Friday, November 27, 2009

Man-child

He is slipping away from me.

This boy, my boy, whom I know less well each morning. How long before there's an utter stranger sitting at the table and requesting breakfast, as if it's the most natural thing in the world?

He has fine blond hair on his legs now. It catches the light, and I gasp. He turns, questioning. I see blemished skin on his face. His hair needs to be washed.

But the physical care of him is no longer my province. I clamp my mouth shut.

Our eyes meet, level. His lashes will be the stuff of girls' dreams. Maybe they already are. I'm not sure I'd know.

"Did you want something, Mommy?," he presses.

and yet sometimes he still calls me "Mommy"

"No, nothing at all," I say. He unfolds himself from his seat. His arms and legs needs special attention, so disproportionate are they. And so very slender that I fear they might buckle underneath him, a thoroughbred's sinewy legs, no padding to slow them down.

Life has been so different since he started middle school. This is the time for our children to make it on their own. Now, we will not be asked to come in to volunteer in the classrooms, or bring birthday cake, or accompany them on field trips.

My son is on the cusp. No longer a boy, not yet a man. A lot can happen in the liminal space he occupies. I am trying to trust that we have prepared him well for the contingencies, whatever they may be.

His voice has not yet betrayed him, and in its high, sweet register I take refuge. I suppose this is the way it will be, then. I will carry my firstborn's selves with me, and superimpose them on the man he is at twenty, at forty, at sixty.

My son is at the gate. Any minute now he'll be off. I sit a little forward in my seat and scan the track. I am preparing myself to watch him go.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Eternal Question

Sometimes I look at my children and I am filled with enormous amounts of amazement and wonder. I think about their endless opportunities. I envision their delights in future discoveries and the anticipation of countless adventures. Their laughter and the heartbreaks. The gigantic emotions. I think about the pride in every accomplishment, the triumph of success and the butterflies of first romance.

In these moments, I am often appalled when it brings about feelings that the best of my life is over. I know that I shouldn't relate their future to mine. I don't ever want to be jealous of their youth. The answer to my self-loathing is that I need to start living again. And not just through them.


Is this a common mistake for mothers? Do we sacrifice our own passions for that of our children? Do others feel that the only thing that they have to look forward to is the incredible journey that time will bring about for their offspring? I hope this is just a stage that I am going through because I'm so lost. It is like I don't know who I am or what I want for myself. I am trying to learn how to be a good mom. I am sure that a huge part of that lesson is to be a happy well rounded individual. Once again I am struggling to find a way to have it all. Why do some people make it look so easy? Why am I filled with guilt? Have I done something wrong?


I love my children and I want the best for them just like everyone else. I am filled to the brim with excitement for them. I need to find an ounce of enthusiasm for myself but I don't know how, what or where. Like most things it may be hiding in the cushions of my couch.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A few sniglets

OK, for those of you who don't know, Sniglets are "words that should be in the dictionary but aren't"

Here are a few of mine:


namenesia (naym-nee'-sha) n.
The horrifying moment when you are having a conversation with an acquaintance, and a third person joins in, expecting you to introduce your friend but you've completely blanked on their name.


spreeject (spree'-jekt) n.
An item that gets jettisoned in the check-out line after a shopping spree because it didn't make the "do I really need this" cut.


goldfissure (gold'-fizshur) n.
The after-effect of someone stepping on a goldfish cracker that makes it exponentially harder to clean up than when it was whole.


momstroke (mom'-stroke) n.
The swimming style exclusive to mothers enabling them to swim while keeping their hair dry.


purge-atory (purr'-ja-tor-y) n.
The state of limbo for school memos, kids doodles, scribbled phone numbers, and Chuck E. Cheese prizes wherein they get kept in the kitchen until you decide it's time for the garbage.


dechapication (dee-chap-i-kay'-shun) n. The decapitation of a chapstick into it's own cap.


fauxflection (fow-flek'-shun) n.
The extremely pleasing and flattering reflection of yourself in a mirror that makes you look skinnier than you really are.


girdlelock (gir'-dl-lok) n.
The exasperating realization in the ladies room at a formal event when you need to pee badly, but have rendered it impossible with Spanx and "Shape-Wear".

