Follow by Email

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Me time

Ahhhhhh, the time is here! My anticipation level is at an all time high! My bags are mostly packed. My girl friend is ready to pick me up and then we are OUTTA HERE! Thoughts of cruising down the interstate with the windows down and the music cranked are running through my head. It's girls' weekend ~ stretched into almost a whole week. I am so lucky and I know it!

I think it's so important for parents to be able to go off and recharge. Stan and I get away for weekends when we can. Stan has his annual boys' trip every year. I have a girls' weekend and I couldn't be more thankful for these little trips away from reality. I love my kids, my hubby and our life together more than imaginable but there are times when getting away from it all is a necessity for me. I know a week is a bit excessive but I am relishing the thought of every, single, solitary moment. I need my batteries recharged something fierce.

Parents, and I think especially mamas, need to realize it is more than OK to go recharge for a while. I know I am a much better mama when I am recharged and ready to tackle the challenges of motherhood. Reentry is difficult...you know, those first few hours back in reality...but the benefits far outweigh the perils of reentry. I am a much nicer mama. My patience is at an all time high and I feel ready to tackle the challenges of the summer ahead. Challenges of summer, you may be thinking to yourself? But yes, the challenges of summer ~ the kids are around, underfoot and constantly looking for a ride somewhere or something to do. The challenges of summer make me ever so grateful of my time away.

"Me time" is a necessary part of being a parent, even if it's just a few short hours doing something only you enjoy doing. I will go on relishing my me time...for the love of my children.

Monday, May 30, 2011

On Saying Goodbye

Saturday gave me the first taste of what it will be like to say "Goodbye" to Jan. I hate saying "Goodbye." I really do.

This year, not only have we had the pleasure of hosting Jan, we have had the honor of getting to know another exchange student. His name is Attila and he is here from Slovakia, actually in a part of the country previously considered Hungary. (He, good natured-ly, took our ribbing about being "Attila the Hun.") He and Jan met at their orientation in New York City last summer and Attila ended up with a family who lives about a half an hour from our house. Both young men love to play hockey so they were both in the same hockey league and on the same team. The other family also has a son who plays for our boys' hockey club ~ it was a natural connection for the boys and all of us. We have grown very fond of Attila

On Thursday Jan asked if Attila could come over for the weekend and there was no hesitation in our answer...of course Attila was welcome here. From the first time we met Attila, he fit right in with Jan and the rest of our family. Like Jan, he is a delightful young man who wanted to experience all America has to offer. We have had the pleasure of having him at our house for several different weekends. He added another layer of fun as he joined us in our activities. This weekend was no different...except we had to say "Goodbye."

This will be the last weekend we will see Attila before he heads home. He leaves the day after school ends so the likelihood of us seeing him before he goes is slim. As I went to hug Attila to say goodbye I felt my voice catch and my throat constrict just a little. Tears stung my eyes as I reached up for one last hug.

It made me catch my breath as I think about Jan's departure from our house. In almost a month Jan will head home to the Czech Republic. I watched the four kids at the pool today and I wonder what life will be like after Jan. We have had such a positive experience having Jan with us for the past, almost, year. My own three have become much closer having Jan here. I don't want to think about what the dynamic will be like when Jan leaves. I can not believe his time here is coming to a close. The end is barreling toward us like a freight train.

I don't like saying "Goodbye." I have never been good at it. I would rather just slink away and have my memories but that is the coward's way out. This time, I will have to be brave. I will actually have to say "Goodbye." But I won't have to like it.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tryouts Suck and Other Realities

This is a tough blog for me to write. It has been on my mind, stirring around in the back of my brain since Wednesday but I have not been able to get my thoughts from my brain to my fingertips until now. It seems every year, around hockey tryout time, there are kids and families who have bitter pills to swallow. The mood in hockey families around Richmond becomes a little somber as kids drag their gear out of storage, strap on their skates and work to make a travel hockey team. This is a tough blog to write not because my boys didn't make their hockey teams but because other kids didn't make the teams they felt they should have made.

Last year, we were the ones on the outside, looking in. Lucas was cut from the team of boys he had been with for two years. He was the only one who didn't make it and the wound was deep. So, I know the row these boys have to hoe this year. I understand it and I empathize with the parents. Tryouts suck.

Last year, a whole team of boys was cut from our organization at the 13-14 year old age group. Last year, five boys who only had one year left to play for the Royals Hockey club were cut from the U18 team. They had been with our organization for 10 years or more. They had no hockey team to call home here in Richmond. Along with Lucas, these boys had to find a new place to play hockey. The cuts were brutal and the effect on our organization is felt to this day. We lost many families who will never again trust the Royals to be fair to their kids and will never come back to play for our organization.

The world of travel hockey, and I am sure other travel sports, creates tight bonds between families as we work together to juggle practice schedules, game schedules and travel schedules. Our families become a small village, always making sure all of our kids are safe and well cared for. So when cuts are made the effects are felt not just by the family whose son was cut but by all of the families who come to love and care for these kids. Tryouts suck.

But tryouts are a reality of life. Not every kid will always make the top team. Not every kid will always be selected to a team at all. As kids grow they will experience bigger and deeper cuts than not making their hockey team.

It is how we, as parents, react to our kids not making a team that will determine how they handle the stress and distress of being cut from a team or anything else. Last year when Lucas was cut I was pissed. I was told it was a three way tie between Lucas and two other kids. I was the secretary of the hockey board, pouring so much time and engergy into helping our organization and this is how I was repaid, I thought...with my kid being the one to get cut?! I think I was hurt just as much as Lucas. But I knew it would do Lucas no good for me to voice these opinions so I kept them from him. Stan was the main person who felt my wrath (as were the hockey director and vice president of hockey operations). Stan, seeing how angry I was, tried to push me to quit the board. I knew, though, that would teach Lucas the exact opposite of what I wanted him to learn. I didn't want to teach him to run away when times get tough. I wanted him to learn how fight through adversity. I fought hard for not only Lucas but all of the other boys who were served crap sandwiches after tryouts last year. I probably could have been a little less vehement in my approach but...

Lucas handled himself with far more class and dignity than I did in the time after tryouts last year. He was the one who taught me how to rise above. As the first hockey game of the season approached Lucas said he wanted to go. He wanted to go cheer on his teammates. I took him to the rink and dropped him off. It was cowardly on my part, to drop Lucas off, but I knew Lucas was walking into arms of friends who loved him and supported him as he dealt with the disappointment of not putting on a Royals jersey. He sat on the bench with his old teammates and he opened the door for his friends as their shifts on the ice ended. I couldn't have been more proud of Lucas and how he handled himself after tryouts last year. The reality is Lucas learned a valuable lesson in life and will land on his feet as he grows up.

