Good people of the interwebs, I know...it's been a while. All I can offer is all I'm going to tell you about here in a moment. But first let us begin with the fact that my fingernails have NOT been painted a delightful shade (mixture) of glitter/pink. I had high hopes of achieving this first before starting out, venturing forth, and carrying on with any blogging or posting. But the mentality that I've been abiding by of late is that when I say YES to one thing, that means that I say NO to another. And right now, I'm saying YES to writing and NO to working on the Younger's Harry Potter puzzle which her mother graciously got her for her birthday, knowing full well that she would get to do a decent part of it because 500 pieces, people.
And I'm also saying NO to glitter/pink fingernails. For right now. I have high hopes for tonight, though.
I'm also 3 days behind on reading the newspaper, which is both the story of my life and crushing my soul. I only get the paper from Thursday-Sunday, and I can never keep up. Because I'm saying YES to other things. I think I need to cut the cord and say NO to the newspaper. I tried that once, but those newspaper sales people are very persuasive.
Back to the "It's been a while..." beginning. It has. School took a couple of sharp turns for the mountain of grading and for the scary. That basically consumed 4 of the best weeks of the year for me, which is standard fare, but still, always a bit sad. And then we spend the month of June digging our way out and uncovering the furniture and corners of the house that magically sprouted piles of everything that was cast aside for those 4 weeks. I also have 5 rooms to paint and a new course to plan for on top of 2 course that I'm teaching this summer. I needed a mental break and didn't allot for one, knowing full well what I was doing. Someday, I'm going to grow a backbone and say NO because I'm not saying enough YES to me. And in other news, by the time we reach the end of the fall semester (the next time I"ll have a break in grading), I'll have gone 18 months with exactly 2 weeks off that had no grading. OY.
So school stuff was scary there at the end of May. There was a school shooting 5 minutes away from me, 5 minutes away from our girls, in the middle school in our school district where our girls will go when they're each a bit older. And now I know what it feels like to be involved in that situation. I was there at the triage sight, helping to reconnect 1300 middle schoolers with their scared parents. My students were on lockdown for 4 hours with other teachers throughout the school. I was on my prep time and didn't have a class at the moment, so I was fortunate to be able to help the parents. And I saw my face in their faces. I saw my daughters' administrator and guidance counselor and speech therapist. I saw teachers from my school working steadily and without break. I fielded texts from my husband who felt helpless 45 minutes away. And our school system made it through like champs, but my word people, the mental scars are fresh for many. This will carry on and continue to be part of the national debate. We'll continue to drill and have meetings about safety, as we should. And my heart just hurts. We have no intention of removing our children from the public school system; we're thrilled with the environment that they have been a part of here. Despite the way it ended, four days before the end of school. Despite whatever bitterness and frustration that kid must have been feeling. There are good people who do good, good things for my children every day that we cannot match. And this is our new reality no matter where we are. So instead of wringing our hands and fretting "Please no, please no, please not us..." we step up and work harder. I could write more, but I'm not going to. Because it's been a while, and this isn't what I want to say YES to right now.
I want to say YES to talking about how the Elder and the Younger each had birthdays. And how my oven managed to make decent cakes for each (oy oy oy, I loathe my oven). And how our air conditioner putzed out for most of May and half of June when there was no spring but only mid-July heat. And how we read The Doughnut Fix together with the girls, which is a brilliant read for kids. AND, how my boys are leading their division for the first time in years (though we still get beat up by the weakest teams...go figure).
We also said YES to an late addition, 4-day hiking & cabining trip the very first day that we could following the end of school. We hiked all of the trails, which turned out to be dramatically harder than our girls were used to. The Elder grumbled at the beginning of each one (it turns out, she did all of the miles in shoes that were 2 sizes too small because end of school and parents who are teachers and why-can't-she-let-me-know-prior-to-leaving-on-the-trip-that-things-didn't-fit-anymore?. But then as soon as we got going, each and every time, she was all "Ahh...nature" and 'I'm going to sit on that log over there and stare at the waterfall for at least 20 minutes because nature" and "This is my favorite trip that I've ever been on because NATURE." It was soul soothing. We're strongly considering springing for some tree houses come Fall Break to go back for a different hit of NATURE in a different season. Plus, who doesn't love a good tree house (with a hot tub)? The Elder took it as her personal mission to be the mountain goat guide for each trail, and fearlessly, she led us well (though she didn't knock down nearly enough spider webs, what with her height disadvantage and all) until the last trail when together, she and I managed to lead the group astray. There was a lot of mud, a logs to navigate, and one moment of dropping the Elder face down in a particularly slippery, touchy situation. But it makes for a fun story that I'm sure the Elder will repeat frequently.
So all of this has brought us here, a couple of weeks in but not enough weeks left. The Younger is making puzzle-sounds in the next room, so with the lickety-split summer feeling fresh in my mind, I'm going to say YES to wrapping this up and go crouch beside her while we figure out just which pieces comprise Ron's and Hermione's faces. YES all day to that.