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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Concealed Carry Permit

When I was a little girl I wanted to one of Charlie's Angels. I looked up to those women who could kick ass and take names. When I was a teenager I wanted to be part of Moonlighting's crew. I wanted to sneak around and solve mysteries. Several years ago I was introduced to the Stephanie Plum series of books by Janet Evanovich a rip roaring good series all about a female bounty hunter, her sidekicks and the antics that ensue during her captures. Around the same time, I also found the TV series "Dog the Bounty Hunter," who, with his crew, kick in doors, capture fugitives from the law and make no bones about the fact that they are, in fact, bad asses!

My friend told me the other night she has her concealed weapon permit. Her cool factor ratcheted up several of notches in my book. If she can get her concealed weapon permit...

All of these series of events have lead me to the realization I want to obtain my concealed weapon permit...I want to be a total badass! I don't really want to carry a gun and I certainly don't want to shoot anyone but I want to feel like a badass when I say "I have my concealed weapon permit." I wanna be a bounty hunter like Dog and Stephanie Plum. I would make a fantastic bounty hunter. Can you just see me running around after a fugitive yelling "FREEZE Mother------!! Zach told me I could be "Cat the bounty hunter!" I LOVE it!!

Stan thinks I am crazy but he says if I'm gonna get my concealed weapon permit then he knows exactly what to get me for every holiday...kinda makes me pause for a second. Do I REALLY want a Glock for Mother's Day? Wouldn't I rather have some flowers or something sparkly?

Ah well, a girl can dream, can't she?? I can be "Cat ~ The Badass Bounty Hunter" by day and plain ol' mama who loves her kids by night, right?

Oh, for the love of my children...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Competitve Friends

In our lives we all run across people who wish to compete against those they call friends. I have had many of those friends in my life. I remember feeling the competition between my friends when I hit high school. It was a strange feeling and one I never really liked but innately understood.

The first time I realized I was in competition with a friend was over a couple of guys. I overheard the guys talking about liking the girl with the shiny blond hair and big boobs. I was the gawky one with no boobs. So, I was second place, or last place because there were only two of us, in the eyes of those guys. It was a disconcerting feeling, being in last place behind my friend.

Claire is already experiencing the strangeness of competition between friends. She knows it and her eyes are wide open. There is no pretense from one of her friends about her competitveness with Claire. Her friend told Claire that her goal is to be faster than Claire in every swimming event...that's her goal ~ to beat Claire.

This a good teaching point for me with Claire. There will always be competition between friends. Most of the time the competition is friendly and pushes you to be a better person. As long as it stays above board and is not sneaky and back-stabbing, competition between friends is a good and necessary part of life.

I think guys have it easier, though. The competitiveness between guys is overt. They, for the most part, don't try to hide their desire to be better than their friends. Zach learned early on to pick someone who was better, faster, stronger and say "See that guy over there? I'm gonna be better than him someday." And he pushed himself harder and harder to be better. Zach was, and is, still above board about his desire to get better and push himself just a little harder to be the best he can be. I respect the way guys can be so honest about their desire to be number one.

I think girls try, sometimes too hard, to be nice. But our innate desire to win comes out. I don't think girls are not taught to properly work through this contradiction, at least I wasn't. I think it causes a lot of internal conflicts for girls...how can I be nice and ladylike but still win? I think it is why girls go into covert mode..."I'll pretend to be nice and be your friend but my goal really is to make myself look soooooo much better than you." I have to respect Claire's friend...she came right out and told Claire her goal was to beat her. It's above board and Claire can do with it what she wants. She can take it as a challenge to push herself harder against her friend. She can take it as a personal challenge to beat her own times. Or she can let it go and push herself at something else. It's Claire's choice but it's my responsibility to make sure Claire can deal with competitive friends in a positive and above board way. I would much rather have Claire tell her friends her goals than to hide behind a facade of niceness and falsity. Girls can still be nice and kind but they can also be taught to be winners, in the most positive way. I would much rather Claire be labeled as competitive than to be labeled a bitch for being sneaky and underhanded in dealing with friends.

I think competition is a tougher path for girls because of the conflicting emotions competition causes. I see it in my own tennis game. I want to be nice and liked so I am conflicted about beating my opponent. It's a total head game for me. Stan gets so frustrated by my stories coming off the court. He will ask me "Why do you keep telling your opponent 'nice shot?' It just gives them more ammo against you so they can win." It goes against my grain not to be nice and compliment good shots but it also goes against my grain to lose...so it's a conflict I'm still dealing with at 42. Claire has a lot of learning ahead. My hope is that she keeps on being a good friend while pushing herself to be the best student and athlete she can be.

Oh, for the love of Claire...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Toilet Paper

Erma Bombeck once said "Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end the faster it goes." How right she was. But I'm not talking about getting to end of life, I'm talking about coming to the end with Jan's stay here.

Yesterday was Jan's "Czeching Out" or his "Jan Voyage" party. Our time with Jan is really coming to the end. He flies home on July 5th and until then we have a tightly packed schedule. We will have a blast in these last few days but the time will go even more quickly...just like the end of a roll of toilet paper.

Claire tried to have a little cry last night because Jan is leaving. I stopped her dead in her tracks. We don't have time to cry right now. We only have time to enjoy. So, enjoy we will.

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

Friday, June 24, 2011

If Only...

A wise person once said, "Holding onto a resentment is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person will die."

I can't hold onto resentments anymore. They are a killer. I can look back on mistakes in my life and say "If only..." so I can grow and learn. But I can't carry grudges or resentments anymore.

Charles Dickens said "Reflect upon your present blessing, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some."

Right now, I chose to reflect on my present blessings, of which I have plenty. I wrote a piece this morning for www.perfectmamasconfess.com about gratitude. The feeling of gratitude has stuck with me all day. I am mightily blessed with the love of my family and for their love I couldn't be more grateful.

But my mood today is strange.

I sit here counting my blessing but also am feeling a little discombobulated because of an email Stanley received this morning. Some of you have read my blog "Family and Forgiveness" and know how I royally screwed up last summer. The email Stan received was about my mistakes and how, or if, we can fix the mess my mistakes caused. I have apologized but my apology has been rejected time and time again. So, for me, I am not sure what else I can do.