Tryouts really do suck but they are necessary part of life and growing up. They are reality and sometimes reality bites. I wish tryouts had gone much differently for some of our kids this year. One, in particular, did not make the team he deserved to make, if you look at his role on teams from years' past. He didn't have his best tryout and because of that he was not put on the top team. He is hurt by the rejection of the evaluation committee. He is such a sweet kid and I am sorry he has to deal with the pain of rejection. I am sorry any kid has to deal with the pain of not making a team. I understand and completely empathize with what all of the families whose kids didn't make the top team or a team at all are going through. Tryouts suck but, unfortunately, they are a reality of life.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Christians Who Aren't

Some time ago, when I was still teaching Religious Ed at our church, I went into a Christian book store looking for some little gifts for my kiddos who were about to make their First Communion. I wanted to get them something special to signify the momentous occasion of their First Holy Communion. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to get them and was looking for some guidance. So into the store I went.

I was dressed in work out clothes, after having just left the gym. My clothing choice was entirely suitable to my yoga class but perhaps not such a great choice for being out and about, running errands. But my time that day was limited. I needed to get my errands done before I went home to shower and change so I stayed in my yoga clothes. The looks I received from the clerks at the Christian Bookstore were nothing short of horrified. Understand, that my clothes were not risqué or sleazy but they were form fitting, perhaps just shy of tight...they were yoga clothes. I guess the clerks wanted to teach me a lesson for coming into their store dressed so inappropriately, in their eyes, so they made it a point to ignore me as I browsed through their store.

I watched as customer after customer came in and was greeted with a smile and "Hello, may I help you find something?" I watched other customers being lead to what they were seeking as I looked and looked for some little token to present to my eager little students as they celebrated their milestone in our church. After watching the umpteenth person being helped finding exactly what they were looking for and being treated courteously while I was pointedly ignored, even as I approached clerk after clerk to help me, I decided it was time to take some action.

Instead of being chased out of the Christian Bookstore by clerks who were behaving in less than a Christian manner I decided to turn the tables on them. I stayed in the store and browsed and browsed and browsed. My time was really limited and I didn't have time to be playing against them but I would be damned if I would be chased out of a Christian bookstore by people whose Christianity I was questioning. I was their target because I was dressed so much differently than the rest of their clientele. But instead of stomping out of the store in a huff, without purchasing a thing I stood my ground. I didn't want them to be able to talk about me later. "Did you see that woman who was dressed so inappropriately come in here and make a spectacle of herself?" I could just imagine the ammunition I would give them if I left in a huff.

Most of the time I don't give a rat's ass what other people think of me ~ if you don't like, fine. But this was different. This was a Christian bookstore. I expected more from these people. I expected to be on the receiving end of Christian behavior. I felt I needed to modify their behavior so I made it my mission that day to teach them a little lesson in Christianity. I maintained my dignity during my time in ostracized hell and treated the clerks with a show of respect and kindness as I approached the counter to buy my little ones' trinkets. I made my purchases, engaged them in sweet small talk and sashayed out of the store, swinging my bag of goodies ~ strutting a little more than necessary. I may have looked out of place but I'll be dog-garned if I was going to behave like I was out of place.

People who present themselves as Christian, or any religious affiliation, and then behave in anything but a Christian manner get my goat. Hypocrisy does not sit well with me. If you are a Christian, behave like a Christian and treat people as Christ would have treated people. I don't like Christians who tout moral righteousness and then fall short themselves.

I hope I can teach my kiddos the difference between lip service in life and being of true service to others in life.

Oh, for the love of my children....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Heart Sang

Last night I watched with delight as Stan and Claire horsed around outside on the deck while he was grilling dinner. The two of them stood together pushing each other back and forth. I watched as the two of them teased each other and as Claire turned to come inside Stan smothered her in a big hug. I adore watching Stan interact with Claire. It makes my heart sing.

Stan has three younger brothers, no sisters...what a long way he has come. He didn't grow up learning how to relate to girls or women. The first years of our marriage were interesting, to say the least. Stan had no idea what to do with me when the tears came without warning. He had no idea how to react to wild mood swings (come to think of it, neither do I). He had no idea that girls are different from boys from the ground up.

Stan was a changed man once Claire was born. He was the first one to hold her after she was born. There were only three of us in the delivery room when Claire came racing into the world. Stan, the nurse and me. Claire was anxious to make her appearance and the doctor had no chance to be present for her birth. Since it was just the three of us, Stan took over some responsibilities for the nurse. He is the one who scooped Claire up as soon as she was born. He is the one who took her to get her weighed and he is the one who bestowed the name Claire on her. It was an instananeous bond for Stan. He fell in love in an instant and he fell hard. From that minute on he realized that girls are different from the ground up.

It was not always sunshine and roses for Stan when it came to Claire. She was not a daddy's little girl when she was a baby. She didn't want to have anything to do with Stan, or anyone else. She would hyperventilate when anyone but me tried to hold her. She was my velcro baby. Finally, around two and half to three years old she opened up to Stan. I guess Claire needed Stan to learn how to relate to girls and women. Having a daughter was a crash course in women's relations for him. But once he won Claire over, she became smitten with her daddy. Whew, what a relief for me and a joy for Stan.

Watching Stan goof around with Claire is a treat that makes my heart sing.

Oh, for the love of our daughter...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sportsmanship

This weekend provided me with many opportunities to experience all sorts of sportsmanship ~ from good to bad to down right awful.

Our first game smacked me right in the face with issues of bad, bordering on awful, sportsmanship. Lucas' team, the Warriors, is a local rec league team. There are several kids on his team who are trying lacrosse for the first time. They are learning the sport and learning to love playing. The Warriors' first game was against a team who traveled from North Carolina to participate in the tournament. This team is a year round travel team and they were pitted against our little team. During warm ups our guys looked like the Bad News Bears, standing around gawking at their competition. I walked across the field to deliver Lucas' water bottle and a few of the boys whispered to me "We're gonna get crushed...they have MATCHING undershirts." They did have matching undershirts and they practiced like a well oiled machine.

The game whistle blew sounding the beginning of competition. In the opening minutes of the game the opponents ran down the field, passed, passed, passed the ball and scored....repeating many, many, many times. Their players were good. They knew what to do and where to be. But by the time the score was 10-0 in favor of the opponents I think it would be time for the coach to tell the kids to throttle back a bit. I would think the parents would have the sense to reel in their enthusiasm just a tad. The parents and players kept reacting as if every goal was the first goal or the go-ahead goal. To me, good sportsmanship requires a little throttling back both from the parents and players when the goal differential is that huge. This was not only my thought but Zach's as well. He sat watching the slaughter with me and he remarked that it was unsportsmanlike for the parents and players to be cheering so wildly. His hockey team has been on both sides of the spectrum. His team has been up 7-0 and been down 7-0. When they are up by a wide margin our parents and players make a concerted effort to tone down the cheering. Cheering wildly when a teams knows they are far out playing the competition serves no purpose, in my mind. The game was mercifully ended by the refs at 14-0. There was no mercy from the opposition. (This organization went on to play many other teams at different age groups, usually walloping their competition soundly. There were reports of 17-0 win and a 60something-1 win...not necessary and definitely not good sportsmanship.)

