Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Tell me why I start packing up the Christmas decorations the morning after Christmas, yet some things, okay many things that desperately need attention collect dust day after day. Maybe it's something about the post-holiday itch to de-clutter, organize, clean, and take care of the current year before we enter into a new one that's got me thinking. I know I'm not alone in this because, without fail, the stores put the well-stocked plastic bins and organizer items on full front display the day after Christmas, much like the new swim suits in January. Clever!
I've noticed for the most part, this is mainly a female urge and we are usually the only ones bothered by the dreaded piles and various out-of-place objects. My friend goes out of her mind over her husband's complete lack of tidiness, especially when he routinely leaves used paper towels randomly scattered around the house. She even tested him once by leaving his used coffee cup on a living room end table and it sat there so long it started to get moldy. Did he think she was doing a science experiment or did he even notice it was there? I'm voting for the latter.
But, if it's our own neurosis, is it fair to get so irritated about it all? Well, ya, I think so. I pity the frustrated wife who cringes at the Christmas lights still up on the house in May. What if the paper towels never went in the trash and six months go by of daily dirty paper towel accumulation and their house would be floor to ceiling unsanitary fire hazard trash! If I never put away the beer, then eventually Jason would drink it all - no harm, right? Well, then we all might as well keep all of our non-perishable food on the counter, laundry unfolded on the couch, dishes in the drainer, toys scattered everywhere, and lights up all year. Simple and convenient? Yes! Unsightly, embarrassing, and sloppy? Yes, too!
So, as I smile at my newly beer-free counter, I relish the moment, and then quickly make a list of all the other things needing my attention: the crayons all over the kitchen table, the pile of left-over holiday chocolate and sweets, and the now full Christmas decoration boxes needing to be moved into the garage. Perhaps I should grab the chocolate and sit down at the table and eat it while drawing some pictures with my kids. Besides, the boxes are way too heavy for me to carry all the way out to the garage. I'll remind my man about it...next year...
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I also know it could be much much worse. My friend has her mother-in-law staying with her and she's literally nuts, following her into the bathroom incessantly talking, being mean and critical, and suffering from what we think is dementia although she thinks she's totally fine (even though she forgets to shower or wash her clothes). Yes, could be worse.
But, it's hard when your expectations fall short, way short. Perhaps plans to visit all of our favorite spots that we greatly miss now that the kids are in school can be scaled back to include one of them instead? And that's okay, I guess. Maybe I was simply being unrealistic. But, it's still hard to ignore the Super Mom guilt - must provide a constant rich and diverse childhood and having the kids watch tv all day is not what I consider worthy of the super cape.
I think it would be a good idea to change my thinking to save my sanity. Instead of regretting all the fabulous things that we are not doing, it would be better served being happy with what we are doing. The kids are getting in some much needed creative imagination time (it's limited with school and all), spending down time with the very cuddly Auntie McKenzie, watching for the first time some classic stop-motion (slightly weird) holiday movies from my childhood, and having an impromptu "snow" party indoors. In fact, I'm not hearing any complaints, except for the conflicts in my head. Or is that the 100.0 fever?
Hopefully next week we will hit the town with all of our pent up energy ready to have some fun. Can you say two little volcanoes ready to explode? Maybe everyone will be done with being sick and the warm sun will shine brightly to melt away our December blahs. Hey, I feel a little less snuffly and a bit warmer just thinking about that.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Me: "How was school today?"
Talia: "I quit the club."
Me: "You quite the Hey Girls Club?"
Talia: "I was sooo not happy with Zoe being the leader and telling me what to do all the time! I hate that! It's sooooo annoyyyying!"
Me: "What did you say when you quit?"
Talia: "I said 'I quit'".
Me: "Well, maybe next time or even tomorrow you can try to work out a better way, like having a democracy or multiple leaders? Compromise is really good. It's a shame to just quit like that."
Talia: "No, it wasn't working for me. I don't like being told what to do."
Me: "Yes, I know that. And, I'm glad you spoke your mind. That's really good."
Talia: "Oh, remember how our whole school voted for Obama except for me and Zoe 'cause we voted for the other guy and Obama won because of our school?"
Me: "Uh huh."
Talia: "Yep, our school is soooo awesome."