I have talked many other times in my past blogs about making mistakes, owning up to mistakes, letting go of grudges and the power of true forgiveness. I can still look back and think "If only..." so I can continue to grow and learn from my mistakes. But I won't sit and lament "If only..." because lamenting will get me nowhere so I will keep on focusing on my blessings. I will go on learning to forgive. I will keep on letting go of grudges. And hopefully, the example I set will be enough for the love of my children...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Uh Yeah, Winning DOES Matter

Just so you know, all of the stuff about "it's not whether you win or lose ~ it's how you play the game" is all a bunch of malarky! Winning DOES matter! I have been on a losing streak in tennis with my singles game. Today, I came out on top and the feeling of winning put me on top of the world for the rest of the day. Winning matters, A LOT!

It took me years and years to get to this point. When the boys started playing hockey I would get so angry with the parents who got so excited when their kid would score or their team was winning. I kept telling myself "REALLY, it's not whether you win or lose..." What a bunch of crap! I finally learned to accept the fact that winning matters and winning is FUN!

Now, I am one of the parents who used to irritate the bejeepers out of me. I cheer when the kids score and I am louder than most when the kids' teams are winning. I LOVE winning!

My hope is I am not obnoxious about winning (but I think I am at the hockey rink). Today, I tried hard to keep my enthusiasm under control as I handily beat my opponent. I am not sure I succeeded. A hug and a handshake from our team captain was better than a high-five and a hoot and holler but I think the "celebration" could have waited until after the entire match was over and we were in the car on the way home.

Hopefully, through all of my blunders ~ first thinking it's only how you play the game that matters and now my semi-obnoxiousness when the wins happen ~ my kids will learn that winning does matter but being gracious not only when you win but also when you lose is incredibly important in life.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And So It Begins...

Claire had a wisdom tooth out today. Her 12 year old molar was impacted because of the pressure of the newly forming wisdom tooth so the orthodontist and oral surgeon decided the best course of action was to remove the offending tooth.

To keep Claire comfortable for the procedure the dentist, Dr. Miller, decided to fully sedate her. After the procedure was over, Dr. Miller told me Claire was a model patient. I was given a few post-op instructions and we were sent on our way. I was given the usual, start with clear liquids and when those are well tolerated she can move to soft food, etc...

Whenever I am fully sedated all I want to do is come home and sleep...not so with Claire. She was "wide awake" and ready to rule the world. Claire wouldn't stop talking and asking for something to eat, drink or chew on. The drugs they used to sedate Claire caused her to be a little on edge and hyper. I knew she was thirsty and hungry...she wouldn't stop talking about how much she was suffering from the lack of food and drink. But it was a tough call for me to make. I knew I had to balance Claire's drug induced desire for food and drink with my knowledge that anything going down could be easily be evacuated from the stomach. I started with Claire some Sprite and then moved to applesauce. All the while, Claire begged me for yogurt, ice cream, eggs, noodles...you name it, she wanted it, even with the nausea bubbling in her tummy. I kept telling her and telling her to take it easy ~ take it slowly. She didn't listen. She got it in her drug induced head she wanted her ice cream so she got it and proceded to eat the single serving of Cherry Garcia. Not long after, Cherry Garcia revisted Claire in the bowl I set aside for just such an incident. She didn't listen to the mama with a little more experience in dealing with wiggly stomachs...she HAD to have the Cherry Garcia.

And so it begins, with Claire thinking she is all knowing at the tender age of 10. She just knew it would be OK, to eat dairy on an empty, wiggly tummy! I am soooo hoping it was the meds talking today. I need to head more slowly into the age of "Mama Knows Nothing" or one of us may not make it out alive.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"People are People"

I was driving the other day, listening to an 80's radio station when the song "People are People" Depeche Mode song came on. If you were a child/teen of the 80's it was a hard song to miss.

Last night, the song came roaring back into my consciousness. We had a swim meet at our pool last night. We swam against a team we have been competing against for the past several years. Every other year we are at our home pool. This was our year to host them.

The meet went well. Swimmers swam. Coaches coached and the parents from both teams worked together to ensure a smooth night of summer swim team. Claire knew some of the kids, and a coach, from the other team because she swims with them during the year so she was having a good time with kids from both of her teams. The mood between the rival teams was cordial and friendly, or so I thought.

It was when the meet ended my eyes were opened a little to the tensions which were lurking just below the friendly facade. Some of the parents from the opposing team made some fairly disparaging comments regarding our facilities and the people who belong to our pool. It wasn't necessary or nice. It was a little petty and mean. But it got me to thinking about how we viewed their pool last year when they hosted us...we said some not so nice and petty things about their facilities. The two pools couldn't be more dissimilar in their appearance, with one being shiny and new and the other being old and a little run down. But, to me, it is neither here nor there about whose pool is better...ours or theirs. That is why Depeche Mode's song came roaring back in my ears...


People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

So we're different colours
And we're different creeds
And different people have different needs
It's obvious you hate me
Though I've done nothing wrong
I never even met you
So what could I have done

I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

People are people so why should it be
You and I should get along so awfully

Help me understand

Now you're punching and you're kicking
And you're shouting at me
I'm relying on your common decency
So far it hasn't surfaced
But I'm sure it exists
It just takes a while to travel
From your head to your fist

I can't understand
What makes a man
Hate another man

Help me understand

So, why is it that we are so quick to judge and slow to accept? I don't get it. I hope the generation of tomorrow can make some sense of this because it doesn't seem like ours is doing a bang up job...maybe we just need to start blasting this song again!

Oh, for the love of my children...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Trama at the Dinner Table

So, yesterday was Father's Day and it got me to thinking about my own father ~ the good, the bad and the down right strange. This could be a wide ranging blog but I am going to keep the scope narrow by containing my thoughts to food, meals and their impact on me as a parent now.

My dad is a foodie. He was a foodie before the term was even coined. My parents cooked, entertained and ate like royalty. They were samplers of some of the strangest things I could ever imagine as a kid. I was introduced to some amazingly different foods because of their penchant for cooking but I was also introduced to some of the most disgusting things I could ever imagine because of my parents' desire to introduce us to a broader world of food.

Escargot. I got my first taste of escargot when I was 10. My parents had a party and escargot was on the menu. I came into the dining room as saw the shells nestled on a pretty platter. Disgusting, I thought! I can NOT believe they are eating snails! Somehow, I was conned into trying one and I thought I had died and gone to heaven! The butter, garlic and warmth of the bread, along with the texture of those tiny, tasty little morsels called, ever so elegantly, escargot put me in a state of bliss. (I am sure chefs call them escargot because NO ONE would eat them if they were called snails!)

