Wine and Books, Books and Wine

Summer break is stressful.  It’s stressful for us parents, it’s stressful for the kids, it’s stressful for a certain internal organ that rhymes with sliver.

Never fear my friends, I’m here to help.  I started thinking about what helps me relax and I came up with two options: books and wine, wine and books.  I love them both equally.  They help me imagine that I am having a friend over and we are discussing what makes us laugh, what makes us cry, what drives us crazy, and what drives us to drink.  They really are the two things that are required in order to survive summer break.

Now if I wanted to keep you here forever I would list every single book that I think you should read this summer and tell you exactly why you should read them.  I actually started to do that and realized that I kept writing the same thing over and over again because all of these books are so amazing.  How could they not be when you combine the likes of Peyton Price, Paige Kellerman, Baby Sideburns, Robin O’Bryant, Kim Bongiorno, Abby Has Issues, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Moms Who Drink and Swear, and Leslie Marinelli (and so many other contributors that I can’t even begin to list them all, so you need to just buy the books and read them). All I can tell you is that every single one of these books are a MUST. READ.  You will laugh, you will laugh some more, you will fall in love with all of these writers.  You will, I promise you will.

To make it easier on you, I put all these incredible books into one Amazon store where you can peruse and purchase all the books I think you simply MUST have on your nightstand in order to help you survive the summer.  One stop shopping, who doesn’t love that?

Once you order ALL of these books, you will need some wine to go with them.  Why wine you might ask?  Because duh, wine.

Wine

What if I said you could have wine delivered directly to your door?  If you time it just right you could even have them delivered on the same day.  It’s possible mi amigos and my friend Devan can help you get exactly what tickles your taste buds through Wine Shop at Home.  *throws confetti in celebration*

I have teamed up with Devan to give 3 of you lucky readers the opportunity to not only have wine delivered to your door for free, but you can also have books delivered for free as well!  WHAAAAAAAAT???

That’s right my friends, Devan and I are giving away to TWO of you lucky dogs a $20.00 credit to Devan’s Wine Shop and a $25.00 Amazon Gift card*.  ONE amazingly lucky person will be fortunate enough to win a $50.00 credit to Devan’s Wine Shop and a $50.00 Amazon gift card*.

*I would suggest you use the Amazon cards to order books.  THESE BOOKS

The rules are easy:

    1. You must be of legal drinking age.  Age will be verified upon wine delivery.  Not old enough?  NO WINE FOR YOU.
    2. You must be a resident of the continental US (not because I don’t love you if you don’t live here, but legalities and such)
    3. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.  Like what pages you want, don’t like the pages that you don’t.  The number of entries you earn are up to you.
    4. Enter quickly.  I don’t like to pussyfoot around with these things, this giveaway will end on Monday, April 28th at Midnight CST.
    5. Winners will be notified via e-mail on April 28th and will have 24 hours to respond.  No response means a new winner will be chosen.  No excuses.
    6. Don’t wait for the giveaway to end, ORDER THESE BOOKS TODAY and if you do win you can use the Amazon cards to order more for your friends.
    7. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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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You Might Be a Parent IF…

When we become parents we seem to make an instant transformation.   It is a transformation similar to Superman going into the phone booth;  Average Joe going in, superhero coming out.  Minus the capes and the super powers.  Hold the phone, we do have powers.  Amazing powers that allow us to do amazing things.

You Might  Be a Parent IF...

You might be a parent if….

You can brush your teeth and hold your 3 year olds wiener while he pees.

You can brown up some hamburger, fix someone a drink, and cut up some veggies all with a baby on your hip and a toddler or two flailing on the floor because you aren’t fast enough with the milk.

You can stop mid-bite to go wipe someone’s ass only to come right back and resume business as usual.

You can whip up six dozen cookies at the last-minute when your kid tells you they forgot that they needed to take snacks for the school program….which happens to be tomorrow.

You aren’t afraid to catch vomit in your bare hands.

You can lay down on the couch and still know exactly what your kids are doing. With your eyes closed.

You take your kids out to dinner and you spend more time in the bathroom than you do at your table.

You can answer all their questions with movie quotes.

Big boogers no long scare you.  You will pick it and you will wipe it on your pants and you just won’t give a shit.

You schedule all well child checks months in advance so that you are guaranteed an on-time appointment but you can’t remember to schedule your yearly hoo-ha check.

You can’t remember to take your grocery list when you go shopping but you know exactly where Sally’s red sparkly headband is that she wore three weeks ago.

Laundry.  So much laundry you actually consider turning your home into a nudist colony.

You can play two different board games at the same time while catching up on your Words With Friends matches, and you manage to win them all.

Your most popular phrases are “get your finger out of your butt”, “we don’t eat boogers for lunch”, and “no, I don’t want to smell your fart”.

Your living room decor no longer consists of beer can pyramids and wine bottle trees.  Instead you discover non-commissioned works of art using mediums that you are certain should be removed by men in hazmat suits.

Your bathroom always smells like pee, no matter how often you clean it.