Will I throw in a bunch of curse words and talk of dildos tomorrow over coffee tomorrow? You betcha, with extra whipped cream and a cherry on top. I'm so like totally overdue.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
From his vantage point it was nothing but snow, trees, and quiet...too quiet for his comfort.
After a busy day in the snow, R2 is more than ready for some hot food and lively beverage.
Friday, December 12, 2008
It's also hard when my husband and mom both have birthdays in late December, so I have to figure out two gifts each for two of my favorite people. My husband is mostly a mystery when it comes to what to buy him and I often buy something that I think is especially cool only to have it never used, like an entire set of harmonicas with an amp or an espresso maker. He always manages to know the perfect thoughtful gift to get me and that's thoroughly annoying and I’m, well, okay, jealous. Have I bought anything for him this year? Nope, not yet, mainly because I have absolutely no idea what to buy and I am totally stressing about that and feel like a horrible wife. Oh ya, December is also the month for feeling blue…and way too much sugar, which doesn’t help one bit.
Besides the stress of being nowhere remotely finished with shopping (this year the list suddenly got much bigger by the way), I've barely seen any of my close friends all month and that's yet another thing to feel awful about. I actually had a dream last night that I moved to a new city and had zero friends and was really depressed and getting desperate (or was that déjà vu?). I know we are all dealing with sick kids or we are sick ourselves, busy schedules, houseguests, etc., but I'm still not feeling good about it. I miss the little things like our weekly breakfasts, playdates, and pasta/wine dinners. My routine becomes so un-routine that I lose track of the things that keep me mentally stable and happy, like the gym, eating right, getting enough rest, and especially my friends (aka support system). I get so busy that I start to shut down and just want to hibernate and I know from past experience that’s not a good thing. Oh, and my kids pick up on that fact because they are big on routine, too, and sensitive to my moods, and start acting weird like me, then I act weird in reaction to that, and then we all get on each other’s nerves. Fun stuff.
While I have no one to blame but myself for my lack of effort, I still think I can write off most of current angst to the crazy month of December. After I recover from my usual I’ve-been-too-busy-and-stressed-to-take-care-of-myself usual sickness on Christmas day, I vow to make January the month of getting back to the really good stuff like yoga class and bagels on Tuesday. For now, I must get back to hunting down addresses for sending out those final holiday cards and deciding between either massage slippers or that whatchamacallit tool thingy for my husband. Wish me luck!
Monday, December 8, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I attended my kid's school assembly yesterday, and each class took turns going on stage presenting and saying what they were thankful for in their life. The #1 thing was their family and friends ("I'm thankful for my mom and dad 'cause they made me"), then the earth, their home, being alive, and food. Not one student mentioned their Wii or big screen television or iPod. What meant the most to them is the basics - the same things that kids around the world value every day. Yes, yes, being the big sap that I am now, I got a little choked up and felt all warm and fuzzy. What a great start to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Today Quinn said that we "haaaave to have a special breakfast today since it's a holiday and all" and I said "how about popovers?" and I got a big "YES!" and a reminder that "you made those for us on our first day of school ya know". I'm thankful that my grandma Ruth made those for me every New Year's Day morning while we watched the Rose Parade. I'm grateful to her for starting that tradition and making me feel so special, and now that I'm a mom I choose to make them not just one day a year, but for the important occasions. And, every time I bite into that hot steamy soft crunchy goodness I smile and thank her and am happy to carry on that extra special yummy tradition...and my kids are mighty thankful, too.
Me: "Gee, I don't know?"
Quinn: "Smart!" (get it? smoke + heart...ha ha ha)
Talia: "Zoe calls me 'Hey Girl'."
Me: "She calls you 'Hey Girl'?"
Talia: "That's our secret club called the Hey Girls and we aren't allowed to tell anyone where it meets."
Me: "Who's in the club?"
Talia: "Zoe, me, Sofia, and Elise, but Elise isn't coming back for twenty days."
Me: "What do you talk about?"
Talia: "Mostly, like, girlish stuff. It's so cool and secret."
