Jax woke up about 1:30 with a 102 degree fever, burning up like he hasn't in such a long time. I should have known it was coming. It's been too long since someone was really sick, we were due.
Shawn was still closing the restaurant, not that it would have mattered, so I gave him so medicine, put a cold rag on his head, and took up my place alongside him in bed.
About 15 minutes later, Shawn gets home, finds me with Jax, and I give him the bad news.
"Did you give him some medicine?"
I love questions like these, don't you, ladies? I know he's trying to be thoughtful, and his motives are merely concern for his son, but are you serious?? Ugghhh.
Anyway, I assure him that the retard he's left in charge of his kids all these years has taken care of everything, and he should just go to bed. So he does.
Then around 4:30 am, I wake up as Jax is thrashing around at the opposite end of the bed, feel his much much cooler forehead, re-tuck him in and creep my way back to my bed.
Not 10 minutes later, Ryan comes stomping in, heavy with sleep, complaining that she can't turn her music on and could I please come and fix it for her.
Sure, who wants sleep anyway? So overrated.
But I do sleep until 6:30 when Jax is up again, and both kids are begging for cereal.
3 hours later, and I'm running the bath water for Ryan, telling Jax not to get in the bathtub, and walk to our room to get Shawn up for church. 2 seconds later, Ryan cries out, "Mom! Jax is in the tub! In his pajamas! And his DIAPER!!"
Holy Jesus, that child is lucky he is sick and it is Sunday.
Anyway, Shawn comes down about 10 am, dressed and ready, waiting for me to finish cooking his bacon and eggs.
He grabs me in a big bear hug, kisses me and says, "How are ya, babe?"
Jax and I took lunch up to Ryan this morning, and it was just as exciting as always. Being the silly mommy I am, I like to twist words around and say funny things, insuring that I am not only loved but clamored everytime we go up there. (Is the big L on my forehead blazing, or what?)
Anyway, today one of the little boys was talking about Transformers this and Transformers that, so I asked him, "You must really Love Transformers. Are you gonne MARRY them?" (snicker, snicker)
He just looked at me crazily and said, "Nooo, but I am gonna marry my Transformer toys."
Later, when one of Ryan's friends asked me my name (again) I said, "Queen Rammalammadingdong," at which point she made a funny face at me and sort of backed away.
I turned to Ryan and said, "I think your friend thinks I'm weird, Ry."
All of a sudden the Transformer boy pipes up, "Well I think you're pretty. Except for your eyes, I mean."
And finally, it took us 15 minutes to walk from the school to the parking lot, because as Jax has just acquired his first "Thomas" train, he insists on rolling it everywhere we go. On his knees. Through the halls, onto the patio, across the nasty black-topped parking lot...
My very dear friend and one of my many Mommy Mentors sent this to me, and I just couldn't keep it to myself. Thanks Elisa!!
I'm invisible..... It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not.
No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Pick me up right around 5:30, please."
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.
She's going .. she's going ... she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."
In the days ahead I would read -- no, devour -- the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals -- we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder; As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
I was just outside doing laundry when I happened to glance up and actually pay attention to what I'd just hung:
Not a shirt I would wear to a PTA mtg, but great to sleep and clean in! My Dad bought it for me, (thank you, thank you very much), and it probably wouldn't be that big a deal if the guy living behind us wasn't a minister. Oops.
It gets better. I look over and I see this: Shawn's old baseball shirt from Lutheran High North, which is super comfy and which I LOVE to wear, as a normal wife probably would. The conundrum we find ourselves in, however, is that we live in Round Rock, and their rivals are the Leander Lions, whose colors also happen to be, say it with me: red and blue.
It took me a while to realize it when we first moved here, but after I'd gotten several crazy looks at the Y years ago, I put two and two together, so now I really only ever wear it indoors or at the Cedar Park (Leander) YMCA. Heehee. (Go Dragons!)
The point is, I'm not sure which one I feel worse about the neighbors seeing hanging in our yard. These people know where we live, after all...
Speaking of dragons, would you please tell me if it is normal for children to lay on the couch like this to watch tv, or is it just mine? I have no idea how that even comes remotely close to being comfortable.
Jaxson better start sleeping through the night soon, and Ry needs to cough up whatever's still hanging out in her chest from the cold she had last week, because if we don't get sleep asap, there WILL be blood shed.
Last night was torture, up and down all night long, and this morning we paid dearly.
Yelling, hitting, pushing, whining...and that was just me.
The highlight had to be, after yelling at Shawn, turning around and telling Ryan, who has Family Career Day at school, "When you talk about Daddy and his job, make sure you tell them how mean he is to Mommy."
