Our oldest daughter has a fall birthday that lies after the cut off date for kindergarten. This was a blessing because I didn't have to decide "when" to send her to kindergarten. Now on to the next kid.
January birthday. No decision about school whatsoever.
On to the next daughter, with a birthday 6 days before the cut off date. Didn't even blink an eye about keeping her home another year, 1. because I have always agreed with my school teacher mother who drilled into my brain that it's better to be older in school and 2. she was still the size of a small preschooler. Also, in July we drove past the letter M on our mesa for the high school and she blurted out from her toddler car seat, "look mom! the number T!" Annnnnd that's why you're staying home pumpkin.
Now to the son. The only son. The son that all the pressure is on to be masculine, perfect, athletic, smart, handsome and well...perfect. He literally popped out of me imperfect because he screamed like a girl for 20 minutes and dared to have a summer birthday.
SUMMER BIRTHDAY spelled death to me as an elementary schooler. Those were the kids that had to celebrate their birthday like, the last day or school, or even worse, a pathetic half birthday party in the winter and that really didn't even count. You never, ever, ever, saw those kids on their birthday. And even if they had a party, no one could ever go because, well, summer. I on the other hand had a perfect fall birthday. Lovely weather, lots of leftover candy from Halloween, and I was usually the oldest one in the class. Along with Alex So, he and I always shared our birthday. Every dang year, dang it. Anyway, I enjoyed being both the oldest and the smallest. It was fun, and way better than a lame summer birthday.
As a parent I love summer birthdays! But last February I'm signing Rodney into preschool so I could go nap and there is a little note with a checkbox. Please let me know if your child will be attending kindergarten next year: YES. or NO. And there was his name. WHAT? He can't go to school. He's only 4. He has a blankie, he naps, he's my baby. And that's when I started freaking out.
Usually, when I have an extremely important decision to make in my life (and even stupid ones) I don't ponder in prayer or meditate first. No, first I call or corner every single friend, sister, mom, teacher I can find. If you know me you know I'm not exaggerating. I want to know what everyone did, thinks, thought, would do different, what their sister's cousin in-law did that worked/didn't work. I want to know it all. The debate about school went on for 6 months.
After a few knowledgeable and well meaning friends, family and teachers told me he was ready and he really should go, I registered him online and in true Scarlet O'hara fashion, decided not to worry about it until August. I somehow knew my mother would come home from Guatemala and agree, yup, for sure, not even close to ready.
And then she came home and looked me in the eyes and said the worst three words of my life.
He is ready.
That's fine and all, but I wasn't/am not ready for my baby to be in school. ALL DAY school by the way, no thanks to Governor Sandoval and the Nevada legislature. I just spat on my computer screen.
But then the sweetest blessing came, he never had a registration letter arrive which was of course a huge heavenly sign that he wasn't supposed to go and so I kept him registered in preschool and was happy as could be and then...we got his letter a WEEK before school started. He had a teacher and a classroom. What the? Double the ugh ugh. So I decided to (was literally dragged into it) to visit his classroom even though of course he wasn't going and his teacher is so cute and his name was on the wall and what the crap am I going to do with this kid? Send? Keep? Can I get some meds for this?
In the end...we decided on Saturday night at 8:30pm that he was supposed to go. And I cried for an hour, and I cried in Target while I bought his lunchbox that night at 10pm. This all from a non-crier. And then I dropped him off on his first day, and I hadn't shed a tear and I was really proud and walking back to my car and then my good friend Audrey looked at me and then looked at my hands that were EMPTY and she motioned her hands out to my EMPTY hands and said, "OH, annie." That is when I completely lost my shiz and bawled my eyes out for 20 minutes (while calling all of my very close friends/family and snot-cry explain how sad I was).
Then I recovered and had a secret denial plan. The school was going to call me. The school would call and say "We are sorry but your son can't stay in kindergarten, he needs his mommy." And I would drive so fast I'd get 3 speeding tickets and then pick him up and go to the park and a playdate and grocery shopping and take a nap together and not worry about losing my baby, MY BABIES for forever to school for another 12 months and the world would be good and no medication would be needed.
They never called.
Our oldest daughter has a fall birthday that lies after the cut off date for kindergarten. This was a blessing because I didn't have to decide "when" to send her to kindergarten. Now on to the next kid.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 1:33 PM
Over the last year a few new things have happened that have pointed towards signs of...maturing (getting OLD). Most of them are easy to dismiss. Not liking most new music genres, not knowing who the Kardashians are, constantly yelling at the dancing tv shows that have all of the new dance forms that you think are ruining the art form, hitting the halfway mark to 40, things like that.
