Looking For An Excuse

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Well I am a mess of emotions these days.

Last night my 13 year old daughter asked me how long before I leave for flight attendant training. I said three weeks. She then went up to her room, and came back down a minute later to tell me it was actually 18 days. The child loves to prove me wrong, but that is not what this is about. Hearing someone put the time into days rather than weeks made me so nervous! I got this pit in my stomach and my hands began to sweat. I had a little red wine and that went away…. .but still.

I haven’t had a lot of opportunities in life to experience this kind of terror/excitement at the same time. Closest I’ve gotten to it in the past twenty years is at Disneyworld at the top of a roller coaster, waiting for that thing to plummet down. I LOVE roller coasters, even though I usually close my eyes and scream at the top of my lungs the ENTIRE time! Hopefully I don’t revert to that comforting method during training.

I find it a confusing feeling because one has to decipher – which is it? Fear or excitement? In my case it is both. Unfortunately I am the kind of person who is always wondering what my feelings mean. Is my fear a sign I shouldn’t go? Is my excitement a sign I should? Sometimes I have to tell myself to be quiet and leave me alone.

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Everything is falling into place for me to leave, and that is really throwing me for a loop. The children will be cared for, I passed my online exam I had to take, I have memorized half of the airport codes I have to memorize by the first day. I have no more excuses. Maybe this is really an okay thing to do?

I was inspired this morning by a blog I follow…. Live, Dream, Inspire. You really spoke to me this morning, Lili! Thank you. 🙂 http://lilisr.com/2016/02/19/5-ways-to-be-happy/

Thanks for listening this morning. Some of you have been cheerleaders during my time of changes. Thank you! I’ll be bringing you with me in spirit as I study today and start my new career soon. (18 days to be exact. 😉 )

 

 

 

 

Cherish The Mess

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That little note says, “James’ and Luke’s room. Where toys are family. Where toys are alive.” 🙂

I have been in a couple scary car accidents, I’ve been through horrifying haunted houses, (like twice when I was very young – I’m not a big fan), I’ve had health scares, painful childbirth, I’ve watched my marriage crumble a couple times……but nothing, nothing frightens me like “spring” cleaning the children’s rooms.

I know it’s not technically spring, but for whatever reason the bug hit me today and I am in freak out cleaning mode. The children are thrilled to have the day off of school, but not so thrilled to be going through their mounds of junk. I’m not even joking when I say frightening. Most days when I walk in, I walk right back out feeling defeated, and a bit afraid I’ll see a mouse and have to deal with it. They save, (ie..horde), everything! I’m not sure if they are sweet and sentimental or just too lazy to find a garbage can.

After filling several garbage bags to donate and several more actually full of garbage, I was exhausted. Like, physically worn out. I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s normal? I was already imagining the sympathy I’d be requiring of my husband when he gets home, (simple dinner, no sex) but knew it would be one of those times where when I say why I am exhausted, it sounds so lame. Don’t you hate that? He always tries to sympathize, but I think if I were him I’d think, “Jeez…really? Cleaning bedrooms means leftovers for dinner and right to sleep in bed?” Anyway – I got off track…..

I did feel highly accomplished as I stepped back and admired our efforts in the girls’ room. They could now close the closet door and I had peace of mind knowing there were no creatures living under their beds.

My boys are both old enough to clean on their own. So are the girls, but I helped them more because Charlotte is only six and gets fatigued quickly when any effort beyond what her self centered six year old self feels like doing. (both the boys share a room as do the girls)

After looking with relief at the girls’ room, whose floor was now begging to be vaccumed, I went to the boys’ room prepared to get another rush of, “I am woman, (mommy), hear me roar!” Nope – it was more like, “I am woman, (mommy), see my shoulders slouch in defeat.” Their handsome, angelic faces looked up at me with a genuine look in their eyes, waiting for a compliment on their not so hard work. The photo above shows what I found after they felt they were finished.

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Sigh….they’re so darn cute, and since they made room on their floor, they truly felt the room was clean. Never mind the piles of who knows what shoved in corners and under desks.

