Sunday, 23 August 2009

This last week the kids went back to school. They were so excited they kept waking up all night to check I hadn’t slept in. I also doubted myself, and I set up about three different alarm clocks in case one or two didn’t work.
I got up on time to make a good warm breakfast, and the kids dressed in their uniforms. Smiles reaching from ear to ear.
I missed them a lot during the day, especially because the little ones were so utterly bored without the older siblings that they drove me crazy all week. The only good part is that I get to take a nap again because since we get up so early, after lunch the babies are exhausted (my babies who are almost 3 and 5. Pathetic!). By now, we have our little routine again. School, lunch, nap, futbol, or ballet (which starts next Tuesday), Irish dancing (starts tomorrow) and piano. There are also church related activities, like Scouts, and all of a sudden my calendar is full of colored little blocks. My main activity is driving, but things should get better once my assistant arrives next weekend (Jeff, that’s you in case you didn’t notice).
Swan also had a birthday this week, and she looks and acts so grownup my eyes tear up over anything (and that’s apart from the allergies which are killing me this year). I found her listening to Keane on an ipod (it’s a family one that she appropriated) and singing the melancholy “Atlantic” with a thread of voice (” ♪♬♫I Don’t wanna be old!!!! ♪♬♫).
She told me, “I have this feeling inside me, and then I thought, and yeah! It’s happiness!” My pint-sized teenage daughter!
We celebrated at my parents, and she had a blast. Her party won’t be for a couple of weeks (she wanted Jeff to be here) and I’m dreading making a cake. She wants a mermaid, and after last year’s dragon’s success, I don’t think I’ll be able to top that.
Friday was the first futbol practice of the season, and with my BBF G. we have an unspoken understanding: she brings the mate, I bring the treats. She brings treats as well, but mainly she brings the mate because I drink it sweet. You are converting me though G. I’ve only been putting sugar to the first one and then to every other. That’s better, huh?
Well, Friday we were running late, like always, and I debated between taking everybody along into the supermarket for a package of cookies or … and then an idea came to mind. Gorgeous and Swan could go! So I parked by the store entrance, and gave them a $10 bill. You should’ve seen them, walking so proudly into the store, hand in hand. They came back running, with two packages of Keebler’s chocolate chip and fudge sandwich, and a box of ice-cubes gum for me. Gorgeous was ready to pocket the change, but he gave it back promptly when I asked for it.
I remember going to don Luis’ store when I was five (it wasn’t a supermarket. Just the front room in some one’s house), and I could read, but not my mom’s handwriting. So I asked her to read it to me, and I memorized it, and then at the store I pretended I was reading, and the old man and his wife were so amazed it scared me for a minute.
How bittersweet that even though my kids have a much better childhood than I did, they won’t have the memories of going to the kiosco for candy behind my back, or to the store for bread and “facturas” in the morning.
The kids are growing, and I feel like Enos in the Book of Mormon when he says, “life has passed us like a dream.” The days are so short and packed with activities, and at night, when there’s only silence interrupted by sleepy sighs, I wonder where my babies are, and who those big kids who look so much like Jeff and me when we were little are.

Here’s a video of Swan’s birthday party (the unofficial one). I couldn’t resist!

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Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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