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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The Lone Ranger; A YKIHAYHT Review

Today is DVD release day, so I figured why not remind you as to why you need to buy this movie.  It will make a GREAT stocking stuffer (or early Christmas gift <hint, hint Farmer Bob>)

Editor’s (who also happens to be the author) note:  FYI: I’m not a professional movie critic, but I AM a professional opinion giver.

This may come as a big surprise to my long-time readers, but  I saw The Lone Ranger this weekend. Twice.  Oh yes I did.  I wasn’t going to write about it because if you peruse these interwebs you can Google that shit and find a review by every Tom, Dick, and Harry that experience actually write that kind of drivel for a living.  I broke down for the sake of “research” and did just that last night and I gotta tell ya, I was bored to tears.  BORED.  Stab my eyes out with an ice pick bored.  Movie reviews are snooze-fests.  So technical and usually the complete opposite of what I think, so it was then I decided why the hell not write something?  Surely I can come up with something a little more exciting than the crap reviews I read.  I can’t promise anything spectacular or even grammatically correct, but I can at least promise to try to make it more relatable and less technical.

The Lone Ranger

SEE THIS  MOVIE.  How’s that?  Too short?  Not descriptive enough?  You need more than that?  Read on.

When I go to a movie, I expect to be entertained.  I want to laugh/cry/scream/have my heart go all aflutter.  I want to imagine that I am actually IN the movie.   I don’t go for the complex plots and the outstanding costume design.  I don’t analyze character development or the historical accuracy of the script.  I don’t compare the actor’s performance in this movie to his performances in previous flicks.  It isn’t because I lack the intelligence to process it all, but movies are an escape.  A chance to exit my reality of wiping asses and stepping on Legos and to enter a world that I would never experience outside of a theater.   A couple of hours to forget about the two-hundred loads of laundry and five kids whining for more food awaiting me at home.  Some time to just  sit in a seat with my over-priced drink and the snacks I snuck into the theater in my purse and watch with the expectation of being entertained and the hope that I don’t have to get up to pee halfway through.

As I snuggled down into my comfy reclining seat (just after a good bladder flush), the lights dimmed and I anxiously waited for the previews for movies that don’t even come out until freaking Thanksgiving to end.  I have to be honest, I went into this movie blind.  I didn’t read any reviews, no script synopsis, nada.  I knew that I would have my ass parked in that theater no matter what, so all I had done to prepare was to watch the trailers and of course, as painful as it was <cough, cough>, I caught JD on a few late night shows.  That’s right, I’m playing the stupid card here.   Anywho, I went in blind.  Blind to the plot of the movie that is, I was quite visually aware of what I was going to be watching if you know what I mean <wink, wink>.  (Spoiler alert: Johnny Depp is shirtless through the entire movie)

Here we go, my seven (because remember, I suck at lists) reasons why you need to go see The Lone Ranger:

1.  Johnny Depp:  Duh.

2. The scenery:  When  I say scenery I’m actually not referring to Mr. Depp.  This movie makes me want to pack up all the kids, throw them in the car and travel west.  Yes, I said it.  Pack up all five kids and travel.  In the car.  Driving for hours.  Did I mention with five kids?  That is how beautiful it is.  Crazy beautiful.

3.  Armie Hammer:  He is perfect in his role as the Ranger and his chemistry with Tonto is remarkable.  He is also not too bad on the eyes.  Speaking of eyes, his are delightful.

4.  You will feel a range of emotions: You will laugh, you will feel fear, you will feel anger, your heart will palpitate, you will laugh some more.  It is a great mix, and to quote my friend I Want a Dumpster Baby, you will FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS.  You know, if you don’t have a stick up your ass which prevents you from doing so.

5.  The rest of the cast:  That’s right, there is more to the flick than just the Ranger and Tonto.  It would be a pretty pointless movie without the villains and all the supporting roles. With actors like Tom Wilkinson, Helena Bonham Carter, William Fichtner, and some pretty amazing animals, you really can’t go wrong.  Simply amazing chemistry.

6.  The music: The William Tell Overture.  Movie. Made.  The other music is fantastic as well but let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be The Lone Ranger without that one piece.  It brings a smile to your face,  makes your toes tap, and you heart skips a beat.  If it doesn’t,  you have a lonely, boring  heart that needs more music in it.

