Category Archives: parenting

Middle School Joy

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School has been back in session for a few weeks now and, so far, the transition has been a smooth one. Bean is still in her beloved school – only this time – for the first time ever –  without her brother there with her. In her words, it’s amazing. And Scorch transitioned seamlessly from his tiny Catholic school to the much larger public school.

I think it helped that for the first year ever, we’re letting Scorch play tackle football. Trust me, we debated this decision over and over and over – but what finally got me to say yes is the fact that my kid thrives on a team. He soaks up everything about being a teammate-  having kids to hang out with, having a set schedule, being forced to manage his time. Football here meant summer conditioning sessions and practices that started the week before school started so he went into the new school already feeling like he belonged, which is a really good thing.

Last week, Scorch was supposed to have his first game so the Bean, Hubs and I went to the field. There was a tennis match going on below the football field and a cross country meet happening on the far side of the field. The Powder Puff game was going on after Scorch’s game, so the entire athletic area was packed. Warm up music was blaring and kids were hanging out in groups – teasing, laughing and carrying on. It was a loud, chaotic, fun community atmosphere.

It may be 22 year later, but damned if the sounds, sights and smells weren’t exactly the same as when I was in school.

I freaking loved my teen years. Not in a Glory Days way where I want to go back and relive those times again – but those years were a lot of fun. Sure, there was the typical drama that all teens go through – first loves, fights among friends, pushing boundaries and figuring things out – but overall, those years rocked.  And as I looked around at where my kids were going to be living out their teenage years, I became excited for them.

I know that being a teen today is a hell of a lot different than being a teen 20+ year ago, but I’d like to think that the foundational things aren’t that different. Social media adds a whole new levels to things, but at the core, middle school and high school years are about starting to figure out who you are and who your tribe is. It’s about exploring your interests, stretching your wings and taking those first steps to adulthood.

Sure, it can also be about drama and angst – but, thanks to social media and the news, it’s easy to think that’s all it’s about. But it’s not. It’s also about joy, friendship and crazy love. Come on???  Don’t you remember that first exhilarating car ride you took with your friends with no adults in the car? Finding new friends that you clicked with? Discovering a new activity that you loved? Riding the bus home from games, celebrating the big win? Taking class trips? Sneaking out of your house to meet your friends and getting away with it (or not- thanks, Mrs. Wilson!)? Picking out your outfit to your first formal dance?  The thrill of your first kiss?

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We called this our 90210 pose. Awkward as hell middle school years? You betcha. But I’m going to on vacation with these ladies next month to celebrate our 4oth birthdays!

*sigh* I want my kids to have all that and more. I want them to be 40 years old and look back on that crazy time with a smile on their face remembering amazing friends lost and the amazing friends still in their lives. I want them to laugh over the stupid things they did and realize how those years helped to make them into the amazing adults they will become.

So, instead of freaking out about all the horrible things that the media tells me lurks for my kids as they get older, I’m going to concentrate on all the awesome things that will also happen. My eyes will be open to the bad – I can’t pretend it’s not out there – but that fear won’t take away the joy that I know will be there too.

 

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10.

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Dear Bean-

You have been blessing this earth with your sassy attitude, funny personality and charm for a decade now.

Girl, you’re old.

How in the world did that happen? Aren’t babies supposed to stay babies? I think there is a law about that somewhere that you broke with all this growing up you’re doing.

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We were in FL back in March, on the beach in St. Augustine – you were all long, skinny, tanned limbs and my heart stopped just looking at the gorgeousness that is you.  Not just your physical features, but your sparkling eyes and loud laugh  – that was the moment I got a glimpse into you who you’d grow up to be and it was astounding.

~*~*~

You are still my mystery girl. Your brother and I are very similar- what you see is pretty much what you get. We like people, we like crowds and there are no such things as strangers- just friends we haven’t met.

You, on the other hand, are much more guarded. You keep your circle small, your friends close and list of things you love to do pretty damn small. Getting you to try new things is like pulling teeth and if you’re not sure you’ll be 100% successful or comfortable doing something- you’d really rather not.

