Quitting Isn’t an Option

I have yet to meet one person that brags about how much easier their life became when they had kids.  Not one person that will openly admit that parenthood is a life surrounded by rainbows and unicorns.  Not one that will deny the fact that at some point they have entertained the idea of throwing up their hands and announcing that they just can’t do it anymore.

We all have those days in which we spend twenty minutes explaining to our tween why she needs to keep her room clean.  Explaining why living in filth really isn’t acceptable.  

Those moments when you have asked them 384 times to pick up their toy room and you just can’t fathom asking them again.

We have endured many tears while struggling over the math homework, and those are just ours.

At some point in the journey known as parenthood, we have all wanted to wave our white flag and surrender.  To walk out the door and leave it all behind.

To quit.

Here’s the thing, we can’t quit.  

Parents that quit before the job is complete is where the assholes come from.

We learn along the way that walking away before a disagreement makes a turn for the worse is so much better than staying and losing your shit.

We learn to quit arguing when they claim that the sky is green, or when they proudly announce that they can count to twenty by saying one, two, free, TWENTY!

Coming to grips with the fact that as long as it isn’t detrimental to their health, living in filth is up to them.  Just don’t come screaming to me when you find you are sleeping with spiders. 

We learn to let them make some of their own decisions, even if I think they are wrong. 

We learn to let go, even if it is just a little bit at a time.

We learn to just cut our losses and WALK. AWAY. from the things that are truly insignificant.

There are always going to be those moments in which we want to pack a bag and our passport and run away to somewhere warm that offers endless sunshine, frozen drinks, and hours of alone time. 

A place where we can be alone with our thoughts and not a worry in the world. 

Where we sit on the beach and enjoy the silence.

To relax without having hands up your shirt, fingers picking your nose, and someone farting on your lap.

While that sounds glorious in the moment, think about all the great things that would be given up.

There would be no more smooches and hugs. 

No more tickle attacks followed by contagious laughter and pleas to “pwease stop” followed by “do it again”.

No more games of tag or hide and seek. 

Gone would be the endless games of Monopoly and the spontaneous dance parties. 

No more sous chefs to help in the kitchen or assistants to streak the windows.

No more birthday parties and unexpected trips to the park.

No more “I wuv youse” and no more “read it again momma.” 

Being a parent is the hardest “job” on the planet.  Just like any other job there are days when it truly is the most rewarding job you’ve ever had that didn’t come with a paycheck.  Then there are those other days in which you are convinced that the only way you can survive is to walk out the door and leave it all behind.

Funny thing about parenting though is that no matter how bad it gets, no matter how badly we want to just walk away, parenting is the one job that you can never quit.

It just isn't.

It just isn’t.

 

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I’m Mediocre and I’m OKAY With That

I’ve been having some issues lately.  Mental ones I suppose, since physically I feel pretty good–except for the terrible case of writer’s ass, but that’s my own fault. Issues I’ve had a hard time diagnosing due to trying to fit ten pounds of shit in a five-pound sack on a daily basis.  

See if this sounds familiar:

Go here, go there, do this, fill this out, write this check, go back over here, answer this phone call, respond to this email, wipe this ass, clean up this vomit, do the laundry, try to remember to pick up your kids wherever you dropped them off, and don’t forget to cook supper. Clean up, wad up fold the laundry, mop the kids and bathe the floors. Make sure it is all done with a smile and that all the fuckthisshits and eye rolls are done behind a locked bathroom door.

I have come to the realization that I can’t continue the act.  I just can’t.  I can’t pretend that I have it all together because I don’t.  I can’t pretend that I have the slightest clue what I’m doing with my kids because quite frankly I’m winging it.  I won’t pretend that life is all rainbows and glitter because there are days when shoveling a barn full of cow shit would be more enjoyable than dealing with the cards that we have been dealt.  I’m here to make a confession today my friends.  I just have to get this off my chest and run with it.

I’m mediocre.

