So, the weirdness of having a 2 1/2 hour stretch of time without any children has not really sunk in yet. Last week, my "free time" was filled with work on various projects... projects I get paid for and projects I do on a volunteer basis. Anyway, my free time hasn't felt like anything really special as I've been holed up in front of a computer the first three days of it. Compound that with the craziness of starting our fall schedule. All of the girls are off the bus by 4:00, but of course the first three days of school were mayhem with the busing. I have to walk to the end of my quarter of a mile long street and then cross over a busy street to the opposite side for the two middle girls while the oldest and the youngest are bussed directly to the front door. But, of course on those first fateful days, everyone was coming home out of order within a 20 minute period (and all much later than usual) which meant I was chasing buses that zipped by me at the corner, running down the street like a crazy woman twice, panting and sweaty. Once with a screaming and crying 4 year old with pee running down her leg. It was just a debacle on top of a debacle.
Fall for us also means the start of soccer season and with three girls on three different teams practicing on three different days of the week with games on two different days at all different times... well, it's not relaxing. Add to that being by myself dragging all four of them around - which really is my nice way of saying that dragging poor CB around is exhausting and challenging for both of us. At her worst she is physically assaulting her sisters, spitting and being generally non-compliant, and knocking over my iced coffee that I labored over and was looking so forward to drinking until she dumped it into my lawn chair for Friday night's game leaving me chair-less and coffee-less. At her best, she is noisy but sedentary and I just have to keep a watchful eye out for her stealing water bottles and soccer balls - both of which she will put in her mouth.
It just seemed like all of my mental and physical preparation for the whirlwind of starting school and extracurricular activities went right out the window. From 4:00 on last week it was chaos and every little thing that could go wrong did - like when I reached up in the pantry to grab something on the top shelf and it fell and on the way down broke a serving dish. Or when I walked the raviolis in the pot of boiling water over to the sink to drain and the water sloshed out mid-stride and scalding liquid sloshed right on my barefoot causing me to scream a string of almost profanities (like "flipping gosh darn mother eff!!!") and spill even more all over the floor. Or like, as we're trying to leave to the field the kids refused to get into the car even though we were already late because there was a cricket the size of a hamster in one of their cup holders so I had to spend 10 minutes trying to get the little bugger.
I'm not even gonna start with the Saturday morning craziness of soccer pictures, schedule changes with pictures, last minute uniform headaches, and games all off schedule. Saturday was like one long throbbing migraine.
I tried, I told Dr. Fabulous Friday night. I really really tried to hold my mood together, but there came a point where the toxins just oozed through my blood and my thought process went into a downward spiral. Bitter, nasty, unproductive, 'whoa is me' thoughts. Nothing good comes of that I tell you, nothing good. Yet, after a not-very-recuperative weekend chock full o' stuff, Monday came and when Rella boarded the bus at 12:15 I gave myself permission NOT to be "productive" during my delicious 180 minutes of peace.
I left the house with a coffee in hand, car windows down, sun roof wide open, and radio blaring to go out and do whatever. 'Whatever' pretty much means shopping but don't tell my husband. Not that it matters anyway because 'shopping' simply means trying on 100 things that don't fit or I'm too cheap to actually buy and returning the crap I bought last week to get my money back.
As I drove out of my cul de sac and onto the open road that Monday afternoon I felt so light and free and ... strange. It was this very act of leaving the house without any tiny little people at my side that really made it hit home - this is ME time. This is my break after 8 years. I tried to find a good song on the radio to sing at the top of my lungs while drumming on the steering wheel - I fantasized that the opening riffs of "Born To Be Wild" would blare from the speakers, but no such luck. After channel surfing through commercials for 2 minutes I finally got the GoGos "Our Lips Are Sealed" which was perfect, but then more commercials ensued so I ended up jamming out to Dan Gottleib's Voices In The Family on NPR.... which, honestly, my inner nerd wanted to listen to over Ke$ha anyway.
It's now Wednesday and despite the fact that the week is looking to be just as busy as last, I think we're finally settling into our groove. Or, at least I hope we are.