Ever wake up and know you should have rolled over until the next sunrise?
As nausea swept over my body on Friday, I knew I was beginning to fight a migraine. So I made life easy. I canceled plans, made a frozen pizza for dinner for my children, and went to bed. Saturday was much the same. My husband was traveling all day from our Colorado home to our new home in Arizona. By dinner time on Saturday, I felt well enough to take my children to Chipotle for another quick an easy dinner. And eating some solid food, even if fast, or rather, quickly prepared by someone else, was good for me. But by 8pm, I was ready for bed. Only, my husband was still on the road, so I had to be up to let him in, say hello, and recognize all he’d done for his family while in Colorado before driving fourteen hours to get back to us. Then bed.
Sunday we had a trailer to empty. It was nothing compared to the three trucks he’d brought from Colorado in the weeks past. The last of our belongings. Basically a bunch of shit. Shit we need, shit we might want…but shit. Patio furniture, bikes, lawn mower and yard supplies. Ick. Nothing exciting. Nothing worth spending the next few hours emptying space in a garage to drag more stuff into. But my fabulous husband did bring me Colorado wine. And he was injured while in Colorado. So migraine or not, I had to plow through and help. The worst moment was when a board fell inside the trailer while I was standing inside. The volume of the wood hitting the metal reached depths of my brain which haven’t thought of the light of day since conception. The pain was horrible. Tears ran down my face, and it wasn’t long after that I crawled into bed, a desert-baked sweat machine, shivering from the heat, trying not to move for fear of puking all over the bed.
After a few hours back in bed, I was able to function. And I was able to tell my husband after three days of migraine misery, I had no plans to cook. So he took me and our children to IHOP where I gorged on French Toast and eggs. Okay, I didn’t gorge. But in the middle of a Whole 30 challenge after a three day migraine, I ate French Toast. All of it. And I wanted more.
Fast forward to Monday.
I usually wake at 5:30am for a wonderful morning swim alone – meaning without my children saying, “Watch this, Mama. Watch me.”
But we had a big storm Friday night, which I can also thank for the fabulous migraine. The Sharknado like winds filled our pool with leaves and sand. And a lovely scorpion who lay seven feet under with his stinger pointed up and his angry pinchers out ready to attack. Even after he succumbed to the lack of oxygen, he appeared ready to fight.
So no laps this morning.
But, really, after three days feeling like I’d been tossed through the desert winds and held under water for three days myself, it wasn’t going to hurt me at all to skip my morning laps.
So I jumped on Monday back to school chores for my children. Three school lunches to pack. Having three different children usually means three completely different menus. Three large cups of ice water prepared with ice from a bag and bottle water dumped into a special kid cup. Because we’re indoor camping in our new home while we begin renovations. It sure is fun. Surely, someone else wrote that last sentence.
Our children started school last week. Why? Because it’s Arizona. And when it’s 110 degrees outside, we’d like them to be in school rather than in the pool for fifteen hours or playing MineCraft for thirteen hours. This, being the second week of school, is the week they are to be prepared, know what to expect, and participate. Bright and early, my fifth grader comes downstairs crying with her fingers bent at the knuckles. I run to her thinking she’d smashed her hands looking for clothes while digging in a box….because we’re not really unpacked just yet. Swimming for fifteen hours tends to take away from the not so fun chores, like unpacking. Turned out it wasn’t her hand at all. It was her feet. Let’s go back about two weeks when we did all of our back to school shopping. We bought pencils, notebooks, thumb drives, glue sticks…..all the necessary items the schools put on a list; half of which is still sitting on a couch in another room because according to my children, they don’t actually need it all. Included in those back to school shopping trips were new clothes. New shorts, power shirts to make them feel good while sitting in class all day, new shoes. New shoes. My fifth grader told me in the middle of Famous Footwear, “I don’t really need new shoes. I’m good.” This after I took her and her little brother who told me before we left the house he didn’t need new shoes but wanted to come along for the ride. I stood in the shoe store and listened to my daughter talk about how she didn’t need anything. I’m not even sure of the words she used, but they sounded something like a huge waste of time, why do I bother, didn’t they know when I said let’s go get new shoes for school that it meant we were going to a shoe store to buy shoes…..but her words mixed with my thoughts, so they probably didn’t sound like that at all. My son, who didn’t want shoes, immediately found a new pair of shoes he wanted. Great, not a wasted trip. My daughter found a pair of sandals. It’s still summer, so fine, get sandals.
Forward back to this morning and her crunched hands. She proceeds to tell me her toes looked like her fingers, all bent inside her sneakers. They are too small, Mama, I need new shoes.
Didn’t we buy new back to school shoes just over a week ago? Didn’t we look at sneakers? And didn’t you say you didn’t need any?
