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While you were sleeping

I heard some young parents recently talking about how their now screaming, over tired child needed complete blackness and quiet to sleep. My inside self smiled thinking of how scarred my own children must be.

When you are pregnant, people LOVE to tell you stories. Random folks give you advice and terrify you with the gritty, unsolicited details of their labor, but one piece of advice I remember, changed my life. One wise mother told me to never tip toe and shush everyone in the house when the kids went down to bed. The kids need to learn to sleep through noise.  And watching these tired and stressed young parents made me think of that wise advice. But I might have taken it too far.

You see my children, on occasion, would wake up with their bed in a different place than when they went to sleep. Thinking back, I’m sure this disorienting reality might have messed with them in the mornings, but for the most part, they seem pretty stable. I would go in to the kid’s rooms and clean, vacuum (which rarely goes without a new arrangement) and tidy up the shelves, toys, clothes, etc….all while they were asleep. And by rearrangement, I mean, moving their bed with them in it too. I never heard them say anything in the morning when they were in a different place than when they went to sleep, so they must be OK. At least I took as a tacit approval for the obsessions while they slept.

Perhaps there is something or some kind of balance from the tip-toeing to the what-happened-why-I-was-sleeping approach that I have deployed.

Sleep tight little babies.

Uncategorized

Flaws and All

Being a mother is a hard job. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It begins with the up every two hours, sleep deprived nurturing of the new born and continues…well, near as I can see from here, forever.  But things do change. As my children have grown, so has our relationship.  It ebbs and flows like a tide. Some days are better than others, some days I’m a peaceful calm sea and others, board your windows kids, mom’s in a mood.

 

Mom, the invincible one. The ultimate soother of the owies, preparer of the favorite lunch and chocolate chip pancakes is suddenly MoooooM, the embarrassing one. There are moments when my face defies the pain that the words off the lips of a child just inflicted on my heart.  But those days are quickly replaced by Mom, the friend. We talk about everything from clothes to dreams to girls/boys to sex and grades. 

 

We are mostly in the you’re my friend and my ATM phase of parenting with the kids, but still at risk of the occasional mocking target, just for kicks. Over time I’ve learned to not take it so personally and the “board your windows” days have reduced with that learned skill. I can’t share a magic for when or how I learned to adapt, but it does happen. 

 

Now I know I’m not up for any “Mom of the Year” award, I’m pretty sure the “f-bomb” infused screaming match with my daughter a few months ago will disqualify me for life, but overall, we must have done something OK.  My kids are close, they trust us, respect us and for the most part like us, flaws and all.

 

 

Life, Parenting

Wait…is Old Cool or Not?

My daughter and I found this darling little ornament at a vintage Christmas sale.  We love shopping in antique stores, estate sales and thrift shops.  Each trip is like a treasure hunt and we can linger for hours among “old stuff”.  But the irony of this faddish vintage craving of my 18 year old daughter amuses me. 

She has boldly laid claim to pieces of the family heirlooms we have in our home “when I’m gone” and regularly announces plans to take the antique iron bed frame, the vintage slipper chair and other treasures from our home “when she moves out”. It’s not that I mind these references to life without mom, nor do I feel at risk of a sudden unfortunate demise. No, this allure of “old things” by my youngest is more like a play I sit and watch, wondering if the final scenes will surprise with a sudden twist of story.

Not yet even 50, my husband and I are reminded often that we are “old”.  Nevermind that the things we played with in our homes as children are showing up in those vintage stores…we are not old!  At least not in our own mind.  In fact, on the verge of an empty nest before we turn 50 holds so much possibility, we are nearly giddy with the thought. Listen, don’t judge, we adore our children, but come on…who wants them to live at home forever?

Anyway, because I love antiques as well, this is a fun phase for me.  But I wonder, in the final scenes of this drama, if my husband and I become cool as well?  I won’t worry about it.  In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy these moments with my kids.  You know, for young ones, they are pretty cool.

 

Life, Parenting

Hunt & Gather – Musing About Black Friday Shoppers

It’s Thanksgiving. Well, technically it is the wee hours of the morning after Thanksgiving. I’m giggling silly in the aisles of Target and it is nearing 4 am. I’m not quite to the can’t-stop-giggling-no-way-in-hell-I’m-losing-my-place-in-line-to-run-to-the-bathroom stage, but given enough time, I could get there easily.

