On Saturday, I think Chris was aiming for some kind of Father- or Husband-of-the-Year award, for which he would have been a strong contender! The day began with my going to a prenatal massage appointment which Chris had encouraged me to book, for no other reason than to give me an hour's respite from my bodily misery. I left the two younger children with a sitter while he took the two older to John's soccer class.
Then we arrived home simultaneously and Chris suggested we keep the babysitter longer so he could take me out to lunch (final pre-baby date--checked off the list!). While there, he suggested we visit the Macy's "door buster sale" in the bedding department in order to replace many of the getting-ragged sheets we bought when we married ten years ago (pregnancy nesting wish granted--checked off the list!).
By the time we arrived home, I felt a wreck from being on my feet so long. I collapsed on the couch and, to my amazement, Chris offered to take the four kids out to a splash pad, leaving me home alone in peace. I asked, "Aren't you utterly exhausted?" To which he replied, "No! I don't have a baby inside of me!"
When he got home, my brain was so foggy, I couldn't even figure out what to make for dinner, so he cooked dinner for us.
My Father's Day for him couldn't (and didn't) even come close to repaying for such a thoughtful Saturday from him, but I did try.
Chris normally cooks our special Sunday morning breakfast, but this week we did it . . . by "we," I mostly mean the children while I stood in the midst of it all supervising. Margaret (4) cut the strawberries.
Joseph (2) ate the bowl of strawberries down to nothingness twice before I sufficiently shooed him away. John (8) was in charge of French toast.
Lacking a chef's hat, John cooked with an old UPS box on his head.
Mary (6) was in charge of beautification: setting the table with grandma's cut glass dishes and pretty cloth napkins, plus displaying the many cards and pictures for Daddy to see upon his coming downstairs.
Honestly, I hadn't engaged the two-year-old to "draw" a card because I thought he was too young to care. But when he saw his big sister give Daddy a heart-shaped card, Joseph stole it and tried to give it himself. When the card was retrieved from his fist, he threw a huge tantrum until his other big sister cut him out his own heart card and set him about "writing" on it. Joseph calmed down immediately when he was allowed to make a card for his Daddy too.
Breakfast was served! (I admit, I asked Chris to cook our bacon so it would be edible, unlike the bacon I attempt to cook.)
After Mass, Margaret threw a tantrum because I wouldn't let her push the stroller through the parking lot, so the above is the best family photo we got. "If I can't push the stroller, I won't be in your picture!"
Meanwhile, for the last two weeks, the kids have apparently thought that each day without school was a random exception. They hadn't realized that Mama has waved the white flag, and is too exhausted to teach until after the baby is born. So, a few days ago, I replied to a question by casually explaining, "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that you graduated Kindergarten and Second Grade. We're on break now."
It was such a deflating announcement, so I did my best this week to replicate the little graduation ceremony we've done at the end of each school year. I created lists of all the academic achievements for the two older children, as well as printing out their Lists of Books Read (which I'd been maintaining all year.) Chris created beautiful certificates showing that they had completed their grades.
After Mass, we went to eat at a restaurant, my admitting that there was no way I could cook something nice right now. I had even made up a list of achievements for Margaret and Chris gave her a certificate saying she'd passed preschool for four-year-olds. She was thrilled! (She'll be in homeschool Pre-K next year, ages four through five.)
Daddy as Principal of our school described the achievements to each child and expressed his pride in their diligence.
Mary loved this and insisted on reading the entirety of her lists.
John was phlegmatic about it and said I could keep his lists because, you know, he knows what he's done.
He's a clown at heart!
Making these lists and doing this ceremony is as much, if not more, for me as the teacher than for the children. It helps me feel that I truly have accomplished something with this job-at-home.
Now, on to other, more pressing matters before the next school year begins!