Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tech Week

I woke up this morning with a purpose. I had to get Nicholas up and off to the ACT exam. Exhausted, I walked downstairs to fix a cup of coffee, and there was a random kid on my couch. OK not so random. It was one of Christian's best friends, and Christian was on the love seat. The first thing I thought was "I guess he didn't go back to Lincoln." the second "What's wrong with the perfectly good bed in his room?" the final "I love waking up and finding my son and random teenagers on my couch." I miss him, I miss his friends, and I dread Nicholas leaving. After a long and frustrating week, I was tired and in a very happy place. Let's go back to Monday.

Monday was  the beginning of tech week for the Fall play. Frankenstein. I'm not going to lie that I was a little disappointed in the play selection. I know it's October 26th, and Halloween is next week, but I was seriously worried it would be boring. However, the truth is that I always feel this way, and I'm always proven wrong (guess it's a good thing I don't get to pick the plays). Anyway, Monday the kids were out of school. They had come off of a weird week previously where they only went to school Tuesday and Thursday, so everyone was well rested and ready to go for tech week.

Tuesday came, and so did work, school and rehearsal. Unfortunately I had to work Tuesday and Wednesday, and Al had 12 hour shifts starting Monday which went through Sunday. Needless to say, when you throw in tech week, Tuesday was a rough day. Al had to leave at 5:30 am, I had to leave at 5:50 am, and Nicholas had to leave at 7:00 am. Around here, days like that are hell, because everyone is getting in late, nothing is getting done around the house, dinner is a scramble, and everyone just wants to go to bed. Al and I managed to get to bed by 10 pm, but Nicholas wasn't home yet. He was working on lights, didn't roll in until 11 pm, and he still needed to do his homework. I was tired, stressed, and a little angry. I was just wishing for the play to be over and for all of us to get some rest. I felt so bad for Nicholas that, in solidarity, I made the decision to keep the same hours as him for the week  (yep I forgot I'm not 17).

The rest of the week went by in pretty much the same way: long nights, busy schedules, cheap take-out, early mornings, and lots of coffee. As promised, I stuck to Nicholas' sleeping schedule, and all the while I was ready for the next week. I was exhausted. I was rushing around and wishing for the end of tech week.

Friday came, and my whole outlook changed. First, Nicholas and I got and extra hour of sleep because he had an 8:45 am doctor's appointment. On the way back to the school, we stopped and picked up his new glasses, and then we did something very dramatic...WE GOT NICHOLAS' HEAD SHAVED! Yep. As I said, they were doing Frankenstein, and he was the monster, and the bald cap just wasn't working. Dedicated as he is, Nicholas took one for the team, and left his luscious flowing locks (as he calls them) on the floor of Sports Cuts. Nicholas went back to school, freaked everyone out (a few teachers actually screamed when they saw him) and finished the school day. At 3:30 pm, it was time to rush home, grab his stuff, and get back to school by 4 pm for make-up. He said the make-up took 3 hrs to get on, and let me just tell you, the head shave was absolutely the right decision. His make-up looked AMAZING! It was so much more realistic than the cap.

Anyway, the show and the kids proved me wrong. Nicholas actually made me cry, and he never even uttered one word (unless "urrgh" counts as a word). After the show everyone raved about his make-up and his bald head. We hadn't told anyone outside of school (even Al) that he had shaved his head. It was a complete surprise. Also, I don't know who did his make-up, but they did a spectacular job. During photos, little kids were too afraid to even get their photo with him. The show was so much fun, and it was at this point that I realized what I had been wishing away.

I stood in that auditorium and I couldn't help but notice how few of the kids I even knew. It used to be that I was scrambling just to get photos of everyone I knew. I was excited to see the shows, watch how much each of them had grown as performers, and let all of them know what a great job they had done. However, almost everyone we knew has graduated. After Nicholas graduates, I only will know about 5 of the kids who remain in drama/choir/band. It's sad really.

Play nights also used to be the "get-together" nights for the parents. We all came together in support of our kids and pretty much stood around visiting until the auditorium lights went down. Some friends were there last night, but not all. I miss seeing them ALL. It's the same way everywhere we go. Our whole life has pretty much revolved around the kids' activities, and now we spend more and more time alone. Some of my friends are already empty-nesters, and some have their last child heading out the door in the next year or two. Most of us are pretty much asking ourselves the same question "What do we do now?" Many of us have gradually added activities which do not revolve around the kids, but it isn't the same.

In January Al and I went on a cruise alone. We were trying to establish a new chapter in our life. The trip was wonderful, and amazing, and we had a great time together. However, as much fun as I had, I couldn't help but think about how much fun it would be if we all went. Many times we would comment on how much the kids would love what we were doing or the country we were visiting. We enjoyed our time together, but we LOVE spending time with our kids. Our kids are amazing, and creative, and talented, and so freaking funny. I can't help but miss them. I wish I had a week off with nothing to do but spend time with my family.

Monday I was wishing for it to be over, and today I realized it's almost over. I know the days are long, and tiring, and sometimes trying. I know that every day won't produce an epiphany about how much I appreciate my kids. I know that the rest of the school year will bring more sleepless nights, early mornings, and endless coffee consumption. I know that raising kids hasn't always been easy or fun, but it was my job. Now, as I head into retirement, I can't help but wonder how it went by so quickly, and what's next?

Nicholas and his luscious flowing locks!
Almost gone.
With the bald cap
With the bald head 

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