Monday, January 30, 2017

Yes, I Have All Boys; What's It To You?????

It was in Walmart when it happened...........because EVERY good story happens in Walmart. (Remember this story.)  It was one of those rare days when all three boys were home, and apparently bored, so they decided to accompany me on my shopping trip.

We were in the cleaning supplies aisle, when I first heard her voice.  "Three boys, huh?  Awwww".

It was the "Awwww" that caught me off guard.  As a seasoned mom of 3 boys, I knew immediately where this conversation was headed.  Usually I just laugh and smile, and if I'm feeling particularly salty, before they can say it themselves, I tell them how full my hands are.  I turned to see a mom, who looked relatively close to my age, but her boy/girl twins were far younger than my own children.

I laughed and said, "Yup, three boys".  I had to bite my tongue from adding a smarmy remark like, "I really should be stocking up on bleach.  You'd be amazed how often they still miss the toilet".  I don't think she would have appreciated my humor, since it looked like her kids were still in diapers.

I turned my attention back to the shampoo, realizing that it was probably time to pick up some more hair dye.

"But you won't get to go to dance classes, or Girl Scouts.  Don't you just want one more and hope it's a girl?"

I cringed.

I completely understand that 85% of these comments come from well meaning places.  I'm a girl, and therefore I must want more like me!  Girls are the best, I should know because I am one.  What could I possibly have in common with a hairy little beast who will one day just leave me for another woman.

In my experience, these comments usually come from mothers with young girls.  Rarely have I ever met another mom of all boys ever say to me, "I wish one of them had been a girl"; even as a joke.

I've learned that mothers of all boys are a special kind of crazy, and I am honored to be part of a club full of Lego towers, Nerf wars, and bathrooms that will always smell like the NYC subway -- and I get it!  We're kind of like an enigma.  As women, why wouldn't we want to raise someone with whom we could braid their hair, and paint their nails, and sit through 8 hours of dance recitals on Saturdays with?

Allow me to let you in on a little secret.  My identity isn't suddenly lost on me because I'm the mother of all boys.  I'm not any less "girl" because I'm not raising a daughter, and as far as I know, a little piece of me hasn't died because I can't braid my sons' hair, or paint their nail,s or go shopping with them for a prom dress.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel like I'm missing out on ANYTHING when it comes to being a mother, solely because I'm a mother to only boys.....and you shouldn't either. I promise you that these three boys bring me more joy than I ever though imaginable, and mothering them, in all their testosterone-fueled glory, is right where I'm supposed to be.

Do I tell her that when my third and final baby was a boy that of course I felt a twinge of sadness and mourned right then and there the fact that I would never experience that wonderful mother/daughter bond that I have with my own mother; the one that has brought me so much joy -- or is that a silly conversation to have here among the shampoo and conditioner.

I wasn't sure if I should excuse myself and pretend I didn't hear her, or if maybe I should tell her that there are so many other things that I will get to enjoy as a mother of all boys.  Or maybe I should just turn and bolt, because that wouldn't be at all awkward, right?

"My mom is already the best girl there is."

And from another;

"Our family is perfect the way it is."

And finally --

"Moms got her hands full as it is.  She'd go crazy with another kid".

I have NEVER been more proud of my three boys than I was in that exact moment.  You know, I worry a lot about what they are hearing when someone says "You know, it's still not too late to try for a girl".  It hurts my heart to think that they'll internalize that, and feel as if they're not enough.  As if I could ever wish them to be anyone other than who they are.  As if their parts, or lack thereof makes a lick of difference to me.

It was in that exact moment that I realize I couldn't have said it any better myself.

I laughed.  "Nope.  These three right here are more than enough for me", I said with a smile, and as I turn to walk away, my 12 year old stops me in my tracks, gives me a high five and says "How's that for being on team mom"?

No, my friends, I'm not missing out on a thing.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Don't Let Them Pass You By

I LOVE a new year filled with a fresh start!  Growing up, I remember singing the following hymn.  This week it reached out to my heart. The lyrics ring true to me….

Improve the shining moments; 

Don't let them pass you by. 
Work while the sun is radiant; 
Work, for the night draws nigh. 
We cannot bid the sunbeams 
To lengthen out their stay, 
Nor can we ask the shadow 
To ever stay away.

2. Time flies on wings of lightning; 

We cannot call it back. 
It comes, then passes forward 
Along its onward track. 
And if we are not mindful, 
The chance will fade away, 
For life is quick in passing. 
'Tis as a single day.

3. As wintertime doth follow 

The pleasant summer days, 
So may our joys all vanish 
And pass far from our gaze. 
Then should we not endeavor 
Each day some point to gain, 
That we may here be useful 
And ev'ry wrong disdain?

