family, humor, motherhood, parenting

A Humble Hero’s Journey

Your parents are right.”

Words more dreaded than this for a teenage boy simply do not exist.

This is where the story of our beleaguered hero begins.

He had a humble upbringing.  Raised by a beautiful, age-defying, always-dancing mother and an extremely handsome (you’re welcome, Mad Dog) and benevolent father, our hero rose unassumingly through life’s ranks and, as any good story would have it, found himself face-to-face with doom (aka high school).

Our Humble Hero was not afraid for he new his birthright.

Great men are born to great men.

He had done the math (sort of, just don’t check his eighth grade Algebra 1 transcript) and realized he had everything he needed to succeed.  He had wit, he had charm and he had incredible good looks (you’re welcome, Full Speed).

He had everything he needed except for one thing …

study skills.

Most academic heroes, grammar gods and algebraic warriors know that without such skills, failure looms large.  Their parents also know this.  These parents state the obvious and hope their progeny take heed.  Things like attending tutorials with teachers, studying in study hall (gasp!) and taking your time on tests all fall under the wisdom arc of great, parental knowledge.

Did our Humble Hero listen to these time-tested tenets of success?

Here is his story told in his own words:

Call to Adventure: The call to adventure occurs after parent night. Mad Dog learned that the Humble Hero’s L. A. teacher had tutorials. He came home and said “The Great Teacher has tutorials Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning.

You should go”.

Refusal of the Call: Our hero ignored the call thinking that he was too cool for more school. He assured Mad Dog that everything was under control.

Acceptance of the Call: One day, the hero got his grammar/vocab quiz back. He had missed 9 grammar questions for a score of 82. It was at this moment he knew he had messed up.

Crossing the Threshold: The hero arrived at The Great Teacher’s door and he entered the special world of her classroom.

The journey had begun.

Meeting the Mentor: All heroes need a guide that shows them the ways of life. The Great Teacher showed the hero how to become one with the grammar gods.

Trials and Tests: In class, the hero had to deal with worksheets about grammar. The days went by and eventually the hero finally figured out what a preposition does.

The Supreme Ordeal: All of the hero’s hard work had prepared him for this moment. A 50 question quiz with half of those being grammar. Mere mortals could not withstand the pressure of this quiz. But, our hero isn’t mortal. Brandishing his magic weapon, (a worn down mechanical pencil), he was able to complete the quiz with only minimal suffering.

The Reward: Much to his surprise, the hero had accomplished his goal. He had gotten an A on the grammar quiz.

Return with the Elixir: The hero was overjoyed. He couldn’t wait to tell his parents what he had accomplished.

Mad Dog’s response “I was right, wasn’t I?”

The hero could only muster, “Maybe”.

From this moment forward, strange occurrences became the Humble Hero’s new normal.  As he began to attend other tutorials along with continuing to be mentored by the Great Teacher, all his test scores and grades improved.

How could it be?  Do you mean to tell me the Humble Hero had the power to succeed THE WHOLE TIME.  Move over sister, your ruby slippers got nothing on this guy.

The moral of the story is simple.

Listen to your parents.

And, maybe listen the first time.

But, then again, where’s the adventure in that?

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A special shout-out to my fearless collaborator.  Thanks for staying true to you,
family, humor, kids, motherhood

I Would Walk 500 Miles (T.Puzzle Out)

Where we live, while awesomely close to downtown, having a yard is unusual.  Giant houses that take up every square inch of their lot are the norm.

I treasure my small backyard.  With so many statuesque trees flanking our streets, songbirds abound.  If I am really lucky, I might see a deer:

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Just kidding.  Our alley is being reworked so the only deer(e) I see cause quite a ruckus.

Besides the mild annoyance of construction noise, where we live is very fun.  We are a few blocks away from excellent restaurants.  We try to walk to meals out as much as we can.

Most of our family loves this.

T.Puzzle hates this.

He hates to walk anywhere.  To him it is slow, boring and ultimately pointless.

Seated at lunch last weekend, the four of us had walked to a new taco joint.  The food was great and the weather perfect for our outside table.

We debated if we would walk to get ice cream before hitting Target (yes! we can walk to Target!).  We didn’t want to push T.Puzzle’s attitude because we know better, and he is only a mild fan of ice cream, weird, I know.

“You up for walking for ice cream?” said Mad Dog.

Silence.

Then, slowly, T.Puzzle formed a response as his shoulders lifted in a slight shrug.

“I guess so.”

I read the meaning behind his words.

“Basically, T.Puzzle is willing to walk with us but he will be super depressed about it the whole time,” I said.  “Did I guess that right?”

“Yep,” said T.Puzzle.

This boy sugar coats nothing.

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children, dogs, family, motherhood

Always, Always

fullsizeoutput_ddLittle Guy had a tough adjustment to our move.  We have a special formula we (mainly me) follow each day to keep him comfortable and happy.  In addition to his five sets of eye-drops of three medications, we shower him with affection and praise each night before bedtime.  It does not guarantee he will sleep through the night, but it has been proven effective.  There is nothing that warms my heart more than watching Mad Dog make over Little Guy.  It is the sweetest.

Little Guy gets a lot of leeway during the day.  He is allowed to be cranky.  He is allowed to be snippy.  He is allowed to beg and whine for food at the table.

He can do anything he wants.

Most of the time he chooses to nap.  This makes it easy for everyone.

I am surprised at how unquestioning my devotion is to him.  I do not judge him for his cranky missteps.

He has followed me around enough through the five years we’ve had him to earn this loyalty.

He shows me what love can teach us.

Be true, be loyal and you will always, always be loved.

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Reminding mom to pack her favorite accessory.

 

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Me.
family, humor, kids, motherhood

For the Love of Cookies

The rain poured down as I exited the campus building.  I dodged raindrops as I made my way to my car on this last night of my creative writing class.

Where we live is prone to standing water which can turn to a flood in an instant.  Since class had run late, I texted Mad Dog to assure him I would be home soon.

He responded: “All your boys waiting for you.”

Wasn’t that sweet?

I arrived home fifteen minutes later.  As soon as I walked in, the scent of freshly baked cookies washed over me.  Mad Dog had ordered cookies to be delivered for all of us to enjoy.

The boys were not waiting for me.  They were waiting to eat cookies because Mad Dog would not allow it until I came home.

Even Full Speed admitted it was a 60/40 situation.  60% waiting to eat the cookies vs. 40% waiting for me.

Hurt pride did not prevent me from enjoying my cookies.  I mean if you are going to come in second to something, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies aren’t a bad way to go.

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children, family, motherhood

Reset

Unfortunately, as our children grow towards adulthood, life starts handing them more complex challenges.  Gone are the days of kindergarten-fixes which were mostly comprised of a few snuggles and a chocolate chip cookie.

It isn’t all bad.

The best part is watching our children’s personalities solidify into more of who-they-are.  They get to start defining more what matters to them.

Weirdly, that doesn’t always align with what mom and dad deem important.

As I continue to let my boys go off into the world to discover what is most true for them, I must go and do the same for myself.

Mothers and caregivers tend to take a giant pause in their life when it comes to raising a family.  This pause becomes so second-nature, we often don’t realize when it’s time to hit the reset button.

We are not meant to figure everything out in one day.

In fact, I believe we never figure everything out completely.

Life moves forward for a reason.  Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t.

Either way it’s moving.

We can either join in or sit back.  Maybe both?

Even if we don’t make every right turn, the fact that we are on the journey is bound to lead us somewhere wonderful.

Especially if where we’ve been has already shown us such great love.

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