121812 & 121912

No images from the big camera for these two days.

On 12/18, the elf follows through with the do-gooder act & tells the kids to gather their spare change.  They helped me bag it up but we haven’t found a bell ringer yet.  If we don’t see one in the next couple of days, we’ll dump in in the Ronald McDonald collection thing at the drive-thru.  They got donuts for breakfast the next morning though.

Notre Dame basketball game.  Brian scored pretty good tickets at a great price for Wednesday night’s game.  What’s the big woo?  Well I’ll tell you what the big woo is.  All five of us went.  Together.  I wasn’t obligated or compelled to stay home with Lulu.  Brian’s done a great job of taking turns with the other two to events but we all went & it was fun.  Lulu was determined to get her dance moves on the jumbo-tron.  She jumped and danced through most of the game.  Just when I was ready for the lady in front of her to really start glaring, she turned around & started dancing with her.  That Lulu.  She has a way.

121712: Up.

First off, let me just say that I know there are three-year-old kids all over this world that haven’t napped in ages.  I like to shoot for naps until Kindergarten.  Lulu naps most days.  She is tired, and I mean for-real tired, by 1:30pm every day.  Sometimes she really jacks around up there.  Today she was playing for a while and then I heard her go to the bathroom.  About 10 minutes later, she yells, “Mama come UP here!  There’s poop EVERY-where!”.  And there was.  The poop was apparently moving faster than she was & it hit her legs and the toilet seat.  It’s been a while since I had to do the scrub in the shower & then sniff around for other stink sources, “What the…?  I STILL smell it?  Is it still on you?  Where is there more poop?  Is it me?  Do I have it on me??”.  Haven’t missed that.

But she napped late & wasn’t ready for bed at 8 when she was put down.  Or 9.  Or 9:30.  I hadn’t shot for today so I was planning to sneak up there & bust her playing.  But she started to come down the stairs before I could make that happen.  So here she is after being chased back into her room:

That was the TKO & haha, she’s asleep now so take that, I won.  Again.

121612: Elf Spaghetti.

The elf left us a note with a recipe for spaghetti…Buddy The Elf’s recipe for spaghetti:

Coca-Cola (which Bradyn pronounced “Coco-La” & I made fun of him all day), noodles, syrup, pop tarts, marshmallows, m&m’s…

They got excited about it & we had fun talking about whether or not it would taste good.  Ellie was pretty sure it wouldn’t.  Bradyn just wanted to know if he could eat with his hands.

Brian & I just had noodles and Coke.  By the way, Lulu had caffeine free Diet Coke in her Coke bottle.  Don’t tell her.  I’m fun; not stupid.

It was kind of funny and then silly and then too silly.  We were both trying to talk Bradyn down, trying to be more patient with the whole thing than we felt like being…and he snickered right at us, as if to prove that he really was being super-duper funny after all, not disrespectful & annoying.  The end.  He was sent upstairs to shower & go to bed at 6:30pm (didn’t fall asleep until 9).  We had planned to watch the movie after dinner, but that was called off.  Ellie was like, “Okay well, can I just have regular noodles now?  These are gross.”  Lily  just ate it like no big deal.

It seems like most “fun” things are only part fun & the rest effort & annoyance.  So there’s that.

I’m not sorry we did it.  It’s one of those things you do just for the sake of attempting something fun.  Like, “Hey here’s an idea that will probably suck in the end but it’s still kind of cute so let’s do it.”  Wait, isn’t that what we all think when we decide to have kids?  No, not really.  Okay, kind of.

121512: Griswolds.

People, we are just a couple of kids from small-town Missouri.  We aren’t afraid to cross a few imaginary lines.

For the past three or so years, we’ve had “Christmas Vacation” on our list of must-watch-together holiday shows.  You’d completely understand if you’d ever heard Ellie say, “I don’t KNOW Margo!”.  It’s a tradition.  It’s part of our fun, old-fashioned family Christmas.  Where’s the Tylenol?

Kate - I would really like it if you could get Ellie saying “I don’t KNOW Margot” on a video clip for me…it makes me giggle.

121412: Hug.

Connecticut.  We are all thinking about it.  We are all trying to process it.  We might try to make sense of it, but it’s senseless.  We can wonder why God allowed this to happen, but it wasn’t something God wanted to happen.  We can try to find the good, but there isn’t any.  We can hug our own kids a little tighter…and here’s the thing…for me, hugging my kids a little tighter is a very outward admission that I’m glad it wasn’t them.  That’s me internalizing this horrible thing and making it about me.  That’s me pushing back the mental image of it having been them & immediately being thankful that it wasn’t.  I can’t internalize something this terrible.  It would get inside me too deeply.

A few years ago, a very close friend’s son was facing brain cancer.  Scary brain cancer.  I internalized it.  That made it so much more painful for me & less helpful to her.  I needed to be whatever she needed at any given time.  I needed to be a safe place for her to share and feel instead of forcing back on her my own emotional reaction to whatever news she had that day.  I spent a week or so in a funk, trying to love my kids so hard that they’d never get brain cancer.  I tried use my gratefulness that it wasn’t them as some sort of insurance that it would never happen to them.

We all manage our emotions in different ways.  That’s all fine & good.  That experience taught me to focus more on mourning over a tragedy for the tragedy itself and less on the “what if”.

That afternoon, I did snuggle Lulu pretty hard before her nap & thought, “You are here with me.  You are safe.  You smell like toothpaste & fabric softener.  You are here with me.”  And I sat by the door for the 10 minutes before the bus arrived with the big kids; I usually try to relish those last minutes by either being productive or relaxing.  They arrived & we just sat together for a while.  I told them what happened very matter-of-factually, avoiding any unnecessary details.  They were both like, “Yeah well, we do drills.”  I let it go at that.  Yep, they do drills.  And if those drills make them feel safe, then that’s good enough for me.  I’m trying to make sure they don’t see it on TV or hear it on the radio.

Speaking of seeing it, I do want to state my opinion on the images we are seeing on TV and even facebook.  It’s one thing to stay updated on the facts of the event.  It’s another to stare at images of someone’s very worst moment just to take in the emotion.  In particular, there is one image of a class being led across a parking lot.  One little girl is obviously hysterical.  Her mouth is wide open in a scream & she is clinging to the student in front of her.  That image is everywhere.  That image of her very worst moment, hopefully ever, we are seeing over & over and eventually we will feel less & less emotion when we see it.  But that won’t make that moment any less horrible for her.

Hug your kids.  Admit that you’re glad it wasn’t them.  Say a prayper & mourn the tragedy.  Have a glass of wine or a diet coke.  Take a breath.  Find something light.

This is the first time I’ve shared a personal opinion here on something big like this.  I’m a little nervous to post it for other people to read.  It might piss people off.  It might come off as insensitive.  Please feel free to let me know in the comments.

Nana - It makes me feel very proud of the wonderful woman you have become. And thanks for answering me when I could only pst instead of hug MY child.

Amy - Spot on Nancy

Amy - Such a good post, Nancy! I think you and I cope in such similar ways. Detachment and prayer for these families is all I can do right now. I hugged my babies fiercely when they got home with a heavy heart for these families.

Kate - Awesome Nancy!