Today we said goodbye to Maggie, our almost-16-year-old golden retriever. I really have almost nothing to say about this right now. I know it was the right decision, I know she was suffering, and yet it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. And I know that it's killing Nikki.
So I guess I'll go modify my blog header and leave you with one of my favorite pictures of her. Rest in peace, sweet girl.
Maggie Elizabeth Page November 17, 1994 - September 28, 2010
Nikki: That's disgusting. Scott: What??? Nikki: You're putting butter on your bread like it's frosting. Scott: That's why I work out. So I'll be in good shape when I have my triple bypass. Nikki: If you didn't use so much butter you wouldn't need one. It's gross. Scott: You don't have to look. Nikki: It's one of those things that's so shocking that you just can't look away.
Me: Are you done with your homework? Nikki: [Heavy sigh] You make life so difficult. Me: That's my job. I get paid extra for it. Nikki: [Pause, confused look] You don't get paid to be my mom. Me: [to Emma] Sarcasm is lost on 14-year-olds. Nikki: We understand sarcasm fine, just not when it comes from 40-year-olds.
One of the reasons Nikki never went to school in our suburb when she was young is that the schedule at our neighborhood school is not working-parent friendly. They start at 7:45 (30 minutes after we start work) and get out at 1:30 (45 minutes before our school day ends). In addition, it's 30 minutes away from work. Obviously, it is impossible for us to either pick up or drop off with this schedule. For that reason, Nikki attended the Catholic school right up the street from our school. They start at 7:30, get out at 2:30, and I even could go volunteer in the classroom on my prep since it was so close. Unfortunately, because Caleb needs speech and hearing services, private school is not an option for him.
Fortunately, we have a wonderful neighbor who is taking both the kids to school for us. This works out great except on days like today, when I get a phone call in the middle of class from Nikki, who is informing me that her brother is refusing to get dressed in spite of several already-imposed consequences. I then find myself shouting at my hard-of-hearing son (no hearing aids yet-he won't get dressed) via Nikki's speaker phone to listen to his sister's words. This while my students are staring, wide-eyed. Yeah. Fun.
And then there is the after-school fun of "Project Safe." I don't know what they think is "safe" about this program, but so far Caleb is covered in bruises. When I have gone to pick him up this week, I have seen boys play-fighting in the middle of the yard, kids throwing sand at each other, and a child tossing another's homework over the fence. All of this with no response from any of the adults, because they are not looking. Caleb is covered in bruises from the waist down, has three blisters on his hands, and is now sporting an impressive purple bruise on his chin because they let the kids play on these plastic carts for boxes (the kids use them like skateboards, but they're not wearing helmets!). Am I disgusted? ABSOLUTELY! Do I have a choice about whether or not to leave my son there? NO! No reputable daycare offers after-school care because there is no money in it. So I am forced to leave my son where it is not safe (perhaps they should call it "Project Accident-Waiting-to-Happen", or "Project Safety Hazard"), and have to run out as soon as school is over to minimize the time he is in this unsafe environment, which means my work is not getting done. We've begun to leave the house at 6:00 am so we can pick up some of the pieces while he is still sleeping.
I am praying for some sort of solution to this nightmare. The school itself is great, but I am appalled that the only childcare option provided to working parents is so disgustingly unacceptable. Sometimes being a working mom just sucks.
My friend Melissa is a real blogger and does these six-word Friday posts that are fun and insightful and very, very hard to do. Her topic this week is beginnings. I'm going to write about our beginnings in MORE than six words, because my brain is too tired to think of six-word phrases. I tried. Not happening.
KINDERGARTEN Caleb started kindergarten this week. My wonderful mom was kind enough to take him his first day because, interestingly, it only lasted 90 minutes. So convenient for those of us who actually work, yes? Fortunately, Mom had the day off and was able to fill in. Better yet? It was followed by Caleb's first adventure to Chuck E. Cheese, exciting for him AND for those of us who prefer to not have to go! Caleb loves kindergarten and when I ran into his teacher after school, she said he is chatty but is doing great. NO RED CARDS YET!!
HIGH SCHOOL Nikki LOVES high school!! LOVES IT! She is happy and is finding friends from all of her different schools she's attended. Homework is not too intense so far, and she is looking forward to running in her first cross country meet this weekend. Her biggest dilemma right now is that she cannot participate in the school plays and play sports. I'm sure she'll figure something out.
COLLEGE Emma is on a trip to Chicago with College Life and is having a fabulous time. Her professors were all fine with her missing the week. We miss her but we hope that she is blessed by this experience. She is preparing for her baptism on Sept. 19!
TEACHING Scott is back at Crawford! It's fun to have him back on campus, although he's in a different small school now so I rarely see him. I have my seniors back and we're once again starting Song of Solomon. They seem to be enjoying it. And for AP Psych I have 70 students in a lecture hall period 4. THAT'S an adventure! I'm currently trying to figure out how to operate the smart board in the lecture hall. I am a Mac and it requires PC knowledge, as well as other knowledge I don't have. I'm sure I'll figure it out.
That's pretty much it for our first week. Saturday is Caleb's first soccer game this season and Nikki's first cross country meet. I'll miss both of them because I'll be at Peer Helping Camp. Mom guilt is setting in.
I hope whatever you are beginning is going well. Here's to a great year!
Scott and I agreed this morning, Labor Day morning, as we lay in bed together alone in the house for the first time in months, that this summer was not great, but good. And that any summer, no matter what, is good in the end. There was no exciting family vacation, and in truth there were very few family excursions in town. There was, however, a lot of hanging out. It was my goal this summer to spend some time enjoying the house we worked so hard on last year. I think we did, in fact, achieve that goal. We read books, put together puzzles, went swimming, rode bikes, and spent time with people we love. In fact, the only thing that kept this summer from greatness was the time spent working.
Financially speaking, there may not be a big family vacation next summer either. But I am making a promise to myself that next summer, no matter what, there will NOT be too much work. No way. Nope. The kids are growing up so quickly, and Nikki's summers at home are numbered (as are all of ours, I suppose). So right now, I am promising myself that next summer is the summer of NO WORK!! If you have occasion to remind me of this, please do so. In the meantime, have an amazing school year. I intend to.
This development is the result of an E-mail sent by a friend with a dinner studio saying she still had openings. In a fit of inspiration, I responded and asked if Caleb was too young. In fact, he was not. We decided to give him a trial day and see how it went. And guess what? IT WENT GREAT!!!
Yesterday he made scones and meatballs. Today, cookies and fettuccine alfredo. I'm not sure why the dessert is always first? Anyway, he is having a great time and tells us all about it. But even more reassuring is the fact that he can be trusted to behave for three whole hours. It gives me great hope for next week.