When I was a kid, Memorial Day marked the end of the school year… almost the end, because our school year extended into June. But on the Friday before the long weekend we all queued up around midday for a parade and marched from school, down through Main Street where parents, pedestrians, and shopkeepers watched us pass, and to a public park that bordered the harbor. We carried flowers clipped mostly from lilac bushes, and filed down the pier to throw our flowers into the sea in memory of fallen soldiers. Then we all gathered around the flag pole, said the pledge of allegiance, and listened to a hidden trumpeter – the best trumpet player in the school marching band that year – play taps from back in the bushes. And then we were free to go home. I’m quite sure my elementary school still carries on this tradition.
I feel disconnected from these kinds of traditions at this stage in my life. My kids aren’t old enough to be in school, and nothing has replaced the things we used to do as children and young adults to celebrate these signposts through the year. Truck drivers and self-employed artists don’t get bank holidays. We can’t really do vacations these days, and don’t find ourselves at many parties. For the most part, these minor holidays are like any other day, except that all the fun spots are more crowded. I admit that for me they tend to induce ennui, as I can’t help reflecting on all the fun I’m not having. Social media makes this worse, as people don’t tend to brag on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/blogs about sitting around drawing with Magic Markers for the 1,000,000th time. Know what I mean?
This morning Miles woke up already cranked up to 11. He was in bed with me (since 10 pm last night) and at 6 am he started poking his toes into the waistband of my pants. I am not even awake and already I’m asking him to please stop putting his feet down my pants. That turns into him pivoting to kick me in the head – time to get up!
All morning long he was into EVERYTHING to the point that I barely had time to say “no, we aren’t going to play in the sprinkler yet,” before he was asking to make a painting. I had Julius taking his usual nap on the floor when I usually get to hop in the shower, but today Miles decided to be “friendly” by going over to smile in his face and then smush him like a bug, affectionately of course. Two hours passed before I could get the baby to sleep again but at last I showered and dressed.
I decided it was a fabulous idea to go for a walk up to town and visit the toy store. Miles clearly had to burn off some energy. I stuck Julius in the wrap (thankfully he slept on) and grabbed the umbrella stroller just in case Miles got pooped on the way home. Of course the minute I hauled it out, he plopped his butt in the stroller and waited to be pushed, like a little rajah (another of my nicknames for him). So I ended up pushing him (uphill, in the blazing sun) all the way to town, and all the way home again.
We made it home and of course I was exhausted. He was well rested and ready to play. Something that people who don’t have kids don’t realize is that a lot of playtime is really super boring for adults. Particularly toddler playtime, because they loooooove repetition and they are little control freaks. So you must play “make dinner” with bowls of dried pasta and measuring cups, because clearly this is a two person game, but you must only use the ONE measuring cup, scooping up pasta and pouring it out in the preapproved manner. Do not stir with a spoon or pour the pasta into another bowl. Don’t shake the pasta or scoop when he’s scooping. Don’t sing songs about cooking or anything else for that matter. Just do what he told you to do, for god’s sake don’t stop, and HAVE FUN!
I spent some time just laying on the floor today, totally drained of energy. Three cups of coffee and I felt like I was completely out of gas. I must not have slept well last night. Fortunately, for maybe a half an hour, both of my children found laying on the floor to be a perfectly acceptable activity, as long as they were both touching me at all times. I don’t know what’s gotten into him today, but Miles has been ALL OVER ME from the moment he stuck his toes into my pajamas this morning.
Thank my lucky stars, Miles actually went down for a nap and Julius is sleeping too. There are a million things I should be doing instead of blogging but I really needed THIS to get my head on straight, or at least a smidge straighter. I feel better already.