Dear Together Friends, Fans, and Family
Every once in a while, it feels like a good time to clear up any possible misconceptions about how things go here in the Together house. Yes, tweens and teens have bins for gloves and mittens, and art supplies are decently labeled in clear tubs. But if you are imagining some magical orderly place where the laundry is always put away and the socks always match, let me disabuse you of this notion by painting a picture of the last two weeks around here. Dr. Together and I return from a glorious and restful honeymoon, and . . .
- Two of the four kids are taken DOWN (at separate times) by the worst stomach bug I have ever seen in my 13 years of parenting. We are talking up every hour for the entire night, cleaning the bathroom and floors multiple times, changing sheets, and comforting miserable kiddos. And… The other two kids have been taken down this week.
- A small private aircraft crashes into a local power grid (some minor injuries, but thankfully both passengers are reported to be fine), knocking out the power in 44 schools and several bus depots in our district, thus cancelling school for a day at the very last minute. The Monday after the Thanksgiving break, no less.
- Queen Together (that is me) has a preventative surgery, (routine yet still requires a hospital and general anesthesia), which ended with a few complications that took time and medical folks to solve. Additionally, I’m not allowed to drive for several days. I’m fine, and to borrow a phrase from my internet crush, the never-ending saga of living with a uterus in your mid-forties, well. . .
- Dr. Together is traveling for work, and while we have full-time childcare, there are moments like when the 9-year-old greets you at 6:15 AM with a flashlight, nerf gun, binoculars, and walkie-talkies when you are just trying to microwave bacon to make the best possible school lunch sandwiches you can. (Our youngest is both a prankster AND a morning person. Brutal. Long-time readers may recall my parenting fail when he purchased this online).
- One of the four cats has an eye infection, but Ilsa is the one that is IMPOSSIBLE to catch, hides in the furnace room all day, and putting her in a carrier is basically like trying to catch a cheetah, so YOU try telehealth for a CAT.
- After watching the Griswold Christmas special (look kids, a deer!), you decide that cutting down your own Christmas tree is the way to go this year. All is picturesque until one kid goes missing at the tree farm (located on another tractor later), and another two help you tie the tree to the Honda Pilot, but accidentally release a bungee cord and send you flying off the roof. #truestory
- Both of our vehicles are almost a decade old, and . . . one car has the check engine lights all turn on at once, and the other car has a flat tire while we are en route somewhere. While Maia is good at many things, changing tires is not currently one of them.
- Plus the general bonkers-ness of kid dance classes, baseball practices, theater rehearsals, and the rhythms of family life. Insert Mom Memes about expected holiday magic on top of this.
At least the dishwasher is fixed. . . The point of me sharing this is not that my chaos is worse than yours (though for your sake, I certainly hope it is), it is that Life is Never Together. There are no “uneventful” weeks, there are no calm days. If you are waiting for the perfect week, it is never ever coming. But that’s okay. The whole point of this Together Thing is not to control the environment and assume emergencies never happen, it is to ensure your REACTIONS are Together.
You can bet that after the Week of the Stomach Bug Part 1, I got up a bit earlier to get all ducks in a row in the mornings in case one kid needed to be home from school. Be assured that Dr. Together and I made back-up plans if his work travel was extended or delayed. Note that I asked for grace for a few meetings and deadlines that I could anticipate I would be delayed on. We raided our freezer stash of food instead of cooking most nights. A few kids may have fished sweatshirts out of the hamper and re worn them. We ASSUME things will go off the rails around here, and we try and plan for it, and then prioritize and communicate when it inevitably occurs.
So, that’s what I’ve got for you this December, my friends. If you are interested in joining us for some Togetherness, we have upcoming courses for Leaders, for Teachers, and for Teammates beginning at the start of 2023. We offer empathy, compassion, zero judgment and many practical tools.
We also anticipate offering our in-person open to the public classes this spring or fall. If you would like to be put on the list for a DC-based in-person training, write us here. If you need to find me this month, I will either be locked up with the manuscript for Revisions Round 2 on The Together Teammate, skiing (cautiously!) in West Virginia or Pennsylvania with The Together Family, or hosting Chrismukkah for the Big-Blended-Family of Four-Kids-Four-Cats, two former spouses, their significant others, an ex-mother-in-law, and a partridge in a pear tree. Hmmm….title of my next book?
PS Oh, yeah, my holiday play list is in working order.
PPS I managed to read this and this over the past four weeks. Highly recommend both. And as a native Mainer, I’m now working my way through Stephen King’s backlist starting with this and this. Fun Fact: Rumor has it that Pet Sematary’s inspiration was in my high school boyfriend’s back yard!
PPPS Procrasti-baking for the win! I baked these, these, and this and I’m trying to make tins of this for family and friends. Is there a better name than Puppy Chow?! Or do you have a version of this you love? Email me here?! Maybe we can make a Together Cookbook?!
PPPPS Over the holiday break when the Together Team is on a two-week shutdown, I hope to watch season 2 of this (for Office fans out there, congratulate me on scoring tickets to see this as Dr. Together’s holiday gift), season 2 of this (yes, I know I’m like a decade late), and I’m taking the entire Kid Herd to see this and this.
Together Treasure Box (From the Blog!)
- Google to the next level? Heather and Geoff from Idaho share their Google gifts with the rest of us. I’m fascinated by SortD and Insights. If only I were more of a Google gal?!
- What it takes to get a book to press! As I push towards my latest book deadline, I’m remembering some of the last-minute challenges we solved while getting The Together Project Manager published!
- Working on that holiday shopping? While I decided not to do a Gift Guide this year (see above!), I dusted off last year’s Gift Guide – lots of good stuff here!! And we had a recent recommendation for erasable pens! Anyone on that train?
Top Together Tributes
- Truly the best week of the year The Atlantic calls it Dead Week…those wonderful few days between Christmas and New Year’s Day when the world seems to completely shut down and we can all have an essential collective moment of rest. Of if you cannot pull this off, perhaps cancel meetings for a week?
- Long time author bestie Elena comes in with coaching teachers when they are feeling depleted. This feels like a must-watch this time of year.
- The story behind Bernie’s mittens. I know I’m late to this but didn’t realize they were created by a teacher in Vermont! Where one of my best friends is the superintendent, no less. Hi Libby! This was a heart (and hand!) warmer.