Parenting you is sometimes one of the most challenging things I do  – and I’m so thankful for it.  You, my Bean, make my life a 1000x more interesting. You keep me on my toes, you show me a new way to look at things and you’re constantly wowing me with your intelligence and humor.  In short, I adore you.

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~*~*~*~

This past year was a great one for you. You rocked 4th grade- adoring your teacher, getting good grades and working hard. This year was the start of some serious girl drama as you discovered that have 2 BFFs is hard. But you ladies figured things out and learned a bit more about kindness, compromise and what being a friend is about.

You kept playing an instrument, even though you complained once a week about that. You played lacrosse again and killed it – even though you complained about that too. Your father and I have figured out that you’re going to complain about most things that take you out of the house- but once you’re there, you shine. You’re dedicated and work hard and more or less remember your manners.

The only things you never, ever complained about? Playing flag football and horseback riding. You’ve already stated that in 7th grade you’re playing real football because when you grow up you want to play in the NFL. Then become a marine biologist. You don’t care which you do first- you’re just going to do both of them. And I really don’t doubt you will if that is what you really want.

As for horseback riding- you started taking lessons about a year ago and fell in love. I don’t know if it’ll be a long time love affair- but you have never once tried to get out of riding and you’d pretty much rather be at the barn than anywhere else (except home- you always want to be at home). It’s a joy watching you find what makes you happy – and right now, being on a horse is one of your most happy places.

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~*~*~

You start 5th grade in a month – and it’s the first time in your life you’ll go to a different school then your brother. You two make each other crazy, but you’re also each other’s BFFs and I wonder how this will go for you. I have a feeling you’ll find a sense of independence you’ve never had before and I can’t wait to see how you stretch your wings.

As you start the first year of your second decade, I wish so very much. I wish you:

  • Friendship: keep your BFFs close, but don’t be afraid to make new friends too. Let people surprise you in the best way possible- because people are amazing.
  • Kindness: I hope the girl drama stays to a minimum and you all remember the importance of being kind to others- but to yourself as well.
  • Courage: try something new. Venture out and do something that scares you just a little. You are smart, funny and amazing- hold on to that knowledge and step off that ledge.
  • Determination: some things are going to be hard. You’re going to have to work really hard at some thing, or you’re going to be faced with a situation that will need strength. Stick to your guns, see it through and know that what ever it is, you’ll succeed.
  • Confidence: Know all the way down into your bones that you are worthy of love, kindness, friendship and compassion and settle for nothing less. Be true to who you are. That may mean that you won’t be loved by everyone- and that’s OK. Be confident in yourself enough to know that it’s about the quality of those around you and demand what’s due.
  • Curiosity: don’t be afraid to meander down different (physical and metaphorical) paths if something interests you. Sometimes you’ll find the most delightful surprises at the end.
  • Conviction: as you get older, knowing your own mind and sticking up for what’s right becomes more and more important. Ask question, figure out how you feel about things and stick up for yourself and others when you feel you’re not being respected.  I have all the faith in the world in  your ability to move mountains.

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You, my darling Bean, are one of the best gifts I have ever received. You are my heart – my wild child, my rule breaker and my stubborn mule. Watching you grow is my greatest privilege and I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years bring.

Love,

Mom

Broken- and Why I’m the World’s Worst Mom

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When Scorch was in 3rd grade, he started snowboarding. He worked so freaking hard to learn- it took him all 6 weeks in row of weekly 2.5 hour lessons to finally- FINALLY- get his green pass. He hasn’t looked back since. Last year, the Bean and I started skiing. She’s fantastic, I stink- but we are, officially, a family that skis. (Except the Hubs- he wants nothing to do with it thanks to his previous 5 knee surgeries.). We love our Thursday nights on the slopes- Scorch heads off with his friends while the Bean and I stick together and she makes fun of how slow I go. We meet up randomly and then have a fun dinner out. #bonding

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Last week, just as the Bean and I got off the ski lift at the very top of the mountain, I heard my cell phone ring. I ignored it and we continued on with our group lesson, slowing inching our way down the hill with our instructor and 8 other kids. All was going well enough until I got a tap on my shoulder from another chaperone who some how tracked me down to tell me Scorch was hurt and that I needed to go check on him ASAP.

