After that last post... I got many calls and comments - Facebook messages - reminding me not to be hard on myself. To cut a break. And I do. I really do. I have a fiery temper, and I am not exempt from its wrath. It is quick, though. And after the explosion, I forgive. I soothe, when necessary (and it is! When you breathe fire, there is always a lot of cleaning up after yourself later.)
I AM good at some things, and was reminded of them that same night. Late. Through the quiet. By my husband. Who I love and lean on 14 years after picking.
And the next day, yesterday, worked. Annabeth and I made cookies for her class, put an initial for each child on the front in proper preppy sorority girl lower case. There were polka dots and little cellophane bags. She wrote beautiful thank you notes for last week's birthday. On her own. Taking careful time to say the right things to convey specific gratitude. She practiced her spelling words without a complaint, taught her little brother to spell "people."
They are mostly a humble bunch, a generous bunch. They are loving, warm, affectionate. They are considerate and compassionate. They are boisterous and loud. And they are, mostly, contributors.
Patrick has forgiven me completely. I forgot the right kid that time - either of the other two might have seemed more wounded. They would have put a lot of effort into making me feel OK about it, but they would be a little sad. pPod just seemed glad to see me. He really liked his balloon, and later showed me how the big bad wolf roars.
Hours after dinner last night, Patrick threw up all in his bed. It was close to midnight, and we got him up, washed the sheets, got him in the shower and tucked him in between us. Gavin and I fell asleep to him chattering away.
This morning he had a fever, so he stayed home. Three days left of school, and he is missing one of them. He was warm and extra affectionate, laying half on me in front of morning TV. We watched Little Bill and I felt all nostalgic. I didn't realize how much I missed Lil Bill, Bobby, Alice the Great. The sweet morals slowly played out.
In my real world, where things aren't resolved in twenty minutes, there are still far more gentle spots and joyful spots and segments of lessons learned, as well as subtler daily bits that remind us what good kids we have than there is chaos, and the regrettable (though maybe not infrequent) shouting.
My thinker, Sebastian, needs someone to indulge him when it's close to midnight and he appears with some Big Question. (Why is there suffering? How do I know the world won't be destroyed while I am alive? Why doesn't God answer my prayers to have Bonus (the long-dead cat) visit me as an angel in my dreams? Will we ever move again?) He needs us to occasionally ignore the book light shining on in those same hours close to midnight. He needs to be reminded of other's expectations, and to be appropriately lauded when he shines.
My artist, Annabeth, re-imagines every piece of junk as a future craft - "don't throw that away! I can use it!" She executes craft projects with me and is still thrilled to have me at her side, doing my thing. It hurts me when she is hyper-critical of her own efforts, especially doing this thing she does best of all. (yes! Tarra, Heidi, Kymmie, Agatha, Becca, David... you are right - I think she gets it from me. And I should be gentler on my own Me.)
My actor-future-fiction-writer- man-of-action, Patrick wants attention - someone to make laugh and help him weave his elaborate stories, to encourage him to accessorize, to roar, to give tiger hugs and after baths, to let him ball up under a towel in the middle of the room and "crack out" of his dinosaur egg - to welcome that dinosaur enthusiastically, but with a little fear.
And I do all that. With a willing, engaged Big One. And we do it well.
And sometimes, I even bake cookies.