Our spring break falls this week with Easter weekend at it's conclusion. That means we're sort of cramming it all in together.
The very minute school let out last Friday, we high tailed it to the mountains for a much needed regroup. It's been something my teenagers needed desperately.
I don't want to postpone our Christ centered Easter tradition but, honestly, it's hard to give it full due amongst the crush of all sorts of spring break activity in a rental property. We'll be home at the end of the week and we'll be more able to focus our attention.
In the meantime ... at the forefront of the week, we awoke Sunday morning to a blizzard of a storm with chain requirements between here and the nearest LDS church building. We took the rare chance to hold our own little meeting in the comfort of the town home living room.
Janie had brought an object lesson (which can be found here) about the last days of the Savior that she prepared in her activity day girl's church group. She had worked so hard putting it together for us as an evening activity sometime during our vacation and was just as please as punch to give it as our lesson.
Then we all took turns sharing our feelings in testimony about gospel principles and our gratitude for Christ's perfect example and beautiful plan.
Then she gathered us all for making those "Resurrection Rolls" everyone talks about. Some worked. Some didn't. We altered the recipe only slightly by dipping our final wrapped dough in cinnamon/sugar.
Not sure we would make them a tradition but just the same ... she was good at directing us all through the making. The recipe is here.
It was one of those Sundays where the air was thick and I'm hoping it's something these kids of mine won't easily forget. It was certainly a great kick start into Easter week.
When a man announces out of the blue that he's going to Costco ...
He will come home with a random collection of manly stuff. Some edible. Some not. None of which will make an actual full meal. All of which merely appealed to his senses at the time.
And they call women impulse buyers.
When I'm making dinner and this sort of thing is going on around the corner, my heart melts.
This right here is exactly why I check pants pockets before putting them in the wash .. even though that one time I found a collection of rollie pollie bugs in the lint filter nearly killed my will to put a hand in that chamber of secrets.
Yep, that's a thumb drive containing a 14 year old boy's most important school assignments in the middle of that mess.
Celia has joined the tennis team. She says it doesn't matter that they don't know how to play well, so long as they look cute in the uniforms.
One would think this babies sideways lean position means my days are numbered.
But she has continued to act completely stuck without someone to pony her around.
Until this morning ...
When I found that cheater pants pulling clothes out of her drawers and throwing them on the floor.
Little Stinker. Someone's been withholding their mobility.
Friday mornings, we visit library story time out in rural-ville beyond our rural-ville.
Last week, we stepped into the thrift store across the street and while there, a gal taking photos asked for Eliza's picture next to a basket of plastic eggs being filled for the local egg hunt.
This morning, Eliza arrived in town as a celebrity.
Her picture was every where, advertising the Saturday shindig.
Each individual we encountered had seen the daily paper.
What's not to love about rural-ville when you get to share the front page with a little llama drama ;)
And yes ... she dresses herself .. which makes her look ... local ;)
Speaking of dressing one's self .. every single body bailed out of here for school this morning in shorts and flip flops like today's 70's were the signal to summer.
The trip home from the library begged for a swing at the park. It was lovely despite the patches of snow still remaining on the ground from last weekend's spring storm.
So lovely, even Charlotte went shoeless.
Eliza's favorite bedtime story is Goodnight Moon. It's a must read often. She brought her dad a bedtime story from the library ... just for him.
Firstly off, she's fine. So is the other girl. So is the car. I say that right out of the gate because this morning I freaked out my mom and I'll save you the anxiety.
Admittedly, I stressed the first day of sixteen year old driving. A little less so the next. Celia's involvement in the school tennis team accompanying the wrap up of this play has made it's nice having her get herself to and from.
Last night I started to get comfortable.
School, tennis practice, call time for the play and a performance wrapping at 9:30 ish, I was thinking how nice it was to be getting little people fed and off to bed and not blitzing hither and yon.
The house quieted. We left on the porch light and settled in for an episode of Downton Abbey while waiting for her arrival.
In the 10:00 stillness, the home phone rang.
I answered and heard the tearful, little voice on the other end, "Mom ??? .... A girl hit me as I was pulling out of the school.... "
I felt the bottom of my stomach fall out. Like being at the top of a roller coaster drop, knowing it's coming, not knowing how soon, unprepared for the inevitable, disbelieving you're already there.
My vision tunneled for a second. My ears rang with a rush too loud to hear.
"Are you okay?"
"Is she okay?"
"Where are you?" Since the day she was born into this world, we've not torn out of our home base comfort quicker than we did in the cold dark last night.
