Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013- A Mother's Manifesto

As 2013 approaches it is hard not to reflect on the year past.  Every morning show, evening news program, even NPR is doing a year in review. Now more than ever I am reminded of something that I wrote that seems more important than it did even when I wrote it.  With my surgery around the corner and with all the recapping of the natural disasters, tragic events, and deaths of the year I feel now more than ever I need a change.  This is my Mother's Manifesto.

I am a Mom. I am 40 years-old.  I drive a mini-van. I am a PTA member.  I drive to and from Soccer and/or dance class, agility, basketball, or music at least once a night. I am a Mom.

I chose to leave my career.  I chose to leave the city.  I chose my house based on the school district.  I chose to have only two children.  I chose to have them later in life.

I am proud to be a Mom.  I am confident in my choices.  I am disgusted with our world.

for my children.....

I want a world without hunger and hate, bad guys and bullies, war and waste, pollution and politics, indifference and injustice, obesity and obsessions, narrow mindedness and negativity, judgement and jealousy.

The world I will fight for is a world where my children can grow in peace and love and wisdom.

I want a world where no child goes without food.  A world that cares for all living creatures enough to feed those that will care for us in our sunset years. I want a world where no one procures hate for power and greed, and more importanlyt in the name of religion.

I want a world free of bullies - big and small, political and playground, worldwide and suburban, external and internal.  I want a world free of fear of bad guys that lurk to steal our identity, our property, our souls, our children.

I want a world free of war.  I want a guarantee that I will not watch my sons walk away to fight and not return.  I want a world where what we do not use is as important as what we do and the option is not based on popularity.

I want a world where people don't wait for someone else to fix-it or standby hoping someone else will speak-up.  I want a world where money can not buy equality.

I want a world where indulgence is a luxury not a right.  I want a world where happiness and passion are an obsession.

I want a world where hair color, sex, or religion is not a reason to write people off.  I want a world where being toxic is not the norm.

I want a world that not only accepts people for who they are but embraces them.  I want a world that treasures what we have, are, need- not what others have that we do not.

Our fore fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence -
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
To which Benjamin Franklin replied -
"The Constitution gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself."
Let this be the year we all catch happiness - To 2013!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Silent generation vs. The loud

When I was logging into email the other day I noticed the news feed in the sidebar said, "Where have all the Mom's gone?" My first thought was Oh shit they found an escape and I'm still here! My second thought was, Wait! Maybe they've been abducted by aliens I don't need that.  Intrigued as to where all the moms could possibly be going I read on.

Face book. Seriously? That's what this is about, moms on Face book. How much more press can that crazy app get? The article said that Mom's are disappearing from Face book profile pic's and being replaced by pictures of their children. And?

I know that I've only shared a few details of my life, in this blog, about my life, but let me recap.  I am the middle child of five born to what is now called the Silent Generation.  Since we name all generations now, suffice it to say they were toddling around during the baby boom and there is a good reason to call them silent.

My parent were definitely hands on but not by today's definition.  They were always ready to put their hands on you just not to help you mostly to jack slap you back into line.  We had an open door policy in the house also, the door was always open if you didn't like it, get out.  The lines of communication in our house were better than anyone else in town! Because my father was a Real Estate agent prior to cell phones and needed to get those calls for work we had two phone lines in our house, his and ours.

There was their world, and our world.  A distinct separation between them and us.  They went out on Saturday night and we watched Love Boat and Fantasy Island with the babysitter.  Raising children meant making sure they had food, water, shelter, and Catholic school.  (Well, at least in this part of the Midwest anyway.) And they did all of that along with sports, dance lessons, prom dresses, cars, and college.  After working enough years they were able to retire allowing them to winter in Florida as "snow birds" several months a year and spend their time garage saleing, sun bathing, and bragging about the grankids.

I love my parents make no mistake and I think there is a lot to learn from them.  But there is something sad and silent about their generation.  There was not a lot of hugs and kisses, I love you's, and I don't remember an I'm proud of you.