Which was doable – in theory. Except that I was stuck at the top of a trail I didn’t know with my 9 year old who promptly fell over, lost a ski and started to sob that she was never going to get up again. So I called the head chaperone who was with Scorch, determined that no bones were jutting out, EMTs were not called and he was calm – then I more more less told the Bean to calm down, pull herself together and get moving.

15 agonizing minutes later I rushed into the room where Scorch was to find him acting completely fine. Sure, he had ice on his wrist, but there were no tears, swelling or bruising. It was rather anti-climatic after our rush down the hill.

We headed home and had the Hubs (a former EMT) look at Scorch’s wrist where he deemed it fine. We asked Scorch to perform a bunch of mobility exercises, that he did successfully and then basically shrugged our shoulders and figured he was fine.

The next day, the wrist was still sore, and, given that Scorch had a basketball game and two football games the next day, we decided to get him x-rayed just in case. The doctor we saw agreed that it was probably nothing but ordered the x-ray just in case.

You know, just in case his wrist was broken in two places. Which it was.

Scorch handled this rather well all weekend long – until Monday when the cast was put on and reality set in. That night, my sweet, patient, loving child lost his ever loving mind as we drove to the gym (something we so every Monday, Wednesday and Friday so the Hubs and I can work out). There were tears, yelling, stomping of feet- and then finally, after getting the Bean all riled up – The List.

My kiddos spent the last 15 minutes of our drive to the gym outlining all the things that I don’t let them do that I should:

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For the record, I defending myself against the “lying” accusation by noting that telling my kids that they can do something, only to find out what they wanted to do wasn’t offered at the time they wanted to do it (something out of my control) was not lying (that happened the week before). I also told them I’d stopped yelling in the morning (why do I yell? So we get to school on time. I didn’t yell yesterday once, we were 20 minutes late). The rest? Well, they’d just have to suck that up- that’s called parenting.

Bottom line: Scorch is in a cast for the next 3 weeks, he’s a resentful mess over it and I’m wondering how much a kid with a broken wrist would get me if I sold him to the circus.

 

Taking My 6 Year Old to Therapy Was the Best Decision I Ever Made

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Way back when I dreamed about becoming a mom, I dreamed about babies. Sweet, smushy, cuddly babies. Babies with chubby cheeks and heads I’d want to sniff for hours (it’s a thing, trust me). I didn’t picture having a kid with anxiety- I mean, who does?

This is Mental Illness Awareness Week. I hesitated to write that. I hesitated to link my child with words like mental illness. It makes my gut clench and it makes me second guess the writing of this.

But that’s why I am sharing this. Because I have to get over myself, my prejudices and my fears. Because I’ve talked to more parents this year than I ever have who have shared their stories of kids who are struggling and their feeling helpless, sheer exhaustion and frustration that comes with that.  Here is what I wrote a year ago on a community blog I contributed to about why therapy was the best decision we ever made for our kid.

When my son Scorch was 5, he saw a movie that he had seen before but, this time around, the villain in the movie- a hairless cat- terrified him. It sounds silly when I write it out, but it’s the truth. Scorch was petrified of that cat and his fear went from something that we joked about lightly to something that took over our lives very quickly.

It started with not wanting to go to bed by himself. The lights had to be on and we had to sit in his bedroom with him. My child who went to bed relatively quickly turned into one that took hours to fall asleep. Once he did fall asleep, nightmares became commonplace and all hopes of a good night sleep for Scorch, the Hubs and I went out the window.

We would sit in his bedroom as Scorch’s brain whirled on over drive – Mommy, what if the cat gets in the house? He won’t, go to sleep. But what if he does? Scorch, he can’t- all of our windows and doors are locked. What if he breaks in? Daddy is a police officer- no one is breaking into our house. But what if? The questions went on and on and on- it was like his brain was on a track that he simply could not get off.

A month or so after the worries about hairless cats popped up, Scorch watched my daughter Bean get sick in the middle of the cafeteria at school. She was fine (minus the 24-hour stomach bug), but it was like his fears jumped tracks and now he obsessed over getting sick. This fear became even more consuming and Scorch would have panic attacks before school because he was so worried he’d get sick there.

