I go on a girls trip tomorrow. I will be at the beach. I only have to think about bathing suits and sun screen and towels and snacks for myself. I can eat Cheetos all day.
To go on the girls trip, I've had very little fourth part over the past couple of weeks.
Our summer has been chock full of no, not nuts, but activities. Mostly fun. Some, eh.
Camille has gymnastics every single day. We were off for a few days the first weekend and Monday in June after school was out. And, we were off July 4. Shoot off a firework for that. Now, she loves it. She's up every morning on her own getting dressed. She's tired at breakfast but she has not complained one time. Not one time. We had a few days of tears because she was putting pressure on herself to be able to complete a skill -- a back handspring on the high beam. (Y'all know I don't know kips and casts and tucks and all that. Oh, now there's a fly away and a grand.) We couldn't figure it out. We kept telling her to do her best and that her coach would not expect her to do something if she wasn't ready.
After a few days, the athletic coach in our house said to email Camille's coach.
(Y'all also know we don't question coaches around here. OK, I questioned the coach when Chris played for the coach who lives in this house. That never went over well. The response usually included a phrase such as 'you don't see the whole game' and 'you are only watching offense.' Yeah, alright.)
Her coach responded with the point that this was Camille's first real struggle to learn a skill. You see, it has come very naturally to our little Simone Biles. She can spend 30 minutes to an hour in the backyard trying something over and over and over again and she will get it. Seriously. She's driven and persistent. But this back handspring on the high beam required work and building up to it. She could do it on the floor, the fat beam (yeah, that's a thing) and the low beam. She had to persist and keep at it on the high beam. Once the coach told us that and she had a couple of conversations with Camille, she was a new child.
Oh, I hate the struggle. I hate to watch my children go through those tough times. I hate to struggle. I am absolutely a mom who helps and tries to back away, but sometimes comes through with ideas. According to so much I read and learn from all my 'friends' on the internet, I'm not supposed to do that. They are supposed to learn on their own. Yeah, well, sometimes, they don't know where to even start. Oh, well the internet tells me they have to figure it out. Yeah, I'm not 100 percent on that train (or beam).
While I now let Chris struggle through things on his own, I still sometimes jump in and help.
(OK, not all the time. If he calls for my thoughts on how to write a speech, I'm helping. I mean speech. It's my thing. Don't get me started on how I let him struggle through writing. If struggling means helping him put thoughts together in an organized manner and coaching him through the process, I let him struggle. I don't write his papers, and I even avoid editing. Boy, that's tough. I'm learning. I'm struggling through it, too.)
Currently, he's trying to find a place to live. His lease is up -- hold your breath -- Friday. This Friday. At noon. He has to be moved out. And, he has no place to live. (I can feel the anxiety and worry bubbling up in me. God cares for the lilies of the field, the birds. Say it over and over, Jill.) He's been diligently looking the last few days. I keep praying something comes through.
And, I know he has to figure it out. I can't help him. He's in Lubbock. I'm in San Antonio. I've been knocking out gymnastics carpool and traveling for work and coordinating our schedules with Gervais' coaching school and shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Oh, and I've been getting ready for vacation -- have you tried to find a bathing suit at the end of July. (Praise Yahweh for Dillard's. Sale and selection.)
So, no fourth parts except today, the day before I go on vacation. I can take a breath. I can pause and write. I've found two other places to submit pieces so I've felt behind on writing. That technically means it isn't a fourth part, as that would be work, but writing is not a struggle for me. (Avoiding the use of adverbs remains a struggle and tenses continue to muck up my words, but overall, writing is not a struggle.)
I have so many topics and so many thoughts on what to write sometimes I struggle to get started, but once I get going, I go. The topics to write on have presented over and over again this summer as I've tried to find those fourth parts. The girls and I have our bucket list and we've been finding time for our fun. Bravo continues to provide quality television. The Handmaid's Tale kept me entertained until the second week in August. (When does House of Cards start sans Kevin Spacey?)
I also have written lists and to dos and even entered into bullet/dot journaling. Blog post and other articles have migrated to different days for about three weeks now. Today, though, the writing is going down.
One list I had was this week's schedule. Each day, G and I mapped out the carpool schedule, the babysitter schedule, the coaches school meetings and my getting ready for my vacation. It was a list to be proud of and overwhelmed of all at the same time. It was truly satisfying to mark off the tasks each day so far this week. We've had some game time decisions and had to make changes, but having the base list helped. (Those of you who bullet or dot journal, this should have been in my journal, but G doesn't see that and he needed to see this list.)
This probably was a week where we should have asked for a different carpool week. There were two times we had to schedule another parent during our official week. They understood and jumped right in. They didn't let me struggle. They helped. We've never had an official carpool before. Yes, we call on friends and family to help do drop offs and pick ups from time to time, but it's ad hoc or as needed. Carpool is fantastic. Plus, three giggling little gymnasts in your back seat is precious entertainment.
For my week in my bullet journal, I had other tasks specific to me. From meeting a group of coaches wives for dinner to finding bathing suits, I had to squeeze errands into every minute. I'm flying to the vacation destination, but some of my girlfriends are driving from San Antonio. I had to drop off beach chairs to the driver earlier this week and fortunately, I found a time in the morning to take care of it -- on the way to leaving Caroline at my parents' house and before I went on a work trip. In that moment, I was so proud of myself. I love when a plan comes together.
I do not struggle through planning and list writing. The bullet journal process works for me as it is a single place to list out all to dos and notes and goals.
Yeah, it was our busiest week of the summer and there were lists and tasks written on every available piece of paper. But it wasn't a struggle. I recently heard from a co-worker that we shouldn't say things are hard. We should say tough things take effort.
Camille learned that this summer. Chris is learning it right now. My schedule this week was evidence of putting effort into something tough.
I guess it is OK to struggle. I'm lucky to have people help me out so I won't ever not help my kids. And, that's what a carpool is, right? Help. It's getting through a struggle and figuring out a tough schedule.
One of the sites I'm going to start writing for is named Friday Night Wives. It's for football coaches wives to share thoughts and challenges. I'll contribute essays as well as respond to posts, even make posts, on the Facebook page. I've read through some of their challenges. Man, some of them struggle. Between children who have challenges and husbands who coach in a different city, there are real struggles. You know what the Friday Night Wives do? We help. We share recipes, we talk through what's worked for us when the football team kids need posters for their lockers and we pray for each other.
We all struggle. The struggle is real. We can all watch people struggle or we can jump in and help.
I prefer helping where I can. The praying hands emoji is an easy start. Throw some my way as I get ready to travel and wait for Chris to find a place to live.
Let's not struggle alone. Let's help.