The escargot were a hit with me but other things...not so much. My father has this peculiarity about his vegetables...he will only eat them if they are mushy/slimy. Makes for pretty disgusting eating, let me tell you! Zucchini is absolutely loathesome when it is braised to mush in chicken broth and topped with parmesan cheese. Okra can not be choked down when it is slimy...my gag reflex turned on every time I saw okra on the menu. Brussle sprouts sent me into a state of panic when the appeared on the dinner table. I had to sit at the table until my vegetables were gone...I perfected the dump and flush technique. I learned how to steathily move the disgusting mounds of slime from my plate to my napkin and escape to the bathroom to flush the slimy putrescence down into the sewer where it belonged. My dad's peculiarity about nasty veggies stays with me to this day and has colored how I treat meal time.

I remember many interesting nights at the dinner table. There was the night my parents told me we were having veal parmesan. It was mushy and the flavor was off...it didn't taste quite right to me so I started poking around and found SEEDS --- seeds in veal parm! Hmmmmmm... My mom tried telling me it was how veal reproduced. But I knew better! I had just been through sex ed. My mom finally came clean and told me it was eggplant. To this day, I hate eggplant parmesan! But the dinner which has tramatized me for years is when I walked into the kitchen believing we were having corned beef and cabbage. The distinct aroma of, what I thought was, corned beef filled the house. I came into the kitchen to check on dinner, lifted the lid to the pot and saw --- A GIANT tongue floating where the corned beef should have been! This is the day I discovered my father LOVES cow tongue. To me, there could be nothing more repulsive. Opening the lid to the pot, expecting to find corned beef but instead being assaulted with a giant tongue floating and boiling was enough to render me disgusted for all eternity. I was forced to try this "delicacy." I coated the "meat" in layers and layers of yellow mustard, put it in my mouth, took a giant gulp of lemonade and swallowed...I didn't bite down. I didn't chew. I just gulped it down and left the table in sheer disgust at what I had just been forced to eat. The slimy vegetables of meals past had nothing on this newest dinner atrocity.

The many interesting meals I was served as I grew up have colored me in how I approach dinner with my own kids. I don't force veggies. To me, fruit is a perfectly acceptable substitute for a vegetable. I work to provide plenty of variety, knowing Zach hates tomatoes, Lucas gags on mashed potatoes and Claire can't stand watermelon. To me, dinner (and food) should be about enjoying what is on your plate. I don't force my kids to stay at the table and eat something they consider nasty but I do require them to try something new when I serve it. Sometimes it's a hit and sometimes it's a miss. (Quinoa salad, for example, Claire fell in love with it! Who'da thunk??) I promise I will never tramatize my kids by putting a giant cow tongue in a pot and leaving it to boil...letting them find it, thinking it is corned beef and cabbage. I will never force them to stay at the table with cold, slimy vegetables. But I will encourage them to enjoy expanding their horizons through food.

I appreciate the lessons I learned at the dinner table of my parents. I like to believe the lessons there made me seek out and find what I really enjoy, becoming something of a foodie myself. The lessons learned at the Combs' dinner table helped me see something that looks repulsivie can be enjoyable...think snails. And sometimes what looks repulsive REALLY is repulsive...think tongue! I think Stan and I have put many of these lessons to good use with the kids. They are becoming little foodies in their own rights, as they learn to enjoy more and more culinary delights. My hope is that we have not tramatized them too much at the Combs-Pokrywka dinner table.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day ~ A Love Story

Stan and I met in a bar...

We did meet through mutual friends but ~ we still met in a bar. Stan was a wildly sweet Jersey boy with a perfect flat top and the bluest eyes I had ever seen. He decided he wanted to teach the girl from Kansas how to two step. Yep, two step...interesting. He took me in his arms in the middle of the dance floor and proceded to swing me around counting "One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three." "Ummmmm, Stan ~ two stepping only has two steps, not three." I said.

So the Jersey boy failed in his attempt to teach me how to two step but he succeeded in making the girl from Kansas just a little weak in the knees. With his arm around my waist and my hand in his I knew I was home...his arms were where I suppossed to be. I KNEW he was the one. The feeling was perfect. I looked into his sparkly, shiny, blue eyes and I knew I had to get away.

We were both dating other people. I was dating a guy who was stationed in Iraq as part of Operation Desert Storm. The girl Stan was dating lived in Boston. I wanted no part of anything less than honorable but what I felt in Stan's arms was magic.

Months went by, and Stan and I saw each other occassionally through our mutual friends. I loved seeing him and his sparkly eyes but I managed to push thoughts of feeling at home in his arms to the back of my brain and concentrated on the guy I was dating. He was due to arrive back in the States and I focused on that. When he got home and a little settled in he decided it was time for a change from me so he took me aside and said "Jen, I just don't love you...you don't take my breath away." OUCH! In those same months Stan was also dumped by his girlfriend ~ she didn't want to leave her family in Boston to become an Army wife.

Moving on...

Stan was on the periphery of my circle of friends but the perfect feeling of being in his arms was back at the forefront of my mind. The thought of his sparkly, blue eyes made my heart melt.

July 27, 1991. It was a beautiful summer night. My girlfriends and I decided we were going to meet up with Stan and his group of friends. I'm not sure exactly how everything happened that night. I'm not sure if it was luck, the stars aligned perfectly or my girlfriends arranged everything but Stan and I ended up sitting side by side. We started talking. The words came easily and the conversation was comfortable. We talked and talked. It was then Stan and I decided we would get married. Stan put his West Point ring on my left finger and we talked and talked. We talked about staying in the Army for 20 years, having three sons (who would all go to West Point), retiring in New Hampshire and living happily ever after. The magic was back.

Alright, so not all of what we talked about came true. We stayed in the Army for nine years, not 20. We had three KIDS, not three boys (I am sure they won't all go to West Point). New Hampshire is out of the question...did you know it's COLD there?? But ONE thing has come true...happily ever after.

Stan's sparkly, blue eyes and "two stepping" prowess won my heart. So Happy Father's Day to my sweet Jersey Boy who still can't two step to save his life but is light of my life and the best father I could ever hope for...for the love of my children.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Playing Like Ninnies

I am still brewing about it. We had a tennis match on Thursday...you would think I would be over the massive butt whipping I recieved but I am still stewing.

Here is the reader's digest version of the story...

Warm ups began with friendly chatter between us and our opponents. The atmosphere was cool and relaxed. As warm ups went on I felt good about heading into the match against our opponents...they played like ninnies. Their balls constanly went into the net and they would giggle and giggle about how they were such screw ups. I didn't necessarily think the match would be easy. We did have some good rallies but I thought "OK, we have a decent chance. It may be a fun match...these ladies are clowns."