Then stranger things showed up. Like, permanent neck wrinkles, stinky sock morning breath, and now you not only have crows feet but you can physically feel your wrinkles with your fingers. Just like Dolly Parton said, "Time marches on, and pretty soon you realize it's marching across your face"
Or buying a slice of pizza at the fair for your kid and the 16 year old worker asks, "Do you remember me? You taught me ballet when I was 5!". Um...no I don't remember you because I swear that 12 years ago I was 12.
The year 2006 always feels like just a few years ago....not TEN years ago. Kids that I babysat are now MARRIED and parents of MULTIPLE children. My funny/witty movie references literally fall on deaf ears because no one has seen or even heard of my childhood favorites. To add insult to injury, my favorite "oldies" station that played all the classics now plays hits from early 80's. EW! What is happening to my life?
But the tipping point happened this morning, driving through Las Vegas from the airport. A small honda civic hatchback passed me with a "Classic Rod" license plate marker. Meaning, it's old enough to be considered a "classic".
At this rate tomorrow I'll be getting the senior citizen early bird special.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 8:54 AM
A few months after we moved into our home I walked outside to see Ty on a ladder drilling some lights above our bedroom window. "Motion sensor security lights" he informed me. He then installed three more around the property. We live on 2acres, so I felt like it was a good idea. Until the first night.
I sleep closest to the window, and now you know where this story is probably going. About 3 minutes with my eyes closed trying to sleep (this means Ty has been fast asleep for 90 seconds already), the light flicks on and I open my eyes. Burglar? Coyote?! I rush to the window and look outside to find, of course, nothing. I went to lie back down, and two minutes later the light is back on. Again, nothing. And so on, and so on for the entire night. I sleepily complained to Ty the next morning that those stupid motion lights suck. The sleepless nights continued for a few weeks until our marriage was reaching a high stress breaking point. I was not getting any sleep.
During dinner one night, he mentioned, "Oh hey, I checked the motion lights and their sensors were set on High, so I switched them to a lower sensitivity". Basically, the lights were going off when the wind rustled the palm tree fronds too much or a moth flew by. I wish I was joking. My life was interrupted nightly by silly, small and harmless things.
Last weekend I sat and watched my sister in law open her baby shower presents. Oh! The cuteness. The little outfits, the matching bows, the adorable shoes! The shoes! The doodads, blankets and the watchmathingies that are all the rage, that every parent must have. And man, I sat there remembering that with our first baby did I have to have all of those things. I don't think I'm alone in this either. With your first child your sensitivity dial is set to HIGH, at ALL TIMES. Silly, small, harmless things keep you up at night! Everything must be perfect!! I sat there wondering where it comes from, and I realized, most of it has to do with ourselves. How are people seeing me through my child, by my outfit, my body, my car, my house, my new wallpaper?
Twelve years ago I probably spent hours picking out Lucy's first doctor's appointment outfit and making sure she looked as adorable as could be. Imagine my disappointment when as a first time mom I found out that your baby's doctor appointments are with them straight up naked in a diaper for the first year. How could the doctor see what a good parent I was without seeing the pink corduroy overalls with tiny embroidered edelweiss on them? Writing this sounds silly, as I'm sure reading it, but ask any first time mom and she will have had an experience like this. Whether I liked it or not, I was highly sensitive and it was all silly, harmless, small things that were meant about ME.
Fast forward six years later to when we had our fourth child. I'm pretty sure my sensitivity sensor was on the lowest setting there is. I honestly could care less what other people were thinking about my parenting skills or how cute my kids looked most of the time. I have the pictures to prove it. Disregard this statement if family pictures, school pictures or a wedding are scheduled for the day. But all in all the only things I gauged and monitored were things like, is the baby happy? Is he hungry? Does he have a clean onesie on? Not too dirty of a onesie? Sleeping enough? Sleeping too much? Is he reaching milestones? Does he smell like mold? You know. Important stuff. The rest of my energy was spent on trying not to ignore the other kids too much and meet their needs at the same time. A juggling act that is still on constant demand at this house.
