Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Stories to Forget

Since a new year is starting I want to air my grievences from 2009 so I can rid myself of them and start anew. Here goes...
1) I want to forget all the times I said yes when I should have said NO!
2) I want to wash away the whiney kid voices sassing me.
3) I want to get rid of my poor body image.
4) I want to stop feeling like good enough is not good enough.
5)I need to remove my sad feelings of having my youngest start kindergarten.
6) I need to erase my feeling of abandonment when Chris has to travel for work.
7) I need to remember that sometimes people want to do things for me simply because they like me not because someone is holding a gun to their head.
8) I will drop the constant, futile attempt to keep up and fit in.
Well, there it is...I've said, out with 2009 and bring on 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009

This Old House

My parents have had my childhood home up for sale for months. There have not been any serious offers in all that time. I had myself convinced that they would decide to take it off the market and live there forever. Up until now. They have a decent offer and things could possible move at warp speed. Logically I know it is a house, made of material not flesh and blood. Somewhere between the plaster and wood this place became more to me then just shelter. It stopped being inanimate and became a part of the family. All the things that happened there and the memories that were created brought it to life. I know it seems silly to become emotionally involved with a house but sometimes relationships take on a life of their own. That old house saw me through loose teeth and skinned knees. It was there for birthday parties and sleepovers. In more recent years it has been the central gathering place for holidays with my own children and their cousins. I know my dad is tired of dealing with the upkeep that comes with a 100 year old house and my mom is tired of cleaning 3 full bathrooms when it is only the two of them. I know that logically a smaller home would be more practical for them. Logic sometimes can't supersede feelings of the heart though. I can't help but be sad knowing that goodbye is coming. Luckily when I close my eyes and think about my childhood I can still recall all the special times that played out between those four walls that were our home sweet home for so many years. I hope whoever it is that is going to acquire the house will love it like we have. I hope they can make memories of their own and find a special place in their heart for that house on Garden Road.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eyes Wide Open

Fresh out of college I headed into teaching with an unbridled passion to make a difference in the world. I interviewed lots of places but ended up accepting an offer from a small rural distract with dilapidated buildings and lots of "everyone knows everyone" mentality. I had my eyes opened right a way to reality. My class was filled with impoverished kids that had dirty faces and ill fitting clothes. Many lived in one room apartments with sleeping bags on the floor as their beds. One little boy was stumbling around one day wincing with each step. I took off his two sizes too small shoe to find his bloody toes sticking through thread bare socks. My morning lessons were constantly interrupted by tiny tummies growling. I brought in cereal and milk to feed them but it was never enough. Once I caught a little boy sticking the cereal box in his backpack. When I asked him why he took it he told me to give some to his baby brother and mom. He said it in such a matter of fact way with no regret as if he had had to go to such drastic measures before. I won't forget the empty look in his eyes or the eruption of shivers that flew down my spine.
My own children have so much and I want them to know....NO I need them to know that there are children out there who face hunger and cold in their own homes. Kids who have to beg, borrow and steal just to survive each day. I want them to know that these are just kids like they are who have interests and personalities just like they do. Over the last eleven years that I have been a mom I have often wondered how those kids turned out. My short time with them had such a profound effect on me but I can't talk myself into thinking I made the same sort of impression on them.
Years ago when I went to my Principal and told him I was going to have a baby of my own and that I wasn't coming back to teaching he said something to me that will forever repeat in my head. He said that I am the kind of person that should have lots of kids. That I would spread to my own children the same type of integrity and positive spirit that I worked so hard to spread to my students. He said that he knew that any children of mine would grow up to make a positive impression on the world. Now my eyes are wide open to the evils of the world and I think of his words often and I spend a lot of time hoping he was right.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My List

Instead of doing a traditional list of some of my favorite things I have decided to make a list of things I don't ever actually have to try to know beyond a shadow of a doubt I will not like...

1) Sushi

2) Mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow

3) Ironing

4) High heels

5) Massages, manicures or professional waxing ...of any kind

6) A colonoscopy

7) The McRib (how can a rib not have a bone???)

8) Sarah Palin's book

9) Biggest Loser

10) Cigarettes

11) Moonshine

12) Getting a ticket

13) Being a room mom

14) Shopping with my mother-in-law

15) A bidet

What is on your list??

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Magic in Words

This holiday season I have been struggling with what I can find out there to give my most favorite people. In my lifetime there seem to be that handful of friends that I classify as the ones who are just simply my people. The ones that I feel a kinship with and what I hope is a mutual admiration. Some are friends I have had a lifetime and others are newly found but all fit into the narrow category. All I hope to keep until I am old and gray. The obligatory bottle of wine or plate of cookies just don't seem to be enough. This year I have an odd, tugging feeling inside telling me to seize the moment while I have the chance. Instead of wracking my brain to find a material gift I should wrap up my words as their gift. I feel like what I have to say can make them realize what incredible people they are and how much I respect and enjoy them. These things are often an unspoken feeling between friends but sometimes it is good to actually affirm the sentiments. So although I didn't find these gifts in stores I hope they find value in the hands of the people that receive them. If I can convey the gift they have given to me through the simple use of words then I have found the true meaning of the holidays.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sibling Reflection

Lately I have taken some time to sit and observe the interaction between my three kids and it has really made me start thinking about how and why siblings can be so different. They grow up in the same house with the same parents so logically you would think their experiences would be similar. My three kids could not be more different. I see parts of my husband and I melded together ..the best and the worst parts..and deposited into each one. The main thing guiding those traits though is the unique personality that they were born with already in place. At my house we have Miss Drama With a Heart of Gold, Miss The World is Against Me, and Miss INTENSE. This tells me that we can parent each one the same and come up with three very different outcomes. I see it in my own siblings. We all grew up in the same house and lived through the same experiences yet none of us remember it in the same way. One of us will remember the lesson we learned, someone else will remember the punishment and usually the third doesn't even remember the incident happening at all (that one is usually me..I tend to block things out). Every time I try to create a memory or teach a lesson for my children, I reflect back on the fact that whatever I am trying to teach or ingrain in them will be tossed and turned and interpreted in three very different ways. The one thing I want to shine through beyond the differences is that I love them and support their ideas and feelings. Not in spite of their uniqueness but because of it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Am That Mom

I am THAT Mom....

