goodbyes and hellos

So in today’s post, you’ll get to see a side of me that you don’t often get to see here. I’m usually totes sarcastic and pissy. Aren’t we all, mamas and papas? I mean, can I get an amen? These beautiful babies of ours…let’s call a spade a spade…for the most part, on the daily, they don’t remember the precious, all-but-mandatory routines that all the experts say are “necessary” to put in place in order to make them feel safe and loved and make them “thrive.” For Christ’s sake, they act like they are new here every single school day morning! Like, they have never even met their toothbrush, let alone know what to do with it when they look at it. And breakfast? What’s breakfast? They ask me: What do we have?

I’m sorry. What do we have??

I have to ask them if they are new here every day. We have the same things we always have. And this next one is my favorite, because it happens 3.7 out of 5 school days per week, when the darling little one (who ain’t that little anymore), in the midst of me getting the two larger piles of teen-ager-dom out the friggin’ door, asks me if I will make her a hot breakfast. Involving the stove. Like I have my tall, white paper hat and apron on and have just announced, via loudspeaker, that I am now taking on the role of short-order line cook in addition to all the other roles I currently have on my dance card in the morning. And let me remind everyone…we are running late. That’s just a given. Everyday. But back to the diner. Specifically, Thing 3 likes to ask for two “bulls-eyes,” not one, but TWO, which, in case you are not familiar with our family’s breakfast lingo, is short for “take two pieces of bread, cut holes in them, take the butter out, put it in the microwave for 5 seconds to soften it because you forgot to get spreadable butter spread that doesn’t do well in the frying pan anyway, and we got rid of the non-stick cookware because we read about how bad it is for us so we have to use real butter in the pan that everything sticks to, and then you butter both sides of the bread, and don’t forget to butter the little cut-outs that you just cut out of the circles because you need them, too, and then heat up the frying pan and throw the bread in and get out the eggs and then crack an egg into each hole and then fry the shit out of them because Thing 3 hates raw yoke, so why do you need those little rounds of toast because she’s not using them for dunking, I don’t know either, and then you have to flip, don’t forget to flip, and wait! the salt and pepper, and where are the other two kids, and did Thing 1 leave yet because if she didn’t she totally missed the bus already, and I’m going to have to drive her, and no one fed the bunnies yet, and the dogs haven’t been walked yet either, and I don’t have enough coffee in my mug to deal with this shit, and OMG I forgot to flip the shit in the pan, and now it’s getting burned because I walked away from the kitchen to go bellow up the stairs to the two Things who ARE apparently new here (see above) and don’t know the first thing about getting ready for school, and I’m running back to avert a breakfast crisis, and I’m flipping the bullseyes and the little toast rounds, and trying to get these friggin’ things on a plate so I can be done with my diner duties, and start driving people to the schools because they’ve missed the buses, again, and I get the diner breakfast on the plate and Thing 3 says “Thank you, mommy. I love you so much,” and my heart melts for a nanosecond but I am NOT to be deceived! I say you’re welcome, I love you so much, too, but…I WILL NOT DO THIS!!!!! (Insert above scenario into any given school morning.)

Which is why I say, in response to the question, “What do we have for breakfast?”

Cereal and stuff that can be microwaved. Sorry, not sorry.

But. Yesterday was not about any of this. I just had to get a rant in there for this to be a normal post and for you to know that I was not kidnapped and that someone isn’t, like, writing in my place or anything. Yesterday was about saying goodbye to a pet. Oy. Why do we let our kids get pets when we know, at some point, they are going to outlive them and the kids are going to be heartbroken? A larger question to ponder today, I suppose.

A little back story. A couple of years ago, Thing 2 campaigned hard, and I mean drove to the hoop with a PowerPoint presentation about why she wanted to adopt a bunny from our local humane society. It was in the summer, and I still don’t know what we were thinking, but we said yes. Mostly because Thing 2 is your proverbial middle child, and has bookend big-personality sisters, and she literally asks for nothing. Like, ever. So when she actually wants something, we tend to listen. We made agreements about her caring for the bunny, and she was allowed to go and adopt one. So we went and she found a bunny who had been surrendered because her owner left for college and no one could care for her anymore. Thing 2 decided she could care for her from now on. We had very little information about how old she was or her background. But she was sweet and gentle, just like Thing 2, so we brought her home, and Thing 2 named her Pip. Like, the cutest name ever.

Pip’s first night at home.

Pip had a lovely life while she was here, and has since been joined by other companions who clearly made her very happy. But a few days ago, she got sick, and Thing 2 was heartbroken two nights ago going to bed. I had told her, in all truthfulness and sincerity, that I was going to call the vet the next morning, but yesterday morning we woke up and sweet Pip had passed away. Hubs and I (who am I kidding, mostly Hubs) took care of sweet Pip. And we just ached for Thing 2’s pain over this…especially because this is the weekend of her fourteenth birthday. Why, God, why? Could the timing be any worse? Hubs had to leave for work, and it was the first day of the girls Spring Break, so I told him to go and I would break the news. Thing 1 woke up early and the love in her heart for her sister absolutely touched me. She, without prompting or thought, immediately went to work, taking Pip’s cage apart to scrub it out and make sure it was clean and pristine for Thing 2 so that when she woke up, there wouldn’t be a thing to do. She could just be sad and go on with her day. Then Things 1 & 3 and I waited for Thing 2 to wake up so that I could tell her and we could all just love her. But, man, that kid can sleep. We waited and waited. Eventually, I went up to her room and she was just waking up…I broke the news, she had her tears, but she wasn’t shocked. She said she knew the night before that it was going to happen. And then, that’s when the magic happened. Her sisters came in and flooded her bed with themselves, their hugs, their words, and their love for her. I sat with them, too, but I’m not one of the sisters. I was just an observer of all of this love.

Now, I never had a sister, but I always wanted one. And while I knew, rationally, that if I had one we would bicker and fight and steal each other’s shit and get mad at each other about it, blah blah blah. But I also had a feeling, call it a hunch, that there would be something unspeakable, but palpable between me and my sister. I just hoped, anyway. And while I don’t have that for myself, what I witnessed yesterday in my two girls waiting for the other one to wake, doing nothing for themselves until they knew she was okay…and in what I could feel but not touch, that palpable love between the three of them on that bed yesterday morning, as the two comforted and consoled the one in pain…if I never witness it again, I’ll go to my grave knowing that these three girls are true sisters and love each other in the deepest corners of their hearts.

We dried eyes and picked ourselves up, got some brunch, because by that time it was like 11:30 am and, thank God, no one could ask me the breakfast question, we got dressed and headed out on the promised errand of picking up Thing 2’s birthday present a couple of days early, which was a beautiful ukulele. Thing 2 has taught herself how to play the piano, thanks to an ethereal ear for music and a few YouTube tutorials, and then asked to learn the guitar, so Hubs taught her some chords and now she can play her own beautifully. This is the next instrument in the lineup. She’s so excited to start songwriting and to have more portability with this instrument. Now – mind you –  the trip to pick up the ukulele came at the end of a trip to the mall to get a birthday present for Thing 3’s bestie, whose surprise 10th birthday party was last night. We had to go to Justice and Claire’s boutique.

First day of Spring Break. A Friday. At the mall. Those two stores. With three girls. And I don’t drink booze or own firearms. You can imagine.

I will continue to post as Spring Break tries to break me. I know there are many of you mamas (and papas) going through it, too.

May the odds be forever in our favor.

And rest easy, sweet Pip.

mama kate