7.  Did I mention that Johnny Depp is the star?  I do not hide my admiration for, or my desire to meet, this man.  I am not about to sit here and analyze his role as Tonto.  I’m no expert on these things, nor will I ever pretend to be, I just know what works for me and this role works for me.   Contrary to what many critics say, it’s not Captain Jack, it’s Tonto and in my very un-professional opinion it is very well done.

If you want to be entertained for over two hours and escape the monotony of life, then GO SEE THIS MOVIE.  Will it sweep the Academy Awards?  Probably not, but those movies that do usually aren’t the ones that I like anyway.  If you are looking for a great movie that can run the gamut of emotions, go buy it.  If you like a western complete with a couple of charming heroes and a sense of humor, saddle up and go on the ride baby.     I enjoyed the hell out of this movie and I feel bad for the critics that didn’t.  It must really suck to not be able to sit back and truly enjoy a great movie because you are too busy analyzing every word, every part of the plot, every character, every song, every actor.  Sometimes it is just sitting back in a quiet room and allowing the music, the scenery, and the actors to take you somewhere far away from boogers and Barbies that makes a movie really spectacular.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Just buy it.  You know you want to.

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Regular Guys are Sexy

In old news, Adam Levine has been named the “sexiest man alive” by People Magazine.    Because I have nothing better to do <sarcasm font>, I had a few thoughts and came up with an idea:

1.  I’m hungry.  Maybe that is because while I do find Adam delightful (so don’t you dare  go off sending me hate mail), I feel as if I should offer him a cheeseburger or something to fatten him up a bit.

2.  I really need to go get that new tattoo that I’ve been wanting.

3.  I understand that they have to give other guys a chance, but um HELLO???? WHERE IS JOHNNY DEPP?

4.  What constitutes “sexy”?  Sure Adam is easy on the eyes, but how do we know he isn’t a total prick?  (I’m sure he isn’t, but since I’ve never met him I cannot say for sure either way).  What about Johnny Farmer Bob?  No one showed up here to measure Bob’s level of sexiness.   Does Bob not make the list because he isn’t a guy with millions of adoring fans or have millions of dollars?  I see that Bob is at a massive disadvantage here.

5.  I’m still hurt over the Johnny thing.  I mean come ON.

6.  Who decides these things and why was I not consulted?

7.  WHAT ABOUT BOB?

I say it is time.  Time to show that our regular guys are sexy too.

Damn it, celebrities aren’t the only sexy men.  Our “regular” guys can compete with the likes of Adam, Idris, Jimmy, Luke, and of course Johnny. They CAN fortheloveoftatersandgravy!  After all, we married them/live with them/made babies with them/share a dog with them/haven’t killed them in their sleep to make the snoring stop so we must see something incredibly sexy about them.

While it is common practice to consider one “sexy” just based on what our eyes see <ahem, Johnny>, is that truly what makes them attractive?   Did you choose your husband/boyfriend just based on their looks?  Doubtful.  You chose him for his heart.  For the father you imagined him to be.  For the man you saw in him.  And yes, of course you chose him because his looks made your heart go all a-flutter.

That’s right ladies and gents, I want to see your sexy men.  I don’t just want to SEE them though, I want to know what makes them sexy.  What about him gets you all hot and bothered?  Don’t be shy, this is your chance to show off your man.  Follow closely my friends, there are rules and I need you to follow some directions. There may be a test.  Let’s start with some examples:

From my friend The Underachiever’s Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess:

DG’s husband, also known as the Greek God Adonis is sexy because he is able to laugh along with her daily at the basic, every day events in their family, he’s kind, generous and has a steady base that she can lean on. He comes home and immediately starts entertaining the kids while she gets dinner ready and is right there to help clean up and get the kids ready for baths. When he’s not working, he spends his extra time building Legos , fighting in epic light saber battles, and coaching the boys’ lacrosse team. He doesn’t mind getting up in the middle of the night to be there for the kids, he makes a mean breakfast, and he can fix anything that needs fixin’. He loves to play on his over 40 league lacrosse team called the Rusty Bones where, in each game, he demonstrates exactly why it is called that. He is even sexy when icing knee injuries and other bruises from playing like he’s still in high school. The sexiest thing of all is the way he loves his family with all his might and supports, encourages and cheers on everyone in his life.

