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Stacy's Parenting Journal

Entry 5 ~ June 29, 2009
Two Graduations and a Funeral . . .

Kristin graduation . . . and a surprise 30th birthday party, and a baptism, Father's Day and Kristin's 18th birthday. Yes, all in a span of five days.

Kristin turned 18 in mid-June. What a wonderful milestone for any teen, especially one about to graduate high school. Ernie and I bought her a pearl ring, hoping that she wouldn't be too cool to wear a pearl. She loved it. What she loved even more is the fact that her mother, Jill, older sister Kelly, older half brother Mark and his girlfriend Erin, drove 18 hours from Georgia in time to be waiting for her at the restaurant where we intended to celebrate her birthday, surprising her, as she expected their arrival a day later. What I loved about it was that Ernie, Jill and I could sit at the same dinner table and enjoy dinner together with all of the kids. Four years ago, none of us would have dreamed of being in the same room, but time seems to have a way of mending hurts and repairing bridges.

The 30th birthday party was a party Ernie and I missed. The girls attended with their mother, while I attended my nephew's graduation. Another bridge seemed to build itself, as I sat with my brother, his fiancée, and my mother, step-mother and father. My parents have been divorced for 34 years and have spent the better part of those 34 years avoiding each other in any and every way possible. There is little overt animosity between my mom and my dad, but I've always been aware of the unspoken acrimony between them. Since I had Brody, Reese and Reagan with me, if they wanted to see and hold the kids, it left them little choice but to sit where I sat. Was it really a bridge? Maybe not, but it felt comfortable rather than tense or anxious.

Moving right along, I attended an old friend's funeral, one of my few solo excursions away from home, aside from heading to the office. It felt only slightly weird to be alone, without Ernie, without any children, but given the circumstances, it was the best choice.

Later that day, our entire tribe trekked to the high school for Kristin's graduation. It rained incessantly, so the ceremony was held in the school gym. Again, Ernie, Jill and I sat together with all of the kids. I had Brody, Reese and Reagan, tired, cranky and dressed like the little cuties they are. Mercifully, the graduation lasted barely an hour. In that short hour, I brought Brody to the bathroom, climbed under someone's chair to retrieve an errant water bottle, grabbed Reagan as she squatted next to a woman and pulled a prescription bottle out of the woman's handbag, ran out of the gym as Reagan screamed, chased Reese before she exited the gym, swabbed milk off the gym floor. It was exhausting. The one glimpse I had of Kristin throughout the entire ceremony was the moment she was called to accept her diploma.

Despite their antics, I was stopped on my way out of the gym, with, "are they twins?" "They are beautiful." "Look at those blue eyes." "You sure do have your hands full." "How do you do it?" When those girls learn to write, I swear to God, they will be signing autographs wherever they go.

We split up again on Father's day, Ernie and the older girls to the baptism, the young ones and me to my father's house for a barbeque. My stepmother, knowing what kind of weekend we had, and sensing that I was nearing the end of my endless rope, sent me to the back porch with a glass of wine. What a good woman. I sat and watched while Brody and my father ran around the back yard, with Reagan chasing them. Reese, who isn't quite walking yet, stayed inside with Grammy. The afternoon was a delight, and by the time we headed home, I had three squeaky clean little ones, one of the great highlights of a trip to Grammy's and Grampy's; how high Gramps can fill the tub, and how long the little ones, especially Brody, can tolerate water.

Getting home, finally, to Ernie and the older girls, we planned to go out for ice cream for Ernie's Father's day. By the time I pulled in the driveway after our 45 minute drive home, Brody, Reese and Reagan were sound asleep in the back. Kristin was also sleeping, since she'd spent the prior night at safe graduation and didn't get home until 4:30am.

So much for ice cream.

And so went the weekend, with wonderful milestones and memories. Kelly, Jill, Mark, and Erin headed back to Georgia early in the week, while Kassie completed her finals early in the week. Kristin decided spur-of-the-moment to travel back to Georgia with Jill and company until the following weekend. Brody's preschool let out for the summer, and we are on hiatus from daycare. Summer is finally upon us, and our entire family is looking forward to some well-deserved rest. And we will rest. Really.

~ Stacy

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