Day 19: Cold Tea and a Happy Kid

Maddie had a friend from school over to play. When they asked if they could all go in the backyard and play, I said yes. I have the perfect view into our backyard from my bedroom window, and my kids are well-versed on the ‘stay in the backyard only’ rule when there is no adult outside. I put the kettle of tea on to boil and grabbed my work bag. I could plop down on my bed, get some work done, enjoy some silence and tea, and watch the kids play. Perfection.

I had just set my steaming mug of cinnamon tea on the nightstand when Katie entered my room, looking glum.

“Mommy? The big girls aren’t really playing with me. Can you come out in front so I can drive around in the Barbie car?”

I really wanted to say no. I looked at the pile of work, the steaming mug of tea, the way my legs were already stretched out comfortably on the bed.

But then I looked at Katie’s little face. I, too, am the younger sister. I know how it feels to be left out.

“Sure, Katie, come on,” I said as I grabbed her hand and let my tea go cold.

SOL

Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

 

Day 18: The Daycare Pick-Up that Wasn’t

I collected Katie and her backpack from her daycare room and we walked down the hall, hand in hand, towards Maddie room. Maddie spotted us as soon as we walked in.

“Hey, toots!” I said, happy to see her face after a long day.

“Mommmm,” Maddie whined. “I just got all set up.” I looked at the carpeted floor and saw the elaborate Palace Pets neighborhood she had designed. “I was going to play with Addie.”

“Oh. Well, I’m sorry.”

“Can I just stay? Can you come back in a bit?”

“I guess…” I replied.

“Not fair!” Katie interjected. “Then I want to stay too!”

So, I brought Katie back to her room and got back in my car without either of my kids.

I suppose you know you’ve found a good place to care for your children when you find yourself sitting alone in the car in the parking lot, wondering what to do now.

SOL

Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

Day 17: My Arm-er

“Mommy, look what I made for you!” Katie squealed as we were getting ready to leave for school.

I looked down and saw Katie holding two pieces of paper. The first was a thin red strip of paper which she had decorated with orange marker and written Mommy. The second was a much wider strip of pink paper. One side said Mom, and the other side was colored with blue and red marker.

File_000 (8)

“Do you want to wear them to work?” Katie asked.

I looked at her little face smiling up at me. How could I say no?

She explained that the thin red piece was a bracelet. The thicker piece was for the upper part of my arm.

“It’s like an armband,” I said as Katie taped it around my arm.

“Well, yeah, but I call it an arm-er. Because, you know, it goes on your arm.”

I took the arm-er off once I arrived at work. After all it covered my entire upper arm and crinkled every time I moved. I left the bracelet on, however, and a colleague noticed it so I told her all about Katie that morning.

“Oh, I used to make my dad beaded necklaces and put them on his neck in the morning before he left for work. I’d watch out the window for him to come home and, sure enough, I’d see him holding his coffee mug and lunch box, still wearing my beaded necklace.”

I thought about her words as I settled in to work. I couldn’t get the image of her younger self staring out the window, waiting for her dad. To think after all these years she still remembers him wearing the beaded necklaces.

“Hey, can you tape this on my arm?” I asked a nearby coworker.

I was still wearing my bracelet and arm-er when I arrived at daycare that afternoon to pick Katie up.

File_000 (9)

Me at work, wearing my bracelet and arm-er

SOL

Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

Day 16: A Dead Fish and The Reason for Everything

I was putting my lunch away when I saw her. My friend at work standing in the hallway, holding a small clear bucket with something orange lying on the bottom.

“Hey,” I greeted her. Once my eyes registered her face, I knew something was wrong. She looked sad, worried, determined, and unsure – all at once. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Our fish died,” she answered.

I noticed she was holding the bucket as far from her body as she possibly could.

“This,” her voice wavered. “Holding this is taking everything I have in me right now.”

“Give it to me. I’ll do it. Here, I’ll take it,” I said as I reached for the bucket.