Part of the fun of kids sports for me is watching the crazies ~ the parents who firmly believe their child is the stud, the star, the one who makes it all happen. These are the parents who stir the pot with their pacing back and forth on sidelines and their mindless rantings ~ eliciting eye rolls from other parents or even other kids. To these parents I just want to say "WHOA! Chill out!" Zach and I sat watching the last of Lucas' games and the parents behind us kept us smiling for the duration of the game. One dad was pacing and pacing and pacing, mumbling under his breath and screaming frequently ~ usually when he was standing directly behind us. (He reminded me of my blog "Peter's Mom" from months ago.) He looked a little deranged, I have to say. This dad's actions provided comedic relief for Zach and me. When he would get close, Zach would glance at me out of the corner of his eye and a little smirk would pass between us. I rarely get to sit on the sidelines with Zach and watch a sport with him. I am usually watching him play. It was interesting and more than a tad fun to see his perspective on crazy parents.

I love good sportsmanship. I absolutely love it. In this tournament Zach's team ended up playing a team which was coached by a good friend of ours, Tim, who is a huge part of our hockey life. He and I traded texts before the game began, ribbing each other just enough to keep things sporting. During half time he shot me a quick text with emoticon sticking its tongue out at me ~ they had a one point lead. It was just enough ribbing to be a bit of a brat but it was not mean spirited or ugly. After the game ended, with a two point loss for us, Tim came over to our team's sidelines. He gave me a hug, gave Zach a pat on the back for a game well played and shook hands with the parents of the other players. Good sportsmanship.

The kids learn a lot from sportsmanship, the good, the bad and the down right awful. I am glad to see my kids trending toward the good aspect of sportsmanship and shying away from the bad aspects. I hope they hold onto these lessons and carry them forward into their adult lives.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Little Weekend That Could

All I have to say is ~ WOW! What a jam packed, fun filled weekend! But, boy am I glad it is finished. We packed so many activities into the weekend and all I could think to myself was "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." And I did...mostly.

They were prepared and ready to take on what they were supposed to do. Sandwiches, snacks, waters, fruit, sunscreen, ice, and chairs for the lacrosse games...check. Costumes, accessories, tights, make-up, shoes and flowers for the recital...check. Full tank of gas, advil, tea and sunglasses for me while I am driving all over Richmond to get the kids to where they need to be...check.

In all honesty, the kids were probably over prepared...I made sure to pack little first aid kits for both boys during their lacrosse tournament. Did they REALLY need their own first aid kits? Probably not, but I knew there would be a long stretch of time when I wouldn't be there and I would rather the boys have a first aid kit on hand in case of emergency than to have to beg off of another parent. Claire was prepared as well ~ but not overly so. Everything was packed and ready to roll as soon as I got home. With all my careful planning I think I am in the running for the coveted "Mother of the Year" award. I think I have a shot at it ~ ;-)

The lacrosse games were packed with excitement. The boys' teams didn't do very well but...it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game, right? (Not really ~ losing sucks but the company we kept during the tournament more than made up for the losing streaks of the boys' teams). Claire's recitals were, as usual, wonderfully done ~ no winning or losing there, thank goodness! The times were jammed together tightly but I just kept repeating "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can...for the love of my children"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The World Didn't End...

And we are here to prove it!

I am so darn thankful the world didn't end. My schedule was packed tight and I couldn't fit in trying to survive the apocoplypse...it WAS the apocalypse wasn't it?

Anyway, it's been a brutally long day, starting with a 4 o'clock awakening. I woke up with a start and the brain started churning and churning and churning. My guilt kicked into high gear as I was lying in bed thinking of what the day's activities had in store for all of us. As I went to bed last night, I was so excited to go to a lacrosse tournament for the boys, come home to get Claire ready for (and watch) her first recital of the day, then go back to the lacrosse tournament to finish out the boys' last two games of the day and head home to pick Claire up from my friend, Julie, after Claire's second recital...seriously, I WAS really excited to watch my kiddos in their weekend activities! Julie offered, God love her, to take care of getting Claire through the second recital (with four costume changes ~ mind you. Again, God love Julie!) while I went and did lacrosse mom duties. But as I was lying in bed with my thoughts churning, I decided I needed to take a stand. I needed to make sure Claire came first. This is Claire's recital weekend. It is one of the few weekends a year where her activities are supposed to take precedence.

But it didn't seem to be turning out that way on this particular weekend. Stan is out of town and the boys have a lacrosse tournament on top of Claire's recital. It was up to me to get everyone where they needed to be. I worked everything out with others to make sure everyone could do everything. My plan left Claire with not one family member to watch her for her second recital.

She didn't complain one little bit that no one would be there to see her dance in her second recital. She was more a little more weepy than normal and a bit withdrawn but not one complaint escaped her lips. It was almost as if she was resigned to the fact that we thought her activities didn't matter. So as I was lying in bed, plagued by guilt, I made an excutive decision that when I went back to the lacrosse tournament both boys would come home with me and go Claire's recital (after showering thoroughly). Lucas would have to miss his last game so he could go. Both boys acquiesed easily and my guiltly feelings of not being there for Claire would assuaged (isn't that a GREAT word?). The three boys would be there for their their sister and Claire was in heaven.

I am so glad the world didn't end! I got to see all of my kids doing what they love! Oh, what a day for the love of my children...

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Stinky Breath and More

OK, so it may not stink, at least, not right this very minute but with my braces and expander on I FEEL like my breath stinks all the freaking time.

Years ago, I had a friend who was a close talker. You know the people I am talking about. The ones who move forward as you take a step back to keep your personal space in tact. I am not a fan of close talkers. I protect my personal space with ferocity. When someone encroaches, I take a step back and keep repeating until my back is against a wall and there is nowhere else for me to go...from this position I generally excuse myself from the conversation and scramble away as fast as I can. My palms get sweaty and my heart races when I am closed in and cornered. I think I have a close-talker-phobia. Throw in extreme halitosis on top of being a close talker and there you have my friend from years ago. Her breath reeked to high heaven. It was brutal to get stuck in a corner with her. Her breath was so bad my eyes would water and my face would involuntarily scrunch up when she would breath on me as she was talking. I would take one step back, inhale deeply, hold my breath for as long as I could and repeat this procedure over and over as she would move toward me again and again...I am sure it looked like some sort of bizarre and awful dance. Her bad breath + being a close talker = bad breath intervention.

