family, motherhood

The Rearview Mirror

As you read these words, we are in transit to our new home.  We are leaving nearly a decade of life behind us.

While it is sad to see so much of our story in the rearview mirror, time will settle us into the next chapter.

I have lived enough life to understand that home is not a destination.

Home is a feeling.

It is always with us.

It can be found in the hearts that surround us and if we happen to journey alone, it is there for us to uncover within ourselves.

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grief, motherhood

The Story of a girl and her White Fluffy Dog

A wise person had once told the girl, “The road to true love is never easy.”  And, they were right.  It hadn’t been easy.  The girl didn’t mind because she was happily in love with her Buckeye.  Their relationship was finally everything she knew it could be and then some.  They had moved in together and lived across from Wrigley Field.  Pure magic.

Sometimes, at night, as the girl waited for her handsome Buckeye to come home after a long day’s work and an even longer commute, she would get a little bit lonely.  She thought about how to remedy this and knowing her Buckeye’s career path was only gearing up, she decided to get a dog.  She had never had a dog in her whole life.  The great thing about being a grown-up is that if you want a dog, you get to have a dog.  The girl was not impulsive in nature so she researched and pondered and then researched and pondered some more.  Eventually she decided she wanted a Bichon Frise because small, white and fluffy seemed like perfection to her.  On the day she drove to a suburb to meet a slew of Bichons, she felt very confident ‘her dog’ would find her.  And, she did.

At first the girl thought she wanted a boy and that’s all she focused on.  She started to get frustrated with how energetic and bitey they all were and wondered if she would leave empty-handed.  Instead, she opened up her expectations and picked up the first female she could find.

It was love at first sight.

The girl couldn’t explain it but this sweet little Bichon-Poodle was meant to be hers.  She was gentle and loving.  She weighed a whopping 3.2 pounds.  She was perfect.

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The girl brought her home and their adventure began.  It wasn’t always easy or smooth, but the girl quickly forgave her White Fluffy Dog because, well, she was white and fluffy.  She was magic.

Five months after the White Fluffy Dog came into her life, the girl had to go out of town.  She left for a few days and put the White Fluffy Dog’s care into the hands of her Buckeye.  She didn’t think twice about it before she left but she should have.  Once she returned she realized something had changed.  Her White Fluffy Dog still loved her, but now, she loved the Buckeye even more.  At times this would frustrate the girl because she wanted to be loved best, but she got over it.  This dramatic shift in loyalty helped a lot when the girl became a mom.  She was so focused on raising her young Buckeyes, she was grateful that the White Fluffy Dog had the Buckeye to look out for her.  It also helped that the White Fluffy Dog adored the little Buckeyes.  She loved babies, pacifiers, bottles and diapers.  She was always gentle with the little Buckeyes and over the years, tolerated a lot of hands-on rough and tumble play with them.  She adjusted to being a big sister with great aplomb.

 

Life changed drastically when the Littlest Buckeye turned 18 months old.  At this time the girl learned he was severely allergic to the White Fluffy Dog.  As much as the girl loved her White Fluffy Dog, she did what she had to.  The White Fluffy Dog went to live with her Buckeye’s parents.  The White Fluffy Dog lived with them for five long years (extremely long if you ask the Buckeye’s father).

As the LB grew and changed so did his immune system.  On a whim when he was seven, the girl decided to have him tested yet again for his dog allergy.  She almost didn’t believe the results.  Her White Fluffy Dog could come home.  It was magic all over again.

Having her White Fluffy Dog again brought wholeness to the girl’s heart.  The girl could handle all of her White Fluffy Dog’s quirks because of this wholeness.  Yes, the White Fluffy Dog had entered her golden years and was certainly set in her ways, but she was still magic.  She still was that same dog that ran towards you when you were hurting, sick or broken.  If the girl was sad, her White Fluffy Dog would lay down next to her.  The White Fluffy Dog never ran when faced with distress, rather this is when she shined.  There are no words to convey what this meant to the girl.  ‘Everything’ is a good one to start with.  It pretty much meant everything to the girl.

The girl had more time for her White Fluffy Dog as her little Buckeyes weren’t so little.  She walked her every day.  The girl loved these walks.  The girl fed her, brushed her and made sure she had her medicine.  While the White Fluffy Dog still loved the Buckeye the best, she appreciated all the love and care the girl showed her.  She followed the girl everywhere.  The magic continued…until it didn’t.

