AO has been in school since she was teee-tiny. I bawled my eyes out when I left her at school the first time. By the end of the first school year, I was CRYING because I didn't want her to leave her teachers. Her teachers were just that great. She's a social, happy kid. She loves, loves, loves school.
Now that she's two, Mama's new job is chief entertaining committee. I cram every available Mommy & family time into the bits and pieces we get together. Last week for spring break was Camp Arleigh.
Just so you can get a feel for our life - here's what went down.
Sunday - Cooked breakfast (FROM SCRATCH), John and I kept AO's class at church. Came home, fed John's parents pot roast, dill potatoes, deviled eggs, fresh asparagus, carrots, and my new favorite, mashed cauliflower. Homemade strawberry muffins with coconut whipped cream for dessert. AO played outside, got muddy, took a bath, then we fed my parents the leftovers for supper. AO left with my parents to head to Columbus for a couple of nights.
Monday was a blur - we didn't have AO, so I folded clothes for three hours without a toddler, and John did the three loads of dishes that came with Sunday's homemade cooking and feeding a small army. We did grill out and have a mini date night with no kiddo. AO had Libby, Millie and Alexa for entertainment at O's.
Tuesday - after work, I headed straight to Columbus. No romantic anniversary plans for the Mansell clan. I Spent the night with Nano and Poppy to start my spring break.
Wednesday - we picked up breakfast for us, Swayze and Nano and headed to Swayze's for a cousin playdate with Nano and Poppy. Watched Frozen for the first time. Left around lunch time and drove back to Gordo. Picked up AO lunch and she ate at JuJu's and Papa's house. AO helped (entertained) JuJu in her store. Then we went to visit John's grandparents, MawMaw and PawPaw that afternoon. Grocery shopping, then home to crash.
Thursday - we got up early and did the Zoo in Birmingham with NanO and Lib and MC. It's a fantastic zoo. However, I will never make the mistake of a spring break trip again. It was insanely crowded, and I don't think the zoo was prepared for all of the people. We had to wait in massive lines for everything. Even the windows and exhibits were backed up 3-4 people deep. But, AO loved it. She rode the camel with Nano, rode the train and carousel, and got to see the giraffes. She fed birds nectar and got up super close to a tiger. It was a great trip. We had the "big sisters" Libby and Millie as our guides and nannies. We made a quick stop to California Pizza Kitchen at the Summit for a snack, then went on home. Thursday evening, Lib and MC entertained AO while John grilled us burgers. AO crashed, and we stayed up late watching Frozen. :-) (Catching the pattern?)
Sunday - we skipped church and got lunch ready for the Sunday lunch with the inlaws. Bacon wrapped grilled pork chops, big salad, baked purple potatoes, asparagus, wheat rolls and fruit salad. Sunday afternoon the boys put together AO's swingset from Santa, and AO & I went shopping with JuJu. We picked up a few things at Walmart and Dollar Tree, then came home. AO played outside ALL AFTERNOON. Making mud soup and sliding. She had two baths before 5 PM. She had visits from BB, and Brooke & Drew. Then another bath time, a lunchable for supper and straight to bed.
I'm tired just thinking about it all. Somewhere in the middle of all that, we had a sing off complete with microphones, made playdoh princess dresses, had an impromptu baseball game and painted our toe nails.
The reason I list it all is this: I work. But I also work really hard at creating memories for me and my family. We aren't at a point in our life where I could stay home. And truthfully - I wouldn't want to stay home. But don't knock me for saying it out loud. When I'm with AO, I'm really WITH her. I may not text you back. I may not answer you call. It's all the time I get, so we pack it in! I know we both have our limits. She loves school and her friends. Why in the world would I want to take that away from her? Even if I stayed at home, I would send her to school. Because she needs it. It fits her personality. She's happy and extremely well adjusted. Of course I have my moments where I want more time. I have a small slice of me that could stay home and do this around the clock. Or maybe its' just that I want to have a day where I can stay in my PJs. But that's not us. Not now anyway. She's an on-the-go busybody who never slows down. My point - love all Mamas. It's a hard call to figure out the juggling life that is family. There's no way it has to be done. I keep going back to something my daddy-in-law said before we had AO. I was just certain how everything was going to be and how it was going to be done. He said to throw it all out the window. Parenthood is NEVER like you have it imagined in your head. If you just let go and roll with the punches, you will be much happier. Throw all the "have to do it this way" out the window and just let them be kids. Cold water for mud pies doesn't give them a snotty nose, it's a virus. Just let them be kids. Let them get dirty. Don't freak when they bust their lip for the 5th time in a month by jumping off the concrete steps. They'll survive.
The most important think I'm learning - when you need to step away, STEP AWAY. Not just in those seconds where you threaten to beat their hineys black and blue with the spankin' spoon for not listening to their mama. I step away to the real job. To grown up time in a grown up world. It makes me cherish my spring break vacation days that much more. It's a lot sweeter when you know it's all you get.
Just don't say - "she's not going to remember any of this." Well guess what folks, I will remember. I'm not sure when this notion started that you make memories for your kids to have and hold. You have kids to make memories for yourself. So if you want to slide, roll in the grass and make mud pies or buy purple potatoes because that's the color of the week, JUST DO IT. :-)