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We’re already failing at summer vacation

22 Jun

It’s impressive really, how quickly our summer is going down the proverbial toilet.  Maura’s been officially out of school for an hour and we’ve spent most of it in a screaming battle of wills over screen time.

I’m thinking this summer, we may go Amish.  But then I won’t be able to get onto my computer.  And the teens would howl, which will make the dogs howl….

I may need a new plan.

Maura graduated from fifth grade on Friday.  Technically, she didn’t have to go to the “all of two hours” last day today.  But she did.  Just so I could savor those last quiet moments of peace.  Her teacher told me how another teacher asked if any of her students would show up – Maura’s teacher stated “Oh, EVERY ONE will be there.”  I said “Dang skippy!” We both laughed.  We both get it.

Also, after this past weekend, I needed that two hours of final serenity.  See, Saturday, I woke up and ran to the store.  I got milk and doughnuts and coffee.  I came home all Good Mom, and went to present Maura with a pink frosted doughnut.  She was thrilled to see said pink frosted doughnut.  I stared in horror at the puddle of chopped hair that surrounded her, and the scissors tossed casually to the side. I spent the rest of the day finding little locks of hair here and there as they fell off her head.

The good news is, the girl has such obnoxiously thick hair, you can barely tell.  The front of her hair is uneven though.

barely noticeable, really...

barely noticeable, really…

Then Sunday, I left the girls watching some bad Wizard of Oz reboot while I tried to read a book.  Only to hear the big sister yell “MOM!  MAURA’S BLEEDING!”

“From where?” I yelled as I ran to meet them.

“Her fingers!”

Somehow, Maura found a piece of broken glass.  I don’t know where.  I don’t know how.  She just found it, and held it, and sliced her fingers a little.  Her sister was more upset than she was by it all.  I washed off the hand, bandaged the finger, then realized that on her way up from the family room, Maura bled on the carpet, walls, hand rail…

It’s amazing how kids with innocent wounds can make a place look like a crime scene.

So yeah, this morning, I shoved that girl on the bus for that whole last two hours, so I could brace myself for summer.  Because we’re already failing.  And we have so much more to go.

I’ll be in the corner, rocking, if you need me.

 

Art lessons

12 Jun

I love art.  I’m sure that has nothing to do with growing up with an artist mom who dragged us to the Art Institute of Chicago on free days or had us help her man her station at art fairs as kids, or the fact that she had this room full of art supplies, and everything hanging on our walls was something she created.

I’d give tours as a kid to my friends.  “My mom made that..and that…and that…”

But I had decided that I wasn’t any good at art.  I was good at writing, so that’s where my artistic streak was channeled.  Until recently.

Last year, I went to one of those “Art and Sip” things with a friend, where we painted snowman pictures.  By the end of it, I looked at my snowman and thought “Hey, I don’t suck at this!  And it’s fun!”

$129.53 worth of painting supplies later, I had just enough to give myself a fair shot at this.

Being the overly-ambitious person that I am, I decided to try to recreate things for Maura, because in hanging a couple pictures in Maura’s room, she started collecting more things to hang on her wall. (And I have to say, discovering her love of artwork gets me all giddy!)

I decided to copy the moon from the show “Ruby Gloom” – a favorite of Maura’s.  And it came out pretty darn well.  Maura kept eyeing my progress, and when it was done and dry, grabbed it and set it on a shelf in her room until I was able to hang it on the wall.

Luna

Luna

Even better?  I discovered that painting was, in its way, calming for me.  Therapeutic even.  Just dabbing paint onto canvas, playing with the colors, it was fun.

Of course, because I love Maura and am a better mom than anyone, I decided to make her another painting.  This time, I got more ambitious and decided to copy Rapunzel’s painting from “Tangled” – another of Maura’s favorite movies.  Again, Maura hovered over my shoulder, figuring out what I was doing.  “Hairbrush!”  (Yes, that’s her word for “Tangled” – makes complete sense.)  When done, she wanted that up on the wall as well.

This one wasn’t as relaxing as the first, because I was afraid of screwing up near the end.  But I didn’t.  I got it right enough. And it totally didn’t suck either!

"Tangled" still that I worked off of

“Tangled” still that I worked off of

My decent knock-off version

My decent knock-off version

And then, I let Maura pick out a canvas print of “Frozen” – because I know my limits. And we hung them all on her wall in a grouping.  And the girl was happy, and for that moment, I was the best mom ever.

Maura's artwork corner

Maura’s artwork corner

Mothering Maura, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about all she can’t do, all we won’t share, because honestly, it would be depressing.  Instead, I cherish these moments in time, where our interests overlap, and try to make the most of them.  And in total Life-with-Maura style, I have learned something new about myself.

And who knows?  Maybe I’ll have a future in art forgery! That pays well I hear.

 

Living on the edge

11 Jun

After running a quick errand the other day, I came home to find my fourteen year old putting on her choir gear.

“Um, do you have a concert tonight?” I asked.

She looked at me, mirroring my “Oh crap” look.  “I told you last week….”

Shoot. I forgot. And to be completely honest, I’d been having a long week at that point and the last thing I wanted to do was sit through a concert.

“Oh, I have a solo in one of the songs!” she piped up.  “If you come…”

She babbled on excitedly about things but I had stopped at the word “If…”  My girl was giving me an out.  So of course, I doubled efforts to be there.  I dropped her off, went home, and decided to grab Maura.  Maura, who had decided dirt would make a good facial.  Five baby wipes and a sundress later, Maura was presentable.

We got there just as the choir was about to start.  Knowing Maura’s unpredictability, and not wanting to be that person who clambers through half the audience to get to the free seats, I decided we’d just hang in the foyer.  Maura wasn’t too thrilled to be there, but as soon as the choir started singing, she stood still, listening.

Music really does soothe the savage beast.

After the first song, Maura let out a whoop, and I saw her sister’s head peek out from her row with a smile.  Maura yelled “Mim!” at her sister, who I could image just rolled her eyes as she smiled.  Maura decided now was a good time to stomp about, and I had to remind her that even her feet needed to be quiet, even if the acoustics in the foyer were awesome. The singing started up again, and once again, Maura stood, transfixed by the music.

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And so we spent another thing where we stood just on the edge of the action, slightly in the outskirts.  Just close enough to enjoy, but just far enough away as to not disturb anyone and make a quick exit if need be.

So much of my life with Maura has been on the edges of things, in foyers and aisle seats and nearest to the exit.  Sometimes, it’s because I want to make sure others aren’t disturbed by us.  Other times, it’s because it’s the best place for Maura.  Most of the time, it’s a compromise – “Maura, if you let me sit through this, we’ll just stay out here so you can actually be happy too and I can actually see what’s going on instead of spending half my time convincing you to be quiet/still.”

We live on the edge, but not in the way the songs go on about. That night, at the choir concert, I stood out there with Maura in the foyer for the sake of her sister, so that Maura didn’t do anything horribly embarrassing.  Everyone would know it was her sister since Maura tends to shout for her whenever she sees her beloved big sister.  Case in point – when it came time for the soloists, the group of four stepped down to the microphones to start the song.  When their part was done, they turned to take their places discreetly…and Maura spotted her sister.

“MIM!” she shouted. And her sister just smiled, as she does when this happens. I’m sure at some point she was all “Oh, that’s just my sister, she does that.”

We may live on the edge of things, but we are not quiet about it.

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