Then, there were the dark times. This is when I didn't have any sensitivity. I'd like to call these the numb years where I didn't wear pants (I wore clothes, just leggings and stretchy skirts and dresses, not actual pants with a button or zipper). My motion sensor was broken and already getting recycled in Taiwan by this point, leaving a gaping hole where it was supposed to be. Getting through the day was all I could do. I hated everything, everyone, myself. I was angry. Sad. Numb. But mostly numb and angry. I talked a lot about other people, it was one of the few things that made me feel better, picking on other people. I yelled at my kids. A lot. I punished myself with crappy food and not exercising. I desperately tried new things or magical fixitalls in search of an answer, only to never find anything that could pull me out of the darkness for longer than a few weeks. This went on for longer than I'd like to admit. Years. I don't write about this very much on here, the courage has yet to show up at my door for something like that. Maybe because some days my grandchildren will read this? Hopefully not. But maybe someday I should write it exactly because they will read it some day? Thoughts for another time.
Now in my life I'm searching for the middle way as far as what I am spending my time paying attention to. I'm trying to hard to be a good person. I care about other people, I try to show that I care. I love my kids even though I'm sure I'm failing them, I still love them everyday and show it. I take care of myself, a little more. My lifelong goal is to shoot for right in-between the sensitivity of :
HIGH 'overly and hyper critical of myself and others'
OFF 'straight up angry and numb'.
Somewhere right around caring enough about myself and others to wear real pants, but not caring so much that I'm screaming at my kids to put on the cute matching outfit or I'm calling the police.
I guess they call this balance?
I imagine in my future, and can see in my past, that the first time I do anything (like have a middle schooler, high schooler, college student etc), or venture into a new area of work or church service, my sensitivity monitor ratchets up a few notches. Slowly I'd like to say that I'm getting less and less prone to it getting put on HIGH, but it happens. I watch around me the mature and wise neighbors, family and friends that have been to many a rodeo. They are literally calm, collected, and peaceful about most things. LOW.
And Hallmark cards have it right. Because, if we really look at the grand perspective of it all, most things work out. All kids grow up. Hard things get easier. Good times happen. Grief becomes a manageable companion. And like it or not, happiness can be found in everything, if you look for it.
No matter how hard it is, every day ends, even the awful ones. Every morning the sun rises to a day with no mistakes in it. And just when you get comfortable there will always be milestones met, missed, and changes. My small life has been full of slow, painful beginnings, sad, quick endings, and endlessly hard, boring and wonderful middles. I tend to really enjoy middles.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 10:17 AM
"I don't even want to know what this is on the wall"
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 12:19 PM
"New York blends the gift of privacy with the excitement of participation; and better than most dense communities it succeeds in insulating the individual (if he wants it, and almost everybody wants or needs it) against all enormous and violent and wonderful events that are taking place every minute..."
"Although New York often imparts a feeling of great forlornness or forsakenness, it seldom seems dead or unresourceful; and you always feel that by either shifting your location ten blocks or by reducing your fortune by five dollars you can experience rejuvenation. Many people who have no real independence of spirit depend on the city's tremendous variety and sources of excitement for spiritual sustenance and maintenance of morale. In the country there are a few chances of sudden rejuvenation- a shift weather, perhaps, or something arriving in the mail. But in New York the chances are endless." EB White This Is New York.
The connection is at equal times breathtaking and admirable and then sometimes baffling. People become so enmeshed in people's choices about how they are decorating their house, or how often they wash/don't wash their car, clothes their kids wear to school and what kind of pet(s) they have or where they vacation. Facebook can take this kind of community and add steroids to the non-limit of privacy. Bedsides those downfalls, I love that my cashiers every day are my neighbors, and relatives and friends, and that everyday I can be surrounded by friends and family. That is a gift.
When we first moved to the Valley in 1997, everyone waved at you as they passed by in the car. I know I exaggerate, but literally everyone waved. It was the strangest thing, and it wasn't a happy "Hey! I know you and this is such a neat coincidence wave!" It is an acknowledgement wave, I think I'll call it the "Howdy Neighbor" wave. For as your car passes by, you simply lift up the fingers and thumb of your steering hand while keeping your palm on the wheel and extend them as a solidified wave, sometimes you add a nod to the head for extra recognition, and then keep driving. The true locals still do this now, but only when seeing a friend, neighbor, cousin. Now, no one else waves, they are all city folk that have ebbed into the valley seeking solace. They drive by in silence like every other poor soul that never experienced the delight of everyone acknowledging your presence. That you are both in the same miraculous place, living at the same time, experiencing the same heat, the same drought, the same jubilation. That is gone. Sometimes Ty and I talk about bringing it back, that maybe if we start waving at everyone it will catch on again. But that dies quickly as we are always late getting somewhere and in the rush of the century.
