Two weeks ago the kids and I boarded a plane unsure of what life was going to hold. Now two weeks in I can tell you we are surviving and making great strides in becoming settled and also preparing for the looming school year. Don’t let my “were surviving” fool you, a lot of things are different in Arizona then back in Pennsylvania.
Let’s just get it out in the open – the H.E.A.T. – yes it is Arizona and it is hot. Temperatures have been anywhere from 110-120 and yes it’s HOT! The heat is totally different though, in PA as soon as you walk out of the house you get drenched with sweat from the humidity but here instead of getting sweaty you can feel the sun on your skin hence why on the 100+ degree days you stay inside, go to a park under a canopy or stay in a pool and don’t get out.
Grocery shopping is different too, they don’t believe taco kits should come with soft shells so now I have to buy a shaker of taco seasoning and a package of shells separately. Grocery stores also don’t carry Italian sandwich bread in their bread aisles which is all we use in our house so this was a major issue but finally I found some at Walmart and all is good on the bread front again.
Street signs. In Pennsylvania we were used to seeing signs for Bethlehem, Allentown, Harrisburg, Quakertown and Philadelphia. In Arizona we see signs for Phoenix, Tucson and the one I still can’t believe I see is Los Angeles! It’s so unreal to me because I just never imagined I’d ever see a sign for L.A.
You also have to be conscious of things like – will my electric bill skyrocket if I do laundry between 12pm and 7pm on a weekeday? The answer to that question is yes since electricity is triple the price during those hours (in the summer months). So you adjust and do laundry first thing in the morning, late at night or save it for the weekend!
I don’t want this to be seen as one big complaint because it’s not. So far I have loved being in Arizona, heat and all. I of course wish my family was here but thanks to technology texting, Facebook and FaceTime is making it easy to communicate with our family and friends. One of my favorite things is the amazing mountain views when I’m driving. They are so spectacular I don’t think looking down the palm tree lined road to the mountains in the distance will ever get old.
In two weeks I’ve accomplished a lot. My Arizona drivers license is on its way, Brayden is registered for kindergarten, Makayla is registered for preschool, we took care of finding a new bank and the boxes are starting to disappear from our house. There is still a lot to do especially with the school year only starting in a mere 40 days. This life change hasn’t been easy but taking it one day at a time seems to work best.
In every journey there’s a low. I mean how can you expect there to not be since nothing in life is perfect. Every new adventure has its downright unforgiving moments. Yesterday morning was my low.
Our Sunday morning started off better then most I made chocolate chip pancakes and we sat down and ate together at the table which hasn’t happened lately (mom fail). The kids went and played while I folded and put away all the laundry and cleaned both the bathrooms. I got a nice hot shower with only one little visitor and without any fighting the kids got ready and packed up. Shockingly enough I even had time to grab my morning frappucino from Starbucks and no not the unicorn one.
The soccer field parking lot was full when we got there but without hesitation I backed into a spot between two cars like a pro, you should understand I never back in to spots so go me! We got to the field and set up our chairs while Bray practiced and then the game started. This soccer season is frustrating for Bray and I because well to put it frankly his team sucks. I know I know they are 5 and 6 but I swear half of them don’t know which way the ball should be going and the other half just stand there and don’t even try. Regardless we made it 50 mins into the game before Bray ran off the field to me telling me he had blood on his finger, well he didn’t in fact there wasn’t anything wrong at all. So then it began, he refused to go back on the field so he got the ultimatum; go on the field, go to the bench or we were leaving. This confrontation of course resulted in tears for him and me feeling embarrassed and like a failure because this was the second crying incident from my kids at the field. Thirty minutes prior to this Makayla had a meltdown resulting in tears and drama all because I wanted her to sit in the new chair she picked out instead of my lap.
In these moments how can you win? You have two choices 1. Let them have their meltdown and ignore it or 2. Fight with them making the issue worse. Problem is regardless what you do their is a scene made on the behalf of your children and everyone around you is judging your parenting. For me it’s hard because there’s a lot going on in my kids lives. We have just hit 6 weeks of Daddy being in Arizona and yes he has gotten to visit briefly twice but those visits are never long enough for the kids. In 6 weeks we have gone from a structured house with 2 parents to a divided house with one parent having to be the good guy and bad guy and getting few chances to really have a conversation with the other parent. It’s hard. It’s hard for me so I know it’s hard for them. In no way did I expect this to be easy but how did we get to this point? Where/when did I start failing my kids? Yes I cried on the way home from soccer because I couldn’t believe what just happened they were basically telling me something was wrong, actions speak louder then words.
How do you come back from the low? I made the kids lunch and put them down for naps and then I sat outside and thought about what’s been going on since dads last visit home, what adjustments I could make, how I could make the next 54 days easier on them. Do I have all the answers, no. What I did have was an ice cream date last night with my kids to end what started as an enjoyable turned to disaster turned to minor heartbreak kind of day.
