Friday, February 17, 2012

I Thought I'd Be A Cool One!

When I was a very young child I was embarrassed by my mother. I remember my mom volunteering in my Kindergarten class. At least half of the kids in my class asked me if my mom was my grandma. At the age of 5, in 1977, it didn't occur to me that I should actually be glad that my mother was a little older, a little wiser, and plump enough to give really great hugs. I was embarrassed because my mom was old enough to be the mother of many of my classmate's moms and there was no getting around it.

Becoming a mother to my oldest child at 30, I've never really worried about my daughter being embarrassed by me being so much older than the mothers of her peers. Actually, I've never worried at all that my children would be embarrassed by me. Perhaps, I overestimate my social skills, but in general I know how to mind my manners when I'm in public, etc.

Today, it happened. I embarrassed my oldest daughter for the first time. We were at the skating rink, Elyse's favorite place. She's made a new friend at skating lessons. The new friend's name is Katie, and she's a very sweet girl, 2 years older than Elyse. I was watching Elyse and Katie interact as the two of them were taking off their skates. They were talking about all sorts of things, skate club, math, their favorite subjects, home schooling and the like. As I was telling Elyse to hurry up, that it was time to go, Katie leaned over and gave Elyse a sideways squeeze. I was shocked. I barely know this girl, Elyse barely knows this girl, but Katie obviously likes my daughter enough to give her a hug good- by. As Katie walked away, I said "Elyse, you have a little friend, who likes you!" Then it happened, I got the mother of all eye rolls, accompanied by a "Ssshhhhh MOM, don't embarrass me!" Her reaction only made it worse. I burst out laughing at the top of my lungs, at which point my other two children and several people sitting near by stopped what they were doing to look at me, curious about why I was laughing.

I was laughing because my heart was happy, happy that someone genuinely likes my daughter, happy that having a friend makes my daughter happy, and happy because I know that this is just the beginning of many years to come, in which I will likely embarrass my oldest, daughter, and after all isn't that part of what moms are supposed to do?

I can hardly wait till she brings a boy home for the first time!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome To the Future!

She was sitting in the passenger seat, next to me. She's been doing that lately. I looked over at my nine year old, her right ankle was crossed over her left knee, she was sitting up straight and tall, with poise, and for pity's sake she was reading a magazine, about ice skating.

When did she learn how to read? When did she become old enough to look at magazines? How is it that she's big enough to sit in the front seat (on a booster)? When did her profile start looking so much like mine?

Often, parents feel nostalgic and perhaps a little sad when their children start to grow up. So, because I was smiling ear to ear and feeling amazingly tender toward the girl/woman next to me I did an immediate gut check. I wasn't sad. There was no part of me that wished for her to still be a baby, or even a littler girl. Instead, I was in awe of what I was seeing, filled with wonder and pleasure over the person she's becoming.

Rather than missing who she has been, I found myself looking forward to the days to come. Slowly, imperceptibly our roles will change, she'll morph into being less my child and more my friend and I'm looking forward to those days, while at the same time not wishing away the precious moments between now and then.

I try not to look back and dwell on all the ways I've failed and wounded my daughter, all the times I've gotten it wrong. Sometimes, that's easier than others, but in this moment of basking in the pure pleasure of seeing into the future with my oldest child, I couldn't help but feel like I may have gotten a few things right.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk!!

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I didn't take a picture, so I'll have to create the scene with words instead.

It was late morning. The twins were sitting at the bar, finishing their school work. Since it is winter, and I'm feeling festive I offered to make everyone a hot drink. The orders were coming in fast a furious. "Cider- no, hot chocolate, with a candy cane!" "I want 6 small mallows in mine." "Honey, I'll take the Starbucks hot chocolate made with milk, please." Elyse was crying over her missed Spelling words, and the fact that she'd have to write them each 5 times, proclaiming that, no likes her she's in the 3rd grade and I can't spell! She was to preoccupied with her crisis to order up a beverage. I looked up from the weeping mass that was my 3rd grader, only to see that her younger sister had tied one end of a scarf to a bar stool and the other end to the Baker's rack, and was trying her best to Limbo under it without falling. It really was all I could do to keep myself from laughing, long and loud.

Meanwhile, my son was recounting for me that Ramon, one of the contestants on The Biggest Loser, used to order 20 Soft Tacos when he went to Taco Bell. Wanting never to miss a teachable moment, and because my sweet son loves numbers, I proceeded to tell him that a Soft Taco is $1.59 and that Ramon spent over $30, just on one meal at Taco Bell and that didn't even include his drink. Armed with that juicy nugget of information, his eyes grew wide as he declared that eating too much is really EXPENSIVE!