That’s right, I said it.  Mediocre.

Now I don’t want you all to be making comments to smooth the waters and boost my ego, that’s not why I’m telling you this.  I’m telling you this because I want you to know that it’s OKAY to be mediocre.  DO YOU HEAR ME?  IT’S OKAY TO BE MEDIOCRE.

Yes, I’m yelling at you because I want you to hear me.  Say it with me:  IT’S OKAY TO BE MEDIOCRE.

I'm Down With It

I’m Down With It

I don’t mean to settle for being mediocre, we should never settle for being mediocre.  What I do mean that it is OKAY TO BE MEDIOCRE from time to time.

No one is going to run from you screaming if they see you in yoga pants with no makeup on and your hair in a messy bun at the grocery store.

It isn’t going to kill your kids if they eat pizza and ice cream with a soda chaser for supper every once in a while.

You aren’t going to burn in hell for yelling at your kids to PICK UP THEIR SHIT.

The teachers at school aren’t going to think any less of you if you forget that permission slip.  For the third day in a row.

While your tween may be raging pissed at you for not letting her have a Facebook/Pinterest/Instagram account because the rules say you must be 13 and damn it, she’ll have plenty of time to lie about her age when she gets older.  She will get over it.

If you don’t clean the toilets today, you will have a second chance to wipe them with a clorox wipe clean them tomorrow.

Taking the kids out for dinner and a movie is always a great surprise.  Even if by “dinner and a movie”  you really mean running through the drive-thru and the kids eat in the backseat while the DVD player is on.

Having one of those days in which you just want to run away to a tropical island with Johnny Depp while you catch up on some reading while having drinks in your private cabana?  Totally normal.  Maybe not the Johnny Depp part, but you know what I mean.

Getting so tired of stepping on Legos and looking at Barbie’s skinny ass that you just want to throw it all into trash bags and forget about it?  Join the club.

Fighting the urge to send your kids outside to play then locking the door behind them is nothing to be alarmed about.  As long as you don’t actually act on it.  For too long.

Oh, you locked yourself in the bathroom this morning in order to take your morning constitutional alone?  Pooping in peace is an acceptable expectation. Never properly acknowledged-as you could probably tell by the constant knocking on the door-but completely acceptable.

Cereal for dinner?  Fuck it, why not.

They’ve watched two seasons–not episodes–of Phineas and Ferb on Netflix—today? As long as they’ve gotten up to pee and get a snack, don’t sweat it.

Here’s what I want you know.  On those days in which you feel like you are failing as a parent, you aren’t.  

When you see that kid with the perfect lunch, know that their mom probably just went grocery shopping and re-stocked.  They will most likely be eating peanut butter and jelly with a few cracker crumbs and marshmallows by next week.  

Those kids at the park are actually wearing clothes that match? Yesterday must have been laundry day at their house. The day before they were probably wearing their underwear inside out, if they were wearing any at all.

No matter how bad you think it is and how alone you may feel and how much you believe you totally suck as a parent, know that you aren’t alone and you don’t suck.

Know that I’ll be right here, becoming even more comfortable with my mediocrity and I’ve got your back.

 

Thank You

 

To my Kiddos on Mother’s Day,

Thank you for showing me that while I may consider it a weed, to you it is a beautiful flower that you picked just for me.Thank You

Thank you for showing me that it isn’t just a mud pit, it’s a restaurant that only serves the finest of cuisine.

Thank you for showing me that it doesn’t hurt a thing if your pants don’t match your shirt.  As long as you are comfortable, that is all that matters.

Thank you for showing me that sometimes it’s better to spend a Friday night playing a game of baseball in the yard than it is to sit on the couch and watch TV.

Thank you for showing me that some days you just prefer to sit and watch TV all day long.  That you won’t get any dumber because of it, you just need it from time to time, and you are OK with it.

Thank you for showing me that bubble beards are hilarious.

Thank you for showing me that your little hand fits perfectly into mine.

