Christmas Spirit Fail

Not feeling like such a hot parent today.  I had big plans.  I was going to pick up my children early to surprise them and take them to the new Christmas movie, Star.  I thought it would be a fun moment for us as we get ready to swing into the holiday season.  After all, Marlin (our Elf on the Shelf) will be here this week and we are psyched for his arrival….

Then, today, my children did this cute little thing they do some mornings.  I don’t know if any of yours do this.  Ah, its the BEST!  See if it sounds familiar….

“AUUGHHH!”

“HE touched me!”

“She is looking at me!”

“It isn’t MY job!”

“You need to come because now its getting physical”

“AUUGHHHH!”

“Why can’t we have Halloween candy for lunch?  Seriously, Mom!  You are such a fun ruiner.”

etc, etc, etc,  (all actual quotes here).

Surprisingly this doesn’t have me feeling all the feels if you catch my drift.  It has me thinking, “The only star you are going to see are the ones twirling around your head like a cartoon character…” just kidding about that part but COME ON!  A Fun Ruiner?? I am like- the QUEEN of Fun!

I am now sitting at the library working on a writing project but I keep coming back to this morning.  I keep coming back to the fact that despite it all, I STILL want to surprise them and pick them up and share this magical moment with them.  Am I delusional???

Then, now that I am calming (writing does this for me), I am forced to remember some other things that ALSO happened today that I had forgotten when I let the negativity take over.

“Spicy, you can go first.  Ladies first- Always.”

“Thanks for recording the Steelers for me mom. I can’t wait to see if they won.  Don’t tell me, I want to be surprised.”

“I’m going to love nature A LOT today in Environmental Science class today. Like more than normal.”

“I’m going to ask my Spanish teacher to help me write a book in Spanish.”

“I love you, Mom” – times 3.

I love you all, too!  I love it all.  The Christmas spirit isn’t failed here like I thought.  I just need to embrace it all and remember that its tough sometimes; being a parental unit.  But, if you just keep your eye on the Star (the good), you’ll find something that makes all the travels worth it.

XOXO

 

 

Back to the Core

LOST

We always hear, “Write what you know.”  Perhaps that is why I was so quiet for so long.  I wasn’t sure I knew much at all.  I was never focused on one thing long enough to speak, er, write about it with any sort of intelligence or wisdom.  I go from the time I wake until the time I collapse.  Swimming, hockey, ballet, scouting, play dates, church, school trips, school volunteering, all household task, etc. etc. etc…..

Here it is.  I am a wife.  I am a mom.  And these people I made are getting older.  They are getting busier.  The more involved they become in their lives, the less in touch I become with my own.  I’m aware this is not a huge revelation and I know from speaking to my sister, its normal. But why?  Why does it have to be?  Why does helping them find their way mean I must lose mine?

It doesn’t. IT DOESN’T!

And they aren’t asking that of me.  My husband isn’t asking that of me.  I am doing it to myself.  How many stay at home parents do that to themselves?  It doesn’t make me a hero.  It doesn’t make me a martyr.  It makes me less than what I am called to be and that serves no one.  Not my husband, my community, my children, my God nor myself.

I am getting back to the core of myself.  I am vowing to myself and this little piece of space I have in the great ether that I am going to carve out time- for me.  I am going to take care of me.  I will practice my craft and make time to do what I love.  I used to see that as selfish.  I don’t anymore.  I need to take care of my WHOLE self so I can wholeheartedly be an asset to my family and their lives.  So I can be me.

So I am going to write.  Create.  Get back to my core.

Are you?  Are you doing what you are called to do?  If not, please do.  The world will be a brighter place when we are ALL our Authentic selves.

 

 

 

“Come to meet his mom…”

I have been sick over these hazing stories and deaths that keep coming up in the news.  I wrote about it.  I pray for peace for all families affected.  It is just so tragic.

 

Come to meet his mom  by Jennifer Woolford

 

She kept him safe from harm

Holding him by the arm

for Oh so long.

Don’t talk to strangers, keep close to home.

A mother’s usual repeated song.

 

She watched him grow into a young man

with dreams and hopes and wants

Headed off to college

to make them all come true.

Then he met you.

 

She heard about you right away

on his very first day.  He said,

“Mom, I met this cool kid.  I think we’re gonna be great friends.

He’s gonna help me fit in.”

 

She felt a sense of calm.

With friends looking out for him what could go wrong?

He now had people on his side

Just how she’d been all his life.

