Truth!

In addition to cleaning out my closets, I have been cleaning up my blog.  I have a newly updated About page which you can read here:

ABOUT

I went through my first year of posts to edit the boys’ names.  I originally referred to them as Frick and Frack.  These were the nicknames my mom gave them when they were very little.  You could see how this could become confusing to a reader so I went back through and updated their names to Full Speed and T.Puzzle.  There are a lot of posts in that first year that made me laugh out loud and made my heart swell with love.  There are touching posts, posts about the loss of my mother and posts about how Mad Dog is always right (not really!) and as a married couple we never fight (no comment!).  There are some posts I read through where I cringed and broke out in a cold sweat.  It was like I was right back in it.  Reliving those vivid details of some of the epic power struggles I endured with my boys (especially T.Puzzle at the onset of his terrible threes) was not for the faint of heart.  After reading these I fully understand why I never felt compelled to expand my brood.  However, I am deeply grateful for the two that I have.  One of the biggest takeaways in terms of my parenting abilities is NEVER ASK ME HOW TO POTTY TRAIN!  I failed repeatedly and miserably not once but twice.  There was a point in time that I wondered if I should buy stock in Pull-Ups as I was fairly certain my boys would be wearing them FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!  Again, I could not do that again.  Two is my absolute limit.  I heard the Pull-Ups people were really bummed to hear that.

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T.Puzzle is stunned that he actually learned to use the potty.

There were some stand-out posts and there were some where I was clearly phoning it in.  However, there was one in particular that floored me.  It is the one I wrote on the year anniversary of Writes for All Mommies’ inception date.  Here is my favorite passage from it:

I think the biggest change for me has been coming to terms with motherhood. I think sometimes when we are unhappy with who we are, we blame our choices and our circumstances. I will admit, especially in the newborn years, I struggled with my all-consuming role as a mother. I thought that maybe if I had made some different choices, like continuing to work or if I was somehow parenting better, I would feel happier. Turns out, it wasn’t my boys or motherhood, it was me. It doesn’t matter what I accomplish outside of motherhood that determines my value, it is ultimately up to me to determine that. Whether I become a world-famous author or if all I manage is to raise two, well-adjusted boys, my value remains constant. I get that now.

Truth is timeless.  That is for sure.

You can read the post in its entirety here:

HAPPY BLOG-A-VERSARY TO ME!

From this I would like to take it one step further.  What if I actually don’t have to do a thing to prove my value?  What if our value is actually tied to who we are and not what we do?  Is it possible my value was already locked down before I even decided to have kids or pour my heart out on my laptop keyboard?

I now know this is not only possible, it is absolute truth.

It’s true for all of us.

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Sending love to you all.

So Long, Farewell! Part Two

The Super Bowl is over so football is over. This means baseball is almost here!

Woo-hoo!

I was sharing my baseball glee with the boys over dinner.

“Guess what?  Spring training games begin FEBRUARY 25TH!!!  Aren’t you both excited?”

T.Puzzle looked crestfallen at his impending loss of tv viewing control.  Full Speed was more diplomatic.  He graciously updated me on the recent team acquisitions and trades.  He turns to T.Puzzle, “Are you ready to never watch one of your shows until baseball is over?”

T.Puzzle replied (with shoulders slumped defeatedly no less), “How many games are in a season?”

I don’t know why he was being so dramatic, it’s ONLY 162 (not counting post-season, fingers crossed!).

“Guys, remember I said that I will be open to letting you watch an occasional show if it is really important to you.  If we can’t come to a compromise, you are always welcome to go upstairs and watch your show there (there’s a nifty loft space with a tv where they play video games so trust me, they are not being banished to a dark place of doom).”

T.Puzzle says, “But Full Speed will never want to watch a show, he will always want to watch baseball and I know I can’t watch certain shows without him.”  Again, his tone was absolutely pitiful.