Right now, I am so hyper sensitive to the fact that my breath could reek at any moment from any food that might be stuck all up in my grill. There is a pack of mints is always at my disposal. I am constantly popping mints and ever so slightly backing away from people. I don't want to offend with the possibility of extremely (or even moderately) nasty breath or the sight of food lodged in the brackets covering my teeth. So if you see me backing away now, it is not from my close talker phobia, it is now because I have a new phobia...extreme-stinky-ness-emitting-from-my-mouth-phobia. I don't want to be labeled "Toxic Fumes 'R Us!"

This little adventure, going back into braces, gives me hope that I will be far more sympathetic to Lucas, as he goes back into braces, and Claire as she begins her orthodontia adventures. I will make sure they have all the water piks they need, more dental floss than necessary, toothpaste and toothbrushes out the wazoo and mints, mints and more mints. Hopefully, then, they won't have to endure people backing away from them because a green cloud of noxious gas comes wafting out of their mouths.

I am hopeful my breath really doesn't stink but I just can't be sure so off I go to brush my teeth and open another pack of mints.

There's not much in her relating to the love of my children but this is for them anyway! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, for the love of my children...in the hope that my breath is sweet and minty!

My Stinky Breath and More

OK, so it may not stink, at least, not right this very minute but with my braces and expander on I FEEL like my breath stinks all the freaking time.

Years ago, I had a friend who was a close talker. You know the people I am talking about. The ones who move forward as you take a step back to keep your personal space in tact. I am not a fan of close talkers. I protect my personal space with ferocity. When someone encroaches, I take a step back and keep repeating until my back is against a wall and there is nowhere else for me to go...from this position I generally excuse myself from the conversation and scramble away as fast as I can. My palms get sweaty and my heart races when I am closed in and cornered. I think I have a close-talker-phobia. Throw in extreme halitosis on top of being a close talker and there you have my friend from years ago. Her breath reeked to high heaven. It was brutal to get stuck in a corner with her. Her breath was so bad my eyes would water and my face would involuntarily scrunch up when she would breath on me as she was talking. I would take one step back, inhale deeply, hold my breath for as long as I could and repeat this procedure over and over as she would move toward me again and again...I am sure it looked like some sort of bizarre and awful dance. Her bad breath + being a close talker = bad breath intervention.

Right now, I am so hyper sensitive to the fact that my breath could reek at any moment from any food that might be stuck all up in my grill. There is a pack of mints is always at my disposal. I am constantly popping mints and ever so slightly backing away from people. I don't want to offend with the possibility of extremely (or even moderately) nasty breath or the sight of food lodged in the brackets covering my teeth. So if you see me backing away now, it is not from my close talker phobia, it is now because I have a new phobia...extreme-stinky-ness-emitting-from-my-mouth-phobia. I don't want to be labeled "Toxic Fumes 'R Us!"

This little adventure, going back into braces, gives me hope that I will be far more sympathetic to Lucas, as he goes back into braces, and Claire as she begins her orthodontia adventures. I will make sure they have all the water piks they need, more dental floss than necessary, toothpaste and toothbrushes out the wazoo and mints, mints and more mints. Hopefully, then, they won't have to endure people backing away from them because a green cloud of noxious gas comes wafting out of their mouths.

I am hopeful my breath really doesn't stink but I just can't be sure so off I go to brush my teeth and open another pack of mints.

There's not much in her relating to the love of my children but this is for them anyway! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, for the love of my children...in the hope that my breath is sweet and minty!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stop Complaining

We all do it. It's a fact of life. Complaints far out number compliments or positive comments. My aim, for today and hopefully in the future, is to change that.

This weekend promises to be challenging ~ full of logistical manuevering. Stan is gone. He is on his annual boys' trip ~ the one weekend a year where he can be responsible for only himself. It just so happens, though, that this particular weekend is full to the brim with kids' activities. Last night I almost had a meltdown as I wrote my lists of who needed to be where at what time. I panicked! I had no idea how I was going to make it to hockey tryouts and dress rehearsal tonight, three dance recitals and eight (possibly more) lacrosse games this weekend without Stan (this doesn't even count Jan's activities ~ he told me he will take care of getting where he needs to be to make things easier for me...God love him!). I tried hard to blink back the tears as my stomach churned with thoughts of what I was being asked to accomplish. I didn't want to rain on Stan's weekend through boo-hooing and whining. Suck it up and stop complaining, I thought to myself. So I started emailing friends to help me conquer the challenges of the weekend.

Challenges conquered...

This morning I was talking to my friend, Julie. We were talking about our busy lives and our busy kids. She said "I have a good life. I can't complain. We get every one of the kids covered through friends." How right she is. I have a great life filled with love, laughter, a wonderful family and friends who make my life easier. I can't complain one little bit. Sometimes my life overflows at times, like this weekend, but my aim is to stop complaining.

It's all in the spin of the message.

I loved hearing Julie tell me she can't complain. She has four young kids moving in four different directions. She gets it all done and doesn't complain one iota. I love it!
The message of panic in my head has been spun to one of total appreciation for what this weekend holds. I am so excited to start my weekend adventures. I don't have one, little hint of panic about getting anyone anywhere anymore. This weekend, as I take my kids from venue to venue I will think to myself "I GET to watch Claire's recital. I GET to go watch my boys play lacrosse." Instead of "I HAVE to..." I GET to do what I love to do most ~ watch my kiddos. I love watching Claire perform in her recitals and I love watching the boys play a sport they love. I GET to watch all of them because I am blessed with some fabulous friends in my life. This weekend the message in my head is spun to "I GET to..." because I choose not to complain...for the love of my children.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

~ High School ~

Zach is coming to the end of his freshman year in high school. As he finishes up his first year my own class is getting ready to celebrate 25 years since our graduation from high school. Both of these events have opened up the flood gates in my memory ~ making me want to tell Zach to hang on...

Hang on for a wild ride. The ups and downs of high school can drive the most sensible of teens to the brink and back many times. There are the ups of going to high school games, cheering your classmates on as the final buzzer sounds and the game is won. There are the lows of not making a team, being told you are not good enough to play for your school. There is the euphoria of a high school dance when a special someone screws up enough courage to ask you to dance. There is the feeling of rejection when you are shot down by the date of your dreams, wondering what it was about you that made them say no. There are the ups of acing a test, realizing your hard work paid off. There are the lows of bombing a test, feeling like a failure. The ups of making a new friend and finding a new passion combat the lows losing a childhood friend or being dumped by a girlfriend or boyfriend. There are the feelings of fitting in and the feelings of being on the outside. There are the cliques to avoid and the ones to join. There is peer pressure to deal with ~ a wild pendulum swinging back and forth. Peer pressure can be a good influence, keeping kids away from drugs, alcohol, teen pregnancy and being a push to maintain good grades. The peer pressure pendulum can swing the other way too, leading teens down the opposite path. Throw in all the hormones surging through growing bodies and you have the foundation of the world's wildest roller coaster...hang on!


