Christmas time is almost here

Today marks 12 years since James proposed to me!  That’s crazy.  In some ways it really doesn’t feel that long ago.

Time goes by fast, like this month just whizzing by before my very eyes.  How can it already be just 9 days till Christmas?!  I don’t feel ready for it somehow, and yet I can’t help but be excited about it.

The kids have been busy with school activities centered around holiday time, which means I’ve also been busy with school activities centered around holiday time!  I recently helped the girls’ class with an art project making cute little angel ornaments.  It was fun, and I was happy to be asked to help, because it’s special to be a part of those moments, having had the same opportunity (in the same classroom, with the same teacher even!) when Andrew was in Kindergarten.  I enjoy getting to know the personalities of a lot of the kids in the class, and knowing they feel comfortable around me because they’re used to seeing me, much like the kids in Andrew’s K class got to know me and still say Hi to me 3 years later.

I drove the girls’ and one of their friends to their first ever skating lesson.  They had so much fun!  I was nervous at first because it was a free for all skate, not a proper lesson per se, and Emily was helped onto the ice and given a bar to use (we were at a different rink for all the years leading up to this for Andrew’s lessons, and they had a no bar policy, so already this was different).  She was slip sliding along using the bar, barely holding herself up and obviously feeling overwhelmed with how out of control she was.  She turned to look at me through the plexiglass that separated us, and got her adorable yet heart-breaking sob face and I couldn’t hear her but I could read her lips as she said, ‘Mommy, I just want to go home!’  Emily isn’t way over the top sensitive, but she definitely leans more toward the sensitive side, and I feared that if someone didn’t rescue her and make her feel more comfortable, she was going to hate skating for life based on this one terrible experience.  I was about ready to walk onto the ice in my boots (I honestly don’t know how to skate myself so I’d be better off in my street shoes!) when one of the older kids (they were skating with the grade 6’s and maybe some 7’s) that Emily knows from school that often looks out for her came over and helped her along.  Suddenly her face softened and I could see some excitement in her eyes.  Soon she was gliding gleefully across the ice, and grinned at me when I gave her a thumbs up sign to let her know I was seeing how great she was doing.  Those are the kinds of moments that melt my heart.  A while later another older student who I don’t know took to her and really helped her along.  He even had her away from the bar for a while, skating all on her own, or holding his hand.  It was so sweet to watch!

Margaret was less nervous from the get go, but mostly stuck to the bar.  She had a bit of help from the older kids but for the most part she was happy to skate around with the bar on her own, and would keep an eye on Emily to make sure they didn’t stray too far from each other.  I don’t think it was so much that she was looking out for her sister as she just wanted to know she was nearby.  The girls aren’t clingy as twins but they do like to know each other is around.  They don’t have to be attached at the hip by any means, but if they can’t find each other after a while they’ll definitely inquire as to where their other half is!

I enjoyed taking them to skating, truthfully much more so than I enjoyed taking Andrew in the past.  He went once a week for 4 weeks every year till now, and I would drive him and usually 3 other kids each time, lace them all up, make sure they got on the ice, and afterwards would help them all get ready to leave, feed them a snack I brought along for the car ride back, and take them back to school.  It was a lot of work in some ways, but I did enjoy being able to help out and be there to watch Andrew skate.  The thing was, he always acted as if the umbilical cord had yet to be cut, and would FREAK THE EFF OUT if I so much as glanced away from him for a split second.  I felt that skating was an opportunity for me to watch him on the ice, but also at times chat with his teacher, or other parents of kids in his class.  Instead, I was made to feel (by him) that if I strayed from watching him for even a moment I was ruining his life, on and off the ice, and he would literally throw tantrums, sob, and make the entire experience miserable.  Not saying it was like that every single time, to that degree, but some variant of it.  I remember once when he was in grade one, I went next door to the rink to grab a coffee (after telling his teacher I’d be gone for just a few minutes) and when I came back it was as if his entire world had ended.  It was ridiculous.  Absolutely ri-di-cu-lous!  And emotionally taxing.  I love the kid to bits but O-M-G!!  So in stark contrast to that, it was hugely refreshing to take the girls, and be able to tell them, ‘If you can’t see me right here beyond the plexiglass, know I am right over there in the warm waiting area!’  They didn’t even notice me most of the time I was there watching them, let alone when I’d left to go warm up for a while.

This year, due to being at a rink much closer to home, the Kindergarten kids were the only ones who would need a ride there and back, whereas grades 1 through 7 would be walking.  So I told Andrew that I wasn’t going to see him skate because 1) I was already driving the girls in the morning and didn’t want to have to go back to the rink again later that same day, and 2) I was honest and said he’d probably do better to not have me there because he could focus on skating and not be making my life a living hell if I blinked my eyes!  LOL  I do think it’s important to be honest with kids about such things!!  Although this year he has shown a lot more independence, at least at school, and doesn’t necessarily even want me there sometimes (which is a whole new thing to get used to!  In some ways it’s great, I won’t lie!  In others, it’s sad how quickly he’s growing up and doesn’t need me as much!  It’s funny how the grass is always greener on the other side!)

Last Saturday Andrew had his Christmas concert for his dance school.  He was in an Acro number with kids aged 10 and up, so he was younger than everyone being that he’s not quite 9, but he definitely managed to hold his own, and was a shining star on stage, as always.  He literally shines, like he just belongs on stage.  He loves performing so much, which amazes me since I was scarred for life by my ballet recitals as a young child and can’t imagine ever being comfortable on a stage, but I’m glad he enjoys it so much!

This week it was the school Christmas concerts, and they had the odd divisions perform on Tuesday, and the even divisions on Thursday.  Wouldn’t you know Andrew is in an odd division, and the girls are even!  So we had to go to both concerts.  It was the exact same performance both times, just different kids doing it, so it was a bit strange in some ways to have to watch the same show like that, but over all it was good.  James was able to work from home so he could attend the afternoon performances with me, and then my parents were able to use the tickets to go to the evening performances.  Both were good, and I loved seeing Andrew up there all dressed up in his finery, tie included.  The girls had to wear pajamas for their number, so they chose their Christmas onesies.  I thought Emily might not like being on stage but she sang every word and was right into the music.  Margaret sang for the most part, but I think she was busy looking for us in the audience, and didn’t like that she couldn’t find us.  They both did well, but the song was slow and all the kids, not just ours, looked kind of miserable - not because they necessarily were, but because the song wasn’t entirely upbeat.  I kind of wish that had been different, but it was good nonetheless, and they really seemed to enjoy themselves.  

Lots of plans this weekend, and a busy week ahead and then Christmas will be here before we know it!!

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