Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Letter to My Sweet Girl


Dear Baby Girl:

You turned nine almost two weeks ago.  I was just looking back at the photos, and I swear that I don't know when you got so tall or skinny or leggy or even prettier than you have always been.  


You are so grown up, but still such a little girl, playing with Barbies one minute and doing hip hop moves the next.  I live in fear for the first time you go out on a date.  (Your father always clenches his jaw and narrows his eyes whenever the subject of boys comes up.  He may not survive your teen years.)  

And lately you and I argue.  A lot.  We argue over whether or not you should attend dance camp, about homework, softball, chores, clothes, bedtime, and much, much more.  

My sweet girl, I know that I'll never be fully ready for the roller coaster ride that has just begun.  I'm doing my best to steer you through all the emotion that is your nine-year-old life.  I fully realize that it is the tears and drama that make your smiling sweet moments shine all the more.  


We are so very different from each other.  I look forward to seeing the woman that you become someday.  I just hope that someday doesn't come too soon.  

I love you little girl.  

Mom  

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hopelessly Out of Touch

To say that this weekend was not a good one would be a massive understatement.  I'm not quite sure where to begin.  Last Monday I felt a sore throat coming on.  It was worse on Tuesday.  On Wednesday and Thursday I was still feeling awful.  Friday was very bad, and my little guy didn't have school on Friday since next year's kindergarteners were visiting his school at Kindergarten Roundup.  My hub was expecting a UPS delivery that would require a signature, so we needed to stay home all day.  It was a nice day outside, so I decided that the best use of my time would be to rake the lawn and tend to the landscaping - weeding and cutting back last year's plants.  

The budding trees and the wind and the pollen made by sore throat/head cold much worse.  My son kept leaving basketballs and scooters outside near the sidewalk which is against the house rules.  I yelled at him over and over.  The daughter came home and started playing with a swimming noodle.  She accidentally whacked me hard in the eye with it, and I spanked her rear for that.  I could've lost a contact lens like I did the time that my son whacked me in the eye with a toy sword.  

The UPS delivery finally came around 4 pm, and I didn't need to sign for it though he may not have left it at all if no one had been home.  The electronic thing that was delivered did not come with an instruction manual, and this transformed my husband into a giant mass of crabbiness.  My son fell in the back yard and hurt himself, and the neighbor boy came and got me.  As I was running to get to my son, I twisted my left ankle and did something to the muscle in my left calf.  It now burns every time I stand on it.  My husband made the mistake of asking how my day was, and I dissolved into tears.  

By Saturday morning, I was having a hard time breathing, so I used some of my son's Albuterol nebs from his pulmonary doctor.  I was limping and tired from coughing instead of sleeping.  My husband was on a mission to rearrange the living room because our nine-year-old TV has bitten the dust, and we are getting a new flat screen.  This will require getting rid of our old entertainment center that we've had since 1989.  We affectionately call the massive piece of wood furniture "the behemoth".  (We have a strange custom of naming almost everything we own; my van is named "Sara"; my husband's car is named "Frankie"; our house is named "Olivia".  It goes on and on.)  

So, we shoveled furniture around as my husband sunk further into his crabbiness.  I couldn't lift the furniture with my leg the way it is.  We kept finding Legos everywhere . . . even inside our stereo speakers.  I had to deliver and pick up the son from a birthday party.  The daughter fell outside on the sidewalk and our neighbor brought her in with blood all over her knee.  The house looked like a tornado hit it.  I had to keep using Albuterol.  Well, you get the picture of how the day went on Saturday.  

Today it rained.  I promised the kids a trip to Dairy Queen if they would clean out the floor in their bedroom closet.  My son found all kinds of things to drag out and play with.  My daughter took all of her brother's folded jeans and pants off the shelves and replaced them with her clothes relegating her brother's clothing to the bottom shelf or the floor.  I almost pulled my hair out, and it ended up being a much bigger mess than it was to begin with.  I took them to Dairy Queen anyway and then we went to Target.  

On the way to Target my daughter mentioned that she wanted to buy a new dress for a "Dad/Daughter Dance" that is coming up next month.  I mentioned that she would wear her beautiful springy pink and white polka dotted swiss dress, but that we needed to buy her new shoes.  She completely freaked out, screaming (and I quote):  "Mom!  That dress says nothing about who I am."  In my confusion, I asked her exactly who she was.  "Mom!  Seriously . . . Hannah Montana, sequins, rock music!"  Each syllable was getting more and more shrill and hurting my congested head.  

