Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Birthday Buddies Bust September 27, 2018

A couple of weeks ago Jay came home from school with a flyer advertising “Breakfast With Buddies”.  Basically, students were allowed to invite someone (a non-student) to have breakfast with them in the school cafeteria.  As a mom who works a full time job, I rarely make it to these kinds of events.  I can’t remember the last time I chaperoned a trip. It’s been years.  I attend concert recitals and I’m always available if there is an issue where I have to meet with a teacher but I’ve never been to a field day or to the annual Thanksgiving lunch – And before today, I hadn’t been to a “Muffins with Mom” or any other fun breakfast gathering.

When the flyer came home, I knew I wanted to go.  This is Jays last year in elementary school which means it’s my last opportunity to engage in these kinds of activities with him.  Lately, I have been feeling a compulsion to make the most of the time we have here.  To NOT put things off.

I asked Jay if he’d like me to go with him and he gave me an enthusiastic yes.  I put it on my calendar and let my job know that I’d be in late.

 

Today was the day.

As we pulled into the parking lot, Jay told me that he hoped there would be bacon.  I told him I didn’t think there would be, but we would see.

When we filed into the cafeteria along with all the other families, Jay disappointedly said, “Aw man, all they have are donuts. Ugh!”

 

Jay got his donut, I got mine and a cup of coffee.  We sat and chit chatted for all of one minute before he said:

“You can go now if you need to.”

 

I told him that I hadn’t even finished my donut yet.  He said “Oh, I’ll sit with you while you finish.”  As if he was doing me a great favour.

As soon as I took the last bite he let me know that I could take my coffee to go.  He was over the breakfast.

Well.  OK then.

 

At least I got to sleep in for an extra 90 minutes – which I very much appreciated.

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Guilty June 9, 2017

The working mummy guilt is real!

No matter how much you do … There’s stuff you can’t do and it eats you up.

 

On the weekends we try to spend time with the kids and plan fun activities for them.  Last weekend alone they got to zip-line and rock wall climb and do a rope adventure course.  They saw a movie and did a craft project and were treated to donuts.  They loved it.

 

In May, we took a week long trip to Jamaica – And it was awesome – And I’m sure they will have happy memories of it for a long time.

 

But that trip meant taking 6 days off work; which means I won’t be able to take another day off for a long time.  That’s where most of my guilt comes from.  The stuff I miss because of work.  Ace had his field day (fun day) at school and neither of us made it.  We don’t chaperone field trips and we don’t drop by to read stories.  I’ve never done a “breakfast with mom” and I even missed the awards ceremony when Jay got a certificate for being a good artist.

I can’t take days off for all that goodness because I need to save them for when someone is sick.  I need to make sure I leave time for the very most important events such as graduation and the first day taking the bus to middle school.  We need to coordinate so that when there is no school due to snow or election day, one of us has the time available to take off.

 

Not being an active participant in school activities also means I haven’t developed any relationships with the other parents.  That in and of itself doesn’t bother me but it does affect my boys … Ace and the rest of the graduates have the opportunity to go to a water park next week but each kid needs to have an assigned chaperone – Even if it’s someone who is there watching their own child as well.  Neither Shaunie nor I can make it and I don’t have any “mom friends” who I can ask to take on that responsibility in my stead.  Ace will not get to go to the water park with his class.

 

I know I am lucky in a plethora of ways.

I’m not a single parent.  Today, it’s Jays turn to have field day at school and Shaunie was able to go and I’ve gotten pictures and videos and he seems very happy.

When I do take a day off work, I still get paid.

I don’t work any weekends.

I have heat in the winter and AC in the summer – Heck I even have a parking garage so I don’t have to get wet walking across a parking lot when it rains.

I have a boss who is understanding if I need to leave early to take a kid to the doctor; Or if I get to work late because a kid had to poop just as we were walking out the door.  (It helps that she’s a single parent.)

I actually like what I do.