Then it happened, as I was chuckling at the chaos around me I heard a hiss and a sizzle. My milk had boiled over. Don't cry over spilled milk came to my mind, immediately.

Seldom, do I just embrace the mess along with the moment, but for once, I did. I let the scorching, curdling, white globs on my stove teach me a lesson. Messes can be cleaned up, but moments can never be re-captured.

I'm going to try to remember to live in the moment, especially during the holidays, when added stresses make me a little less likely to stop and smell the roses.

I'm going to try to remember to smell the Evergreen, relish the sights, savor the tastes, absorb the sounds and feel the warmth and goodwill that only this season can bring.

So, here's to merry memory making!!!!!!


Monday, November 28, 2011


One blurry eyelid opens, then the other. I roll over, to see the silhouette of my 5 year. She's standing with her hand outstretched, clutching a Kleenex. "I have to blow my nose." I sit up, squeeze one nostril, then the other, satisfied she goes back to bed, for 5 minutes. In the last 20 minutes, she's been up 7 times, once to blow her nose, once to tell me she's coughing, once to tell me that she thinks her brother is sick, once to tell me she needs another blanket, once to tell, me she thinks her tummy hurts, another to tell me she might throw up, and then again to let me know she didn't really have to throw up, she just needed to go potty. I appreciate her keeping me so well informed at 2:50 in the morning, really I do. OKAY, that was sarcasm. I'm now wide awake, with little to no chance of going back to sleep, anytime soon.

So, since I'm wide awake and my mind is churning I thought I'd write about what a privilege it is to be the go to girl in the middle of the night. If I choose to look at it the right way, the fact is, that I'm needed, wanted, and preferred. Who else could help my daughter blow her nose quite so expertly? No one.

As the mommy I get to know it first, the good, the bad, the curious. I get help my daughter not only blow her nose, but I also get to help her navigate through life's ups, downs, trials and joys. That is a weighty responsibility. Sometimes, I don't feel up to the task. At those times though, I have to ask myself, "Would I really want to leave the responsibility to anyone else?" Looked at in that light, what are few interruptions in the middle of dream time?

I'm finding, that like anything else, it's all in how you look at it... So, here's to Rose-colored glasses at 3 am. and as a personal side note, it really helps to have a sense of humor.

Happy parenting!!!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Even if....

I didn't have visible signs of it marked in my flesh you would still know. There is a thin, white, horizontal scar four inches below my navel. There are telltale dark circles under my eyes from broken sleep. There are the distinct set of lines in my Gabella from making the "You're in so much trouble!" face. All of these and many more physical manifestations, announce to the keen observer that I am a mother. Some people say that motherhood is a badge. I say, it's a full out costume that not only disguises your outsides but morphs and changes every aspect of your insides as well.

Becoming a mother means that nothing is your own. You have to make room in your heart, because it will be utterly taken over by the love you feel for your child or children. You have to make room in your house for all of the "stuff" children need. You have to make room on your bookshelf for board books about colors and shapes. You have to make room in your bed for those nights when your children are sure there are monsters in their closet. You have to make room in your thoughts, because you will never be able to go for 5 minutes without thinking about your child for one reason or another.

In essence there is no escaping the life altering, phenomenal changes that accompany the introduction of a child into your life. I would never want to escape any of it. Each line, each grey hair, each body part, permanently changed, it's part of the package, the package that makes life so much fuller, sweeter and more complete.

I will, however, welcome the day when I no longer find hair bows, fruit snack wrappers, and dried out wipes in my purse. At this very moment I'm chuckling because in the pockets of my robe there is; one penny, one glue stick, a yellow crayon, one marble and a piece of paper with scribbles on it... Even if I didn't have physical markings of motherhood, all you would have to do is go through my pockets and you would know the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming.

I am a mother.

Friday, October 21, 2011

They Say That Breaking Up Is Hard To Do....

The Carpenters said it best, perhaps they knew all about messy relationships?  If you've lived long enough there's a chance you do too.  Good Bye, isn't easy, whether you're letting go of a significant other, a friend, lover, spouse, co-worker, parent, child.....

Fortunately, I'm not letting go of a meaningful relationship.  Unfortunately, I prying my fingers lose from a dream, a way of life, a chapter of my story that I don't feel done writing yet.

I came to this place full of expectations.  It was Spring, Spring naturally lends itself to new beginnings.  I wont say that it was love at first sight, but there was certainly promise and hopefulness in our meeting.  In the six and a half years since I've lived here, the Little Yellow House on the Prairie has been the place I've truly felt at home.  It's not been a house, or a place to lay my head, it has been my home.  Put simply home is defined as a place of residence, or refuge.  For me, home is a feeling, not an actual structure with Dry-Wall and carpet.