Unlike some of their peers my parents have seen what could have been.  They tell me all the time now how very proud they are to be my parents, they tell me I am a better parent then they were, and there is no shortage of hugs, kisses, or I love you's.  And according to my six-year-old son their favorite thing in the world is to "spoil me rotten." That's what good grandparents do!

As part of a generation that lives more out loud then ever I struggle to find the balance.  My kids are my life.  If you don't like that, tough.  I wouldn't be the person I am today without them.  They are the very best part of me hands down.  If I was on Face book of course I would show off my kids, why wait for grankids to find the joy?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hello? Universe, is that you again?

After I left college I flounder around for quite a while.  Just couldn't figure out what I wanted to do let alone how I was going to make a difference.  I ended up working in non-profit for a while and met the most amazing woman.

She took me out to lunch on several occasions and gave me advice on how to handle people, situations, and things that were coming at me.  The one thing she said that I have thought about over and over again threw the years is that when something is happening that you just can't make sense of ask yourself, "What is the universe trying to tell me?"

There have been many times in my life since then I have asked that question.  or screamed that question.  or choked the question out through tears.  What am I suppose to learn? How is THIS suppose to teach me something? What do you want me to know?

I was clear with the universe that I am not good at subtlety.  "Make it a Billboard!" I would shout to the universe, "I'm not good at the small stuff."  But when I tried to get better at looking for the small things, I would miss the billboard right in front of me.  I felt doomed.

Someone asked me the other day if I was mad about getting cancer.  If having to go through all of this made me want to scream, why me!  So I thought about it.

No. I am not mad. I realized I knew it was coming, in that way that I know things are going to happen.  It's not as clear as the Long Island Medium unfortunately or I'd sure as heck be hitting the talk show circuit myself.  But I knew it, and had readied for worse.

Did I ever ask why me? No. Didn't cross my mind to ask that question, but I did ask, "What is the universe trying to tell me?"  I'm still working on that one.  But if I had to make some guesses right about now it would be that it's about damn time I take care of myself.  Not just physically. But mentally.  Being a mom is the greatest job I've ever had, and the hardest job I've ever had, but it is also the most enlightening job I've ever had.

In any other job to get a raise you get reviewed.  You sit down in front of your boss and they ask you what you think you did well that year and after you tell them they pick it all apart and tell you what you really did wrong.  It is humbling, eye opening, and infuriating but when it is done right it can be very constructive to you as an employee and a person.

Being a mother is like being reviewed everyday.  Thinking that I am in charge of making these little people into gentlemen is a daunting task and very often I am humbled when they teach me what life is all about.  Watching how they handle situations and thinking, WOW, where did you learn that? Not from me.

But they did learn that from me, I just didn't realize I was teaching.  Maybe that is what the universe is trying to tell me. To quote a silly old bear of very little brain...
"there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Meet Roofis

Once again, we are late to the party, but honestly there was a very good reason we just got an Elf on the Shelf.  My children were terrified of little type people like Leprechauns and Elves.

That all changed this year and they were asking why we didn't have an Elf and how do we get one? Well, I couldn't say "because you two were terrified" and that we did have one stuffed into the back of a closet behind the extra blankets.

So our Elf appeared on December 1st after we read the book and talked about the rules.  According to these rules we had to name him on order for him to come back that night.  So after a lot of back and forth between the boys my husband suggested Roofis, to which our six-year-old said, "would that be roofis?" Sure.

Now I have to say, the boys fear of little people in general was indeed handy for a mom who is not great at remembering things like Elves on Shelves.  Since Roofis joined our family there have been many a late night flight down the stairs upon remembering him.  Also at least one morning where I gave one if not both boys an inane task while I shot downstairs trying to remember where Roofis was let alone where I was going to put him next.

The most wonderful thing about Roofis has been watching our nine-year-old interact with him.  He non-chalently looks for him every morning as soon as he wakes up, then makes sure to stop and say goodbye before he leaves for school.  I have found him telling Roofis something secret in a whisper, as well as reminding his brother that "Roofis is watching ans reporting to Santa tonight!"

