Category: the inevitability of change

mommy gets schooled, part 1

School is a given in America.

A billion kids or so (I’m not a numbers girl. Whatever) started school last week. They had backpacks and lunch boxes and maybe new shoes, and they rode busses or bikes or walked in little groups to places with cinderblock walls and bells and that yucky orange stuff waiting in the maintenance closet for soaking up vomit.

C’mon. Can’t you just smell it?

The hardest part about sending my first-born to kindergarten last week was not that she was going to be separate from me. We went through that trauma a year ago…and it turns out, the baby girl who had to be in my arms for the first 2 hours of every day for the first 2 years of her life…only needs me when she needs me, and that is becoming less and less often every day. She is already excited by other people… her “big girl” friends, her older sister’s friends, her mama’s friends. She is a lot like me in that way… always open to new connections, always growing her heart to cram more relationships in.

And I know sometimes, I made my mom feel a little left behind, just like my almost-6-year old is causing me to feel these days.

After 3 successful days as a sure STAR in her new class, she also lost her first tooth… at the theatre, of course, while I was working the box office for a crowd. So she celebrated with some of her new favorite people before I even knew about it ~


Did you follow that whole rabbit hole? Anyway… The hardest part of sending Miranda to kindergarten came two days before she started, at open house, when we walked through the crowded hallways and I found myself (ever social, like my Randa), looking for people I knew.

Side note: Probably about 7 years ago, Rod and I were at a Cubs game… at Wrigley Field, which holds about 40,000 people, and I joked with Rod that I still couldn’t help myself. I was looking around for people I knew.

Do you know, on the way out, in the bathroom, I ran into Tia P atrevito, whom I met the summer before 4th grade. AT A BALLPARK WITH 40,000 other people…

But at Miranda’s school…there was not one other soul I knew.

I’ve mostly gotten used to living here. I don’t always feel like the new girl. I’m building a village around me. But sometimes, the sweeping lack of history in this place, this beautiful place where new school pictures look like this:

…still gets to me.

I love the palm trees and the greenness, the warm weather and the promise that we can still hit the beach in the fall. I love that my BFFs in Chicago text me through the challenging times while new BFFs in Myrtle Beach fill in the hug, lunch, impromptu-cupcake-run gaps. I love that the librarian looks like The Perfect School Librarian and is named Mrs. Johnson (like one of my Chicago BFFs) and that the classroom is clean and has computers and 2 teachers plus a student teacher.

But I hate not knowing anyone else in my baby’s new school. I hate not having a connection with the people who feed her mind and spirit all day long.

This will begin to resolve in a few weeks when my work schedule calms down and I hit the volunteer meeting and she starts ballet class again and we, as a family, bring some balance back to the force.

But when it hit me, it hit hard.

These children are the Most Important Gifts I have ever been entrusted with. Most of the time I am Mellow Like Jell-o, but sometimes, I am downright scared of making the incorrect decision. School has been the biggest one yet. If you’ve read this or known me for any amount of time, you know the plan has changed over and over. Right now, Randa at public school and KK at private pre-school makes the most sense for us. They are learning They are safe. They are happy. Homeschooling is still in my blood, but as I get to know my first-born daughter more, I’m not sure it will ever be for her. Time will tell.

Later this week, I am going to share some of the awesome words shared with me on this subject by friends over the past few weeks. ‘Cause Mamas still need some coddling sometimes, even when their babies don’t…

where would you be

I have no idea why this song is in my head tonight, but alas.

It is a great video by Martina McBride, anyway, but the live version will have to do…

South Carolina is a pretty good place to be right now. The grass and trees are pretty green. The sky is the most beautiful shade of blue. The rain smells good. And, you know, there is the ocean~

It’s a little bit amazing to me how I have shifted my perceptions to match my reality. Used to be my homes away from home were Mom & Dad’s, Jen’s, Maureen’s, Homewood Panera/Aurelio’s/Culver’s, Calvary Assembly of God. Now, basically, it is in the sand, surrounded by dollar store snacks and brightly colored chairs and sandy towels and giggling girls and a husband who pretends he isn’t completely amused by it all…

There are some other places I’d like to be right now. On any random day, when I drop the girls at their new school {which, thankfully, they love}, I find myself wishing we had some summer days to explore together. And then I recall the dreary days this winter when I had time, time, time and no motivation to explore, and I know that God is moving us in the direction He has chosen just for us. I would like to be able to stop by Mom & Dad’s after work, or have coffee around Maureen’s table with all the girls while the kids destroy her house, or chill on Jen’s couch watching something ridiculous on TV. I miss being in Mr. Brendel’s Sunday School class or getting excited when a “free 10″ inch” Aurelio’s coupon came on a random Thursday when I didn’t know what to cook. And I definitely wish I could be holding my new baby nephew right now, whispering his sweet name in all its versions {Daniel Bernard…D.B…Danny Boy…} while watching my big brother and his wife join the realm of “2 under 2.”

But I’m here. Even if I don’t always understand why. Even if sometimes I feel a little trapped between two places. Even if I resent the tourists a tiny little bit when I’m grocery shopping at 8 at night and they’re stocking up on their sunscreen and Pop Tarts (ew). And here, though it may not always be where I “would be” if I “could be” anywhere, has a whole lot of lovely to offer…

movin’ on

Really… almost a whole month since I’ve written? Seems bizarre, but also, the way things have been lately, not surprising.

