Friday, May 27, 2011

That Mom

This summer I will be that mom...

...who invests in noise canceling headphones that can easily be hidden under a hat

....who finds a way to remove green from three chlorine ridden blond heads

...who stocks up on water proof band aids, poison ivy cream , bug spray,sunscreen and WINE

...who serves potato chips for breakfast and ice cream for lunch

...who insists on bike helmets and seat belts but is ok with unbrushed hair and grass stained knees.

...who has room for three in How to Wash Your Own Clothes 101 **extra credit for folding and putting away

...who would rather listen to the kids fight then let them watch TV all day ((at least for the first week))

...who still gets up before the sun to enjoy a cup of tea and a few minutes alone

...who uses the hose to kill bees and get the ball out of the tree but forgets to water my plants

...who dives in the pool over and over no matter how silly I look

...who spends a half hour slathering the kids with sunscreen but ends up
with a burn.

...who makes Target and the Grocery seem really boring just so I can go alone

..who can't quite believe I will have a 2nd, 5th and 7th grader in August

..who has a calendar with big red X's counting down to the first day of school

YEP that's ME!

Monday, May 23, 2011

That Flimsy House

Building a house of cards is a rough gig. Taking those flimsy cards and precariously placing them one of top of the other so that they form a structure. As the house gets bigger each card takes an extra careful strong but tender hand. One that doesn't waiver or tremor. One wrong move and the whole thing goes down. Everything you have built upon to make the thing bigger and better is gone in an instant. There is nothing left. The only thing left to do is start again with one card and then another.
I have thought of this house of cards a lot lately. I keep thinking of how many months and really years I have put into running. How I started with a mile and added on until I got to where I am now. I think of the hours and hours of pounding the pavement that brought me to happiness and fulfillment. How I transformed from a novice to a real athlete. One thing built on another. Up and up. Faster and faster until I was at the top of my game. Then a tremor-y hand and everything came crashing down. An injury. A stress fracture. No running. No exercising. Back down to the beginning. It's sad. It's hard to handle. But I am here. I am gaining perspective. I will be ok and I can run again. I keep remembering that I am lucky. Lucky that I am not one of those families that has had to deal with the horrific tornadoes or the extreme flooding in the past few months. I have not literally lost my house of cards to the wind or the water. I have not lost my life or the lives of my loved ones. My house will be easier to re-build. I am lucky.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

European Cuisine

The nearness of summer always brings about feelings of remembrance of a time before...before I had the responsibility of kids in summer camps and chore charts hung on the fridge. A time when my only job was to be a teenager. The brightest summer was the one that I lived between 8th and 9th grade. The year that defined then and now for me really. I went on a trip that summer with a student group. A few kids from my school but mostly made up of kids from other schools. We traveled to Europe for a 10 day tour of museums and canals. The trip started with me being isolated and alone but quickly turned to a time of discovery. There was a boy of course. One that I desperately wanted to notice me. There was a new girl who I began a friendship with that would eventually lead me to all that is good in my life. There were new foods , lots of Independence and hardly any rules.
We spent that week traveling on a bus from place to place all over Europe. Don't ask me exactly where because I could not tell you. I could tell you what games we played and how many times he winked at me. I can remember that heart to heart I had with my new friend and how we promised to stay in touch even though we would not go to the same high school. I remember the wishes I made word for word as I threw coins in the wishing well. When I look back through the pictures I took on that trip they are all of silly faces and obscure sights. There isn't one of a monument or a palace. Those just didn't matter. That wasn't what the trip was about.
It was about beginning to realize there is more in life to put on your plate than bread and rice. Sampling new things can be exciting and breathtaking. Taking a chance can lead to so much.
So when you send your kid off to that 8th grade trip remember that the education comes in many forms. All important. All worth the money.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Cold Sweat

Sometimes memories come back in snippets, sometimes they come in a huge flood with one leading to another. Most often something happens to jump start the process. Last week a boy around my 12 year old's age committed suicide. He was a boy we didn't know but one that went to a neighboring middle school and had many connections once removed. Just the thought of a kid that young being so tormented whether by himself or others to actually end his own life makes me sick to my stomach. BUT the more I woke up at night in a cold sweat thinking about it the more I realized what kinds of horrible secrets lie within kinds at that age. That's when the memories started. Those things I had hidden away from myself from when I was 12 and 13 and 14. When I was at that awkward stage where things just don't feel comfortable. Where your feet are too big and your skin is too oily. Where your hair can't be perfect enough and your clothes are way too babyish. That time where your inside and outside don't coincide and no one understands how you feel especially yourself. When you want your mom to hug you but you can't stand being touched. When you want to say daddy but it comes out as father.

My wave of memory was a vivid picture of me trying to halt myself from being embarrassing. By embarrassing I mean sweat. I had this thing with sweating. I wore deodorant but it didn't stop the horrible prepubescent sweat. I started to only wear white and when that even stopped working (in my 12 year old mind) I devised another plan. I started to layer a too small leotard under whatever clothes I wore so that I wouldn't sweat through. Did I consider the fact that two layers would actually cause more sweat?? Did I realize that the leotard was black and other people could probably see it through my clothes? NO because I was 12. The sweat was my nemesis. I channeled all my preteen angst straight into controlling that perspiration.
Eventually my hormones must have regulated and the sweat calmed down and all was dry but I don't remember any of that with clarity. I only remember hiding the leotard under
my clothes and hoping no one caught a glimpse and questioned me. No one ever did. That secret went undiscovered and got neatly folded up and placed in my memory for a later purpose. When I began to remember last week all the feels came back. I remembered that horrible awkwardness. I need to remember it bright and uncluttered. I want to take it and use it. You see I have three girls and they will have their "sweat". They will be uncomfortable in their own skin. It isn't a negotiation it just IS. It will happen. Whether it is sweat or zits or bullies or height or weight it will happen. I want to be empathetic. I don't want to tell them to suck it up. I want to put my foot in their pink converse. I don't want them to feel alone. I want to help them get to a place where they can fold up their memory and put it away to use when they have kids.