Yesterday was the first day of school holiday after a long weekend, which means our girls-who-thrive-on-routine had their routines all thrown to the wind. To make things extra fun, it was very cold and rainy for most of the day, so I couldn't do as my wise Grammaw would have done and kick them both outside to burn off the steam and energy. Both of them woke up in moods, and they competed heavily throughout the day for first place in the "Let's Drive Mama Nuts" category. During Ellie's last school holiday, Ellie was thrilled to be home, and baby Stephanie and I were thrilled to have her home...but Stephanie is older now. She's getting to the age where changes in routine are less welcome. While Markus was home for the long weekend, she was happy that we were all together. When he went back to work but Ellie didn't go back to school, well...it was noticeable for the first time ever that she resented Ellie infringing on her territory. She fussed, she complained, she had a shout or two. Ellie took the cue that this must be the agenda for the day, and she took it to the next level. They started to squabble. Neither wanted to engage in any activity I had thought up. Both were furious that I resisted their intentions to run around half-dressed in the cold rain. On top of all that hooey, we were scheduled for a rental inspection. Forgetting to eat breakfast in my get-it-done frenzy, I spent nearly three hours in the morning scrubbing, scouring and cleaning for all I was worth, blood sugar dwindling to rock bottom, making me more frustrated than usual about kiddie mess and generally P.O.'d about my day...only to get a bit more P.O.'d (and a bit relieved) when the inspection was canceled at noon.
I called two girlfriends mid-afternoon, hoping to commiserate a bit about wild kids and gross weather. One perkily related that she didn't mind the weather at all, since her kids had been with her mother-in-law since breakfast. She'd been to the gym, shopping and had cleaned the house...and she had another 30 minutes to go before picking them up. The other girlfriend had an easy morning too with her older son in school that doesn't break for holiday and then he came home to take a long nap with her younger one in the afternoon. She was going out that night too. I was jealous. I started forming a long list of gripes.
I was jealous that my friends had breaks from The Crazy.
I was jealous of the whole kids-at-the-mother-in-law's thing.
I was jealous about kids seeing extended family at all.
I was jealous that people who aren't renting don't have inspections.
I was jealous that their houses weren't invaded (or not, as it turned out today) by strangers who inspect your housekeeping along with checking for damage to the property.
I was jealous of people with more stable weather, because it was seriously unpleasant to keep forcing my cold, tormented little monkeys into shoes and socks again after two gorgeous weekend days of warm sun and sand.
The list of beefs grew as the day wore on and the kiddie challenges mounted. I wasn't going to write about it because I was in a seriously foul mood by dinnertime, and really who wants to read all about that? But this morning, I was still thinking about it, so I decided to share.
Most of the crud from yesterday is cleansed from my mental palate. I know why yesterday was hard, and I can't really blame the girls for it. They always struggle to readjust after a weekend, and this one was extra long. The unpleasant weather was a hard adjustment for them too, after such nice days. They were cold and grumpy and not in the mood to share Mama's time and attention with each other or even with Mama herself. But I keep thinking about something from my pre-inspection cleaning spree. I was down on all fours scrubbing the baby Stephanie food smears from all sorts of creative places, and I got to some handprints on the back door that wouldn't come off. They were made with paint on her hands as she grasped the door to help her step her way inside after an art project, and really, I so badly wanted to keep them.
So today, I remain a bit jealous of people who live in one place, who raise their children in their home, and who get to keep the tiny unexpected treasures their little people leave behind. Parenting does have a dark underbelly of Crazy, but there are so many gifts and joys that deserve much more attention. I love those little paint smudges at baby Stephanie level. Rental inspections or no, they will stay until we move.