In New York, you don't talk to your neighbors, you don't chat with the cashier, you don't even take your earbuds out and admire the amazing places you are in and the people who have walked before you or the fact that Alexander Hamilton is buried across the street and George Washington worshipped every Sunday in the church in front of your daily hot dog and coke cart at lunch break. Or the fact that the Joyce Theatre is 400 feet from your bed.
By the way, I loved talking with all of the cashiers and customer service people in the stores. They were the happiest and most friendly people I have ever met...and not one of them lived in Manhattan. I would say 50% lived in Brooklyn, and 50% in New Jersey. It was pretty neat to learn where they were from, how long they had worked/lived in the city/boroughs and what they do for entertainment. It was an even greater pleasure to learn that on a weekend they just go out to eat and watch netflix like the majority of us.
|9th Avenue at 6am|
We walked past the Seminary building, which is huge and beautiful. We chatted about wanting to see the Highline the night before, and then we look up and ha! it's right there. Like, literally right there.
|Can you see the apartment with the area 51 Nevada license plate?|
I learned a few things that morning 1. it's not just on the subway that people avoid eye contact. even happy runners and walkers don't look at you. NO ONE in New York gives eye contact, unless they are crazy, that happened a few times. and 2. Monks don't hand you free shiny contact cards. If you take this supposedly free card they will silently follow you and then sneak up and ask for a donation of money from you and then you awkwardly hand it back because you only have your apartment key on you. Steph was laughing the entire time because she told me not to take the card hahahaha.
There the construction worker driving the backhoe, the local fireman, utility worker up on the electrical pole is just a face, a body, here it is our groomsmen or cousin or our teammate or our spouse. You know every detail about what it takes to get power, water, phone, internet to your home, it isn't just there, and you also know every detail about when things go wrong. When there is a flood, you know the minutiae of how long, how much it took to get things working again in proper order. In a city it is just a thing. It happens. Life goes on. Here it is our very life.
People say "If you can make it in NY you can make it anywhere," and I think I have to disagree. With money, and luck, anyone can make it in New York. But there are a precious few who can withstand rural desert living. You could take 100 sane and healthy people and only 20% of them could handle 5 years without a full service gym, barnes and noble or costco or target. It is 100% up to you to make your life alive and resourceful, you can't rely on your surroundings to just offer it up to you around the corner like a city. Even if you choose to stay in for the weekend, you could at any minute, go to a last minute show, or eat out at an ethnic restaurant with friends around the block. Here it takes planning, calculation, and the aligning of the planets to meet friends for something. We all have too many kids for that!
And did I mention food? I think my next post will be about NY food. Oh....the FOOD!
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 10:50 AM
Phew, can you hear that? It's me breathing. I feel like I can get to writing a bit more on here now as our spring recital is OVER. Oh, it was breathtaking, lovely, beautiful, and the girls were wonderful and precise and SMILED! I am incredibly proud of my students!
But I'm still happy/sad it's over.
There are a lot of things that kept me from teaching. The main reason I didn't teach for 7 years is that I was very busy having babies, and raising babies and spent about 7 years in a row of having to be home with twice a day napping babies. But many of the reasons I kept from teaching were doubt and fear and shame.
I'm not good enough, I can't choreograph, I'm too mean, I'm not patient with parents, it will make me a crappy(er) parent, I'm not organized, I'm not thin enough, I'm not good enough I'm not good enough I'm not good enough. I will try and I will fail and everyone will know that I'm a big fat fake fake faker.
But I knew I had to teach again, I had to at least try. I have to give a lot of credit to prayer, meditation, counseling and Brene Brown. Her book "Daring Greatly" really helped me open my eyes to start living a whole hearted and purpose driven life. My Heavenly Father has also subtly and not so subtly been prompting me to teach for YEARS. So I finally decided to do it. "Give it one year" Ty and I decided, and if it isn't right it isn't to be. What is there to lose? Sure, a little dignity, but I've been throwing pieces of my dignity out the window since my first ob appointment. There's really not much left to care about.
