Today my kids went back to school. Third grade and Kindergarten, ages 9 and 6. I've stayed at home with my boys since the beginning of time (theirs). In that time (mine), I've raised them to the best of my abilities. I've also worked as a freelance writer, illustrator and photographer- something I am quite proud of, yet a profession that is clearly unrecognized by the majority of my social circle. My first official day with no kids, today was the magical day I was apparently supposed to discover my true life calling (not that other silly "work" I've been doing).
"What are you going to DO with yourself with both boys in school?" was the most commonly asked question of the summer.
"Oh, I hope to finally get some uninterrupted work done!" I would cheerfully reply, but in my mind always answered, "I think now is the time to finally start my daytime stripping career," or "lay on the couch, watch soaps and eat my weight in Cheetos, wut?" or "fuck off, I do nothing."
Here's what actually went down:
I got up early and made the boys breakfast while they put on the clothes I set out for them the night before. I talked with them about their upcoming big day as my husband and I packed their lunches and provided them with kind and encouraging words. We walked them to the bus and waved goodbye as my six year old son's bus riding dreams came to fruition- three years of bus envy is a lot of stored up desire! We watched the bus drive away, Brock went to work and it was my turn to finally DO something with myself after nine years! Praise Jeebus. The day had arrived! The pressure was ON!
So I watered all my shriveled, neglected flowers and drug hoses around my crunchy, neglected lawn.
Then I went inside and started to clean my crusty, neglected house, for the children had gone feral over the summer and I couldn't keep up. Plus, we live inside with three cats and a crazy old dog that refuses to be groomed. It's a dream.
Then I ate lunch three times, because I realized I haven't finished a meal in nine years and I was freaking starving.
Then I spent approximately five hours cleaning my house, scrubbing all of the things. I cleaned until I could walk on the floors without cringing. I cleaned until I could see a reflection in the mirror that didn't look like like bacon grease smeared with dog hair. I cleaned until the pee smell was gone (mostly). I cleaned until I could lean on a countertop without feeling the need to scrape myself off with a brillo pad. I cleaned until I was clammy and sore and hungry.
Then I wondered how my kids were doing and I ate some more of my feelings.
As I did the cleaning that barely scraped the surface of the things needing to be cleaned in my dusty little farm house surrounded by dirt filled horse pens and weed-strewn gravel pits, I talked on the phone with three of my best friends; one in Sweden, one in New Mexico, and one in New Jersey. Then I realized that most of my favorite people no longer live near me and I finished off a block of two month old port wine cheese from a discount store. I have no regrets.
Then I drug more hoses around my yard and hung up laundry on the line and cleaned rotten hay from the sides of the horse pen and picked an apple off the apple tree and ate that, too.
Then I cleaned some, but not all, of the windows.
Then I went to the mailbox, opened the mail and felt depressed, as usual. I miss the days that I looked forward to mail.
Then I saw the school bus pull up and I greeted my smiling, exuberant children at the door. I talked with them, asked them about their day, their classroom, their teachers, their new friends and so on.
Then I walked behind them and cleaned the giant mess they made as they tracked mud across my steam mopped floor and proudly pulled all the contents from their backpacks and redecorated every surface of the house with giant art projects and paperwork and blind enthusiasm.
Then I made them snacks and sent them outside to bounce off some manic energy on the trampoline.
Then I made dinner from the dregs of the pantry; a little something I called "Enchilada Quinoa Surprise."
Then Brock came home. We said grace and ate and talked some more.
Then I went to bed at 7:30 (the kids' back to school target toothbrushing time) because I was exhausted and my hip that had blown out four days ago was hurting because I forgot to sit down all day and I didn't want to be awake anymore because we were running out of wine.
So, now the nine year old mystery has been solved! Everyone knows what I did when I finally got to experience both kids in school all day! Not my "work", as some "friends" refer to what I do, but I sure seemed to get a helluva lot done, including gaining two pounds in a six hour period. Slay. Whatever will I do tomorrow? Another school day, another sahm mystery.