She was faultless in a side swipe. It's a super scary learning experience of high school parking lot traffic ... most especially after dark.
But ... that call ... that drive wondering if I'd find broken cars and painful bodies littering the stop light intersection ... the relief ... the heartbreak at watching her fear ..
Back home in the quiet, after the damage was surveyed, police reports made, and hugs of thanksgiving, I pulled the covers over my head and lost all my emotions.
All the "could have beens" flooded.
I lament a constant desire to hold these babies of mine close and never let them go. I'm also a firm believer of giving them wings and teaching them to fly.
Last night, I felt like a heartless mother bird perched on the nest edge, pushing one over and watching the flopping flail toward hardened earth while screaming in my head, "Spread them! You can do it! Just fly!!!"
What I didn't know as I'd drifted off to sleep last Thursday night with everyone between the ages of 8 months to 15 and remaining change, that I would never feel as secure again as I was in that moment before children could deliberately be placed in harms way.
This morning I put her back in that car so she could fly.
Changed the wording of my prayers.
Spent the day feeling broken in.
Told myself to never get too comfortable again.
Or take anything for granted.
Repeated no less than a hundred times "Pray and don't worry. Or worry and don't pray."
And that's what that late night call in the dark does to a mom.
In the world of Mormon teens ... sixteen is the biggest birthday. Ever.
Most begin their dating years.
Driving brings more freedom.
It's as if this girl stood on the starting line of life as the gun signaled the blitz and I'm left standing in a dust cloud wondering what just happened.
First thing on Friday morning, she entered the church building for early morning seminary (that's a before school scripture study class she takes every morning). Her cute friends had plastered the building with these.
There were more at the high school.
She couldn't clear them all and on Sunday, this one was found still in the church ... only this time with phone numbers and notes from the young men her age in the other ward that shares our building.
Yeah that smile was bigger and bigger by weekend's end.
Even when playing around with the Nutella. If those boys could only see her now ;)
I was afraid that we would be insufficient celebrators since Friday night was also the opening night of her high school play Singin' In The Rain. She was so darn excited for the stage and it was so well done, we couldn't help but have a great time.
Except for Grant apparently, who wanted to climb lighting scaffolding rather than pose for pictures.
We filled the fun bus with her fellow cast member friends and hit Waffle House for a late night celebration.
This cute, cute boy sang a birthday song just for her.
Yep, she was pleased as punch at that. I love those music/dance/theater kids.
In the quiet of the car following the teenage hurrah ... I heard her open a gift basket she had gotten from one of the other boys who is a great friend. Her "oh my gosh, oh my gosh, OH MY GOSH!" nearly made me drive off the road.
He'd put together clues to a mystery date to come. Her very first date. Champion of the day.
I couldn't have given her anything to trump that if I had wanted to.
And getting her to bed that night was a little like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, singing "I could have danced all night" and floating around the bedroom.
Sunday, cousins came bringing desserts to celebrate. We are so excited that these guys moved near us last week. We've never had family close. We may love them so much that they run from our smothering.
Monday, I picked her up in a freaky short blizzard of a storm as we headed over to the DMV for her drive test appointment.
I would have grabbed a picture of the sheer amounts of snow coming down and covering the road but I was gripping the door handle with both hands whilst giving her a crash course on first-time snow driving. I was sure they would postpone the drive and kill her enthusiasm.
Sometimes the long wait at the DMV can be beneficial, as all signs of the crazy-short blizzard abated by the time our number was called. Still ... she was a little frazzled as she took off with the test administrator.
Yesterday morning I felt like I was hovering indefinitely in that moment right before a band-aid gets ripped off.
No .. wait.
No .. just a second.
Okay, do it ....
No stop ...
Let's count to three ..
And then I let her take my non-coat wearing crew to school.
And then I sat here biting my nails for a text telling me she'd arrived.
Longest fifteen minutes. Of. My. Life.
At dinner time still waiting for her to get in from tennis team, Newel stood beside me telling me she'd be fine. As she swung in at the store to get that one thing I needed, I began to think this might just be okay.
Until I thought about that boy ... her same age ... picking her up on Friday night .... taking her off with him in his car ... and my ears were ringing with the sounds of the starting gun ... and the taste of dust in my mouth.
But today, I'm more relaxed.
See? Celebration and panic all rolled into one ;)
Happy Birthday, Celia. We love everything about who you are and who you are becoming. I hope you enjoy every minute of the sweetness of sixteen!