I arranged my schedule this semester to have a "research day" on Fridays, so I could carve out a little bit of time to move forward on a couple of outside projects instead of living from day to day grading and planning class like my hair is on fire (last semester--I am still recovering from that). Today is my first research day. So far I have rowed (in the rain), made myself a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs with gouda and coffee, started a load of laundry, and sat down to write on the old long-neglected blog. So far I'd say the leaning in is going well.
Perhaps the biggest news around here is that the kids and I are back at school! I had three wonderful days after their school started and before their school started that I used doing frivolous things like getting a haircut, taking Charley to the orthopedist, and going to physical therapy. Between that and the fact that my last class day was the same as the kids' last class day in December, and the fact that I had to rely on Netflix to get finals graded and grades computed and turned in, this week has been a bit of a scramble, BUT! RESEARCH DAY!
By the way, this mural covered both walls of the lobby of the medical office tower where Charley's orthopedist is (we saw him in a satellite office before, so I was not prepared when we walked in). Floor to ceiling, for a good thirty feet on both sides, naked men wrestling. The conversation went like this: Charley: "What are they doing?!" Me: "I think they're trying to show how strong they are." Charley "I think they're trying to make a baby. With a lot of, uh, helpers."
There you have it, fellow Texans! Unsure of how to initiate a conversation about sex amid our state's backward health education curriculum? DM me and I'll give you the address!
After a fighty end to the break, this happened after a mere four hours apart out in the world.
We were walking back to the car after a pleasant afternoon spent snacking at a local bakery's "dollar day" and long, leisurely trip to the library. Because? Those four hours gave us all just the right amount of time to remember why we love each other. We even ran into some school friends, which lent the whole thing a cozy, community feel. Also the library had a copy of "The Bitch is Back" available so everyone was happy.
And then we went home and rollerbladed and played outside with neighborhood friends and the whole thing was so quiet and fun and happy that I decided not to rock the boat and we skipped children's choir. A decision I was happy I had made shortly after dinner when the poo hit the fan and everyone was clearly exhausted and in need of a trip to bed quickfast.
And that's really all I remember about last week except that this weekend, as I was walking into Sunday School I heard horrible news that friends of ours had lost their college-aged daughter in a car accident. These friends have been part of our lives since around the time Mary was born, which included the hardest year of our lives, when Charley started having his trouble and Mary was an infant and Ryan kept having to travel for work. They brought spaghetti to my house and held Mary so I could read bedtime stories to the boys. They showed up with a new flapper for my toilet, without being asked, when I complained on this blog about my broken toilet. They came over when I had my gallbladder out and put Mary to bed for me. Our kids run to them for giant bear hugs when we see each other on Sundays. They ask about our lives, they encourage us when we need it (and when you are trying to get four children to sit through church, encouragement is needed often), they celebrated with us when Charley started doing better. We've had countless lunches together, filled with stories and laughter and, to be honest, lots of good-natured head shaking about my kids' weird behavior They've taken the kids for a whole fun day so Ryan and I could get a break. They, all of them, the mom, the dad, the grandparents, embody what a community and friendship should look like. And they are a wonderful, close family that has already overcome quite a bit. Sunday was an absolutely awful day. Ryan and I are gutted for them. Yesterday was the memorial, which was PACKED with hurting people. People shared stories and memories and we laughed and cried together and sang beautiful music and hugged and ate cookies and drank punch. It was hard, you guys. So hard. And every time I think of how sad I am, I think of how sad they must be, and it just kills me. My poor friends.
After the memorial I came home, made dinner. I watched a pack of neighborhood kids jump on my neighbor's trampoline. And then everyone took showers, and the little kids went to bed and Charley and Wes and I stayed up a bit later, reading and working on a puzzle. Charley had trouble sleeping when he went to bed so instead of absently encouraging him to use his strategies while I read or cleaned the kitchen, I lay in bed next to him and played the alphabet game with Maine words. And then I just lay there, listening to him breathe, hurting for my friends and wishing we could all just grab our kids and hang onto them forever.