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Archive for November, 2009


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Our bedtime routine goes more or less something like this: diapers and jammies on, brush teeth, read stories, say prayers, kisses to Tess (who is then carted off to the pack ‘n play in the spare room where the girls won’t bother her sleep), kisses and hugs to both girls, and then a “story from when you were a little kid” from me or Isaac (depending on who has the energy that night).  Sounds easy enough – eh?  Not really, but that will have to be saved for another day.  Tonight, I was nominated to deliver a story.  I had quite a time thinking of one, as in my mind I ran over the different eras of my life (California Days? No.  Knight Island?  Knik River Road? Something about the stepbrothers and sisters? No. No. No. Most of that’s been covered.)  Finally I decided to recant something from my “Year in Germany”.  The story (with comments from a certain 4-year old) went something like this.

“So, let’s see.  Well, you guys know I speak a little German to you now and again right?  Well, that comes from the year I spent in Germany.  I remember the day I left for Germany…I don’t think Uncle Gregory came with us to the airport.”

“Why?”

“Well, I don’t know.  Good question.  All I remember is that he and I did dishes together that evening.  We were having such a good conversation and we were laughing a lot and all of a sudden I was sad to be going.”

“Why”

“Because I was going to be leaving for a whole year and knew that I would miss him, and thought for just a split second of maybe not going after all.”

“Why”

“Because I thought Gregory needed me there.  We needed each other.  Anyway, I remember that he didn’t go with us to the airport because Opa and I said goodbye to him out in the driveway and then took off down the road.  I glanced back at one point and saw Gregory running after us and waving.  I thought maybe he was sad that I was leaving.”

“Why was he sad.”

“Well, because one day when you go away from home we’ll be sad that you’re leaving, too.”

The misty eyes came before this last sentence, but after it, the flood gates were opened.

“What’s the matter, babe?  What did I say?  Why are you crying?”

“I’m crying because you said something very naughty, Mama!”

“What?”

“That I have to go away!”

“No, no.  I said when you go away.  Like to college, or when you get married.  Don’t you want to do that?”

“No.”

“Okay, you can just live with us then – as long as you want.”

“Until I die?”

“Sure.”

These kids…man, oh, man.  Sometimes I find myself embracing them and never wanting to let go, lately I find myself I’m hiding from them.  And as long as it takes for them to find me is what I consider to be my “alone time”.  It usually lasts about a minute or less (our house is very small), but hey, it’s something.  I never realized how much I am really needed or how many times I get up from a sitting position during the day to meet their needs, until I was stricken with the flu.  I’ve spent the last few days doing the kind of “half-sleep” that only parents know.  With the eye closest to the couch closed, while the other opens and closes every 30 seconds or so to do patrol.  “Resting your eye”, I guess you can say.  I’ve also found myself waiting, praying, for the sleep jerks of a sick child, and then the slow, steady, deep breathing, so that I know it’s safe to venture back to my own bed. 

I wonder, did my mom and dad feel for my sleep jerks, too?  Being the 5th of 7 children, I highly doubt it.  Most often, I probably just fell asleep during whatever evening activity was taking place.  I have many memories of falling asleep in one spot and waking up in my bed the next morning surprised, always thinking that I sleep-walked there.  Other times I actually remember the weightlessness I felt as my dad or mom toted me off to bed, head on shoulder.  Unlike my own children, I’m pretty sure I “transfered well”.

The worst thing about the kind of flu I had, though, was that it was feverless.  A fever is always the best excuse to get people feeling really sorry for you, to the point where they demand that you get some rest.  “The chills”? Doesn’t sound so serious.  “Aching muscles”? That either.  But a fever?  Yes, get into bed this very instant, young lady.  No dishes, no laundry, and above all, no taking care of children until you are better!  Yeah, no such luck. 

So, what do you do in such a situation?  The key is to make yourself look, and sound, as sick as you feel.  The hair is very important.  Whatever you do, don’t redo your ponytail mid-day.  Let the hair, and hair tie, fall where it may creating a very “sick” look.  Sweatpants (or any type of jammie pants, really) are “sick” attire.  Anything really well worn is preferred.  And when you answer the phone – give it as much croak as possible.

The day I came down with it started at a lovely 4:45 a.m.  Sophia came into the guest bed where I was trying to get Tess to go back to sleep and ended any chance of that.  She hacked and hacked until Tess was so wide awake she was doing her “happy talk”.  And once the happy talk starts, there’s no going back to sleep in our house.  “Why did you have to come in here Sophia?” I asked, knowing that the day had begun and dreading it.  A minute or so later, as I lay there feeling sorry for myself, she began to get back out of the bed.  When I asked where she was going, she said, “I’m going to go out there and cough so it doesn’t bother you.”  Talk about a heart breaker.

So, tonight, after I said she could live with us forever, I backtracked just a bit and suggested that maybe she can do what she’s mentioned before and have a house next to ours and that I can come over and visit every day.  And she said, “No, I’ll come and visit you.”  And I said ok.  It’s a good compromise.

Here’s a few more pics to hold the grandparents over:

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