Well, it's the weekend, and I once again find myself at home, sweet home. I am relishing it--being able to do laundry on Saturday at a nice, leisurely pace; the anticpation of hanging clothes on the line; watching and listening to Andrew play with toys he often doesn't have time for during the week (Right now, he's playing drums along with Phineas and Ferb.). And, of course, I have access to a computer, which means I can enjoy a Six Pack on this beautiful morning.
1. The weeks are flying by. We have been in school for almost an entire grading period already! That's both good and bad. As we dip into fall and the weather becomes comfortable and pleasant, I dread the return of winter--especially if it has any plans of being as much of a hateful bitch as it was last year. I dread the cold, and I dread the heating bills. If it were up to me, we'd go straight from Thanksgiving to Christmas, then to Easter, and skip all the crap in between.
2. Andrew is going to spend the night with his grammy tonight, and Shmoopy and I are headed out on the town. I'm stuck in a dilemma though--we arranged the sleepover and planned to stay home from the lake specifically to see this fantastic 80's cover band, The Reflex, play at a local establishment. This band is great fun, and plays everything from A-ha to Nena, and yes, even Rick Springfield. I wasn't able to go the last time they were in town, and a lot of classmates from high school that I've reconnected with since our 20th reunion last year, and since everyone and his brother is now on Facebook, seem anxious for me to go. But, I found out a few days ago that our good friends Matt (a.k.a. The Voice of Reason) and Tina were also planning a rare night out to a different establishment to see a different band. So, I'm torn...go hang with acquaintances and see a band I LOVE, or go hang with people I love and see a band I don't really like. Ugggh, decisions.
3. Andrew is doing a great job at school, and I think he loves it. Of course, when I ask him, his response is always, "Fine," with no details. But in the middle of random everydayness, he blurts out things like, "Mommy, in music, we still haven't gotten to use the instruments!" Or he might recite a poem he learned while he's playing, unaware that I'm listening. Through the bits and pieces I get scattered throughout our day, I can tell he's enjoying it a lot, and that he has settled quite nicely into his new routine. I don't really think he's learning anything yet, though, but that will come as reading groups and Power Up groups start sorting themselves out. I just hope it's fast enough that he doesn't get bored reviewing shapes and colors that he's known since before he could talk well enough to name them!
4. Work is a big stressor right now. We have a great group of kids, but there are some real challenges if every kid is supposed to pass the same standardized test in the spring. I'm a big advocate of the idea that every child can learn, but realistically, every child won't learn the same things, and as much as we remediate and reteach and accommodate, there's simply no way that a child reading on a first grade level and spelling phonetically about as well as Andrew does is going to pass a seventh grade reading test. We're good, but we're not that good. As if the academic challenges weren't enough, we are faced with some effing crazy extremely difficult parents who, I'm assuming in the interests of protecting and advocating for their children, are actually causing irreparable damage and testing the limits of my ability to bite my tongue. It's a bad thing when I fantasize about telling these parents exactly what I think of them. And I also just realized that I have to take a class before spring for recertification, and that's my LEAST favorite thing to do.
5. I have a list of home improvement projects a mile long. Maybe two miles. Last weekend, we trimmed trees and shrubs and thinned out honeysuckle (and poison ivy, apparently, from the angry red splotches the hubby has all over him) for about four hours each day, and it made a huge difference. But it highlighted the other outdoor projects that sort of need immediate attention, such as the south-facing wall of the house, one of the few walls that isn't sided, which needs an immediate paint job. I rarely see that side of the house, and it doesn't face the road, so the fact that the paint is peeling off in big chunks is easy to ignore. The porch needs to be painted too, and ideally before it gets any colder. I just love old houses. Sigh.
6. We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the worst time in my life, and I'm braced for impact, both mine and others'. These next few weeks will mark the last "firsts" since Edna's death, and certainly the most difficult. I've blocked out most of the specific dates, but this was the beginning of the Waiting. The time when we all knew what was going on but weren't allowed to talk about it with her. The time when every phone call made our hearts sink. The time when all I could think about was how I was going to explain it to Andrew. The time when I had to stay strong to hold others up. And I feel it...as much I enjoy the changing weather, fall will forever be That Time. A trip to the pumpkin patch will forever be What We Did the Weekend After She Died. My birthday will always be bittersweet, because that was the true beginning of the end, and I will never forget that I held my breath that whole day, just knowing it would be any time. I've been pretty good, pretty okay, throughout most of the "firsts," and just in general. It was so hard for me in the six months leading up to her death, that afterwards I think I just exhaled. But I feel it coming. I finished a YA book this morning, brand-new to the school library. The heroine's mother had died, then her father, and at the end, her only friend, a bewitched cat who talked, also died. And I cried. I feel it behind my eyes, in my throat, and in my stomach. It's becoming the waiting time all over again.