OK, whose the ninny now? The first set was lost 6-1 ~ yep, you read it right ~ they won six games, we won ONE! The second set saw us with a goose egg on the score cards ~ 6-0! ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! They played us like Johnny played the Devil in the song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia!" DAMN, and we fell for it! They weren't ninnies...they just warmed up like ninnies. In truth, they were incredibly skilled. They could place a ball wherever you weren't and they could force you to be exactly where they wanted to create an opening so they could just slam the ball away! DAMN, I say DAMN!

OK, so we're the ninnies now. I gotta remember to teach my children to NEVER jugde a book by it's cover...or they may just get played like a ninny!

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

Friday, June 17, 2011

Maybe That's Where It's Supposed To Be

I think as mamas we lament about where our body parts are headed...gravity takes over and things start heading south. Maybe everyone, men and women, lament about losing the bodies of our youth but I think mamas expereience this phenomenon far sooner than men. Childbirth and all that accompanies bringing our little darlings into the world causes body parts to start to sag and we may look back on our old bodies with something akin to a longing for what we used to have...how our bodies looked before babies.

But did you ever stop to think this is the way our bodies are supposed to look? Maybe the bodies of our youth are just a sham and not the way we were intended to look. Our bodies are designed to bring children into the world so maybe just maybe our bodies ~ post kiddos ~ is how we are supposed to look! REALLY! Think about it...there are women the world over who have no shame in the way their bodies look after having a baby. The pictures in National Geographic show women who stand tall and proud that their boobs are saggy and their stomachs aren't quite as flat as they used to be...before they helped bring a new life into this world. I think they have it right.

I think we mamas should re-examine how we feel about our bodies...yes, the little 20 somethings have taut stomachs, no stretch marks or varicrose veins and perky boobs but seriously...why is that the ideal? Why should we feel anything but pride in our bodies?

Let's take our bodies back and stand tall and proud that our boobs are heading south, we have stretch marks, varicrose veins, our butts are a little flatter or wider and our tummies are just a little poochy. Take care of ourselves, yes ~ but obsess over what we can't, and don't want, to change no!

Stand tall and proud Mama ~ maybe this really is where that body part is supposed to be! For the love of our children...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Graduate

Jan is now a graduate from Deep Run High School. Last night I experienced the first of four graduations I will attend because of own kiddos or because of Jan, our exchange student, who has become like one of our own. It has been years since I have been at a graduation. I forgot all of the pomp and circumstance of a graduation. The emotion of a graduation is something that stays with me ~ the music, the speeches, the elation of the kids, the little hints of sadness, the laughter and the tears.

The pomp and circumstance is, well, pomp and circumstance. It is a necessary part of the ceremony that marks the time of these young adults being sent into the world to do great things. The speeches given were the perfect send off from four years of high school. The speeches were do well done, the kids even paid attention. One of the speakers said she had six words for the kids to always remember in going through life "Be kind. Give back. And Work hard." Claire said "that's seven words." ~ and ~. Whether it was six or seven words, tomato ~ tomahto, it's good solid advice for kids of all ages.

Jan's graduation was not just a ceremony marking this milestone in high school but also a stark reminder his time here is quickly coming to an end. He is headed home ~ to his family. It is a bittersweet time for all of us as we come to terms with sending Jan home. He is a part of our family now and he will always be just a skype date away but it won't be quite the same. There will be a hole and we will have to transition to life without Jan. It will not be a transistion back to the way life was before Jan. It will be a transistion to a new way of life in our house, where our eyes have been opened just a little more to the world around us.

The emotions stirred up by this ceremony lurked just beneath my surface for me last night and I knew I would have deal with whatever emotion came bubbling up. As you all have probably guessed from past blogs, it is sometimes hard for me to keep my emotions in check...my eyes fill up with tears with increasing frequency as our kids grow bigger and bigger and get older and older. The reality they will someday leave home and begin lives of their own comes to rest on my shoulder frequently. The tears come unbidden and often. Last night, I quietly wiped a tear or two away last night hoping no one would notice the teardrops that slipped silently past my lashes as I blinked furiously to keep them from falling. For the most part, though, I think I did OK keeping my emotions under the radar.

I looked at my own three sitting next to me during the ceremony and realized, again, how quickly time is passing. Zach has three more years until he graduates. It will be here the blink of an eye.

I will continue to enjoy every, single second we have with Jan here. And I will continue to enjoy the time I have with my own kiddos ~ now and always.

For the love of my children...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What Do You Do When A Teacher Doesn't Like Your Child?

Alright, all my teacher friends out there...what do you do when you really don't like a student? And how do you handle the parents when they know you don't like their child? Loaded questions, I know and you don't have to answer them but could you please answer the questions at the end??

I know it is too late to fix anything for this year but I need to know going forward how to help my kids handle this. This is the first time a teacher has truly shown the signs of not liking Lucas.

Lucas has always been our challenging one. I have blogged many times about the challenges of Lucas. He could drive Mother Theresa to madness with some of his past behavior. So I know he could drive a teacher over the edge with his behavior. I adore Lucas, though. He is a one in a million...driving you crazy with his wild side one minute, cracking you up with his wit and humor the next and then going on to melt your heart with a kind word or hug. There are few people in this world who don't love Lucas. Unfortuntately for him, this teacher seems to be one.

Here's our side of the story...I know there are two sides to every story and I can only share mine with you.

As I've blogged about in the past, this year has seen Lucas struggle more than he ever has since he was diagnosed with ADHD. We have played with his meds and dosages for the first time ever. (We have been lucky to go this long without any adjustment to dosages and types of medicine.) I have been honest with his teachers regarding his struggles this year. I have kept them abreast ~ though not overly informed ~ of what is going on in his growing, 12 year old boy brain. Lucas has presented challenges to everyone this year and he is no angel, I am sure.

What I am sure of, is that we have encouraged him to take responsibility with his teachers, making sure when he has a question he is the one to make contact. His school has all of the teacher's emails listed on the kids' online schedules for quick and easy access to their teacher when a question comes up about an assignment or there is a problem. The school, and I would say our county, encourages email interaction with the teachers. I make sure Lucas is the one to send emails to his teachers. I have read the emails and approved them before hitting the send button, so I know none are inappropriate. This teacher is the ONLY teacher who will not respond to his emails ~ at least, in a timely manner. When she does respond it is usually after the assignment is due or Lucas is already in school and had the class. She told Lucas to stop emailing her (I didn't find this out until recently) so I took over emailing her with his questions, putting my name in the subject line along with Lucas'...still no timely response.