Snaking our way through the rest of the questionably sane humanity trying to save five bucks by waiting in line for hours, we have opened our box of pop tarts and are snacking. Three nearly grown kids and I are really buying stuff that is not such a great deal, but I refuse to do this and come back without a kill!

I ponder this ritual and can only assume it’s some primal connection to our prehistoric instinct to “hunt and gather”. As I observe, there are a few distinct types of post-Thanksgiving meal shoppers that emerge.

1. The Trophy Hunter – armed with lists, coupons and exact strategy to each stop, this shopper easily maneuvers the crowds with their eye on specific targets. The big prize. They know what they are after and with laser like focus remain fixed on the best kill. Be cautioned, trampling, shoving and camping may be involved.

2. The “If It Moves Shoot It” Hunter – driven merely by the idea of life-changing savings, this shopper wanders the aisles, flitting from end cap to end cap and throwing anything with a red sticker or sign into their cart. They are typically the ones that clip your heels with their cart as they drive without watching the road.

3. The Socialite – content with the “let’s bond with fourteen thousand of our closest friends” concept, these are the shoppers who try on every hat, cluelessly block the aisles to stop and visit with Susie from the gym and blissfully wander in their bubble, sharing gossip and Starbucks with their fellow warriors.

4. And finally, The Hunter Becomes the Hunted – seriously, at 1:30 in the morning with dozens of people in line, you choose now to do a return? Enough said.

So to all you successful shoppers out there, here’s to your finds and the good times on gathering them!

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Life, Parenting, Uncategorized

Knocking on the cerebral gates of teens

Rolling eyes and sagging posture are nothing new when we discuss our “words” with our not-quite-child-not-yet-adult teen offspring.

“It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it,” we implore. There are times I swear that unseen to the eyes of a nagging (ahem, educating) parent, a tiny “no vacancy” sign is posted at the cerebral gates of teens. Do they really have no attention for “tone of voice” or feelings in others? Perhaps.

Then I’m forced to take a look at our adult life; our adult habits that we establish as the example. A talk show host opins that, “teens can’t communicate or use vocabulary anymore because of technology.” Celebrity shows tear people apart for their outfit, their bad hair day, their cellulite. News programs, politics and television are full of negativity, gossip, criticism, anger, teasing and intolerance. What about our own conversations in the home? How many times have I had a “tone” to my voice that I intended in every way it was received? Where did our kids learn to use their words – both spoken and unspokane?

Albeit not perfect, I am proud of two relatively decent humans we have raised. They do care about others. They do communicate and use language and they do, despite their best defenses, occasionally absorb a little of our “wisdom” at their cerebral gates.

I can tell by the fact that they sit and talk with us at the dinner table. They have an opinion about the news or religion or business or politics. They are friends to others. They react when things are not fair or don’t make sense. They respond when we are trying to pull one over on them and preach what we don’t practice. They are prepared to be successful because they aren’t afraid to challenge the emptiness of our words at times.

Perhaps that little sign at their gates is more accurately posted as “no vacancy” for hollow words.

Parenting, Uncategorized

How did we get here?

This is a repost from my original blog – approximately one year ago.

http://farmsonfivemile.blogspot.com/2009/12/challenging-times-call-for-seeing.html

Looking UP in to the face of my first born, I realize…things will never be the same.  Not that they have been, but in my mind I seek same-ness, I cling to thoughts of when he was little and forget all of the little steps along the way.  How did we get here…talking about his first place, future plans, buying a car, etc.? 

Well, I guess it was the accumulation of those seemingly little things. The things that are easy to forget, but the very things that shaped our relationship.  The first ear infection, the family trips, building sand castles on the beach, scolding you to sit still and quiet through a boring sermon, your first dog, unteaching you to give “head butts” in the face, riding the bike, helping with homework, moving and moving again, teaching you to cook and do laundry, heart to heart talks at bed time and a million other times in between.

Although I swore I would never say this, it seems like you were just a baby.  And yes, there are times when I wish I could do it over again. But when I really stop to think I realize, no, I wouldn’t want to do it over. Sure there have been mistakes, failures and bumps along the way, but I am proud of you son. I’m proud of the person you are. You have a good heart. You’re respectful, playful, gentle yet competitive, smart and a really great person. You care – and that matters a great deal in life.

So I watch as you begin plans to begin on your own and think, I am so lucky.  Lucky to have a nice kid who I enjoy and who will change this world in his own way.  A kid who will be the best friend, the sweetheart to someone, the strength to others. How did we get here?  On a journey of a lot of moments and a lot of love.