Thank you for showing me that if you just lay and watch the clouds long enough, amazing things can be found.

Thank you for showing me that your pitch doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s the singing a song together that makes it sound just right.

Thank you for showing me that it is okay to fold that laundry later, you have a joke to tell me right. now.

Thank you for showing me that ladybugs still tickle when they climb up your arm.

Thank you for showing me that cookies for breakfast are awesome.

Thank you for showing me that laughter is indeed contagious.

Thank you for showing me that some days you just have to stop whatever it is you are doing and go to the park.

Thank you for showing me that no matter how badly I have to pee, those snuggles on the couch are much more important.

Thank you for showing me that a drawer full of crayon drawings is worth more than a drawer full of precious jewels.

Thank you for showing me that ‘mommy I wuv you, can I have just one more hug’ is the best thing I could ever hear.

Thank you for showing me that true love can always be found in the eyes of your children.

Thank you for showing me the true meaning of unconditional love.

Thank you for giving me a purpose.

Thank you for giving my life meaning.

Thank you for making me a mother.

Thank you for being my children.

 

 

I Forget

Mom, you forgot the cheese on my sandwich!

Mom, why didn’t you pack my water bottle?

Mom, I needed that permission slip today and you didn’t send it.

Mom, you promised you’d do laundry today so my shorts would be clean.

I’m not perfect.  I’m not organized.  In all honesty, I’m barely staying afloat.  I forget cheese and I forget to send snacks.  I forget who has practice on Monday and who has it on Thursday.

Things like water bottles and buying birthday gifts for that party on Saturday (that we just got the invite to on Thursday) often slip under my radar.  Permission slips get lost in the sea of papers that come home from school every Friday.  Laundry?  I’ll get around to it when all the uniforms are dirty and underwear needs to be recycled.

Your heart sinks when the kiddos remind you of something you have forgotten.  You kick yourself every time you get that email from a teacher asking if you signed that math test or if you saw that permission slip.  Your blood boils a bit when you are making that late night run to the grocery store because you completely missed that you have snack duty the next day.

You tell yourself that one of these days you will get your shit together.  You buy calendars and you make message boards.  You download the right apps for your smart phone.  This is the week you say I won’t forget anymore.

But you do.

You still forget.

After a few days you forget to use the message boards that you hung in your kitchen.  You forget you even have the apps on your phone and tablet.  You find yourself still forgetting the little things.

The little things that seem huge in the moment, but once you move on you realize that those small moments aren’t the things that really matter.

You start to think about all the things that you don’t forget. Things like:

Birthdays and concerts.

Ball games and spelling bees and art shows.

Those three really long nights in the hospital with a cranky baby.

Who likes green beans and who prefers corn.

When each baby took their first steps and uttered their first words.

Broken legs and the number of stitches on their chins.

The look of excitement in their eyes as they experienced their first fireworks display.

The time they painted the basement.  With poo.

The pride in their eyes when they told you that they aced that big test.

The overwhelming joy you felt when you watched them earn that first purple ribbon at the county fair.

The tears you cried as you listened to them sing at their first (and second, and third, and fourth…) school program because you realized that the time is passing way too fast.

All the hugs and kisses and the millionth time you heard “I love you, Mom”.

The snuggles when they are sick and the times they streaked naked across the yard.

The time you healed that broken heart with some hugs and maybe a little bit of retail therapy.

So while I forget the little things from time to time, I now realize that I am remembering what is really important.

And I wouldn’t trade those moments for a slice of sandwich cheese.

 

You Know it Happens at Your House Too: I Forget

 

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Make the Change, BE the Change

Retard (noun):  a contemptuous term used to refer to a person who cognitively impaired, or a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way

At some point in our lives, we have all said it.  We may have been young and dumb, maybe we were at a party with friends, maybe it was yesterday and it just came out in casual conversation.

Instead of saying something along the lines of ‘that is so DUMB’.  We said it.