And this, this quote, this is what has spurred me in the hard times and stressful moments and doubting days:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt April, 1910
And so I put myself back into ballet, and I haven't looked back since. I am happy teaching, and my daughters love it. And teaching for me isn't about the reward or recognition, I am grateful and love that I can share the art of ballet. If there is one girl in each class that dancing is her passion and I can give them a small outlet to grow, than it is worth the effort. I'm lucky that most of those girls there are my daughters. That is very fortunate.
So back to the recital, oh, 9 months of work for 1hr show. You really try not to think about all that can go wrong, because a lot can go wrong and always a few things do.
Dress rehearsal went well, the girls did great, and it actually went quite fast. Most dress rehearsals are loooonnnggg. We did pictures the same day, NEVER again. Pictures shall be a week or so after costumes arrive so they are DONE and DONE.
I show up 2hrs early to performance night and something is wrong. REALLY wrong. There are props in the entire stage right wings. Filled! And the floor, where are the marks? Where are the marks?!!!!! Just then I got two texts at the same time, "Oh, I just heard the theatre teacher decided to paint the stage today. I hope it's ok and dry". I couldn't believe it, here I had been handling the stress and business extremely well over the last month (thanks to my therapist) and THEY PAINTED THE STAGE THE MORNING OF THE PERFORMANCE. I'm sorry I screamed that but holy crap. Luckily, it was dry! But sticky. I had my girls (bless them!) put on their ballet shoes and run back and forth all over the stage forever to get it unstickyified. Not a word but the only way to describe. So after having a saint of a parent help move the props I was doing my own girls' stage makeup 50 minutes till show. Which is just unheard of, not what should be happening at that point in the evening! Sufficed to say, I was a little high strung the entire night. read: A LOT HIGH STRUNG. But guess what, we only started 7 minutes late! Parents showed up and helped exactly where needed, the glue gun brought backstage was used 4 TIMES and finally worked, but the bow finally fell off after finale. Perfect! Despite all of the setbacks and craziness, the show was flawless. The audience had no idea what was going on behind stage, which is the entire point of performing art. For the audience to have an hour of no worries and enjoy beautiful art. And we did it.
I love my little studio and the girls' in it, my little dancers made my heart burst. They were polished and poised and just lovely. They did so incredibly well, I don't think I could be more proud. It was an incredible first year show, and I would like to add it was only 53minutes long! Amazing!!! We combined with another studio here in the valley and that was the best decision. It was a great balance and easier to share the load of preparing for a show like that. Plus Amber is really nice and kind and thoughtful and organized. Which makes up for my bossy and irritated personality. ha! She is a delight.
So in the end I strived to do great deeds, I bravely put my imperfect self into the arena; I lived this year with great enthusiasm and great devotion. I spent myself in a worthy cause, and the end I felt triumph and when I failed I failed greatly. I know defeat, and I know victory. I know God has a plan for everyone, that life is so deliciously wonderful. Oh as much as it is devastatingly hard and trying at times it can also be as amazing as you make it.
Something amazing has been happening this spring, we are actually getting a real spring! Sure there are a few days of hell blazing hotness, but we also have been blessed with multiple days of cool breezes, cloud coverage and dare I say, light sprinkling?
This year is a definite difference between regular springs. Usually we go from WINTER to a short week of Spring in March and then it is HOT by the county fair. And that was your spring. But the annual May day dances at the school, which happens to be one of my favorite traditions, you could wear a light jacket. I don't want to scream this so just remember, it was cool and breezy at the May Day dances! On May 6th! It was my favorite year so far.
Lucy chose me to braid the May pole with her as it is her last year at the elementary school. Don't even get me started on the fact that we will have middle school aged
hormones children at our home now. Anyway, we told her she could pick which parent to do the traditional may pole with and she chose me! Which I thought was surprising until she told me "Dad said you have never braided a may pole before so you should do it!". That man is going down and soon.
Kidding aside I did enjoy the tradition with her and watching her do the tinkling dance? My spell check won't let me spell it right.
Phoebe was a kindergartener in all their parachute holding and twirling glory. I cry at that dance every year.
Abby nailed her 80's dance too.
Rodney didn't throw a tantrum.
It was a complete success, mostly because it was JACKET WEATHER.
The rest of the year has been flying by faster than a speeding bullet. These next two weeks we have, in no particular order the following events to be at:
- spelling bee
- 5th grade talent show
- our ballet dress rehearsal
- our performance
- piano recital
- 5th grade graduation
- kindergarten performance
- cousin birthday party
- stake conference
- family pictures
- last day of SCHOOL
- I leave for my ABT teacher training in NYC
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 7:06 AM
Writing on here has been on my mind a lot lately, and I keep trying to pin down the why to why I choose not to write.