My instant feeling of disappointment was replaced with feelings of time flying, and knowing I will miss these messy rooms someday. Not the mess and mystery orders….but the little papers I find with love notes to me or artwork that will change in style as they grow. They save every happy meal toy, every stuffed animal even when they no longer play with them. When I suggest they get rid of them, they look at me like I am crazy, saying, “But mom, each one has meaning.” Then I feel a tad shallow.

I made a couple suggestions to make the room a bit better, collected all the papers and guessed who drew or wrote what and in what year so I could write it on each one. I know I am not the only mom who does that. We do it because we know – we know we will want to remember. I can guarantee I’ll be sitting, sobbing someday as I dig through a keepsake box, longing for the children’s messy, smelly rooms.

 

Paralyzing Choices

Sometimes it’s hard being a woman. (but not in the way Tammy Wynette claimed)

In some ways the world is our oyster, and in others it’s a big, confusing boat full of too many options. Many of us are wives, mothers, working mothers, stay at home moms, home educators, writers, artists, friends, new moms beginning a journey, older moms trying to understand what’s next. I didn’t want to go on and on with a boring list for others to read, but you catch my drift. The choices and opportunities are endless when you start listing them. However, many of us most often feel trapped with only our dreams in our minds and hearts, never to release them. Why is that?

I suppose the simple answer is that life gets in the way. Life gets in the way of living. Ouch – that hurts to say. There is another way to look at it though. Maybe we miss life as we dream it away? I’m a dreamer, so I am in no way insulting dreaming. But where do we draw the line? How do I know when my dreams are taking me away from what really matters, or when they are significant goals that need to be reached?

I may be figuring this out as I write. It’s in the journey. As we begin the journey of reaching a goal or following a dream, hopefully we’ll get to a point when we’ll notice this process is improving my life, or it’s making life more difficult. I am currently going through the process as I make life changes and seek out a career. Every day I wake up and wonder if I’ll miss out on too much if I am no longer home everyday. Then I imagine how I’ll feel if I never give it a try. I’m always torn. Life truly does fly by quickly……my kids will grow and I might miss a moment here and there, but I will also age and will run out of time and opportunities to explore “me.”

The longer I am on this earth, the more I am amazed by strong women. And quite frankly I don’t know many women who are not strong. The woman with a powerful career and no fear to go for everything she wants, the quiet artist making our hearts cry and sing with artwork or her written words, the content mother at home who needs nothing more, and the sad woman who fears everything because of oppression – yet keeps going because she is so very strong.

Women are amazing. My own mother – no books will be written about her, but I know how strong she is. She spent 28 years with an emotionally abusive husband. She stayed until each of her children were grown so we would all be ok financially. She sacrificed 28 years of her life for us. She’s fought cancer, and fights rheumatoid arthritis every day. When she was young, her father told her to just go to work because girls didn’t need college, yet she is one of the most intelligent women I know. You do not want to play Trivial Pursuit or watch Jeopardy with my mother.

If a man is reading this, please do not feel disrespected or unappreciated as a man. I would never bash men….I’m a big fan. I’m a woman, so I understand what women go through, and won’t pretend to understand what goes on in a man’s mind. I guess my point is that as women, and I think especially as mothers, we have so many possibilities due to career choices, motherhood, volunteer work, creative needs, etc.. I don’t know many women who have a simple answer for it. It’s an abundance of choices but yet because of our drive to nurture, we deal with guilt. Our abundance of choices can become paralyzing and instead we feel stuck, with little to no new opportunities. It’s a strange catch 22.

Well, I love being a woman and I don’t see any of this changing. Obviously I have been retrospective lately. Confusion is a permanent state at this stage of life. That’s ok….I’m rolling with it. I’m excited to be exploring new opportunities. And I’m learning to tell guilt to take a hike.

 

 

Ahhh…..The Simple Things

I am currently enjoying a fabulous Italian, red wine. I have been putting off opening it because it is such a lovely bottle….which is silly for many reasons.

I bought it recently when visiting one of my favorite towns, Galena, Illinois. On a whim one dreary Saturday afternoon, I asked my husband if we could load up the kids and just drive.  I have been feeling some winter blues and needed some scenery. My husband thought it was a fabulous idea, which he often does and I love that about him.

