Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wait, summer is over? How'd that happen?

It’s time again for back to school. Before I get to how yesterday went, let me provide an update on the craziness of life these past few weeks. I don’t call this blog ‘frazzled’ for nothing!

We took a few of Vali's friends to Adventureland for her birthday party. It was a fun day, as you can tell here:



Nati had fun too - and Vali was nice enough to ride some rides with her.




A few days after our trip to the amusement park, my new baby nephew was born! Meet Brannon:


He’s such a sweet little guy, and you know that I can’t resist babies. I found it interesting (and rather a relief!) that as I was cuddling with him in the hospital after he was born, I did not feel that wistful tug for another baby of my own. I think this is the first time I’ve held a newborn and not felt a brief flicker of envy toward the newborn’s parents for being in that new baby state of euphoria. Nope. Not even a smidge of it. Natalie has effectively and completely, it would seem, cured my 20-year-old case of baby fever.

Brannon’s parents are newbies and they are adorable to watch. I don’t mean that in a cocky, been-there-done-that-four-times condescension. I mean it truthfully. They are adorable and exhausted as they discover their love for this tiny person. It will be fun to watch my baby brother be a Daddy. My sis-in-law, a teacher, is a natural with kids. Brannon is a lucky little dude to be born into his family.

Two days after Brannon was born, Brie drove to Des Moines from Iowa City. The plan was to drop her friends off at the Iowa State Fair and come up to have a short visit and meet her new baby cousin. (My brother lives just a couple of miles away.) I was busy painting Vali’s room when my cell phone rang. I was up on a ladder and saw that it was Brie. Because I was in the middle of a roll of paint, I let the call go to voice mail. Immediately, she called again, and a pang of maternal fear hit me in the gut. I answered the phone, and heard what every parent hopes they’ll never hear. “Mom? I’ve been in an accident.”

Brie’s voice was shaky and she sounded like she might be in shock. After I realized that she was not seriously injured, I jumped into “take care of business” mode. She was treated by the paramedics for some nasty burns near her wrists from the airbag, but otherwise she was fine. Because the accident had backed up the interstate, the police took her to a gas station near the closest off-ramp, and I met her there. I could have melted from relief when I saw that she really was ok. I had driven past the car as I went to pick her up and it wasn’t a comforting sight to see. But she was ok, thank God.

After a brief rest (while I finished painting Vali's room) Brie went to visit Brannon. That evening I picked up her friends from the fair and drove them back to Iowa City. As I listened to their light, easy-going conversations, I marveled at their levity when there I was, still shaken up about the events of the day. Ah, to be young again.

I had the little girls with me, and we spent the night at Brie’s apartment. In the morning she made us some very awesome raspberry pancakes. It’s such a weird thing being in your daughter’s home as she makes you breakfast. How did she turn into a real, live grown-up? We left that morning and drove back home. By then, my heart rate had slowed and I was less anxious about the accident. The demons that wanted to take my imagination down the ‘it could have been so much worse – what if she’d have gone over the bridge?’ path were quieter, and life returned back to its normal, frenzied pace.

The car was totaled. When I went to get her things out of the car, I was unexpectedly sad to say goodbye to the car. I bought it brand new in the fall of 2007 and drove it up until last year when we bought the van. It was a nice little car, and I couldn’t help but think about how it kept Brie safe. (I really am a sentimental goofball.) We won’t be replacing it – Brie will have to get around Iowa City on her bike, the bus, and the occasional ride from friends. It’s a hard lesson for her, but I think she will learn from it in the long run. At the very least – she’ll likely give herself plenty of space between cars from now on.

And so… that was the last week or two of summer. Crazy. And now school is back in session. Jake is starting 11th grade in a brand new high school. It’s a beautiful facility, and will be very nice for the district’s children. He’s got his very favorite teacher for the first two classes all year long. What a lucky kid! Here he is in the obligatory back to school picture. Can you just see his eyes rolling out of his head like they did when I told him he had to hold the sign?


Vali is starting 5th grade. The big news this year is that the kids from the district’s other elementary school are joining them at her school for 5th grade. This means new friends and FIVE classes (instead of two) of fifth graders. Her new teacher is a recent Iowa State graduate (yay! Go Cyclones!) and Vali came home yesterday with nothing but great things to say about her.


Here’s my favorite back to school picture. I was trying to get Vali’s picture, and Nati was stuck inside. As you can see, she was NOT PLEASED to be left inside, as shown in this funny photobomb. Hee. It makes me giggle.


And because photobombs were the theme of the day, here’s one from the cat. I didn’t even notice it until my friend pointed it out on Facebook:


So there you have it. The summer wrapped up with a bang (crash?! Sorry, I probably shouldn’t joke about car accidents.) and now school is back in session. The summers seem to fly by in an instant these days.