As always the last few days have been super busy with volunteering at school, swimming, Cub Scouts, a playdate and after school activities. On Monday I spent the majority of the day going through and reading old journal and blog entries. I got absolutely nothing accomplished, but I just got sucked in and lost all sense of time. Before I knew it, it was time to go and pick up the children from school, get dinner started and then attend a PTA meeting while Michael took the children to their swim lessons.
The rest of the day I felt like I was in a funny fog, half in the past and yet in the present as well. I had forgotten about SO much of what I had written in my journals. After all, I started my journal in August of 2000, when Michael and I were still newlyweds and before we even purchased our house. I managed to write regularly all the way through 2005 and then semi-regularly through 2008. So much happened in those years. So many ups and downs. And man, we had a LOT of downs those first 4 years. It made me even more appreciative of our life now. Life is so plain NORMAL and there was a time when that's what I wanted more than anything. I've learned that "normal" and "boring" are GOOD things. But really, when is life ever really normal and boring, especially once children arrive?
So the last few days have been normal, but certainly not boring. I try to always find joy in those little moments throughout the day that bring laughter and a sense of well being. On Tuesday I spent the morning at the school volunteering in my son's classroom and then in the school library. It's been so long since I taught myself, it seems amazing to me that I ever was able to handle a classroom full of 2nd graders. When I watch Tristan's amazing teacher I'm in awe of her classroom management skills. When I consider going back to substitute teaching, it's the classroom management aspect that frightens me the most. But in working with the children, I remember why I loved 2nd grade so much. It's a great age.
Later in the library I enjoyed helping the children find books and I love the excitement on their faces when they find just the one they were looking for. I also looked around for some non-fiction books that I thought might spark an interest for Alyssa, as she is an avid reader but not a non-fiction reader. I found a few biographies that I thought she would enjoy and the librarian allowed me to check them out for her. I chose a biography about J.K. Rowling, "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" and "Boy" an autobiography of Roald Dahl which I have read before and thoroughly enjoyed.
So later that evening, while Michael and Tristan were off at their cub scout meeting, I sat down with Alyssa and showed her the books I had brought home. She seemed interested in "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Crane," a book about a young girl who was born around the time that the US dropped the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima. The book touched a bit on that and the Peace Day celebrations that are held in Hiroshima every August 6th. We talked a bit about the events and she wanted to read about Sadako even though the prologue mentions that she dies of leukemia. I wasn't sure if reading this might be too much for Alyssa to handle at her age, but she was eager to read it. In retrospect perhaps it wasn't a good choice on my part. It's a fairly short book, only 64 pages with 9 short chapters. I read the first few and checked to see how Alyssa was feeling about the book, and she kept begging me to read another chapter and then another chapter, until we completed the entire book. She seemed to be handling the content well until the very end when Sadako dies. I got choked up and the tears started rolling out of my eyes and then she, likewise, started crying. But I didn't realize just HOW upset she was until I mentioned taking the AR test on the book and she emphatically refused to ever take the test or even look at the book again. She was so upset we had to read a chapter from another book, "The Saturdays" by Elizabeth Enright, to get her mind off the other book so she could go to sleep. Yeah, probably not one of my better decisions as a parent.
Despite the bad ending, I have to say I enjoyed our time together reading that evening. We sometimes get so busy in our evenings that Alyssa often does her 30 minutes of reading time reading to herself in bed before we come in and say good night and turn out the lights, though we do still try to read together when we can. I'm hoping to read "Boy" with her next and maybe give her non-fiction reading requirement a bit of a happier note, though maybe I should re-read it first as I recall there might be a few sad stories in that book as well. Anyone have some other good non-fiction book suggestions for a 9 year old girl?
Wednesday, the next day, was just as busy at school with first the school's Veteran's Day assembly and then working the "snack table" through all 5 lunches.
The Veteran's Day assembly was well done as always. Our school makes a huge effort with this assembly and invites any Veterans of family members or in the community to come and be guests of honor for the morning. It's always touching to see how proud the children are of family members who come and all the Veteran's names are read out during one of the songs. But what was particularly adorable this year, was as they had the Veteran's march down the aisle to exit the assembly and go to the reception which is held for them in our school library, the children were holding up their hands for the Veterans to shake or "high 5" as they walked by. It was like they were rock stars and you could tell they were just so tickled by this.
The rest of the day was just the typical daily business. Tristan had a playdate with his best buddy, then we had to eat dinner and get to swimming lessons. Alyssa was in near hysterics because she was afraid we might be a minute or two late (that girl is loving her swim lessons). After swim lessons it was hot showers and stories and then to bed.
Today was my first day all week that I wasn't going to be busy with something at the school, but still started out the morning at the school with the children for "Moms and Muffins." It was nice to see just how popular this new event was. We could hardly find a place to sit down. Then I came home, got out my "to do" list and got busy with a bunch of things I've been putting off the last few days. It's a gorgeous fall day outside today and so tempting to go out and enjoy it, but I really needed to get some things done. So now that I've finished my lunch, it's time for me to go and continue working on those pesky "to do" items before it's time to pick the kids up from school.