Monday, April 30, 2012

parenting hall of fame

Mike and I were surely inducted into the Parenting Hall of Fame in the wee hours of this morning.  You see, after a weekend full of painting Logan's room, we had finally gotten all the furniture back in place, blinds and valances back up and the finishing touches done.  Anyone who knows my husband understands that this was not a weekend project, but instead hours of woodworking efforts, patching and sanding over the last several weeks, all aimed at perfection.  And when it was done it was pretty darn close.

So at midnight, smack inside a very deep sleep, I thought I was dreaming that someone was saying my name. But then I heard it again and slowly climbed my way out of those comfy depths, and I as I neared consciousness, I knew that something unsavory awaited me.

Boy was I right.

Poor Logan, who ate Chicken Marsala off the adult menu at Carrabbas last night and loved it, obviously had overdone it.  And awaking abruptly, herself, to the feeling of severe nausea in her loft bed, she was unable to get out in time.  Her attempts to escape to the bathroom failed spectacularly and the ENTIRE room paid the price. I cannot explain the scene I walked into and I won't even try.  I'll only say that the freshly painted walls, couch, blinds, carpet and all her bedding were not spared.  And after two hours of cleaning efforts throughout the night, the carpet cleaners are coming tomorrow.

Mike said it best, "Of all the childhood bodily fluids we've had to deal with, this is by far the worst ever!"

And I agree.  Hence much Internet research on where we can buy airplane vomit bags and our self-prescribed induction to the Parenting Hall of Fame.  After this, there's no denying that we deserve it!

Friday, April 27, 2012

just in time for mother's day

I am 40 years old.  I have seen a lot of commercials in my 40 years, but not as many lately with the invention of the DVR.  I speed through them now with my remote control teleportation device that delivers me, virtually wait-free, to the next scene I feel deserves my attention.  For all the advertisements that I refuse to give my time to, I am so grateful I watched this one.  This one, I believe, is as good as it gets.

This Olympic-inspired ode to moms from Proctor & Gamble's Thank You Mom campaign is quite literally the best advertisement I've ever seen.  Since watching it in its entirety yesterday, I've found myself thinking about it non-stop.  I've re-watched it several times.  I have posted it on Facebook, shown it to my husband and discussed it with friends.  I have forwarded it to my young daughters' email addresses with a note that read:

Dear Logan and Riley,

In case you ever wonder, this is exactly what it feels like to be a Mom.  And it has nothing to do with sports!

I love you guys!

You might think I'm promoting this video because it depicts tiny Olympian hopefuls doing the sports my children love and arriving at the ultimate prize.  And I do like that part, but you'd be wrong.  I love this advert because I think it speaks about motherhood at it's very core.  It captures the absolute essence of this oftentimes thankless and all-times exhausting role.  It physically moves me and rattles at the cage that holds my biggest question, "Am I doing this job right?"   And through my audible gasps for breath and tears falling to the keyboard, it answers: "Yes." 

This video is about the Olympics, something I truly love and for which I am incredibly excited.  But it's also not about sports at all.  It's about the Olympian in every child and the unique successes, that as parents, we'll softly urge them onto, while we watch with baited breath and hearts bursting with hope.  And when they reach their milestone moments, whether they occur at a kitchen table, a graduation ceremony, the end of an aisle, in front of a camera, or on top of a podium, we will be there.  For some of us, only in spirit, for other lucky ones, in a corner or in the stands, out of the limelight, still gently urging them forward, and then reveling in how they stand on their own.

I already knew this job was a blessing, but thanks P & G for reminding just how blessed I truly am.  If you haven't seen it, please watch.  And then forward it on to others who need to see it, too.

Oh, and by the way, this speaks to more than just us Moms.  I'm quite certain Dad's feel the same way, too.  Can't wait to see what P & G delivers for Father's Day!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

what i've got

I've talked about it here, in my column and other places I write:  you must love what you've got.  I really believe that it's the secret to life.  That being said, life doesn't always make it easy.  We all have constant curve balls coming our way, making our vision blurry and our thoughts collide.  But then something, anything, sets us straight again on the path we're meant to be.  For me, that path is loving what I've got.

The more time I spend with my family; wait - the more unencumbered time I spend with my family - the easier it is to stay on the path.  This weekend, even with holiday busyness, we had some time to just hang out and be a family.  For me these truly are the best of times.  And yes, the kids argued about silly things.  One threw a fit when a playroom sleepover was abruptly terminated.  Another fought the first of two annual attempts to get the child to wear clothing other than sweats.  The third stomped and sighed in shock when we had the audacity to request bed-making and wet towel pick up.  They're kids.

They're kids that frustrate me at times and push my buttons like no other humans could.  They're kids that shock me in both good and bad ways.  They're kids that make me cry hard and laugh harder.  They're kids for which I worry tirelessly, pray so hard and dream beyond imagination.  They make me beam with pride and ache with exhaustion.  They are our kids and for all their human faults, man do they deliver on joy.  Seeing them this weekend, dressed in their Sunday best and making me proud at every turn, I realized that all that matters is right now and loving right now.

I surely do love what I've got. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

laudery winnings

Talking about what we'd do with $640 million in lottery winnings was a highlight of our weekend.  I doubt the kids really even knew what the lottery was before the Mega Millions jackpot grew so large that they were hearing about it everywhere.  In an attempt to kill the hour drive to the city on Friday, we talked about what we'd do with a potential windfall.

There was lots of generosity and philanthropy.  Life would get better for everyone we love, for sure.  We would build a huge, luxurious lake house somewhere beautiful and warm and another somewhere mountainous and think seriously about where we wanted to live full-time.   Jobs would be quit and dream jobs would be created.  World travels would commence.  Financial worries would be a thing of the past.

I commented to Mike how funny it was that the kids threw out a few ideas, but didn't have the same intensity that we did in planning out our ideal financial life. It made us feel good that whether things are tight or not, they don't feel financial pressure, or at least not for too long.

Lately though, Riley has been paying more attention to how much things cost.  It's like, when I give them an idea of how expensive things are and try to help grow the roots of sound financial decision-making, she's the only one who actually hears me.  She thinks about it.

At the end of the day on Friday, just before the big drawing, we stopped to buy some tickets.  The girls were excited and even though we assured them that it was just for fun, they wanted to go in with me.  While we waited in the long line, I noticed that Riley's fingers, all of them, were crossed.  They were both a bit giddy, kind of jumping up and down.  I reminded them that the chances were EXTREMELY low that we'd win and Riley blurted out loudly, "But I want to move to Hollywood!"

Everyone in line burst out laughing.

"Listen, even if we win, we're not moving to Hollywood!" I jokingly answered.

"Alright then, North Carolina!!" she responded with her best Groucho Marx eye brow raises.

Needless to say, we didn't win.  But it took Riley a few days to believe in our loss.  On Sunday morning, she raced out to get the newspaper and compare our numbers with the ones in the paper.  Finally, she got it.  Not this time.  But what enthusiasm!  What confidence that the future holds great things!  They all have that and I love it.  And I have it, too.

After the loss sunk in, Riley sneaked over to my phone and texted Mike at the gym.

"We won the laudery, Mike!" she wrote.

"What's that?  A windfall of dirty laundry?" he responded.  (Um, when it comes to winning, we've got that category covered!)