4. Improve each shining moment. 

In this you are secure, 
For promptness bringeth safety 
And blessings rich and pure. 
Let prudence guide your actions; 
Be honest in your heart; 
And God will love and bless you 
And help to you impart.

Text and music: Robert B. Baird, 1855-1916

As I was looking back on some of my photos from 2016, I see so many cherished memories from the year. I look at pictures feeling like the events were just yesterday, yet see that they were months ago. I am SO grateful for photos and how they can bring a memory back to the mind. We are lucky to live in a day and age to be able to record everything around us. Our phones are attached, which means a camera is always on us.

I’m determined to not let the moments pass me by this year. Like the song says, “life is quick in passing, and if we aren’t mindful and aware the moment will fade away”. We “can’t call back time” but instead MUST take advantage of the here and now!

I’m excited for the new moments and memories of 2017!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Leave The Shore Behind

Staying close to the shoreline has its perks.  There is comfort in the shoreline.  There's safety. Familiarity.  When you stay close to the shoreline, it's easy to get out when the water gets rough, or you get bored.  In the shallow water, you know exactly what to expect.  You can see straight to the bottom and out across the horizon.  Next to the shoreline, you believe that you can see all that there is to see; all life has to offer.  But, you're wrong.

All that life has to offer does not exist at the shoreline.  When you leave the shoreline behind, that's when you come to discover what life really has to offer.  There's beauty, excitement, depth.  When you leave the shoreline behind, you discover things that you would have never dreamed could have existed from your place in the shallow water.  Your eyes are open to a world full of wonder.

But more important than that is what you find within yourself.  You discover bravery.  You discover strength.  You discover passion and desire.  Because when you leave the shore behind, you discover not only a world of endless wonder and possibility, but you discover just what you are capable of.

Life isn't meant to be lived next to the shoreline.  It shouldn't be lived in mediocrity.  Settling and playing it safe are not the way to live.  It's not living at all -- it's merely existing.

Stop playing it safe.  Find passion.  Passion in your work.  Passion in your hobbies.  Passion in love. Passion in life.

There will be days  full of rough water, when you miss the safety of the shoreline.  Days when you wonder why you ever left.  I promise you, though, those days will far be outnumbered by beauty, excitement and depth.

So, leave the shore behind.  Because the moment you do, you will be able to live the exciting, passion-filled, wonderful life you always imagined.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Would You Rather -- Volume 2 (My answers are highlighted in blue)

1. Be transported permanently 500 years into the future or 500 years into the past

2. Never be able to use a touch screen or never be able to use a keyboard & a mouse

3. Be able to control fire or water

4. Have everything you eat be too salty or not salty enough no matter how much salt you add

5. Have hands that kept growing as you got older or feet that kept growing as you got older

6. Have unlimited sushi for life or unlimited tacos for life

7. Be unable to use search engines or unable to use social media

8. Give up bathing for a month or give up the internet for a month

9. Donate your body to science or donate your organs to people who need them

10. Go back to age 5 with everything you know now or know now everything your future self will learn

11. Relive the same day for 365 days or lose a year of your life

12. Would you rather have a golden voice or a silver tongue

13. Would you rather be able to control animals (but not humans) with your mind or control electronics with your mind

14. Suddenly become elected senator or suddenly become a CEO of a major company

15. Sell all of your possessions or sell one of your organs

16. Lose all of your memories from birth to now or lose your ability to make new long term memories

17. Be infamous in history books or be forgotten after your death

18. Never have to work again or never have to sleep again

19.  Would you rather be beautiful/handsome & stupid or ugly and intelligent

20. Get one free round trip international plane ticket every year or be able to fly domestic anytime for free

21. Be balding but fit or overweight with a full head of hair

22. Be free from junk mail or free from email spam for the rest of your life

23. Be fluent in all languages & never be able to travel or be able to travel anywhere for a year but never be able to learn a word of a different language

24. Have an unlimited international first class ticket or never have to pay for food at restaurants

25. See what was behind every closed door or be able to guess the combination of every safe on the first try

Monday, December 5, 2016

Goodbye November - Hello December

Goodbye --

-Tournament free weekends
-Beautiful foliage and mild temperatures
-Getting away with just a hoodie and shoes
-Money (Christmas 'aint cheap)
-Blog schedule I actually tried putting in place (sigh)

Hello --

-Crazy basketball schedules
-Possibly a new job
-Holidays and all the wonderful, fun, family filled, happy moments that they include
-Bitter Cold
-Endless shovelling of sidewalks and brushing off cold cars

Friday, November 25, 2016

Would You Rather...........Volume 1 (My answers are highlighted in blue)

