School’s out for the summer! Let the fun begin!
I sense more playfulness with big sister, who has embarked on a week long day camp at our local science museum—including a planetarium visit, perusing and exploring generational and native crafts, and of course, field trips! One to a minit put golf course, so you know, they’re having all the fun while we are schlepping away at work. (Not that I mind! I am lucky to enjoy my job, one that challenges my brain with new issues every day.)
And actually, little sister is in an all year preschool. On Monday, she moved up to the “big” kid class, packing up her cubby and pushing it ceremoniously into the new classroom, with all the big kids arms stretched into an arch as she passed through. She’s just as excited to wake up every day and discover, play, and interact with her teachers and pals as with any other day.
So even though our days are just as long with the commute, there’s no harried harassing mother barking orders as soon as we get inside the door to ‘put your shoes away,’ ‘put your water bottles on the counter,’ ‘get your homework binder out,’ ‘do your homework!’ as I unpack lunch boxes and clean up and get dinner on the stove. Last night it was a little hairier than usual, because I was preparing ribs for A’s birthday today (happy birthday, A!), which involved an overnight soak in a homemade bbq sauce. But still, there was more giggling and laughing last night than the usual, and absolutely none of the hurry up! Finish your homework! Wash your hands! Eat your dinner! No dessert unless you do! Now clear the table! Hurry up! Upstairs! Bath time! Story time! Bed time! Just writing that down makes me tired and stressed, lol, and weirdly thankful—that I have a home to do these things in, even when I feel like pulling my hair out sometimes.
Or wait, honestly, there was a little of that, but not as intense as on a ‘regular’ school night. We managed to calmly clear up—one of big sis’ new chores is clearing the table—take a walk outside and chat with our favorite neighbors who had just returned from a long road trip, with lovely presents for the girls, aww. And even though I’d had a cranky stop at the grocery store on the way home, with two hungry kids in tow, we survived and they even talked me into getting them some fudge pops (fortuitously on sale—big sister as learned if there’s no ‘blue tag,’ it’s not going into the cart). Is it because summer has settled onto us? Or maybe I’m finally learning to relax a little bit? Or maybe with the passage of time, and settling into our blended family life, things are easier, simply because I have an extra set of loving two hands to help me? Two hands that are also understanding and as dedicated to raising my little ones with self respect and confidence and boundaries and intelligence—and it’s such a relief and help and also a kind of miracle that we are where we are.
On the way home to this loveliness, I was blasting Pandora’s Kids Radio Free, and what should come on, but Katy Perry’s _Roar_. The girls have heard this song before, and they immediately started belting out the lyrics, word by word, syllable by syllable. I couldn’t help but grin like a clown. I know it might be silly, but to have my elementary and pre-school aged girls singing about someone who held them down, but they got up, already brushing off the dust, you hear my voice, you hear that sound, like thunder gonna shake the ground—it just, well, it makes me happy. Period.
I like to think I’m fairly confident (even after having said confidence battered for a good five years), and respectful of myself and others. My mom raised me to be this way, as a working single mom in her own right, she laid the groundwork for me to be financially independent, so that even at the worst of times, I was able to support my girls and me. I remember reading books about girls, like Harriet the Spy, Ramona Quimby, or lesser known works that included strong female kids who led the way, such as This Time of Darkness, a dystopian novel before dystopia was all the book-to-movie rage, where a little girl learned to read and escape the underground prison she was in.
I do not remember, however, learning songs about my voice making the ground shake, or that I’ve got the eye of the tiger cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar, louder than a lion, roa-oh-oh-oh-oh-or.
So there I was in the driver’s seat, grinning fiercely, hoping somehow that these words they were singing were sinking into them, nestling a seed into their minds that will be nurtured and continue to grow--that their voices matter. Will continue to matter. And as they grow up, they will not be silenced by all the crappity crap and shloppity shlop B.S. that exists and continues to exist in a world that is weighted heavily towards the male gender, despite our #yesallwomen movement and complacent society where women still make 75 cents to the dollar. It could also be that I’m just plainly and simply reading too much into a four minute song that resounded loudly in my little car, speeding towards home. But for those two minutes, my heart lifted, thinking about the potential and the future and the present all wrapped in one, on how to support and prepare my little girls to grow up into self-aware and confident young women. Happy.