A New School Year

A New School Year

The boys now leave the house and clamber onto the bus heading for school at 6:52 in the morning. Both boys. This morning found all four of us in the kitchen at the same time as my husband tried to get out the door for work while I served two very sleepy boys their breakfast and the dogs danced in between our feet and around our legs, hair everywhere.

This particular scenario only happens every third day. Tomorrow I will rise and send them off to school before my husband even arrives back from his 24 hour shift at the fire department. I’m hopeful that come Friday, I might get to sleep past six o’clock in the morning, but I doubt it.

This is our new normal.

Today is the first school day of quiet as well. Quiet being relative as the dogs keep finding things to bark at: a neighbor walking by, the township department working on mowing near the road, the newspaper delivery man, the breeze, nothing. For the past two days, I’ve talked to my husband. Today, it’s just me talking to the dogs.

“Stop barking. Who’s a good dog? You don’t pet me; I pet you.”

I went to yoga today, in part because I’m working hard to keep my body moving right now and because, well, I don’t much like being all alone right now. Except for that part when I got to shower after yoga and lunch and no one bothered me, meaning I shaved my legs—slowly. And by no one, I mean that the dogs only barked eight times at who knows what but not one single person or dog came in the bathroom.

It’s the small things.

||Ad||

Our yoga instructor talked about pausing during the hectic day-in-and-day-out minutae to listen for the little things, to take note of the beauty. I’m so frequently in go-go-go mode that I do forget to pause, to breathe. I get lost in thoughts and don’t take note of what’a really happening all around me.

Last night during our walk, I heard a sound. A whooshing, if you will; steady and somehow passing me by. I looked around. Nothing. I looked up.

A New School Year

The birds are moving, flying in larger and larger flocks. Soon they’ll be gone. The air felt crisp against my cheeks during my walk this morning; I wore a soft new sweatshirt which I needed to remove on my way back up the hill. When do the crickets stop chirping? Maybe I’ll notice this year. The leaves are still green except for those few, those ones who have already given up, turned yellow and brown and let go of their branches. More will follow.

I wish away the seasons with complaints of “it’s too hot” and “it’s too cold.” I don’t take enough time to pause in the current and witness the transition of time, that in-between of summer and fall. When did my daughter get taller than me? When did my oldest son’s feet surpass mine? Where did my baby go and who is this near ten-year-old?

Fourth and sixth grade for my boys this school year. One is now a full-blown tween in middle school and the other will get glasses the same year I got glasses. I don’t know what this school year holds for them, but I hope I can help them pause every now and then; pause and look around and feel the air changing, see the birds leaving, witness the moment for what it is.

At the very least, I hope they learn something this year. I hope I do, too.

A New School Year

 

Get Outfits They'll LOVE at Zulily

I’m Doing the Best I Can

I'm Doing the Best I Can

One step after another, I trudged up the steep hill.

I counted—one, two, three—all the way up through twenty, and then I changed the position of my foot strike from mid-food to tip-toes. One through twenty, and repeat. It’s my trick for getting up the big steep hills. I’m forced to train on these mini-mountains at the tippy top of the Appalachain Mountains.

Mid-foot, toes, mid-foot, toes, mid-foot, toes. Always counting.

Eventually, my perseverance gave way. I finished the current count to twenty and dropped back into my heel walk. I checked my heart rate. I walked slowly until it dropped back out of peak range. Then I power-walked.

And then I ran again.

This happened three separate times on that particular training run, the dropping into a walk. Up the giant, monstrous hill, back up a steep incline just after my turnaround point, and near the end on another steep incline that felt much easier to run down near the beginning of the run.

During the walking portion after turning around, I felt defeated. Running in July is no easy feat, especially up these non-stop hills. Over and over. Between the heat and the uphill both ways, it’s easy to feel like you’re getting nowhere. Slowly.

I quickly started repeating my running mantra over and over.

“I’m doing the best I can. I’m doing the best I can. I’m doing the best I can.”

— __ — __ —

A series of events resulted in our oldest son sitting on the ground in our reading nook, shooting me dirty looks from across the room. His repeated mistreatment of his iPhone case resulted in the complete disintegration of a Lifeproof case. Apparently they’re Lifeproof but not BigBrother proof. When I informed him that I wasn’t running out to replace the case and that he couldn’t use the phone without a case, and as such, he couldn’t have a phone for a month… well… the tween emotions ran high.

I’m doing the best I can.

— __ — __ —

“Mommy, do you want to play Mario with me?”

I need to finish up this work.

“Mommy, do you want to play Animal Crossing with me?”

||Ad||

I’d love to, but I need to start dinner.

“Mommy, all you do is work.”

I’m doing the best I can.

— __ — __ —

My daughter sent me a series of texts during a difficult day recently. I don’t quite have Tween Boy issues down yet, so sometimes Teen Girl things escape me. I offered some ideas, gave my support. I don’t know if it helped; I only hope it didn’t make things worse.

I’m doing the best I can.

— __ — __ —

My husband’s grandmother fell recently. I have tried to be a supportive wife and granddaughter-in-law. I hate seeing my husband worry, seeing him hurt. I hate knowing the reality that, with my grandparents gone (save for my possibly immortal great-grandmother), my husband’s grandparents will not be with us forever. It hurts almost as much as losing my grandparents.

I’ve been trying to keep the house together and care for the boys and work and help clean his grandparents’ house. But I keep letting balls drop; laundry, clutter, my energy level. I don’t feel like I’m doing enough.

I’m doing the best I can.

— __ — __ —

I still haven’t quite figured out why my best never feels quite good enough. I always feel like I’m falling short in approximately nine thousand ways. I need to run faster, longer. I should be a better mom, a better birth mom. A better wife. The house should be cleaner. I shouldn’t make mistakes at work. I should have written the freaking book by this point. Never. Ever. Enough.

But maybe.

— __ — __ —

I finished the run that day. Somehow, between running, walking, 20-20 stride combos, I logged my fastest 4.5 mile run this training cycle. It’s still not fast, but it shows improvement.

I’m doing this.

I’m doing the best I can.