Not only does she need new shoes. She needs them now. At 7:24 in the morning. On a Monday. Because she has PE on Mondays and has to be dressed appropriately.
I’m a mom about solutions. My husband used to tell me he wanted me to come to him with a problem and potential solutions, otherwise it was just venting, or in man-language, whining. Having children, I see what he means now. Oddly enough, just on Friday morning, before the migraine took over the next two days of my life, I picked up a new pair of Skechers for my oldest daughter. We had been standing at the bus stop where I noticed her current shoes had a hole forming above her toes. She wears these shoes just about every day. They fit great. They are just worn. She also told me she didn’t need new shoes but would in a few months. But because I saw holes forming, I bought her new shoes. She was in school when I bought them, so she didn’t try them on in the store. But I bought the same brand, same style, same size. I even wondered if I should go up a size. But I didn’t because the ones she wears every day fit great, they are just worn from everyday use….and constant skateboarding.
You get the idea. Right?
So I ask my oldest on Monday morning if she’d tried on her new shoes.
Good. Did they fit?
Good. Give your sister your old shoes to wear today. Hers don’t fit and she has PE today.
I didn’t actually see it happen, but I believe the Earth opened up, swallowed my daughter, and spit out a demon right where she had been standing just a moment before.
But the new ones don’t fit. They are too big.
If I give her my shoes, I’ll get detention because I have to have them for my fitness class.
At this point her voice was so high only the dogs could hear her.
Okay. You have two pairs of shoes. Both are the same size. I don’t care which pair you let her use, give your sister a pair to wear for today.
I walked back down to the kitchen to finish packing three different lunches and get ready to prepare three different breakfasts.
After a few minutes, the 5th grader comes down wearing her sister’s old shoes. I’m grateful. She’s grateful. We’ll all get through the day. Birds start singing. Life is good again. We had a problem. We solved it. And I have the whole day to buy my daughter new shoes.
The 7th grader comes down. She’s huffing. She’s puffing. It might have been gypcrete dust from the renovation, but I thought I saw smoke from her ears.
And she’s wearing flip flops.
She throws out another problem to the universe. Something about getting detention because her sister took her shoes. My ears couldn’t hear her from all the complaining.
After stopping the world from spinning out of control again, I reminded her that THE-SHOES-ARE-THE-SAME! Remember? Same brand. Same style. Same size. Different color.
The response came from her little voice, as serious as could be. But it was also straight out of the “So you want to argue but your argument doesn’t make any sense” manual.
She picked up the shoe box and said, “Oh! I see. These are from Kohl’s. My old ones are from Famous Footwear. Kohl’s makes the sizes different.”
Now, I had this moment when I wondered if she thought I was that stupid or if I completely missed something somewhere in her early childhood. The all important moment where kids are taught that Quaker granola bars are the same whether they are bought from Safeway, Kroger, or Costco. Did I miss that moment in my own daughter’s life? Did she really think the Skechers sold at Kohl’s were different than the Skechers sold at Famous Footwear? Or did she believe I am stupid?
I asked her to go back upstairs, bring her brand new pretty shoes down and try them on for me. Again, I’m a solution mom. If they don’t fit, I need them back so I can return them. And I need to know where they don’t fit. Did she say they were too big?
After quite the show, she goes upstairs to get the new shoes.
Now go back and bring socks downstairs too, please.
She plops herself down on the dusty concrete floor and proceeds to put on one sock as if she’s a robot and needs to accentuate every move to make it perfect. Once the shoe is on, she’s decided she’s not going to stand up so I can feel her toes or place my fingers in the perceived football field of wasted space between her heel and the back of the shoe. Instead, she kicks her foot much like she did when she was two years old. While kicking her foot around, she talks about how big they are. They are so big, I’m expecting them to come flying off her foot and beam me in the head. But the shoe doesn’t budge. From where I stood watching the Monday morning display, the shoe seemed to fit rather nicely.
So I did what every good mother does.
I dropped the conversation.
I looked at her little sister and asked her to take off her sister’s old shoes. Before she could complain about not having shoes for PE, I put my finger up in a ‘wait, I have the perfect plan’ motherly way.
I told my oldest daughter to take off the one new shoe she’d managed to put on but wouldn’t let me view.
And I switched them.
To my 5th grader I said, “Congratulations, you have new shoes.”
To my 7th grader I said, “Take your old shoes back. When they no longer fit, let me know.”
Parenting should be this easy all the time.
The arguments before all of this parenting enlightening occurred should never have happened.
There were four shoes. All the same size. All the same brand. I’m sure you remember. And there were four feet, also the same size, all needing shoes.
Why must our children challenge us so….on a Monday?