In coming here I brought my desire for space and room, room to move, a quiet place to nest, and reflect, to nurture and tend, and that is exactly what I got.  The sky is big here, the view is breathtaking, the quiet is soothing, and there is openness everywhere I look.  I've never felt claustrophobic or confined here, sheltered maybe, but never confined.

This is the place that my oldest child will remember as her first home.  It's the only home my younger children have ever lived in.  Manning Road has been more than our address it's been, a frozen pond in the Winter where my children ice skate.  It's been an open Soccer Field, where kicks are practiced, goals are scored, balls caught.  A veritable treasure trove of outdoor experiences have been shared here.  From Bike Paths,  to rigged Water Slides created from Swing Set parts, Easter Egg Hunts,  Fourth Of July Bashes, Birthday Parties, Mud Fights, countless bon-fires and s'mores....  Over time I'll try to feel and relive my favorite of the sweet memories that I've had here, and I'll smile a  bitter sweet smile, and wonder if I will always look back at my time here as the "Golden Years" of my family's life.

It seems fitting that I should be leaving this place in the Autumn, a time of beauty and change that ushers in an end known as Winter.  I'll only drive the winding road along the river a few more times.  There wont be anymore Early Morning Runs around the loop.  I doubt I'll get a chance to bid the Elk farewell, because there are still a few boxes to pack and a few to- dos left on my list.

The melancholy wont last too long.  It's not in my nature to pine endlessly.  Soon I'll be excited about the next stage and the next chapter that is yet to unfold, yet to be written.  I don't know what lies in store, or where our path will lead us next, but in truth, there is a big part of me that I'm leaving here...

I really do hate good-byes!  For me, breaking up is VERY hard to do...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Congratulations...... Twins!!!

My husband prayed for twins.  I prayed that God would have mercy on me, and ignore my husband's request.  Obviously, God likes my husband better!

Our twins will be five tomorrow.  I find myself wide awake at this insane hour contemplating their brief time here on this earth, reliving some of their finer moments, wondering about their future and so on....

Honestly in my early 20s I had no interest whatsoever in having children.  I didn't like them, they didn't like me, and I was perfectly content with the notion of never being a parent.  Then, I met Steve, who had wanted to be a parent since he was in the 5th grade.  Before we got married he made me promise that I would at least consider the possibility of having children someday.  I conceded.

After four years of marriage I'd experienced a complete change of heart.  I was suddenly willing, to not only consider children but to start having them.  Three long years later we met Elyse, our firstborn.  We had spent years observing our friends who were parents.  We had read countless books on parenting, attended conferences, listened to sermons, and still nothing could have prepared us for what life would be like with her.

Elyse and I had fun.  I'd throw her in the jog stroller and we'd go the the park everyday to swing.  She'd sit in my lap and I would sing to her,  this was before she could talk and voice a protest about my singing.  We read books.  We went for walks.  We traveled.  In fact, I had so much fun being a mommy to Elyse that I was sure she needed a sibling to add to the giggles and good times, and Steve, the one with the great Kid Karma, was all for it.

As is typical with us, we decide something, like, "let's have another baby" and then it takes years for that something to come to fruition.  I'm not sure why that is?  Perhaps it's to teach us patience, or build character?  Who knows?

I remember the day I realized I was pregnant again.  I'd started craving celery and Tomato Juice.  I was short of breath over the slightest exertion, and I'd acquired a metal taste in my mouth, all telltale signs of pregnancy, for me.  I was thrilled when the little stick confirmed what I already knew.  However, when my friend and fellow sonographer Justina said "um.... I see two heartbeats!"  My first reaction was to scream, and not with elation!!!  Actually, I think I may have even uttered an oath or two.  I knew all too well the danger of carrying twins, the added work and sleeplessness that two babies simultaneously, would bring and I wanted NO part of it.

In short, my twin pregnancy was wretched, my twin delivery was nearly fatal, and my first 6 months as the mommy of twins and a 4 year old, was so awful that I've completely blocked it from my mind.  But, that was then, and this is now.

 Now, I watch my two little, five year old people, and I can't imagine doing anything differently.  They are like night and day.  They are eachother's biggest fan, and biggest foe, concurrently protective and abusive.  They laugh, play, run, scream and get into all sorts of mischief together.

For the record, I forgive God for giving me twins, I even forgive my husband for praying for them.  And if I'm really honest, I could never again, imagine my life without them!

Happy Birthday, Snoofola Poofola and Yoni Baloney, I love you all the way to Heaven and back!!!!