Is it because it's not as popular as the other social media platforms? Nope, I'm pretty sure that's not it, since I don't write for other people.
Is it because I've been busier than usual? Well yes, that's partially an answer.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 6:45 AM
We ran away for 24 hrs to see the new Provo temple a few weekends ago. Obviously a quick trip, not as cold as I planned for but even better than we expected.
The tour was much too quick for my taste, but the interior was to die for. All Victorian, late 1800's decor and architecture, in milieu with the Provo Tabernacle's design. The provo tabernacle was our Stake Conference center for 3 years, during college I attended choral concerts there and in 2010 Ty graduated from BYU there! So, he basically graduated from a temple, I'm going to go with that. ha
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 1:28 PM
The majority of my writing has been going to my little side gig at What to Expect. I write for their "Word of Mom" blog and have had quite a few assignments since the beginning of December. You can read some of my posts:
Here This one was my favorite, we have really gotten a hold of our finances using this method. Hallelujah!!!!!
I've also been a little (read A TON) wrapped up in volunteering for my church. We name them "callings" and you serve wherever you have been called. I now serve in the primary, which is children ages 18 months to 11 years old and it basically consumed my life for the last 8 weeks. You can ask my hair stylist, I have the grey hairs and loss of hair (apparently this is called "Stress release"?) chunks to prove it.
But things have been getting better, I'm proactively working on handling stress and compartmentalizing my brain. It is actually quite difficult to teach a woman how to do this to her brain, to turn it off and on. A female brain just runs on high speed and that's it, but I feel like I am getting better at wearing my hats. Mom hat, wife hat, ballet teacher hat, friend hat, primary hat, being a nice person hat. That last one slips off a lot but baby steps right?
The kids, oh my beautiful kids. They are growing up right before our eyes. Have you seen the movie Inside Out? Oi Vey, unless you are ready to bawl your eyes out and FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS don't watch it. It even got Ty right to his heart. Our little girls are turning into young women and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Which has me thinking a lot lately of why we value "Little" kids more than adolescents/adults. My mom in me just adores the littleness of everything. I didn't appreciate it when the first two girls were changing and chasing getting older. I was in the trenches of raising babies and sadly a lot of their milestones were just on the sideburner for me. But now, oh every time phoebe reaches a milestone I just die a little inside. She is reading! And she lost her first tooth!
*Side note** I can now see why so many people KEEP having babies, somehow that stops this constant ebb of change and uncertainty that is growing up. More on that later, but I can see why it would help.
Rodney is growing up too, I know right? The other week I watched as he bit his tongue and every so slowly and with the sternest of concentration buttoned up his church shirt. I DIED. Why does he have to turn into a little boy? Why is it so hard? Also, why does he cry and turn into a puddle when it is time to put on his shoes? Those moments make me a little less sad he is growing up. For the love of pete put your stupid shoes ON.
This post has been the best thing I have ever read about your children growing up and leaving. I wish I had written it myself.
"...I wasn't wrong about their leaving. My husband kept telling me I was. That it wasn't the end of the world when first one child, then another , and then the last packed their bags and left for college.But it was the end of something. ``Can you pick me up, Mom?" ``What's for dinner?" ``What do you think?"I was the sun and they were the planets. And there was life on those planets, whirling, non stop plans and parties and friends coming and going, and ideas and dreams and the phone ringing and doors slamming.And I got to beam down on them. To watch. To glow.And then they were gone, one after the other.``They'll be back," my husband said. And he was right. They came back. But he was wrong, too, because they came back for intervals -- not for always, not planets anymore, making their predictable orbits, but unpredictable, like shooting stars.Always is what you miss. Always knowing where they are. At school. At play practice. At a ballgame. At a friend's. Always looking at the clock mid day and anticipating the door opening, the sigh, the smile, the laugh, the shrug. ``How was school?" answered for years in too much detail. ``And then he said . . . and then I said to him. . . ." Then hardly answered at all.Always, knowing his friends.Her favorite show.What he had for breakfast.What she wore to school.What he thinks.How she feels.My friend Beth's twin girls left for Roger Williams yesterday. They are her fourth and fifth children. She's been down this road three times before. You'd think it would get easier.