And yes today was better 🙂
Last night, well really early this morning, laying in bed trying to fall asleep mommy guilt started to set in. I had cleaned the house did all the laundry laid out their clothes for the next three days and even somehow managed to pack myself and although everything was done to make my trip away easier for them I still felt guilty. Why mommy guilt? Well for starters Makayla is 3 years old and I’m pretty sure our time apart has only ever consisted of one night away from each other. She’s my sidekick, my extra arms, sometimes a pain in my ass but nonetheless my baby. For Bray it’s different. We’ve spent time apart I think really just Jay and I’s honeymoon but he’s also older now and I know if he needs something or something is out of routine he won’t be afraid to voice it, a comforting feeling. But then there’s his soccer game, the first game of the new season this weekend and as the involved mom I always try to be my heart is breaking I can’t be there but again all of his stuff is laid out and the latest email about our weather conditions and instructions has been emailed to the family member caring for them so really everything is taken care of and his Grammy will be there too so his support system is in place.
So as I sit here and try to eat this oversized greasy slice of pizza waiting for my plane my heart still breaks. Being a stay at home mom is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing that I get to be with them everyday watching them grow, helping them when they need it and helping shape them into the little human beings they are becoming. A curse because being with them everyday is my place so when separation which should be extremely exciting for me because breaks like this are as often as seeing snow in the town we are moving to in Arizona I should be ecstatic. Not sure it helps that Bray followed me around all morning like a lost puppy instead of his usual routine of going downstairs and playing with his cars or on the iPad.
Regardless of my feelings and anxiety about the kids I am excited to see my husband and the town I am uprooting mine and the kids lives to live in.
So here’s to new adventures🍻
So it’s Saturday night which meant a movie and pizza for the kids and I. It’s unbelievable that with all the DVD’s we own, Netflix and On Demand the kids (and I) could not come to an agreement on a movie. Like seriously 20 minutes of back and forth because Brayden wanted to watch Hop and Makayla wanted to watch every Disney Princess movie we own. Finally as I was 2 seconds short of saying “forget it no movie” I went into the kids DVD bin and found The Peanuts Movie still wrapped in cellophane from Christmas. Finally we had an agreement and better yet it was a movie none of us had seen.
With our pizza and drinks on the coffee table we started the movie and to be honest about 10 minutes in I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end. I am happy to say it did get better. Brayden (5) sat through the whole thing while Makayla (2) was watching while bouncing around on the couch and demanding more pink lemonade. After awhile we made it to the part where Charlie Brown sees his crush practicing dancing in her window and to impress her he goes home to learn how to dance for the winter dance at school. The kids enjoyed the dancing but they really enjoyed the song. Then the winter dance scene finally comes on and the song plays again, “Better When I’m Dancin'” by Meghan Trainor. It is really upbeat and catchy and the kids loved it, Makayla was even up dancing!
As the movie continues you see all the disappointments Charlie Brown goes through it’s like nothing ever goes his way but then finally at the end of the movie he has success; he flies the kite and talks to his crush. Now as a Mom I’m thinking “aww what a cute ending he finally talked to his little girlfriend and we seriously need to download this song for the car!” So the kids and I went on iTunes and downloaded the song, the kids danced for a little bit and we headed upstairs for bed. As I got Brayden’s toothbrush out I asked if he liked the movie and his response caught me off guard:
Brayden – “I did! Charlie Brown never gave up!”
Me – “Wow bud your right he didn’t give up, can you tell me what he didn’t give up at?”
Brayden – “Talking to that girl and he flew the kite.” (5 second pause) “I’m like him I don’t give up.”
Me (with a happy heart) – “You’re right you have never given up.”
We exchanged big smiles and I went about brushing his teeth. You don’t realize just what your 5 year old picks up on until moments like this. For those who don’t know Brayden’s story he has been through a lot. He had heart surgery at 5 months old. A second unheart related surgery at 15 months old. He’s struggled with medical issues from his heart during the winters and this past December had oral surgery. So yes at a mere 5 years of age him recognizing that he doesn’t give up is HUGE for me as a mother. He has been a fighter from the beginning and he is where I have gotten my strength on my weakest days. (I will be writing more on Brayden in the next few weeks during congenital heart defect awareness week.)
So lesson learned don’t underestimate your 5 year old, they may drive you crazy and make you want to pull all of your hair out but they are paying attention. They are paying attention to the journey they are on and all that’s going on around them.
And if you’re ever having one of those rough mommy days listen to this song it’s a good pick me up and bound to get you dancing 🙂
Better When I’m Dancin’ – Meghan Trainor