Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Box


It’s been sitting in the office for EVER! Yes, we have been in our remodel for three years now! I could trace my finger through the dust collecting on top. I never unpacked it …lazy..too busy…and I hate, absolutely hate to throw away memories; even the little mementos that remind me of a special event or a glimpse of the past. A memory hoarder. MH. I kept everything when I was little. I am happy to say that I still have some of the strange items from my treasure boxes. As I sorted through the myriad of what I like to call ‘crap’: erasers, glitter stickers, flavored chapsticks, basically everything you find on that $1 aisle at Target, I realized my kids are not comprised of this heap that is sitting in front of me anymore. In the years it has taken me to unpack the box, they have outgrown its contents. They are no longer the “Extreme Gymnastics is Awesome!” journal entry I found. They could care less about the list of everybody’s birthdays scribbled very orderly in a Hello Kitty notepad. And the Cruella De Ville autograph that I waited in line for an hour to get..yeah…you know…… at the bottom of the ‘Life Moves On’ crap box. You see, kids don’t care about the things that define them as ‘little’ like parents do. They have a goal and that is to be a ‘big kid’, ‘teenager’, a ‘grown-up’. That’s why I let them paint their rooms, define their ‘space’, and make their own life within the four walls they call ‘their room’. In fact, they don’t want that old stuff, and they don’t really want me around, unless of course they need a ride, money, food… I have lost my ‘Mommy Mojo’. Where at one time my height and strength (my most effective parenting tool) could restrain them into submission, they now tower over ME. I used to be able to tell them they were too little to sit in the front of the car; these are ‘rules’ made by policemen. Now, before we even grab our shoes to walk out the door all I hear is ‘Shot gun!’, ‘No, I already called it’, ‘Mom, He had it yesterday!. (Of course I do not react to this daily murmuring..this white noise). I know this ‘front seat’ prize has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the stereo. In fact, as fights erupt in our daily commute, I use that stereo as a weapon. Lady GaGa Warfare. If I’m REALLY mad, I turn it off!!! Gasp! Grunts! A lot of “How could you??!!”; that’s my favorite mean mommy tool! But, back to the box, as they have grown up I see less and less of the traces of their childhood. If only I knew how to decode their passwords and shuffle through their phones, because that is where their childhood memories are now. No more scribbles. No more cursive practice notes. No more play dough animals hardening to the point of cracking. Welcome, phone bills and the social network. That damn box made me realize that my kids may have outgrown the past, but I haven’t! Now you know WHY I didn’t want to open that box; that Pandora’s Box. So I go about working in my office, chauffeuring the car, cooking the meals, folding their laundry, picking up their rooms, as well as the dog poop in the yard. I am almost invisible. Almost. I’ve learned a very important tool to get me through these next years. It doesn’t involve manipulation. Or coercion. It’s called ‘listening’. They don’t need to spend ALL their time with me. God knows they are ‘busy’ little people. They don’t need to keep their bedroom doors open. They need their privacy. They don’t need the clean white walls in ‘their space’; paint it purple, and black, and red. It’s about them now, not me! They don’t need to dress the way that I used to ‘prepare’ them when they are little. They are not Barbie Dolls. They are their own unique person. They don’t need to make little art pieces to say they love me; they are to busy making and re-making themselves. I adjust to what they want to become. I guide them and offer them MY opinion, and hope that they eventually decide on ‘something in between’. I try to tell them that I have never been the mother of a teenager before, so bear with me; I am bound to make mistakes. We all do. So I follow them around collecting mementos that I think they will appreciate one day when they are older, with their own children. The things that will remind them of this very short, very precious time. A time when the whole family is alive and well. A time when family gatherings didn’t involve getting off of work, or driving hundreds of miles to get to them. I’m reminded of a Trace Adkins song that says,
“You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this”.
And so they don’t ‘miss’ it, I continue to collect their memories for them. I pick through the memories in that big brown box and move the memories to a more secure place in the back of my closet in a NEW box. I’ll open it from time to time. I’ll be reminded of how much they’ve grown. And someday when I’m gone they will finally be thankful that mom was a hoarder. A hoarder of their lives.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Snap