When our friend did something incredibly stupid.  We said it.

Maybe we saw someone in a public venue that was acting out of sorts and our first reaction was to say that they must be it.

Like many words throughout history (the N-word, the B-word) this word has morphed.  It has changed in meaning from a common term used by many without offense, to a word that is no longer considered socially acceptable.  Yet for some reason, it is still widely used.

It’s time to make a change in the way we talk about others.

This is Cody.

YKIHAYHT: Take the Pledge, Show Respect

At first glance you probably see a boy in a wheelchair. A boy who can’t do many things for himself. A boy who some would say is retarded.

I see a boy who has endured more in his seventeen years of life than I have in my thirty-eight. He has a steel rod in his back and he takes a pharmacy worth of medications every single day just to make his body work.  A boy with the strength of Hercules and a heart of pure gold.

A boy who loves going to the pool in the summer and for strolls around the neighborhood to feel the sunshine on his face.

A boy who loves to watch Spongebob or the Minions in Despicable Me as he receives his life-saving infusions once a month.

A teenager who can eat you under the table if it involves pizza, hot dogs, or cheeze-its.

A boy who knows how to get your attention by giving you a pinch on the arm and will certainly laugh at you when a scream comes out of your mouth.

I see a boy whose laugh is contagious and loves being the center of attention.

I see a boy that is caring, funny, intelligent, and strong.

I see love and a smile that can light up a room.

I see my nephew.

Meet Kathryn and her brother Evan.

Siblings that love to talk to Katherine’s guinea pigs named Leo and Georgie.  Evan loves to feed Georgie carrots and it bothers him that Leo likes to climb up the walls of the cage.

Siblings that love to listen and dance to Dynamite by Taio Cruz and Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 together.

Siblings that love to perfect the art of the selfie with a little help from the PhotoBooth app on Katherine’s Macbook.

Siblings that love to laugh together.  Play together.  Love together.

You see Katherine wanted to do something important. She wanted to make a difference.  She wanted to initiate change in her community.  She wanted to step up and show her classmates that when they use the r-word in conversation, it hurts.  It hurts not only her, but it hurts Evan and it hurts their entire family.  Take two minutes and thirty seconds to watch her video.  Please. I’ll wait:

Today I ask you to take the pledge.  It only takes a few seconds to visit R-Word.org and sign your name.  Promise to make that conscience effort to show respect to everyone and stop using the r-word.  Then share.  Share it on Facebook.  Share it on Twitter.  Share it with everyone that you know.  Change your cover photo.  Place a badge on your site.  MAKE THE PLEDGE.

The only way to make the change, is to BE the change.  I did it and I hope you will join me.

Take the time and make the pledge.

Take the time and make the pledge.

A huge thank you to Katherine for being a shining light.  Your future is bright my friend.  xoxo

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Parenting is…

Last night I read this post on Slate.  Then I laid in bed thinking about it, foregoing sleep and wondering if  I was responsible for someone’s life choice of  never having kids.  Maybe even one of you, who knows.   A redonkulous thought, I know.  One with absolutely no proof to back it up, yet if I had read the post correctly (which after a glass of wine it was possible to misconstrue a few things) it was plausible to believe that I could be responsible for someone’s life-changing decision to refrain from procreating.  Oh boy <cue mom guilt>.

I wanted to use my space here to tell Ms. Graham that while I understand where she is coming from, I think she is missing something very important.  Parenting is so much more than what you read in a few blog posts full of inappropriate parenting humor and foul language.  Something that you can’t fathom just from reading the words from a few exhausted parents just trying to survive with a sense of humor and a small space on the interwebz.

Parenting Is So Many Things

Motherhood  Fatherhood  Parenting is:

Sleepless nights.

Smelling the vomit before you even enter the bedroom at two o’clock in the morning.

Stepping on Legos and being impaled by Polly Pockets as you venture to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Asking them five hundred times to pick up their dirty socks.