Aaah, the difference between boys and girls is quite striking, isn't it?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I went to dinner the other night with some new mom friends from school. There was me - feeling blah and boring, with blemishes on my forehead, dark roots, and barely able to keep up with the lively and personal (and a bit raunchy) conversation with these confident (I'm sure never self conscious - ha ha ha) sexy women. They were held very little back and seemed so happy be out of the house, free to relate and be uninhibited in safe female company. They even talked orgasms and foreplay with the more than happy young male waiter! It was a bit intimidating, but also exhilarating. Honestly, I know we all have our insecurities and times in our lives when we feel less than spectacular. The things that we talked about that night are the same challenges that we all face as women, wives, mothers, friends, etc. And, I have to think, if I lived the lives of those Atlanta housewives, wouldn't I be more self conscious than I am now? When you place so much value on appearances, are you constantly worried about not looking perfect or keeping up with the latest and greatest? That's a lot of work and energy! Those women may have perfect hair and stylish wardrobes, but nothing about them made me want to be their friend. Ya, maybe I should start caring a little more about how I look and shopping less at Target for my wardrobe. I get that sometimes we all need a little shake-up in our appearance and style, but I also have to be okay with me regardless of how I look. Experiencing the magic of a great night out with friends, relating and laughing and being honest, that's better than diamond bangles and perfectly manicured nails. That's real life and I feel rich for it.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
As part of the tattletale education and aversion therapy, I ordered a few books. One is Tattlin' Madeline, and the other one, and my favorite is called Have you Filled a Bucket Today - A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids. Now, I know it sounds like a cheesy kid self-help book, but it's actually really good. The book is based on a concept called bucketfilling and the idea is that we are all born with an invisible "bucket" and carry it around with us. According to the book, the purpose of the bucket is to "hold your good thoughts and good feelings about yourself" and you are happy when it's full and sad when it's empty. You fill yours and other buckets by making people feel special and by doing nice things. A bucket dipper "says or does mean things that make others feel bad", thus dipping into your bucket and theirs. I love that it teaches you to feel positive about doing good deeds for others and to think twice before doing something mean, ultimately making one more aware of how you affect others, good or bad.
Now that my little learners understand how being a tattletale dips into buckets and can lead to losing friends, they hardly tattle tale at all now, or so they tell me. But, humm, they now notice how often other kids still tattle and how annoying and hurtful it is. Funny how that happens and it is one of the most powerful tools - having the tables turned on you and realizing how lousy it feels.
As usual, my kids always have something to teach me. While I'm reinforcing the personal bucket idea to them, it also makes me think about mine. I don't really like psychobabble, but it's an interesting concept and makes sense. I love the idea that it's not about doing grand gestures and saving the world, but more about doing (or not doing) little things. Telling someone they look pretty can go a long way - showing that we notice them and giving them a smile (fill + fill). It can even be as simple as looking the sales clerk in the eyes (filling) instead of talking on the cell phone the whole transaction (dipping). Or, my husband turning on the outside light for me when I'm out late (filling) or when I forget to kiss him goodnight (dip dip). While my kids were in their gym class yesterday, the most annoying mom ever was bragging loudly to her loyal followers (and the whole room) about her big audition for a new mommy show on the Food Network. She like said like oh my god like more times than I can like count and if I was forced to watch her on tv it would be like going to a Neil Young concert - yes, sheer torture. But, her "fans" seem to love her and she's probably like totally a great cook and like a fun friend, and while I had bucket dipping visions of pushing her off the highest balance beam, I chose to wish her good luck in my head, put in my iPod headphones, and concentrate on my Body and Soul magazine instead. Wait, where was I going with this...oh ya, buckets.
I wonder if as we get older, we add more buckets like we do hats, like our marriage bucket, friend bucket, employee bucket, parent bucket, etc. If we spend too much effort on keeping our work bucket full do we dip into our family one? If our parent bucket gets depleted after a rough day with the kids, do we have anything left in us to help keep our marriage bucket full? If we neglect a friend and the friendship buckets stay empty too long can they ever be filled again? Are there some people that simply lack the gene to understand this concept, like emotional vampires? Uh oh, my head is starting to spin. I'm thinking too much about this. Anyway, start fillin' those buckets and please have a lovely and meaningful day. I like totally mean it.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
There we are, breathing in the delicious fresh air and watching the Montecito fire from a far. Thank goodness Oprah's dogs are safe at the Four Seasons Hotel. Whew!
Mostly blue skies and lots of surfers.
Only a few hours later and the sky is orange/brown from the new fires to the east of us. The strange light looks like I'm wearing brown shaded sunglasses.