I could almost read verbatim the words in Full Speed’s thought bubble that were forming over his head.  Yes, he loves his mom and enjoys baseball up to a certain point, BUT, some days he’s fine to watch something else.  However, he was very scared to voice this last part so as not to hurt my feelings (very sweet).  As I relayed my theory about what he was thinking, his body relaxed visibly in the knowledge he didn’t have to tell his (famous) World Series Champion mother, that he may not want to watch baseball every single day of his life.

“Seriously, Full Speed.  It’s fine.  I understand there are going to be days you won’t want to watch a game with me.  It doesn’t even matter that whoever does watch the game with me will get a bigger inheritance.  There’s no pressure.”

Full Speed’s face cracks into a giant grin.

#PayForYourOwnCollege

#GoCubs

#WSchampion

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Lost, and Most Likely Never Found

In my household there is a strange phenomenon.  I am the only person that can find things.  If Mad Dog, Full Speed and/or T.Puzzle locate something, and usually with insanely detailed directions from me, it is a miracle to be celebrated.  Seriously… a MIRACLE.

Keeping this in mind, T.Puzzle asked me to sign his school planner today.  As he handed me his notebook, the page I needed to sign floated onto my lap as soon as I turned to it.  To easily problem solve this, I asked him to bring me a paper clip.  Ha!  I said easily!  Normally to save us all from ourselves, if something needs to be found I am the one to do so.  However, my dog was so super-snugly and napping sweetly on my lap, I was highly unmotivated.  Therefore, it was up to T.Puzzle to save himself.

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T.Puzzle with the Snuggle Captain of the Universe

He walks over to the desk and in about two seconds flat announces, “I can’t find it!  There aren’t any paper clips here!”

Weird that I’d store paper clips in a desk of all things, right?

“Trust me, T.Puzzle, they are in there.  First, locate the middle drawer.  This is the one that is narrow and very long.”  He did.

“Nope! No paper clips!”

“Hang with me T.Puzzle.  Look at the upper left-hand quadrant of the open drawer (my boys are mathematically minded so it sounds odd, but this type of description is helpful, well, at least mildly so) and there should be a pack of paper clips.  It’s fine if you can’t open the pack, just bring them to me.”

He’s quiet so I take that as a good sign.  As he approaches me, I absentmindedly extend my hand to receive the clip.  He delicately places a used staple in my hand.

A USED STAPLE!

I have no words.  But, I do have paper clips.  Loads of them in fact because T.Puzzle still hasn’t used any.

 

 

So Long, Farewell!

As we were finishing up some giant breakfast cinnamon rolls at a newly opened breakfast eatery, T.Puzzle shared a thought.  It was baseball related because part of the charm of this eatery is they ask you random, unique questions to help label your order.  Our particular question was, ‘what are you looking forward to in the New Year?’ and Mad Dog had replied, “Another Cubs’ World Series win.”

Nice.

Anyway, T.Puzzle knows that baseball season is coming.  He understands that I have been patiently biding my time until I can yet again, watch the Cubs play every day of my life (off days and rare excpections excluded).

Again, nice.

“I do like baseball, Mom, but sometimes I wish that there were nights that I could watch one of my shows instead of watching the Cubs.”

“T.Puzzle, that is so great of you to share, but unfortunately, you are going to have to move.  I will even help you pack your bags,” I reply.

“Do we really have to watch every game all the time?” he laments.

“Seriously, I hear you, but where exactly do you want me to forward your mail?”

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The Biggest Goals Ever

I hate to admit it, but sometimes, I am a reluctant soccer mom.  I used to be more gung-ho when my boys were small.  Since I still choose to keep them in a relatively low-key rec league, I am required to be at the fields for all their practices.  Even though my boys are close in age, often their birth dates do not align and they end up on different teams.  This means that they can have different practice nights.  This means that I am at the soccer fields almost every night of the week not including games.  Hence, this is where some of my reluctance creeps in.