Hang on to the moment. Don't wish high school away. There is plenty of time to be grown up. High school is only four years and it's gone in the blink of an eye. To some it may feel like an eternity. To others it holds the key to the best years of their lives. To most, though, high school is just the means to the end...growing up, leaving home, going to college or striking out on their own. Hang on the the moments of high school ~ once it's gone you will miss it, maybe only a little, but you will miss it. So hold on to the moments of high school.

Hang on to your friends. These friends are the ones who are with you as you come of age. They are the ones who help you over your first broken heart, your first rejection letter, bad grades, fights with parents or your first big break up. They are the ones who support you as you explore the feelings and challenges of growing up. High school friends stand with you as you test the waters of love with first kisses, first loves and possible first experiences. Parents are there to help guide but they're not contemporaries. Parents can only offer so much. High school friends fill in the gaps. They are the friends who walk beside you as you grow from gawky teen to young adult. They are the ones whose friendships build the foundation for our adult relationships. Hang on to your high school friends, they hold precious memories.

Looking back on high school I can say without a hint of hesitation I wished I would have hung on harder. Now, all I can do is pass my hard earned knowledge down to my kids and hope they hang on with all their might.

Here is a fitting tribute to my high school years. Cut and paste this link to You Tube and a great performer singing live in 1986.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBl_zjdkp1s&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Today's Tears...

Today started out with black clouds, bolts of lightning, claps of thunder, torrential rain and Claire's fourth grade recorder concert. 120 fourth graders learned, practiced and prepared for today's big event led by our very talented Mrs. Adelstein ~ who is tops in my books as one of the world's best music teachers. Under her tutelage my musically challenged kiddos have learned to appreciate the joy music brings to our lives. The nasty weather outside did nothing to dispel the cheery atmosphere as the fourth graders prepared to perform for their attentive audience filled with parents, grandparents, siblings and friends. The recorder concert began as rain drummed on the roof above.

Now, to be honest, the recorder is not one of my favorite instruments and listening to hours of tedious practicing can try my patience on a good day...on a bad day it's probably best to leave the recorder in its case. Somehow, though, Mrs. Adelstein manages to get the entire fourth grade (save a few of the most challenging kids) to master the recorder and not only have the kids perform but have them perform with enthusiasm. The kids have fun up there, on the stage, hamming it up for all of us. School concerts are riotously fun when when the performers are engaged and engaging. Mrs. Adelstein makes the kids want to perform, ensuring the parents enjoy themselves at the recorder concert.

After the kids were finished wowing us with their renditions of songs on the recorder, they finished out the concert with a few songs they learned in fourth grade chorus. The songs were charming and delightfully sung. As we neared the end of the concert the kids treated us to the song "We are the Children." The first strains of the song began and my throat constricted ~ tears stung my eyes. I sat listening to the words of the song and the lump in my throat got bigger and bigger as I thought of time flying by. The children's melodious voices carried the message of the song with ease. I could hear the strains of wanting to grow up mixed with the childlike voices singing these words...

We are the Children the future’s in our hands
We have the right to all our dreams and plans
Living in the present
Learning from the past
Headed for the future
Hoping it will last

Will I ever be
All I want to be
We shall see

We are the Children the future’s in our hands
We have the right to all our dreams and plans
Living in the present
Learning from the past
Headed for the future
Hoping it will last

I watch the trees grow tall
Their leaves die and they fall
So must we all

We are the Children the future’s in our hands
We have the right to all our dreams and plans
Living in the present
Learning from the past
Headed for the future
Hoping it will last
The blue sky and the sea
I wonder if they’ll be
There for me

(We Are The Children
©Bob Reid 1993)

It seems like just yesterday I was watching Claire as a kindergartener, standing on the same stage, with the same teacher leading the kids in song. My heart ached for how quickly time is passing and for the realization this is my last child performing in the recorder concert. There may have been tears today as I realize all the yesterdays are past but I will focus on the gift of today ~ that is why they call it the present...

Oh, for the love of my children...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Random Thoughts Flitting Through My Head

Stan will occassionally ask me where my ideas come from for some of my blogs. Sometimes there are moments in my life which jump out at me and scream to be written down but most of the time my blogs are just random thoughts flitting through my head. Some of my thoughts are memories of times gone by, which just so happen to coincide with some current event in my life. Other thougths are the result of a word which attracts my attention or a blog title that just pops into my head. The avenue to writing my blog is different every day but these random thoughts have a need to escape the confines of my brain and put themselves into writing.

Unfortunately for me, I have lost a lot of good blog ideas through my lack of getting things written down before the thought flits in one side of my brain and right out the other. A few nights ago I had a wonderful idea for a blog and worked the whole thing out ~ in my head. Rather than troop downstairs and type away I went asleep. With my brain refreshed the next morning my blog was no where to be found. I pushed the reset button while I was sleeping and erased the wonderful blog I had all but written in my head ~ not a good feeling. You would think I would learn but I am rather thick-headed at times believing this will be the one time I will remember what I wanted to write about. Maybe someday I'll overcome my lack of attention to detail and just write thoughts down as they pop in my head.

You would think, with all of the material I have at hand, I would have a stockpile of ideas through the roof. Sadly, it's not the case. There are so many times when I struggle to find something to write about. Life gets so crazy, busy with these kiddos all going in massively different directions I seldom hold onto a thought for very long, which is why I am writing this blog. I hope it helps to bring back a flood good memories when my random thoughts stop and my memory is shot. I want to remember all of the good and bad of a year in my life with random thoughts flitting through my head.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It Just Ended

I was talking on the phone to my friend last night when she said she needed to go. I could hear her kiddos in the back ground calling for her. She is single momming it this week and her kids needed her to tuck them in bed. Until recently, that was my life too.

Every night the kids would call down to me to snuggle and tuck them in. Every night I would stop whatever I was doing, climb the stairs to their rooms, tuck them in and snuggle with them for a little bit. As the kids grew older and older Stan would question why the heck I was still tucking them in and snuggling with them. I kept telling Stan it wouldn't last forever. I needed to do it while the kids still wanted me to.

As I was talking to my friend I realized my time tucking my kiddos in time is finished. I can't pin point the time when it ended, all I know is my time tucking my kids in and snuggling with them in their beds has come to an end. There was no fanfare, no telling the kids it was time to end my nightly treks to their rooms ~ it just ended.

I remember other milestones in their lives with such clarity. The time came for them to stop their bottles and drink from a cup. There were the potty training adventures. The first days off at school brings back floods of memeories and emotions. I don't know why or how this milestone slipped past unnoticed. There are times when I still go into their rooms and give them the one last goodnight kiss ~ I can't help myself. But my nightly ritual has ended without so much as a by your leave.