My thoughts are with the firefighters, evacuees, and those that lost their homes. So so sad.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The $109 3-bed-suite at the new beach close hotel is perfect (and a total deal), so we check in, bounce off the walls with excitement, drive mommy crazy, then head for the beach. As we walk downhill toward the pier, I take in a big whiff of fabulous fresh ocean air and I actually get choked up a bit. "Damn, I really needed this" I think to myself. I've gone out of my mind crazy pressured with work and the routine of the day-to-day stuff and have barely had a life. I really miss the beach. I keep inhaling the familiar salty air and smile as we walk to the end of the pier and back. I try to not be too self conscious in my old jeans and t-shirt over my pale body but I can't help it while surrounded by bronzed shirtless young local hunks and cute tan tank top wearing boobs jiggling no cellulite cute 20-something women. Boy, do I feel like such a haggard old fart mom from the Valley.
After a yummy lunch of crepes with the out of control aliens that look a lot like my children but can't possibly be because they are so obnoxious, we take a drive to scout the changes in my old neighborhood. First stop, my old apartment building where I lived with crazy paranoid never washed her sheets for a whole year roommate #1, then crazy breakup with same abusive boyfriend from hell every week then make very loud make-up sex noises the next week roommate #2, then finally my #1 husband (yea! the end of roommates!). On to the great breakfast restaurant where I got engaged, only Unky Roys is now a sushi place (I'm crushed!), then off to one of my favorite stores called Mulberry Cottage that is thankfully still open (yes!!!). I always loved it because they sell neat Christmas stuff all year and I collect Santas and I bought one of my first Santas there oh so many years ago. So, of course I have to indulge and purchase a great Santa to mark the occasion, then drive back to the hotel along PCH and gasp at both the many changes and steadfast institutions that still remain.
So, as I sit here at the hotel room desk, sipping from my water glass of Smoking Loon Cabernet and nibbling on my Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate Marzipan (they were out of the butter biscuit one damn them!!), oh, and listening to my waaaaay overtired alien children not sleeping, I'm thinking that today is one of the most interesting days I've had in a while. I am so grateful that our home was not in danger from the firestorm and that I have the means to stay at a hotel far away from the smoke for the night. But, it is really odd to come back to the town where I lived during my mostly single years of barely getting by financially and with hardly any friends, but yet feeling so free and happy. I'm here in this familiar place that seems to have changed so much since I've been gone, but yet I come here with a totally new life, too. The worries that I had all those years ago are so different from the worries today. Honestly, I wish that I still lived here by the beach, but my real roots are back in the smokey Valley. My husband is there, my closest friends, my mom, my family, my home, my kid's great charter school, and my favorite restaurants. Sure, I was happy at the beach with the 359 days of perfect weather and laid back lifestyle, but you just can't put a price on being surrounded by loved ones and the feeling of being home.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
I make a point to never discuss the specific issues or candidates in front of them. Right now, they don’t need to know about why the world is a scary place, why we are all worried, and who we think/hope/pray will best lead us toward positive change. I don’t want them to be concerned about the current screwed up wars, rising unemployment, financial market instability, threat of higher taxes and less services (more cuts to their already lean public school budget), people losing their homes in droves to foreclosure, etc.. They are too young to be scared about that - let them keep building forts and drawing rainbows for now. I do want them to know that I am voting for a new president of the United States, a very important job that’s like the principal of their school, only on a much larger scale – bigger than the mayor and even the governor of California.
As I take them to vote with me through the coming years, the elections will take on new meaning for us. They will express more curiosity and questions. I’ll be able to discuss more details about the issues and encourage them to develop their own opinions about the issues. I don’t necessarily want them to believe my same political/social views (one can only hope), but I just want them to appreciate the democratic process and the importance of voting. I think about the fact that in 1918 when my late grandmother Ruth was born, women were not allowed to vote (that came 2 years later). I cannot imagine my husband being allowed to vote but not me or any fellow moms, my male co-workers voicing their will for our future but not me or my female co-workers, or the naive 18 year-old male high school graduate casting his vote but not me with all my 37 years of wisdom.