1. Always be 10 minutes late or always be 20 minutes early

2. Lose all of your money & valuables or all of the pictures you have ever taken

3. Be able to see 10 minutes into your own future or 10 minutes into the future of anyone but yourself

4. Be famous when you are alive & forgotten when you die or unknown when you are alive but famous after you die

5. Go to jail for 4 years for something you didn't do or get away with something horrible you did but always live in fear of being caught

6. Accidentally be responsible for the death of a child or accidentally responsible for the deaths of three adults

7. Your shirts be always two sizes too big or one size too small

8. Live in the wilderness far from civilization or live on the streets of a city as a homeless person

9. The general public think you are a horrible person but your family be very proud of you or your family think you are a horrible person but the general public be very proud of you

10. Live your entire life in a virtual reality where all your wishes are granted or in the real world

11. Be alone for the rest of your life or always surrounded by annoying people

12. Never use social media sites/apps again or never watch another movie or TV show

13. Have an easy job working for someone else or work for yourself but work incredibly hard

14. Be the first person to explore a planet or be the inventor of a drug that cures a deadly disease

15. Have a horrible short term memory or a horrible long term memory

16. Be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly for one day

17. Be locked in a room that is constantly dark for a week or a room that is constantly bright for a week

18. Be poor but help people or become incredibly rich by hurting people

19. Live without the internet or live without AC & heating

20. Have a horrible job but be able to retire comfortably in 10 years or have your dream job but have to work until the day you die

21. Find your true love or a suitcase with 5 million dollars inside (spoiler....I already found him)

22. Be able to teleport anywhere or be able to read minds

23. Die in 20 years with no regrets or die in 50 years with many regrets

24. Be feared by all or loved by all

25. Know when you are going to die or how you are going to die (You can't change the time or method of your death)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election 2016 -- The Morning After

So, it is the morning after the election.  I've thought long and hard about what I wanted to write here. I've written, and rewritten, half a dozen different things, and I hope that what I have to say strikes a chord with you, regardless of which candidate you supported, or which side of the proverbial fence you find yourself standing on.  I am not an American.  But that does not mean that I don't understand how the results of last nights election are going to have not only an impact on America, but a global impact, and that is why I feel that I, too, have a voice in this.

If you followed the election like I did, and saw every debate, every tweet, every ad campaign, all the endless crazy bullshit -- you may feel a sense of satisfaction, or you may feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety and fear.  I have felt many of these things over the last 18 months. I want you to put aside all those things for a minute and focus on what I am about to say.

We're all going to be okay.

We really will.  Because no matter who won or who you voted for (or watched from the sidelines like many of my Canadian friends and family), you will still have the opportunity to fight each day for what you want to see happen in this world.  You can still fight for justice, and love, kindness, and acceptance or equality....whatever you feel is lacking.  You will not fight alone.  You can still make a difference.  In some cases, you can make a bigger difference than the President ever will.  You will be needed every day to promote joy and love and grace.....even if you're tired.  You will be better for it. So will the country, and the world as a whole.

We're all going to be okay.  Even if President Trump ends up being a flaming bag of turd, we will be okay.  We still have our families.  We still have love.  We still have people fighting for what they believe in.  We will have a better understanding of who we are as a people, and how we need to get better.  We will have a better understanding of our capacity for love and for fear.  We will have parties who know that their secrets are never really secret, and that they need to be better.  That benefits all of us.  We have seen disgusting behaviors exposed on both sides, and will be able to teach our children what is, and isn't, okay.  We have seen how easy it is to spread lies.  We have proof for our children that anybody.....and I mean, anybody, can become President (or any great leader for that matter).  We will have hard conversations around the family table where we will change hearts and minds, or have our changed.  We will do it softly or we will do it loudly because, while I myself am not American, I believe that it is the right of ALL people to sometimes be stupid, and sometimes be noble and selfless, and sometimes be a little of both.  We will have a reason to fight harder for what we believe in, and a reason to choose a GOOD fight -- one that makes a difference in positive ways for all of us.  Because that is what America is all about.  That is what humanity is all about.

Even during the darkest times in history, you can look back and see glimmers of brightness shining through, of the light winning over, of unlikely heroes being made -- of the people becoming sharper and stronger, and more clearly defined by who they are and what they stand for because they had no other choice but to choose.  And that, my friends, in necessary.    It is hard.  It is terrible.  It is scary.   It is beautiful.  It is all of those things at once, but magnified a thousand times.  And that is us.  And no matter what has happened with this election, we will be okay.  We will still be us.  We will still be imperfect and flawed, and good and bad, and scared and brave, and we will have so many more opportunities to become better than we are; to maybe even be better than okay.  To maybe, one day, be great.

But until that time comes, we are all going to be okay.

I promise.