You can change a diaper in the dark and not leave any residue behind. Except for that shitty smell on your hands that can only be removed by amputation.

You can tiptoe through a bedroom at three in the morning and not step on a single Lego, but attempt it in the daylight and you are damning them all to the depths of hell.

You aren’t against taking a glass of wine and your tablet or smart phone or even Goodnight Moon into the bathroom and locking the door, whether you have to poop or not,  just for a few minutes of alone time.

You do laundry because hampers are full, not because you have a shirt that is dirty that you want to wear to the bar tonight.

You can discuss the contents of your child’s vomit over dinner and continue eating as if you are talking about rainbows and unicorns.

You do math homework.  Or at least you try.

You use glitter.

Most of your conversations are centered around poop, farts, burps, butts and boogers.

While we may not be huge fans of some of the things we do now (I for one am not a lover of vomit), we wouldn’t change any of it.  Except maybe the poo on the walls.

 

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You Want to Ban WHAT?

We all have special causes that we support.  Things that we feel so strongly about that we send in money, or we take a pledge vowing to do something.  I took a pledge to never use the r-word and to teach my children to do the same.  I support my friend Drew and his mother and their efforts to support research to find a cure for childhood cancers.  There are hundreds of thousands of causes out there.  Most are very important and deserve more attention than they receive.  Others….not so much.

The newest “cause” sweeping the interwebs is this new effort to ban the b-word.  Nooooo, not bitch.  Bossy.  Yes, I said bossy.  Go ahead and roll your eyes and then come back to me.

According to dictionary.com, bossy is defined as  given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; domineering.  Sounds like my girls (and their friends, and my boys, and every other kid you come across) any day of the week.  

I get it, truly I do.  We need to empower our girls and help them to be confident and assertive.  We want them to be leaders and we want them to be strong.  We want them to succeed and achieve all the goals that they have set for themselves.

#banbossy has pulled out all the stops.  They’ve recruited Beyoncé and Jane Lynch.  Even Condoleeza Rice is on board for this.  All strong, confident, successful women.

Women I’m sure have all been called bossy a time or two and judging by their level of success, I’d be willing to bet the word fits.  You just cannot achieve all that these amazing women have achieved without ordering people about and being overly authoritative.  If you think otherwise, I’ve got three million dollars with your name on it.  All I need is your bank account number and social security number and I’ll deposit it into your account by tomorrow.

Beyoncé said it herself in this promotional video.  ”I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.”   Um….hello pot, kettle calling.   Boss (n): a person who makes decisions, exercises authority, dominates.  

How interesting.  We should not tell our girls that they are bossy (domineering), but instead they are the boss (one who dominates).  I’m no genius here, but something is a little off.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am not a big supporter of this cause.  It’s absolutely redonkadonk, so I thought I would put together a list of things that should be significantly more important than the drive to #banbossy.  (in no specific order)

  • Making sure my children are fed, clothed, and loved.
  • Feeding the homeless
  • Finding a cure for cancer and hundreds of other diseases.
  • Farmer Bob really needs some new work jeans.
  • Educating our kids to be respectful and kind to others.
  • The fact that I shaved my legs yesterday.
  • Atrocities around the world.
  • Will winter ever end?
  • Will my kids have math homework tonight?
  • I need to go grocery shopping.
  • Chin hair
  • Pharrell’s new album
  • Cleaning my toilets
  • Creating jobs
  • Helping those in need
  • Teaching our kids right from wrong
  • What should I cook for dinner tonight?
  • I really should call my mother today
  • Why does oil-pulling sound so gross?
  • How can these little people have so much gas?

The point is, what in the hell are we doing here?  There are so many other solutions to this *cough* problem.  Maybe we should just take a minute as parents and look in the mirror.  Our kids are our responsibility.  It is our job to teach them and to guide them.  We cannot wrap them in bubble wrap and expect them to emerge from their plastic cocoon as functioning adults.  I feel like Susan Powter “STOP the INSANITY!”

When I asked my eleven-year-old her thoughts on this, she looked at me with that look of “are you freaking kidding me?” and informed me that it’s dumb.  Her words, not mine.  She will openly admit that she is bossy and she has no problem with that.  Confidence….she has some.

So instead of trying to ban the word bossy, maybe we should focus more on instilling in our girls (and boys) the self-confidence that they need to succeed in life.  With self-confidence comes the ability to succeed.  It doesn’t matter if someone thinks you are bossy.  I bet Beyoncé would agree with that.

You Want to Ban WHAT?--You Know it Happens at Your House Too

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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.

 

I have one more wish…for you to sign up for email updates.  It would be like Christmas for you all year long.  The free gift that keeps on giving.

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Would Someone PLEASE Talk to Me?

As a work-from-home (mainly via e-mail) parent, I find myself missing something during the day.

A shower? Not a shower, well sometimes a shower.

A clean toilet? You can’t miss something that you never have.

Empty laundry hampers?  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

No, I miss conversation. Spoken words exchanged with another human being.

