The strain of having the kids full time for nearly three months is beginning to show. Most days I can sort of wing it, but lately it's becoming apparent that I serious lack some basic skills when it comes to full time single parenting. On Saturday I had to work my second job at the ski mountain, which isn't a huge deal it's just that after a full week of working at my other job I'm pretty beat. Luckily my tasks at the ski mountain are fairly low key and the people I work with are amazing. Another benefit is the kids all get free ski passes and lessons for a minimal fee. For Loren and Cass the lessons are optional but for Devon, unless Loren has the time to take him out on the slopes for a day, they are mandatory. And Devon hates this. I know, poor kid lives in one of the most beautiful places in the world, gets to take ski classes on world class mountains with incredible teachers and he's devastated. My heart bleeds for the poor little bugger. Really.
So Friday night I set out all his stuff, we got up early and donned our ski costumes and headed up to work. When I take Devon with me it means I have to leave my post to get him signed up for a daily lesson since earlier in the season he insisted he wouldn't do the eight week long course. This means an extra 20 minutes or so every Saturday as I sign him up, find a teacher, explain that I have to leave him early so I can get back to work and assure the teacher that, no, a ski lesson will not be torture and that Devon will cheer up and actually have fun. This Saturday was a bit more cumbersome because Devon had left his parka in Utah and was wearing a light jacket of mine that came down past his knees and required several rolls at the sleeves. I thought he looked rather fetching in an orphan sort of way but his ski teacher was not of the same mind set, "Oh dear. We can't have that. Let's just see if we can find something in lost and found so he won't be so uncomfortable." To this Devon replied in his robot voice, "No thank you. I like this jacket. But I don't like ski lessons and this will be the last ski lesson I will ever take." The teacher pleasantly ignored him and proceeded to find him a jacket while Devon hung on me and kept whispering how hard his life was into my ear.
Once clothed, I had to explain to his teacher how Devon would likely not eat the offered lunch, found his borrowed snow pants (he had left his at school and had to borrow a too small pair from a friend the night before) scratchy and wrong and that he truly does enjoy skiing. "He's just a bit of an Eeyore sometimes. But he'll get over it." Now the teacher truly did pause and take a good long look at me before she pipped up, "Oh, now. We'll have him out on the hill and being a Tigger in no time at all." Here I wanted to swat the giant smile off her face while simultaneously sink into the floor that my child heard I had just referred to him a sullen donkey. I also work for the same ski giant where everything-is-always-happy-the-children-are-great-and-nothing-sad/bad-EVER-happens-dammit. Instead I knelt down to Devon and gave him a huge hug and whispered into his ear how much I loved him. Over his shoulder I started to say something more to his teacher. But how can you put into a short sentence the you-see-his-dad-had-a-stroke-and-hasn't-been-able-to-take-care-of-him-for-nearly-three-months-and-now-his-dad-has-been-gone-for-a-month-with-his-dying-father-and-likely-won't-be-home-for-more-than-a-few-days-here-and-there-for-another-few-months-so-it's-just-me-on-the-front-line-and-you-can-see-I-am-a-hot-mess-at-this. No. Instead I said, "Our life has been slightly tumultuous lately." And that's when I knew. She saw the madness in my eyes and decided I was That Mom. The one who believes there is a crisis where there is none and so makes everything a drama. I know because I have seen those moms where I work at the same mountain and my staff and I have had good fun gossiping about them. We love to pick them apart, saying things like, "Did you see how she actually expected us to let her 6 year old ski in a grown woman's coat??? She must be nuts. Poor kid."
Yes, it's all come home to roost. I'm not that mom, I don't think. But I'll cop to a bit of craziness for sure.