Wiping asses and sucking snot.

Digging an entire roll of toilet paper out of a poop-filled toilet.

Foot stomping, eye-rolling, door-slamming.

A filthy house.

Finding a years supply of Goldfish crackers and Cheerios in your couches and in your car.

Reminders at ten o’clock at night that they need two dozen cupcakes to take to school….tomorrow.

Rarely having a moment to use the crapper by yourself.

A shit filled diaper that overflows onto your white pants.

Trips to the emergency room for stitches, broken limbs, or worse….

Expensive. Painful.  Heartbreaking.

Parenting is not glamorous.  Not even remotely.  Anyone that disagrees with that is full of shit.  It’s frustrating  and anger-inducing. It is stressful and terrible and some days you just want to quit.

But you don’t.

You don’t quit because despite all the shit (pun totally intended), parenting is also:

Morning snuggles on the couch breathing in their delicious aromas.

Seeing them come back up the sidewalk for just one more hug before they head off to school.

Toothless smiles.

Baseball games in the front yard.

That first giggle and the first time you hear ‘mama’ or ‘dada’.

The endless string of I love yous as you tuck them into bed.

A note of thanks on your pillow when you go to bed.

Celebrating victories and comforting broken hearts after a defeat.

The joy in their eyes as they blow out their birthday candles.

The giggles as they tiptoe up behind you in an effort to scare the bejeezus out of you.

The screams of delight on Christmas morning, or the excitement over four shiny quarters under their pillow.

That moment in which they voluntarily help you fold the laundry or pick up their toys.

The clean bill of health from the doctor.

Dance parties in the living room on a snowy day.

Seeing your daughter watch you in the mirror and tell you how beautiful you are and how much she loves you.

Watching a movie with your son and he reaches over and holds your hand.

Valentines found taped to your bedroom door.

Crazy and chaotic and hilarious.

Parenting is love.

A love so deep it hurts.

A love you don’t want to miss out on.

 

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Are We Going to Be Okay?

Parenting is the hardest job we will ever have.  We’ve been told that time and time again.  None of us are perfect, and those that pretend to be are full of shit.  We all screw up, we all make mistakes, we all pray that we haven’t fucked something up so badly that it can never be repaired.  We all have those days in which we just want to throw up our hands and scream to the heavens “I QUIT!!!”.  

How do we handle this difficult journey of parenthood without completely losing our minds?  We reach out to friends.  We ask them for a kind ear and for some sort of guidance.  All else fails, we hope that they bring over a big ass bottle that we can finish off together.  Sometimes our friends don’t live close enough to share a bottle with, but knowing that a kind ear is awaiting you on the other end of the line (or in this case on the other side of your computer) is just what we need to keep moving on.  To keep fighting.  To reassure ourselves that we are surviving this parenting gig and that it will all turn out OK.

When a very dear friend sent me this story, I knew I needed to share it because she needs to know that she isn’t alone.  That we all have lost our shit at one point (or more) on this journey.  That she isn’t a terrible monster of a mother.  That she will be OK.  She gave me permission to share it here with the hopes that she will be offered support and love.  That she may be offered suggestions that will help her during this hard time.  That we can help build her up, not tear her down.  

Please read her story, and feel free to leave encouraging comments below.  Thank you all for your support and for being a part of this amazing village.

Yes you will!

Yes you will!

I am at a loss. I don’t know what has happened. I don’t know where I went wrong. I’ve tried to be an involved parent. I’ve tried to be a loving parent. I have been stern when I needed to be. I have given things that weren’t needed, but were wanted….when I felt that rewards were warranted.

I felt blessed with wonderful children. I felt loved. It all felt right. Then, things changed.

My son became a teenager and within a few months, I no longer recognized my child. What happened? I’ve gone nowhere. I’ve changed nothing. And yet, one night, after encouraging him to change his clothes because he was going to the movies with friends, I was treated to the most unbelievable behavior that I have ever seen from him. An explosion of anger that I would dare tell him what to wear. And it escalated to the point to me finally saying, “wear whatever you want. I don’t care. I was just trying to help. See if I give a shit anymore.”, leaving his room and taking a seat in the living room.