``I don't know what I'm going to do without them," she has said every day for months.And I have said nothing, because, really, what is there to say?A chapter ends. Another chapter begins. One door closes and another door opens. The best thing a parent can give their child is wings. I read all these things when my children left home and thought then what I think now: What do these words mean?Eighteen years isn't a chapter in anyone's life. It's a whole book, and that book is ending and what comes next is connected to, but different from, everything that has gone before.Before was an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager. Before was feeding and changing and teaching and comforting and guiding and disciplining, everything hands -on. Now?Now the kids are young adults and on their own and the parents are on the periphery, and it's not just a chapter change. It's a sea change.As for a door closing? Would that you could close a door and forget for even a minute your children and your love for them and your fear for them, too. And would that they occupied just a single room in your head. But they're in every room in your head and in your heart.As for the wings analogy? It's sweet. But children are not birds. Parents don't let them go and build another nest and have all new offspring next year.Saying goodbye to your children and their childhood is much harder than all the pithy sayings make it seem. Because that's what going to college is. It's goodbye.It's not a death. And it's not a tragedy.But it's not nothing, either.To grow a child, a body changes. It needs more sleep. It rejects food it used to like. It expands and it adapts.To let go of a child, a body changes, too. It sighs and it cries and it feels weightless and heavy at the same time.The drive home alone without them is the worst. And the first few days. But then it gets better. The kids call, come home, bring their friends, fill the house with their energy again.Life does go on.``Can you give me a ride to the mall?" ``Mom, make him stop!" I don't miss this part of parenting, playing chauffeur and referee. But I miss them, still, all these years later, the children they were, at the dinner table, beside me on the couch, talking on the phone, sleeping in their rooms, safe, home, mine...."- Beverly Beckham
So as things are getting better some things are more hard. Life is life. My soccer coach and teacher/part of our Leavitt family passed away this week. I have shed many tears over this. What great man. Why do the wonderful people die young? Their youngest girl is Lucy's age and somehow that hits me even harder. Sometimes life is so unbelievably unfair that I can't stand it.
Hug you family today, and call your friends. Life as an amazing ride and you never know what will be tomorrow.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 12:20 PM
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 9:50 AM
things have been going well, and not so well here at the Leavitt house this December. after having a great Thanksgiving, i deep cleaned some rooms to get ready for Christmas decorations. I forgot last year that I gave away all of the Christmas decorations I didn't "love" and gifted them to the senior center. Can I tell you how wonderful it was to decorate and put everything away in one day? It was so easy! And only the things I truly, truly love are here in the house.
Thank goodness I left a diagram for the little lighted house display on our mantle, I had a true griswold meltdown trying to make it all work last year. We had a lot of mishaps putting up the tree too, it seems like everything has been really good, and really difficult all at once.
Good things: Phoebe is READING! The beginning of the year was hard for everyone here in the house because someone was always mad that she couldn't read or write. She was crying one day, and when asked the reason, she answered, "There is a girl in my class that can write any word she wants. I want to write every word there is too!" She is a hard worker and it pays off, my favorite beginning reading moment in the family was lucy, at age 5 driving home from Las Vegas, "Mom, what is an ADULT BOOKSTORE?". ha! I almost ran off the road. I told her, "OH, you wouldn't like that, it's full of really boring books with no pictures." Oh the joys of living near sin city.
The kids and I have been thinking of new ways to help people out this time of year, and we are excited. I feel like I am pretty on top of everything gift wise, but then I always do a mad dash a few days before because I second guess myself. Really hoping to avoid that this year.
Rodney loves his preschool. He loves his teacher, he loves his friends there, he knows the Pledge of Allegiance by heart! And I love that it takes approximately 2 minutes to get there. hehe.
Abyy is reading like a crazy woman, and that makes my heart happy. Lucy is reading Jane Eyre, which I thought might be a little too old/hard to read for her but she enjoys it. I know she will love it a lot more once hormones are pumping through her veins. bwahahaha.
Ty has had lots of work, and that is both good and bad. It's hard to see him crazy busy, but it definitely helps out this time of year.
In true annie fashion, I gave some horrendous gifts to friends. I thought they were so wonderful/funny, and then when I handed them out I had this awful gut feeling that it wasn't the right thing. Ugh. Gift giving is not my forte, but I'm working on it. I hope your home is filled with peace and love right now. Every night we have a fire, I curl up under a blanket and feel like I can make it another day. When I go to workout in the morning my beautiful tree greets me.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 9:04 AM
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 1:00 AM
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 2:33 PM