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

For Emily (alternatively titled "Welcome to the Jungle.....Gym")

OK, so I was originally going to just write this as a reply to Emily's question in my last blog post......but (shockingly) it got a little longwinded.

Emily, the only thing I can tell you, is as a mother you have to grow a pretty thick skin. Most women who openly interject their parenting views are doing so more out of the need for validation than anything else.

EVERYONE has doubts that they are doing right by their child(ren), but we all have this Supermom complex that makes us think we have to be superior in all things parenting.
If I had to tell you "how to deal", I would just caution you not to take anything to heart. for the next four months you are going to hear, read, and think a TON of different things regarding how to bring the twins into this world, and how how to raise, nurture and care for them once they are here.

Parenting is A LOT of trial and error, and even within your own household you aren't going to be able to parent all children the same, because they aren't the same child. And kids are really resiliant. They aren't going to shrivel up and blow away if you decide to give them a multi vitamin instead of the ones with extra iron, and a seperate one with omega 3 fish oil. Whether you breast feed them for three months, 6 months or not at all is really NOT that important when you look at the big picture. And trust me, the only moms who insist that you HAVE TO have a C-section when they aren't medically necessary are only doing it to serve their own selfish vanity. (I mean, why subject yourself bigger hips, when you can just have an incision scar on your belly that no one but your hubby will see anyway)

At the end of the day YOU are their mother and YOU are the one who is going to inherently know the best way to parent them. You all may hit some bumps along the way, but they will be be worth it.

And as far as those other moms........simply smile and thank them for their advice, but decide for yourself whether or not you're going to follow it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Because I'm the best mom in the world


OK, now that we're all done laughing at this post title......I can freely admit that I am, in fact, NOT the best mom in the world. Why is it then that I'm always recieving emails from readers asking me for parenting advice? I don't get it. I am flattered, don't get me wrong, but honestly, I'm really not any better at being momish than anyone else.


BUT, since I like actually having readers feel they can talk to me on that level, and I'm such a freakin' people pleaser, I have wracked my brain to come up with some thoughts on motherhood that I hopefully haven't written here before.


While very pregnant with my first child, when I heard the word "mother", I thought of my own. I still wasn't able to wrap my brain around that fact that in a few short days I would be one. (No, not even the swollen feet, and crazy sciatic nerve were enough to clue me in.) The title of "Mom" was surreal to me for the first few days.


Through the months I fell in love with, "mom." It felt natural. Beyond expectations, I felt it suited me. I felt closer to myself and to the mothers who had raised me. My mother and grandmother who I grew up loving and admiring and laughing with.

Over the many years of watching and learning from them......and through much trial and error in finding my own mothering style, here are some things I have learned.


1. Eat dinner as a family as much as possible. In my opinion, "The family dinner" is the most important event that bonds a family. It is the one time that the family sits down together to share their day, discuss topics, and listen to each other.

2. As a mother, you will blow it from time to time. Never be afraid to apologize and admit to your children if you have made a mistake.

3. As much as you teach your children, be willing to listen and learn from them. My children are my greatest teachers.

4. Set strict limits on TV, video games, and computer use. This is really HARD to enforce but is well worth the fight.

5. Teach your children good nutrition by offering them nutritional food. Never keep sodas or lots of junk food in the house and make them a nutritious lunch for school.

6. Remember Mr. Roger's wisdom and let your children know every day that you love them "just the way they are." Don't expect them to be anything but who they are.

7. Be an example to them. Kids learn most by watching you than by anything you say. And they remember everything so be your best around them as much as possible.

8. Expose them to the arts. They won't get enough of them in school.

9. Give your children space to find out who they are. Our children are more like our ancestors than like us, so don't identify yourself with them or assume they are like you. Most likely they aren't.

10. Teach a code of ethics and set rules that you can stick too. Kids need and want limits. And they need something to pull from when times get rough.

11. Follow your heart when it comes to parenting. You will never parent each child the same because each child is different.

12. Let your children make mistakes and learn from them. This is the hardest thing to do. You cannot shield them from pain. Life is difficult and they need to learn how to deal with their problems and learn from their mistakes.

13. Try not to take everything too seriously. When things don't turn out just the way you had thought they would, find joy in the new turn of events.

14. Develop trust through communication and honesty. If you aren't honest with them, how can you expect them to be honest with you?