We moved. It was a pretty uneventful day, save for the strep throat (Paige), the wasp sting (KK, during her introduction to her new swing set), a flat tire (our car), and a very sleepy but yummy 21st-birthday celebration:

In between shuffling, unpacking, and breaking down boxes (with help from some pretty amazing friends), we {finally} opened a theatre. The first show was June 15. We have been having a blast with some fine Polynesian folks,

making big plans with some others,

and generally running ourselves ragged…

’cause living a dream usually means some pretty hard work, major adjustments, and things never quite looking how we think they will…

That said, look what I found while unpacking yesterday, from the inaugural Branson GMR. And wow, have we been missing Branson these last 2 weeks. Yesterday marked one year since we were there…

I’m grateful for the chance to keep dreaming, and doing so with my family, and adding to my family, even while I miss a whole lot of my family. Does that make sense? Probably not…but now you understand that my brain has pretty much been reduced to oatmeal these days.


Moving to a new location in the Myrtle Beach area has got me thinking hard about Where we are. Obviously, we came here for something that doesn’t even exist anymore, and maybe never really did. And even though on the surface our family is “all good now,” what with a theatre to run, gainful employment, and you know, the ocean, I admit that the residual effects of the last year, even the last few, are hard to live with some days. Months of meager self-employment followed pretty closely by surprise unemployment are not turned around easily. Loss of trust and vision and motivation makes it hard sometimes to move forward steadily. And now that we’re all cozy here in the Inlet, sinking our feet down deeper in the sand and proverbially waving our Palmetto flags, I feel so far from the life I knew for 34 years before coming here. I miss my friends every day but wonder if I would even fit in if I could go back. And as I have bounced around from new mama to road mama to work-at-home mama to unemployed mama to crazed-all-the-time-manager mama, sometimes I just feel an utter lack of identity. My children are growing fast. I am, gulp, approaching (or at??) middle age. And I don’t really know what the grand future looks like.

This is a bit much for a return to blogging and a Thursday night. So, on to the positive.

I do know that my future includes this:


and this:

and some of this:


and this


and I guess that is all I have to know…


I remember right after we moved here, talking to a friend of mine who was making decisions about full time work and homeschooling her kids. I said something like,

No decision short of death is really permanent, right? We live in America. We’re smart and healthy. If something doesn’t go right, we can undo it.

I look at that and know that those words were meant for me just as much as they were for her. She (De!) has given me some pretty amazing words back in this year, including today. I’m not sure we can undo some of the things that brought us where we are. Most days, I don’t want to undo anything. But I do want to shake off the residuals. I want restoration. I want to move on.

Next post: more upbeat. More about our lovely home, for which I am so grateful. Thanks to those who missed my little slice of Chicagolina.

related adults

Even though I don’t feel so much like the new girl in town anymore, there are some conditions that sort of shout You aren’t quite at home to me, namely:
– the prescence of my parents/the girls’ grandparents
– the prescence of people I’ve either known all my life or act as if I have

So…it is really, really, super nice to have related adults living here. Josh and Kirsten are getting settled into their great new apartment. And…Paige is going to remain in South Carolina rather than going back to Kentucky (her story to tell, not mine…I trust in her future, and I love having her here).

So…we spent much of our weekend performing manual labor:



We’ve been really blessed, especially in the last half of the past year, for adults in our lives to support us, who can be called upon in emergencies, child care crises, birthday celebrations, etc. But having adult relatives here is…well, the bomb.


We are moving somewhere between the 23rd & 30th. My official packing plan is 5 boxes/day (this is at night, after the 12ish hour days we’ve had for the past few weeks. I. Am. Superwoman!) But first, there was unpacking to do, and we all know it must start in the kitchen. As of their first night, J&K could cook…if they wanted to!

And I’ve concluded that love is…

…packing them…

…before packing us!

those upturned faces

I have started and not finished several posts this week. It’s a full week. Rod, thankfully, has been home. Randa & KK wrapped up their current school year. Josh & Kirsten will be here Sunday. And Paige is back to her role as the glue.

Along with the week being full, so is my heart. The inevitability of change is my cloak once again. I’m pondering some decisions, probably taking some of them more seriously than I need to.

In the mean time, I read this quote on a friend’s FB page, and for today, I’m going to wear it:

“While they are at your side, love these little ones to the uttermost. Forget yourself. Serve them; care for them; lavish all your tenderness on them. Value your good fortune while it is with you, and let nothing of the sweetness of their babyhood go unprized. Not for long will you keep the happiness that now lies within your reach. You will not always walk in the sunshine with a little warm, soft hand nestling in each of yours, nor hear little feet pattering beside you, and eager baby voices questioning and prattling of a thousand things with ceaseless excitement. Not always will you see that trusting face upturned to yours, feel those little arms about your neck, and those tender lips pressed upon your cheek, nor will you have that tiny form to kneel beside you, and murmur baby prayers into your ear.
Love them and win their love, and shower on them all the treasures of your heart. Fill up their days with happiness, and share with them their mirth and innocent delights.
~ George Townshend (1876 – 1957)

Of all the things I can fail at in my life, I want to succeed in my mama role.

They deserve it.