 

My being lucky in so many ways though doesn’t diminish any of the guilt for the things I do miss.

I’m sure being a stay at home parent has its challenges.  I see the social media posts … “School is out for the summer. Send help! And wine! Lots and lots of wine!”  <- I just made that specific post up.  … Feel free to use it if you are a stay at home parent and it resonates.  I get it.  Kids can be a handful.  I get to use the bathroom at work without someone staring at me.  I can sip my coffee in the peace and quiet of my car while I listen to the radio uninterrupted.  I have adult conversations over lunch.

In a more serious scenario, I’m not forced to stay in an unhappy marriage because I can’t afford to leave.

 

But gosh darn it, if I wouldn’t prefer to be sweating in the hot ass sun, swatting away bugs, putting band aids on bruised knees, getting my toe run over by a scooter and watching a bunch of loud, not always well behaved 9 year olds run around with spray bottles and trying to toss a frizbee into a net right now.

 

Six Days August 4, 2015

Sometimes the good stuff is just as (or harder) to write about than the bad ones.  I always feel like words fall short.  What words do I choose to tell you how proud I am of Ace and his behavior last week?  Actually, starting from the Thursday before last.  What words could I possibly pick that would let you know what a big deal it was that he came to work with me for SIX FULL DAYS (8 am to 5pm) and sat at a desk (or under a desk but that’s irrelevant) and entertained himself?  I mean really …. This kid who every teacher has complained about being too – everything.  Too easily distracted, too chatty, too fidgety, too loud, too disruptive.

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He drew pictures and then made copies of them.  He watched cartoons on his tablet (THANK GOD for Wi-Fi).  He played with cars.  He popped bubble wrap from the warehouse.

He was just the right amount of friendly and polite.  He offered his help without being pushy.  He watched the clock but was patient.

He ATE A LOT.

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I only brought him with me because I had NO OTHER OPTION.  I was nervous about how it would work.  I work in a fairly quiet office with some people who can get very intense/serious.

He was sooooooooo good.

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In the morning we’d stop at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.  He loved that.  He is a big fan of donuts and he doesn’t get them too often from me.  I loved being able to give him a treat.

Although I usually try to bring a packed lunch, while he was with me we went out to lunch together every day.  I figured he’d need the break from being inside and I loved sharing that hour with him just talking and hanging out.

In the evening when our work day was over, I’d let him sit on my lap and steer around the almost empty parking lot.  He got a big kick out of that.

He has no idea how much of a kick I got out of all of it.  As I sat there driving with him, I was fully aware of the circle of life.  I used to sit just like that on my Grandma’s lap as we drove up and down our 1/4 mile long driveway.  When I spent the day at our family store, I played with the office supplies there and I “helped” the workers and I got to eat things that I didn’t usually get.

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Oh how I wish if my Grandma were here to watch my boys grow up.  They would have loved each other.  She would have taught Jay how to tend to a garden and how to train a new puppy and she would have nurtured his love of art.  She would have baked cakes with Ace and played board games with him and snuggled with him and rubbed his back any time he wanted.  She would have shown Jay how to give back to his community and she would have gotten Ace involved in a Church group.

I get teary eyed thinking about it all.  But I’m not sad.

I’m not as selfless and I don’t have a green thumb and I’m not much of an animal lover and I’m not artistic and I definitely don’t do the charity work that I should – But I do think I have enough of her spirit living inside me that she helps guide me in raising my children.  I try to have her patience and I certainly have her unquestionable love.

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Ultimately, after the week that Ace and I spent together I have a much better appreciation for what he’s capable of and for how hard he works to keep himself under control all day.  As much as he can be a handful and as much as I look at him sometimes and shake my head at the nonsense that he does and as much as he’s not what I would have imagined my child to be like … He’s really an awesome kid and I love him and feel so incredibly proud of him!  I can’t imagine that my life would be as full and joyous and rich without him exactly the way he is.