Thursday, September 11, 2014

We Will Remember

I wonder if the intensity of emotion surrounding this day will ever really go away.

Sometimes, I hope it does.

The rest of the time, I hope it never changes.

I drove around today, and the flags flying at half-mast yanked hard at my heart.

My children know nothing of this day's significance. They do not know what flags flying at half-mast mean. They don't know of a world that predates Homeland Security. They were born into a country forever changed by the events 13 years ago.

Hubby and I watched a Nova special on Netflix earlier this week, about the construction of the new One World Trade Center building, the 9/11 Memorial museum, and the actual Memorial itself. Fascinating stuff (available on Netflix), and I highly recommend watching it.

Some day, my children will see these places. In hushed tones, we will explain what happened in Somerset (not too far from us, actually), at the Pentagon, in New York City. We will tell the stories. We will trace the names engraved. We will tell of those who went in when everyone else walked out. We will say that heroes didn't just come on two feet; on this day, there were four-footed heroes as well. We will carefully discuss why evil men chose to take such horrible actions, how they hoped to wound our country so deeply that we would fall, how they did not succeed. We will counter that with the truth of the American spirit, how we banded together, how we fought back by fighting for survivors. We will speak of a love for fellow men so great that others gave their lives, willingly.

We will not forget.

We will teach them to not forget, even though this day doesn't have the same emotional impact for them that it does for us.

We will remember. We will honor the fallen. We will pray for those who still grieve.

We will remember.





Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Grab your hankies. Medium brings The Feels.

After church this morning, the Fries requested to go to their favorite restaurant, GVD. I didn't really want to go, since I could feel trouble brewing in my joints (91% humidity and I don't get along), but neither did a Wendy's run appeal to me. I relented, and we drove to GVD.

The usual Sunday-afternoon bustle greeted us, and the teenage host went to find a table for us while we waited. And that's when it happened.

Medium leaned into me and looked up into my face. "When are you going to have a baby?"

Darn it, that question always pops up at unexpected times. I looked into my little girl's earnest face. This wasn't the time or place to discuss our infertility, or the reality of my hysterectomy a year and a half ago. I stroked my hand down her cheek, hoping I hid the huge lump of emotion I had to swallow, and gently held her chin. "I don't need to have a baby. I have you."

She beamed at me.

"You're my baby. You and your sisters." They weren't paying attention to the conversation, but still...

"When I grow up," Medium said thoughtfully, "I'm going to be a mommy just like you. I'm gonna find kids whose parents don't take good care of them, and I'll take care of them instead."

About then, the young host returned and led us to our table.

As we walked, Medium continued, "And I'm going to be the best mom ever, just like you."

*sniffle*

Friday, August 22, 2014

There is wailing and gnashing of teeth. And stomping.

The last few days have been really busy.

Medium has been complaining in the last month or so that she "can't" read. Well, that's not true. She can. She's the best reader of all three Fries. It didn't take much questioning to realize that it's not that she is incapable of reading...it's that she can't see well enough to read.

We saw her pediatric ophthalmologist on Wednesday afternoon. It's an hour and a half drive.(Astonishingly, pediatric ophthalmologists are not everywhere, especially in towns of only about 5500.)

Medium
Medium has a condition called exotropia, which is especially prominent in her left eye (less so in her right), which worsens when she's tired or overwhelmed. Her rather sudden nearsightedness—from 20/20 in both eyes back in February or March, at her annual exam, to 20/50 and 20/60 now—has made the exotropia worse. She's having to expend way more energy to read and force her eyes to focus even more. So, her ocular muscles are getting tired a lot faster. The exotropia is why we sought out a pediatric ophthalmologist in the first place.

Her specialist explained that she's just barely nearsighted, but she's going to give her a slightly stronger glasses prescription to help force her eyes to align better. Gotcha.

So after running back to back to back on Wednesday for Medium's appointment, Large Fry's open house at the Sub-Middle School, and 2nd-grade orientations (the twins are in separate classes this year), yesterday we took the Fries for their before-school haircuts. (And one for Hubby, too.)

After lunch, we stopped off at my eye doctor's. We could fill Medium's glasses prescription there.

Large
As I said, it's been busy...and we have my eye doctor's appointment today, plus shopping for new sneakers for the kids.

I know they're subconsciously worried about school.

But things have gotten out of hand lately, and I was determine to nip any unpleasantness in the bud this morning.

They all did their chores before I would let them watch tv or play on the computer or play outside. Medium got settled on the computer for her allotted time, and Large and Small decided to watch tv.

About forty minutes ago, I heard Small screeching at her sister: "Gimme the clicker!" She hollered that at least five times. Then I heard Large: "I'm not done yet!"

