Friday, June 1, 2012

Ballerina Girl/Karate Kid

With the end of the school year also comes the pile of kid performances. You know - where they get to strut their stuff and show us all that we didn't waste hundreds of dollars on them their accomplishments from their year of hard work.

First up this year was James with his karate belt test. This was his second belt test - the first being just before Christmas.  Truth be told - this was the make up belt test - the original was scheduled the Saturday before Mothers Day when he was sick and couldn't breathe.

I've never been a fan of martial arts or self-defense or what at times appears to be intentional fighting (think Karate Kid - wax on, wax off) ... sorry ... distracted.  But I have to say, I love this class.  I love the instructors - and the message they are teaching the kids.  Respect.  Obedience.  Discipline.  And perhaps most important to our extremely out-going boy - Stranger Danger.

James is a wild boy - always flitting around or flopping around - can't seem to sit still - will flutter his hands in frustration - giggle incessantly - basically a hot mess.  But when its time for karate - he actually pays attention.  We arrived a few minutes early for the test - and as we sat there waiting (while corralling Jack and Anna) we commented that seeing James sit on the mat for that long was perhaps the longest we'd ever seen him sit still.  (Unless he's belted and strapped into a carseat ...)

And when he'd get the sillies and start acting crazy - all it took was Mr. Mike to come by and give him The Look to make him sit up and pay attention.

I think we'll be continuing karate in the fall.

He did a great job - and proudly received his solid yellow belt.

Anna's annual dance recital was next.  Due to scheduling issues with her dance studio - the dress rehearsal and performance were scheduled for the same day.  Let me repeat that.  Dress rehearsal and performance.  On.  The.  Same.  Day.  That just also happened to be on my birthday.

So I packed Anna up - slicked back hair and made up face and all - and headed to Lexington High School for the 9am call for rehearsal.  And stayed with her until the final curtain following the 3pm performance.

Thank goodness two of my bestest buddies also had girls (including EG, Anna's bff) in the performance - so we could commiserate, assist each other with hair and make up corrections, share snacks and activities, get light-headed from the amount of hair spray circulating the small windowless room we were held captive in with the multiple classes of tulle-clad girls, and generally laugh at the pure insanity of it all.

We did get out for one break at lunch - where we ate outside at a local restaurant - allowing the girls to run and giggle and play in the fountain (despite being told to stay dry) while we gossiped and giggled and enjoyed each other's company.

It was a good time.

And my little ballerina continued to shine.  It reminded me of the dance recitals and performances my mom and I attended - when I was the tulle-clad, shellacked hair, made-up dancer and my mom was there to reapply and arrange and entertain.

And tears still came to my eyes when I saw Anna come on stage - and I silently clasped my hands to keep from reaching for my own mom's hand.

Muffins With Mom

James moved to a new preschool this past fall - a church centered preschool that we adore.  They do all sorts of neat things - and I love that in addition to learning the proverbial ABCs our son has had weekly chapel, prays a blessing before his luncheon meal, and celebrates things like Christmas and Easter versus Winter and Spring.

I discovered they have very sweet activities for the parents as well - including Muffins With Mom.  I'd seen and heard about similar celebrations from friends (ahem, Kathy) :) on her blog, and others, and always secretly wished our children could do something similar.

Imagine my surprise when I read the invitation to James' celebration.

It was really sweet.
James was so bashful and shy...

 Lord I love this boy!

The teacher (who I adore) started out by reading the poems the kids had helped write - and share their artwork.  I loved hearing the things the kids came up with - so funny. So real.  So honest.  (And thankfully not horrible - I have to admit I braced myself a bit in hopes James didn't share something like 'my mommy screams at us to get in the car' or something similar...

Then we sat down to our muffins and juice - poured and served to us by our children.

We had time to color with our kids and/or play.  James opted to color.

Then we ended with our gift of a hand painted pot with some sweet flowers planted inside.  It was such a sweet time, one I am tremendously thankful for.  I rarely get time with just one child these days - and I savored every second with my sweet sweet boy.

Mothers Day 2012

Mothers Day is always a weird day.  On one hand I'm thrilled beyond words to be celebrated for my role as a mother - to hold my three children close in my arms and admire their artwork and dandelion bouquets of flowers while counting my blessings for their presence in my life.  To marvel at the little people they are becoming - to see their personalities and gifts emerge from the little babies they once were.

On the other, I'm deeply saddened not to be with my own mother.  And worse, to be unable to talk to her or hear her voice - or know that she is aware how much she is loved and missed.  To wonder if she was given the packages we sent - the homemade hand print apron the kids and I made - or the new sets of watercolor paints to use in her art therapy.

So it's a tough day.  Bittersweet.  That's the word that comes to mind.

So this year Mothers Day was no exception.  I wish I could explain what it is like to look forward to a day with  anticipation while at the same time dreading its impending date.

I couldn't have been more surprised to awake to the sound of 'pssssttt!  Mommy!  It's wake up time!'  I have to admit - my first response was 'who is waking me up and more importantly WHY?'  Because I have insomnia issues - and being able to be asleep at 8 o'clock in the morning was delicious to say the least.

But then I opened my eyes to my daughter - standing by my head - holding a cup of steaming coffee and a plate of toast.

And I cried.

Do you know in my whole entire life, I've never had someone bring me breakfast in bed?  Well, except my own mom when I was ill with one of a variety of numerous childhood illnesses, but that doesn't count.

Deonne followed suit to snap some (unflattering) photos of us.  And to tell me that breakfasting in bed was entirely the thought and implementation of Anna.

Following - we puttered around a bit - James was sick with a bronchial infection and not well at all.  Deonne was trying to get the kids packed and ready - as we had intended to spend the weekend at his mom's house.  Because part of the night away entailed staying out late to see fireworks at the local Poultry Festival (don't ask - it's the annual festival in his hometown - think carnival + entertainment + parade + misc. vendors...) we decided that James didn't need to go.  We were both worried about him - as he was just so puny - so we decided I'd stay home with him while Deonne took the other two to his moms.

So we celebrated with lunch on the deck - and some sweet gifts from the children - complete with a great homemade card that they all helped make.

"... takes me special places."
"... butterfly pasta."
"...tucks me in."
"...Red Robin."
"...takes me special places." 

 'My mom likes roses and butterflies.
I love her because she watches me play outside."  James

And then they left - and James and I were alone - and we both felt sorry for ourselves (him for being unable to attend the festival - me for being without two of my children on Mothers Day - in addition to the regular sorrow and missing my own mom.)

So he and I had a date night of our own - saw the movie 'Pirates' in 3D - which was really cute by the way - then had dinner at Red Robin.  Well, I had dinner - James picked at his - which if you know him - is a huge indication he wasn't feeling well at all.  That kid eats like a horse.

Sunday morning brought a visit to the pediatrician - isn't that the epitome of Mothers Day? - and a quiet morning at home with movies - and rain.  Why not, right?  I felt like crying all day.  When Deonne and the other two kids returned - they were like little rays of sunshine - and their laughter soothed my soul.  Along with a great book my sister-in-law sent about the honest-to-god-reality/hilarity of motherhood.  It made me laugh until I cried (happy tears) and helped me feel like I'm not the only mom who struggles with the awkward, irritating, sometimes gross things we get to deal with on a daily basis as mothers.

And as I watched my three loves splash in the evening rain, I again counted my blessings.  All in all - it was a good Mothers Day.