Ya, so, my kids don’t remember strolling up to the voting booth with me as newborns. But, that less than five minute act of inking the election ballot is significant and important. It was the first “small” step in a series of ever growing bigger and bigger steps toward their enthusiastic participation in our country’s democracy and future. My grandma Ruth would be so proud of me.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
It's been a slow process for me. We get them costumes every year, but only last year at four did we take them trick-or-treating because they were all "what is trick-or-treating and we HAVE TO DO THAT mommy please please pretty please!?". I want to avoid having my kids resent me as adults because they never got to trick-or-treat. So, this year I managed to get much more into the fun, shopping months ahead at thrift stores for costume attire, going to hear Halloween stories at the Will Geer (that was a no-brainer), pre-Halloween party last weekend, carving pumpkins (well, we do that every year because I love the feel of slimy seeds), two parties Halloween night which included the now mandatory trick-or-treating, and candy eating on the late drive home (double duty on my mommy comfort zone).
I like that when we arrived at a new classmates home for the first party, Talia and Quinn immediately started running around and laughing and making it fun for everyone and getting the party started. I like that they didn't cling to my legs in fear, but smiled and dove right in to the spirit of the party. I like that my kids are not the wild destructors kicking down decorations but the gigglers and good friends.
Of course, we are paying the price today from lack of sleep with cranky tired meltdown over anything kids. And, how do you explain what a vampire is to a five year old? On the upside, it's daylight savings tonight and dark and rainy outside - that's all good for sleep. And, they are also extra playful, helping construct a huge living room haunted house fort (it's dark in the living room because they want it "spooky"). We also have lots of yummy sugary treats to bribe them with and some new neat dress up clothes.
As far as me, I'm stepping out of my mommy comfort zone slowly and doing just fine, but it still takes a conscious effort. It's important and I know it. Some things that matter at two don't matter as much now. Sometimes it's about lasting memories and bonds that overrule a 7pm bedtime. Now, you won't see me going all out on front yard decorations (how do people clean up those fake cobwebs?), or throwing a Halloween party anytime soon, but maybe next year I might, oh I don't know, dress up in a costume? Gasp! Did I just type that? Oh wow, I may be going over to the dark aka fun side.
(nope, that's not Talia...that's me)
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Huh? This is news to me. While Talia looks like my very own mini-me, I convinced myself that this strong self-confident born-leader is nothing like the quiet reserved me that I remember. This got me thinking, who really knows the real me? I'm talking the true me that speaks from my soul, full of optimism and fears, loves and struggles.
When I first meet people, I try to figure them out - find out where they are coming from - what makes them tick. I am always weary of people that present themselves way over the top, like Robin Williams or Richard Simmons. I know someone that always presents this larger than life joking flamboyant persona, yet I wonder what he is like at home (what I would give to be a fly on his wall). Does he talk to his dog that way or does he come down to earth and talk "normal"? I'm picturing a Saturday Night Live skit. It's a mystery to me.
Am I a mystery to people? Do I put up too much of a wall? Do people wonder what makes me tick? I would hope that all this work on friendships, having babies, marriage, and feeling more free in my thirties and almost forties has chipped away at that wall, allowing me to be more open, less self conscious, and more confident. Yet, I've known some friends for years and I still only show my outer self to them, mainly because they barely reveal themselves to me. Or, how come I can go years without seeing someone and reunite in person feeling immediately like no time has gone by? Still, some people get me to open up right away. Today, I had a particularly difficult morning with a way-too-early 5:32am wake up, Talia crying eight times over stupid stuff, fighting over the blue Playdoh, a 7:59pm email from my boss last night requesting a huge report this morning (should not open work email before 9am), trying to get that report done while they are fighting and crying, and just general crankiness. When my new red headed writer mom friend asked me if I was okay this morning as I was leaving (hiding) school , do you know how badly I wanted to steal her away to breakfast this morning so I could talk and share and relate about my bad day?! Maybe it's because she puts it all out there in person and in her writing that invites me to safely do the same. I like that. I need that. Luckily, I have people in my life that offer that, and I'm always happy to have more.
I admire the fact that my kids let it all hang out and don't hold anything back, although sometimes it's not always in my best interest, like when I'm trying to get work done or am running late for school. Of course, they are on their best behavior at school, or at least I hope so, and act the same around all of their friends. But, come to think of it, they do act more reserved around new people, more silly around silly friends, and more protective around those with special needs. Maybe it's more ingrained than I realize, and I'm vowing to go easier on myself. It's just a subject that no one really talks about but something that's often on my mind. And, even though only a few people (that I already know) actually read my blog, it sure is a therapeutic way to put it all out there and grow.