DG

Mr. DG appears courtesy of DG

From my incredible friend Craughing:

The sexiest thing about The Fixer is his confidence in being a man. In a world overwhelmed with technology, money and being fake The Fixer shows his heart easily and with confidence. He is not overly concerned with looking tough and has somehow learned the perfect balance of being strong and sensitive. Somewhere along the way in his life, he learned that in order to be a man being open and loving is necessary and masculine. He is not afraid to try new things, admit when he is wrong, or show the world love and compassion. He strives to be a better person every day, and to make those he loves know they are adored. He also has a wicked sense of humor and laughs easily. Overall, his confidence in himself is what makes him the sexiest man I have known, that and he loves me well.

Craughing

The Fixer appears courtesy of Craughing Girl

I Want a Dumpster Baby thinks Dumpster Husband is sexy too, here are her thoughts:

What makes my husband sexy? Simple. He makes me laugh harder than anybody I’ve ever known. That’s the sexiest thing ever. That, and he has a great ass.

DH appears courtesy of IWADB

DH appears courtesy of IWADB

From the beautiful Blissfully Discontented:

Ordering dessert even though I said I didn’t want any, asks for two forks, and turns it toward me for the first bite…at the risk of losing it all to my ravenous sweet tooth.
His ability to laugh at himself…and see the funny in just about anything.  If I didn’t have him to make me laugh I know for a fact I would get sucked into my depressive oblivion as I’m known to do.  Also…he can quote stupid-funny movies like a mofo.  This is what first attracted me to him.  Hand to God.
He doesn’t always get why I need certain things in my life…like my need for sunshine and the shoreline.  But he gets ME.  He knows I operate on a solar-powered battery.  And although having his feet in the sand does absolutely nothing for him he knows the impact it has on me.  He holds my hand and walks countless miles up and down the beach.  He sits with me facing the tide for hours on end.  And he does it with a smile.  Means more to me than any jewelry in a fancy little box could every provide.
Most importantly, he is an excellent dad.  You can see the admiration and love in our kids’ eyes when they look at him.  He is firm but loving.  Silly but focused.  Even when life gets hard and work is overwhelming he puts it all aside and remembers what is important.  Aside from his ability to quote Chevy Chase or Adam Sandler…his ability to connect with kids is what truly attracted me to him.  When we first met we were camp counselors for a summer camp.  The way he interacted with his campers…I knew he was a catch then. I wanted to watch him grow into the man and father I knew he would one day become.  I thank God that he picked me to share this life and these babies with him.
The Gentleman appears courtesy of Bliss Dis

The Gentleman appears courtesy of Bliss Dis

And finally, here is what makes Farmer Bob sexy.  That’s right my friends, you finally get to see Bob.  Here is what makes him even sexier than Johnny:

Being an amazing father is what does it for me.  The way he isn’t afraid to show them his silly side, or his sensitive side, or his angry side.  The way he shows them every single day that he loves them whether it be playing a game of football in the front yard, helping them with homework, or showing them how to put a part on a tractor.  Throw in his never-ending support for me and my goals as a mother and as a woman/writer/person, it’s a wonder we don’t have more kids.  He puts up with me when I’m grumpy, when I’m being redonkulous, and when I’m being over-the-top silly.  He builds my confidence and reminds me that I am beautiful even when I disagree.  He makes me smile when he walks in the room and cheese on a cracker this man deserves a peace prize or something. Thankfully he settles for cookies instead.

Yes, that's really him. <3

Yes, that’s really him. <3

So here is the challenge, think about your man.  Really think.  Write down what makes him so irresistible to you.  What are the qualities that you see in him that maybe he doesn’t see in himself?  What makes him sexy as hell?

Once you have it nailed down (not your husband, your words)  I want to read them and I want to see your man.  Post a picture (keep it clean, the kiddies are watching) along with your words on my Facebook page or share it with me on Instagram (tag me @YKIHAYHT and use #mysexyman). I will give you until December 11 and then  I will assemble all the photos into a Facebook album for all to see and if the response is overwhelmingly positive, we will see where to go from there! <looking for some sponsors for some manly prizes maybe?  HINT, HINT>

Now don’t be shy, let us CELEBRATE our amazing men because the “regular” guys are sexy too!

*Stay tuned ladies and gentlemen, depending on the success (or utter failure) of this experiment you will (hopefully) have your turn to return the favor for your lady in the near future.*

 

 

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.

