Let's take a minute, (or 10 since I have lots of words with this being my second cocktail and all tonight) and reflect on my weekend.
We had a community garden tree planting event and two birthday parties to throw. It didn't sound too difficult.
Friday night Paul was out with a friend. so I did minimal cleaning to prepare for the party. By that I mean I put all the embarrassing things away, but let the vacuuming, sweeping and dishes get the best of me. I claimed I was inspired and wanted to write, so I headed to my room with my laptop in hand, settled into bed. I think I wrote four sentences, got distracted by Facebook and then fell asleep.
Due to that great responsible move, Saturday morning left me hours behind in prep. While ignoring my kids plea for breakfast, I threw a load of laundry in, put clean dishes away and then realized I was supposed to make a gluten free pastry for our friends who were coming to help plant apple trees in the community garden. I hadn't even made Middle's birthday treat, so there was no way a breakfast pie was happening. At that moment of realization, our neighbors showed up with breakfast in hand to come help plant. I threw on the clothes that were heaped on the floor, because I had worn them yesterday and opened the door with a smile. Having no gluten free option available, I brought forth grapes, and then didn't even end up washing them, but had my neighbor do it. My patheticness took over in that moment.
Once everyone was assembled, we went outside to plant and that's when we saw a crew of Whole Foods volunteers come to plant the trees that they donated to the garden. With more people than were necessary, we decided to move our effort to cleaning the garden, which turned out to be the smartest move I made all weekend, considering all the x-rated items and glass we pulled from the dirt. Don't want the kids finding those things!
After the cleaning and planting had commenced, it was time for a quick lunch and party prep. Oh yeah, I still hadn't made Middle's birthday treat or decorated. So as the clock struck 1pm and the first friend showed up while Paul and our oldest were putting up streamers. (The only reason we were doing that was because I bought special streamers for Little's birthday party the next day which ironically never went up and I didn't want Middle to think I would decorate for her and not for him. Got to have it fair and even right?) While the streamers went up, I was still mixing the ice cream that was supposed to be frozen over night. But me? Oh no, I was going to be serving it in exactly 1 1/2 hours. Yeah, I was winning over here. No birthday treat, (the ONLY thing we are serving mind you) the bathroom is disgusting, there is garden dirt all over our floors and that is when I realized that we don't have a birthday present for our daughter. Who we are celebrating. The. Very. Next. Day.
So... the first party has started, barely, and I sent my husband away to go buy the bike she was getting from her grandparents who live far away, and a special stuffed animal from us. I am left with the couple of friends who Middle invited, a few of the siblings who decided to stay and the neighborhood kids who joined us. Seriously, it was like I was standing in some weird multiplying machine. I had kids running around the house, running outside the house, and running in our neighbors yard. They were waving sticks and lightsabers and screaming and playing and fake dying all over the ground. I had coffee brewing, the phone started ringing, one kid came in and was bleeding and needed a band-aid, another one was crying, and Paul was texting me about help with what bike to get. I was four stimulations over my max.
At this point, my dear friend showed up with her son and I clung to her like a life line. We were headed to the park! I had to do something. So for the next 45 min the kids ran and played at the park down the street, and I actually had a conversation with my friend. Once we made it home at the time when the party was ending, we sang Happy Birthday to Middle and we dished up the special ice cream fudge he picked. Izzy drinks were served, and spilled on the ground, presents were torn open, and parents were coming to get their kids, sadly observing the chaotic state in which we were currently existing.
I am not kidding. At that moment, we had more people show up to the community garden next door to prep the land and get it ready for planting. My son invited those kids into the house because we were having a party, shared the drinks and dessert and we added a few more to the mix. I went outside to talk to Michael who is one of the leaders. His brother joined us and started an inappropriate relationship with my hand, as he wouldn't let it go and continued to bestow kiss after kiss with over indulgent compliments. Paul still isn't home, so I wasn't sure how to get myself out of this awkward conversation. Pulled my hand away, he took it back. Moved myself out of the conversation and he brought me back in. It was then our housemate Chad came home, saw my distress and rescued me.
When Paul finally made it home to wrapping paper all over the floor, garden dirt smashed into the carpet, the sink full of dishes, the first thing he heard from our oldest was, "SOME GUY KISSED MOM AND I WANTED TO PUNCH HIM." Well, that needed some explaining to say the least. (It wan't kissing... it was my hand... it was innocent...it was awkward....we handled it...Your the only man for me.) Done.
While making dinner, I decided to have a cocktail. I don't need a drink to relax, but it sure is nice once in awhile. Right after my vodka and OJ and Cranberry (don't judge, it was all we had) I realized that everyone was contained with a movie, the sun was shining and I was desperate for a run. I got changed, and was heading out at 730 before the sun set. Before I made it to the door, Paul grabbed my face in his hands and said to me, "Please be careful. You are going out at night and I need you to be aware and safe. Make smart choices and come back to us. I love you."
Yes it sounded as final now as did to me in the moment. But living where we do in Minneapolis, he wasn't off base. His fear is founded and I was actually surprised he let me go. (That sounds bad, but I am hoping you know what I mean by it.) So I headed out and about five blocks into my run, my cocktail caught up to me. More than the extra weight I put on, that cocktail is what slowed me down and made my head fuzzy and giggly all at the same time. I thought to myself, I just left my house slightly buzzed (not being a regular drinker, apparently one cocktail will do that to you) going out for a run in a highly complicated and threatening neighborhood.
