Monday, October 24, 2011

Turn the Page

It seems incredibly unfair that it's practically the end of October again. Wasn't it just blazing hot and sticky outside? Weren't we just cooking burgers and dogs on the grill for lunch every day as if it were a dietary requirement?

I just finished reading this really terrible novel, on the cover of which it was proclaimed to be a "killer beach read", and I distinctly remember buying it for exactly that reason and with that plan in mind. Turns out, I am slightly repelled by "beach reads" whether or not I am at the beach. It took me until the first day of fall to pick the thing up and read it. Finishing it made me feel sad for those who may have wasted their precious summer hours reading it, until I realized that I, too, had invested time in it and that while I was doing so - while I wasn't looking up- my daughters both got a little bit older. Eighth Grader and Sixth Grader. Curse you, badly written beach read. Curse you.

This has been the first October in probably a dozen years that I have skipped all of my normal fall activities. Carving a jack-o-lantern. Eating pumpkin seeds. Picking apples. Baking apple things. Dedicating thought and debate to Halloween costumes for myself and the Tornadoes. The outside of my house is lightly adorned with Halloween decorations, but I can't take credit for that. That is what happens when you get married and go away for five days with the Groom, leaving your mother in charge of your kids and your home. Your mother decorates things. She also manages to find where you store your worn clothes that need to be dry-cleaned, and since you were careful to make sure every single bit of the household's actual laundry was done before you left town, she washes and dries your dry-cleaning. Fortunately, I've had time to go shopping to replace my only two cream colored tops, since I wasn't going to the pumpkin patch and all anyway. But I digress.

I suppose if the apple orchard promised to be brimming with fourteen year old boys, I would have been able to get Eighth Grader interested in going. Fourteen year old boys are apparently where it's at for her now. Can you think of anything less enticing, seriously? I am trying to
remain open and welcoming, I really am. But sometimes, when I look at her face and see how completely checked out she is while doing
pretty much any activity not involving hanging out with a boy, I just want to shake her little head. And then hand her some warm apple crisp, remind her we can watch the Great Pumpkin after dinner if she finishes all her homework. But who am I kidding? The Great Pumpkin cannot hold a candle to a moody adolescent boy who says he loves you but also likes four of your best friends. Plus, remember? I didn't make any apple crisp this year.

Not to be outdone, Sixth Grader has also come down with a case of the Boys. Unlike her sister, she still possesses the wherewithal to put them in their place when they act like little pukes toward her or her friends. They are easily dispensed of and in good time replaced. In between , she has still managed to find time to start writing her wish list for Christmas. She has begun slipping her list to me, carefully buried
inside pocket-sized packets of poetry she has written for the occasion, as a way to both butter me up and prove that she is clever and mature enough for the high-priced electronics on her list. She is currently my favorite. That doesn't mean she's getting the electronics. But I do like the effort.

This passage of time thing really slugged me in the gut yesterday afternoon. I was able to convince the girls to go costume shopping with me by acting as if it was the absolute last thing on Earth that I wanted to do (often does the trick). I spent the outing teetering between making Eighth Grader go back for more and more clothing to cover herself with, for crying out loud (no self- respecting bunny would go out in public without leggings under that frilly pink tutu, you can just forget about those white stockings, young lady) and gently reminding Sixth Grader that while I understand she likes the IDEA of looking creepy, inevitably she ends up asking to tone it down because she is scaring herself , so let's not waste money on weird smelling makeup that will get thrown away unused. It was great fun.

I took advantage of the fact that I was spending money on them to mention, numerous times, that when we got home I thought I might make some pumpkin muffins. Subliminally, what I said was that they should hang about the kitchen and inhale the aromas of love, possibly arguing over who would get to sit next to me while we watched Halloween specials later on.

Did this come to pass? Well. There were pumpkin muffins. As for aromas of love...if a can of pumpkin is opened while your daughters are outside talking about boys, does the can opener make a sound?