that H will agree to read.

6. I’m teaching art classes.

That’s right. I have a degree in English, three credit hours of art history, and no claim to artistic brilliance. I do, however, have three children with a strong artistic bent, and I do know how to follow a curriculum that someone else has created. Fortunately, I only have to teach three times a month for the girls’ homeschool co-op. On the bright side, I’m taking a break from teaching PE classes, but those are still much easier to plan than art!

7. It’s spring soccer season.

Resigning twice from my coaching duties last fall apparently did not mean that I wouldn’t coach this spring. For the past month I’ve been navigating muddy fields with a troop of 12 girls who would see our practices as reasons to giggle and chatter with each other. My approach to coaching them goes something like this: If I can still do it, you’d better try it. Happily, I have two fantastic assistant coaches, which takes the pressure off me to do everything myself. This is especially helpful when I mistake the time I need to arrive before the game with the start of the game. Just like I did yesterday.

8. Ryan is traveling.

I should be used to his frequent comings and goings, but it only seems to get harder as the girls get older and are involved in more activities. Also, it’s really hard to carpool when your carpool expects you to do an equal amount of driving. I’m not complaining though; I just have another good reason to appreciate our upcoming move. For the first time in almost 20 years, we’ll be living in the same area as our extended family.

9. I forget.

When I get busy, I simply forget about writing. Sort of like I forgot to arrive early to my own soccer game. If I have to forget something, neglecting my writing takes precedence over forgetting to feed the kids.

10. My eyes are itchy.

Actually my seasonal allergies have absolutely nothing to do with this blog post. I just wanted to complain. Spring has arrived late, and we haven’t reached the point where a thin film of yellow pollen will cover every outdoor surface. Still I wake up every morning and contemplate scratching my eyes off my face. Allegra and Zaditor eye drops only go so far.

P.S.

Lest I end on a negative note, I need to add a thank-you note to my sweet husband. After following him around from state to state for nearly 17 years, he’s decided to make a sacrifice for me. He’s moving us to the Blue Ridge Mountains just so we can live near my sister’s family and my parents. His family lives on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, and he still hasn’t completely come to grips with being labeled an East Coaster.

We’re also buying a house that he’s never seen in person. While I gave in to his request for a garage, he let me pick out the rest of the house. He recognizes that he’s committing to an indefinite number of Sunday dinners and that we will never live in the same time zone as his parents. He is increasing his commuting time so I can decrease the stress that I’ve grown used to carrying.

And that’s just part of the reason that I love him. Thank you, Ryan.