....who lets my kids lick the bowl after making cookies, raw egg and all

....who pretends I don't hear anyone crying in the middle of the night so my husband has to deal

....who has to dig for matching socks every single morning for my kids and if I can't find them then I just tell them to wear boots

...who bribes my kids with treats, even at 7am

....who uses Google to help with homework

....who avoids all volunteer "opportunities" at the school

...who puts my youngest in the babysitting place at the grocery even when I have absolutely no shopping to do.

....who loves the invention of Uncrustables and Lunchables

...who wears sweaty workout wear and a hat to the bus stop every day

....who must have fountain Diet Coke on a daily basis even if it means raiding my kids piggy banks or my husbands wallet

....who stays awake all night worrying about my daughter that is struggling in school

....who sees my own preteen angst in my eleven year old's eyes

....who sometimes tears up when I realize my baby isn't really a baby anymore

I am that mom.

Are you that mom?

inspired by Susie.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Bigger Picture

I keep getting caught in all the details and detainment of every day life. Situations in the here and now seem to consume me and weigh me down. I can't get past all of that to see the bigger picture. I want to and I try to but I can't seem to move all those things out of the way to get a clear view. I try to remember that in the larger picture a lot of the stress and hardships along the way don't really contribute. The outcome is what it is whether or not I spend my time in a state of anxiety. What seems to be the worst thing in the world while it is happening might simply be the steps that need to be taken to reach the finish. Telling myself doesn't seem to be enough though when I see such bad things happen to such good people. Challenges like sickness, death and addiction seem like more then just parts to a bigger puzzle at the time they are happening. In reality they lead us all in new and different directions and often make us stronger and more resilient in life. Adversity turns us into who we are and who we were always meant to be.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ribbons and Bows

If I wrote a yearly Christmas Letter (which I don't) it would probably look something like what I have written below. It is a sort of showcase of some beautiful classic snapshots of our whimsical,warm, happy holiday season so far.

*After dragging out 6 decoration boxes laden with memories of Christmas past I quickly picked 2 things out of each box then dragged them all back to the basement where they will sit untouched for another year.

*Instead of pouring over cookbooks and planning the holiday meals this year I am focusing on what is really important: the wine list and the dessert.

* I am relishing in the fact that my two older girls are having a really hard time finding anything to put on their Christmas lists. They are much more interested in shopping for the foster kids we are sponsoring this year and even want to help pay for the toys on their lists.

*In an effort to stop myself from eating all the treats laying around I gulped some hot cocoa and bunt my taste buds. Too bad I decided that I could remember well enough what everything tastes like so I would just go ahead and eat them anyway.

*The girls and I have found a nifty alternative use for the Advent calendar this December! We are using it to keep track of all the days Chris is traveling between now and Christmas.

*I caught Amelia screaming at the classic Rudolph on the TV. She was telling the Burl Ives snowman how annoying he was and informing him that he better get off the screen as she fast forwarded.

*I am pretty sure that the girls special elves that come to visit every year are following me around this year. I hope they haven't seen or heard anything that they shouldn't!

*I am having a major stand off with Mother Nature. She wants the cold, snow and ice to come and I refuse to acknowledge it...I continue to get up at 6:30 and run most mornings. Hopefully she won't teach me a lesson by making me fall!

*Chris has set up his usual elaborate Christmas train display. The cats are enjoying lounging around the town and chewing on the wires and the little people. It is like they think he set it up just for them.

* I have taken on a holiday job this year! I am working as a neighborhood exterminator specializing in birds and mice. I like payment in the form of Starbucks and holiday cookies.

*Sorry this letter didn't make it inside the Christmas might have if I hadn't let my 5 year old seal, stamp and put labels on all the cards. At least it entertained her for an hour. Unfortunately it took me an hour to go back and peel the stamps and labels on and straighten them out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Loosening the Grip

The other day one of my kids decided to wear two different socks to school. Another wore cowboy boots with sweatpants. At one time this would have sent me into a tailspin. When the girls wore little cutsie outfits with frilly bows were a must. Mommy and me classes and comparing developmental milestones were the norm. They seemed important. Back then what people thought of my parenting seemed so attached to what they thought of my children. Over the years my parenting has morphed into a more laid back style. I have realized that giving the kids choices in every aspect of their lives gives them depth and diversity. It creates individuality and self reliance. When they make mistakes it gives them the chance to create solutions that will hopefully help them when they face similar problems later. When I hear other parents say that their kid is the most perfect athlete or the smartest child out there I worry that they are setting them up for failure. NO one is perfect 100% of the time and I can't imagine the pressure an expectation like that puts on a child. I want my kids to set tough but obtainable goals that they feel comfortable working towards. People on the outside might think I have gotten lackadaisical over the years but to me that refers to being lazy or not caring. I prefer to describe myself as relaxed and flexible but supportive and encouraging. I want my children to grow up to be independent self starters with an affinity for diversity and the ability to find solutions within themselves.