I remember going to dinner with my girlfriends one night and crying the minute that I sat down. I was so tired. The Hubs and I were fighting with each other and Scorch every night as we begged him to go to sleep. Please, child, just relax and sleep. Nothing we said to him made a dent though- we couldn’t rationally talk to him about why he wouldn’t get sick, or what we’d do if he did, and how getting sick was no big deal.

My mother had been gently hinting for months that Scorch’s anxiety level was a lot higher than most kids, but I kept brushing her off. He was 5- just about to turn 6 for goodness sake- what in the world would we do? He’ll get over it. Then another close family member on my husband’s side of the family shared that she had developed an ulcer at age 9 due to her anxiety. An ulcer at AGE 9.

That stopped me in my tracks and really made me evaluate how the Hubs and I had been reacting to Scorch’s fears. The child had had at least 3 legitimate panic attacks. He had missed school because he was so scared that he was going to get sick even though he was completely healthy. His sleep – 8 months later- was still horrible. And our approach wasn’t helping a darn thing.

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At times, it felt like Scorch’s anxiety was going to pull us under.

Had my child had long-lasting fevers, unexpected bruises or crazy insulin readings, I would have been camped at the doctor’s office 24/7 as we tried to figure out what was wrong. I would have called specialists and driven all over God’s green earth to get him healthy. But because his issues were in his mind, we excused them and assumed they’d resolve on their own.

We were idiots.

When we finally called a therapist, they were very open about things. First, they’d meet with us, then they’d meet with Scorch (with or without us in the room- it was up to us) and they’d let us know if they thought he needed to see someone or if this was simply a case of a worried kid and overreacting parents. After these appointments, they were pretty sure Scorch was dealing with generalized anxiety and would benefit from talking to a professional. We agreed and Scorch saw his therapist for well over a year- first weekly, then bi-weekly and then monthly.

Scorch’s therapist did Play Therapy with him and gave him a safe space to talk out his worries. She also gave him tools to handle his anxiety- worry dolls, rhythmic patting, breathing exercises and the like. These tools made a world of difference. It’s been 4 years since we started therapy and we have had to go back to see his beloved therapist a few times when things seemed overwhelming, but for now, Scorch knows how to handle his worries. He knows how to talk things out and self-sooth. Sure, some of this may just be his increased maturity as he got older, but I credit 90% of his coping abilities to his therapist. We haven’t seen his therapist in over 2 years, but the number is still in my phone just in case.

I know that anxiety may rear its head again as Scorch gets older, as diagnosed anxiety disorders run in our family, but now I feel like that we – he, the Hubs and myself – have a clear vision of what’s going on. I’m as committed to making sure my kids are as healthy mentally as they are physically and I refuse to be embarrassed or worry about the stigma of my son being in therapy. Scorch is wonderful, intelligent, funny, athletic, kind and anxious- all these parts of him help to make him completely perfect.

Thankfully, Scorch’s anxiety is well in check right now. Certain things will still trigger his panic, but it doesn’t rule our life like it did when he was younger. But he’s growing and puberty is going to hit us all in the face soon and I don’t know what that will do to his brain chemistry. What I do know is that I (with Scorch’s permission) will keep sharing, keep talking, keep normalizing any struggles he may have.

6 and 4

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After one of the craziest, most fun, busiest summers ever, we’re firmly back into the fall routine. The kids are happy with their teachers, school is going well and we have a nice rhythm going on. This is actually our quietest time of the year with minimal after school activities and I’m enjoying every.single.second of the peace – because you know it won’t last long.

So, the summer. We did a lot – we visited Lady Liberty…

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Saw a professional ballgame (or 3 – baseball was big this summer)…

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Visited with hundreds of our friends at a local music fest…

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Spent The Best Week Ever in the Outer Banks with family…

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Visited a Fort…

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And drove a dragon in a Harbor.