The next thing that happened forever changed me.

My son walked into the living room, with a large knife in his hand and said, “you know what, since you don’t give a shit, I will just slit my throat right here and you won’t ever have to worry about me again.” How did it go from me encouraging him to change clothes to him threatening suicide? He then turned around and went into his room. I was so terrified that I was unable to move….for 30 seconds. And then I jumped up, ran into his room, took the knife from his hand and we both sat down in the floor and cried.

I cried because I was terrified and relieved and confused and angry and everythingallatonce. He cried because he knew he upset me and that he was just so mad, he knew that was the best way to get my attention. He knew that I had a dear friend whose 13 year old son had shot himself in the head (details as to what/why and how are few and far between because it was a good kid, he was alone in the room and no one knows what happened) and how that had a profound effect on me, watching my friend go through that. My son knew of my reaction to that news, so he had a pretty good idea of how I would react to his threat.

We talked about suicide and how it was not something that you threaten people with. We talked about did he really feel like doing that? The answer was no, but that he just wanted to get my attention.

We talked about how so many kids just “wanted to get someone’s attention” with that and that the consequences were that they were dead and may not have really meant to be, but that they were. And that they left behind people with so many questions and such confusion as to what happened. I played out a scenario for him. He wanted my attention after arguing. He threatens to slit his own throat. He attempts it. He succeeds. I couldn’t save him. He dies in my arms. I am crying uncontrollably. His sister walks in the room to find me covered in his blood, him lying in my arms. And all I could do was cry that we just fussed over him having to change clothes. I didn’t know this would happen. That is how that scene would have played out. And I would never have been able to get over that I caused my son to do this, simply by having an argument with him…an argument, this time, over clothes. We talked about how nothing….NOTHING….is worth suicide. Especially not getting into argument over clothes.

We talked about how things, when we are teenagers, seem SO MUCH BIGGER than they actually are and that when you have feelings like it would be better to end it all, you need to talk to someone. He told me that he just sees so much on tv, about teenagers committing suicide over bullying and that suicide for teenagers just seems to be everywhere and that when he or his friends get upset that is what a lot of them think of first, because they hear of so many kids doing that. I couldn’t believe that this was something that he and his friends talk about, but dang if I wasn’t glad that he was sharing that with me.

We got past that point, but not without me worrying about every little fuss we had, whether or not he was thinking of suicide. I’m telling you, when your kid threatens something like that, it stays with you, permanently.

Then right around Thanksgiving, he had approached his dad and I about allowing him to have his cell phone past 9:00 PM. He pleaded his case. He felt that he should be able to keep it all night, as he was now a teenager and was responsible. We listened. After discussing it, we told him that we would extend it by one hour, but that wasn’t good enough for him. And instead of accepting what we offered, it turned into another huge argument. There was never any yelling or screaming during the negotiation of his phone, but it wasn’t going his way and he had such a defiant attitude and refused to listen to our reasoning, because it wasn’t what he wanted to hear and so it kept going on to where he looked at his dad and said, “I don’t know how you put up with that crazy, fucking bitch.” Now, let me tell you….my son has never seen me be a crazy, fucking bitch before and neither has my husband, really….until that night. I come up off my chair and got up in his face, pointing my finger and spitting while trying to coherently scream at him and I lost control.

The smirk on his face caused me to lose it and I slapped him.

And then I couldn’t stop hitting him.

Until my husband had to literally pick me up and pull me away. I have never, ever had that happen to me before, but I knew that it was there inside of me, because it was how my father was with me and I have worked so fucking hard to not be him and in a matter of seconds, I turned into him. Only it wasn’t my father…it was me. And I was devastated, because I just gave my children a memory of me, that I never wanted them to have. Ever.

