Category Archives: Parenting

It is my ‘lone!

20140710-192152-69712565.jpgNearing completion with my kitchen renovation.  The girls have been very patient with all of the errands it has required for the most part.

However, today they were reaching the end of their rope and to be honest I was, too.  “Emily, just get out of her face, man.  Leave her alone.”

Lucy cries out “Leave me alone!”

Emily says “You leave me alone!” (I will speak with her later about her crappy ass comeback.)

Lucy yells “NO!  It is my lone!!”

In other news, when you are a woman who wears glasses and your kids decide that glasses are an important accessory it makes you feel like deep down underneath it all they must think you’re cool.

Something substantial is coming. Soon.  Soon-ish.

 

 

 

“Pearls are always appropriate,” Jackie O.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of sitting across a table from me and having a drink – this is pretty close to the experience.

You can dress me up but you can’t take me out.

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Summertime

Just checking in…. kitchen renovation is happening.  Painting and finishing is on deck and I am chomping at the bit to get things finished.  My mother asked me today “So, when exactly do you want me to come down and help you get things finished?  This afternoon?” She was only kind of joking.  I am feeling very Veruca Salt about this whole scenario.  I want it all and I want it now.

But it is summertime.  And summertime deserves a certain reverence.  So, instead of painting and figuring out how to make a  perfect mitered corner in the baseboards I need to replace I am eating watermelon and letting my kids eat popsicles at the pool moments before we go home for dinner and staying up too late and running too little and getting excited when Tone Loc is on the radio and occasionally misbehaving.  Because it is Summertime, guys.

But I miss y’all.  So, I am checking in.

Overheard just now from the living room:

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Lucy was terrorizing Emily. Emily yells out “Mom!!! Can you help me? Stick a boob in her face or something?!”

pool breastfeedingShe has a point.  It does tend to chill her out.

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I hope you are all enjoying your Summer.  Tell me, what is keeping you busy?

 

I’m really not very busy.

hot mama tattooIt’s not that I haven’t had anything on my mind. I have tons and tons of things to say. Most of it is not private or scandalous or even very interesting.  I look at the images in my phone and I think “what is THAT a picture of?” and I am reminded that I took it because I didn’t want to forget to tell you something.

I just haven’t gotten around to writing it all down.  And it’s not because I have been busy.

I wanted to tell you about all the things I learned by having a ridiculous temporary tattoo for Mother’s Day.

20140603-130408-47048082.jpgI wanted to explain that we have finally started renovating our kitchen and that my life is upside down and I can’t find anything and that it is so incredibly hard to keep vacuuming the carpet that we are tearing out in a matter of weeks.  Ripping out this shelf paper from my kitchen cabinets is like removing a little tiny piece of 1987 and the sweet old people who used to live here.  It makes me happy that this room that I inhabit a bazillion hours a day will finally feel like mine but all in the same breath I am reminded of this little old couple that owned our house.  There is a ramp to my kitchen door for a wheelchair and I wonder if the older fellow that went up and down that ramp is even still around to enjoy this warm weather and here I am just gleefully ripping out their shelf paper.

I keep seeing weird stuff.  Truly weird stuff, like underpants on the ground that do not belong to my toddler (who by the way is totally wearing underpants now, OMG, don’t talk about it or it will all disappear in a puff of smoke like a dream.) I saw a lighter in the water bottle holder at the gym today, who has a lighter in their pocket at the gym?  I keep seeing things and I want to tell you about them and say something funny.  Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 1.23.23 PM

Other things are happening, too.  In my attempts to run 1000 miles this year I am kicking major ass.  I hit 500 miles before the end of May and I am up 8.87% for the year, not that I am keeping track.  I ran my fastest 5K last weekend after staying up too late and drinking Tuaca with an old friend and it felt really good.  It is still not crazy fast but it is faster than I have done it before.  Measurable results.  That really gets me excited.

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I am not any busier than I usually am. Not really. There are the same 24 hours and the same two small people who need me.  I am not too busy to sit down and tell you about how I think that my Hooters hat is old enough to drink beer now. 20140603-130404-47044077.jpg I stole this hat from my brother in 1993.  My dad won it in a golf tournament and gave it to my brother.  I stole it from him because I love him and that is how you show the feelings to the sibling.  You steal their shit and wear it, right? I wore this hat all the time in the years that I drove a convertible and the inside is so disgustingly sweat-stained but I can’t seem to let it go.

So, if I am not busy why don’t I have the time to write all the mundane nonsense that keeps me feeling grounded?  Even if I subtract the 871 hours I have spent sitting on the floor in the bathroom saying “Close your eyes and pee, baby.  Just close your eyes and pee….” I really should be able to make time.  So, what has changed? I wondered for a few days if maybe I had lost my voice or I had nothing to say or maybe I had such Big Things to say that I wasn’t ready to put the words down yet.  Nope.

