Thursday, April 24, 2014

To Lucy

Lucy, if I had to choose one word to describe you it would be passionate.

Coming in second place would be dramatic.

Your pendulum of emotions swings both ways and never sits still in the middle.

You have the most acute senses of anyone I know.  You are the first to notice when someone has changed their hairstyle, or when one of the babies needs a new diaper.  You can detect the slightest drop of pepper in a dish and you can easily "name-that-tune" in the first two notes of a song.  We've learned that anything too scratchy, itchy or tight is off limits when it comes to your wardrobe.

You are overshadowed by your highly-intelligent and attention-loving older brother. Your I-Don't-Care-What-Anyone-Thinks attitude has caused us to overlook that you are quietly absorbing every flashcard, every sight word and every factoid we've ever drilled into William.

Just the other day, when William had reached his breaking point and was exhausted of doing his math facts, I pulled out one last flashcard.  He sat and stared at it, the numbers no longer making sense. And waited silently.  And then, growing impatient, you looked at your brother and said, "It's two, William.  The answer is two."

I laughed so hard.  Because you were right!

You play the best with Bobby.  You are gentle with him and don't get as easily frustrated when he messes with your stuff as you do with your other siblings.
You play the next best with Katherine.  But only when William is at school.  The two of you have finally found your girly, sisterly way now that Kate is old enough.  You'll take care of your dollies together, or comb your My Little Pony's hair or play beauty shop with each other or dress up as Queen Elsa and Princess Anna.  Katherine follows you around like little sisters do and you love playing leader.
You are a leader.  This is new to me as it is not part of my own makeup.  You never follow the crowd. And I secretly love that about you even though it sometimes causes me a lot of angst.

William is your absolute favorite person in the whole entire world.  I still can't figure this out because not a day goes by when he doesn't make you scream bloody murder.  Oh how he knows how to press your buttons.  But I suppose that's the responsibility of all older brothers.

Today you get to have a special date with Daddy and me.  You get to choose to do whatever you want to do.  And while you get a precious chance to have the two of us all to yourself, you insisted that William come along.
You are funny in the way people are when they aren't trying to be funny.  You say whatever pops into your head with your over-expressive tone and it makes all of us laugh.  Usually in the car or at the dinner table.

I struggle with your outbursts.  And your demands.  Your slow-pokeness and your refusals.

But if I'm really being honest with myself, I have to tell you, you're the daughter I always I hoped I'd have.

Your beauty sometimes takes my breath away.  You are kind.  And smart.  Thoughtful.  And gentle. You ask good questions.  You take pride in your family.  You ooze self confidence without being pretentious. You are cautious.  You possess just the right amount of fear; not quite a scaredy-cat but not a risk-taker either. And even though you hate going to church every Sunday, you pray your own sweet prayers all by yourself every night before you go to sleep.

My favorite moments with you are every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon when you are off of preschool. William is away at school and the babies are napping.  Sometimes we eat lunch with good conversation. Sometimes you quietly read next to me while I am on the computer.  But most of the time we are on top of my bed, under a large blanket.  You insist on sleeping face to face.  I close my eyes and can feel you staring at me.  I crack one eyelid and you softly giggle.  It only takes five or ten minutes longer before sleep overcomes you.  Your hand still clutched to mine and the other to your bunny.

I'm cursing Father Time for making you turn five today because five years old means that in four and a half months I will lose you to kindergarten.  If I were selfish I would have chosen to keep you home or at least insisted you only go to halfday kindergarten.  Unfortunately for me, kindergarten seems to be all you can talk about.  All you want to do is walk in the patrol line and wear a uniform and eat lunch in the cafeteria with your brother.

What I should have done was to raise you to be more dependent on me, less sure of yourself and more afraid of starting new things.

But if that were the case, then you wouldn't be my Lucy Girl.  And I do so love my Lucy Girl just the way she is.  My birthday wish for you, my dear, is that you never let that spark of yours burn out. Don't let it dim even for one tiny second.
Princess Explorer/Sunglass & Handbag Aficionado
Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Little Things

Last weekend our washing machine broke.

The first thought that popped into my head was, "Of all the times to have my washer break!"

But I quickly stopped myself.  Because when is there a good time to have a broken washer in a family of six; four of which belong to the seven and under set?

The kids' clothes were ultra muddy from our Spring Melt but we powered through.  I had Brian make a quick trip to the laundromat to relive our college days.  I needed some clean uniforms for William and couldn't wait for the repairman.  It wasn't a terrible experience but I knew I would have been totally screwed if anyone peed, pooped or puked in their bed.  Everyone pulled out their A game and rallied together for a triumphant return of that blessed little machine that works far harder than it probably should for its age.

Also last week I quickly learned how the benefit of "working from home" sounds a lot better than it really is.

Brian's office moved up a couple floors in his building and it took a week to the get the place conducive to working conditions so all employees were asked to work from home.

We are accustomed to having Brian regularly work from home about once every couple of weeks.  It's a great opportunity for me run errands in the afternoon while the babies are napping and the Bigs are at school.

But never have we had him home for six consecutive work days.  The mornings and early afternoons were OK.  William would get off to school.  I would go to the gym later than usual.  Lucy would be off at 11:00 and the babies would eat lunch and go down for their naps.  But it was when the 3 o'clock hour hit that things got real hairy.  Three o'clock is a terrible time for us on a normal day.  All at once the Bigs get home from school and the babies wake up from their naps.  There's a lot of low blood sugar happening and things are just really loud and messy.

Every single day at 3:00 last week it seemed Brian was leading some sort of important client call and so I was charged with ruling a bunch of unruly monkeys so as to not make it seem as if Brian was taking his call from the middle of a jungle with a bunch of wild animals rioting around him.  It was an impossible task.  I quickly got frustrated, impatient and bitter.

Monday morning, Brian back in the office, was never so glorious.  I might even be a little too ecstatic about the the two-day business trip he has this week.

Some families have found a way to only work from home.  We are not some families.  We need the ability to be loud and boisterous and we need a dad who is our Dad when he is home and not a software salesman.

This weekend we cleaned out our garage. Something we haven't done in a couple of years. I made $20 selling random unused things I found.  It paid for our beer consumption that weekend. The concrete floor is so clean and beautiful I briefly considered sleeping out there.  I'm only kind of kidding.

William has his first ever written and oral report due this week.  The unit is space and the students were allowed to pick any topic they wanted related to space.  William chose to write his report on the first monkeys sent to space.  We helped him do the research online but he wrote the paper on his own.  Every time I walk past his report on the counter I pick it up to read and bust out into a fit of giggles.  It reads:

Monkeys in space! By: William
Monkeys went into space before humans.  The first monkey in space was named Albert.  He rode a V2 rocket and he could not breathe up in space.  When his rocket landed he was dead.  Albert was brave.

What do you think?  A little heavy for first graders?  I can't decide.  I hope there are no PETA reps in his class.  That project is making the memory box for sure.
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