ps. it is still hard to be a mccashew

Steve had his surgery a week ago Tuesday and we were all so relieved, some of us (ME) smug actually, that it was NOT the ACL he had been preparing for, fretting about, searching out You Tube videos to scare himself silly about the recovery, and researching stats on the mortality rate from this particular surgical procedure. He DID have two tears; medially and laterally, which the doc told me were most likely the reason it felt to him like an ACL. AMEN. A hundred pounds off my shoulders right then and there as I hoisted his nerve blocked left leg into the SUV to drive him home and pick up his meds and fix him lunch and attend to the cryo cuff. Let's also say here how particularly grateful I was that my children were nowhere in sight (thank you Kiki) because that day I barely sat down, even during his two hour post anethesia snooze. He would do the same for me, though I think comparing his knee to having a baby will need to be chalked up to delusional pain medication talk.

The week tested me and while I was thrilled to pieces to have us all under one roof together for four glorious days (three if you don't count Saturday when we attended the first football game of the season! did you honestly think he would miss it???), the kids are in the wonderful stage where they are completely incapable of leaving each other alone for a single second. I am of the mindset that we need to get out, get out, get out somehow someway to do something before oh my LORD they either maim each other or I lose my voice loudly telling them to leave the other one alone for the love of GOD. On Sunday, that meant buying them each a 30-minute ticket to a local trampoline park. Our previously shy Caroline could not wait to get out there and once she did, she raced back and forth and cartwheeled and climbed walls and who was this brave kid? It took Connor half of his alloted time to decide that jumping was actually ok and "hey mommy, ball me!" while jumping. By the time 30 minutes rolled around, we had two crying kids who did not want to leave. We promised trampoline birthday parties and made for the door. Following a challenging lunch out where thankfully I had an adult beverage to blur the chaos around me, Caroline was finally able to set up her lemonade stand on the corner. She had three customers (five if you include the neighbor boy and his friend who were playing in their yard and received hand delivered drinks). Then it started to rain... a little. Anyone who knows her, you know the PANIC that sets in the moment you even speak of the possibility of rain and here were real live drops and she wanted inside immediately. So that was the end of the lemonade stand.

We are still in the midst of change. Connor walked into his new preschool room at school yesterday like he owned the joint. "Mommy, give me my bag." He took it over to his new cubby, emptied it of lunch, blankets, and Giraffe and walked away. Just like that. All summer I've had at least a few mornings each week with tears that require a teacher handoff. My big kid barely hugged me and I could feel myself choking up because I hadn't expected that and even though as a parent that is what you hope for, it was still so unexpected and hard. Caroline had her Kindergarten evaluation right after we dropped Connor off so I had not a moment to recover from one milestone before hitting another.  She was so excited about it that I thought she might pop a dimple from smiling on the ride over. Last week she went to the Open House for the after school program she will attend and our previously stage IV clinger with new situations and people made a liar out of me telling everyone on every enrollment form how "slow to warm up" she is and how "difficult transitions can be at times." Girlfriend walked in, surveyed a room of strangers, and took off. TOOK OFF.

I drove her west right after her evaluation through driving rainstorms to spend a few days with my parents who graciously offered to help with this second week between camp and school. She doesn't know it yet, but she will get to help Kiki with her cousin Lyle on Friday. She spent the greater part of that trip making faces into the rear view mirror, styling her hair, and asking me grown up questions. She showed off her penguin name tag to my parents and took off for a special adventure with them. It's odd to have just Con at home this week. It has never been just him ever for this long and she was the first thing he asked about this morning. I had to wake him at 7:45, the kid who would not sleep. He has all but given up his nap now and that hour he used to spend up there rolling around, calling for us to rub his back at bedtime is all but vanished and he STILL sleeps in later than his sister ever did. Who would have ever guessed it? Steve and I spent the time between dinner and bedtime watching him jump onto pillows last night and soak up every ray of our attention. He did ask to call his sister and the two of them on the phone with the "I love you" and "I miss you" conversation washed all the other "don't touch your sister" "stop bossing him" stuff away.

I dropped him off the same way today in his new room. He sat down with his favorite blondie to stretch elastics on little wooden boards and laughed the biggest laugh when I strummed one like a guitar. Mommy's life right now is in a time of great transition, but these hard moments, these bittersweet moments are pushing me through. They are reminding me that change is ok, that I need to be fearless, that only I can make the day a positive one and not one where I don't even want to open my eyes. If I didn't, I'd be missing all of this.


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