From what Lucas tells me, she is openly hostile to him and shows her hand that she does not like him. This is coming from Lucas so I take it with a grain of salt but he does not complain about people not liking him...in fact he believes every person he meets is an old friend. He has never met a stranger. I know the truth of his perception is somewhere in the middle but I don't know how far in the middle it is.

I tell my kids to follow the rules, do your work and be respectful of your teachers. If you follow the rules and turn in your work, there is no reason to get in trouble, I tell them. It has worked, for the most part, until this teacher. Maybe Lucas is not following the rules but I would think if he were so out of control I would have been contacted by the teacher or principal. Am I wrong to think that?

So teachers, what, as a parent, should I do in this type of a situation? ~ Suck it up, Stan says but is that the answer...suck it up??

Maybe this is also a question for parents as well, how do we handle it when someone doesn't like our kid? What's the best way to teach our kiddos to come out on top?

Ooooooooh, for the love of...our children!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Oh Dear, Oh Dear, OH DEAR!!!

SERIOUSLY! Where the heck are these girls' parents??

Claire and her dance team had a competition yesterday and every time I walk into one I want to believe this time will be different...

I sat in stunned and horrified silence as 14, 15 and 16 year old girls bumped, gyrated and practiced their stripper moves. I will ask again ~ where the heck are these girls' parents? What kind of parent believes it is appropriate for these girls to dance like strippers? SERIOUSLY!?! I guess maybe their parents believe it's good training in case that education thing doesn't work out for them...kind of like an apprenticeship for working in a nude-y bar.

I want to make sure I am completely clear in saying the difference between our dance studio and some of the others is HUGE. Like in all past competitions, the girls from our studio stood out with their classy outfits, appropriate make-up, slick buns and crisp routines. Our girls were well rewarded for their hard work and I couldn't be more proud of them. Their routines are well executed and incredibly entertaining. There was not a bump, a grind or a gyrate anywhere to be found in any of the routines from our studio. It was easy to spot the girls from our studio...in a very positive way.

Yes, our girls were well rewarded for their on stage performances but other young dancers who gyrated around on the floor were rewarded as well. That bothers me. Their parents abdicated their authority in allowing their daughters to parade around like a bunch of trollops but the judges have some culpability in this as well. Why do the judges reward girls for dancing like that? I don't know what kind of person, parent or judge, thinks it is a good idea to reward young teenage girls to strut, roll around on the floor and shimmy up and down a pole like they were well trained at stripper school.

Am I missing something here? Is this all good in the name of theater? Am I just an old fuddy, duddy? I would rather believe I am here to protect my daughter, and others, from growing up too fast and becoming sexually aware before her time.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My BUTS

Yesterday I wrote about truth telling. Today, I would like to expand on it just a smidgen more with my "buts."

Recently I sent a Facebook friend request to an old girlfriend from waaaaaay back. We were the best of friends back in the day. She and I spent many hours, days, weeks, months and years together plotting, planning and having a ball. But then we grew up and our friendship grew apart. We each had issues, maybe I had more than she did, but we both had issues which got in the way of trying to mend our friendship. Our friendship ended on some not so great terms. I decided it was time to bury the hatchet and reach out so I sent my friend request with an email letting her know it was my time to let things go. Life is too short, I said, to carry grudges. My friend request sat unanswered and my email had no response. So, I cancelled my friend request.

In the past year or so I have become a huge believer in letting bygones be bygones and burying the hatchet. But, and here is my BUT...I also believe no one should be made to feel like a doormat ~ waiting and waiting and waiting for a response. In the situation I described above I felt like I had put myself out there by reaching out. There was no response so I pulled out. Bygones are bygones and I will let them be BUT I won't be walked on either.

Since I have started my blog I have talked a lot about forgiveness. It is something which is near and dear to my heart. Forgiveness is powerful both when you can give it and when you can receive it. Recently, I received a phone call from someone I hurt very deeply and was also hurt by very deeply. I have apologized to them many times for my behavior since the day it happened. I was told to never contact them again so I stopped trying to apologize. The phone call I received from them was an apology. They wanted my forgiveness for how they treated me but went on to say that my behavior was not forgiven. To me, apologies and forgiveness go hand in hand.

I will forgive when asked. I will apologize when needed but and here is my BUT...I don't feel the need to keep apologizing. To me, having to beg and beg and beg for forgiveness is the sign of an unhealthy and crappy relationship. My apology stands, forever, but again, I won't be walked on.

I believe firmly in telling the truth in life. It is much healthier for all concerned. This is my belief. If someone chooses to play games with me so be it. BUT I don't feel the need to keep a relationship around when it's based on lies and games. I let those relationships go.

These are some of my "BUTS." I am sure there are more BUT I think this is enough controversy for one Sunday. I keep these "buts" close to my heart and hope I am doing my kiddos a service by teaching them to stand up and walk when a relationship is unhealthy. Your buts may be different and I would love to hear them.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Why Didn't We Try This Truth Telling Thing 20 Years Ago?

Claire and I are having a ball on our girl's weekend. The boys are traveling together and we are doing everything girlie. We went for pedicures yesterday afternoon and then came home to pizza, ice cream sundaes and a movie. We looked through the list of movies and finally settled on "You Again" with Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver, Betty White with a whole cast of all stars.

What a fun movie it was ~ perfect for the two of us. The movie was about bringing high school "arch-nemeses" back together years after high school. All of the female characters had to confront their pasts from high school beginning with Kristen Bell's character, Marni. Her nemesis, Johanna, was engaged to marry Marni's older brother. Marni and Johanna both had to confront their ugly times high school. The movie went on to showcase Jamie Lee Curtis' character, Gail, and her nemesis, Ramona, played by Sigourney Weaver. The antics that ensued during the movie were fun, witty and I have to say just a little touching. My favorite part was at the end when Gail and Ramona brought their decades long "feud" to an end. Both characters told what happened in their friendship to bring it to an end in high school. The actresses brought life to both of their characters and you could feel the pining from both of them in their desire to reconcile their friendship. Jamie Lee's character said "Why didn't we try this truth telling 20 years ago?"

That line got me to thinking ~ why don't we work harder in our lives and friendships to tell the truth? Why do we put so much effort into casting webs of lies? I'm not talking about flat out lies and deception. I'm talking about being truthful in our relationships. We put so much effort into saying "nothing's wrong," when there is something wrong. Why can't we just say "my feeling are hurt, or I'm mad or I'm sad"? What's wrong with telling the truth?

