Last week was the first week back at school for both kids. With Evan moving up to Middle School and Rowan moving up to High School, there were new experiences for everyone.
Rowan’s day now starts at 5:00am, and she’s not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination…
And neither is Wendy, so it’s looking like waking Rowan up and getting her out of the house by 6:00am is going to fall on my shoulders.
Evan leaves much later (9:00am) but his day lasts longer. Rowan goes straight from school to swim practice five days a week and is home by 4:00pm for chores and homework…
So essentially, her daily obligations are wrapping up by 6:00pm or so.
Evan gets home at the same time as Rowan (4:00pm) but has soccer most nights from 6:00pm – 9:00pm and if you’re exhausted and confused by this point you have a good idea how I feel.
So getting the kids into successful routines has been difficult, and everyone’s been cranky and short tempered.
The low pressure hasn’t helped, either.
We spent the week watching the weather channel and wondering if we would need to batten down the hatches and flee northward. Tropical Storm Erika matched our erratic energy: First it was going to fizzle out, then it was going to strengthen and head up the eastern seaboard, then it was going to land directly on our heads…
Then it finally died over Cuba.
On Thursday we fly North for my mom’s memorial. It will be good to see my family again, but I’m sure it will also be an emotional time.
Ever since my mom passed away I’ve been having regular chats with many of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and other extended family members…
Planning the memorial, telling stories about the old days, and just generally catching up.
It’s been a blessing to actually speak with them and will be wonderful to see them all again after silently watching their lives on Facebook or hearing how they’re doing through the grapevine for so long.
One thing that I haven’t enjoyed is how often I’m called a hero or told how wonderful it is that Wendy and I took such good care of my mom for so many years.
Yes, we did visit her 1-2 times a week for many years. And yes, we did take her groceries every week as well. But to say we are “heroes” is so far from the truth that it offends me.
We were not raised to see what we did as anything special. Taking care of your family members is just something you do.
Plus, it makes what we did sound NOBLE.
I’ll be honest: Wendy and I often HATED visiting my mom. She was so sick that she was often angry. Bitter. Mean.
And seeing her unable to talk or laugh or cook or even get out of bed was profoundly painful.
So we hated it. We resented the fact that we couldn’t move to California or Seattle.
We resented that most of our Sunday’s were not spent relaxing with our kids but rather going to the grocery store, then sitting in a depressing, stinking nursing home trying to cheer up my mom.
But I will say this: Slowly over time, we came to accept visiting mom as just another part of our lives.
We took Rowan to get a good luck hugs before her plays opened.
We took Evan, dirty and exhausted, to celebrate soccer victories or get consolation hugs.
Wendy and I visited before yoga. After yoga. On our way to or from yoga.
And I think that as mom saw us let go of our resentment and remember our lesson that this is just what you do for family, it became easier for her to let go.