I know full well that most nine-year-olds are done believing in Santa Claus.  Watching my nine-year-old hold on tight with both hands warms my heart. I know that I did, I was afraid not believing would mean no more presents.  Worse yet, I was afraid of what Christmas would feel like when I stopped believing in magic.

Friends with older children have told me how jealous they are and wish they could go back.  This year it's all good, I'm holding on tight, with both boys.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's not about you- being you.....

It's about you- being me!!

I think the hardest part of this whole freakin' mess (I refuse to say "journey" because it's not) is that my husband is trying to be support and wants to be supportive, but he's doing it his way.  And so you know what I really need right now? A wife.

I need another me.  Let go-schmet go! I'm the mom of course I can't let go.  If my husband says one more time, "I got it!" I'm going to beat him with a frying pan.  He doesn't "got it" because he's never done it and it's too damn let to explain it.

How do I explain that every minute of everyday you are desperately trying to stay 2 steps ahead of everyone.  If you don't stay on top of the laundry everyone runs out of underwear on the same exact day.  If you don't run the dishwasher at least twice a day there will be either no bowls or no spoons at breakfast.  If you only open the refrigerator to feed yourself you may not notice there is no milk, fruit, or lunch food to pack.

It's to damn late to train a replacement, I need another me.  One that understands when to let the boys sleep in and when to rouse them early and get them outside to play before the bus.  One that knows which one will slip out the door everyday in the same clothes hidden under the hoodie and how to handle the one who never has "anything to wear".  How to get them into a shower, then how to get them out.  How to get teeth brushed, prayers said, and a story before 11:30 at night.

My poor husband.  He's trying so hard to step up and all I can think is "You are not DOING it right!"
In my heart I know it's not about being's about being scared.  I just don't know how to be the care-getter.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Black Thursday Shopping

So with all the craziness that happened at Thanksgiving I forgot to update everyone on the real good stuff....

Thanksgiving evening we returned home from a friends house and since it was still nice outside the boys ended up playing outside some more, then we had to eat some more, and when I finally got them ready to go up to bed I realized our six-year-old was out of diapers.

My husband, who will only run to the store if he is out of snack food to pack for mountain biking, offered to run to the store.  I think because he was out of snack food to pack for the next day's mountain biking.  Anyway, his biker buddy called and said he had been by 3 grocery stores and not one was open.

"Now what do I do?" My husband said to me frantic.  I told him I thought that Target was going to open back up at 9 p.m. "You want me to go where?" I knew why he feigned ignorance and it was not just because I am sending him into the malay that is now Black Thursday.

"It's the only thing open that I know of, but you are welcome to drive around town and look for something else."   Reluctantly, he left for Target about 9:30 just as I was finally getting the boys upstairs to get ready for bed.  Giggling, I gave him the cell phone in case he got into trouble.

Ten minutes later I get a phone call, he can't get within 500 yards of the store.  He parked in another strip mall, walked through scrub brush, down a hill, through a drainage ditch, and stood in a line to get in the store.  When he finally made it in he grabbed the first red shirt he could find and said "Dude you gotta help me I just need diapers!"  The dude pulled his arm away and said, "Get your hands off me I don't work here!"

Being the agile athlete and fearless father he is - he was undaunted and dodged the crowd of carts filled with flat-screen TV's and toys galore.  He found the diapers and called me "Quick tell me what to buy I gotta find a way out of here!"  Then calling up all of his old football skills he tucked the package of diapers under his arm and sprinted to the front of the store where a real associate in a red shirt spotted him and waved him over.

"Is that all you have?" She said to him with a look of utter confusion on her face.  "You came in for diapers?" Yes he replied valiantly, my son needs them.  "Then lets get you outta here" she said - and rung him up and sent him on his way.

When daddy returned from the Black Thursday nightmare with the diapers, he received a hero's welcome, and rightfully so.