 

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I had Pumpkin Bars for breakfast. That’s right, I said it. Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting. I figured it has grains and dairy and fruit (pumpkin is a fruit isn’t it?) so why not. Then I thought that it just wasn’t fair to eat it and not share the recipe with you. Because you deserve a healthy breakfast too.

Now before you get all up in my grill about posting a recipe, let me be very clear….I AM NOT A FOOD BLOGGER. I won’t even pretend to be.  My reasons are simple: I only cook because I like to eat and food blogging looks hard.  Too much prep, too many pictures.  I’m way too unorganized for that biz.  Not to mention the fact that when I cook I use technical measurements like “a little bit”, “some”, and “oh shit, I used too much”.  I’m not meant for the food blogging business.

What I do know is that these bars are freaking delicious and I want to share them with you.  I have no fancy pics because I just decided to write this as I was shoving one in my pie-hole this morning.  I suggest you just print the damn recipe and bake some up yourself.  Sharing them is optional.

Wait.  Share the recipe.  I mean sharing the actual bars in all their deliciousness is optional.  However I would suggest you share them if you want to be able to continue to fit into your pants.  Unless you are still in your pajamas like I am.   Elastic is a wonderful thing.

See why I can’t be a food blogger?  Here’s the one picture I took and the damn recipe.  Enjoy.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • A pan full of fluffy pumpkin deliciousness.
Prep Time Cook Time
10 minutes 25 minutes

Ingredients

Servings: Depends on how big you cut them. If you are selfish, it serves 1.

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. I wisk them to get rid of clumps. Make a well and add pumpkin, oil and eggs. Mix until smooth. Spread batter evenly in a greased jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cool and spread with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting.
  2. Throw the butter and cream cheese in a bowl. Beat them together until they are friendly and dump in some powdered sugar. Keep beating, you won't go to jail. Add a little bit of milk to keep it moist (I said moist). Alternate powdered sugar and milk until it's like you like it then cover those pumpkin bars. Don't be shy, use it all up.

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Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

A pan full of fluffy pumpkin deliciousness.

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

 

 

 

I Think I Have a Future With Hallmark #BirthdayFail

When it comes to birthdays, us moms (and you dads too, but since I’m a mom I’m using that term), are often overlooked.   It doesn’t happen on purpose.  It doesn’t happen because no one cares.  It doesn’t happen because we aren’t loved.  It happens because, well because shit happens.

So when Hallmark approached me to talk about Birthday Fails,  I thought that maybe they are just waiting to hire me to write witty, best-selling birthday cards for them.  So I thought why not get ahead of the game and come up with a couple of cards to kind of build up my repertoire.  That way I have a few bargaining chips when it comes time to negotiate a salary.

See if you think Hallmark would be interested in these sentimental cards.

Let’s see, how about this one for those farmers (not Farmer Bob, but other farmers <ahem>) who are out working hard on their spouse’s birthday:

Farmer #BirthdayFail

Farmer #BirthdayFail

We all love choosing where (and what) we eat on our birthday.  Surely you don’t cook on your birthday?  I mean, I usually do (see card above) but I just know that your kids love taking you out to a special dinner:

Dinner #BirthdayFail

Dinner #BirthdayFail

After dinner, you only hope for the perfect gift.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s always the thought that counts (like a free hat from the Co-Op), but it’s the really thoughtful gifts that keep on giving.  All. Year. Long.:

Nice try kids, but laundry is a massive #BirthdayFail

Nice try kids, but laundry is a massive #BirthdayFail

I suppose they could always go for the tattoo to prove their love…um……

Tattoo #BirthdayFail

Tattoo #BirthdayFail

Luckily for you, Hallmark isn’t beating down my door to write cards.  They hire real professionals, like these guys,  to make the perfect cards to take that birthday from a #BirthdayFail, to a #BirthdayWin.

If I were you, I’d stick with them.  They actually know what they are doing. Your mom/wife/husband/kid/dog/cousins-sisters-boyfriends-daughter will thank you.

Hallmark

 

This post has been sponsored by Hallmark, but the words and thoughts are all my own

Do you think I have a chance?  Tweet me (@YKIHAYHT) and Hallmark (@Hallmark) using #BirthdayFail.  Maybe they’ll give me a shot!