My ‘umbilical cord’ is stretched a little far for the next couple of days. You see, I’ve never really properly cut that cord. I like to think of it more as a bungee cord. They can try to get far but they will always bounce back to me. My children have never been the kids that ‘go away to camp’. They do not visit grandma, alone, in the summers. They rarely spend the night at friend’s houses. I pretty much know where my kids are and what they are doing (generally) 24/7. They like it that way, and so do I. All of our trips are with each other. Their friends come to our house on the weekends, because I like to think that my house is the most fun. They frequently text me throughout the day to make sure an event is remembered, or a plan is made. Sometimes they just text and say, ‘luv u xoxoxo’ (those are the best texts). I still remind them that they need to shower, and brush their teeth, and call their dad, and do their homework, and come down for dinner, breakfast, snack, etc. Sure, they know how to do this stuff, but I just like to remind them that their mom is on top of things…or maybe that their mom is still needed. I struggle through the eye rolls, and the door slams, the ‘whatevers’, and the ‘leave me alones’. That is part of being a mom; a good mom. But, I don’t leave them alone; at least not for too long…So naturally a ‘school overnight trip’ sent shivers down my spine; much like my daughter’s first prom, Ashley’s horse jumping; driving with friend’s to school. I spent the last four days packing my little one, my ‘Sugar Lump’, for his school trip. What would he need? What would he forget to do if I’m not around? How do I fit ALL the years of parenting and guiding into one duffle bag for a three day trip? If I could have I would have typed out step by step instructions on what he should do each day, what should happen in an emergency, what to do if he’s hungry, has to go to the bathroom, can’t sleep. I unpacked and re-packed his bag with him; I called it a ‘dry run’ for when he’s really camping with his school. He hated EVERY MINUTE OF IT. We practiced getting in the sleeping bag at night, how the luggage will come out of the carousel at the airport, where the Benadryl and batteries are located, how to carry all the stuff when he gets there. It was more for me than for him, and I think we both knew it! Can this person survive without me was all that was echoing through my head. The bag represented me and all that I provide for him. All those painful growing up steps that are so necessary is often so hard on the Mom. From the first day at preschool, the first team game, the first sleepover, the first concert, the first sporting event, I’ve led him through every step of the way so that he never was fearful or unprepared. He thinks I’m crazy. He thinks I’m ‘such a mom’. His sisters have been great about telling him how much fun he will have and settled my fears as well. So, as it was, I WAS the last mom to leave the airport and wave goodbye. I DID watch him until he was just a tiny speck going through security so he would KNOW that I was there. He DID turn to see if I was there at that very last second...and I WAS…I didn’t let him down….he DID make a gesture that resembled a ‘scoot’ or ‘go away’ motion...well, it could have been a wave…maybe. …My daughter said, “I think he will have fun, but I think he will cry at night”! WHAT?? Not the words I want to hear. Why? Because he misses me, he’s scared, he’s hungry? Maybe all three??!!! A writer, Elizabeth Stone said, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”. Well, my little heart in on an airplane, bus, and then a boat right now. Probably having the time of his life. Exactly what I want him to have. I jammed a little note deep inside his duffle bag that says ‘I love you. Love, Mommy’ and a tootsie roll. I hope he reads it when he gets ready for bed…at least I’ll know he has a little something in his tummy …. At least I will have the peace of mind knowing that even though he grows up and experiences his own life, the umbilical cord is never too stretched for a random ‘I love you’……a little bit of candy to sweeten the thought….

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Dad





Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cartwheels to Car Wheels...




