I’m Freshly Pressed!

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“Freshly Pressed!” I’m clearly fixed, no longer struggling with balancing all that needs to be balanced! I have everything totally figured out! My prayers, if I prayed, have been answered!

The out-of-the blue email from an earnest, affable WordPress editor is welcome news. I’m practically giddy. More than “a major award” shipped in a crate marked “fragile” to the “Christmas Story” dad. Less than, say, a 2am call from the Norwegian Nobel Committee. In between those two somewhere. Yeah.

I’ll take it.

Yesterday, the morning after the WordPress editor’s email, I am reminded how far I am from being “freshly pressed,” as I think of that phrase. Precise in a military boot camp sort of way. Spinning on heels to carve a tight corner. Bed sheets taut. Everything neat and clean. Yeah, like that. I’m just like that.

Well, not exactly.

My sons, 12 and 8, are home from school. This is “Ski Week,” after all. Only we aren’t skiing this week. We all went a few weeks back, and more recently, I’m still in the throes of Coccygodynia. The snow up there still leaves something to be desired, too, but had the timing worked out better, we would maybe be at 6,000 feet for the week instead of at 12 feet for the week.

I’m not complaining, I relish every opportunity I have to breath the same air as my boys. But as any honest parent will admit, that air can get a bit stale at times. “Stale” as in, not “Freshly Pressed.”

Which brings us back to yesterday morning.

Sitting–gingerly still, thanks to my overzealous Tahoe Boys Weekend–at our dining room table. Captain Kirk at the comm, surveying his orderly domain. In total control. Surveying it so competently, in fact, that he’s comfortable going where no man has gone before. That image inspires confidence.

But my chain of command at home is far more tenuous. My competence is fleeting.

I had planned on attending a pretty important all-day meeting in Oakland, the conclusion of an 8-week capital-raising “bootcamp.” Really cool, cutting edge (you might say) stuff, about which I will hopefully blog on a later date. The meeting is supposed to take place, in the real world, in the properly appointed conference room of a law firm. Dark wood. Long rectangular table. Videotaped for posterity. Perhaps 20 attendees paying rapt attention, the future of their nascent companies at stake. Meaningful. Important. Important enough that I pretty much have to go. Hop in the car and go. That’s my plan.

I look into Max’s eyes while assessing his readiness to take the comm for the next several hours. I have been prepping him for about 48 hours now. Innoculating him with “be a good big brother,” “I need you to step up here,” and so forth. I believe he is up to the challenge, though his little brother studies me warily. That could be fear or sizing me up to see how much screen time little brother can squeeze in while I’m away, and I’d never be the wiser.

I assess my troops and come up with a solid plan–I am “Freshly Pressed,” remember.

Condensing 12 years of parenting, 2 years of in-the-trenches co-parenting of my baby sister along with my mom (another blog for another day), a couple developmental psych courses hazily recalled from undergrad, a stack of potentially relevant albeit half-read parenting books, and my God-given wits (if there is a God), I experience a stroke of brilliance.

Brilliance, I said.

A schedule for the boys while I am gone. In half-hour increments. Ensuring they stay on task. 30-minutes of cleaning up our dorm room living room, putting away long-folded clean clothes, walking our animal, hitting a few buckets of baseballs into our loyal backyard Bow Net. Punctuated by equal, alternating increments of “free time.” Watch the Olympics. Play on your iDevices. It’s “free,” baby! Go crazy!

I walk my soldiers through the schedule, written neatly on a small whiteboard the size of a breadbox (really). If I had a red-tipped wooden pointer and Canadian Mountie pants, I would have gladly used both to enhance my authority in this moment.

As if I needed to. This was the perfect plan, rigid yet flexible, playful yet disciplined, the very model of parenting. No wonder I’ve been annointed “Freshly Pressed.” Wouldn’t be surprised if I do get that middle of the night Nobel nod. Wooh! Super parent!

As I’m smiling self-satisfiedly, basking in the glow of my brilliant schedule presentation, packing my bag for the meeting, my youngest comes shuffling into the kitchen behind me. Crying and fighting back crying, with a message for me. Max was apparently not ready for the comm. Instead, he has just delivered a charlie horse-inducing punch to his younger brother’s thigh. And it’s not even 8am yet.

I sigh, probably not taking another breath into my deflated lungs for a solid minute. Defeated, I bail on the meeting and make plans to join by calling in.

From my dining room table. Wearing sweats. And a flat brim cap from Max’s new baseball club. Unshaven. With twice-microwaved coffee in a stained mug. And a half-eaten Clif Bar. With the dog licking my (apparently salty) ankles. My hand-written schedule, propped only minutes ago on the fireplace mantle. It mocks me.

“Freshly Pressed”?

I beg to differ.

Thanks for reading.

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