Wouldn't life be so much easier if we could resolve conflicts before it became a huge mess, all blown out of proportion and not fixable? What's wrong with going to someone and letting them know, in a kind way, what the heck is wrong? Why don't we encourage each other to seek out and find the truth rather than burying our heads in the sand, pretending nothing is wrong? And why is OK to let an issue go and go and go without any resolution?

I really want to teach my children to tell the truth in their relationships and friendships. I want them to learn not to play games with others and their emotions, especially friends and family. I think it just sucks so many good friendships and family relationships are ruined because truth telling seems too hard.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Friday, June 10, 2011

My Little Blond Boy

I love Lucas. I really do. He is a total and complete piece of work. But there are times, like this morning, when I just want to strangle him. He reminds me so much of myself when I was his age and it is said that the qualities you don't like in yourself are the ones that drive you crazy in others.

With Lucas, there could be no truer statement. He is me at that age, through and through. It hit me today like a ton of bricks. Realizing how much he is like me changed how I will deal with him. It was a true light bulb over my head moment. I GOT IT! I know how to work with him now.

Here's the story...

Stan and the boys are road-tripping this weekend. They have been preparing for their little adventure since Monday ~ coordinating time of departure, how long they can stay and when they are coming home. Stan's been asking the boys about school assignments to make sure they are on top of their work. This morning, at 7:35 Lucas says "Dad, what time are we going to be home on Sunday?" Alarm bells start ringing. Danger, danger, danger...something is wrong! Stan replies, ever so calmly, "Why?" "I just wanted to know, that's all," is Lucas' response. Hmmmmmmmm....the questioning continues...in the course of probing a little deeper we find out Lucas has a project due on Monday. It was assigned on Monday. So he had Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to work on it. REALLY? Ah, Lucas! "Why didn't you work on it on any one of those nights? You KNEW we were leaving for the weekend," Stan asks with a deadly calm. Gotta love Lucas! "I FORGOT!" is his response. Now, it's crunch time...how to work on it on the road?? Zach and Jan to the rescue...thank God for them! They will help Lucas complete the project while road-tripping.

Lucas and I got in the car to go to school ~ late ~ after our family conference on how Lucas was going to be able to finish his project AND go on the road-trip. It was then I told him my story and how similar we are, Lucas and I. I couldn't remember up from down, right from left (still struggle with that one!) I couldn't pull myself together to remember much of anything. My mom did so much of my work for me because I was so forgetful. I was dingy and spacey and I missed out on a lot because I tuned out the world around me when couldn't wrap my head around things. What seemed to come so easily to my friends made me struggle. As I told Lucas my story I told him how much I struggled and sometimes felt ~ I paused and he said "Sometimes I feel so stupid." My heart cracked a little for my little blond boy because I know exactly how he feels. I told him he is in no uncertain terms stupid but that he and I both have challenges we have to overcome. For me, I helped myself overcome my forgetfulness by learning to write everything down. I have list after list after list of things. If it's on paper I am a-OK. It's the only way I can function ~ my lists. I think Lucas will have to develop the same habit...write it down, see it in black and white. Lucas and I will have to work together to help him over come his challenge. I won't be like my mom. I won't do the work for him because it did me no favors moving forward in life (God love my mom for doing my work. It was how she coped with my challenges). What I told him I will do is help him develop his own system for over coming his ability to forget and tune out life around him. I dropped him off at school with a big hug, a bigger "I love you" and left with thoughts of Lucas and his struggles.

Lucas has been this way since he was an infant. He has been able to tune out life around him and has always been in his own little world. We have always said Lucas lives in Lucasland. It is how I imagine myself as an infant and young child. I think he will grow out of it and learn to cope in the real world. I have, so there is hope for him. Most who know me now think of me as somewhat organized, although Stan knows the truth. I can still be very scattered and spacey. I am so thankful for my light bulb moment this morning. It will help me help Lucas as he grows.

Lucas is my little blond boy and I say that without a hint of malice and with a smile on my face. Today I figured out he is me and I figured out I am the one to help him. And today I figured out I wouldn't have Lucas any other way! Oh, for the love of Lucas...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What I Wouldn't Do...

I was at a little gathering of tennis ladies last night and I remarked to one of my friends I hit 42 on my last birthday. My remark was overheard and caused the response "ooooh, what I wouldn't do to be 42 again." I don't think that applies to me, at least at this point in my life. Right now I don't want to go back to an age I used to be.

I know for a fact I don't want to go back to the teenage years with all of the teenage angst, drama and uncertainty of growing up. Maybe it was me. Maybe I was more filled with the angst and drama than others but I lived through those years once. Don't get me wrong, I loved being a teenager when I was a teenager. I loved being in high school but I don't feel an need to go back and do it again.

My college years were an absolute blast. If there were any time I would go back to it would be this time. I loved being young and carefree. I do love it when the college girl in me comes out and I can let my hair down but then it's time for her to be put away for a bit. I can revisit the college days without having to wish to go back.

The young married days were more than a good time. We had few responsibilities outside of each other. We had a plethora of friends. We waterskied every evening and weekend during the summer on Lake Tuttle in Manhattan, Kansas and we had an overabundance of free time to spend together or doing whatever we enjoyed. It was an idyllic time. I wouldn't mind going back to those times every now and again but I don't want to live there again.

I don't really remember my late 20's into my mid 30's. We were busy building a family. Newborns grew to infants who grew to toddlers and into preschoolers. I had three kids before my first one turned five. I changed diapers for seven straight years. But the memory of this time is not as sharp because my journey into sleep deprivation via childbirth stole most of my brain. I do know I loved my time with my babies and toddlers but I really don't think I want to relive those years, although I wouldn't mind a quick snuggle with my babies every so often.

I do know I am happy where I am right now. My kids are the perfect ages ~ even the 15 year old. I am self confident and happy. Life's pretty good here at 42. I have no desire to go back to any other age or stage of my life. Now, maybe when I am 60 or 70 I will look back on these years and think "What I wouldn't do to be 42 again." But I hope not. I hope I can continue to live my life content at the age where I am. I doubt that will happen, though, because I keep telling my kids to slow down and stop growing up. I am sure when they have grown and left the nest I will lament and wish I was 42 again and could relive these times with my kids. So I will say "goodnight" for now because I need to go and enjoy my kiddos while I have them.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My "Rules"

OK, so yesterday I posted some rules for men. Today, I'm going to throw a few out there for the ladies. Keep in mind, I am not a therapist nor do I have formal training in therapy of any kind. These are just my observations and my life experiences living with Stan for 18 years or so. Like I said yesterday, the game of love that started while we were dating continues on and on through life...at least it has for me.