 

Come and meet her.  Come to meet his mom.

She’s the woman hunched over in black.

Tell her you’re the reason

Her son is now part of her past.

 

“You can be our brother

If you have another.

A few more things you have to do

For us to think you’re worthy and for us to like you.”

 

Its called hazing and it makes you feel so superior.

Makes you feel like men.

But when his mother is gripping his coffin

Where are the big boys then?

 

Come and meet her.  Come to meet his mom

She’s the woman hunched over in black

Tell her you’re the reason

Her son is now a part of her past.

 

You’ll brag about it, the hazing.

Laugh about it

Thinking it makes you so cool.

Its pathetic and cruel

Playing Russian Roulette with someone who looks up to you…

 

We each make our decisions

That’s how you’ll skirt any blame.

God forbid your generation

feel any obligation or shame.

Yes, he decided he would do anything to be your friend.

You really showed up, didn’t you?  A “friend” to the end.

 

Come and meet her.  Come to meet his mom.

She’s the woman hunched over in black.

Tell her how you’re the reason

Her son, her life, her everything is now a part of her past.  ~JMW

 

 

Summer is here…

I cannot believe summer is here.  I can’t believe I have months to spend with my children uninterrupted and open-ended.  Its what I crave all year long while they are in school and involved with sports.  I find myself wishing away the days for time we can relax and jet off whenever we wish.

Then that time comes.  And I sometimes feel like I am the mom who is like, “Wait!  Don’t let school be over so soon.  I am not yet equipped for all this “together” time!”  And like all things, it comes.  The school year will start in a few months and I will grapple with that (despite telling myself my littles are driving me batty all summer long). Its a cycle. Maybe a hamster wheel, I have not decided yet.

To kick off our summer, we headed on a road trip.  First in a while without the husband and I will be honest, I was apprehensive.  That is ironic.  I have moved halfway across the country alone before.  Then moved back alone.  I used to do so much alone and self-efficiently.  I have now sort of become a completely different person.  Not as audacious as I once was.  It didn’t take long into the trip when my old confidence started to emerge and the nervousness fell away.  I was ready to make some memories!

We went to…Pigeon Forge, TN!  My son, Clever, has become enamored with the story and sinking of Titanic.  He has read and watched all he could about the tragedy and I wanted to encourage his interest.  I did some research to see if there was a museum nearby that would allow him to see some of the relics up close.  This is when I stumbled upon the treasure that is The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge.  You guys, this place was so cool!  The building is made to look like the Titanic complete with the bow plunging through running water and an iceberg starboard-side.  The museum employees dress in costumes of the day and offer such insight.  As you “board” you receive a White Star Line ticket that gives you the identity of an actual passenger on the ship.  You walk through the self-guided tour and at the end, you learn your fate.  Well, unless you are like me and need to Google it to see. ps- we all survived! Woohoo!

There were so many fascinating things to see and learn about here.  I cannot recommend it enough.  And the cool thing about Pigeon Forge is there are so many other things and attractions so you can really make it a fun family vacation.  I admit to being surprised by this.  I anticipated something different in TN.  Pleasantly surprised.

This museum takes people to Titanic, complete with the Grand Staircase to scale.  Remarkable. There is an iceberg you can feel and you can place your hands in water that is just as frigid and painful as the Atlantic Ocean was that night.

The best part of this trip was my children’s reaction and their increased interest in this piece of history.  It is so thrilling to watch your children being engaged and excited in learning.  So much so that they don’t even recognize they are doing just that!

 

titanic

 

Show Up

surprise1This past weekend, I met one sister to surprise our OTHER sister.  She was opening  her totally cool and artsy endeavor/partnership with some amazingly talented people.  The place was The Barn at Creekside Farm in VA., a fabulous venue offering over 20 vendors and artists a place to display and highlight their talents.  Totally cool!

We decided to meet in the middle and we didn’t want our sister to know we were coming.  Of course, the surprise factor wasn’t enough for these adventurers.  We decided to get dressed in “Best Sister Ever” tshirts and disguise ourselves with wigs.  Did I mention they were horrible wigs?  Terrible.  Some of the vendors “reported us” to management before they knew we were just wacky sisters…I believe we were called “Suspicious characters”.  The description fit (especially the dark haired one).

surprise3

So why did we do this?  Why did we go through the trouble to travel 3-4 hours each?  Why did we get costumes and disguises to make it more memorable?  The obvious reason is that our sister is worth it.  She is important to us.  Clearly.

