Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Think They Call This "Quality Time"

If memory serves, it was right around this time last year that Seventh Grader - then just a Sixth Grader in the making - began to change. Over time, she transformed from the familiar and loving child I had known, and accordingly groomed, into an unpredictably moody and friend-obsessed other being. Not yet boy-obsessed, simply friend-obsessed. Which, really, was bad enough. If I had just a few extra fingers, I could feasibly count on two hands the number of complete weekends she has spent at home in the last half of the school year.

It would take me absolutely oodles of posts to capture the essence of who she is at this stage of her young life. (Consider that a warning. This is quite high on the list of topics that constantly occupy my conscious mind.) And yes indeed, boys have now entered the picture. So it's been a challenging year with that one, let me tell you. She's still a fantastic kid. But boy howdy. Do people still say "boy howdy"? I bet they don't. See, this is one of a kabillion things that I might say out loud around Seventh Grader that would just utterly devastate her with embarrassment. For example, today I was reminded of a song I learned in the third grade from a particularly memorable teacher - a sweet song about a fly who goes into a grocery store - and I sang it to Seventh Grader. We were all alone in the family room, mind you. Not a soul around but her and me. Still, she was mortified.

So we've made it through the Sixth Grade. And for some reason, with summer now upon us, the child seems to be softening. Last night, for example, she actually tolerated my presence for an entire hour of television watching. Granted, she spent the majority of the hour IM'ing and texting, but still! I was not dismissed or made miserable in hopes that I would find something else to do! And, after this hour of what would have passed as the most meaningful of togetherness time in my own youth, she and her electronics actually followed me to my room and sprawled themselves across my bed while I attempted to read my book! And as if that was not enough, she proceeded to voluntarily share with me the general nature of what she was IM'ing and texting! Admittedly, for just a split second, I did find myself a bit annoyed that I couldn't get past a full sentence of my book without being interrupted...but then I told myself, "you IDIOT. SHE'S PAYING ATTENTION TO YOU!" and from that point on I merely pretended to read so that I would not look as pathetically starved for her presence as I actually was.

It was totally awesome.

And where, you may be wondering, was Fifth Grader during this bliss? I'll tell you where she was. She was on the phone, quietly but methodically badgering one of her friends about potentially arranging a playdate/sleepover/trip to the beach/camp out in her front yard sometime this week. And this morning, when Fifth Grader woke up, she started her campaign up all over again. She doesn't have a cell phone, so she had to resort to sneaking the house phone off to desolate corners and whispering intently. It took her a good six hours of effort, but guess where she is? At the beach, with her friend and her friend's beaten down mother. Poor woman. She fought the good fight.

So it appears that the friend obsession is beginning a little earlier for Fifth Grader. Color me frustrated. But you know, Seventh Grader and I put this afternoon to good use: A quick trip to the mall to get a birthday present for her friend (so what if it set me back double the twenty-five dollars I said I would spend?), a couple of subs in the food court (so what if that salmon I took out earlier today is going to spoil and end up in the trash can?), not to mention a half hour playing catch in the front yard, at her request, once we got back home.

Totally. Freaking. Awesome.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Little Johnny Post

I tend to read all kinds of strange things - really, any kind of printed material that is lying in close proximity. One time, many years ago, a stray magazine devoted to soap operas confronted me; next thing I knew, I was hip-deep in some article about how characters are done away with and later brought back under dubious explanation. I remember that the example was given of a prominent soap "family" with multiple "sons" that faced the problem of needing to weed out some kids. Too many characters and not enough plot line to go around, or something like that. So one day, the writers sent little Johnny up to his room to get his ski...gloves? Hat? Mask? It doesn't really matter, because little Johnny never came back downstairs, and nobody ever asked what became of him. Or if they did ask, the writers felt no compulsion to explain. Many years later, when a new, but somehow familiar, character was needed to round out a blossoming storyline, guess what the writers did? They brought back Johnny, all grown up! And all was forgiven.

You may now draw what parallels you must between that story and my return to AficioNada.

Moving on.

Today is the last day of school. Not just ANY last day of school, either, but the last day of elementary school for Sixth Grader and the last day of school, period, for either of the Tornadoes in this particular school district. At some point over the summer, we will be moving to our new home in a new town. New schools for everyone! Hooray! But also, holy crap! What have I done?! Am I ruining their lives? Or is this the best decision ever? I just have absolutely no way of knowing what is coming once this move takes place, and it is scaring the bejeezus out of me.

But that's okay. I have plenty of time to ruminate on the wisdom of this move because, guess what? NO freaking clue when it's going to happen. I know I said "at some point over the summer"...but that was a bluff. Truth is, I have no idea. What started out as a little painting, maybe refinishing some floors, change a few light fixtures, has morphed into "let's just keep the shell of the house but tear out everything inside it and start over". Which pushed the move-in date from June to late July to - last I heard from Boyfriend - MAYBE the middle of August. Giant letters on the MAYBE.

But that's okay. Know why? Because nobody wants to buy my house. Correction: nobody wants to even look at my house. That's right. The For Sale sign has been up for three months now, the staging that makes me feel like I live in the furniture department of Macy's is still all around us, and how many showings have I had? It's a number between one and one. One! Right! So hey, good news: we don't all have to try and cram into Boyfriend's apartment for an interim time "between houses". Bad news: two mortgages.

This is the gist of what is going on inside my head today...actually, there's a lot more going on in there, but it's terribly angsty. Lots to do with the evolution of Sixth and Fourth Grader into SEVENTH AND FIFTH Grader. Once upon a time, Seventh Grader was Fourth Grader. And Fourth Grader, who is now Fifth Grader, was but a mere Third Grader. But now they are Seventh and Fifth, and I am still 36, and the dish ran away with the spoon.

My point being, that's enough for now.

P.S. They make a lot of Father's Day cards to give to Husband, but only two to give to Someone You Love. I bought one of those two cards last year, and the other one is really ugly. Just saying. Life is hard enough.

P.P.S. Thanks for reading again.