Returning from a five-day getaway from California late Monday night, I was reminded of one of the great truths of going away when you are a mom: Re-entry spares no mercy.
Perhaps it was Brett’s text that popped up on my phone at midnight, when the plane was nearing the ground: “Make sure you leave Latte locked in the laundry room, she’s got the shits.”
Or maybe it was the empty fridge I returned to that I somehow had to magically turn into three lunches the next morning (refried beans on a stale tortilla, anyone? No?).
Perhaps it was the stack of papers Lainey shoved into my hand before I even had a chance to say “Missed you, Good morning” yesterday–“Here mom, sign these. Like, I have to decide what middle school class I want to take today.”
I was doing really great, fueled by the deep breath of alone time I had just experienced, as I juggled all the things and even managed to schedule a workout after I dropped the kids off. Lunches? Check. Backpacks? Check. One last french braid out of this mess before we actually have to wash it? Check. I was almost out the door when my dad called.
“Dash has no sweet potato,” he calmly informed as if this was a completely normal greeting.
“Dash has no sweet potato, and all the other kids do. They’re growing roots. He never brought one in.”
I laid one on the counter for him before I left, but with the transfer of the responsibility baton, the potato never made it in.
Let’s just say the potato was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Two steps out the door with three ready-for-school kids, I turned back inside to fetch a fecking potato which I’m assuming now, by the ghost town that was my fridge yesterday morning, was rationed between family members over the weekend in a last attempt to avoid starvation.
I frantically went about looking for a sweet potato, flinging open refrigerator drawers (one fell out in the process), shoving random bottles of weird condiment surprises to the side and making as much noise as possible.
“BRETT!” I yelled agitated, because agitated yelling is my reaction of choice to these scenarios. “WHERE’S THE SWEET POTATO?”
No answer. So I ransacked my kitchen some more and yelled louder, escalating to a perfect reenactment of Will Ferrel’s “Mom! Meatloaf!” scene in Wedding Crashers.
I will spare you the rest of the story, but I need you to know that after the children all melted down, Latte reminded us that she too was a key player in the re-entry to reality story. Remember the text? Yeah, that.
We made it through the morning, and I as I walked up to pick up Dash from preschool a few hours later–always timed right between the things I almost got finished and the other nineteen things I still have to do–I looked up at the building that’s been our home for the past five years, since Nella started there when she was a toddler–and remembered that these last few weeks are it for us here. Soon, this little preschool will just be a place that we drive past, initiating a wave and a “There’s our old school!” from my kids and a stir of some of the most beautiful memories of my life for me.
The bulletin boards in the hallways are already decorated with end of year messages and memories, and I was told one of the teachers already began the “it’s coming to an end” tears this morning. I collected Dash’s things, held his hand as we walked out the door and cued my brain to fully feel it all these next few weeks.
This month is never easy–the projects, the events, the planning, the missing sweet potatoes and morning hustles. But, much like re-entry to motherhood after trips, I know this is all part of the adventure, and I’m all in.
The refrigerator has been refilled, the madness has recommenced. But there’s coffee this morning. And three growing kids that are the best welcome home a girl could ask for. Onward…there is more.
And now, a great big catch-up of things we’ve been enjoying around here lately–sweet little moments that cushion the challenging ones.
Afternoon dog walks, in a stroller of course because that’s how everyone does it in Naples.
Sibling love. One-sided…
Beach weekends that tease of summer’s goodness…
We took donuts and coffee down to the beach early on a Saturday morning, and it was magic.
Post beach fast-melting ice cream sandwiches.
The last of the preschool years and time alone with Dash. My mom still talks about how much fun it was to have me to herself when my brother and sister were at school.
Rainy season previews.
And a family Sunday downtown.
They’re “flossing,” a dance I have yet to master (and don’t think there’s any hope).
Dash is holding a gummy alligator here. He named him Chomps. He never ate it, just carried it and eventually smashed it, hot and sticky, against the car window where there is still a mark.
And finally, afternoons in the hammock at our favorite pool.
A sno-cone in one hand, a pickle in the other. So Nella.