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The kids went to different camps each week- school camps, nature camps, sports camps. The Bean learned to sail a boat and Scorch got to hang with friends. In short, the summer was really just about perfect and I was beyond sad to see it go. But you know was solves your dread of summer being over? Having your kids home for 2.5 weeks before school starts while you’re working full time. Trust me, that’ll teach you to embrace a schedule.

So- 6th grade and 4th grade.

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This picture of their feet makes me laugh every time I see it because it captures them perfectly. Scorch will stand still and do what’s asked of him because it’s easier and he likes to please. Bean is literally trying to back away out of the picture as quickly as possible because she wants no part in following an order and cooperating. His feet are 2.5 sizes bigger than mine and she’s still obsessed with all things gold.

I love those freaking kids so much and I’m so very excited to see how they grow this school years. But honestly- I’m even more excited for next summer, because summers are the best.

To Infinity and Beyond

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We just (a month ago…but it was “just” when I started writing this) returned from our annual trek to Florida and I’m trying not to question too deeply why we live in NY instead of a place where the sun comes out and the air doesn’t freeze my nostrils together. I know there are a million reasons we love living where we do, but when you leave 80 and sunshine and come home to 30 and sleeting, those reasons are hard to remember.

We knew going into this trip that it was going to be different than any other we’ve taken because we were going to fly. I know, I know- not a big deal for most, but we’ve always either driven or taken the train- but we got such a great deal on airfare that it was dumb not to jump on it. So we did and the kids were giddy about it. Truly, I think they were more excited about flying than they were what we were doing in FL.

4 days before we were scheduled to leave, Scorch came down with the stomach bug. Thankfully it was a 12 hours of sickness + 12 hours of recovery time- so nothing too bad and he was back to himself by Monday night. Tuesday, Winter Storm Stella hit our area so the kids were home from school Tuesday and Wednesday. We held our breath on Monday and Tuesday waiting to see if the Bean would get sick, but by Wednesday, we relaxed. It had been 72 full hours and if she hadn’t gotten sick yet, she wouldn’t. Surely, she wouldn’t.

(Do you see where this is going?)

Wednesday night at 10 pm, the poor child woke up and was violently ill. Between bouts of puking, she sobbed because she was sick on our last vacation to St. Louis and during Christmas and now she was going to miss going to FL. It was damn near the most pitiful thing I had ever seen and I was thisclose to crying with her as the Hubs and I freaked out over WTH to do. We were set to leave for the airport in 9 hours and there was was no way we could make this poor baby get on a plane. That wasn’t fair to her or the people on unlucky enough to be stuck on a flying tin can with us.

After some serious scrambling and a lot of late night phone calls, we were able to switch our flight to the same time on Friday, change our hotel reservation and rebook our rental car all with minimal fuss- thank goodness! Thursday we went to the pediatrician and got medication to prevent vomiting just in case and prayed everyone would be well enough to travel the next day.

Friday morning, the Bean wasn’t 100%, but she hadn’t been sick in 20 hours so we hit the road and drove the 3 hours to the airport. The whole first flight experience could not have gone better. We had zero lines, lots of time to kill and super excited kids who were thrillllled to be there. The flight itself was super smooth and we landed in FL almost 2 hours to the minute of taking off. We grabbed our luggage and rental car and took off for Disney, patting ourselves on the back over how well we handled the past 48 hours, ready to start enjoying vacation.

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The Hubs starting puking 10 minutes after we arrived at our hotel.

*sigh* At least he made it to FL. We settled him in the room and I took the kids to the pool and to get dinner, basically putting the poor man in isolation. My wonderful mother-in-law was in FL to spend 4 days with us so when she arrived at the hotel, the 3 of us moved into her room to stay as far away from the germs as humanly possible.

The good news isolation worked. I never got sick and the Hubs was up and rolling by mid-day on Saturday so vacation could officially commence! And we had the best time…

From the hotel pool, where I treated myself to a few of these…

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Watching the kids swim, praying the alcohol will kill all the germs.

To the parks…

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These guys were electrifying…so very cool!

And then finally over the West Coast to the beach…

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Dear Gulf Coast, I love you.

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At the aptly named Sunset Beach on our last night in FL.

…it was perfect.

