These Days

Steve is working on the bathroom remodel; there’s crashing and banging and sawing and drilling and hammering and swearing filling the house.  Hayden is doing her nails and otherwise prepping for homecoming while her music volume constantly increases to cover the crashing and banging filling the house.  Anna is drawing a “Welcome October” picture for me in my bullet journal.  I told her a simple sketch would be sufficient, but she is an artist, and nothing for her is ever sufficient; it must be perfect.  And, I am researching a new book idea.  There are two dogs at my feet; one because she is always at my feet when I am in my office, and the other because she is terrified by the banging and crashing filling the house.  It’s raining.  That will ruin the homecoming pictures.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty perfect Saturday in the fall.  There’s spaghetti sauce in the crock pot, simmering away, filling the house.

Steve and I just celebrated our ninetieth wedding anniversary, and I wonder, so often, how it is that we got here, to this place, these weekends, that I so dearly love.  Sometimes it feels like such a long ride, and other times I think we are still at the beginning.  We are the among the lucky ones, I know this.  We’ve had plenty of bumps and bruises along this journey, we’ve suffered some great losses, but we have never faltered, we have never doubted our love for one another.  Many of our friends have divorced or almost divorced, a few of those divorces quite shocking, and each time we wonder how it is that a marriage can get to that point, each time we are so thankful that we don’t know the answer.

I know I sound a little, or maybe even a lot, self-righteous.  But, I truly know that our success so far has as much to do with luck as it does with our hard work.  I know that it could all fall apart tomorrow, that some unforeseen event could shake us, some minute shift in the universe could rock us to our core.  I know how blessed we are to have these moments, this family, these Saturdays.  I take none of it for granted, and I do, I honestly do, wonder how we got her so relatively unscathed.

Because these days?

These days are the days that sustain me.  These little days with my little family.  I am such a lucky woman.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Joyful Noise

So, this week is Spirit Week at the high school; five days of dress up and mayhem leading up to Homecoming on Saturday.  Tuesday was holiday day, and the Seniors dressed for New Years Eve, and ran throughout the building at 12:00 in the afternoon blowing noise makers and yelling, “Happy New Year.”  This perk of being a Senior is apparently quit startling to some of the underclassmen, freshmen especially, but is a tradition everyone in the know greatly anticipates and joyously awaits.

It got me thinking.

Why can’t we be so joyful about every milestone in our lives?  Forget sweating the small stuff…why don’t we celebrate with complete abandon?  I want to run through the halls of my home and scream and praise my family for everything we do!  Made the volleyball team?  Yay, you!  Suffered through the pain of getting your braces tightened?  Hip hip hooray!  Got an A on that AP Psych test you studied for all week?  That’s awesome!  Congratulations!

Okay, sure, I already do that, I already praise those things each day, but I’m talking bigger and better.  I want my kids to more than hear our praise, I want them to understand that every single day is a gift, and that they should be proud of what they accomplish in that day, in the manner in which they celebrate that gift.  There’s too much stress in the world.  I want them to focus on the goodness they see and they create.

And, I want them to do it with noise makers.

 

Eighth Grade

This girl started her eighth grade year last week.img_3305

Because I am a bad mom, and because she was completely impatient not nearly as patient as her sister, I only got a couple of photos.  Actually, I only got this one because the other one is not very good and I have been forbidden to post it.  Even though I already posted it on Facebook.

Like this:

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I think they are both good.  Oh, well.  I’m just the mother.

I am praying HARD that Anna has a better year this year than last year, and I know she  is a little nervous too, but I am so proud of how she handles herself–how she works through her fears.  She is excited for eighth grade.  It’s going to be a good year.

Senior Year

This beautiful girl started her Senior year of high school last week.

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She was very patient while I took several photos of her before she drove herself to school for the first time ever, oh my heart!

Mom!  Stoooop!  I’m gonna be late!

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So, I stopped.

For a minute.

Then I chased her down the driveway.

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And, so, it begins.  My baby girl’s Senior year of high school.  So many milestones coming up this year, and I want her to enjoy every single minute.  I’ll try not to let her see me sobbing in the corner.

Smith invasion 2016

Steve’s mother and two of his sisters rented a house in Niantic for a week in late August, and we spent that week running back and forth between that house and ours.  The view from the top deck of the Niantic house was incredible.

We went to Newport, and took a boat tour of the area.  It was great to see a couple of lighthouses and the mansions from the oceanside angle.  Also, it was just a really pretty day and a great time to be on the water.

We loved Newport!

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We shopped at Old Mistick Village where, as always, we were greeted by ducks.

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This one was my favorite:

We shopped for back-to-school, we kayaked, grilled out, went to the casino, got ice-cream, argued and laughed.

Some of us got a little older.

We had a great week.IMG_3230

Just Smile, Take Two

Since the first moment we paid the down payment and applied braces to Hayden’s teeth the clock has been ticking toward the moment when we would be able to pay them off and begin the orthodontic process with Anna.  Double payment was out of the question, out of our financial reach, and we simply could not afford to have both girls in braces at the same time.

Steve enjoyed joking with Anna that when the orthodontist removed Hayden’s braces we would have them put the same brackets on Anna’s teeth thus saving a boatload of money.  Anna always laughed at the joke, but, occasionally, she did so with a look of horror on her face as if wondering whether that might be a possibility.

We thought Hayden’s braces would be paid for this coming fall, and we (ok, me, it was me) were eager to get Anna started because it appeared to us, dental professionals that we are, that her teeth would be more involved than Hayden’s, taking longer to complete, and we wanted her process to be finished before any of the major high school milestones.  (She’s going into eighth grade in a few weeks)  So, I called to inquire as to the pay-off date and as to whether or not it was possible to start her now, and simply continue the payments, tack them on to the end of Hayden’s?

The monthly payment was an automatic debit from our checking account, and because we, clearly, don’t spend a ton of time *ahem* balancing our checkbook, we did not realize that Hayden’s braces have been paid off since last December.

Last December.  As in, eight months wasted with no braces on Anna’s teeth.

Although, let me just say here that eight months ago, at the height of the bullying situation, it would probably not have been the best timing to put braces in the poor kid’s mouth.  Everything happens for a reason, and in it’s own time.  I truly believe that, and this is another example.

So, I made an appointment for Anna’s consultation, and to discuss the new financial picture for July 28th, and I promised her that she would not be getting braces that same day like her, apparently still traumatized by the right-this-minute of it, sister.  Steve didn’t even join us for the appointment because we were just checking things out.

As returning patients we received a small discount, the required down payment was somehow much more reasonable, and they had time to get started that morning.  I saw the blood drain from Anna’s face when they said they could start immediately, so I assured her that we didn’t have to, that she could come back another day to have the braces put on, but she smartly decided she didn’t want to deal with the building stress of anticipation for a few days, and bravely chose to get her braces that same day.

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She was a trooper, but she had a severe case of buyer’s remorse after they were on and didn’t want to show them to anyone for a day or so.  Also, she was in much more, and much longer, initial pain than Hayden seemed to be when she first had hers.  But, she soon adjusted to her new look and how to take care of them.

I love her new smile already.

Fifteen to eighteen months.  Here we go.