Wednesday, June 4, 2014


My hands are gripping tightly on a rope, and I feel the rope slipping. My mind anticipates each slip and prepares for the sharp pain of rope burn that accompanies it. 

You see, these are screen shots of my substitute teaching calendar beginning from April 28 to June 5, 2014. Blue squares are the days I worked. White squares are weekends/holidays, and gray squares are days I took off (one for chaperoning a field trip with DS, and one for a coffee/lunch date with my bloggy friends, Shannon and Kari). Today is June 4. Tomorrow is the last day of school. 

And summer school starts NEXT MONDAY. (I can't even think about all the things I still have to DO!)

Every year, the month of May is one of sheer madness. We have two birthdays, Mother's Day, violin concert and recitals, year-end school performances and events, and all the regularly scheduled activities LIKE BREATHING AND SLEEPING. 

In attempt to avoid rope burns, I grip tighter. A slipping rope would definitely cause pain.

Within eight days, DD turned eleven and graduated from her Elementary School. It is almost strange to see her feet nearly clearing the foot of her bed when I wake her in the mornings. Who is this giant child I'm looking at? Her feet are ginormous, legs long, fingers slender and delicate, cheeks twice the size of the ones I used to zerbert. Yet there she is, sleeping like a baby, so peacefully. I stare a few moments before continuing the hustle and bustle of the day, yanking her out of bed, again racing against the clock. 

For her birthday bedroom surprise this year, I went with lights again, except these ones have beautiful mini lanterns on them. They have been hiding in my closet for a few months, and I couldn't wait to put them in her room. But now that "birthday room surprise" is a thing in our family, it was not so much a surprise for her than a "wow, it's pretty!" Which is good enough for me.

Now that she is months away from middle school, we wanted to update her "girly" room with something more practical as she gets older. If you remember from last year's birthday room surprise, she still had her play kitchen, a birthday present from her auntie from when she turned two. 

That kitchen had been loved and cherished, and now has come full circle and found a new home--living with the gifter's children: my nieces. It will continue to be blessed with little hands cooking with wooden food items and plastic plates and cups. 

DH found a really nice desk/hutch that matches the white of her bedroom furniture. The entire desk weighed over 200 pounds, and I'll leave it to your imagination how we got the two pieces upstairs to her room. Think: PIVOT-shouting-matches, dripping sweat, overexerted fingers, arms, lower backs, and a snickery DS who watched the entire spectacle without having to flex a muscle. 

1, 2, 3, GO! 
1, 2, 3, PULL! 
1, 2, 3, <GRUNT>!

Two days ago, the kiddos' school had its Fifth Grade Farewell. Being the sentimental schmuck that I am, I had fully expected to be weepy. I drove to the event with a bouquet sitting in the passenger's seat, thinking about how those flowers represent all of the six years DD spent at the school and everything she has accomplished there. Where are my tissues?  

What I didn't expect was to be overcome with joyful emotions looking at all the fifth graders, because I have taught--at one time or another (and some more than others)--almost every single one of the students walking in the processional of the ceremony. Many made eye contact with me and smiled or said hello. I was so very proud of them all. To see them dressed up, not acting goofy, and embracing the celebration for them made me incredibly happy. 

DD wore her floral dress, a ladies' size 4, you guys! She played with the orchestra and recited a part of her poem. She received an award for Leadership, sang "Today is the Day," and walked the recessional. And then, she graduated from grade school. Proud Parenting Moment, I tell ya!

A sudden burst of strength surprises me. I shift and readjust my grip. 

Throughout this crazy month and the few leading up to it, I've felt like I've been slipping. Slipping from household chores, slipping from mommy duties, slipping from sanity. Which is understandable seeing those calendar pictures up there. But what was scary was the fact that I felt less and less inclined to write. I'd have thoughts about possible posts, but never having the time or wherewithal to write them. As time passed, those posts just seemed to slip away. I didn't know how to feel about that. Should I be okay with it? Should I not? 

But I do know that I shouldn't force myself to do anything. Least of all, make myself miserable.

And the answer came to me today. My first day off since FOREVER ago, I've been incredibly productive. I've put the kids on the bus, been on the elliptical for a great workout, run a load of laundry, and written an overdue, three-posts-in-one blog post. And now it's clear as day: when I can, I do. 

When Life throws me a day off, I do what makes me happiest: write, edit, and publish.

I settle in my stance. I hold my grip. With newfound power, I pull. Life is a tug-of-war, vacillating between slips and tugs. 

And, occasionally, pivots.

I came upstairs last night and saw this:

And I know that all is good in the world, and all of our tugs and pulls, slips and rope burns are all worth the fight.


  1. You certainly deserved a day off to enjoy what you want! Congrats on DS graduating 5th grade. I can't believe she's had that play kitchen in there since she was 2! Glad it found a good home and that she got a pretty new desk. So grown up now! Glad you're getting a grip on that rope and hope it takes you somewhere awesome this summer.

  2. Oh, I can so relate to this - all of it. My middle child graduated from 5th grade herself just a few short days ago. The kids had their last day of school today (I have to go in for two more days) and on Monday summer camp starts. No time, no time... I hope you have an awesome summer!!! :)

  3. I got goosebumps from reading this post, especially at the end there. We have our 5th grade recognition this morning!
    I am so glad you were able to take a day off to hang out with Kari and I, and I can't wait to do it again.

  4. I can't wait to do it again as well!
    And I am only on day four of my now freshman being home and I have had an upper respiratory infection, not written anything and a migraine for two days.
    Oh and I am chaperoning a field trip with the kindergartner today.
    I need a lunch date with my friends!!!!

    So glad you are "back".

  5. You made me laugh and tear up all in one post! I had to laugh at the moving the furniture up the stairs. Been there- and it's ugly in our house (add cursing to the mix!) Finally, it was determined that he needed to get a strong friend because I'm worthless when it comes to heavy lifting. Graduations are poignant. My older son announced that he's in seventh grade now and for some reason that statement hit me in the gut. I shouldn't be surprised, I mean, when he wore his black pants, dress shirt and tie for a band concert in March, I was struck by how 'old' he looked. I'm glad you have a day off and have felt the joy of accomplishment. Enjoy!

  6. hi Sandra. You are living a full life. you may not be writing on paper, monitor rather, but you are writing on the lives of your children and students. that is very special writing. :-)

  7. Sandra, this is so beautifully written. Then to see the picture at the end of your daughter at the desk--that was indeed a labor of love getting it into her room! Hubby and I have moved our share of furniture and it's a testament to marriage that we are still together. I've taught him to be the one to walk backwards and lift the heavy end. ;-) As usual, you are doing everything as you should when you've got so much going on. ADJUST ACCORDINGLY is the best advice. I'm so glad you got to have a day off to socialize with Shannon & Kari. Days off are so precious and it sounds like you made it memorable which is all you can hope for. Those lantern lights are adorable! Where did you find them? We are totally into decorative lights. I love having the house festive at all times. We've got our 4th of July ones up already (indoors). It must be almost shocking to see your kids grow up so quickly. When you see someone every day, you don't always notice how much of a change takes place. (Until you go buy clothes!) Feel secure in knowing you're doing everything right where they're concerned. :-) How is summer school going?