Is this the way it will be now ~ milestones slipping past unnoticed? I hope not. I need to make sure other times don't just end...for the love of my children.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bless Your Heart

I love living in the South. I know Richmond is not geographically in the deep south but our fair city has ties to Southern Hospitality. The charm of the south is deeply imbedded here.

I grew up wanting to be a Southern Belle. I worshipped Scarlet O'Hara. I love the melodious sound of a southern drawl. It is comforting when it's not twangy or obnoxious. It seems natural to get sucked into the ease of a southern drawl and there are times when I find myself drawing out my y's and extending words ever so slightly. When the speech is just slowed down enough it evokes thoughts of cold lemonade on a lazy summer day being sipped on a wide front porch under a canopy of Spanish moss. It paints a charming picture in my head.

I love the way a true Southern lady can deliver a series of put downs. She will begin with a "Bless your heart..." and end with a smile on her face. You will never know what hit you. I love hearing "bless your heart..." (when it's not directed at me.) I know something interesting will be following.

While there may be times when I sound like I am from the south due to a lazy drawling of my words, I will never be truly from the south because I can not deliver a good "bless your heart" line to save my life. When I am mad or upset people know it. I am a bit more direct than a true southern lady. Sometimes I wish I could deliver a one, two punch with a good rendition of "bless your heart..." but most of the time I am happy to spit out my displeasure, fix what pissed me off and move on.

I think I would rather my kids learn to be direct and move on but I will be OK hearing them utter a good "bless your heart..." every now and again.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Schmoes Need Not Apply

I have gotten to a point in my life where I don't have to accept sub-standard people in my life. And by sub-standard I mean those who aren't genuine, those who put on a show for others but have no substance underneath it all ~ those who are phony and fake. I don't need or want people like that in my life.

I think there are times where we have to put on a show and be someone a little different from who we truly are. We have to be a little restrained at points in our lives because society dictates how we must behave in certain situations. There are roles we have to play when we are out and about in daily life.


There are also times when our behavior has truly gotten away from us and we have screwed up. We behaved in a way we never could have imagined, lived to regret it, apologized after and tried to make amends. There are times when we all can be somewhat of an ass, I think, but people make mistakes...no one is perfect and mistakes are a part of life.


But I am not talking about people like that and those kinds of situations. I understand when people have to take on a role for a certain situation. Stan, being in sales, has to take on a role when he is out with his customers. I understand it and he comes right back to himself when he hangs up the phone or steps out of his role. When he assumes his role his personality difference is not enormous. He just has to be "on" all the time when he is with his customers. I also understand when people behave outside of their normal personality. Lord knows I have behaved well outside of my norm before. But I have tried hard to right myself and have gone back to being the real me...a somewhat nice and fairly likable person. What I don't get are the people who present themselves to be forgiving or loyal and then turn on you. What I don't understand are the people who want you to believe they are kind and generous when they are really stingy and mean. What chaps my hide are the people who lead you to believe they are there for you but when the tide turns so do they. Those are the phonies and the fakes. They are the people I consider sub-standard. And those are the people who need not apply for friendship status in my life.

I want to teach my kids to avoid people like that. I went to our priest once asking for help forgiving someone. I was really struggling with forgiveness. He asked me why I couldn't forgive. He asked if I was jealous of who I couldn't forgive. He asked if I had any desire to change places the people I couldn't forgive. I honestly answered no to all of his questions...after all, he's my priest ~ I can't lie to my priest. He and I talked for quite some time to help me get to the point of forgiveness. We talked and talked and talked. Finally, he said "You know, some people are just 'schmoes' and you have to move on." I want to teach my kids to learn how to avoid the schmoes in life.

I think it's ok to teach our kids to be choosy about their friends. There is no reason for my kiddos to let fakes and phonies into their lives. I'm trying hard to teach my kids, through example, not to be mean or ugly to the schmoes in life. I tell my kids "you don't have to be best friends with everyone but you need to be kind." ~ there are times when I screw that lesson up ~ because, after all is said and done, I am not perfect!

But I think our kids need to know that some people are just schmoes and they need not apply.

I Hope I Remember

In the past several weeks we have seen a lot of death or near death. All of those people in my life who have lost or are close to losing someone have me thinking about mortality and what I hope I remember.

I hope I remember my life is not just about me. My life is also about those who love me. If I get sick with a terminal illness I hope I remember that my dignity will not be diminished by allowing those who love me to see me in my final days. Right now, today, I would want to be surrounded by all those who want to be with me.

I hope I remember to allow those who love me to help me. When the time comes for someone to leave my life through their death I hope I can muster the courage to ask for help. I am not so good at asking for, or allowing others, to help me. I hope I remember it is OK to lean on others for support.

When I was a little girl I used to love watching "Little House on the Prairie." I remember one episode where a friend of the Ingall's died and Laura was at the grave. The epitaph on the headstone read "Remember me with smiles and laughter for that's the way I'll remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears don't remember me at all."

I hope I remember the smiles and the laughter for the love of my children...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Polar Bear

It's official. I live with a polar bear. I used to live with a grizzly bear but through time he has turned into a polar bear. I wouldn't have it any other way.

When Stan and I first started dating he had one of the hairiest chests I had ever seen, in real life. He looked like Magnum P.I. I loved it.

When he was going through all of his heart issues last year he kept shaving his chest so they could monitor his heart. I hated to see his chest bare. I hated it because I had never seen his chest bare before. But I really hated it because it was a constant reminder of his heart troubles. He was too young to have heart problems and I didn't want to think about what could have happened.

Now his hair is back on his chest. It is more white than it was and Stan looks like a polar bear. I love it. Crazy, I know but it means his heart is healed. And it means he and I are growing up together. We're not growing older ~ we're growing up.

I wouldn't have it any other way. I love living with my polar bear. I'm pretty sure the kids like him too! I think I'll keep my polar bear.

Oh, for the love of our children...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Courage and Bravery

In our lives we all do things which require courage or bravery. I think learning to walk starts off our acts of bravery. Wouldn't it be so much better to stay safe and secure in our parent's arms? We are held and cuddled, there is not much chance of us falling and getting hurt. But none of us are content to stay in the arms of our parents so we conjure up our courage and venture out on wobbly legs ~ learning to walk and then eventually run. As we grow up we go on needing more and more courage and bravery.

In all aspects of our lives, as we get older, we tap into our bravery and courage reserves. We wouldn't learn how to drive a car without it. None of us would leave the comfort of our parents' homes without being just a little brave. Courage is needed to make the monumental walk down the aisle when we get married. Even more courage is needed to bring kiddos into this crazy, crazy world. Every day of our lives we are faced with something requiring bravery or courage...most of the time it is on a much smaller scale, though, than what I illustrated above.