Not. My. Best. Moment.
I had a lot of revelations during that run. Many pondering's about fear and violence and culture and the ghetto that will end up in my next book, (It's name to be leaked later), but I made it home safe and sound, though albeit still a little foggy and completely exhausted. Paul was doing his workout and the kids were asleep so I laid down in bed to wait for him to be done and catch my breath. Apparently when my head hit the pillow, I was out. The next thing I know is that I woke with a start and it was 1145pm. I came out of the room, cold sweat chilled on my body, me still in my workout clothes, and Paul was sitting on the couch all showered and relaxing. I think what came out of his mouth as he looked at me was, "Nice nap? You are a big hot mess that passed out still in your workout clothes without even waking up." I think I glared at him then hopped in the shower for a quick rinse off and crawled back into bed.
Since for the second night in a row, I was apparently incapable of cleaning or joining the land of the living, I had to clean up from one party and prep for the next one all before church. With legos everywhere, the dishes still piled high, the bathroom still not clean, I figured the one thing I could do right today was getting Little's treat ready on time. (Middle's turned out more like soft fudge and not ice cream which worked just fine for the kids.) With some picking up done, breakfast only consisting of two spills, one of milk and one of cereal, we made it to church on time and back home in time for the party to start.
We wanted to give Little her new bike before her friends showed up. Paul and I made a big deal about the reveal with our camera in hand and unveiling it with the lift of the garage. We were expecting joy, laughter, a squeal maybe. We were so ready to capture this amazing moment. Her first real bike. All her own. She has been asking for one for over a year and now she got one. When the garage door lifted, we got nothing of what we expected. We literally got...NOTHING. She looked, she saw, she walked up to her bike and just looked at us. I think the word "cool" came out but I'm not sure. What I can say is she was unenthusiastic, unimpressed and the one thing we hoped for didn't happen.
So while she starting riding her new bike, her three friends showed up and everyone started to play together. I was able to make the ice cream she requested, but I never got the decorations up, and half way through the party, I realized I never even changed the Happy Birthday banner. It still read Happy Birthday Caleb. At her party! After about 10 minutes in, Little started sobbing that her brothers were more fun than her and that her friends didn't want to play with her. She was the Birthday girl so she was supposed to be the favorite.
I took my kids aside and had a talk. I thought it was all figured out. We separated out the girls and the boys were going to a park with Paul. We had five peaceful minutes, and then Little was crying again. I have no idea what set her off that time, but she came up to me and said, "Mama (hiccup) I need a moment alone (sob) with you to speak about a problem." How can an almost five year old talk like a refined old lady while in the midst of an epic melt down? This was number 2 of I don't know how many because I lost count of the number of melt downs she had. Her party was 2 hours long and she was actually only apart of it for about, oh, a whole 15 minutes. With Paul being gone now for the second party in a row, and me trying to hang with the 3 girls who were invited to this tragic party, all while Little still cried in my room, I went upstairs to elicit Chad's help in convincing Little to come out.
While Chad was in the room with Little working his magic, the girls and I were playing with the farm animals. Somehow we got on the subject of "if the White and Black cows only gave milk and the Brown cows were for meat." We did some research and kept talking about cows and milk, and babies and feeding them, and milking them. Then questions were happening about other animals and babies and feedings and milk, and all of a sudden I realized I was sitting in my living room ready to deliver a reproduction speech to little girls that aren't mine! All I kept thinking was, "THIS IS NOT HAPPENING?!?!" My daughter is literally living the mantra"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" while I have other people's children asking me about milk and mommies and babies.
For the second time, of this backwards, upside down weekend, I found myself a little lost and completely unprepared. I have no problem talking about sex, or any issue with my kids. However, I kind of have this fear of other kids asking me questions like that, me explaining things in a matter of fact kind of way, and the child going home slightly traumatized as if I just told them Santa wasn't real and their parent coming and yelling me. So I get a little panicky when the topic turns personal with children who are not my own.
So I decided to distract them with ice cream and cookies. I know. Real mature.
(Those are the two left over streamers from her brothers party, which she later pointed out where not the special colors she picked. whoops.)
It was at that point we got Little out of the room, we sang happy birthday to her, dished up ice cream, the moms showed up to get their daughters. That was the moment Little noticed I hadn't changed the birthday sign and it didn't have her name on it. "I don't even get a sign with my name on it?" (tear)
Oh, epical hot mess this weekend.
I sat on the porch with my dear friend who's daughter was still here we shared a cocktail while we talked and the girls played nicely AFTER the party was over.
So all in all, Middle was a screaming mess, Little was a crying mess, Paul got kicked out of both parties, and I clearly couldn't handle myself this weekend. My obvious coping mechanisms are a blinding light as indicators go.
Middle never figured out how to be quieter, Little, well, we are hoping and praying that the emotional tidal wave of today is not an indicator of her teenage years, though we know we are wrong, we are going to try to keep Paul around more, and I switched to coffee.
If you made it this far, I am impressed. We should share a drink together.
I mean get a coffee.
Or a glass of water.