It seems like I should have more to say about the end of middle school, but I’ve been a little too verklempt to manage it. [Talk amongst yourselves! Here, I'll give you a topic: Attendance awards; universally annoying or only to bitter parents of chronically ill children who feel like other kids getting medals and certificates for having good immune systems is bullshit? Discuss.]
In the end, it was sort of anti-climactic. Chickadee hasn’t been feeling great, and in the post-moving-on-no-we-are-most-certainly-not-calling-it-a-graduation-ceremony hubbub as I tried to corral her and some friends for pictures, she finally stopped rolling her eyes long enough to walk up and stand nose to nose with me. “Time to go,” she said. “I need to go home.”
So I bought her a milkshake and took her home, whereupon she slurped down said milkshake and promptly fell asleep on the couch for several hours. Not really the celebration we’d maybe had in mind, but sometimes you’ve just gotta take a nap.
Monkey’s last day of Hippie School is today, too. He is heartbroken to see the year end, and although I hate to see him sad, seeing him anything other than relieved to see the year finish is nothing short of gratifying. Who knew school could be HARD and CHALLENGING and filled with NEW STUFF and still be AWESOME? We didn’t. I mean, not before this year. And Monkey is sad to have a great year end, plus he’s sad that his beloved teacher is moving away. Fortunately we are dealing with that grieving process head-on by whisking him out of town immediately on a fun-filled family trip, mostly because the only person sadder about his teacher’s departure than him is ME.
(I’m a delicate flower, people. Plus, I have abandonment issues. Plus I feel like she pretty much saved Monkey’s life, no foolin’. Plus I am just sad someone I love is leaving the state, OKAY? Geez.)
So: Onwards to summer, and the different chaos it brings, and then in August Chickie starts high school and Monkey resumes Hippie School, but with some new teachers, and only part-time. The rest of the time he’ll be doing some online classes from here at home, and somehow—thank God—we’ve sold him on this idea, so I think it’s going to be okay.
That brings us to our trip. Remember how once my dad took the extended family on a cruise to celebrate a certain landmark birthday? That was the most fun we’ve had, um, EVER. It was SO much fun, Dad decided to do it again.
Except not on a cruise. Mostly because we’re all still trying to lose the weight from the last one. (Kidding! Kind of.)
Nope, this time my dad and stepmom decided it would be fun to rent a giant house and have everyone come hang out together and maybe do some other stuff together, so why not Arizona? Why not go see the Grand Canyon and some other stuff in that area, and make this trip a little easier for my brother and stepbrother, as they both live out in the west?
Planning began many months ago, and it’s all been pretty exciting. I mean, I’ve never even been to Arizona before. My kids have never been further west than… hmmm… Ohio. Heh. Plus for a few months there we didn’t even know if Chickadee would be able to travel, so the fact that we are Honest And For True Taking This Vacation Dammit feels like a landmark in and of itself.
It almost seems like nothing could possibly make it better, except that my folks called us up about a month ago and said, “Oh, hey, by the way? While we’re in Arizona we’re gonna get married.”
Yeah, I know I call her my stepmom. I mean, she IS. Has been, for the past 17 years or so they’ve been living together. Why get married NOW, after all this time? You’d have to ask them, I guess, but I’d wager they’re too busy planning and giggling to answer you. I swear, they are the cutest couple EVER, and somehow the added excitement of planning for a little ceremony with everyone there feels perfect. It’s like… a whole new chapter in the middle of your very favorite book.
Yesterday my stepmom and I were emailing back and forth about various packing sorts of things, and she told me that she’d already packed five pairs of shoes in spite of “not being a shoe person.” (Just to be clear, this isn’t a super-long trip.) I feel like that’s just proof that
I’ve already brought her to the dark side we’re already related, really.
Tomorrow we leave at the butt-crack of dawn to have a new adventure, and my goal for this trip is to savor the moments. Not obsess on the ones past, or worry about the ones to come, but just BE. Right there. Right then. It’s what I think all of us in my little family really need right now, and who better to help us do it than our bigger family?
Also, I am totally taking pictures of all five pairs of my stepmom’s shoes as proof. Stuff like this doesn’t happen every day, you know.