On the complete opposite side of the coin is my son.  He was changing into pajamas tonight, and he asked me if I would like to see how he keeps his ears warm.  He put his dirty socks over his ears and looked at me and smiled.  Yes, what we wear does say a lot about who we are, but HOW we wear things sometimes tells even more about us.  

And as if I don't already feel completely out of touch with my kids, my son brought home a goody bag from his friend's birthday party.  These are typically filled with trinkets and candy.  This particular bag had a t-shirt in it, giant-sized candy bars, a light-up toy, wood whistle, marbles AND a hand-held device with seven video games on it in addition to a helium balloon and a giant tubular helium balloon with dinosaurs on it.  What the hell???  The goody bags from my son's last party had a SpongeBob water game, a Darth Vader bracelet, candy and a card game.  !  I know that my son has received gifts at past parties that I know cost in the area of $39.  Have these parties gotten a little out of hand?  Seriously though, I have to email the birthday kid's Mom.  Those goody bags rock.  I guess the goody bags that we create say a lot about who we are too.  

I'm feeling a bit better this evening.  The daughter was all tearful over her scraped-up knee.  The son took his dirty socks off of his ears.  The husband's unhappiness is dissipating.  My leg feels better, and I'm hoping to get some sleep tonight if I can control this cough.  Just as we are all "leveling out" from this roller coaster whirlwind weekend, it is time to start the school/ work week.  

I've never been happier to see the end of a weekend in all my life.  

Monday, April 20, 2009

Did You Talk To Me Before My Morning Coffee?!?!

I have two beautiful children who are actually minions of the devil in disguise.  This morning, they dragged around the house, taking forever to get dressed and eat breakfast.  I warned them at 8:05 am that they needed to get their shoes on and get ready because the bus comes at 8:10 am.  They dragged around, and then darling daughter discovered that her red sweatshirt was missing.  She looked in the van, and it wasn't there.  She looked in her bedroom, and it wasn't there.  She refused to wear a different coat and wouldn't move despite my threats to make her walk all the way to school.  I actually screamed like a banshee.  It was not my finest hour.  

My son waited until the last minute to go to the bathroom, and he looked for (and found) his sister's coat instead of getting his shoes on in time to get on the bus.  So, I had to drive him in to school.  I couldn't be mad at him.  He was just trying to help his sister.  

I am now officially giving these two the "Mother's Curse".  I hope you both have children JUST LIKE YOU.  I hope they frustrate you every morning until you are ready to pull your hair out.  And when this comes to pass, I will laugh.  

There was a silver lining to this day though.  I ran into the school art teacher this afternoon, and she told me that Joe makes her smile all the time.  "That kid really 'brings the party.'" were her exact words.  Yes, indeed, he has a party going on in his head all the time.  Finally, an appreciative assessment of my son.  When he got home from school today, he got off the bus, walked up to me and said, "Hey Mom, is this the weirdest dance ever?" and then he performed an interpretive modern dance with lots of arm movement.  I am a deep aficionado of all things weird, and he knows this.  There is something to be said for people who like to make us laugh.  They give us the silver linings that we seek out.  They make life a little bit easier with their efforts.  

In the meantime, here's a video for my two Tweedle Beetles.  If you weren't so cute, there would be a bounty on your little heads.  I'm biding my time until you two have kids of your own, and then I'm going to have some fun.  


Saturday, April 18, 2009

City Limits

I come from a small town in central Wisconsin. All my young life, I couldn't wait to graduate from high school and shake the dust of that small town off of my feet and move on to bigger and better things that I was sure I would find out in the world beyond the city limits of Antigo, Wisconsin, population 9,005. I found everything in that town to be oppressive, provinical and parochial. Everyone knew everyone else, and at times I literally felt like I was smothering in that atmosphere.

But now that I've been gone from that small town for 25+ years, I can look back on my childhood years with a certain nostalgia. It was a place where you could ride your bike all over town, and your parents had no reason to worry about you. I had my close friends, and our parents all knew each other.

One of my very best friends called today to let me know that the father of a close mutual friend passed away early this morning. He was a man that everyone in town knew. He owned a restaurant that was undeniably the "social pillar" of Antigo. He was a hard-working man, a veteran of World War II, a Purple Heart recipient, and a father of seven children. He and his wife were two of the nicest people I have ever known.

So, tonight as I tuck my kids into bed and go about my evening routine, my thoughts are with my friend and her family who have lost their father, and my old home town which has lost a wonderful member of the community. I say a silent prayer that they will have the strength to get through this difficult time.