Yesterday a child came out to wander/Caught a dragonfly inside a jar/Fearful when the sky was full of thunder/And tearful at the falling of a star……
…and that little girl turns 15 today… and I realize that 15 springs and 15 summers later, well, not much has changed…She burst into this world with so much wonder AND so much anxiety. She was so easily over stimulated. If I could bottle the energy and creativity, the wonder and the anxiety, the dreams and the determination, the concern and the trepidation, it would be my HANNAH. Born under Haley’s Comet, which comes only once every so many years, so does this unique and special ‘once in a lifetime’ person. As easily as she would startle as a baby with loud sounds, she now has music flowing through her veins AND her bedroom door. As she used to delight in the daily walks to find her favorite ‘tiny, baby flowers’, she now adjusts, daily, the theme of her bedroom. As she used to suck on a binky until her Kindergarten year started, she now has an iPhone permanently installed to her ear. As she carefully turned cartwheels over and over in the yard, she will now be turning car wheels by the end of this year. As she took her first steps that led her to horseback riding and eventually dancing on a daily basis, she continues to try her wings in this big, big world. I have guided her and instructed her since the beginning, and I still do every day of her life (whether she knows it or not). She has taken on her own life and created beauty all around her. When you have a teenager you begin to notice little snippets of beauty that are present. You see, at one time I even had to vacuum the house with her in a baby backpack, she now is rarely seen on a daily basis, as she fills her days with friends and events. As she creates her own life, I am witnessing a beautiful person emerge. She has strong beliefs that she never bends upon. She has an infectious laugh that lights up her entire face. She loves with a faithfulness that most adults would long to possess. She can NEVER, EVER bear the thought of any person being alone, hungry, or sad. She believes in angels and spirits who guide her. She follows NOONE and creates her own path. She possesses ‘emotional turrets’ and says whatever she feels, whether appropriate or not. She has dreams to be a doctor, and a firefighter, and a missionary, and a forensic scientist, and a volunteer in an old age home, and a world traveler…sounds like a lot, but they are HER dreams. I’ve told this story before, and if you’ve heard it, tough, you are going to hear it again; we frequently search out fires for the pure thrill of it. During a recent ‘fire stalking’ my daughter said, and without conviction, “UGH WHY CANT I JUST GROW UP SO I CAN DO THAT AND BE A FIREFIGHTER!”. I instantly knew what she meant by this comment. She wanted to help, experience it, live through the emotions of it, and feel the excitement!!! So many teenagers are lost in boyfriends, drugs, and fitting in, that they lose that LUST for life. Hannah hasn’t! As Lonestar sang in a song, “Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle”, because it passes so fast. So As I go through these last couple years with her living in my home; as I hear her say that ‘she’s not a baby anymore’, as I watch her love and care and dream; I am reminded how important it is to always give her hope and praise; never let her ever forget how beautiful she is; and if she ever feels that there’s no one else and she is alone, I’ll be there! (I may be standing outside of a bedroom door which was slammed in my face, but I’LL BE THERE!)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rock of Ages


Oscar Wilde said that enemies stab you in the back, but true friends stab you in the front. What does that mean? Does it mean they tell you to your face how they feel about you…or does it mean that they ‘stab’ you in the heart, like in a good way? I would like to think the later. So I stole a yearbook today. Some of you know that because I have blackmailed your Facebook walls with lovely images of yesteryear. The thing I did notice while flipping through the pages was that A) We apparently went to the river, often (I don’t remember this), B) We weren’t quite as cool as we thought we were, C) lots and lots of hairspray. Then I began to read what I wrote in my friend’s yearbook. It was about things that I ‘would never forget’ about that freshman year in school. Well, guess what? I DID!!! I forgot all of it. I also didn’t even recognize my signature (or my own handwriting). How does that happen? How can a time in my life be so important and yet there is zero recollection of it. It reminded me of a conversation I had with my son about a vacation to Florida when he was three, maybe four (I forget that too). I planned and saved and organized activities for that ‘perfect’ trip. Guess what? HE DOESN’T REMEMBER IT!!! All the time that parents spend trying to find a learning experience in everyday activities and suddenly the whole family is Alzheimer-ed up! I search for the photographs from that trip and I see smiling faces and sand-filled diapers, and they seem as though they never want the trip to end. Now no one remembers?? The point I’m making is this... I DO remember that I’ve met some pretty amazing people in my life and I’ve had some wonderful trips to beautiful places. I have laughed a lot, and I have cried a lot! When I look at myself through a young girl’s eyes I seem happy, healthy, and loved! I share this with my daughters and find a learning experience in this for them to ‘forget’ someday. I say, don’t sweat the small stuff. All the little arguments with friends or fits of jealousy won’t matter someday. What will matter is how special people made you feel. Maya Angelou said that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel. And I hope when my daughters crack open their yearbooks some day it is filled with people saying ‘keep in touch’, ‘you’re my best friend’, ‘I liked having you in my class’, and they will know that they made an impression on someone at one time in their lives. I guess what I mean is that I may not always remember the details, but I can see the whole picture. Oh, and also, I didn’t marry David Lee Roth, in case you are reading through your old yearbook, too……………..

