Monday, July 2, 2012
Our time here in San Angelo has gone by in the strangest way. While part of me feels like we've been stationed here forever- I have to squint my eyes at the memory of being at Dyess- the other part of me can't believe its already July and our time here is almost up. This Texas town blends into that Texas town. We miss our friends and what was familiar, but with Goodfellow comes its own sense of comfort and routine. The thought of leaving Texas after being here for over 6 years... well its just surreal.
Eleanore is really into Spider Man right now, her and Charlie are always begging to watch the vintage cartoon episodes. She chose that Spider Man life vest over Hello Kitty- totally her choice. Kids at the pool are always calling her "him" and "he" because of her short hair and choice of favorite character. Shes never been offended though, she just laughs it off. I sense a bit of insecurity within that laugh though, so I might give in and honor her request for pink hair. Maybe for her 6th birthday? We'll see...
Charlie is a total guppy. Hes at peace in the water. he doggy paddles all over that pool, with the aid of his floaties of course. From day one, he had no problem taking off on his own, heading straight for the deep end. He still won't go all the way under, which I'm partially grateful for, since we're always forgetting his ear plugs (and right now he happens to have an ear infection- we've avoided the pool for the last week due to illness). Going to the pool is the one time we can pull him away from his toy cars. Its the one place that we see just Charlie.
Evelyn. Oh Evelyn. Her lack of words makes things hard these days. She wants in, she wants out. She wants up, she wants down. Vest on, vest off. Mommy's arms, Daddys arms. And on and on and on. We frequently play games of cross-the-shallow-end, where where she ditches the vest and takes my hand, pulls me from one end of the shallow end to the other, and once we arrive at the edge she slaps the cement instructing me to lift her up, so that she can turn and jump into my arms, and I toss her into the water. And this goes onnnn... and onnnn... and onnnnnnnnn. Eventually I get tired of walking half hunched over holding slippery wet fingers and occasionally scooping up a drowning toddler, and we escape to the deep end for a dip, but- Evelyn is just exhausting at the pool. She loves it, and she has fun, and thats awesome. Its just so tiring.
Another benefit of wearing all of the kids out by chasing them from one end of the pool to the other? ...when its all over, they sit still for me. Especially if I bring peanut butter sandwiches, or even better... organic vitamin C suckers. Then not only do they sit still, but they're quiet too.
I remember summer days like that though- days spent playing and splashing in the river water, under the hot sun (or what I thought was hot at the time), and the shady recovery that would take place afterwards. Those days were the best days. Feeling sun kissed and worked out. I hope the kids remember these young days at the pool. Playing shark and mermaids, braving holding their breaths and dipping their faces under, feeling the burn on their feet anytime they stepped out of the water. The smell of sunblock. The sound of the lifeguards whistle. The echo in the locker rooms as we passed in and out of our adventure. It never gets old.
Not every day is exploding with fun though. There are some days, like this whole past week, where someone will have the sniffles (or the full fledged flu, ugh)- days where its too hot to even think about stepping outside. Those days seems to be happening more and more. We watch movies, play with centers, destroy the play room with cabin fever fury, obnoxiously play candy land and high ho cherry oh. To put it nicely, we make the best out of being bored.
Charlie and Eleanore have these sorting counting bears, "gummy bears" they call them. They like to lay out a blanket by the back door, and bounce the bears from cup to cup. Or lay them all out and fight over who gets what color. Sometimes this will keep them entertained for 5 minutes, but depending on their mood, and the last time they played with them- I might luck out and get a full half hour out of them. Same goes for the rice box, the dinosaur magnets, the magic rocks, etc etc. Its always hit or miss. The more they play with them, the more misses we meet.
One thing that never fails though? The water table.
This thing gets filled and emptied and refilled more than once, on the daily. My favorite time to bring it out is in the evening, right before the sun goes down. We pull out the big canvas chairs and the lemonade, strip the kids of their clothes, hand them watering cans, sit back and enjoy the chaos. Sure theres usually complaining because he took that toy from her, or theres a bug in the water, or because Disneyland wasn't built in our back yard, but- this is it. This is the big entertainment for the evening. Water the grass, water your brother, water the cat- I don't care, just... be.
Also, Aloha cat shirts and futuristic squirt guns. These are the things that make up our existence.
And when all else fails. When the sun is too hot to take a walk under it. When the pool seems too far away. When the water table has lost its flare for a few hours.
Eleanore's favorite thing to do is read. She takes books to bed with her, reading them by the soft glimmer of her night light. She wakes up with them, sneaking downstairs before breakfast to grab her library sack and cozying up in a comfy corner with the canvas. Shes joined the summer reading program at the base library, and filling her book log is not just a hobby, but a way of life. She got a package of first reader books from her Grammy recently, and flew through all of them on her own, within hours. Little girl loves to read.
So thats it. Our June in a nutshell. The usual summer stuff, right? I wish there were more art project and playing with friends, but all of our art supplies are packed away, and all of our friends are waiting for us at the end of the rainbow.
Just four more weeks until we pack up, leaving Texas for good, and hit the road for our August vacation. And just wait until you guys see where our next assignment is, it truly is paradise.