And I want to say farewell to my friend's father. Safe journey Mr. Ourada. I remember your kind words at my father's visitation, and I thank you for that. And thanks for all the good food over the years.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hell Hath No Fury . . .

like me on a bad day.

This has been a bad week for me.

I am seriously contemplating doing what Angela Bassett did in "Waiting to Exhale" and put some of my husband's crap out on the driveway and set it on fire.

You could say that I have a bad attitude today. I may be able to pull myself out of it, or you will read about my hijinks on CNN.com. I haven't thought it through yet.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blackbird

"Cause I will soar away like a blackbird.  I will blow in the wind like a seed.  I will plant my heart in the garden of my dreams.  And I will grow up where I wander wild and free."  Lyrics from "Born to Fly" by Sara Evans

When I was a little girl, I used to play in the backyard of the old farmhouse in the country where I grew up.  My whole world was an acre surrounded by a white fence.  My father and I used to look at the different birds that would come to visit us, and he taught me all their names - goldfinch, mud swallow, snipe, robin, sparrow, kildeer, mourning dove, meadowlark.  One day, a red-winged blackbird sat on our fence.  I think it may have been my father's favorite.  He admired the tips of red on its wings.  My father showed me how blackbirds look black from far away, but if you got up close, you could see beautiful subtle deep jewel tones of color in them.  He taught me that black was the presence of all color and white was the absence.  

He told me that many people don't care for blackbirds.  Mostly because they are as mean as a bluejay, they are usually very large, and they make a sharp caw instead of a beautiful song like a meadowlark.  But if you look at them hard enough to see their colors, they are one of God's very beautiful creatures.  

Blackbirds have a bad reputation thanks in part to Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" and Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven".  Just about every depiction of a haunted house or graveyard or Halloween scene shows one.  They are ostracized because they are different.  

Some days I look at my son and I see a blackbird.  There are so many facets to his personality.  He is a wild thing, and he is thoughtful.  He is intelligent and has a marvelous intellectual curiosity, and he is impatient, stubborn and temperamental.  He is a study in contradictions and dichotomy.  And I wouldn't have him any other way.  

He finds it hard to behave the entire day at school.  Now that it is spring, he finds school "borin".  He would much rather be playing with swords or light sabres.  Pretending to be a spy or sailing off on an adventure.  

I'm having a hard time accepting that people just don't always "get" him.  He's one of those kids that people either love or hate - there is rarely someone who has come into his orbit who doesn't fall distinctly in one of those camps or the other.  My job is to love and accept him unconditionally and try to make him conform to all the rules and regulations that we all live under.  There are times that I feel like I have to break his beautiful spirit for him to get along in this world.  But I hope that he can eventually channel his boldness into something he loves doing.  Whatever that is, I know he will be very successful at it.  

This video is for my son.  

"Blackbird singing in the dead of night.  Take these sunken eyes and learn to see.  All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free."  Lyrics from "Blackbird" by Lennon/McCartney 

PS - I changed the settings on comments, and you no longer need to log into Blogger to comment, so that will be much easier.  You can even comment anonymously.  


Friday, April 3, 2009

This is Why People Hate Me

I took darling daughter to dance class last night.  There is another mother there who avoids me like the plague.  I was talking to her last week while our daughters were in class, and she mentioned her daughter, Madison, and her son, Lincoln.  I made the mistake of asking her if she had been going for a dead President's theme or small Midwestern cities theme with the names.  It seemed like a logical question to me.  Unfortunately, for some reason, she was quite offended and hasn't spoken to me since.  Now, I'll have to wait and see if her third kid is named "Lansing" or "Carter" before I can have my answer.  

Then, last night, I asked the wonderful dance teacher if I would be able to enroll my daughter in her class again next year, and she said put her hand on my arm and told me, "I may not be teaching in the fall because I may be dancing in a circus just outside of Zurich, Switzerland.  I have some Turkish friends that I'm auditioning for."  I laughed.  Surely this was a late April Fools joke.  It wasn't.  She was serious.  I wished her good luck and told her that we would miss her if she ran away to join the circus.  There was a slight look in her eyes and a set to her jaw which told me she believes that I am the odd one here.  

Seriously, some times you just have to say WTF?????  

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'll Have a Cafe Mocha Vodka Valium Latte To Go Please!

I saw the title of this blog post on a mug at Hallmark this morning.  

Another mug said, "I listed Starbucks as my emergency contact at work"  

This morning my son couldn't remember the title of the movie, "The Wizard of Oz".  He asked me which movie had "The lion, the scarecrow and the recycling guy."  

I'm having way too much fun today . . .