family, gratitude, humor, motherhood

Life Lessons (Global Pandemic Edition)

  1. We are more adaptable than we realize. We have settled into new routines and found sparks of hope in unexpected places. T.Puzzle’s new mantra is “less school, more video games!”  Silver linings are there for the taking.
  2. Everyone has unique strengths during times of stress. While my strength lies in cultivating family bonds, I may also freak out a little more than the rest of my clan. Thankfully, I am married to a man who never freaks out.  It actually kind of freaks me out that he is so calm ALL THE TIME. At this point, I am not going to change who I am, but I am forever grateful I feel safe enough to fully be myself and know without doubt, I am loved just as I am.
  3. When this whole pandemic began to impact our lives, to help preserve my sanity, I took a major pause from social media. I simply cannot hold that many stories in my head and function well. It may appear that I am less connected to what matters, but I have found the opposite to be true. I am remembering the beauty of my own backyard.
  4. My imagination runs wild so I have to be mindful of the T.V. shows I watch. Otherwise my sleep will be disrupted and general mind mayhem will ensue. This leaves me with limited options. I have been reduced to watching lots of reality T.V.  This is fine in small doses, but recently I have noticed my propensity to want to walk around in thong bikinis, toss martinis about and speak incoherently in a British accent. Weirdly, Mad Dog has little to no objections concerning my altered behaviors. I am in no danger of being voted off the island.

Thanks for reading and be kind to yourself.

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humor, motherhood

Questions and Answers

In these strange, lock-down days, I have been attempting to engage my boys in meaningful dinner conversations.

It hasn’t been a good run lately.

T.Puzzle is the worst offender. You could ask him about it, but I promise you, he won’t answer you. And if he did, you wouldn’t gain any new information.

I have even tried to speak to them as adults.

Hilarious.

This was my attempt last night:

“Please take this question seriously. I am genuinely curious as to what your answers are. What are your thoughts about what you may want to do as an occupation? I want you to dream big.”

Full Speed said, “Contact tracer.”

I just gave him that look. You know, the mom one where you telepathically communicate your inner most thoughts of frustration and/or annoyance.

“How are you going to be a contact tracer? By the time you are graduated from college, I don’t think it will be viable option. At least I hope not.”

“I could do it over the summer. They pay $25 an hour,” he said.

“But you are only fifteen!”

“Once they got to know me, they would make an exception. I’m that good.”

As you can see, my first attempt at realness failed.

I turned to T.Puzzle. After a few moments of him looking completely bewildered and/or uninterested, he said he wanted to work for Space Force.

He wasn’t being serious either. They were both chuckling and finding themselves to be utterly amusing.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. I had reached my limit.

I lifted my right arm, pointed to the stairs and ordered them to go to their room.

Protests abounded but I kept my composure and sent them on their way.

Here’s a little trick that I am happy to share with you. In these situations, never give them a time limit. Send them on their way but leave their return time open and ambiguous. This can make thirty minutes feel like thirty years. Also, in the name of brotherly unity, I thought it was good to send them together so they could bond over how impossible I was being. There is nothing that solidifies a sibling connection more than having a shared common ‘enemy’.

Mad Dog and I proceeded to clean the kitchen post-dinner at our leisure. We then went on a walk and spent some time hanging out on our back porch.

I was in no hurry to set the jailbirds free.

I asked Mad Dog if I was attempting the impossible by prompting the boys into thoughtful discussions. Am I only hurting myself? But, they are the people I encounter the most so maybe I should keep going?

He said it’s good for them so keep trying. It wouldn’t hurt to lower my expectations either.

Honestly, the bar was already set pretty low.

I would not trade these two for anything in the world. I’m okay with them not answering all my deep questions as long as they keep being who-they-are. (Awesome).

family, humor, motherhood

Better Already

Throughout my life I have had many best friends.

Some real, most imagined.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Princess Kate, and Abby Wambach are a few examples.  These are the women that inspire me and help me to dream bigger dreams for myself.

My current ‘best friend’ is Melinda Gates.  While it is mildly possible the Gates Foundation has slightly more monetary resources than the giving fund Mad Dog and I started, Melinda’s philanthropic sensibilities are the paragon I hope to follow.  She grew up in Texas and, when the world was accessible, I would drive by the high school she attended on my way to workout. This makes our ‘friendship’ seem all the more real.  I live near where she grew up.  I live near where she learned how to code.  I live near where she became the person she is today.

See?  Anything is possible.

Mad Dog recently sent me an article about books Melinda recommended.  Since she is one of my very best friends, I immediately bought them.  One in particular, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, has daily entries to help open your mind and heart to a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.  It is awesome, but honestly, my best friend wouldn’t recommend anything subpar I can promise you that.

