Piper wants to know what I do all day. It seems boring to her. Maybe even a waste of time.
“So, you just sit there?” Piper asked me this morning, indicating my desk.
“Well, I guess,” I admitted, “but I answer emails, Skype with students, grade essays, and write, too.”
“Teaching isn’t boring. I happen to love it, P, but I can see how sitting in a chair all day looks boring. Sometimes it is. Want to know what I do when I go to campus for my classes? Want to hear about my teaching?”
“Not really,” Piper said. “I’m off to do important things today. Good luck with your boring day.”
Then, Piper’s daddy and I sat down and wrote this:
It wasn’t such a boring day after all.
Day Six is when I lose it. Six days of single parenting is when everything breaks down for me. I can handle days one through five. For some reason, Day Six is when I let them eat Cheezits for breakfast and I don’t care. At all.
It’s not that I don’t love taking care of Sissy and the Piper. Come on. You know better than that. It’s that I’m better with a parenting partner. Parenting is easier when you pretend it’s a big game of tag. You’re it. I’m out. Whew.
So when the Dad came home on Sunday I was more than ready to hand over the reigns. I wasn’t actually that interested in hearing about all of his fancy meals out in Chicago. I’m not that sorry that the weather was horrible. I’m a little sad that he came home sick, but even this remorse has a selfish motive. He has another trip in a few days. Can you imagine how funny it would be if he came home between trips just to get us all sick? Yeah. Me neither.
On Day Six all I want is a few minutes alone. My partner gets that. He swooped in and did double parenting duty. I hid behind a closed door. But still. Piper and Sissy kept busting in with urgent questions and messages that had to be delivered. I think I got three whole minutes alone. Finally, because it was Day Six, I yelled:
“WHY IS IT THAT WHATEVER SPACE I’M IN IS ALWAYS INVADED? IT’S A CONSTANT HOME INVASION. THERE’S PLENTY OF ROOM IN THIS HOUSE!”
Piper blinked her eyes at me. I’d let them eat Cheezits for breakfast. It’s true. But I hadn’t yelled in six days. “Because,” she said, “the best part of this space is that you’re in it.”
Sissy ordered caramel french toast for her annual birthday breakfast in bed. Piper had to eat cold cereal on the floor of Sissy’s bedroom. Piper opted out of the french toast when she saw me making “stuff you dip in eggs that’s gross.” She did dig two chocolates from her own Easter basket to add to Sissy’s vitamins. She’s got a generous heart, that one.
Piper was pleased just to step into the sacred preteen space. We, too, were allowed into Sissy’s bedroom to deliver the breakfast and wish her a happy birthday. It was quite a treat.
“What’s the best gift you ever received?” I asked Sissy, stopping myself short of cutting the french toast. Back off, Mom. Got it.
Sissy thought for a minute. “Probably my bike,” she said.
“I think Piper’s the best gift we ever gave you,” Dad said. Sissy and Piper exchanged incredulous glances. Me? Her?
“Boy I hope you don’t still have the receipt for me,” Piper said. “I do not want to be returned. I’m ‘as is,’ Sissy.”
Piper likes to decorate for everything. Easter, Passover, Spring, Lent. You name it, Piper has a decor scheme in mind. She plots and plans. She eyes bunny cut outs and spring flowers. She tries to convince me that it will be fun; decorating will make our lives better. She brings home “projects” from school and scatters her designs on every surface.
In the same way that Piper likes to decor herself, she thinks more is more in our home, too. I try to keep up. I really do. I even put up this on our front door:
Come on. That’s cheerful, right? Nest and eggs and fake flowers. Come on.
It’s not enough for the Piper. Not even when I let them do stuff like this:
I’m still a decorating disappointment. We need a craft fairy. Truth.
Piper did her first 5K this morning. She was a champ.
It was our annual MS Walk and we raised over $1000 for Team Forever Young because we have the best friends and family EVER. You know who you are. We’re grateful!
First, there were donuts.
You can tell from our winter coats that it was a balmy 37 degrees. The sun was bright, though, and the donuts and hot chocolate helped. We pinned on our numbers:
We signed the MS Wall of Fame.
Then we walked. And because there was a Piper we also skipped and jumped and watched fish and visited with ducks. They gave out Oreos at the halfway mark. Typical 5 K stuff. Maybe our time wasn’t stellar but our fun was.
Just as the finish line came into view, Piper asked “If we finish the walk, does that mean it’s over?”
“The walk?” I said. “Yep. We’re almost done.”
“No. I mean MS. Is it over?”
“Nope,” I said, “but we’ll keep walking until there is a cure, okay?”
“Okay,” Piper agreed, “especially if there are Oreos.”
Click Here to Donate to Our Team. Piper Will Send You Oreos.
When you send a Piper upstairs to get dressed in the morning, you have to be specific. “Go get dressed!” could mean anything. Piper gets distracted along the way. Pirates coerce her to join their marauding ways. Visiting aliens might attack. There may be kittens involved, even though we don’t have pets. But she will put on actual clothes. The task will be done. Just probably not to your expectation. Again, we may have a management problem.
Here is Piper’s idea of “getting dressed” yesterday morning.
“I’m ready to go, Mom! Today, I’m a cowgirl. And I’m saucy!”
It’s the first day of Spring Break. Piper and I opened up the window this morning expecting to see the buds of cherry blossoms. Instead we found this:
Piper said, “Those aren’t cherry blossoms, Mom. Everything is covered in marshmallows!”
Do you ever have one of those mornings when everyone wakes up late and grumpy
because we all stayed up too late watching basketball and no one bothered with the dishes or baths?
Then everyone is slow to the breakfast table. Sisters snap at each other. Parents direct and redirect and threaten. It’s not pretty. It’s not our best selves. Family and cooperation can be tough stuff, even when love fills your house.
But then, just as you’re combing the last pigtail and reminding everyone to brush their teeth for the twelfth time, a Piper gives you a kiss on the cheek and breaks through the whole morning rush with this:
“Mom, let’s make a deal. I’ll stop using my whiney voice and you stop using your angry voice. How about it? Deal?”
Piper currently sounds a little like a duck. Her tonsils are swollen in the back of her throat. It’s her seventh case of strep throat.
She’s in good spirits, though, and ibuprofen relieved her enough to get a decent night of sleep (praise be the medicine gods). Antibiotics are doing their magic, too, but still, it’s hard to take her seriously when she sounds like Donald Duck.
As I peered down her poor throat with my flashlight for the hundredth time looking for signs of progress, Piper quacked “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m living the high life!”
After our recent trip to the ER (which you can read about here), Piper wanted Chinese food. It’s really the only thing to help you heal from stitches trauma. Doctor’s orders.
And, of course, one of the best parts of Chinese food is the fortune cookie. Piper opened hers and was astonished at her good fortune.
“That’s right!” Piper exclaimed. “It’s completely true! Great things DO come from my heart! Like love. And happy stuff. How did they KNOW that?”