Friday, October 24, 2008
This is the combo pile currently on my kitchen table. I did not stage this. It is real. It includes noisy-noses, a Chuck postcard, bills, catalogs, pipe cleaners, and a broken necklace. I am horrified. Where do I begin?
This is at the end of my bed on a pretty wrought iron bench (aka clutter keeper). It's a pile of clean clothes that need folding and putting away. I have since done six loads of laundry, all folded and put away, yet, I walk past this particular pile every day for a week and do nothing like it's toxic material.
Bathroom counter pile. This is stuff that was in my drawer, and that I took out of my drawer because I couldn't close the drawer, and now it is all on my counter and I don't know where to put everything.
Quinn is obsessed with pipe cleaners. The creative fun is unlimited. You saw the hanging window art a few posts ago? That was only the beginning. This pile was created by me gathering up the various creations from all over the house. What do you do with a pile of twisted pipe cleaners?
This pile is on my nightstand. Why do I have three pens there? And, the jewelry. I have a very handy and efficient hanging clear pocket organizer for my jewelry, but these didn't quite make it there. Note to self: take off necklace, put in jewelry pocket, done. No clutter. Grrr.
Again, see that modern cubed shoe rack?! It's for shoes. Did we have an earthquake or was I just too lazy to return the shoes to their rightful organized place?
This is my famous nightstand pile of books that lives below my other jewelry/pen pile on top. These are either books I want to read, books I started but never finished but need to finish, parenting books, borrowed books, a Dr. Seuss book, and various magazines about being organized.
So, bottom line, I need to dedicate some time asap to cleaning up these piles because a cluttered home makes an anti-clutter person like me totally insane and jittery. My husband is totally unaware of my current angst - he's too busy going through his piles and piles of old records that he's recording as mp3's. Not that I'd want him to touch any of my piles because he doesn't have a clue where anything goes. Ugh, it's all too much...I think I'll go play on Facebook.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I always loved having an unusual name. I didn't like going with the crowd and having a pretty old Russian name helped me be a bit different. The only time it wasn't so great was in school when a new teacher couldn't pronounce my name, when well meaning friends shortened it to "Dar" (major cringe), or when my cousins called me, and this is both painful and funny to write, "Diarrhea Weirdo". Kids are so cruel.
Today, when I had a few precious minutes alone with Quinn, he told me that his favorite school friend called him a name today and he didn't like it, and he told this friend he didn't like that, then his friend declared they weren't friends anymore. Gearing up for the worst, I asked him what his (former) friend called him that was soooo horrific and friendship ending?? Turns out his friend said "Hey Fire Breathing Dragon! Come over here and play!". It took all my will from laughing out loud. That boy is funny... and my kid is too serious!
What is it about the common human experience that we feel compelled to call people different names other than what they were carefully given as a baby? I get the fact that we wear different hats in our lifetime with new names attached, like mommy, gramma, mother-in-law, Mrs. President, etc., but what's with the other names like meanie, poo poo head, and The Old Lady??? I guess it's like curse words. It's simple to say "ouch, that hurt", but it feels waaaaay better to yell "F.U.C.K. $!@#%&*!!!!!!" or "slut!".
I guess it is what it is, sometimes name calling hurts and other times it's just plain funny. I dread the day my kids start calling me MOTHER (or worse). I really love being "You are the best mommy in the whole wide world to the stars and back". I just have to relish the affectionate names, like being called honey by my sweet husband and BFF by my best friend. Those names are precious and totally make up for the not so great Diarrhea Weirdo Braceface Four-eyes days of my youth.
***Baby A (Talia) and Baby B (Quinn) in the hospital***
Monday, October 20, 2008
(5h grade yearbook picture of myself I've never seen before Saturday)
Barely two months into school and my twin kindergartners are already bonding with new friends in their class - holding hands, having playdates, and missing them on the weekends. They each have their favorite school friend, but other friends are easily made, too. They will announce "I sat next to Sophia and now we are friends" or "Sam asked if I would be his friend and I said 'yes'". And, as an unexpected bonus, I'm also becoming friends with the fabulous playdate moms. Cha ching!
