Tuesday, May 08, 2007

School is almost out, Thank God

My former, much maligned, sometimes unfairly--by me, daughter-in-law moved back to Cedar City last summer. She flies by the seat of her pants, everything is at a high drama level and the resulting chaos and messiness drive me crazy. She's a sweet mama, though, and she loves the kids. I started out the year by volunteering in kindergarten (Rowan) and 2nd grade (Max), and trucking the kids every Wednesday to their lessons.

My Wednesdays went like this:

1:30 Drive 2 miles north to pick up the younger kids at school (Rowan always shouts "I knew you'd come!")

1:30-2 pm Drive 4 miles south to Maverik for a very important part of our day, treats at Maverik. I started out spending $20 a shot, but we're down now to a thrifty $2.50, $1.25 per kid and they are serious about their choices.

2:30 pm Drive 2 more miles south to pick up Madison at middle school, take her for her treats, while Rowan and Max sit in the car and argue politics. Rowan never shuts up and Max can't resist arguing with everything she says.

3 pm Drive 2 yet more miles into the center of town to drop Max off to karate, he usually changed in the car.

3-3:45 Drive 7 miles home home, listen to Rowan read, and discuss politics with her while Maddie eats all the doritos and watches TV and surfs the web.

4 pm Drive back into town (4 miles) to drop Maddie off for voice.

4-4:30 pm Run errands, then wait in the car outside Maddie's voice lesson till 4:30

4:30 Drive 4 miles back to my house to drop Maddie off to veg, eat and watch TV (we have satellite, and the internet, they don't, she's 12--guess why she likes to come to my house)

5 pm Drive 5 miles back out to Enoch to drop Rowan off to dance, she changes in the car

5:15 pm Drive 7 miles back into town to pick Max up from karate

6 pm Drive 5 miles back to dance to pick up Rowan

Sometimes I have dinner on in a crockpot, sometimes I take them for a hamburger before taking them home.

But you young mothers, I have so much respect for you. This is one huge reason I'm exhausted and have much less time to blog.

Come June, lessons will end, recitals will be over and I won't be trucking kids. I paid for their lessons and I knew they wouldn't make them unless I took them. I resent this a little, only because when I have to drive them, etc. and have them all the same day, I don't enjoy them. I don't get to rest with them, read with them.

But they know me. They feel totally comfortable and welcome in my house. I have become what my grandma was, a port in the storm, because although their mother is sweet and loving, their home life is so chaotic and my stepson so unpredictable, going between abuse and kindness, these children need some stability, something they can count on to always be the same.

And you know, it's worth it every time Max looks up from his schoolwork, sees me waiting in the hall and the kids say ("Max, it's your grandma!") and he gives me that shy smile, trying not to look excited. And Rowie runs up to me in the middle of the story her teacher is reading and throws her arms around me and says "I knew you'd come." I knew you'd come. Please, God, let me have the strength to always be there for these children.

And thank you for June and the end of school.


Ann said...

Nothing to add, Arlene. Top notch post. I've missed you.

Elizabeth-W said...

So sweet, and sad at the same time--"I knew you'd come"--if her parents could really hear what she is saying.
Big hug to you, Nana!!!
I don't know what I'd do without my parents to help me raise my children.

Barb said...

I think that is wonderful that you are doing that for you little ones. A theme that I think of these days is security. I have a collection of secure times both with my own family, grandparents, at school, in sports that I draw upon in my mind. That which has been secure in my life helps me to be as stable as I am. My earliest years were so good. The huge sand box, the large patio with the basketball hoop, the large table and chairs all scaled to a child etc. Yes, it was a very child centered home and the emotional climate was very good in my younger years. I am very grateful. My parents sacrificed to have us in sports. My dad was very athletic and growing up on a farm was only allowed one sport by his dad until one of the coaches went and asked special permission so that he could play a second sport that year. He is very good at breaking sports down to the basics. I have lots of good sports memories. Some bad ones too. The good far out weigh the bad. That is where I did my socialization in high school except for a couple of exceptions. I was so shy that I could mainly just absorb the activity of those around me not speaking much. It was great to cheer on your team. I also took a little piano. I never amounted to anything. You wouldn't know it from the courtsey I did bending deep at the knees after my recital for an audience! I think that was the time that I even messed up and kept on going. I do think some lessons are good for children and activities. They all add to the emotional quotient. In addition, they are learning how exercise whether it be karate or sports in general or even extended recess can improve students academic performance.

Children love routine and look forward so to special times. Rowan says it all when she says, "I knew you would come."

I can understand why the 12 year old likes stopping by as well. :) And I am sure it is a lot more than the high tech! 12 is such an important age to have someone to mentor them as they are going to be making some very important decisions in the years to come.

Summer is coming!

annegb said...

Thanks, you guys--yesterday, she said, "oh, I was hoping you'd come." I remember feeling that way about my dad. It sort of breaks my heart. But we had a really good visit.