My son ran into his room, I ran outside, my daughter was crying, my husband didn’t know who to go to first.

I did this to all of them.

I did.

What the hell happened? Now, I know there will be some people who say that I was 100% in the wrong. I accept that. I make no excuses for what I did. I am the adult. I should have had more control of myself. Then there are some people who will say that he deserved it because he never should have said that. Do you know what my kid said when I went into his room to apologize profusely, after calming way down, yet still crying? “Mom, I deserved that. It wasn’t your fault. Please don’t cry. You weren’t wrong. I hit you first, but in a different way.” Then I cried even harder, because, yes, he hit first, verbally, but I still had no right to that reaction. No right. And here we are, two months later…well, almost….and we still fuss and I still feel like I have no idea where my sweet, young, loving boy went.

I wonder will I ever get him back.

I wonder how much damage I have done from that one night.

I wonder how I got here with him.

I see news reports about a local 17-year-old boy, killing his dad and sister, because he felt like he was abused and although, I don’t know the background of that story, I wonder, Oh god….could that happen to me? Every parent thinks that they are doing a good job raising their kids. No parent thinks that they are raising one that does stuff like that. And yet, they did. And I wonder is that a possibility with mine? Or is it all just hormones and normal teenage angst?

Are we going to be okay?

And I pray that we are.

 

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One Little Toy

She opened all her gifts with a smile upon her face. She was truly grateful and excited to wear the new clothes, and try on the new boots. To model the new earrings and slip into those new jammies. The pile at her feet consisted of most of the items on her list, yet I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was disappointed.

Why on earth would a child be disappointed on Christmas?  What did I do wrong?

Oh. My. God. It hit me like a ton of bricks and took the air from my lungs.

No toys. Not one. single. toy. Nothing for her to play with that came bearing her name.

Who doesn’t buy their child a toy for Christmas?

As I looked at her face, the one that appears to be older than its actual age, I held back the tears as I realized that I am the one that failed to buy their child a toy for Christmas. I am the one that forgot that my oldest child is still exactly that. A child.

In my defense, her list was limited.  In my defense, she didn’t express too much interest in toys.  In my defense…..nope.  Not this time. No excuses.

I dropped the ball.  Screwed the proverbial pooch.  I failed.

While I often look at her and see a girl who wants the responsibility of an adult, I forgot that she’s still a little girl.  A child.

While she struggles with asking to do “grown up” things, she still enjoys playing with Barbies and assembling Legos.

While I struggle with her asking to do “grown up” things, I forgot that she still enjoys playing with Barbies and assembling Legos.

I frequently catch myself wondering when these kids are going to grow up a bit.  Wishing they would stop acting so childish.  Hoping for a little bit of maturity.

What in the hell am I doing that for?

The time is coming, sooner rather than later, for grown-up behavior.  Before long there will be dances and dates, tears over a broken heart and requests for gas money.  There will be jobs (oh yes, there will be jobs) and there will be bills and there will be adult responsibilities.  There will be too many activities and not enough hours in a day.

Who looks forward to that?

Now is the time to bathe in their innocence.

To drink from their fountain of youth.

To live vicariously through their young eyes.

To savor the carefree lifestyle of being a child.

To play with all the toys.

To truly LIVE.

Because we all know that being a grown-up is severely overrated.

You Know it Happens at Your House Too: One Little Toy

 

 

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A Christmas Wish

This year I had to beg my kids to make lists.  Yes, BEG.

Please write down your Christmas wishes.

Did you make your lists yet?

I’m going shopping tomorrow, MAKE A LIST OR YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU CAN’T THROW A FIT!

They made the lists.

I watched them around the table, discussing their wants.  The older ones helping the younger ones with proper spelling and maybe dropping a few hints along the way.  I watched them write, then erase, then write some more.  I saw the excitement in their eyes at the possibility of finding their dreams  under the tree on Christmas morning.  I smiled as I listened to them discussing between the five of them what they hoped to find waiting for them on what will most likely be a very early morning.

