Springtime in the Valley

Posted: April 12, 2012 in Aengus, Noah, Parenting
Tags: , , , , ,

We’ve been kind of busy here in the ‘Hood lately, doing some really awesome stuff.

I somewhat reluctantly accompanied my friend to see her favorite band, Kasabian, when they came to D.C. I was reluctant only because I was so very unfamiliar with their music. What little I’d heard was a bit too . . . ethereal for my taste. But I love this friend dearly, and no evening out with her is ever bad, so of course I was on board.


Serge, just being Serge.


We had a really, really good time, and not just because the show was fabulous and my friend was reduced to little-girl squeals of delight and she got to meet members of the band. No, the best part for me is what I always experience when this friend and I get together: a return to myself.

As mothers, our world often becomes our children. That is as it should be, as far as I’m concerned, (though that’s not a universally-held belief). I love being a mother almost as much as I love my children themselves, and I would not change my status as full-time mom unless I had no other choice.

But the fact remains that we are not only mothers: we are still women; still citizens; still wives and volunteers and professionals and writers and neighbors and learners and many, many other things as well. It is easy to get so wrapped up in our children’s lives and caretaking that we — I forget about the rest of me. Worse, I often remember the real me but relegate her to lowest woman on the totem pole.

Going to these clubs and concerts with my friend makes me not just honor those parts of me that are so often shunted aside to make way for parenting; it makes me feel as though all my parts are whole again.

The weekend after the Kasabian concert, Noah and I attended the annual conference for the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. I am the volunteer coordinator, and I “coordinated” Noah into helping.

We had a good time at the conference, though I didn’t get much out of it as a homeschooler. I currently have an overwhelming been-there/done-that sensation regarding the topics usually discussed at these things. I love home education and I love the camaraderie of chatting with other homeschooling vets. But I don’t learn many new things anymore, nor do I need to page through the curriculum that’s on sale.

What I *do* need is the occasional reminder of  the awesome people who have been working working working — while raising and homeschooling their own families! — to preserve our freedoms here in Virginia.

And THAT was really amazing.

After the conference, Noah and I had an afternoon to play in Richmond. We took the advice of several Facebook friends and explored Carytown, a shopping district in old town. Holy cow, what a great place! Vintage shops, hipster clothing shops, record stores, video game stores with vintage games, sushi bars, coffee shops, and a really fun Japanese market.

He still buys records. ❤

So. Awesome.

 We also hit up a big mall for a bit, though they had pretty much everything every fucking mall in America has. This one also had a shop, though, that sold Japanese movies — including porn, Noah was amused to learn — and had a few oldschool arcade games in the back. Which of course we played. We got a little 2P Mario action going.

Noah's turn. He did not do as well as he would have you believe.

Confession: I had never played Mario Brothers before. We had an Atari when I was a teen, and when it died, so did our video gaming. No SNES for us!

A few days after our return from Richmond, Noah got the call: he got a jay-oh-bee! Best part: it’s right down the road, so he won’t be wasting money on gas. Worst part: band practice, studying, and dating have been difficult to fit into the new schedule. I’m giving him another week to adjust, then his responsibilities will have to kick back in. But that paycheck will undoubtedly be good motivation.

Later that week . . .

I was out grocery shopping, when I received an urgent-sounding text from my dad:  “CALL ME.” I immediately thought my mom had a heart attack and called Dad. No answer. Called my mom. No answer. It was while I was dialing Dad’s office that he returned my call, sounding perfectly normal. Okaaaay. . . .

He asked me some weird questions; not just where was I and what was I doing, but how long til I’d be back and how long does it take to get home from the store. It turns out, he was parked in my driveway. My dad, who lives more than 200 miles away and very rarely comes down for a visit was SITTING IN MY FUGGING DRIVEWAY.

What the what?!

I rushed home, of course, and we had a lovely time chatting as I put the groceries away. He had surprised Noah at work while he was waiting for me to get home. I wish I could have seen Noah’s face. XD Dad had apparently come to bring us the kids’ Easter baskets from him and my mom. Think about that: he drove four hours to “drop off” Easter baskets and “set a bit,” before driving four hours back home.

They’re so effing sweet, aren’t they? And then he proceeded to take us out for dinner!

Such a fabulous surprise. Would have been better a day later, when my house would have been CLEAN, but whatever. The messiness of my house surprises no one.

This past weekend was Easter. As atheists, we of course don’t celebrate or honor the religious aspect of the holiday. But my husband and I were raised in Christian homes and, therefore, we follow many Christian traditions. While the kids were young, we did the whole Easter bunny thing, complete with baskets and eggs and all that. But last year, we skipped it all. Completely. We did absolutely nothing different from any other day of the year. I had discovered Zombie Jesus Day only the day before, so I hadn’t prepared anything fun, and we just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to do any of the other “little kid” stuff.

Bacon lip balm, bacon drink flavoring, bacon gum, . . .

But THIS year . . .

We didn’t go nuts — we’re a pretty low-key family, even at holidays. But I made the traditional Easter ham and fixin’s for dinner and we gave the boys baskets. Noah’s had a lot of treats from the Japanese market and some cash; Aengus’s had lots of bacon-flavored goodies I found in Carytown and the t-shirt he’d been eyeballing for months. Both had Zombie Bars: green chocolate bars with rice krispies. 🙂

We didn’t paint eggs, but after dinner that night we zombified bunnies.

This totally counts as art class!

I found some broken chocolate bunnies on clearance and bought some Candy Melt at the craft store. All we had to do was melt the chocolate, then paint on rotting flesh and exposed guts.

Such fun! I think a new tradition has been born.

Aengus was quite serious with his work, and focused on his bunnies for several hours.

Noah and Shelby, on the other hand . . .Well, what can you expect when you give two teenagers in love some paintable chocolate?

So mature. ;-p

  1. Great post, especially about returning to yourself.

  2. Great post, especially about returning to yourself. 🙂


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