She started to sob. The tears streamed down her face. She sniffed and sobbed and sniffed.

“It’s okay, I’ll take it. I’ll take care of it,” I reassured her.

She walked away, and I stood outside the closed bathroom door holding a little clear bucket and a dead fish. Two other colleagues entered the copy room and looked at me quizzically.

“Her fish died,” I stated.

The three of us said a short blessing to remember the fish’s life, and I stepped into the bathroom to send him to his final resting place.

To us, he was just a class fish who met his maker too soon. But to my grieving colleague he was just as important as any living thing might be. The fish (God rest his soul) is why she doesn’t eat meat and why she can’t go fishing with her father. It is why she fosters dogs, taking them into her home to feed them and treat their mange and love them and give them hope. The fish and the worms and the dogs…to her, you see, they are everything. They are the reason for everything.

SOL

Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

 

Day 15: A Moment of Balance

I had an obligation for work that would require me to be on the computer from 8:00 pm until 9:00 pm which is also bedtime at our house. My husband was down at the neighbor’s house helping them install a floor. Somehow I was going to have to put the girls to bed and do my work at the exact same time.

I got this I thought to myself, as all mamas do.  I called the girls over to me for a quick chat.

“Girls, Mommy has to do some work that will require me to be on the computer tonight for one hour. Unfortunately it starts at 8:00, so I’m going to need your help. Do you think you could brush your teeth and go potty and wash your hands all by yourself tonight?” The girls nodded eagerly. “And do you think instead of Mommy reading to you tonight that maybe you could read to each other?” More nods.

So, at precisely 8:15 I was perched on the floor of Maddie’s bedroom, my laptop in front of me, my eyes on the screen. Maddie and Katie were atop Maddie’s bed tucked under the blanket.

“Want me to read Paddington to you, Maddie?” Katie asked as she snuggled in close to her sister.

As I worked, I had one ear bent towards them, listening to the beautiful sound of one sister reading to another.

“And w—w—w…..” Katie stopped.

“When,” Maddie encouraged.

“And when Paddington stepped into the boat….”

Their voices were the perfect backdrop to the clickety-clack of my keyboard.

For the first time ever – and for only a few fleeting moments – I had perfected the elusive balancing act in the life of a working mom.

SOL

Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

Day 14: Dad’s Way: A Case in Point

The other day I wrote a Slice of Life story about how dads do it their way. I’ve come to accept this fact and have really tried to embrace my husband’s unique style of parenting. The girls adore him, after all, and there haven’t been any major catastrophes. (Well, there was that one time the three of them came back from Home Depot and Maddie told me how funny it was when they couldn’t find Katie but then they found her way up high on the ladder.)

All was well, though, the other day when I wrote that post and left Daddy was in charge.

So I was surprised yesterday when I emptied Maddie’s backpack. I glanced through her returned homework, including her daily math practice from the other evening which had a big star on it from the teacher. I was about to flip to the next page when something caught my eye. Does that say beer? My eyes scanned the page.

“Maddie. Did you turn your homework in like this?”

“Mmmm, hmmm,” she answered, her mouth full of cookie.

I closed my eyes and shook my head while a sigh escaped my mouth.

Like I said, Dads do it their way.

Maddie's Homework

SOL

Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.

Day 13: When It’s Not About the Nail

I think I bit off more than I can chew. I’m doing this Slice of Life Challenge while taking another course at work while teaching another course at work. I’m a bit overwhelmed since this is all happening outside of my actual job.

I started crying as I vented to my husband. Of course he doesn’t want to see me sad, so he said, “Why don’t you drop the Mindset Course or the Slice of Life Challenge?”

I looked at him like he was crazy. “Drop one of them?? I can’t drop one of them! I’m in it, now. I’m already in,” I said, appalled at the suggestion.

He looked at me. I looked at him.

Our conversation reminded me of this video, and I chuckled

It’s not about the nail.

SOL

Thirty-one stories in thirty-one days as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge at Two Writing Teachers.