For Women ~ Mostly


1. Be a little less avaialable. Back off just a little ~ you could also think of it as "stop smothering." Guys, even our married guys, like the thrill of the chase. Stan is much more receptive to me if I'm not all up in his face. He will actually seek me out. It's a refreshing feeling to know I don't have to work so hard to chase Stan down...it's nice to let HIM have a little fun on the hunt, on the prowl ~ for me.

2. Be active. Find some activities that interest you and keep you occupied in a good way. This goes back to the above rule. If you have some of your own activities you won't be all up in your guy's grill.

3. Be quiet. If you volunteer to watch a game with your guy watch it...quietly. Don't bitch, don't whine, don't complain, don't talk too much. I fail at the last one sometimes. A thought or question pops into my head every now and again and it shoots out of my mouth before I know it. I think Stan's OK when I ask questions about football rules (I really don't understand football. Hockey ~ I got it!) but something trivial I TRY hard to keep to myself.

4. Be yourself. I think the absolute worst advice any woman (or man for that matter) can get is to change who they are for someone else (I hate Cosmo's advice to women on what they need to change to get a guy...REALLY, if you have to change who are, it's NOT you!). Trying to live up to someone else's expectations of you is exhausting. I know, I've done it ~ many times. I even tried it with Stan for a while when I figured out that there are occasions where I'm not exactly everything he expects. There are times I can be a bit crass and totally irreverent. There were times in our early years when Stan wasn't too fond of my behavior. I remember one particular Easter dinner when I made a slightly off color comment regarding my mom cutting the rear end off the bunny cake she made ~ "Oh, look Mom's getting a little tail," is all I said. Stan huffed a loud huff and said "Jennifer! (the ONLY time he has ever called me Jennifer) It's Easter! For God's sake can we give it a rest for a DAY, please?!?" In the end, both of us realized it wasn't worth the effort to change the other. So we accept each others quirks, for the most part. It works out much better that way.

5. Be self confident. It's totally sexy ~ for both genders ~ to have self confidence. But women tend to lack it a little too much some times and men seem to have an over abundance when they should tone it down a notch or two. When women are self confident we all strut our stuff with amazing grace. Being self confident doesn't mean being perfect...in fact it's just the opposite. Being perfect is too much pressure and self confidence can fly right out the door. Being self confident is being happy in your own skin. It's a tough battle for women but it's worth it and it's totally, one percent cool!

6. Be respectful. I will say it again...Aretha Franklin had it right "R-E-S-P-E-C-T!" Respect yourself and your love, always.

7. Be kind. Sometimes we treat strangers much better than we treat the ones we love. Remember to say please and thank you, always. It goes a LONG way!

I think that's about it for now. If you have any "rules" I may have missed comment and let me know!!

Like I said above, these are my own version of rules. But they seem to have worked well in our house so far. I think we are setting a good example for both genders in our house by following these "rules." I want my kids to have a kind of marriage that goes on and on so I hope we can keep setting a good example for the love of our children...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Unsolicited Advice For Men

This past weekend I had the, uh, pleasure of watching middle aged men try to pick up women. What a comedy scene and to some degree a complete and utter tragedy. These men made me laugh out loud with their dimwitted pick up lines. Do men seriously NOT know what it takes to win a woman over? This got me to thinking...I think men need a list of rules.

Seriously, I think they do. Remember the book from a few years ago about rules women need to follow to land the man of their dreams? Well, I think men need to follow a few too. The dating scene is a game. (What most of us don't realize is that the game also continues on into marriage.) So, I am going to level the playing field just a little for all of the men (and women) out there by giving you a little cheat sheet on how to play the game and win...

~ For Men Only ~

1. Be sincere. Women like sincerity. Women like to feel just a little special in the eyes of a guy. Little compliments here and there...something, anything to make a woman feel just a tiny bit more special than she did a minute before. Pretty eyes, beautiful smile...anything from the neck up. No boobs, no butts, no curves, just something sincere about who she is as person not as an object.

2. Most women cringe when they hear a cheesy pick up line. Really, they do. So don't do it.

3. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT tell a woman you just met what you want to do to her. Telling her you want to "lick her" will either result in a swift kick to the groin or uncontrollable laughter at your ineptitude and sheer idiocy...or maybe a combination of both.

4. HOT is NOT a compliment. Don't care what you think...it's not. There are a few applications for it much later on in a relationship but in the beginning it's just creepy and sleazy, in my list of rules. Pretty, sexy, funny, smart, charming, adorable these are all perfect adjectives.

5. Conversation is the key to being connected to a woman. Women need to feel emotionally connected and they get there through conversation. Without conversation there is no connection. Without a connection there is nothing. So talk and listen and talk some more. Believe me, it will make, and keep, the connection. For men, the key to connection is physical but without an emotional connection the physical connection fizzles. As I write this Stan is sitting across from me talking to me, trying to reconnect after my week away...he's scoring some brownie points.

6. Don't come on so strong. Be soft and gentle. This one could also be called Back off Bozo! Dang...do men REALLY think we want to be pawed and groped...refer to above rule!?!? CONVERSATION!

7. Most women like a little romance. Just a little. It doesn't have to be a full blown, major affair. Just a tiny, little show of something to let her know she's on your mind. What little thing does she just love? Starbucks, diet coke, a flower? Surprise her with her favorite little something. Stan will bring home a bunch of tulips every now and again because he knows it's my favorite flower. It's just a little sweet and romantic. It keeps him tops in my book.

8. Respect. Women like to be and feel respected. Aretha Franklin had it right
"R-E-S-P-E-C-T"

There are more, I am sure, but I want to keep it simple. From my expereince, men need simple rules. Stan has told me on more than one occassion that men, as a whole, are not that deep. So the more simple I keep it the better off men will be.

I do plan to put out a few other rules for both men and women to follow as we play this game of love through life.

OK, so what does this have to do with the title of my blog...for the love of my children? The more men learn about women the better off our sons and daughters will be as they begin to navigate the waters of their own love lives later on. Our sons will learn to respect women and our daughters will learn to respect themselves.

Oh for the love of our children....

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fantasy Land

WOW! Sooooo this is reality? OK, I think I can do this reality thing again. As most of you know I spent the week with some great girlfriends and as we were coming back today I decided maybe it might not be so bad living in fantasy land.

