Change of Address on Memory Lane

I’m taking a break to do a quick post.  Actually, it’s more of a “To Whom it May Concern” type of a note.  Details on where to find me if I don’t show up for dinner.  With both kids gone today and hubby at work, I feel I should reach out to my blog friends in case of emergency.

I’m in the playroom game room.  Please come and rescue me.

You might think I am playing something fun on the Wii, maybe doing a puzzle, or catching up on my coloring.  No, for some unknown reason I decided to get in here today and try to make some sense of things.  Re-establish order and organization to a room that is no longer considered a playroom.  How hard could it be?

Hard.

This room was my #1 main reason for wanting to buy this particular house when we first started looking.  Our son was 2 years old, and his toys, books, and puzzles were encroaching on the adult sections of our small condo.  I longed for a place to cram organize his toys and games where he could play and scatter things however he wanted.  When we moved in, so did all of his friends: Little Tikes, Fisher Price, Playskool, Brio.  The room is off the back of the house, with a convenient little door that I can close and forget the mess even exists.

As time went on, aunts and uncles, grandparents and friends continued to overindulge bless our little one with toys and books.  Then came little sister and we had to add GIRL things (of course), which then doubles the amount of things in the room.

People started to comment that I could start my own preschool back there!  Charge admission!  Maybe you should do day care!  I stated wondering if we had too much stuff in the playroom.  But it kept my kids and their friends busy and happy for hours at a time.  The kitchen was right next door, and the sliding door led straight to the backyard, where we had EVEN MORE toys.  It was like a Club Med for kids.

But now things are different.  When you have an 11 year old and a 16 year old, the focus of a “hang out” room changes.  Most of the original toys and games are long gone, replaced with a Wii, bean bag chairs, an ipod dock, Scrabble, five versions of Monopoly, and an art table.  But as I am finding this afternoon, many strange remnants of the previous occupants (formerly known as little kids) remain:

  • Paint pots.  With that wonderfully smelling tempera paint still in them.  I can’t really distinguish what the colors are, and I think it now qualifies as toxic waste.
  • Crayons, both broken and whole, enough to fill two plastic boxes.  I haven’t watched one of my kids use a crayon since Bush was in office; probably the first one.
  • A Disney princess spiral notebook.  My daughter was never into the princess thing anyway, which is illustrated by the scars and mustache she drew on the princess on the cover.
  • A snake made of 100 beer bottle caps, diligently collected by my son.  This was a very smelly hobby, which we quickly disbanded after the snake was made for 100th day in kindergarten.
  • Books with titles like The Big Red Plane and Pirate Plunder’s Treasure Hunt.  I may actually still have both of these memorized.
  • An Ant Farm, complete with several colony buildings and plastic tubes to connect them with.  The Ant Family has long since left the building (and not in a good way, I’m afraid)
  • The Sea Monkey Habitat.  As with the Ant Family, the Sea Monkey Family met their own terrible fate long ago.

So after spending more time in the GAME room than I would care to admit, I’m not sure what I have really accomplished.  A trip down memory lane with some things, a trip to the garbage can for most.

But I’m keeping the bottle cap snake.  At least he doesn’t smell like beer anymore.

Shooting Stars and Tissues

When you work at an elementary school, you don’t really mark the passing of time by the changing of the seasons or by flipping the calendar page.  There are milestones to be passed in each year, some academic and some not.

At our school we have the usual events each month, a few spirit assemblies thrown in here and there, egg drop, spring break, standardized testing, Open House, and the traditional end of the year field trips to the bowling alley or park.

And then, when the last day of school is about a week away, we have the Shooting Star song.

I’m not even sure who wrote this song, but the graduating 5th graders sing it at our school-wide Awards Assembly each June.  Boys and girls sit stiffly in metal folding chairs, facing the entire school in their nice clothes and uncomfortable shoes that pinch their toes.  They have paid their dues, sitting through assemblies for 6 years on the hard linoleum floor with legs crossed.  Now they have earned the right to sit in a real chair, facing those they have reigned over as “The Big Kids” since last August.

They look so much older, wiser, maybe a bit more mature than last fall.  Girls primp and stumble in their heels, looking nothing like they did just a day before on the playground.  The boys are still mostly disheveled, but a bit more pulled together than usual.  Proud parents crowd the room, snapping pictures for the scrapbooks.  Awards are handed out.

And then they sing the song…..and I always get teary-eyed, even when the 5th grade kids singing it aren’t related to me.

Please won’t you catch
a Shooting Star for me
And take it with you on your way
Though it seems like we’ve just met, you’re the one I won’t forget
Hope some kind wind blows you back my way

CHORUS:
And I was thinking maybe somewhere later down the road
After all our stories have been told
I’ll sit and think of you, the dear friend I once knew
(who)Shot through my life like a shooting star

You are so dear, you’re my bright and shining star
You brighten up each and every day
You are so near, but soon you’ll be so far
So why not hold my hand today?

CHORUS

Sometimes I know that a part of you will show
Deep in my heart and in my smile
There will always be a part of you deep inside my heart
And I’ll know just when to let it go

CHORUS

Why does this sappy song make me so teary?  Why doesn’t it do that to the kids?  I guess I hear so much more in the words than they do, remember so many more goodbyes I have experienced.  To hear these words sung a cappella by 75 young people is beautiful. 

My daughter, who was one of the 5th graders last year, thinks I’m nuts.  “Oh my gosh, Mom, it’s just a song!” she says, nicely refraining from telling me to get a grip.  She has already asked me why I cry if I don’t even have a kid singing.  That, my dear, you will have to figure out on your own someday.

Tomorrow morning is the assembly.  I am taking tissues.

Wash Cycle

I am finished with the laundry!

There are two ways to read that sentence…..are ALL of the clothes finally clean, or am I refusing to ever do laundry again?

I would love to do the latter, but can’t imagine the embarrassment (or smell) of having my family at school and work in clothes that are no longer fresh and wrinkle-free.

By some miracle, I managed to get almost every single article of dirty clothing in my house clean this past weekend.  Maybe not folded and back where they belong, but clean.  OK, this doesn’t count sheets and towels, but it’s somewhat of an accomplishment in my world.  If I can see the bottom of someone’s hamper, it’s almost like the light at the end of a tunnel.

Except this tunnel doesn’t end.

The problem with laundry is that it’s constant.  Even if every hamper in the house is completely empty, my family members are currently wearing clothes that will wind up in the hamper at the end of the day.  Then they will wear something to bed, get up the next morning, and put on another outfit to dirty.  There’s no end in sight, unless we move to a nudist colony.  Even then, I would assume there would be SOME clothing requirements.

I could teach them all to do their own laundry, but a control-freak like me doesn’t do well with delegating a task like this. Consequences for a slight error are too great. That brand new red t-shirt REALLY shouldn’t be washed with your white socks. Ever. Even if it saves time. Whites should be white, not gray, which is how they look washed with your blue jeans. Like my husband’s clothes looked all through college.

The kids would have given me a blank look last night if I told them NOT to put their clothes in their hampers.  The hampers were all still empty, and I was relishing the feeling of accomplishment.  But clothes that aren’t in the hamper are clothes on the floor, which I don’t enjoy either…..so the process started anew.

Maybe I will just buy everyone bigger hampers…..