I shouted for both of them to come to me.
Small

When I asked why they were screaming at each other, Large launched into an explanation, blaming Small, that would have made a politician proud of her verbal evasive maneuvers, had I not stopped her and reiterated my question. The truth came out: it was Small's turn to pick, but Large didn't want to give up control of the clicker, so she had started whatever program they'd been watching on Netflix a second time, so she could go through the credits and stop, so the next time they watch it, they wouldn't "have to watch them."

I told them to go turn off the tv.

By this time, Medium's computer time was up. She wanted to know if she could watch tv. Yes, I said. She could...but Small and Large could not.

"So it's Amish Summer?" Large asked.

"For you and Small, yes."

Large stormed upstairs, shut herself in her room, and wailed.

"Can I go play outside?" Small asked.

"Yes. But you have to stay in our yard, and you can't go next door." If she can't be nice to her sister, I'm not going to trust her to be nice to her friends.

About then, I heard stomping and thrashing coming from Large's room.

I called her to the stairs. "Why are you behaving like this?"

"Because it's Amish Summer for Small and me!" she wailed.

"Do you know why?"

She shook her head. I called Small to join us.

In short order, I explained why they had lost privileges: Large had deliberately kept the clicker from Small when it was Small's turn to choose, and then she'd screamed at Small. Small should have asked Large nicely for the clicker, rather than demanding it at the top of her lungs multiple times. Small should have listened when Large explained what she was doing...but Large, really, credits are not that long, and Large should not have set the show up to skip the credits just to keep clicker possession longer. The end.

Large went back to her room then, and Small went outside.

I think Large has stopped sniffling.

I am not looking forward to shoe shopping this afternoon, that's for sure. I hope lunch helps.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Countdown Has Begun

This morning, Hubby, the Fries, and I all journeyed over to the Sub-Middle School.

Large Fry starts fourth grade there in exactly a week, and she was very scared about having a new school. Fortunately for all of us, one of the ladies in our church, Ms. Vee, teaches at the SMS, and had agreed to give us an abbreviated tour ahead of time. Despite the unscheduled waxing of the lobby floors today, we were still able to get in and look around.

Ms. Vee led us straight to the Red hall, which is where Large's classrooms will be. Large will even get a locker this year. She'll switch between two classrooms, which are right next door to each other.

The school building itself is fairly new. The gymnasium is full-sized and HUGE. Ms. Vee showed us where the art room and computer lab were, as well as the playground area. She explained that, for the first couple of days, all the fourth graders are funneled into the cafeteria as they arrive, and the teachers will lead them back to their classrooms. The end-of-the-day procedures will remain the same all year: walkers and parent pick-up students are released first, then the first group of bus students, and then the last group of bus students. Any students riding buses will go to either the cafeteria or the gym, and find their bus number, and then they're dismissed by buses (this way nobody misses the bus). Large will be riding the bus this year for the first time since first grade.

Large seemed much more at ease after our tour, even though we couldn't see all of the school because of the floor maintenance.

I am feeling better about her new school, but still feeling weird about all this. I don't know that I'm ready for her to be in fourth grade. Hubby laughed at me when we first arrived, because I looked so glum and bereft as I got out of the van.

I'm not so sure I'm ready for the twins to be in second grade, either. They are in different classes this year...another first. Medium has Mrs. Greek, and Small has Large's second-grade teacher.

Heaven help me. They keep growing up.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Migraine Salute. But now with hilarity!

I wasn't feeling well this morning (a holdover from not feeling well Friday night and all day yesterday), so I skipped church this morning. Since PeeJay is on vacation this week, and Hubby has to preach, I knew it meant the entire female Fry & Co. contingent would be staying home.

I moseyed downstairs in search of something to eat that actually sounded good. I was finally sitting down to eat, and had the kids doing the chores they were supposed to do yesterday, when Large Fry popped into the room.

Wearing, I should point out, a pink shirt with little brown terriers scattered all over it, heavy cotton winter stockings, and a pink tutu with large, shiny sequins. Oh, and white socks with orange cuffs. She's being a ballerina today.

"Mommy, I found a whisker..." She held up a short, coal-black whisker. Koa's. (She's the only one with all-black whiskers.)

"Then throw it away," I instructed. Really, I thought. Do I need to be consulted for this?

"Oh." Large sounded a big dejected. "I thought we could use it for the eye things."

She left the room as I closed my eyes and tried to avoid a literal facepalm.

Large had wanted to use Koa's shed whisker as a false eyelash.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Just now...

Small Fry: I want to jump on Daddy, like a bounce house!

Hubby: Nooo!

Gee, it's a shame we didn't have boys. Hubby has no one to wrestle with...