After eating at a favorite burger joint with the kids, he took them to a store to entertain them so I could enjoy the atmosphere of a lovely store which is filled with wine and cheese. Heaven, right? If you love wine and cheese you get it. Just seeing those two words together brings some kind of warmth to my soul. I admit, it’s weird.

Even more lovely than the tasting of fine wines that evening, the chatting with the local shop owner as I chose some decadent cheeses, and the glorious time alone feeling all grown up…..was walking out onto the quiet, dark street, carrying my wine and cheese so proudly as if I had just bought fresh food from the market and was heading back to my lovely European home. The air was cool and mild. I could hear my steps because the streets aren’t busy there in January. I had a huge smile although I was alone. And that’s a good thing – enjoying being with oneself. Such a small moment engrained in my mind.

I’ve had plenty of big experiences, fun vacations, and amazing moments in life. Funny how a little moment that would seem insignificant as someone watched, can spark such strong, passionate feelings. Feelings of contentment and satisfaction.

Yes, wine and cheese can do that. 😉

Fairy Fail

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Charlotte with her first missing tooth and her not so perfect mom

 

I fail often. As I ponder the areas of my life that need improvement, I am well aware that one of my greatest failures in life is the act of being the Tooth Fairy. Yes, I suck at it.

The thing is, who came up with the brilliant idea that we should wait until the children are sound asleep, creep into their bedrooms, find the tiny little tooth that is hopefully placed in an easy to reach area, then quietly replace the gross tooth, (I’ve never liked touching the teeth that have left the body)….all while not waking our angelic sleeping child and frightening them as they open their eyes to see mommy or daddy in shock staring at them in the middle of the night, and yes possibly scarring them for life?? Talk about creepy.

I first understood I would never be a charming little tooth fairy about 15 years ago, when my eldest decided to challenge the tradition of being left a boring old dollar. I remember getting a quarter when I was a child. I still only give a dollar. I am probably behind on the whole inflation thing. Anyway….

As it usually goes in my house, I woke up in the middle of the night in a panic, realizing I had forgotten my fairy gig. Also as usual I had no cash laying around. Hmmm…..perhaps I should install debit card machines in their rooms? I went to the trusty canister in the kitchen where we dump change, and I scrounged up four quarters. Cool – I’ve got this. I’m the best mom.

So I drag my groggy self to my daughter’s room, hoping it all goes smoothly so I can get back to bed. I find her gross, little tooth in the little pillow with a pocket….but there’s a note. The note reads, “Dear Tooth Fairy, I do not want money. Please leave me a special little treasure to remember you by.” Perfect. You of course know what I did next – what any wise married woman would do. I woke my husband. I’m not the type to let a man snore away as I solve serious issues all on my own in the middle of the night. Our daughter’s self esteem, sense of self worth, confidence, and the ability to function as a healthy human being, could be depending on it.

Long story short – he wrote a cute little note in tiny writing on a tiny piece of paper, signed, Tooth Fairy. I went digging through a keepsake box and found the tiniest little sea shell. My daughter loved it and has gone on to lead a healthy life, all thanks to that almost traumatic evening.

This little story came to my mind as I desperately yanked a ziplock with my current six year old’s tooth in it, out from under her arm last night in bed. She is the sixth child in our family and the baby. So yes, she settles for a ziplock and doesn’t know cute “tooth” pillows exist. Poor thing – clinging to her ziplock bag. I may have to order a pillow today.

By the time I replaced her tooth with a dollar, I had woken her with my shenanigans. Being the excellent, experienced actress I am as the Tooth Fairy, I pretended I found the bag on the floor. She was very excited to see her ziplock now had a dollar in it, and didn’t question why mommy was peering over her bed in the middle of the night with a strange look in my eyes as I handed her the ziplock and told a white lie. Another child’s self esteem saved by my lies. Just trying to make the world a better place.

The list goes on with my tooth disasters. I have forgotten my middle of the night tooth duty more times than I have remembered it. Usually the next day I just tell them the Tooth Fairy has a drinking problem.

I’m joking! When they aren’t looking I sneak a dollar under their pillow and tell them maybe they should check again. Works like a charm, but not sure how those children will turn out in the end.

The joys of motherhood. I’m just thinking……wouldn’t it be easier to just give them each twenty bucks upfront when the whole tooth falling out process begins?