This current season has started.  Full Speed was asked along with a few other members of his U12 team to help fill out the roster of his coach’s U14 team.  I left it up to him and he seemed excited to help out.  While the coach was confident he could hold his own skill-wise, I voiced my concern about his size.  Full Speed is a lot of things, but being tall for his age is not one of them.  He’s kind of skinny, too.  I, of course, think he is the perfect size and height to be who he is, but I also am not delusional.  How was he going to stack up against U14 size-wise?  The coach assured me he would be fine and given there is no slide tackling in this particular league, I believed her.  Maybe it was the heat.

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Full Speed’s early soccer training days.

Full Speed had his first U12 game and even though it was in the morning, it was intensely hot and humid.  His team lost quite miserably but he genuinely had fun with his teammates (they are a great group) and had two assists.  He was happy but very tired after the game.  We took him home to rest up and cool down for the next game which would be against a U14 team.

We returned to the fields well before the opposition arrived.  During warm-ups, I could see Full Speed’s opponents approaching the field.  From faraway they looked slightly bigger than average.  Upon their arrival to the field, they were GIGANTIC.  I’m talking full-grown adult-sized.  I’m talking maybe some should consider playing college football big.  Their goalie was pushing 6’0 and nearing 200 lbs.  Full Speed barely cleared most of their waists.  Yikes.

It was pretty obvious early on, given our diminutive size and the use of several U12 players, we were going to get creamed.  But that’s part of it.  That’s life.  Sometimes you are going to take a beating and it’s up to you how you handle it.  I thought Full Speed’s team handled it quite well.  Nearly all of them kept trying and didn’t give up.  It wasn’t fun to watch by any means, but I was proud of them.

It’s possible because this was the second and much worse beat-down I was witnessing Full Speed endure that day in 100+ heat, but the opposition’s goalie was becoming problematic for me.  In what I believe to be a show of complete disrespect, he stopped playing in the goal.  He wandered around the field, often pushing all the way up to midfield.  Granted, we maybe only had a handful of shots taken on goal, but his disregard for Full Speed’s trying-so-hard team was difficult to take.  From the goalie’s perspective, I’m sure he was bored by the tiny team taking tiny shots.  From a mom-nearing-heatstroke’s perspective, I wanted a goal for Full Speed’s team so bad I could taste it.  The open net taunted me.  I started to formulate a plan.  If we didn’t score soon, I was going to run on the field and take it to the house myself.  What’s the worse that could happen?  I’m banned from the game?  I’d have to go to my air-conditioned car until it was over?  Soooo tempting. Or worse (better?) yet, I’d be banned from the fields for life?  No more fire ants to contend with or sweating until I’m pushed to delrium (I’d obviously passed this brink if I was plotting to score a goal).

I was so hot and I was so frustrated and watching that goalie walk nonchalantly around the field was too too much.  Little Full Speed was up at striker and I have never wanted him to score a goal as much I wanted it in that moment.  Finally, he managed to outmaneuver their defense.  When I asked Full Speed later what is was like going up against defenders twice his size he said his focus was ‘to not get run over or get kicked in the face.’  He had succeeded at both and finally had the ball in his possession.  He broke for that wide open net.  The goalie attempted to race back to meet him.  He got there in time to block Full Speed’s strike.  The goalie anticipated a high kick, Full Speed went small and chipped a low shot right at the goalie.  Since the goalie went high, the ball bounced underneath him and INTO THE GOAL!

I cheered like we won the World Cup.

It was amazing.

Full Speed managed another goal a few minutes later.  This time, as the goalie back-pedaled to the goal, he tripped on his own feet and Full Speed’s teammate kicked the ball at him.  The ball ricocheted off the goalie and set up Full Speed in a perfect assist for a goal.  It was pretty sweet.  Another goal came later on a penalty kick by Full Speed’s teammate.

Yes, Full Speed’s team lost 17(?) (I honestly lost track after double digits) to 3, but those were three of the most glorious goals in the history of soccer.

Go Team!