One of the biggest shocks to me as a parent and Responsible Adult Lady Who Does Adult Things is how different weekends are now.
Gone are the days when Saturday morning meant lolling in bed until 10, staying in pajamas until 2, just being leisurely and not worrying about anything or anyone.
Ron has art class Saturdays at 10. Harry has a pitching clinic every Sunday at 11. That’s both mornings shot, before we even add in groceries, other errands, any kind of family-only fun time, baking for the week ahead, or me having a second cup of coffee.
I am still struggling with how to find the quiet & solitude that my personality craves and my mental health needs. I’m doing much better! I don’t want to downplay how much stronger I am this winter, or how solid the family unit is right now. Michael said last night that he felt like 2016 was a pretty good year so far, and he’s right – the difference over this time last year is amazing. (Yay, Big Pharma! Shine on, you crazy diamond). As I’ve said here before, my biggest challenge at the moment appears to be knowing my limits, and sticking to them.
Sunday was a case in point. I had encouraged Michael to spend the day out of the house, meeting some new people for tabletop gaming. No big deal, I assured him, I do this all the time.
First up – cleaning the house, especially the bathroom, which was kind of a house of horrors. Started some laundry. Tidied the kitchen and did round one of the dishes. Helped Ron and George clean their room. Even had a cup of coffee and felt that I was killing it. Adulting, even, to use a made-up word I detest.
Got Harry to baseball on time (just). Michael left. At noon, I had an appointment to take Ron to meet his new music teacher and get his first violin; he decided recently that he wanted to learn, and it turns out we have a great little music school just around the corner. We traded emails & phone calls all week, and I swear this is what he said: can you come at noon on Sunday to get fitted for your violin. I knew I had to pick Harry up at 12:30, but that seemed like it would work out well; we could go from there to the community centre in five minutes! STILL KILLING IT, AT THIS POINT.
Arrived at the music school and guys, the owner seems like an awfully sweet man, but holy jesus. Got the violin in the first five minutes! And then… then he started teaching Ron a lesson. And he never stopped talking. He was trying to sell me on the idea of lessons, which was weird, because we were already committed. Yes, gentle band geek, I recognize that kids learn simple songs very fast, that’s kind of the cool thing about youth music education. Feel free to tell me about the care of the instrument, that is indeed important information, but I AM ALREADY GIVING YOU ALL OF MY MONIES, PLZ STOP WITH THE SALES PITCH, KTHNXBYE.
At one point George said “I wish I could learn an instrument” and I said “maybe when you’re older” because I’m not made of money, or time, or the wherewithal to get a recalcitrant four-year-old to practice anything, and Clueless Music Teacher Man said “oh, he could absolutely start, we have special classes just for kids his age”. Guys, for half a moment I saw myself grabbing the music stand and beating him senseless with it, but I held it in.
Finally, as 12:30 was fast approaching and he was showing no signs of stopping, I took a breath and said “I hate to rush, and I do apologize for not blocking out more time, but I have to go. My other son is waiting for me to pick him up.” (Side note: he needs a cell phone. I could have called and just told him to sit tight until I got there, except I had no way to reach him. Sigh.) I wasn’t actually sorry to be leaving. The room was very warm, George was bored silly and starting to get into things, and my ears were tired of listening.
“I need more time, though,” he said. “Go pick up your son and then come back.”
So I did, because what else could I do? He wasn’t handing over the fucking violin, that’s for sure. Got them dressed, again. Got them into the van, again. Drove to the community centre, got Harry. Drove back to the music school. Got them all out of the van and undressed. Again. Spent another FORTY FUCKING MINUTES AS I LIVE AND BREATHE listening to this man, who honestly couldn’t believe that I accepted any of his statements at face value. Sample exchange:
Him: I won’t actually be teaching Ron, that will be Caleb.
Me: OK, great.
Him: Caleb is excellent. The kids love him.
Me: I’m sure it will be fine.
Him: Caleb plays guitar, violin, piano, bassoon, clarinet, drums… he can play anything really.
Me: Sounds good.
Him: Caleb is in his 20s but he’s really good.
Him: He’s very talented, but he doesn’t have an attitude about it. He’s very humble.
Me: *dies of boredom*
We finally got out of there, after digressions about his upcoming vacation, the band program he offers (no, Harry, you aren’t having lessons either, STAHP SPENDING MY MONEY, CHILDREN), how my bank is no good (this when I was handing over my cheque)… it was just awful, and I know he was just trying to be friendly and helpful but mostly it was just awful.
Thank goodness Caleb will be the one giving Ron his lessons.
When we got home I was fully prepared to just lie on the couch and whimper softly, but no! We needed to try out the violin, of course. Totally fair. Then we had to have lunch, and then I’d promised George I’d do something with him, so we baked some banana bread. I was finally sitting down at 2:30 when Harry asked if he could invite a friend over. Ron overheard and asked if the friend’s little brother could come too.
Somehow, at 3pm I found myself alone in the house with five boys aged 4 – 11, wondering just how it had happened.
That was a long, loud two hours, let me tell you.
By the time dinner was prepared, and the mess cleaned up, the lunches packed, bookbags sorted out, and kids put to bed, I was DONE. Limp like an overcooked noodle. Every little sound actually hurt. The cat wanted to go out and it felt like a massive imposition. Everything I did was necessary, and I coped… but man oh man. Those days take it right out of a person, you know?