I have just been moving slow.  I stopped hurrying.  My house is upside down and it’s ok. There is laundry in my dryer and dishes in my sink and no one is freaking out.  I spent 40 minutes walking to the car today from the gym.  40 minutes.  We walked along the edge of the brick retaining wall and we looked at rocks.  Lucy and I stopped and smelled actual roses and rest assured I snickered.

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There is only one week of school left and homework is over for the year.  We just have to read every day. Yesterday, instead of having Em sit at the kitchen table and read to me while I make dinner and sweep up and double-check the calendar and write a blog posts and check emails I decided to just lie on the floor and listen.  And then we went to the pool and we stayed longer than I had planned and bedtime was late and dinner was a sandwich but it felt so good.

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It’s so easy to want to hurry up and get to the good part.  Sometimes for me “the good part” is this selfish time that I click click click at the keyboard and record the trivial details of my day so that someday when I realize that this was the good part I can look back and remember how it all went down.  Very occasionally I manage to really be present.  I am trying.

A few of you have emailed to say “Hey, how are you? What have you been up to?” and part of me felt like I was supposed to explain that I have been busy.  But I haven’t. In fact, I am actively trying to be less busy.

Try it. I dare you.

 

Split Seconds

Splits.  If you run than you know what they are.  If you don’t, it’s simple.  It’s a unit of measurement (typically a mile) that breaks down a run into smaller parts.  Ran six miles in 54 minutes?  Your average pace would be 9 minutes per mile but your splits might be all over the place.  Mile 1: 10 minutes, Mile 2: 9 1/2 minutes, Mile 3: 8 minutes and twenty seconds and so on.

But there is another kind of split – the split second.   I became a mother in a split second. One second I was in labor and the next second I had a baby in my arms.  One second you have a full bucket of water and the next second you have water all over the floor.

This weekend I was running down the side of the road, towards traffic, like you do. One second I was running and doing math in my head (a quarter of a mile to the light, turn and head towards the house, one mile down hill and I will be at an even eight when I get home)  and the next second I heard the screech of brakes and the smash of bumper on bumper.  I spun around instinctively and my eyes started to well with tears.  Behind me there were two more runners, my running partner and her teenage daughter. We were all okay.

Three runners.  Two teenage drivers, one that hit his brakes abruptly before turning and another that was following too closely.  Five people.  Two drivers. And three runners.    We were all okay.

20140518-201401-72841689.jpgIt has been four months since Meg Menzies was killed by a drunk driver while out for her morning run.  I still think about her every time I cross an intersection, every time I turn to look behind me and every time a driver waves back at me.  I breathe deeply and I know I am safe.  In this split second that I whipped around and counted two more runners I knew we were all safe.

Meg Menzies wasn’t okay.  And I haven’t forgotten.  When I run a long run on a Saturday morning and I zigzag across a few roads here in town I think about her. I am extra careful.  I wave at the drivers and I run towards the traffic.  I wear bright colors.  She was extra careful, too.

Be safe.  And be grateful.  Everything can change in a split second.

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Unsolicited Parenting #2: Virginity

If you happen to listen to Madonna while you do the dishes and your 8-year-old daughter happens to ask you what a virgin is – be careful what you tell her.  Don’t tell her that a virgin is someone who has never done “something” before or else she will loudly announce “I am a virgin!” whenever you enter a store she has never been in or eat a meal she has never had before.

And maybe you’ve already anticipated this – but I was rather taken aback when my sweet 8-year-old daughter shouted “I’m not a virgin anymore!” after she left the store and after she set down her fork.

It’s my recommendation that you go with a more specific explanation of the word “virgin” when your child asks you.  And since I am no longer an “Explaining the word virgin to your sweet daughter” virgin – you should really take my advice.

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Happy Third Anniversary, MQD!

I got lucky.  I met a super boy that became a wonderful man and we got married.  And then I got really lucky and all that worrying I did about being able to get pregnant turned out to be for nothing and we made a honeymoon baby.

So, wedding anniversaries tend to disappear in a mess of kids and baby and soccer practice and mother’s day and my birthday is next week, anyway.

But lately I have been thinking about how important it is to stop and take a breather and honor the marriage that the rest of my life hinges around.  We’ve got a good thing.  So, it seems easy.  But a marriage needs to be fed. Nobody likes a hungry marriage.

Sunday afternoon, after my race, I asked MQD if he wanted to go out and grab a pitcher and some burgers at The Wooden Nickel and call it our Anniversary Dinner.