To which Shawn rolls his eyes, calls me a name, and asks Ryan, "Do you believe that, Ry? Do you really think I'm mean to Mommy?"
Score 1 for Mom. Victory was bittersweet, though, seeing as how Shawn slammed the door so hard when he left that stuff fell off the walls.
This evening the kids and I were eagerly awaiting Shawn's arrival -- it had been one of those days for him where he doesn't get a second to answer the phone, much less reply to emails or texts, so I knew he was needing a cold beer, a good meal and some excited greetings from the kids.
The greetings were covered, seeing as how the little monsters habitually sit at the window (a la "Cat in the Hat"), waiting to see his truck pull up, subsequently releasing ear-piercing screams and shrieks when at last that large red beacon lumbers its way into the drive.
The cold beer and hot meal proved to be a tad more difficult to accomplish.
In one of her "moods", Ryan decides to start playing jokes, pretending Shawn has pulled up, going so far as to unlock, open the door and scream, "Hi Daddy!" She is eagerly aided by Jax, who just lives to copy everything his big sister does (Note the fingernail polish on his big toe. And his ear.)
Hearing the tell-tale signs, I abandon my chicken-quesadilla-cooking post at the stove and quickly jump over to the freezer, pull out a mug, and empty a fresh beer into it, as I rush to the door to greet my man. I know, it sounds completely lame. I am completely lame, remember??
Anyway, lo and behold, I leave the kitchen to the sight of an empty entry way and the resounding echo of giggles.
"Ryan! I just poured a cold beer for Daddy -- now what am I gonna do with it?"
(She just continues to laugh)
"Don't do it again" I say, returning to the stove.
But of course, she does it a 2nd time, I fall for it (shut up), get irritated and say, "Ryan! Please stop! I want to make things nice for Daddy. He's had a long hard day."
"Well what about ME? I've had a hard day, too, you know, and you're not being very nice to me right now!"
(Stifling the obvious snort) "I'm sorry, Ry. I didn't know you'd had a hard day. What happened?"
Releasing one of her classic exasperated sighs, she replied, "You know, all the walking back and forth and back and forth."
"Where are you walking to?"
"The bathroom. And then we have to sit down and then stand up and sit down."
(long pause as she throws herself on the floor) "You don't even know how hard it is on the carpet at school. Gaawww."
Needless to say, Shawn got home later than planned, I drank the beer, and his food is sitting in the micro waiting to be re-heated.
Right, so we're chugging along at chunkyrhino.com, getting ready to move our products/services/blog to one site, but we've got to clean house first, which means we'll slowly be phasing out our cafepress products, in order to streamline our inventory.
What does that have to do with you, you ask? Weeellll, it means you get to save, save, save on some of the cutest designs for kids, 'rents, and more. Head over to the site now to get yours before they're gone -- sale ends September 30th!!
**We don't currently sell our cards at the cafepress site, but if you'd like to order, just shoot me an email and we'll get to work!!
Jax is into some phase right now (actually, it's been going on for a while now) where he incessantly repeats himself, regardless of how many times he's been responded to, or how many times he's been asked to stop.
It's at the point now where Ryan will interrupt when he's doing it to me in the car with a loud, exasperated, "SHE KNOWS, OK?? WE GET IT!" As irritating as it is, this does always make me laugh, like when Jax accidentally locks himself in his room and I pretend not to hear him banging.
Whew! Week 1 down, and by the grace of God, Ryan came out smiling.
I say "by the grace of God", because here's how her week looked on paper:
Monday: 1st day of school, got in trouble for talking. Tuesday: Had an accident in the bathroom and had to change clothes. Wednesday: Some little girls made fun of her name ("Ryan? That's a boy's name!") when she tried to make friends with them. Thursday: Mommy forgot to pack a snack, so she had nothing to eat at snack time. Friday:Got in trouble for talking again, had her behavior chart moved to "YELLOW".
Now. Had this been my first week of school, I would have curled into a ball and declared the year over quicker than it began. But not Ry. The accident in the bathroom? No big deal. "All the kids were nappping, Mom, so I just had my friend tell my teacher and she brought me my clothes. No big deal." The teasing? " I just walked away and played with Chloe." No snack? Well, she was pretty pissed about that, and I can't say I blame her -- they eat lunch at 10:40, and don't get out of school until 2:30.
Of course, this morning she soo di dnot want to go to school, mostly because I woke up with her in my bed at 7:15, when we needed to leave the house at 7:30. So things were a little rushed, but Mama's on an organization craze, so it all went smoothly and after I promised her I'd have lunch with her today, she cheered right up.
Speaking of which, I've got to finish baking cookies for the office ladies before it's time to leave.
(#1 Rule I learned as a teacher: KISS the Office Ladies' Butts. They RUN the school.)