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Every Last Drop


I have been thinking about the concept of a Rain List, instead of a Bucket List. Things of beauty that have already rained down into my life’s pail. Puddles of joy. Pools of happiness. Little lakes of bliss. These are the things that, unlike the Bucket List, make me feel alive each day; NOT things that need to be done before I die. It is the whole concept of needing much less that than we think we need in our lives. It’s what already there! The obvious is family and happiness and all that goes along with that. This list won’t be about the general facts; it will be much more specific, although it will involve ALL of that! Maya Angelou said, “Life is not measured by the number of breathes we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”. My teenager saying ‘I Love You’ without being prompted; my son high fiving me after a baseball win; my daughter telling me a ‘private’ teenager story; Ashley’s eyes when she talks about her next show: so filled with excitement; the kiss Parker gives me when he’s tired and knowing that I’m the last thing he sees when he falls asleep and the first thing he’ll see in the morning; my husbands arm wrapping around me when he’s sound asleep knowing that even in his dreams I’m still on his mind; my dog (Squishy Face) tirelessly following me around the house at night until I get into bed so that he can settle next to me for the night; a friend who tells me that they need some ‘Amy-ism’ to get them through a hard day; Hannah making me stop at every homeless person to make sure they have water and a dollar for the bus; my dad calling just because I’m on his mind. It’s the little moments when they don’t think you are listening that make the greatest impact.So I’m starting to keep little notes in a box. You should do it too. They will be little notes to remind myself that when everything seems to be going wrong (and it will) that I can open my jar and be reminded of what truly makes my life special. I hope that everyone has to graduate to a larger box every couple of months…We need to keep this rain going…

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Now What?...


One of the hardest things to teach your child is the concept of death. Unfortunately, my children have lost some serious role models in their short lifetimes. Death isn’t something you can teach. You have to experience it to feel its effects…and everyone feels it differently. Unfortunately my children have to experience it again this week when they attend a funeral of a true role model in their lives. I’ve taught them to be caring, to be loving, and to focus on the ‘details’ of their lives…but how do you teach them that death is a part of life. Truth is, we can’t teach someone how to ‘let go’. It is virtually impossible to teach them why bad things happen to good people. I like to tell them that bad things happen to BAD people, too, it’s just that not as many people notice or feel it! The saying ‘time heals all wounds’ doesn’t really work either. Often a song will come on the radio, or a dream will appear, or a random thought will come screaming through, and once again the wound is open and the pain is REAL and any steps forward that were accomplished suddenly bring you back to point A. Seventeen years later, and ONE scent can bring you back to that person! You cannot teach them that grief is actually a journey…a marathon, not a sprint. It’s impossible for any one of us to know how to react when your bottom falls out. You try to hold onto every last memory, a facial expression, the sound of a voice, the touch of a hand… You search frantically in those first days to find your connection to that person: a symbol, a photograph, a video…you are mourning the relationship. Maybe grief is different for each person. What I hear are very similar stories of people who can’t move forward, of lives that become separated into life before the death and the new life after. One author stated that when someone dies it feels like the hole in your gum where a tooth falls out. You can chew, you can eat, you have plenty of other teeth, but your tongue keeps going back to that empty place where all the nerves are a little raw. There have been many people who have died in my life where I’ve had a little time to prepare for it, instead of being a sudden loss. A situation where I knew it WAS going to happen but I just didn’t know WHEN! I had a little time to rake those leaves of emotion into one BIG pile..and THEN let go! I had a chance to say “goodbye...for now”! Yeah, that doesn’t make it any easier either. SO, there’s no RIGHT way to let go; there is no magic word to ease the pain. I wish my children didn’t have to feel this pain EVER; Hell I wish NONE of us did. I can wish for beautiful memories to last a lifetime. I can wish for the sensation of them being close to us and protecting us! I can wish for the tears to be more for the beautiful memories and less for the pain! So I believe that if you miss someone it’s because they taught you about something or changed you indefinitely..that doesn’t die..that is always with us..cherish it, grow with it…and remember why it’s there, everyday! Oh, and also, FUCK cancer…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In All The World There's Only One....


