Today was amazing. I felt like I ran through every emotion under the sun, yet somehow kept it together. We had a busy adventurous day yesterday, so today we stayed close to home. I realized our library books were due yesterday so we gathered them all up and headed to the library in the next town over. The town where we live has a casino, a race track, and an enormous mall, but they haven’t yet rebuilt the library that was destroyed in a hurricane seven years ago. I long for the public libraries in the New York/New Jersey area, that I had taken for granted! the library in the next town is okay, the children’s section isn’t great, but it keeps us in a steady flow of picture books and graphic novels. Ella has very little patience for places where she has to act civilized. She likes to scream and squawk, walk up to everyone and say “Hi!”, pull books off the shelves and stand on them, and just generally disrupt the quiet of the library. I would say that if it weren’t for Ben I’d give her a good six months to a year before I tried the library again. Alas, my big kid loves books (thankfully!!) so we go. As I’m writing this I’m thinking that the library would be a fantastic activity for just me and Ben on the day I do a babysitting trade for Ella with a friend! I love the way solutions sometimes find us out of the blue.
Since I know we have a limited time of patience at the library, and we got there twenty minutes before it opened (oops) once they unlocked the doors I was like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. “Ben! Take this basket and fill it up with books!” He looked at me like, “Geez what’s the rush?” But walked down the aisle to the children’s section while I returned the books at the counter. The women who work at this library are not overly friendly, nor are they enamored by children. Ella was unstacking the baskets in a corner and someone came by and said “Whose baby is this??” I was standing nearby so I said she was mine and the woman said, “Someone could come and trip over these!” I wanted to say, “Yes, but this is keeping her from screaming!” Instead I just picked up the baskets and scooped Ella up, who let out a high pitched squeal of displeasure. We found Ben perusing the small children’s area stacking books into his basket. Normally I try to choose books carefully but this time I just grabbed a handful, tossed them in the basket and checked out. We got home just in time for Ella to actually take a nap in bed, instead of the car where she has been catching most of her daytime sleep lately.
While Ella was sleeping Ben looked at his books and I did some writing. Library day is a treat for both of us because Ben loves looking at books so much that he will spend literally hours poring over the illustrations. Graphic novels are especially exciting for him because he can really follow along with the story. Once Ella woke up I suggested going out but Ben was so committed to his library treasure that he didn’t want to go anywhere. He never really wants to go anywhere but is always happy when we do go out, but today I relented and we spent the afternoon just hanging around. We made buckwheat crust mini pizzas, kale chips, and strawberry banana “ice cream” out of frozen fruit and coconut milk in the Vitamix. We eventually went downstairs for a swim and I forced myself to take deep breaths, look around at the beautiful scenery and enjoy the feeling of the sun on my skin. I reminded myself that people travel from all over to vacation in Miami, and I enjoyed the feeling of being on vacation at my building’s pool. We came inside, the kids took a bath, I put them in their pajamas and we went to pick Mo up from work. He was happy that we came out even though it was close to bedtime, and the kids were so happy to see him as always. I felt satisfied with the day even though I had moments of uneasiness and lost my patience a few times. I was proud of myself for feeling like I chose to go with the flow, enjoy the sweet moments, and let the frustrations pass without sinking into a bad mood. The kids were also very affectionate with each other and played together for a while today which brings me so much satisfaction. Seeing them hug or do something together is the sweetest thing in the world.
When bedtime came Ben decided that he wanted to sleep next to Ella and she let him wrap his arms around her for a few minutes. The more time they spend together the more I feel like they are on the same team rather than rivals. This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to homeschool this year, to bring our family closer together. Little by little, we’re finding our way.