We started our weekend out early by wearing our sweatshirts on Thursday evening and complaining about the joys of fall soccer in Small Town, USA. The wind blew sideways, and the rain didn’t really RAIN, so much as it misted on us, like the overspray from a squirt bottle. It was lovely. It was just enough to dampen the clothes and the skin, while the breeze kicked and made us shiver and cuss a little.
Thing 2’s soccer team remains undefeated, as those little kiddos kick for all they’re worth. It also helps that we have a long-legged little first grade girl on our team, who is in Thing 2’s class, who can score four goals per game, with her eyes closed. We call her our secret weapon, and I can hardly wait to watch her play in the Olympics one day.
On Friday morning, we woke up to snow, because God thinks He’s hilarious giving us that stuff… IN SEPTEMBER! Nothing lets you know how organized you are, until you’re frantically digging through a child’s bedroom closet, looking for snow pants and two matching gloves and boots, as you ask the Lord to PLEASE LET THEM STILL FIT, at 7:30 on a school morning. I know some moms try these things on in August, and they take inventory of what they’ll need to buy, and they have everything hanging nicely in the closet, but we like to take a different approach. It’s called the SCREECH ABOUT THE SNOW COMING SO EARLY AND CATCHING YOU OFF GUARD, AND WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE THE SNOW PANTS, BECAUSE SCHOOL STARTS IN FIFTEEN MINUTES technique of mothering.
On Saturday, the little private school where I teach PE had its annual chili supper and carnival fundraiser… OUTSIDE. I got to work the fishing booth, where children used real fishing poles to flop real fishing line over a blue curtain. We had an accomplice behind the curtain, who clipped prizes onto the clothespin dangling from that real fishing line, and the kids got to reel in their catches. What I loved best about working this booth for two and a half hours outside in the cold were (1) that I couldn’t feel my fingers after the first thirty minutes, and (2) the fishing line kept getting tangled around everything, and I was continually trying to unwind it and unknot it. I looked enviously across the grass at the teachers working the cake walk booth, who got to stand there and put their hands IN THEIR COAT POCKETS, while kids hopped from one numbered carpet square to another, stretched out there on the concrete before them, and nobody got the carpet squares all knotted up.
On the flip side of that, I was quite thankful to only be at the fishing booth, dealing with knotted fishing line, while I watched the teachers on the other side of me run the bowling booth. I felt the pain in their backs, as they bent over to set up plastic bowling pins sixteen million, seventy-three thousand and four more times. I wanted to give them little goodie bags filled with tubes of sports cream and bottles of Ibuprofen.
Hubs brought Thing 2 down to our school’s carnival, and let him work the game circuit. We were blessed when we realized the little punk had won not one… but TWO!! TWO!!!… real live whistles. You know… the kind of whistles that a volleyball referee might use. All the blesses for the PTO moms who thought whistles as game prizes was a fine idea! This afternoon, Thing 2 came home and we had this conversation:
THING 2: “Where are my whistles?”
ME: “What whistles?”
THING 2: “I won two whistles at your school carnival. I put them both on my desk, and now they’re gone.”
ME: “Hmm. That’s weird. Are you sure you put them there? Maybe you misplaced them.”
THING 2: “I really DID put them on my desk, and I think someone STOLE THEM!”
And that’s how Thing 2 came to be frantically searching all over our house this afternoon, looking for two whistles on cords that he SWORE he left on his desk in his bedroom, because WHERE COULD THEY HAVE GONE? And let’s face it and be honest here, y’all: He really DID leave those whistles on his desk, but there is a cap on the amount of whistling a mother can take, before she snaps and resorts to desperate measures while the kids are at school. The Lord understands, and He is near to those whose eardrums and sanity have both been damaged.
On Sunday, there was church, and then there was a birthday party. One of Thing 2’s good buddies celebrated the fact that he is officially six now, and his mother throws the type of birthday party I envy: LAID BACK AND LOW KEY. In fact, she’s the type of mom who says, “I think it’s fine if they paint each other’s faces,” and so they did, while we sat and talked, because our children were fully focused on their artistic tasks and were not inclined to interrupt us! That alone — that conversation where no one interrupted us — was worth all the paint we had to scrub off their faces later, and we never even flinched when one of them said, “I’ll just paint your face to look like you’ve been in a fight with weapons!”
After our faces were scrubbed squeaky clean, we went to the movie theater, because let’s face it: Mama’s OCD couldn’t take her child playing outside in ALL THAT SLOPPY MUD from the weather, which was bound to come indoors. She needed a LET’S GO DO SOMETHING WHERE THERE IS CONCRETE OR PAVEMENT alternative, so the movie theater it was! Thing 2 and I saw the show Small Foot, which turned out to be really cute. It was about a village of Big Foots who didn’t believe in Small Foots (people), because they’d never seen one before, but lo! One of the Big Foots CAUGHT a Small Foot and brought him back to the village to show off. The two of us ate our popcorn and slurped our drinks through straws and giggled all the way through it.
And then there was Monday morning. This is homecoming week at Small Town High, so the kids are all dressing up, every day. Today’s theme was COME AS YOUR FAVORITE TV CHARACTER.
Folks, I’d like to introduce you to Prison Mike, from The Office!!
“What was the food like in prison? Gruel sandwiches. Gruel omelettes. Nothing but gruel.”
Thing 2’s elementary school is dressing up alongside the high school for homecoming week, too. We found this out at 7:44 this morning, as I unpacked his backpack for the very first time since Friday morning. There! There it was, in the backpack! The little note that said, “Let’s participate with the high school in dressing up every day for homecoming week!” Some mothers empty the backpacks out in the evenings, when there is time to read all the notes home from school and PREPARE FOR ANYTHING THAT NEEDS PREPARED FOR. I think those moms don’t live on the edge enough, so I like to wait until 7:44 in the morning to open the backpack for the first time, after a weekend. That gives us a bit of a challenge, as we scream out, “WHAT CAN WE WEAR??!!”
Thankfully, Thing 2 yelled, “My Peter Pan Halloween costume from Kindergarten!” Let it be so. We pulled it out of the closet, and Peter Pan walked out the door for school at 7:48. I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and call for the judges to score my time. The downside was simply that there are no pictures of Peter Pan going to school today, for TV CHARACTER DAY, because… well… 7:48… and that old bell rings at 8:00.
Bless, bless, and bless again.