Twelve years and 14 hours ago my little Ashley made her grand entrance into the world. Jodi Picoult said it best: “I’ve only known her for 13 years. But if you took every memory, every moment, if you stretched them end to end – they’d reach forever”…and I can’t ever remember NOT having Ashley in my life! I would have liked to say that I had her name chosen for years, or it was a great-grandmother’s, or some strength name that I could direct her life’s path; actually, she was named because I heard someone say ‘actually’ and because I was so epiduralled up I thought they said, “Ashley”…and I thought that was pretty. She has always been a brainiac. She is a perfectionist almost to a fault! She hated diapers and trained herself at 14 months to NOT wear them. She has always had a fiery stare and a determination beyond no one else. Many parents utter “were you raised in a barn?” when doors are left open…well, Ashley WAS raised in a barn! She has spent many hours and made many friends (human and animal) at the ranch. She would rather wear paddock boots than high heels, she would rather clean a stall then clean her room, and she would rather spend her weekends with a 1600 pound gelding than ANY person in the world, and that I say is the way to raise a strong girl!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bubbles


So I thought I would spend the morning greasing my shower floor (or my husband’s) Why, you ask? Well, I read an article about a man that slipped in the shower and, poof, all memory of his life was erased. That simple. Imagine starting over. All the things you ever worried about, past regrets, painful moments, disappear forever. You can begin a new, possible more positive canvas. I thought about if that happened to my husband. I could kinda mold him into the person I want him to be. I would tell him that he always worshipped me, we never fought, we lived a perfect life. AWESOME! I would probably lie a lot!!! I think about this wife in the paper. He didn’t even know she was his wife until they got home and he saw a picture of their wedding day. You know what he DID retain? He retained ONLY the rules of football! WTF! That would be my luck! The more I thought about it, the more I realized that although it would be awesome to start fresh, it would erase all that a person really is. When it boils down to it, our lives are really only our memories; our footprint on the world; our reaction to life’s events. I spent some time with my 90 year old family member this weekend. We talked for hours (don’t worry I had wine) about HIS history; even his father’s history. He talked about his father working in the gold mines in Alaska in 1907; he traveled by dog (yes, DOG) to work there; for two years, because there were no air flights. He talked about inventing the piston that is used today in cars. Oh, he talked about so many things that I felt like I hope that my kids have something exciting to talk to their kids about when they talk about me someday. What are they going to say, grandma worked out, didn’t work, drank soy?! They will need another bottle of wine for that one! That’s when I began to think about the memories that we leave behind. Will my kids ‘immortalize’ me? Maybe I should teach them the art of exaggeration to help them. The man in the paper was a wealthy man who lived an extravagant life prior to his fall. Interestingly enough, as he copes with his memory loss he sold 10 of his 13 watches because he couldn’t understand why a person needs so many. He sold 3 of his 6 cars. He wonders why he has such a big house for only 3 people. When his memory left him, apparently so did his ego. He doesn’t remember why extravagant items were necessary. He wanted nothing more than to remember the things that are really important in life: the day you met your wife, your children’s personalities, Christmas mornings. Nothing monetary mattered! I keep a little diary keepsake with funny or important events in the kids’ lives. Sometimes when I read them I don’t remember particular events having happened. I am always so glad that I wrote these things down to remind me of things that made me happy at a certain point in time. I was recently reading Ashley’s baby book and was reminded of a time when she stood up in church as yelled, “Hawny! Hawny!” during a moment of silence. How cute! How could I have forgotten that?! Truth is, we DO! We get caught up in the house, cars, bills; the short term memories that seem so strong, that we forget the special little snippets that make us smile. My husband says I have a lot of crap lying around the house. Baby clothes, old artwork from the kids, little love notes, EVERY SINGLE card my husband ever gave me (to name a few). When I see the ‘crap’ it makes me smile; it makes me remember; it makes me realize that the crap is my crap. It’s my memories; you know, just in case I slip in the shower, too!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

