I find myself tonight with One (blessed) Hour Alone. Two kids are at a friend's. One is at basketball practice. Two more are at a game.
Can you say, "Aaaaah....?"
We just finished the first week back to school after a much-needed break. It's the final end to our Normal Insanity that is known in other places simply as "December."
We had our moments. For one thing, I was crying my eyes out the last night before school got out. Around nine o'clock I realized that, in addition to multiple other acts of omission I'd committed that week, I'd forgotten to buy a coloring book and a box of 24 crayons (they were very specific about that part) for Ruthie-6's gift exchange the next morning, even after her kindergarten teacher had personally come to remind me ("She's the only one who doesn't have a present under the class tree," she whispered as gently as she could, which of course I heard as, "She's the only one with a mom that can't pull it together.").
Even as I assured her it was on my list and I would take care of it, the phone was ringing, and it was Neal-15. "Are you coming to my game?" Game? Tonight? Oh, yes, today is Thursday. Of course, I will be there. Then the game ran into basketball practice which ran into bath time, which ran into trying to get excited kids to bed because they've been up too late all week, which suddenly ran into nine o'clock.
Now, I suppose to you city folks who have a Wal-mart on every corner, this seems a non-issue. Just run out to Wal-mart or 7-11 and pick up the dumb coloring book. And don't forget the 24-count box of crayons! However, you must understand, nine o'clock is the hour at which this entire town shuts down. And by entire town, I mean The Grocery Store and Dollar General.
So by the time Dennis called to check on things (he had been doing birthday/Christmas running around - for me - and hadn't even been home yet), I had already sent Allie-16 and Neal-15 to Dollar General to see if they could bang on the door to see if someone would have pity on them and sell them a coloring book and box of crayons, something I would only try in Small Town ("'We're the school nurse's kids,' you can tell them."). And I was crying and laughing and crying again at the stupidity of my crying over a two dollar coloring book, which we all know wasn't really just about the coloring book (or the 24 crayons), but was really about Everything Else in Life that seemed overwhelming at that moment.
Dennis knew we were one day away from a nice break, so rather than discuss the psychological ramifications of my dilemma, otherwise known as Why You Shouldn't Be Crying, he chose the chivalrous route: He drove seven miles out of the way to The Grocery Store in the next town. "It's going to be okay, Babe," he kept telling me. "It's going to be okay." Yes, I suppose it is. And it was. Oh, how I love that man.
So we made it through Christmas programs;
two more birthdays (here is one; I'm having issues with my memory card to upload the other);
a very bad (okay, granted, it's TEXAS) ice/snow storm (we got to drive on this ice rink on Christmas Day);
a wonderful 50th anniversary party (don't you just want to look as good as my sweet mother-in-law after 50 years with your man?);
And I got most of the painting done on the sunroom, so last Saturday my side of the family gathered here our annual Christmas/birthday/New Year's/etc. get together. We aren't very good at organizing ourselves in front of a tripod, as you can see. This is the first time in several years that my parents have gotten to see my in-laws. Annie-8, asked, "Do they even know each other?" To which I replied, "Of course they do! They met the week of our wedding!" But THAT's another story!Our college-age nieces introduced us to "Zoo" (a rhythm game). My dad (see the back of his head next to me) at 71 is a terribly good sport (and just a mite competitive), and played along with the rest of us crazies. He gets even crazier when we play Balderdash.
So now it's back to usual. The tree is down, everyone's gone back home. But I left a few Christmas-y things up, which now includes a 24-count box of crayons, just so I could savor the moment.
Life is good.