As they handed me their lists and walked away I couldn’t help but giggle a bit as I read their requests for new socks, water bottles, Santa hats and one rubber boot.  They had a few bigger ticket items on there, don’t worry about that, but for some reason their requests for the simple things brought a smile to my face.  Knowing that they didn’t require all the hottest toys to make their Christmas complete brought a wave of relief to my heart (and my bank account).

As their attention turned more toward what we were going to be wrapping up for others this year, I took a moment to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.  To see their true concern for what was to be wrapped up for others this year, to read their meticulously made list of teacher gifts, to know that they are finally thinking about others instead of just themselves.

I couldn’t help but ask myself a few questions (because I’m the only one that listens to me and answers questions when they are asked):  Are we actually making progress?  Are we going to succeed at raising caring, loving, fully functioning adults?  Did I fall asleep standing the kitchen and this is a dream?

All my questions were answered as I watched the Boy place the final touches on this card:

Merry Christmas

I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

It was at this very moment that I realized that we truly are on the right path. That we are doing something right.  While I am certain that the path ahead will still have curves, bumps, and detours along the way at least I know that somewhere and somehow we made the right turn and the final destination looks incredible.

A Christmas wish granted indeed.

 

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She Is Someone’s Child

We have all done it.  We have all watched someone who is “different” from us.  Maybe it was that boy in the wheelchair.  Maybe it was the girl who kept her eyes to the floor and spoke only to herself.  Maybe it was that woman sitting in the doorway with only a blanket and a thin coat.  Maybe it is that family that is struggling to just get by at that exact moment. Maybe it is that child throwing a fit in the grocery store.

You think you are doing no harm.  That your stares, your whispers,  and your finger points go unnoticed.  That they are harmless.  What you don’t realize is that someone sees you. Someone feels those stares and hears those whispers. 

Today I am honored to share with you a post from my dear friend Jessica from Four Plus an Angel.  Jessica has felt those stabs, and wrote this beautiful piece to remind us that those stares, those whispers, and those finger-points are painful and that they make more of an impact than you realize.  

You Know it Happens at Your House Too: Someone's Child

Her hair is coarse and thick, dark brown and wavy.

My own is thin and fine, blonde with roots I’m trying to hide.

She has never worn a drop of makeup and is broad-shouldered.

I spackle my dark circles daily and am sometimes told I could be knocked over by a gust of wind.

I am her mom, but you didn’t notice.

I was in her classroom when you didn’t ask her to play.

I was in front of her a bit when you whispered to your friend to look at her as she stomped her feet.

I was behind her two steps when you looked back because you hadn’t stared enough.

I was far enough away that you didn’t realize we were together when you ran over to your co-worker to gossip about her staring and turning in circles.

She doesn’t know you said a word or did a thing, not a single one of you. In fact, she probably doesn’t see a difference between any of you and herself. If she did it might be the color of your shirt and she would tell you she liked it.

And I hope you would be embarrassed if she did. I hope her kindness and complete naiveté makes you feel ashamed of your stares and your words and your eye rolls.

We have done this for 18 years. For 18 years I have been next to, in front of, behind, deflecting ignorance with a silent evil eye that I hope gives off my intolerance for your behavior.

She may have never noticed but I always have. It may have bounced off of her but it has seeped into me.

At some point you decided that it doesn’t matter, that your right to stare or make a comment was more important than her right to be herself.

But you could not be more wrong. It does matter and the ripple of your actions hits mothers like me every single day.

She is someone’s child. She is mine. You might have thought no one was looking but someone was.

I haven’t missed a thing, but I wish I had.

Jessica Watson is mom to five, four in her arms and one in her heart. In addition to being a writer, she is a professional juggler of children, coffee and sanity. You can find her blogging at Four Plus an Angel, on FacebookTwitter and always on Pinterest.