As The World Turns


"Life sometimes gets so bogged down in the details, you forget you are living it. There is always another appointment to be met, another bill to pay, another symptom presenting, another uneventful day to be notched onto the wooden wall. We have synchronized our watches, studied our calendars, existed in minutes, and completely forgotten to step back and see what we've accomplished."
— Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper). As the years pass by sometimes we just need to stop and think about what really matters to us as we go through this life. Summer always makes me think about how quickly time flies. Another school year ends. Another year goes by for my beautiful daughters who begin to daydream about their upcoming birthdays. They are already beginning to decide on which gift they want the most this year: another chance for a horse show, an IPad, a new wardrobe, a blackberry. So many choices, so little time, to decide which of these gifts would make an ‘official’ teenager (turning 13) happy or what would satisfy a 15 year old throughout the summer. Truth is, they don’t need ANY of these things. They have WAY more than is necessary to survive in the fast moving world known as ‘Teenager’. Teenagers LIVE for their birthdays; however, it doesn’t really change as we get older. We start to think about that special gift that we wouldn’t normally give ourselves any other day of the year. We believe that since we survived another 365 days around the sun that we should be ‘rewarded’ for a job well-done. Of course, in truth, all of this is completely out of our control. We actually didn’t have anything to do with the journey. Fate was responsible, as well as our ability to keep ourselves safe from harm, to eat healthier, to work out a little harder, to get flu shots, to remember our seat belts, and look both ways before we cross the road. I recently attended a 90th birthday party for a very close friend. Before he blew out his birthday candles (no, we didn’t put 90 candles on the cake) I reminded him to make a wish. He shut his eyes for but a moment, only to open them and extinguish the fire with one breathe. I needed to know, just what does a 90 year wish for: a happy family, one less ache, a fun trip. I asked him what he wished for, and his reply was nothing what I expected. He said, “Just another birthday!”. It says everything I was thinking wrapped into one! From his lips to God’s ears. I know what I’ll be wishing for at my next birthday and the one after that, and the one after that, and the one……..

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Toy Included


The following is an excerpt from a novel I love. It is House Rules by Jodi Picoult. I hope it inspires and makes you think about life.
When I was little I remember wandering the cereal aisle and picking my breakfast based on what the reward was: A Frisbee with the Trix rabbit’s face on it, a mystery decoder wheel, holographic stickers. I could suffer through raisin bran for a month if it meant I got a magic ring in the end. I cannot admit this out loud. We are expected to be supermoms these days, instead of admitting that we have flaws. It is tempting to believe that all moms wake up feeling fresh every morning, only cook with organic food, and are equally at ease with the CEO and the PTA. Here’s a secret: Those mothers don’t exist. Most of us-even if we’d never confess- are suffering through the raisin bran in the hopes of a glimpse of that magic ring. In real life, I have to pick superglue out of the carpet, rarely remember to defrost a dinner, and plan to have BECAUSE I SAID SO engraved on my tombstone. Real mother’s know it’s ok to eat cold pizza for breakfast. Real mothers admit it is easier to fail at this job than to succeed. If parenting is the box of raisin bran, then real mothers know the ratio of flakes to fun is severely imbalanced. For every moment that your child confides in you, or tells you they love you, or does something unprompted to protect a sibling that you happen to witness, there are many more moments of chaos, error, and self-doubt. Real mothers secretly wish they’d chosen something for breakfast other than this endless cereal. Real mothers worry that other mothers will find that magic ring, whereas they’ll be looking and looking for ages. Rest easy, real mothers. The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you already ARE one.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Parenting for Dummies


