Finding our sweet spot

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I feel like I’m getting the hang of this solo-parenting weekends thing. We’ve had so many lovely people checking in on us, offering play-dates, asking if we need anything from the grocery store, but to my surprise we never seem to have much aimless down time – those moments in which the minutes seem to crawl by and you’re wondering what on earth to do with the kids now. Somehow our Saturdays and Sundays have felt rather full, in a good way. 

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I have a ton of work left to do on Halloween costumes, but somehow I’m feeling OK about the prospect of wrapping everything up in time. My mom called last night to see if I needed any help (she always collaborates on costumes with me) and she came over this morning to help me with some paper mache while my dad helped with a few other household projects. Last night we saw some neighborhood friends who always make me feel so warm and fuzzy and connected and thankful, and today I paused in a moment of true gratitude over something as simple as receiving texts from a variety of those people: sharing joy over having torn down a wall in a kitchen renovation, asking if we have a bedazzler they can borrow (I guess I’m a likely suspect for that one), and announcing that they’re getting a puppy tomorrow. It’s all so day-to-day, and yet I’m incredibly thankful that this fall we have the kind of neighborhood friends to exchange life’s big and small questions and announcements and concerns with, and last year we didn’t know any of these people. I love what an important part of our everyday they’ve become.

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Today I set out to tackle some of the yard work that has been waiting for me and while it’s been somewhat cold it turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day that was perfect for being outdoors. It felt good to finally trim the hedges (and to be honest, it made me want to start putting up Christmas lights…) and fill up yard waste bags, although it made me a little bit sad to empty the pots on the patio and pull everything out of the vegetable garden. When Jonah came home from a friend’s house he seemed alarmed and asked why I killed all of the plants, but I explained that they’re annuals and that we’ll do it all again in the spring.

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It’s been feeling good to finish some projects, big and small, and feel like we’re ready for the holiday seasons to come. We have a progressive dinner coming up and I’m really looking forward to hosting. There’s something so gratifying about sharing our space with friends, and even more so when we’ve put hard work into making it even better.

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Another thing that’s making our weekends feel better than I could have hoped is that the kids have been doing a really amazing job of playing with one another. Yesterday morning all three of them spent ages playing with two big cardboard boxes (I had to fight hard against my desire to purge clutter the day Kristin took the rest of the cardboard to the recycling center, knowing that the kids would be overjoyed to find them in the living room). They climbed in them and colored on them, closed themselves in with flashlights, and pushed each other across the wood floor in box races. Jonah has been enthusiastically giving his siblings piggy back rides lately, and the other night he read an entire book to Jude (way past bedtime, but it was too wonderful for me to even think of telling him to turn off the book light and go to sleep). Despite all of my fears about these weekends, I feel like we’ve found a bit of a sweet spot.

I love who the kids are in this stage of life, and when they’re gone for a bit I miss them. Jonah went off to a play date this afternoon while I worked in the yard, and around 5:00 I suddenly realized that we hadn’t baked the apple crisp I’d promised Jonah we would make this weekend. I texted our friends to let them know that I was on my way to pick him up, and set out to do way more than we had time for in the little time that remained before what ought to be bedtime on a school night. 7:30 quickly turned into 9:00 and I only had the apple crisp half prepped by the time I got everyone bathed and into bed. Still I tried, and they knew that I hadn’t forgotten my promise (and they were just as happy to eat a scoop of pumpkin ice cream instead).

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