20140501-085443.jpgAs evidenced by the sippy cup behind the pitcher, we had company.  But she came home from our honeymoon with us, after all.  It didn’t bother me to have her tag along on our Anniversary Dinner.  We laughed and talked and we fed our marriage. 20140501-085456.jpg

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Nobody left hungry. Cheeseburger plus fried egg plus tater tots plus beers equals a happy marriage, FYI.

We’d planned on eating dinner at home last night.  I would pick up cupcakes from Sugarland (they did our wedding cupcakes!) and MQD would grab sushi from a local place and we’d lay low.  And then I got lucky again.  The stars and the soccer and softball schedules aligned and my kids were invited to eat dinner with my nearest and dearest and her family.  With the kids out of the picture I had to amp up the Wedding Anniversary Shenanigans. Quickly.

Wedding Anniversary

Wedding Dress plus Apron equals a sweet surprise.  MQD called to let me know he’d picked up dinner and asked what I was up to.  “Just playing with the kids and waiting for my husband like a pretty princess.”  MQDHe thought I was kidding.

“When are you not just hanging around like a pretty princess?” I had mentioned wearing my wedding dress all day for our anniversary but evidently he didn’t think I would bother. He got out of his car and we met him on the porch as we often do, only I was a wee bit more glam than normal.  I opted to switch up my greeting from my typical still sweaty in gym clothes “Dinner is almost ready, I am taking a shower” and went with a “You have ten minutes to change your clothes, kids are having dinner across the street.  We are going out for a drink, home to eat cupcakes and we can have sushi after the kids go to bed?”

Nonsense

Three years and counting and he still rolls right along with my nonsense.

From our wedding vows (and Tom Robbins’ Still Life with Woodpecker)

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”

 

Thank you, nice lady, for taking our picture in front of Mystery Brewing Company! And double thank you to the nut that asked us if we were going to prom when we ran into the store to grab beers on the way home.

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Divorce is stupid

I hate being divorced.  It’s so stupid.  It’s stupid that all of these years later it is still there.

I love where I am right now.  I love my husband.  I love my life and my children and my home.  I can even confidently say that I love myself.  And none of those things would be without my past.  But I still hate it.

I hate that it makes me cry out of nowhere.  I hate that it makes me feel like all of the things that should feel permanent might just disappear one day.

I hate it more now that we have come all the way out the other side.  Last week when we sat on the beach and exchanged pleasantries, I hated every minute. When I realized that more time had passed since I had seen him than ever before in the last 18 years, I hated it.  When we spoke last week and I said “how was your day?” and he laughed and said “not good” I hated that my heart seized up in my chest because I am so ready for all of his days to be “all good.”  He deserves that much.

I hate that I don’t know where he works exactly or what the inside of his home looks like because I used to know everything, even things I wish I didn’t know.

It was easier when I got to say that I was divorced but that he was still my best friend because he was the person that knew me best. He was the person that had known me the longest.  But the truth is, the last six years have changed us both so much that unless we are talking about “the good old days” (which we both know weren’t really very good at all most days) it is like talking to someone I just met.

If it is possible to stand side by side with someone and feel like it all happened to other people how can you not fear that the now, the present that you love so much could all just go up in smoke?

To recap: I love right now, today.  And I loved yesterday and I am certain that I will love tomorrow.  And in spite of the Fear that creeps up in me sometimes, I refuse to feel Doubt.  I will smile and hold on and be 100% certain that I will love my life decades from now.

10001246_602805879801095_4743717070025521868_oMQD made a wind chime this weekend. We talked about getting rocking chairs for the front porch and I smiled and teared up. I gave him a pair of rocking chairs when we had not been dating very long at all and said something cheesy about how it would be nice to sit and rock in them together one day a very, very long time from now.  That was years ago and that pair of old rocking chairs never made it to our new house.

Even though I am divorced and even though that first pair of old rocking chairs rotted beyond repair –  I still believe.  It won’t be easy.  And we might have more than a few pairs of rocking chairs in our future because it’s true, nothing lasts forever.  But dammit, I won’t let hating my divorce keep me from loving my marriage.  Because that doesn’t make any damn sense at all.

To second chances, spring time, windchimes and rocking chairs.  To divorce and marriage and Love and tears and starting over.  Cheers!

Edited to add: It’s strange that I am grieving now of all times. It was easier when it hurt all of the time. I understood that. This part, the part when it is ancient history is a whole new kind of hurt. J, it was really good to see you.  It made me happy.  And seeing you happy made me happy.  And then it made me sad.  Ugh.  Miss me?  Ha! -K

Inherent Worth & Dignity

Unitarian Universalists promote seven principles.  The first principle is the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  This week I was reminded that my eight year old is a far superior Unitarian Universalist than I may ever be.  Because after she told me what happened to her on the school bus I was really struggling to see the inherent worth and dignity in one particular little girl.

