Tuesdays…

It’s just Tuesday.

No one ever cares about Tuesday, really. As far as the week goes, Tuesday is pretty much a wash, a blip, a get-through day. It doesn’t have the pain of Monday, the snark of Wednesday, the fake college-student-created-night-off of Thursday, the long-awaited smooth of Friday or the relaxing dream that is the weekend. Tuesdays are often…meh. But here are some things about my Tuesday, the one I had today, a boring, insignificant, utterly regular and quietly perfect kind of day:

  1. For the first time in three years, I seem to be ahead in PiBoIdMo by about 10 ideas. I don’t expect this wave of creativity to continue in the weeks to follow during the rest of the month. But today, I’ll take it.
  2. A good soup can actually bring warm fuzzies even for the most cantankerous people.
  3. kids dance10-year-old boys don’t get enough opportunities to dress up — not nearly as many as their female peers do. Which is too bad. Because 10-year-old sons look really cool when they wear Fancy Things, and when they do dress up, moms can see the young men they’ll become some day in the heart-wrenching, ever-closer future. Even if it means that right now the boys have to be forced to dance with girls. 10-year-old boys might say that dancing with girls is slightly icky. But, also, maybe a little….interesting. And almost worth wearing a tie.
  4. Turns out, I know some really fantastic photographers. And you should get to know them, too.
  5. Four-foot hawks do not want to hang around on your porch rail while you run inside for your camera.
  6. Next football season, I will sort and organize the over 6,000 pictures as soon as I take them, not 17 days before the end-of-the-year video is due.
  7.  When you think someone is chronically grumpy and ill-tempered, try a new approach. You might be surprised by the result. And by the common ground. Remember — no effort is wasted.
  8. Did I mention the value of a meal cooked from the heart? I don’t even like cooking. But I do it. Multiple times a day. Sometimes I do it very well. And sometimes people like it. Especially grumpy, sad people. Folks — I know John Lennon made a strong case for love being the answer, but maybe soup is what his first draft said before his critique partners voted otherwise?
  9. My friends make me laugh. Every day. Even when they don’t know it. Everyone should have friends like that. Or sisters like that. Or moms like that. People who make you laugh. I hope you have the same kind of silly-making people in your life that I’m lucky to have. If you don’t, I might be able to loan mine out.
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  10. My new bathroom is finally done, after a couple of months of dedicated work; the rest of the house is hanging on in the utter craptastic state that is the waiting for its turn to be fixed, painted, repaired, just as it has been waiting since we bought it nearly 9 years ago. I don’t care. I could live in my bathroom, for all its pretty and how much I love it.  I feel bad for the rest of the house, its dilapidated state. I want so much to fix it all up! But then I remember some wise words, and remember one step at a time, and gaze at the house — the place the six of us for real became a family — and think….it’s not the trappings that’s important. The outside isn’t what’s important, not at all. (But I do love my FIRST EVER AT AGE 44 NEW BATHROOM.)

Bonus Random Tuesday Thought: When your 7yo struggling reader BREAKS THE WALL and reads aloud an entire book without a single pause for words that a month ago would’ve sent her crying under the pillow.

And then an older sibling mentions that it’s his favorite book ever. And they both snuggle under their blankets with satisfied smiles.

Tuesdays.

Perhaps the most under-appreciated of all the days.

Warm weather, new flowers, and kids roaming free. Or not?

Spring has sprung! Let the wild rumpus begin!

Around here, we’ve seen pretty mild temperatures for weeks, but now we can officially adorn shorts and flip flops without reservation. The kids are thrilled to be spending as much time as they possibly can outdoors, and from what I’ve seen driving around, every other child in town feels the same way — they’re out in yards or on their bikes or just wandering down to the Cracker Barrel for a slushie.

Which has me wondering –at what age is it okay to do this?

We live on a pretty busy street that doesn’t have a sidewalk — well, there is one, but you have to cross the street to get on it (no crosswalk) or walk over a neighbor’s yard to cross another street (no crosswalk) to get to the sidewalk on our side. From there you can use a crosswalk. So, when we bike or scoot or walk somewhere, I inch out and stop traffic so my ducklings can make their way without fear.

Needless to say, I’ve been hesitant about letting the older kids wander freely. Which is not to say I don’t — I’ll stop traffic so Mitzi can cross to meet a friend who lives down the street. Or for Cooper, so he can drag his hockey stick to his buddy’s house in the development across from us. But letting them go makes me a little nervous.

Still, they’re 10 and 9 and we live in a pretty safe town. When I see clusters of kids ambling along in the bright spring sunshine, I realize that perhaps I’m ready to take the plunge. I have to trust that my own kids are smart enough not to stumble into traffic or walk on the train tracks or get into a car with a stranger. That they can walk to the corner store for a bottle of water and nothing bad will happen.

I read a blog post on Boston.com yesterday on this very topic. The author articulates very well why we adults today have this deep fear of letting our kids roam free, and nicely sums up why our fears might actually be more irrational than based in reality. For instance, a child has more chance of being abducted by a relative than a stranger, and we have more in place to help protect our children (for instance, Amber Alert). But our fear persists, and she wonders if it has something to do with the immediacy of media — when something bad happens, the news spreads quickly and loudly, and scares the bejeebers out of parents everywhere.

But we do have to let them go, eventually. We have to trust that we’ve helped them develop the skills they need to take these baby steps away from us, because, well, they need to become independent eventually. Small ways first, certainly, but parents know better than anyone how fast the years go by, and before we know it, they will be heading off alone.

I think of this as I watch Cooper jog up the street, clutching a stick in one hand and a puck in the other. He gets to the corner and waves at me, then disappears around the bend. My heart squeezes and I close my eyes. In my mind, I can see him galloping along, his friend meeting him halfway, can almost hear their laughter whipping on the wind as they slap one shot after another into the driveway net.

It’s time to let my little ducks try to make their way.

As long as they call me when they get there.