Falling Again

IMG_3506I’m ready to hibernate.

Our entire summer was a blur: sleepaway camps, day camps, Bible School, Volleyball Camp, Art Camp, fishing, swimming, the beach, the lake, trips to NC to visit family and the Outer Banks, Niagara Falls….

I don’t even remember everything that we did. Just that it was a LOT. As the mom, this involved a lot of sorting, cleaning, planning (not my strong suit), logistics (also not my strong suit), HOURS of driving (that either), and laundry (ah yes, there it is: laundry is my strong suit.)

But now the trips are done. The boogie boards are back in the attic where they belong. The car is vacuumed. The laundry is all done (not all put away, mind you, but it’s washed and dried, at least).

And now? Now I just want to stay home.

So we’ve finally traded in the beach bag and the flip-flops for hoodies and boots. We’ve tracked down some matching gloves and a couple of hats – just in case. The leaves and acorns are getting tracked into the kitchen, right on schedule. The mums look like they are lighting fires in yards all over the neighborhood.

I love the smell of a bonfire and the crunch of dry, crackly leaves. I love blazing oranges and reds and golden yellow with neon green edged leaves. I love watching the fat gray squirrels chuck acorns at us from high in our giant oak tree. I love the chill in the early morning and how, after the sun goes down, the breeze brings that little whispery message that winter is thinking about us and might just pay us a visit sometime soon. I love falling asleep to the sounds of football on TV. I love how the kids run in and out, trying to decide if they’re too hot or too cold – and sometimes capturing wooly-boogers (their term for those brown and black fuzzy caterpillars.)

We’ve done the Family Fun Fest, gone to a couple of pumpkin patches, attended a build-your-own-scarecrow party (there are now 4 big scarecrows holding a creepy vigil in my front yard), and guzzled down the mandatory 2 gallons or so of local apple cider. We went creek-stomping, explored the woods, and picked some apples.

My fall to-do list is just about done!
The only thing left is to hunker down, light a fire in the fireplace, and do absolutely nothing for the next few months.

Or maybe four.

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Why Didn’t Someone Tell Me?

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This past weekend I spent a LOT of time with my daughters – ie: every waking and sleeping moment, since we were traveling in Canada and staying in the same hotel room.

Believe it or not, part of the time they got on my nerves (insert sarcastic tone of voice here.)

Don’t get me wrong – I love my girls. I adore them! And as they were taking turns annoying me (that was a lucky break, since usually they plan it out and work together), I was blindsided by the terrifying and undeniable fact that the things they do that drive me nuts are:

The same things that I do myself.

For instance, 5-year-old Adelaide slept with two tiny braids in her hair. In the morning, she wanted to take them out. I warned her that if she undid the elastic bands, the braided hair would be crimped-looking and it would stick up.

She took them out. 

She spent the next FORTY-FIVE minutes wallowing in self-pity, staring at herself in the mirror with a disgusted look on her face, repeatedly brushing her hair down (in vain) with a wet hairbrush. Then she threw the hairbrush on the floor, stomped over to the hotel bed, and heaved herself face-down into a pillow.

I laughed (to myself) and tried to console her. I ended up making some pretty cute (wavy) pigtails on top of her head that she could live – and be seen in public – with.

Then I noticed that not only did I forget to pack my special curly-hair shampoo, but horror of horrors – I had NO HAIR PRODUCT AT ALL.

As someone who usually looks like I have a wild animal attached to my head, this was not a good scenario. People with naturally curly hair do not simply “comb” their hair. After 15 minutes of trying to tame the frizzy beast on my head, I was nearly in tears. I pasted it down with water and stuck in a hair clip. A llama-looking creature mocked me from the mirror. I yelled in frustration at the llama, then kicked the bathroom door. I gave up, put on a hoodie and went out to face the world. Adelaide was still sniffling on the bed. I gave her a hug because I realized that she is ME and no one should have to go through that.

And then there’s Josie. 8-year-old Josie cries at the merest provocation – for any reason and for no reason at all. Josie loves so deeply and resolutely that she is almost scary in her capacity for devotion. Josie has emotional outbursts that bring to mind a 1940s movie where someone has to smack a hysterical woman across her face and then smack her again to get her to calm down. That’s my Josie. Her unending search for her Blankie (lost yet again) and sad woe-is-me freak-outs always drive me up the wall, and this trip was no exception.

When my husband took pity on me (I need 5 minutes of alone time now and then) and took the kids to the Ferris wheel, I happened to see the new Canadian Kraft Commercial about a little girl and her bear (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SFYKzUt7Fo) and I completely LOST IT. When my husband and kids came back in, they found me in a slobbery, wailing puddle in front of the TV. So I gave Josie a hug because I realized that she is also ME and let me tell you, it is rough!

Sadie, who just turned 10, takes FOREVER to finish things. She has to have everything lined up just perfectly. She cannot possibly leave until she’s done – she has yet to learn the fine art of prioritization. I’ve tried to explain that when we are already 10 minutes late for our lunch reservations and we haven’t even left the room yet, that is NOT the perfect time to rearrange and label your extensive rock collection that you have smuggled into your luggage. She daydreams, she sorts, she organizes, she obsesses, she rearranges, she daydreams some more. This annoys me to no end.

The next day, when we were supposed to be packing up everything in the hotel so we could come home, guess what I found myself doing? That’s right: playing Bejeweled Blitz in the bathroom. Sorting out my make-up bag. Rearranging Jed’s suitcase. Cleaning out my purse. Two minutes until check-out, and I’m still looking through drawers, checking under beds, and looking for my earring back that fell off and rolled somewhere. So I gave Sadie a hug because she annoys me – only because she IS me!

I’ve always heard that if you’re too much like someone, then that person will get on your nerves. Since my weekend revelation, I guess all I can say now is:

I can be pretty darn annoying. Why didn’t someone tell me?