One thing I did recently which required a tremendous amount of courage was to have my jaw surgery. It was a completely optional surgery. I could have gone on for years more enduring the headaches, jaw aches and sleeplessness. I didn't NEED to have the surgery. I could have coped. I coped for years, taking vast amounts of ibuprofen. But that is not how I wanted to live my life. I wanted to be just a little brave so I could live life without my daily doses of ibuprofen to relieve my pain.

Here is the update on my jaw ~ how bravery got me started and courage is helping me finish...

In my adult life there have been more than a few intances which required more bravery out of me than this surgery and my path back into braces. Most of those situations were short lived, though. My surgery was in late January and I experienced more pain than I ever could have anticipated after I came home. My early blogs tell my tale through a drug induced haze. But after the pain of surgery and healing began I felt rejuvenated. My use of ibuprofen has dropped so much I am surprised the parent company of Advil has not noticed a sharp decline in sales. I used to take ibuprofen two or three times a day but now I take it so infrequently and it actually works to relieve pain...it's a miracle. I am free of pain but still need to tap my courage reserves to see me through the rest of this little adventure.

Now, I am faced with the daunting thought of how much longer I will be in braces. There are days when I catch of glimpse of myself in the mirror and I am mortified by my appearance. Most who know me know I can be a little vain. I like to look the best I can ~ everyday. Right now, I feel like a complete goober. I have this massive gap in my front teeth which is covered up by a fake third "tooth." I went in for an ortho appointment yesterday and I could STILL pose for the cover of "Hillbilly Weekly" without my fake third tooth. I love to laugh and smile but Zach will tell me I don't even look like I am laughing because things are so screwy in my mouth right now. It takes a lot out of me to venture out into the world sometimes, looking like this. I will be in braces until September or October of 2012...I didn't consider how long it will REALLY be. My courage reserves are being tapped in reverse.

In the grand scheme of life, when so many others are suffering through so much, my story is really is just a little blip on the radar and I know it but I am just telling my story. And in the grand scheme of my life, there have been so many more instances which required so much more courage out of me, when I was living the moment, but this circumstance is requiring a sustained amount of bravery to get through to the other side.

I think, though, I am showing my kiddos some good things through my little adventure. I think I am showing them to work through fear using courage so they can achieve a desired result ~ for me the desired result in this case is to live pain free. I think I am showing them sometimes it takes time and patience to get your desired result. And I think I am showing them how important it is to take care of yourself so you can be the very best parent(and person) you can be.


I am trying to be brave and courageous for the love of my children...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mama's Day

I love Mother's Day. It is a day when I can indulge in every luxury imaginable. It is my day to lounge around and do exactly what I want to do without feeling the slightest twinge of guilt. As mamas, most of us spend our days doing what needs to be done for the good of our families and our needs come second, third or even fourth. I am not complaining, at all. It is a simple fact of life which is necessary in the course of life. I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't have my Mother's Day love without putting my needs secondary to my kiddos.

I am so blessed an fortunate to have these wonderful little critters I call my kids. They may drive me to the brink of insanity but my existence would dull and lifeless without them. They keep an energy flowing through our house. What tremendous gifts have blessed my life.

I wish all mamas a wonderfully relaxing day doing exactly what you want to do. It is your day indulge in all your luxuries so enjoy! I know tomorrow I will be all refreshed and ready to come out swinging! Mother's Day may be a way for our kids to honor us but this day is given to us from the love of our children...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm Just Not Sure

I am just not sure Lucas is going to make it out of this phase of his life. He reminds me of when he was three and four years old. He was tough to handle and tested every shred of patience I had in my body. We are right back to where we started with Lucas years ago and I am not sure I can do it again.

Out of all three of my kids Lucas has always been a sweetheart and such a pleasant baby. When he hit two and a half all hell broke loose with him. There were days I would wish and wish I didn't have to take Lucas on errands with me. I felt my life would have been sooo much easier if I could have left Lucas at home. He would have worn Mother Theresa out with his constant badgering, endless barrage of questions and relentless pursuit of whatever his object of the day was. I often said, in those days, it was a good thing Lucas was sweet and adorable or he never would have made it out of that stage alive.

I feel the same way now. Lucas is still sweet and adorable. He still has a larger than life personality and has never met a stranger. He is quick to laugh and slow to anger. He wakes up with a smile on his face and brings sunshine into our house. I love all these things about Lucas. BUT, and it is a big but right now, he is driving me beyond crazy with his scattered thoughts, goofy questions and inability to concentrate on anything and everything. He ran out in a parking lot the other night ~ right in front of a car. He didn't look left or right...he just RAN. I was always told there is never a dumb question but Lucas is testing the limits on this one. He asks some of the most inappropriate questions of everyone. I don't know where his brain is. He is struggling in his school right now. He used to be the one who would come home, do his homework and get a jump on the next assignment ~ not anymore. He blows off so much of his work. He knows I will check up on him and find out assignments aren't done but it doesn't stop him from failing to complete his work. I feel like I have four year old Lucas again.

Lucas is still so lucky he is sweet and adorable or one of us might not make it out of this latest phase of his life. I just not so sure which one it would be.

Oh, for the love of Lucas...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Karma

The good the bad and the ugly...

The other day, shortly after Prince William married Kate Middleton, Stan and I were sitting together watching TV and he was twiddling "my" wedding ring. I say "my" because it was my mom's first wedding ring. Stan said it looks like the ring Prince William put on Kate's finger during their wedding and it does. It's a simple gold band ~ no adornment, no diamonds. During the day I wear it with the ring Stan gave me. Wearing both rings gives me a rush of pleasure. I am reminded of great things when I look down at my left ring finger.

My mom's simple, gold band gives me much pleasure. I told Stan I think my mom's ring has good "mojo." My parent's just celebrated 50 years of marriage last year so, to me, the ring is a constant reminder of a good, solid, loving marriage. As Stan was twiddling my ring, he asked "so what exactly is mojo?" I told him I think it's a lot like Karma. He went on to teasingly ask "what is karma?"
"Karma is," I said, "the feeling of what goes around, comes around...smack you in the ass." The conversation then turned to wedding vows. Stan decided it would be good to have that line included in everyone's wedding vows...

"Do you take this man/woman to be your lawfully wedded husband/wife? To have and to hold from this day forward, in sickness and in health, for richer for poorer, for better or for worse, forsaking all others and always remembering what goes around, comes around and will smack you in the ass."

Can you imagine that line at a wedding? A reminder in our vows to treat each other respectfully ~ knowing if you don't it will come back to smack you in the ass. I think I would wet my pants if I heard that line at a wedding but I like it. The more I think about it the more I like it. I think I will petition the churches to add the line to everyone's wedding vows. Maybe it would cut down on the divorce rate if we all remembered about karma...the good the bad and the ugly.

