The Merritt Parkway completely betrayed me today. I saw the backup as I exited 95 and almost changed my mind, but I thought, surely it can’t be like this the whole way. I should have made more careful note of the lack of trucks and buses on the interstate; that’s the only reason the Merritt is ever better. Brake lights from start to finish. At one point, I got off in I-don’t-even-know-where, Connecticut just to see if I could follow some back roads. Just to move. We had to move. It didn’t save any time (it probably cost us a little) but we did get to see some really enormous homes, professionally bedazzled with twinkling Christmas lights before navigating back to the Parkway.
Ultimately, it only took us an hour and a half longer to get home than I had anticipated, but I had already accounted for an extra hour of traffic in my first estimation. (I hadn’t accounted for a get-out-of-the-car lunch stop, so that was added in there, too.)
I have to hand it to us: we’re pretty good road-trippers. The Who is a master navigator and I’m pretty generous in response to his requests. If a peaceful and pleasant day-long drive requires a shared box of Munchkins and his near-exclusive control of the phone, I am happy to oblige.
Tomorrow we (read: I) have to unpack and clean the car. That’s the dark underbelly of this whole situation.
The Who really wants a pencil case just like mine for his birthday. Luckily, we both have pretty pedestrian taste and it’s just a Target item — pretty easy to come by. I contemplated going out at 1am when they open tonight, but almost immediately thought better of it. Is it worth getting trampled in the electronics section so I can get a $5 pencil case before he wakes? (Never mind that my brother assures me that “people don’t get trampled in Massachusetts.” That can’t be true, is it? It’s just another example of our snooty holier-than-thou Massholery, right?)
At any rate, tomorrow The Who turns seven. And I’ll celebrate seven years of staying [relatively] sane [enough] to raise a real quality human being.
I’m begging a migraine to stay at bay by feeding it leftover Town Spa and Excedrin. I feel pretty good about my odds. Better if I go to sleep right now.
Five things happened today, and only one of them wasn’t in the car.
- We drove all the way to Boston!
- The Who played The Earth at a Q and A in a third grade classroom in Connecticut.
- We ate chicken fries.
- I taught The Who to sing in a round.
- We both made it successfully through the “one smart fellow” tongue twister at least once.
There are so many extraordinary things about The Who, but the one I am continually awed by is his ability and willingness to express his feelings, no matter what they are.
He regularly expresses anger and frustration not just in actions, but words. “It makes me so mad when you…” And he is often able to differentiate between anger, hurt, and sadness. And even if at first, sadness and hurt are masked by anger, as soon as the question is posed, “Are your feelings hurt?” he is always able to tell the difference.
He is also often able to, unprompted, voice his preferences and how violation of them makes him feel. Last night, he said, “I have told you before that I don’t like when you do X. It makes me mad.” And I don’t know about every parent, but his ability to put words to things like that makes it so much easier for me to own my transgressions and apologize for them. I hope that the long-term result of this is that he grows up without pushing feelings down and burying them with something else.
Similarly, he also shows unbridled enthusiasm and excitement when he is looking forward to something. I never have to guess if he is jazzed about a plan or delighted by something that has happened. “I can’t wait for tomorrow!” he said before bed tonight. And last week as he donned a shirt and tie for a new friend’s first day of school, he gushed, “I am so happy today!”
I love his openness — his ownership of his truth. I hope it’s something that he holds onto for his whole life.
Every night, I fall asleep in front of the tv, eventually waking up with a start and coming upstairs in a haze — only then remembering that I still haven’t written.
Most nights, like tonight, I remind myself that this is my own set of rules — that nothing is riding on it. I committed to blogging daily and if I don’t do it, the sky doesn’t fall.
Often, commitments to myself are the easiest to break, but somehow not this one. And so, each night, bleary eyed and foggy headed, here I am, hobbling toward the finish line.
We had a lot more time last year. Time to research books on a realistic version of the Thanksgiving story, for example. Time to carve a pumpkin earlier than the evening of Halloween. Time to make it to the library every week or two. Just more time.
Historically, and in every description of myself I have ever given, I’m someone who likes to be busy. I like having places to go and being out all day so that when I arrive home, it’s dinner and then bedtime. I never understood people who looked forward to summer when the kids would be home, the schedules relaxed. And, honestly, though I enjoyed our past summer a lot, I was delighted to get back to a routine.
But these days, I could really use a pause button. Up until this week, it had been ok. But all of a sudden, I’m feeling the crush of the holidays approaching and not being ready and having so much to do and so many places to be.
The Who could use a break, too. And I can tell because he always used to opt to go places if they were offered. These days, he generally opts to stay home. Throw the ball around with m*. Draw a map. Read some books. Full day school, ballet, Nutcracker rehearsals, piano lessons, Hebrew school…we all just need to sloooooow dooooown.
I honestly don’t know how people manage more than one kid and maintain sanity.