And now, back to reality. Since I started writing this post, Spring has really started to bloom in NY and I’m remembering why we live here. That’s not to say though, I couldn’t be persuaded to live in paradise full time…

Oh, Christmas Tree

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Saturday was the day. We were going to get our tree, come hell or high water. I love Christmas Tree Day. While we don’t cut ours down (we know our limits), we go to a lovely tree lot, and carefully look around until we find the The One.  The One must be a concolor fir- not a very common type of tree- so it can be a pain, but it’s always worth it. We were going to get adorable selfies and a great tree and a great time will be had by all, damn it.

So, Saturday morning the kids and I set off to meet the Hubs at the tree lot. I had an inkling my plans for a perfect day were doomed when the Bean refused to wear her boots. When forced into doing so, she borrowed my phone while I was driving and texted the Hubs to come get her because she needed to be rescued from me. Nothing says family love like a stalemate over footwear and SOS text messages. When we got to the lot, the Bean refused to get out of the car because of said boots. Upon hearing that, Scorch then informed me that if she wasn’t getting out, he wasn’t getting out either- the adults could pick out the tree on their own.

Hell.No.

This is FAMILY FUN, DAMN IT and they would participate and like it even if it killed them! To prove that, I yelled/hissed at the Bean to get her shoes on and for both of them get out of the car before I counted to 10 or so help me God…

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The Hubs still wasn’t there yet, so when the children finally emerged from the car and started to run around like feral animals playing hide and seek between the trees, I found the man in charge and asked him to please point out all the concolor firs to me. And then….I saw it. All 9 feet of it in all its glory and I knew, I knew, it was our tree.  I mean, who cares that the diameter is so large that I couldn’t see around it and that it was 9 feet tall. We could work with that, right?

When the Hubs got there, he initially told me I was crazy but I knew his inner Clark Griswold was going to come out. I gave him a minute and sure enough, I saw him circle the tree a few times. I knew he was hooked. Only the Hubs asked the man in charge to take 1.5 feet off the base of the tree, so it wasn’t quite as majestic when we loaded it on the truck, but common sense does have to come into play at some point.

While the Hubs and the man in charge loaded the tree on the truck, I had the fun of running around yelling for my kids who didn’t want to get out of the car to stop hiding on me and to get back in the car. I’m pretty sure they would have paid us to take the tree had we let the kids run around much longer.

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Our tree goes in our living room. There are only so many ways to arrange our living room furniture, so for the past 14 years, our tree has stood in the same spot… it’s proper spot, right in front of our picture window. But that doesn’t mean the Hubs doesn’t have to spend a good hour trying all sorts of other configurations of our furniture before giving up and moving things to the same spot they go in every year. This year included the extra added bonus of muttering under his breath when he realized that our kids actually *gasp* stored things in the drawers of our coffee table. Doing so evidently made us into “pack rats”. Who knew?

But, the tree is up. It’s gorgeous. The kids are happy and we’re happy. Nothing about getting our tree or putting it up may be picture perfect- but neither are we.

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Thankfulness: School Moms (and Dads)

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This weekend the Hubs and I watched Bad Moms- the comedy from the summer about mom’s who are tired of doing it all, juggling it all and being expected to be good at it all. I wanted to like this movie- hell, I wanted to LOVE this movie because I, like 99% of the moms I know, do do it all as best we can and sometimes we all need a break. But I wasn’t a fan.

The stereotypes were too broad, the women too shrill and the marriages depicted too damn depressing. There were some great laughs in the movie, but mainly I walked away from that movie disappointed and VERY thankful that I didn’t recognize any of horrible, judgey, rude, condescending Queen Bee moms shown in the movie.

Tonight I’m thankful for the school mom’s who don’t care that on snack day, my kid’s contribution is store bought. Always. Who don’t give me the side eye when my son’s Saint costume for All Saint’s Day is a borrowed ninja costume complete with a fake 6-pack of abs. I’m thankful for the mom’s that wonder out loud with me why our kids fight so much about changing their underwear daily and who nod knowingly when my kids and I are running as fast as we can into school on a rainy day because there isn’t a freaking umbrella to be found anywhere.* Here’s to school parent’s who are kind, compassionate, and just as willing to laugh at the absurdity of raising kids today as I am.