While I do enjoy my own thought-provoking words, mainly because I’m the only one that doesn’t argue with me,  I need me some verbalization during the day with other persons.  Some good old face-to-face, could you stop looking at the giant zit on my chin and look me in the eyes conversation.

One would think that with five kiddos between the ages of three and eleven, words would be a-plenty around here.  I’m here to tell you that you would be WRONG.

Example #1:  Conversation between a mother and her three-year-old son

What did you do today?

<silence followed by a fart and a giggle>

Did you take an Alaskan cruise?

No.

Did you ride a camel across the desert?

No.

Did you walk across the Great Wall of China?

No.

Did you pick pomegranates by the bucket?

No.

How about an African safari?

No.

Did you chase a herd of buffalo?

No. <farts again>

Did you hike over the Alps?

No.

Sunbathe naked on the beaches of Monte Carlo?

No.

Travel by donkey to Machu Piccu?

No.

Buy a herd of alpacas?

No. <fart>

Trek across Siberia?

No.

Poop?

No.

Climb the Eiffel Tower?

No.

Swim the English Channel?

No.

Shear the sheep?

No. <fart>

Visit the South Pole?

No.

Cure cancer?

No.

Well then what exactly did you do all afternoon with your dad?

We cut the mywo (milo) with the cutter-cutter (aka, the combine).  Duh.

Sonofa…..

Moral of the story?  Three-year-olds are not the best of conversationalists but aren’t afraid to express their gas.

Don't Speak to Me

Example #2:  Conversation between a mother and her nine-year-old son.

Good morning!  What should we do today?

Watch football,then play football on the Wii, then go outside and play football, then come in and watch more football. Football, football, FOOTBALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

<sigh>

Example #3:  Conversation between a mother and her eleven-year-old daughter

How was school today?

FINE. <rolls eyes, stomps off, slams bedroom door>

Good talk.

Moral of the story?  Always keep cold wine in the fridge and your conversations with yourself will become more more entertaining.

I guess I will just be here.  Talking to myself.  The best conversationalist that I know.

 

She. Told.

Tattle (verb):  to utter idly; disclose by gossiping.

Confide (verb): to impart secrets trustfully; discuss private matters or problems

As parents we work really hard to teach our children not to tattle.  We don’t take pleasure in hearing the endless cries of “he hit me” or “she called me stupid”.  The monotony of it all just makes one want to jab an ice pick in their ear.  We try our damnedest to teach them the difference between tattling and confiding in someone your fears.  That telling just to get someone in trouble is not fair, but to confide in someone that you are afraid for someone else’s safety is so very important.

Eventually, after hearing MOOOOOOMMMM for the millionth time in twenty-four hours,  you give up all hope that they will ever learn the difference between the two.  You want to just throw your hands up and walk away.  Fighting a losing battle is just not on the agenda today.  You come to terms with your failure to teach them the difference.

Then the unthinkable happens and you realize that you have actually done something right.  That you might just be on the right path. That they actually were paying attention all this time.

Mom, Monica has been bullying Jennifer all year long.  Today it got really, really bad and Jennifer sent me an email at school and said she was going to go home and kill herself.  I was really scared.

Those are words you never want to hear from your eleven year old.  EVER.

So what did you do?

I told the teacher.

She told.

She told.

I can’t say it enough.   She. Told.

My eyes welled up as I thought about what happened in that one little class at our little school on this day.

Tears of fear as I looked at my daughter and saw the fear in her eyes.  Fear for her friend.  Fear that maybe she would become the next target.  Fear of being labeled as a tattle-tale.  A fear that I never want to see on my child’s face again. Fear of the “what-ifs”.

Tears of sadness as I thought about what the internet is doing to our kids.  Sad that they feel the need to hide behind a computer screen and beat each other down.   Sadness that they care so little for each other’s feelings.  Sadness that it now starts so young.  Sadness that they feel that suicide is the only answer.  The only way to make it stop.

Tears of relief as that wonderful teacher immediately took action.  Relief that no matter the sincerity of the email, it was treated as a very serious issue.  Relief that her friend told her.  Relief that my child was brave enough to tell someone who would take action. Relief that she felt comfortable enough to approach her teacher.  Relief that she. told.

Tears of hope as I realized that she is confident in herself.  Hope that she continues to stand up for what is right.  Hope that she sees that doing good is always better than the opposite.  Hope that she continues to keep her caring heart.  Hope that her friends see in her what I see in her.   Hope that she sees in herself what I see in her.

Tears of pride that she was brave enough to say something.  Pride that she loves her friend enough to look out for her.  Pride that she told not only the teacher, but me as well.  Pride that she did the right thing. Pride that she stood up against the hatred.  Immense pride.  So much pride that my heart swelled to twice its normal size.

While we are fairly certain that suicide was not really on the menu that day, there is no way of knowing for sure what was going through the mind of a middle school student adrift in a sea of hormones and the constant stream of hateful verbal (cyber) attacks.

What I do know is that she. told.

And I’m so thankful she did.

I'm so glad she did

I’m so glad she did