So, while we are all venturing into new friend territory, I've had a recent surge of reuniting with old classmates and friends (yea for Facebook!). Just in the past few months, I am now in touch with two friends from early elementary school, two sisters that my mom used to watch in her home daycare and later went to school with me, and a former roommate/friend from my early 20’s (who I'm meeting for lunch this week!).
It’s interesting how in my mid-twenties, I barely had any friends and felt a huge sad hole in my life. I made major choices that badly affected my friendships, but at the time I felt it was right, so I can't be too hard on myself. I was immature, bad at coping with hard stuff, and in survival mode. Hey, we all were. Fortunately, I found my amazing husband, but still felt like something was missing without close friends. When my grandmother died, I didn’t have a single friend to call that I thought would care enough to come over and comfort me with hugs and a casserole. I blame no one but myself, because I never really understood what it took to find, make, and keep friends. It didn’t help that I’m horrible with small talk and it takes me a while to warm up to people and let my guard down (one of my biggest faults). So, what I did was consciously study people who seemingly had a lot of friends and that made me want to be their friend, too. What I noticed was that these people made every friend feel very special to them, needed, and appreciated. Of course, it's way more complicated than just that, but still, there was so much to learn and practice.
Well, here I am many years later and luckily I don’t have the friend hole in my heart anymore. Although I will probably never have tons and tons of friends (like everyone else on the planet ha ha ha), the ones I have now, both old and new, I love and cherish. And, every day I am still learning about and practicing being a good friend, sometimes not doing so well and other times pleasantly surprising myself. I think this will take a lifetime to get right.
This past weekend I hugged and visited with some of these “old” friends in person at a sort of reunion weekend. It was surreal and marvelous to hug these women that I last knew as little girls in 5th grade. Now, we are the ones with children (talk about surreal watching our kids play together).
Some say that people from our past can show us who we once were, and that’s true to some extent. I also believe that these friendships make us who we are today, no matter how long or short of a time they were in our lives. Friends are a huge part of our memories, experiences, and lessons in life, both good and not so good. I think I’m at a point in my life where I can look back on my past friendships with love rather than regret.
I hope that I can pass on my friendship wisdom to my kids so they don’t have my same hang-ups as me. Funny, though, that I can probably learn much more from watching their simple and sweet friendships than over-analyzing mine. I do envy them. They can simply be in the playful moment, not thinking about whether the other kid already has too many friends and won't want to be their friend, or that they are boring, or that they won't want to be friends tomorrow because of something they said or did. It doesn't always have to be so damn complicated (like I tend to make things) and can sometimes just be fun in the moment, and hopefully save the heavier stuff for when it's truly needed.
(me and the sisters from daycare)
(former 5th grade classmates...don't we look hot?!)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
So, being the optimist and writer of a blog that looks for the small happy stuff in life, I happen to notice a surprising amount of good things today. And, to those that are having a bad day/week/month, please don't hate me for being so chipper, but I can't help it. This good day is waaaay overdue and I'm going to acknowledge it dammit.
- Quinn found his inner creative out-of-the-box self that's was missing for a while, and recreated the wire sculptures he saw on Reading Rainbow this morning. He dug into the craft bin, declared "I found the pipe cleaners yeaaaa!", and went on to create hanging art on the playroom curtain rod. Do you see the hanging mummy?
- I drove to my favorite hiking spot that I feared had burned in the fire, having to see for myself, and...I saw green...lots of green! The fire only got the upper section where we rarely take the kids but where I hike with my cousin (all 1.4 miles of it). Our favorite "fishing" spot was saved. What a relief! Those brave firefighters are incredible.
- I go to my favorite Goodwill to buy bigger sized clothes for the growing kids, and, oh ya baby, all kids clothes are only $.99 each on special today (regularly $3.99). I buy 21 really nice items and pay $21. Normal price would be $84. Cha ching!
- My new school mom professional writer friend called me a "writer". Me? Yes, Me.
When I arrive home late afternoon after their Wednesday gym class, Jason greets us at the door looking like total crap. The dedicated defender of our once smoky freeways has a fever and sore throat and feels horrible and crawls back into bed. Then, I scold Quinn for dumping his (expensive) castle on the floor and he starts crying (and getting that face) saying that he's sad about what I said to him and now he thinks that "I don't love him anymore". And, it all goes downhill from there. Aaaaah, whew, this is more like the up and down life I know and love. I just have to smile...and pour myself a tall glass of wine. Cheers!