The more complex (and at the same time SO SIMPLE) reason is that we wanted to SHOW UP.  We have this one life and we are all busy.  My gosh, we are all swamped with everyday things.  But we still need to SHOW UP for the people that matter to us.  It doesn’t need to be with fanfare and cheap wigs.  The sentiment would have been just as strong had we just arrived as ourselves.  But it is so important to still go above and beyond for someone.  Showing up.  Even if you don’t say the right things or look the right way.  Being there, physically being there for someone…is part of our job.  It helps people get through this life.

Show up for the people who matter to you.  We need more of this in our fast-paced digital world.  It matters.  It makes a difference.  It is important.

So please SHOW UP to your life.  I believe if we all decide to SHOW UP, the world will be changed for the better.

XOXO

surprise2

I figured something out…

119022-parentingquotesoneofthemo

Maybe it isn’t anything earth shattering but it is important to our family and I am willing to bet, it may help yours as well.

Our eldest daughter Studious has always loved to read.  I mean ALWAYS.  No surprise there with me as a mom.  We spent hours each day getting lost in books.  It was what I was most proud to have passed on to her.  I still am.  There is nothing like the gift of being able to read and travel to the endless possibilities of the mind. I gave that to her.  Parental win for sure.

Lately I was looking at our final three and while they do love being read to, they did not have the deep desire to read that our eldest did.  I thought maybe times were just changing.  Maybe society was creeping in more than I realized.  I mean, they did just decide to shut down the circus – WHAT?!  Maybe reading was next on the chopping block.

Then I realized, the problem may quite possibly lie with me.  You see, the reason our daughter wanted so desperately to read all the time was because I was.  I was reading all the time and she was doing that thing our children do that we forget most of the time.  She was watching.  Like a hawk.  She wanted to emulate me and the desire grew until she took it and made it her own.  Separate from me.

Now you may ask, “Did you stop reading when Clever, Dapper and Spicy came along?”  The answer, of course, is no.  Not at all.  But HOW I read changed.  I got a Kindle and then I have a Kindle app.  I was reading just as much (okay- maybe a little less since I had 3 instead of just 1 kiddo) but I was reading.  The difference was, I was reading the books on my Kindle App on my phone.  Picture that in your mind.  What do you think my children saw?  Do you think they realized I was reading books or did it just look like I was playing on my phone?  How could they emulate my love of reading when they didn’t see me doing it?

This is not an anti-kindle or other e-book post.  This is merely an observation and a truth I have made and discovered in our home.  Children will model us.  What do we want them to model?  Are we giving them the right things to model?  In my case, I wasn’t.  I was still reading but my children were not seeing it.  Trips to the library were few and far between because I had everything I needed on my app.  BUT THEY DIDN’T SEE THAT!  They saw their mom sitting quietly with her iPhone up to her face.  A lot!  Lets face it, I love to read so you can imagine how often they saw this…

So now, recently?  I have gone to the library over and over and then back again.  I have stacks and stacks of books that I am touching in my hands and actually holding.  You know what else I realized? I had missed the tangible books as well.  The smell, the textures, the actual sight of seeing words on an actual page…It has been a coming home of sorts.  I didn’t even realize I had stepped away.

But the best thing?  I have turned this parental fail into a win.  In the short time since I have altered this behavior, I have noticed a change in the final three.  They are emulating me with stacks of books of their own.  More quiet time is being spent curling up with pages and words and all is right again.

XOXO you fabulous models!

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My Word for 2017…

2017

…is PURSUE.

For me and for this new year, this word pursue means so many things.

I want to pursue my children. Relentlessly.  I want to be a more present mom and make more memories with them that will last beyond my lifetime and throughout theirs.  I have always been here for my children, this year I want to make a conscious effort to engage more and truly pursue them.  All relationships take work.  Even those between a mother and her children.

I want to pursue my writing.  Chase it and have fun with it and always be seeking it.

I want to pursue knowledge with the furthering of my education.  I have set this goal and I want to continue on the path to reaching it.

I want to pursue relationships that are important to me.  To make extra time for those close to me that I want closer.  To take the time to show those special people just how much they mean to me.  Family and friends tend to get lost in the shuffle of life. I want to pursue them and bring them back in.

And last, I want to pursue the wisdom to know when to let things go.  I struggle with that.

Here is to 2017.  May we all be safe and healthy all year long!  Good luck to you in all your pursuits. (see what I did there?)

Thank you for reading and for following along.  XOXO