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There’s only one week to go before Toad’s album release show at the Troubadour. I am very excited to have so many friends coming into town for this show! That’s the thing about Toad… as much as I love the music, it’s ultimately all about the friendships. The music itself becomes a celebration of those relationships, a perfect soundtrack to highlight so many precious memories. I get overwhelmed just thinking about it.

For now, I’m trying to keep the focus there, where it counts. Things I am trying not to think about: my current reflection in the mirror. There’s been so much going on I’ve had little time to focus on myself, which is probably a good thing. Chris has been busy at work, which is great. He’s been getting home just late enough to make walking difficult. Not impossible, please note. If I pushed myself I could probably pull it off. The truth is by the time he gets home I am just tired enough that it’s easy to throw up my hands and say, “Screw it, I just want to relax.” In other words, I am not blaming the job or the traffic for my inertia. It’s on me, as usual.

Braeden starts school Monday, his last year of elementary school. He’s changed so much just in the last six months. He’s gotten taller, and filled out quite a bit. We spent the last week going through his drawers, and many of the clothes were so small they looked like they’d belonged to another kid. It’s freaking me out a bit… he looks like a future teenager, not a little boy. How did I end up with a 10-year-old? The same way I ended up with a head full of gray hair, I guess: a little bit at a time. It kind of sneaks up on you.

We had an end-of-summer playdate with a whole group of friends yesterday. We hadn’t seen several of them since school ended, and I know Braeden had a good time. There was a trade-off involved. The park happened during what should have been Avery’s naptime. I had to make a choice, and I didn’t want Braeden to be cheated out of ending his summer with a bang. We paid in the end, of course; she had a rough night. It’s funny how skipping a nap can make it harder for her to get a good night’s sleep. It was still worth it to give Braeden something he needed. Avery’s needs supercede his a lot. Anyway, we went straight from the park to Braeden’s school to see the class lists. We found out who his teacher will be, as well as seeing who the other kids in his class are. Happily, several of his closest friends are in his class this year. This is a huge relief since the last couple of years that hasn’t been the case. I’m thrilled for him! His last year of elementary school should be special. He’s such a great kid; he deserves an amazing year! From school we went to my brother-in-law’s place to meet up with a friend of Chris’ who is visiting from out of the country, and we were there late. It was a very full day. A nice one, too.

It’s funny, this summer has been fairly mellow, until recently. Now it feels like a whole summer full of activity has been jammed into one month. School starts Monday, we’re having Chris’ friend over for dinner on Tuesday, and my mom gets into town on Wednesday. Friday night is the concert, but there are group activities planned all weekend. Of course, some of my friends are going to multiple shows, something else I’m trying to avoid focusing on. (Think about what you have, not what you don’t.) Right now I am grateful that I will be going to Friday’s show with Chris, something that didn’t seem too likely a month ago. I know from experience that when I do things without him – however great the things themselves might be – they lose some of their luster. It’s not that I can’t have fun without him, really. It’s more that if it’s something I know he would have enjoyed but he was unable to participate for some reason (most likely a financial one), I can’t quite view the experience the same way. I want him at my side when it counts. If it’s an important memory, I need him to be part of it. One of Toad’s songs was the last dance at our wedding. Toad means almost as much to him as they do to me. I am so glad we get to share this particular moment with each other. It matters.

Avery will be two soon, something else I can barely wrap my mind around. Some days it truly feels like life is going at hyperspeed… didn’t I just have her? I need to pick a date for her party, and for that matter we need to work out a date and a plan for Braeden’s (belated) friends’ party. We had a family one, but weren’t organized enough to hammer down a friend one, which required more thought and more money. Someday I hope money – or the lack of it – doesn’t figure into every move we make. I’m not asking for a sudden dramatic windfall… I just want to be able to plan my kid’s birthday party without angst.

As for the show, I plan to focus on the good stuff: Chris, my friends, a new Toad album and seeing them play so many of the songs I love – new and old – live. How I look shouldn’t have any relevance, and I need not to let it. Repeat, repeat, repeat.