Karma is a great thing to remember and pass on. I get smacked in the ass quite a lot by karma and I am OK getting smacked around occassionally because it reminds me how I really should behave. I'll teach the kids all about karma and getting smacked in the ass...maybe then they won't turn out to be like me ~ an irreverent mama with a raw rear end!

Karma is for the love of my children...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Summer of My Discontent

I know it is not quite summer but it is close enough for me to feel like it is already here. Usually, when summer is close I feel an overwhelming sense of relief and peace. This year, I don't have that feeling ~ in fact, I feel the complete opposite.

I feel very edgy and restless right now. There is something out there I need to do. If the past is any indicator of what is going on I think I am feeling the re-emergence of wanting to go out and make my mark on this world but this time is different. This time is magnified. I have a burning feeling in my stomach (and no, it's not an ulcer ~ thank you very much). It's a need to fulfill.

I felt a little like this when I started my Mary Kay business year and years ago. I wanted to go big! I wanted to be a top director. I wanted it all! But then I got pregnant and we moved to Germany. My priorities changed. I needed to focus on being a mama. The edgy, restless feeling of wanting to make my mark on the world faded into wanting to be the very best mama I could be.

It's been years since I felt this way and I have to say I am a bit disconcerted by how hard and fast I've been hit by my need to make my mark through something other than volunteering. In the past, I have used volunteer projects help to fulfill this need. I volunteer my services or chair some committee to fulfill any need I have to make my mark on the world. I complete the task or project and I feel fulfilled. I know I did what I needed to do and I did it well.

This time is different. I know I have something else I need to do. I want to go big. I want to be an writer---published and professional. I know this blog will be a nice gift to my kiddos when they are older and can look back on this year but I want something more. I will work through this summer of my discontent and I will keep working and working and working until I satisfy my edgy, restless feeling by writing and writing and writing. I want to show my kids it is never too late to go big!

Oh, for the love of my children...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where Were You?

I remember exactly where I was ~ the moment is frozen in time in my head. I was in our basement in Louisville, Kentucky talking to Stan on the phone when the first tower fell. All I could think was "Oh, shit..."

Stan was in San Francisco on business. Zach was a kindergartener, away at school. Lucas was with me and Claire was in her crib. I wanted all of us together in those terrifying moments of 9-11. I wanted to go scoop Zach up from school and hold him close. I went and plucked Claire out of her crib. I snuggled Lucas close. I asked Stan to fly home immediately ~ what we soon learned was there would be no air traffic for an undetermined amount of time. As I sat watching the coverage of what was unfolding my heart ached for every wife who lost her husband, every husband who lost his wife, every child who lost their parent, every parent who lost their child and every friend who now mourned the loss of so many innocent lives taken from us that fateful day in September of 2001. Tears poured down my face for all of those who lost so much. My mind turned to thoughts of never seeing Stan again.

What if San Francisco was targeted? What if, what if, what if...

I prayed and prayed and prayed. I prayed for the safety of not only Stan but the safety of all of those who worked tirelessly to protect us from more harm. Stan spent nine years in the military but I never feared for his well being like I did in the days following the attacks masterminded by Osama bin Laden. I begged Stan to rent a car and drive home from San Francisco. His response was a deadpan "Have you looked at a map?" I knew it was foolish but I didn't care. I didn't want him on a plane. I just wanted him home. The day before his flight was due to fly out of San Francisco I was in the rocking chair nursing Claire. I remember looking down at this little baby Stan and I brought into the world and my heart nearly shattered wondering if I would ever see his face again, wondering if my children would get to hug their daddy. I begged God to bring Stan home safely to me. I know it was selfish when so many others had lost so much but I couldn't help myself. As I sat asking and begging for the life of my husband I saw two hands cupping a plane and bringing it home ~ to me. I saw the hands of God bringing Stan's plane home. Relief washed over me. I knew, without a doubt, Stan would be safe. His plane was the first plane to fly after the attacks and the only plane to fly the day he was due to come home. My prayers were answered with the safe return of my husband. There were still so many other prayers to be answered for others.

Stan is traveling again today. He is flying to San Francisco, of all places. My prayers will be fast and furious for the safety of all of those who are traveling and going about their business in these days, weeks and months after Osama bin Laden's death.

I wish I could say I didn't wish Osama bin Laden harm in the time since he attacked the pentagon and the twin towers fell but I would be lying. I wanted bin Laden to pay for his sins and his crimes against the United States of America. Whether I wished him dead or not, I can't say. I don't think the death penalty shows us to be the most compassionate of countries but bin Laden was not a compassionate man. Bin Laden was a man who sole focus in life was preventing his own death while ensuring the deaths of so many others. His last act of cowardice leave me speechless. He used his wife as a shield so she would perish while he could go on to inflict death and destruction on so many others. He was a evil man who, I hope, is now sitting somewhere in Hell with Hitler.

Do you remember where you were on that fateful day?

I hope we never forget. I hope we never forget the bond we, as a country, forged in those horrible days after 9-11. We were the most united of states. We became a family whose home had just been attacked. We came together and we stood defiant in the face of cowardice and evil. We were, and still are, the United States of America. May God bless our soldiers who keep us safe, those who lead our country and all those who call this great nation home. To me, it is for the love of our children we defend our country...

"I never wished a man dead but I read some obituaries with great pleasure." ~ Mark Twain

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Irreverent

I love words. I love learning new words and relearning words I knew from my years studying journalism. I love to go into dictionaries and thesauri (see...even know that is the plural for thesaurus!) Words are fun for me. I used to sit and play a vocabulary test online where it "paid" a grain of rice to a developing nation for every word you got you right. I would sit and play for hours, getting more and more excited as the words got harder and harder.

But oh, how I will burn in Hell due to one little word! Have you ever run across one of those words you just KNOW fits you? Recently, I've been running across the word "irreverent." I haven't run across it in years but I immediately knew it fit me---to a tee!

It's scary to think how many times I will burn in Hell for all my irreverent thoughts turned comments. The times I was snarky and mean, just because a thought popped into my head and came out of my mouth. There is no wondering where Lucas gets his filterless existence...in this case I have to take responsibility ~ lock, stock and barrel. My sacrilegious comments will get me roasted over an open pit in Hell. The one time I said, out loud "Well, they look like a stuffed sausage," because a certain person's clothes barely fit across their expansive derriere qualifies as an irreverent comment. Some of my other activities should certainly have caused lightning bolts to rain down from the sky and strike me dead. Lying in Church would qualify to have me struck dead by a lightning bolt...completely and totally irreverent. Does it count that I apologized to God as the lie slipped out of my mouth? Maybe, because no lightning bolt came bursting through the ceiling of the Church. My only hope is that God hears my sincere apologies after the irreverent comments slip out of my mouth.

I do hope, too, that my children learn a good lesson from me when it comes to irreverent comments...I hope they learn not to say them much less think them! Oh boy, do I ever have a lot of work to do for the love of my children...