As we were driving home, I wondered aloud about the thought of living life like the character in a book. What would life be like living only the exciting, fun parts? Wouldn't it be a hoot to live life as a character in a novel? One of my girlfriend's daughters has started a blog called "The Blog of Story Beginnings." Her blogs are well written, entertaining pieces that give the reader a glimpse of the beginning of a story. I enjoy escaping into the beginnings of her stories and sometimes I think it might be fun to live the beginning of a story and move on. My own version of fantasy land.

But then reality hit and I realized how much it would suck to live in fantasy land ~ only living the beginnings. This past week was wonderful ~ sitting on the beach all day chatting with girlfriends, enjoying cocktails whenever we wanted, eating when the mood struck us and being responsible only for ourselves. Life this past week was a fantasy ~ just like the beginning of a great story. But it wasn't reality and I don't think it would be fun ~ in the long run. There would be no chance to make connections, have friends or a family if life was lived only for the exciting parts. Turning the page or starting a new story when life gets dull or messy would prevent me from living the life I love. Life as a character in a novel would be, well, novel for a little while but then where would reality be? I love reading "The Blog of Story Beginnings." The stories leave you wanting more and more. I think that's how life would be if it were lived like a novel...always wanting a little more of something you can't get.

I walked into hugs, kisses and squeals of delight when I got home. It's my re-entry into reality and I wouldn't have it any other way. My fantasy land story book has been shut and put back on the shelf for a little while....for the love of my children.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Girl's Weekend: The Truth Untold

Now that I have your attention...I want you to know that I am not entirely sober as I write this...in fact, I may be just a titch unsober but I am more than OK with that. This is ONE time a year when I get to let my hair down and be completely me ~ Girls' Weekend.

I couldn't be more thankful for this one weekend a year when I shed all pretenses. I am not responsible for anyone but me and I let it all hang loose. I was introduced to most of these ladies through my friend Leslie when we moved here to Richmond. This is a group of ladies who gets together once a year and in this once a year meeting we have the the security to say anything and do what we want. We don't cross the boundaries of inpropiety and we do nothing risky but we do share secrets few others know ~ or deserve to know. All of us feel the security to shed all pretenses and leave them far behind.

The desire to maintain any aura of perfection is left in the deep, dark recesses of our brains. We can belch with the best of them. Tell our deepest secrets. Share our darkest desires and be completely honest with ourselves and each other. The maintainece of perfection is far too hard to uphold daily, weekly, yearly without some kind of break. I am so very thankful for the break.

My sisters in our girls weekend together concur. Our love and respect for each other is immense. My wish for all mothers, and fathers, is the time and ability to get away and be ourselves, or re-find ourselves, for just a little while. It is not dangerous or scandalous it's just us on girls' weekend.

We all need it for the love of our children...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Perils and Pitfalls of Growing Up

I wrote a blog not too long ago about having Peter Pan in our house. Claire has repeatedly told me how she doesn't want to grow up. I love that about her. She has a mature take on life at such a young age. In my Peter Pan blog I talked about how I spent my childhood wishing I was grown up ~ the polar opposite of Claire. Now Claire and I are on the same page. I have no desire to grow up or act my age most of the time.

It's a perilous journey to grow up. There are pitfalls to avoid and I plan to avoid them by not growing up. I am not sure it's exactly healthy but right now I'll go with it. Zach spends a lot of time in eye roll mode. I do something just a little off the wall or goofy and I get the eye roll. The other day "Where the Boat Leaves From" by the Zac Brown Band came on the a radio and I started dancing ~ eliciting the eye roll from Zach. He went on to say "YOU are not my mother! You are far too weird to be my mother!" Zach's eye rolls are comical and they are good natured so I really don't bother too much about them from him.

I am OK with eye rolls from my kids. Where I am starting to get a little concerned is when I am shopping. My girlfirends and I are spending the week at the beach and I decided I needed a new bathing suit. Off we go to the nearest surf shop to look for the perfect suit. The staff at the shop was helpful and friendly but they led me to, what I consider, old lady suits. I am SO not used to "old lady" swim wear and was moritified when I was trying them on. I like to think of myself as just a little sassy in my clothing choices but yesterday was an eye opener. I ended up leaving the store without purchasing a thing and feeling a little deflated in the ego. Is this where I really am...looking at old lady swimwear? And is this where I really am supposed to be?

I don't want to look like a fool in my clothing choices or in my actions but I certainly don't want to look like or act like an old lady before my time. There are perils and pitfalls in growing up and there are perils and pitfalls in not growing up. There are choices to make to avoid the pitfalls of growing up. So, I think I'll choose to stay where I am comfortable...there is plenty of time to be grown up later.

I want all of my kiddos to learn to that it's OK to not be grown up all of the time and not to rush into being grown up. I am responsible and grown up when I have to be but I can let loose with the best of them when it's the time is right. That is what I want my kids to learn...the perils and pitfalls of growing up...or not. It's their choice.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Lazy Days of Summer

I am not sure there is such a thing anymore. The saying has lost its meaning, at least for me. I would love to recapture the spirit of the lazy days of summer. I remember reading "The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisters" when I was a younger mama. I remember thinking these ladies were crazy to sit around on the banks of a river, drinking all day long. The kids ran around playing in the water while their mamas got smashed. I remember thinking there is NO way I could do that. Now, I'm not so sure I couldn't...except for the drinking all day part. I could definitely sit around all day on the banks of a river while my kids splashed about in the water.

When I was a kid I spent my days walking to and from the pool while my mom did whatever she did all day long. I didn't see my mother for hours at a time. I was too busy playing with my friends to bother my mom all day...at least that's the way I remember it.

I remember my lazy days of summer. They are a fond memory for me. My mother may remember those days much differently. She may remember a little girl who was always asking for a ride to or from some activity. Or she may remember a little girl who always pleaded boredom when there was more than plenty to do. I just remember freedom from structure, days spent by the pool and more adventures than I could possibly imagine.

Now, I spend my summer days shuttling kids from activity to activity. The lazy days of summer are lazy no more. The kids have activities planned with their friends. They want to go to a movie, the mall, an amusement park. I seem to always know where my kids are. They aren't gone for hours at a time. They are underfoot asking for rides and telling me how bored they are. What I wouldn't do for a few lazy days of summer.

But my kids will remember this time differently, I am sure, just as my mom probably remembers my "lazy days of summer" much differently than I do. But that's alright. I think, and hope, they will have fond memories of their own version of the lazy days of summer.

Oh, for the love of my children...