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*All of those things happened in the past week.

 

When Accidents Happen

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When Scorch was 3, I shut our van door on his arm.

He and I were going to his swim lessons at a local YWCA. I carefully pulled into the lot, keeping my eyes peeled for kids darting around. I gathered up all our stuff, unbuckled Scorch from his 5-point harness, set him carefully on the ground, and pulled the door shut. In the time it took me to turn around from the van to the sidewalk- Scorch realized he forgot something in the car and reached in to the van to grab it.

The van door (a manual-slide side door), hurling at top speed, slammed into his arm above his wrist and bounced back. I was standing right there- literally not two feet away from him- and I couldn’t not stop it from happening- all all happened so fast. Thank God Scorch’s arm wasn’t broken, but it was severely bruised and we had it x-rayed 3 separate times over the next few months to make sure we didn’t miss a fracture because the swelling was so bad.

When the Bean was 3, I lost her at a playground. It was after a big charity walk and the kids were so very good that I decided to take them to the playground they had been drooling over all morning. There were a lot of people there, so I kept both kids by my side as we explored. At one point, Scorch wanted to go on the swings and the Bean didn’t. So I told her to stay put behind me while I gave her brother a push to get started- he was only 5 and not very good a pumping yet. When I turned around, literally 10 seconds later, she was gone. Thankfully we found her within minutes- she wandered away to check something else out- but I have never been so scared in my life.

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I don’t know what happened in Cincinnati yesterday. I have no idea if the child’s mother was on the phone. Distracted by an other child. Simply tying her shoe or looking in her purse. I have no idea what she was doing- but I can almost guarantee she was doing something we’ve all done before. Or maybe she wasn’t doing a damn thing and her kid still managed to get away from her. 3 year olds are quick and quiet when they want to be – and they are pretty easy to lose in a crowd.

It IS a tragedy that a gorgeous, majestic, endangered animal lost its life as a result. Should the zoo have responded different? Been built differently? Had a different safety plan in place? Perhaps- maybe it’s time we revisit the ethics behind zoos and how they are built. But what I seeing online and in the news isn’t about the zoo- it’s an attack on this child’s mother.

Here is what I do know. I know that society expect perfection- and that is an impossible standard. We’re not supposed to be helicopter parents, but if our kids fail, we’re blamed for not being on top of them all the time. I’m supposed to feed my kids organic, free-range, non-processed food all the time, but not really. Because if that is all I do, then I’m too out there and subject to eye rolls from the other moms. I know that I’m supposed to urge my kids to be happy and find themselves- but if they aren’t the top of their class/team/whatever than clearly I’m not doing my job at helping them excel.

I know that I’m supposed to keep my kids safe at all times- but I also know that accidents happen. I know that I’m supposed to be a perfect parent. But I’m not- and neither are you. And I hope that should my screw up be so public or so emotional, people would show me the grace and compassion all parents deserve.

PerfectParent

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

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I’d like to think I’m everything in that saying. Wise, full of strength and dignity, brave and kind. And I am, sometimes. But I’m also full of BS,wearing in yesterday’s clothes, terrified about the future and sometimes not-so-kind to the Hubs, the kids or myself.

And that, right there, is the joy of Motherhood. My kids are the love of my lives and the biggest pains in my butt. They are my every joy and happiness as well as the cause of a lot of my fear and tears. There are days I look around waiting for the real grownup to step in, because clearly, I don’t know what I’m doing.

Motherhood is messy and heartbreaking- but it’s also my biggest joy, triumph and privilege. And I’m beyond thankful to be surrounded by women who feel the same way about their families regardless of if their babies are itty-bitty or if their babies are raising their own kids.

To my Mother, my Mother-in-Law, my sisters and my friends- I’m in awe of each of you and your strength, your determination, you kindness and your grace. I’m also appreciative as heck when you you’re none of those things and keeping it real, raw and honest because I need to see that too.

To my friends and family longing for a family of your own- I feel your pain and hope your dreams are realized, one way or another, soon.