She was crying when she came up to the front door so it took me a short while to get an answer.  “Did something happen at school, Em?”

“Mom, she said I am a bad person.  She said I can’t be a Girl Scout if I don’t believe in God. She said if I don’t have God in my heart than I have the devil in my heart.”

I wrapped my arms around her tightly while she caught her breath.  And the words, the words that came tumbling from her lips next made me more proud than I have perhaps ever been. “I told them that I am a Unitarian.  And that I do go to a church actually. And that my church says you can believe in whatever you want.  I am a good person.  I am.  How could that God want to punish me when I didn’t even say anything mean when they were telling me that I was a bad person?”

The part of me that wants to start talking and never stop when I don’t know what to say exactly worked hard to stay quiet.  The less I said the more she spoke and the more I realized I needed to say nothing.

“The Girl Scout pledge says God but so does the Pledge of Allegiance. You don’t have to believe in God to be an American so I don’t think you do to be a Girl Scout.”

I kept quiet.  I was waiting for the shame, for the doubt, for the “what if they are right, Mom?”

“There is only one thing that I wish was different about our church.  I wish it wasn’t in the woods.  It’s kind of hiding and if we were right next to the road more people would know about us and more people would come because I bet a lot of people actually think that it is okay to believe whatever you want and just be a good person.”

She knows.  She knows she is a good person.  And it doesn’t matter what the Girl Scouts think.  Or a kid on the bus.  Or God.  She just knows.

In the last year I have thought frequently about our first principle as it applies to others.  I think about it in the moments that I try to apply my reality to another person and I see them coming up short.  I remind myself that they are their own person, they live their own reality, they have their own inherent worth and dignity.  It never dawned on me that if you believe in your heart of hearts in your own worth, in your own dignity, if you do not have self-doubt – it is so much easier not to condemn others.

My sweet Emily June, you have taught me more in your eight years than I may ever teach you.  This can’t be your first rodeo, kid.

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Unsolicited Parenting Advice #1

I’m not a quiet girl.  If you’ve met me in person I will give you a minute to wipe that “no shit” look off of your face.

I have a new parenting technique and it doesn’t feel right to keep it to myself.

One of the hardest things about being home with the kids full-time is the noise.  It is constant.  It is relentless.  There is a never-ending hum of sound. I think that is how parents end up being yellers.  We just have to compete to get heard.

I really don’t want to be a yeller. But I have a two year old.

Solution:  Quiet Riot. Specifically “Cum on Feel the Noize.

Scenario:  I am cutting chicken.  Shit always hits the fan when I have raw chicken on my hands. I have said “Lucy please stop banging that lid on the oven door” several times at a reasonable volume level.   She has interpreted this to me “Start yelling along with the slamming.”

Here is where I employ my new technique.  Instead of screaming “For the love of all that is holy, STOP with the banging for one blessed second!  I can not pick you up so do not start crying like I have ruined your life, I have chicken on my hands, RAW CHICKEN.  Jeeezus, stop crying.  I didn’t do anything, I just asked you to stop with the banging, Go.  Bang.  Bang all the lids.  Do whatever you want.  Nobody listens to me!!!” n0t that I have ever had this sort of situation go down. I, personally, never, ever lose my cool.

Instead, at the moment that I feel the crazy start to make its way up my throat and tickle my yelling muscles I open my mouth and I shriek “CUM ON FEEL THE NOIZE!” and I smile.  You have to smile while you do it or it is just like screaming at your kid. Remember, you are singing. You are FunTime Mom.  You are the mom that loves it when your kid bangs lids on the oven door.

“Girls, Rock the boys!  We’ll get wild, wild wild!! Wild, wild wild!!”  Take a minute. Catch your breath. If you’re doing it right your kid has stopped dead in their tracks.  They are staring at you like they have no idea what is going to happen next.

So, you think I’ve got an evil mind… that is the next line.  That isn’t a question.

That’s it.  This is my new Toddler Parenting Technique.  Go ahead and yell.  But yell a song, shake your hips and smile, smile, smile and you can pretend you are dancing, singing Fun Mom.  It works. It is the latest and greatest in my Fake It Til You Make It life plan.

Try it.  I suggest 80s hair metal, but I suppose any tune will do. Twister Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is a hit in our house. Adam Ant’s “Goody Two Shoes” will work. But you have to start right in with “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?” and you have to really put your hips into it.

Come back and tell me your favorite song to scream, I mean, sing at your kids.

This kid is nuts.

This kid is nuts.