Friday, February 15, 2013

Dash Wednesday

"It's Dash Wednesday," Ainsley repeatedly told me yesterday.

At first I smiled. By evening, I was nodding in agreement. My girl, she nailed it. Dash Wednesday it was.

Dash --  
the perfect adjective to apply to a day that began with Freaking Out Over Lost Dogs Who Were Not Really Lost at All and then moved on to the other activities on tap for the day: school, mounds of homework, three car pools, a brief pause to issue credible threats, a two hour meeting, a piano lesson, a second brief pause to follow through on credible threats issued, serving Mass, attending Mass, dance class, more homework, collapse.

It could have been worse. My friend was pulled over for speeding, zipping to Dash Wednesday services and clocked at seventeen miles over the limit.

Because Dash Wednesday was followed by Valentime's Day, we also assembled cards and candy. Ainsley goes to a wonderful pre-school. Despite many years in the trenches, the teachers remain purists at heart. Ainsley came home with a tidy list of the students in her class and a note that read, "Please have your child cut out the names." Ainsley hacked five or six names to pieces. Then Mom took over. Valentine's Day needs to run like an assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan -- efficient, fast, well-oiled. Honing fine motor skills? Oh no, no, no. Not with a deadline looming. Assemble those Valentines; stuff those bags; get it done!

"Is the high school doing Valentine's Day," I asked Tim.

"We did it last week," he said. "The girls brought in a bunch of food, and the boys ate it."

This made me laugh.

I confess I could be a complete curmudgeon about this whole commercialized affair, saturated as it is with artificial dyes, landfills of red plush, loads of the really, really unattractive lingerie. But I have a three-year-old girl who is thrilled -- clapping her hands, jumping up and down thrilled! -- with her Hello Kitty mailbox and a five-year-old boy who loves -- loves! -- his Batman cards and an eleven-year-old who eschews the whole mess, too, but is all about -- I mean all! about! -- the candy.

And, gosh, they make life so much more fun! Nearly everything is more fun with kids. Okay, maybe not folding laundry or painting the molding or doing the taxes, but nearly everything else is more fun with kids. I am tearing up as I type this, overwhelmed by the simple, unsophisticated, childish delight that touches me every. single. day. These crazy little hooligans flat slay me with their affection, their enthusiasm, their joy.

It's good to appreciate this because upon our return home from Mass, I discovered this:

Glasses - funky John John style.

Kelly assembling valentines.
John's glasses. Except the word glasses is sort of plural, as in two pieces of glass, and, really, John's glasses now resemble a monocle (or two monocles?). And a monocle, well, that works just fine if you're Colonel Klink on Hogan's Heroes, but not so much if you're a five-year-old boy.

So I'll be dashing to the optometrist's office.

Days like this make me think of a priest who firmly believed that mothers need never take on extra penance -- mortification simply comes with the territory.


But if vexation comes with the job description, so does the joy, so does the fun.


Anonymous said...

Oh Kelly, that made me laugh - and what a good reminder to treasure even the vexations because these (Valen)times will never come again.

I love the priest's point of view about mortification!

Kelly said...

Christine - A good friend is facing serious health issues with her husband. She casually mentioned how exhausted he was one day because he had three appointment which required getting in and out of the car a total of six times. As that sunk in, I was struck by how often i think, "I don't want to go to the post office. I don't want to go to the bank." And yet having the mobility and the energy to do these things is really such a blessing.

And motherhood is full of mortification. (So is fatherhood -- Dave and Kolbe have spent the last eight hours working on his Pinewood Derby car. Wish us luck tomorrow!)