shifted revolutions

Late one August night in 2001, I had an emotional crisis which my darling husband had to talk me down from and hug it out. My then youngest child, my sunshine-y, happy baby girl who was slumbering peacefully in the room next door was going to be starting kindergarten the next morning. No doubt she was having happy, sweet, sunshine-y dreams about her very first day of kindergarten because that was all that she chirped about as I bathed her, brushed her golden hair and tucked her into bed with kisses and hugs. She could not wait.

But me? I had resolved that she wouldn’t be starting kindergarten after all. That’s right. It was settled, I told my darling husband. Jodie would not be going to school.

But…Bill countered…she has to go to school.

No. No she does not. School will ruin her. Look what it has done to our 14 year old first born…a perfectly normal adolescent who would rather chew ground glass than hang out with mom and dad because

Oh my gawd! Mom! Dad! No!!

She used to love and adore us like the sun and the moon that rose and set for her every day. The she went to school.. It’s too late for her and Zoë and Abby but we can save this one. No school for her. I am the center of her universe. She is Mommy’s baby girl. She even still calls me Mommy. School willI ruin it all. No school for her.

I told you it was a crisis.

Bill obviously talked me out of it because Jodie did happily skip off to Miss Smith’s bright classroom the next morning. Our then teenager continued to put us through the paces but we all survived…as we have survived three more teenagers. And yes, the center of Jodie’s universe did shift as it did with all of my children.

Dammit school!

So now I start to adjust to the fact that my third circus clown has left The Big Top…and her empty room…and the even quieter circus tent…and remembering not to set a place for her at the table…and on and on… I’m going to be okay…I think…and then Laurie shares I was the sun, and the kids were my planets and…

Dammit!

:::SOB!!!:::

I’m a mess all over again because Beverly Beckham is right. When Hollie left the first time and then left the second time with Hazel and when Zoë left and now Jodie it has been the end.

I was the sun and they were the planets. And there was life on those planets, whirling, nonstop plans and parties and friends coming and going, and ideas and dreams and the phone ringing and doors slamming.

And I got to beam down on them. To watch. To glow.

And then they were gone, one after the other.

Yes, they do come back but it is never the same, noisy, chaotic, busy circus that was life under The Big Top when I was the sun and they were my planets.

celebrating the one stuck in the middle

Because ever since she was a small child, she has reminded us of the fact that she is the forgotten middle child arguing with proof…a grandparent who literally has never remembered her birthday even when her parent reminds them…her oldest sister…her youngest brother…and for so many other reasons, we celebrate our brooding, aloof, “Slytherin of the siblings”, forgotten middle child because today is National Middle Child Day.

And why not have a day just for the one stuck in the middle of the family? Margaritas, hot dogs, and even mathematical expressions have their own special days. Why not have one day a year when we celebrate the joys and pains of being stuck in the middle because if we were to really understand the middle child we would appreciate the fact that it is the middle child whose role is actually wildly character-building in so many ways.

So here’s to the one who is lucky to have older siblings who have paved the way and showed mom and dad how things should be done…distracted mom and dad too…a lot. Here’s to the one who is more adaptable by nature…or actually says to hell with all this, I’m doing what I want; like when you potty trained yourself during the drama-trauma that was right before your baby sister was born. Perhaps I might never get you being one of those over-achieving, always trying to please every one, first born kids, but I can’t help but admire your quiet determination, your adaptability, your independence, your realism and all that is amazing about you, my child stuck in the middle of this family circus act.

no place I’d rather be

Traveling to Washington for my sister’s wedding means driving from the 209 to Yakima, Washington – 11+ hours of driving according to Google maps – with 8 stops along the way.

Yes, eight stops.

Traveling with this crazy. Now can you imagine why 8 stops a long the way? Add the crazy Oregon drivers traveling along Interstate 97 at the break neck speed of 50 mph and the road closure at 5:30 PM with literally one lane of a highway open for one mile with NOTHING GOING ON but a mile of road cones, and it ended up being a 16 hour adventure.

But you know what? It was a day spent with my favorite, crazy Hazey-Face, her mama and darling daughter #3. A day with great music, new and old…um, Hanson?

Yes, Hanson.

An attack grasshopper.

No, really.

Abby will never invite a grasshopper along for the ride ever again. Ever.

It was an adventure. But like the poet Rihanna sings, when I am with you there’s no place I’d rather be. Truly.

too tall and other squad adventures

The perfect time to get away from the dusty triple digit temps that is the Central Valley is right now.

And in Santa Clara at California’s Great America, today was practically sweater weather. Kidding. But it was literally 20 degrees cooler than Manteca. So sorry work for not taking that call to come in and work extra.

This guy was literally counting down the days until we could play at California’s Great America.

So was Abby

And Abby’s BFF, Maci.

It was a great day enjoying all the food, all the drinks and all the rides in the park, courtesy of Bill’s company. Bonus, Daniel was more than tall enough to ride any ride of his choosing.

Well, almost any ride of his choosing.

One disappointment in a day filled with adventure for this squad?

We’ll take it!

kids, here are 10 things I may or may not have told you

You made me cry…a lot

Hollie and me – 1987. No apologies for the hair and glasses because 1987.

I wanted that last piece of pie…cake…cookie

Hollie, Zoë and me, 1992. Yes, those are matching Christmas sweaters. A gift. Funny how my darling husband didn’t receive one.

It hurt.

Hollie, Zoë, Abby and me, 1994. One child might never forgive me for this picture.

I was always afraid…still am…don’t judge, especially if you are not my child.

Hollie, Zoë, Abby, Jodie and us, 1996. Apparently we didn’t realize just how busy we were then as people told us ALL THE TIME that “we must be busy.

I know that I am not perfect.

And the Family Circus is completed, 2002. Also the year where any doubts of me being a perfect Mother were solidly squashed. Have a teenager and you will understand.

I watched you as you slept…still do.

Hollie, 1990

I carried you a lot longer than nine months.

Zoë, 1998

It broke my heart every time you cried.

Abby, 1997

I put you first.

Jodie, 1999

I would do it all over again…times five…to the infinity power.

Daniel, 2008

Kids, I can’t begin to express my gratitude that I get to be your Mother, Mommy, Mom, times five…to infinity and beyond.

I thank you all for calling me Mama, Mommy, Mom, Mommy Dearest, OMG-Mom, Mother; and, thank you , for needing me, teaching me, forgiving me, loving me, accepting me, modeling me and, most of all, amazing me because I get to say that I am Mom to these five remarkable people.

BONUS!! I have to say that I must be a pretty okay mom because these two perfectly, exquisite children  call me Mima…and give the best hugs.