Rude Awakening

Well, we're seven days in (who's counting? Me! Me! Me!) and it's been a rough go.

Check that clock. Brutal. Especially after two and half months (who's counting? Me! Me! Me!) of eleven o'clock bedtimes and sleeping til eight. We are certainly paying the price of our hedonistic lifestyle. You can keep you're "I-told-you-so's" to yourself.

But it's not only early morning seminary cleaning our clocks (pun totally intended), it's the loss of freedom altogether that hurts the worst. Our afternoon movie marathons have been replaced by a strict routine of homework and practicing and getting dinner on the table on time so that we can have prayers and scriptures on time so that the kids can get to bed on time so that we can wake up on time and do the whole thing over again, on time. I am at the mercy of a cruel, coldhearted tyrant...the blasted clock. And in case I wasn't clear, he has no mercy.

David is fairing no better. The most stressful week of his year happened to fall on this same exact week. There are no coincidences. Our whole boat is drowning. And it's shark week.

As for me, I vascillate between giving myself encouraging pep talks and giving in to my sorrowful, angry, pity-party. This morning I was on the treadmill at the gym, when the Killers single, "Boots", shuffled its way into my headphones. (You should know this is a Christmas single.) I nearly started sobbing right there amid all those motivated, masochistic people at the tender thought of our Christmas holiday so many months away. I have no shame.

Because as I count it, my losses are great. Summer is gone and only the heat has remained. My lovelies are gone, leaving only my brain and the Kardashians to keep me company. Poor company indeed.

I hate to even mention the few perks of this new situation, given the glorious rant I've been having. But, grudgingly, there are a few:

1. The Fashion. There is no end to the entertainment daily dressing provides, particularly if Olivia lives at your house. She's only been in school three days and we've already seen woollen berets, slouchy cowboy boots, and what she calls the "must-have-jacket." Regardless of the weather. Regardless of the heat. Regardless of the real reason I send her out the door each day. Plus, as a bonus, each morning there is an indepth discussion about what hairdo goes with whatever she's wearing. Straighten, curl, wear it up, wear it down? Today it was a side-pony because she admitted she was wearing something "a bit more casual."

2. The Gossip. There is no better place to be than around my dinner table at the end of the school day. There will be stories. There will be intrigue. There will be romance. (Oh, yes, most certainly.) There will be tears. (Oh, the sorrows a new school schedule with the wrong lunch hour can cause.) There will be laughter. (Who knew junior high could be so funny?) Forget about the Olympics. The greatest human drama out there unfolds at my little round table every night. I should sell tickets.

3. The Car Ride Home. The car door shuts and the words can't come out fast enough. Did you know this, Mom? Did you know this? And all the way home, my car fills up with chemistry labs and latin conjugations and discussions about Homer and his Odyssey and Mozart and his gift and Columbus and his new continent; everything they learned that day about annotating and multiplying and oxidizing and mapping and classifying and analyzing. It's more than a little thrilling to be an eye-witness to all that wonder. One day after school I had to take Savannah to the ENT. The waiting room was full of senior citizens filling out their paperwork. Savannah was telling me about her day, going a million words a minute--loud and in careful detail--and still talking when they called us back twenty minutes later. Every one in the room was smiling at me. She had entertained the whole place. And they all just grinned as we walked past. Because that was delightful, their eyes said. Because these are good years even if they are busy, their eyes said. Because you are so lucky, their eyes also said.

4. The Prayers. Desperation breeds fervency. I am nothing but humbled and amazed by the things that come out of my childrens' mouths as they send their petitions heavenward. I was nearly undone by the one this morning as Caleb bowed his head over his breakfast. I would get up early just for the prayers.

5. The Weekend. Yesterday I told my mom that the days go so fast (never enough time) and the weeks are so long (will Friday every come?). I've never been so appreciative of the hours between Friday night and Monday morning. For a little calm, a little quiet, a little slow. On Saturday morning we will go out for our annual back-to-school brunch, were we will celebrate the highs and lows. I have mine ready. My low: This is only the beginning. My high: It is Saturday morning and we have nowhere else to be.