15. Let the punishment fit the crime. Simply grounding a child isn't necessarily the best punishment.

16. Your kids don't want you to solve their problems, they want to solve their own problems. They simply want to know you sympathize.
17. Don't forget to be joyful!!! Children are an endless source of joy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Remembrance Day


It's hard to know how to begin a post on a subject like Rememberance Day. How do you find the right words to express to the men and women who have so selflessly provided such nobel service in protecting our freedoms that we cherish?

I have met many vetrans in my life, and have listened to their stories of war. Their naked honesty in their relfections have always left tears in my eyes and shivers down my spine. It's very humbling to hear of what they sacrificed to give me what I have today. It is a gift I feel has not only been given to us as a country, but to each and every one of us personally. It is one we should each feel personally grateful for.

It sounds inept to simply say that I am at a loss for words in thinking of the horrendous sacrifice that was made for my future and the future of my children. Sacrifices that are almost incomprehensible to most of us in this day and age; that were given without question or hesitation.

May God watch over them and bless them, and let us not forget forget them for what they have done for us. Regardless of how you feel about war, members of the military have a difficult and often thankless job to do.

So to those brave members of the military, and to the families that tirelessly support them.......Thank You.



In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Friday, November 6, 2009

What Dreams May Come

She dances in and out of my sight, especially at night, when I am in the otherworldly twilight between wakefulness and sleep. She's got auburn hair, of course, and she has fickle eyes, today blue, tomorrow brown, or even green. She holds one dimpled hand up in front of her mouth when she giggles; it's a shy and endearing habit. All sweetness and light, she leaves a delicate and thoughtful footprint wherever she goes.

Now and then she can be intractably stubborn, but it is easy enough to distract her, and finally, to delight her. Her big brothers trip over themselves in their desire to show her the sun, and the moon, and everything in between.

She wears this dress when she is three, and I never forget how she looks in it: she is a fairy, a sprite, an ethereal creature. She is my daughter. I hold on to the dress long after it's too small for her, and, decades later, when I am past old, I come upon it in the attic, and with my fingers I trace out its intricate pattern. I bury my head in it but am able to catch only the faintest musty odor. There is no piece of her remaining in the folds of this garment.

***********************

Her name is Melody, and she waits for me on the other side of a door; I do not yet know which door. Perhaps it is only when I am close to death, when I curl my tired hands into my boys' warm and vital palms, that the directions I must follow to find her will open up to me in the way of a road map, bulky and awkward but finally reassuringly detailed. Maybe she is my next life's work. I will be grateful if that is so. Oh, do not doubt that I am content with how things are; I know that I am blessed to have three lovely and loving boys, gentle souls all of them. But there is room for one more. There is room for Melody, the girl in the dress, the girl who visits me when I am most vulnerable, most receptive, most willing to entertain the idea of her.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oblivious or Obnoxious?


Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to today’s episode of OBLIVIOUS OR OBNOXIOUS?

Yes, it’s the game show where we describe several real-life scenarios and you decide which character flaw best describes the offender.

Scenario number one:

You park in the elementary school parking lot to pick up your child from school.

When you get back to the car you discover a Cadillac Escalade parked illegally and perpendicularly thereby blocking you in.

Seven minutes later the owner of the car comes out with her fifth grader and climbs into her massive vehicle without giving you a second glance.

So, audience,which is it?

Oblivious?
Or
Obnoxious?


Next scenario:

You are in the supermarket trying to make your way down the cereal aisle.

There are two carts parked side by side forming an impenetrable barrier, but no cart-pushers in sight.

As you nudge one of the carts out of the way you hear an exaggerated “huff” behind you. You glance backwards only to get the ol’ stink eye.

Oblivious?
Or
Obnoxious?


Our final situation:


You go to a restaurant to grab a sandwich for lunch. The place is mobbed, customers wander around aimlessly with their trays in hand looking for a place to sit down. A man sits with an empty plate and coffee cup while reading a newspaper.

Audience—
Oblivious
Or
Obnoxious?


We’ll tally up the answers left on the comments board and find out what you think.

Are most people obnoxious with a Herculean sense of entitlement or are they oblivious –so wrapped up in their own selfish universe to take other people into consideration?

Tune in next time when we look at chronically late people on…

OBLIVIOUS OR OBNOXIOUS?