AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: 08/25/14 12:56 PM
CATEGORIES: Au pair, Blog, college, School
Sorry about my absence last week. It’s been a whirlwind of “firsts” around here and as a result I had some choices to make about how my time was spent. Sometimes I’m very disciplined about choices regarding time allocation. Sometimes I’m not. Last week left me with very little time for anything that didn’t have to do with one of our children.
Of course, that’s what happens when you have kids. And, when there’s five of them…well…at certain times of the year–like back-to-school-time– there’s just not much left over at the end of the day for anything that doesn’t have to do with them.
Thank goodness I like all of them.
The week started out with a return trip to college. Our dining room was suddenly filled with bins and boxes of dorm gear. I’m happy to report there was less than last year. Less stuff. Less stress and less anxiety. It’s amazing the difference a year makes. Drew’s already been there done that. Familiarity breeds comfort so a sophomore move-in is truly easier than a freshman start. Still, we enjoyed having him around the house for the past three months. We’ll miss him. The kids will miss him. Hell…our lawn will miss him–he’s a fastidious yard man. And I know after having experienced how quickly his freshman year flew, soon these “move-ins” will be less about dorm gear and more about him making a home for himself away from ours.
One peculiar little anecdote–moving your sophomore into a college dorm while seven months pregnant is a bit of an anomaly. Luckily there were only three flights of stairs this year, but still. And the stares from the other parents. I could almost read their minds while they tried to figure out our story. “Second marriage?”; “Maybe she ate a basketball because who in their right mind would have kids twenty years apart?” I’m guessing they ruled out I was the “trophy wife”. I mean seriously? I own a mirror and there ain’t nothing going on with me that screams “She’s a prize, isn’t she?”
No sooner did Drew leave than we turned right around a welcomed our newest family member.
No. Not that family member! This little guy is under firm orders to stay put until after the first of November. There is no time in the schedule for his arrival one minute before he is fully cooked. I hope he’s a compliant child. We shall see.
Anyways, when we found out about our impending bundle of joy Sean and I decided to pull the trigger on a childcare option that we’ve been kicking around for awhile now. We’ve always had about 15-20 hours a week of help which was a God send. Having a sitter here on a regular basis has allowed me to adequately meet the needs of every one of our family members including attending to our sons events without a trail of cranky distraction.
It’s a luxury and I’m well aware of how lucky I am to be able to afford the help. I often imagine what our lives would be like if I was doing the house and kids alone-the way so many do—many while holding down a full time job–and I’m grateful for the resources at my disposal.
That being said, we knew given the commitments I made prior to this pregnancy (I have a book coming out in January…more on that later) we would need more help. That’s when a colleague of mine recommended looking into welcoming an au pair into our home. Of course, I knew what an au pair was, but always dismissed it as too expensive or fancy for our family. She encouraged me to investigate the option, however. Turns out it’s much more affordable than I ever imagined and the icing on the cake is that we get to do something we’ve always wanted to do. Open our home to a loving individual from another country.
Enter Erica…stage left.
I picked Erica up from the airport on Thursday of last week. I cannot tell you what a gift she has been to our family just in the short time she has been with us. She is from South America and has introduced a spark of energy into our home that is priceless. The girls immediately warmed to her and MK is loving teaching her all about our culture as well as learning about hers.
Tomorrow, I’m going to write at length about the program, state department requirements, expenses and all of the work that has gone into preparing for this experience. So stay tuned.
This morning we had our first day of preschool and kindergarten. The girls are returning to the Montessori school they attended last year. MK will begin her last year in the three year pre-primary program which counts as her formal kindergarten year.
The twins are beginning a one year program that our school offers to kids who fall into a weird little age-hiccuped category. (Our local cut-off for kindergarten is five years old by August 1st. Because the twins have an August 11th birthday they technically cannot begin their pre-primary program this year but they are very ready for school. Luckily our Montessori school offers a special classroom for young “threes” and fall birthdays where their developmental needs will be met and challenged.)
For this, I am grateful.
I cannot wait to watch them blossom.
Last but not least, Ryan started his senior year at St. Johns Jesuit. I know I don’t write about Ryan much on this blog. In fact, last Christmas I was at a party where one of his former teachers made a note of reminding me I have five kids and not four. Apparently she was concerned that Ryan was left out of most of my commentary.
I thought it was cool she noticed.
You see, Ry is a “fly under the radar” type of person. Attention is not something he enjoys. As with any story I tell about my family, I ask permission before I share. Whether it’s on my weekly radio segment or through social media. It’s a respect thing. I do admit, knowing Ryan’s comfort levels I try not to ask that much in an attempt to save my Ry-sharing for the bigger moments.
This qualified as one.
We attended Ryan’s last first cross country race of the season this past Saturday. He has decided to forego pursuing a running career in college so this will probably be his last varsity season for a sport he’s enjoyed since kindergarten.
He did not disappoint.
As you can see we’ve had a lot of transitioning around here. It’s been a challenge but I realize in the whole scheme of life it’s positive. Our family is growing. Both collectively and individually. That’s to be expected with the passage of time. I think that’s what makes this space so special to me. I like recording the growth–our evolution. It’s my hope that some day Drew, or Erica, or the twins, or this sweet little guy I’m still carrying will come back here and read; learning about our family and what on God’s green Earth was going through their mother’s head when she decided to do this…or that.
And of course, see how loved they all were.
Happy Monday, friends.