Ugh, Prom shopping with a 14 year old. Can I say that I’m glad I have the best hairstylist because most of my hair is pulled OUT! Aside from driving to every mall in Phoenix to find the ‘perfect’ dress, I still have OTHER children that need their mom to be present and chauffeur their little butts across town. I have learned several things from this experience. 1) Apparently I have NO taste. 2) I stress my daughter out when I say “we only have one day left” 3) she might kinda ‘like’ me…. Maybe this was THE experience to help us ‘bond’. She has said some sweet things about me. She said she told her friends that I am strict! I like that! She said she likes that! It shows I care! Huh, imagine that! Well, as Mother’s Day approaches and I think about the 14 years that I have been employed with this position. I’ve decided that there are some things that moms need to accept about this way too unappreciated job: These things are:
It is ok if it sucks. It is ok if you cry. It is ok if you aren’t sure what the hell you’re doing. I don’t!! It doesn’t matter if you breast feed them and only gave them organic foods, they will eat a dozen donut holes and McDonald everyday if they could! It is ok if you hate people that tell you your child is a joy when you are just SO MOTHER EFFING TIRED. It is ok if some days you can’t honestly say you love your kids. It is ok. I know. Childhood doesn’t last forever! You won’t always sit and stare at your child and think, “Where did you come from?”, or you might, but you’ll also stroke her cheek and thank God she is there.
One day you’ll realize you’re the mom. THE MOM. And that is OK. Turns out, you’re pretty good at it after all. I heard something today that made me think, 14 said, “Mom, instead of the after parties, we might just come home, to our house, and hang out. Is that ok?”….well, it’s always ok to come home, whether your 14 in a prom dress or 41 and need a soft spot to land…that’s what moms are for…and I slowly tip my wine glass and smile!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From Ponies to Prom

Well, it’s officially here! Where’s my diploma! You always wish for your children to be asked for play dates, to be the first pick on P.E. teams, and have someone to sit next to in the lunchroom. Most, if not all, of these things have happened to my babies. Now the granddaddy of them all…Prom! She called this morning to tell me that he asked her. “ Just a friend”. I like him! But the stew of insecurities and worry begin to boil over in the pit of my stomach...and my heart! They say watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla. I can say that I agree! You hear of the horror stories and I even witnessed some first-hand with fellow classmates, of alcohol, drunk driving, and sex! I have the image of my Facebook friend; the strapping young athlete; forever damaged at our prom from drunk driving. I see him in profile pics with his full-time nurse and am filled with fear. What if his parents would’ve said ‘no’ to prom? What if, by fate, he could have been grounded that day? That one second in time changed his and many lives forever. Do they believe, “What happens at prom stays at prom?”, in a way. I still picture my first born as the baby I rocked; the child who gave me sore nipples from sucking too hard; the one who kept me up for endless hours for the first five years of her life. As I thumbed through the baby book I noticed the tape is yellowing on her pictures. Could it be possible that this time, this growing up, is so advanced that the pages are even old?! There is no manual for growing up, for a daughter or a mother. My daughter has never been 14 years old before, as much as I’ve never been the mother of a 14 year old. Prom isn’t just a popularity event for those most fortunate to be invited. Prom is when mothers need to let go of their babies; hope that we taught them what they need to know about so many ‘grown up’parts of life. The letting go begins with little steps along the way, from sleepovers, to camp, from crossing the street, to waltzing across a dance floor…..

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Life...

So I follow a girl on Twitter and through her blog because she writes beautiful words of love about her husband and what they are going through with his cancer. You should follow her: Califmom. I went to her blog this morning and I see these words: He's Gone! All of a sudden I am overtaken with grief for a woman, family, husband that I don't even know!!! In her latest blog she wrote: "I don't know how long it will be, but it will be". These words are haunting to me! My husband is asleep in the next room. My kids are debating about what they are going to do today! I'm trying to remember if my husband and I are fighting or not (margaritas, too many), and this family just lost their rock! We need to not sweat the small stuff and hug those that we love! I know it sounds cliche, but these are the people who will be with us when our life runs out...these are the people who will miss us....this is how we love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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