Since I am deep in the self-quarantining phase of life, I have several books that I am reading simultaneously (I kind of roll like that anyway in regular life, too), and found myself with this glorious recommended book in serious need of a bookmark (as all others were in use).  Ever the problem solver, I marched back to the game room and announced the boys needed to make me one.  Yes, there was some serious pause and a healthy dash of attitude thrown my way, but I persevered.

“I gave you life.  Because of me you have life.  Make. Me. A. Bookmark.  Now.”

It took them a few minutes, but they did it.  I also made it clear, please, take it seriously.  Write something thoughtful and inspiring on it as I will be reading this book every day.

First up, I read Full Speed’s side:

IMG_8503He did not let me down.

Well done.

Next up, T.Puzzle:

It’s super emotional so if you are the sensitive-type, gather up your courage before you look at it:

 

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Look at that, you just read this whole post.

The world thanks you.

I thank you.

Don’t you feel better already?

 

 

marriage, motherhood

Safety First

For some reason, Mad Dog is always in a hurry.  I’m not sure why exactly.  Is someone chasing him?  Is he carrying top secret information and must never be caught?

Date night strolls often wind up with him ten paces ahead and me jogging to keep up.  Yeah, it’s as romantic as it sounds.

Even when we are home, his pace is quick.  It is best to steer clear as his rushes through his to-do list.  In all of this heightened speed, he relies on repetition and memory to navigate the space around him.  If something is an inch or two ‘off’, he inevitably runs into it.  And not in a delicate way, but in a full-on injury-inducing way.

Does this slow him down?

Never!

Does it make him scan his surroundings before attacking his day?

Of course not!

He does enjoy deflecting the cause of his injuries.  He jokingly (and sometimes not-so-jokingly) blames me.  He wants to know why I keep moving things(!).  He ‘moves with precision’ (exact quote thank you very much) and if I move something even a tiny bit, he is bound to run into it.

Okay, okay, I’ll give you the drying rack over the laundry room door (I mean, it’s kind of awesome that he even goes in there let alone actually does laundry, so kudos for that).  It is possible someone in our house inadvertently shifted it and therefore when Mad Dog nearly punctured a lung on it, I could understand I might be to blame.  And, then there was my yoga mat.  I had moved it to the side in our bedroom, but knowing Mad Dog in the way I do, I should have moved it about three more miles out of the way to ensure his safety.

But furniture?

Really?

He claims I move furniture.  Not ottoman type things, but anchor pieces like couches, beds, and cabinets.  Yes, cabinets!  I absolutely take down cabinets and move them one inch over just to mess with him.  Honestly, I should have my own show on HGTV.

And I’m certain my three times a week of Jazzercise, I mean I use 8 lbs. weights after all, in addition to my at-home yoga practice, certainly has afforded me the necessary upper body strength to move giant pieces of furniture all by myself.  Maybe bodybuilding has been my long lost calling?

So many dreams to consider.

These will have to wait until I finish moving Mad Dog’s office desk.

Trust me, I always remember to lift with my knees and not my back.

Safety first.

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humor, motherhood

Zen Training

I plopped down next to Full Speed to help him sort and fold some laundry.  Every once in awhile I like to help the boys with an occasional assigned chore.  My hope is that it teaches them to help others without being asked.

“What is your plan for me to come get you for the dentist tomorrow?” I said.

“What time is it?” said Full Speed.

This is where time seemed to slow down.  I felt myself leaving my body, hovering over the scene as anger arose from within me.

“I know you are not asking me what time your appointment is.  The one that I told you about and ask that you develop a plan for when I should come get you.  The one that I sent you a text message with the details and reminded you to figure out when I should come get you.  I am trying really hard to not sound annoyed right now, but I realize I am not doing a very good job.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait a minute! You know you have to tell me things at least four times before I actually remember them,” said Full Speed (for the record I did, probably more).

It seems I could tell each and every one of the men I live with about appointments a thousand times and it would not be enough.

Eventually, with some mindful breathing, I accepted the situation as it was.  I also calmed my mood by realizing that I won’t always have to be in charge of my boys’ appointments.  At some point, they will need to figure that stuff out on their own.  My guess is, especially in the realm their future dental care, scurvy could be a real possibility for them…

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Later that night, I was writing out an early dismissal note for Full Speed.

“What period will you be leaving?” I said.

“I’ll leave after seventh period,” Full Speed said.

As T.Puzzle sauntered in the room, he caught a snippet of the conversation.

“Why is Full Speed leaving early?” said T.Puzzle.

“For your dentist appointment,” I said.

“Wait. When is that again?” said T.Puzzle.

I would write more but for the safety of my children, I have relocated to a monastery to begin my zen training in earnest.

I have no other option.