The White Fluffy Dog had lived 13.5 well-loved years when her body finally started to give out.  The girl was heartbroken.  The day came that the girl and her family had to say goodbye to the White Fluffy Dog.  She had cancer and was bleeding internally.  The White Fluffy Dog was ready to go.  When the White Fluffy Dog’s last moments arrived, the girl bravely held her in her arms.  The girl reasoned they had started out together, that it was only fitting that they were together when it ended.

The space the White Fluffy Dog has left in the girl’s home is enormous.  It is quiet in a way that is unsettling.  The girl now walks around with a White Fluffy hole in her heart.  Her only comfort is knowing that love eventually prevails.

After all, she learned this lesson from the best…

 

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family, motherhood

Greatest Hits (Happy Holidays 2015)

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I don’t know how you top going to the National Championship to see the Buckeyes win in 2015.  It was a spontaneous January trip to Dallas that fortunately ended in a Buckeye victory.  The whole of it was as special as the individual parts.  For Mom, sharing it as a family was the icing on the cake.  To read more, click here:

 The Story of a girl and her Buckeye

Losing a loved one not only changes who you are, it sometimes changes your ability to enjoy the things you used to love.  After losing my mom in 2009, I lost my passion for watching baseball. She was my partner in crime.  Thankfully after years and years of healing, the time to return to baseball finally felt right.  Thank you to the Cubs’ organization for making this season the best in ages.  Thank you especially for beating the Cardinals in the NLDS.  That pretty much sealed the fate of my boys’ allegiance forever.  Seriously, thank you!   To read more, click here:

The Story of a girl and her Buckeye (The Prequel)

Mad Dog and I recently celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.  Our relationship has weathered life’s ups and downs and above all else, we have maintained an underlying friendship.  He still makes me laugh more than anyone. He still is, in my opinion, ridiculously handsome which is also a plus.  But, the reason I love him so very much is because he loves the real me.  When I struggle with self-acceptance and doubt, he never judges.  When I say things in frustrated despair like, “Why can’t I just be normal?”  He responds with, “Full Speed isn’t ‘normal’, T.Puzzle isn’t ‘normal’ and I’m not ‘normal’.  Just be you.  Once you learn to be comfortable being you, things will fall into place.”  A better response I could not imagine.  Thank you, Mad Dog.  To read more, click here:

 True Love’s Cup

Parenting is hard.  I’ve seen enough and learned enough that the only surety is your ability to accept whatever is in front of you.  This year my boys finally no longer have to patch their eyes for amblyopia (lesser vision in one eye).  This all started when Full Speed was twenty months old.  He recently turned 11.  That’s a long time in kid years.  Again and again my boys and their vision challenges have taught me to accept what I can’t control.  That is so hard to do, but eventually, it’s all that remains.  To read more, click here:

 Eye Am Thankful

I started this blog when my boys were little.  I wrote it to cope.  If you ever had a chance to be around them when they were small, you would understand that my coping skills were challenged relentlessly.  Through the years we’ve all grown.  They continue to evolve.  I’m most grateful for the evolution of who-they-really-are.  They have this core of intangible awesomeness.  We all have it and sometimes the only person who can see it is your mother.  I see it.  They have it.  And, they are awesome.  Let me clarify, they are awesome but they are not perfect.  They back talk and fight.  They have a really hard time following directions, even super-detailed step-by-step directions.  They took FOREVER to potty-train, ride their bikes and tie their shoes.  Full Speed especially didn’t understand my distress over the shoe-tying.  I mean, he would just pay someone to tie them for him once he made it to the NFL anyway, so what was the big deal?   Life is too complicated to only focus on achievements (or lack thereof).  Achievements are a dime a dozen.  They come, they go and in the end, they aren’t really all that important.  That core of awesomeness, it is there, even if your kid gets an ‘F’ on a test (true story, it happens).  Instead, spend your time being present and consciously try to catch a glimpse of their awesomeness.  When you do, it is the best feeling in the world.  It is better than straight ‘As’, four hundred touchdowns or winning a spelling bee. It is Pure Love.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Holiday Blessings

ry=480Another year is drawing to a close and I still marvel at all the ways motherhood continues to challenge me and make me grow.  I am grateful to both my boys for always loving me even though I don’t always get things right.  Their perpetual love of life inspires me.  Their perpetual energy?  I’m still trying to get a handle on that.

Full Speed has grown tremendously this year.  His humor is getting more sophisticated and I love that he can crack me up on a regular basis.  As a fourth grader, I’m fairly sure that Santa’s existence is tenuous at best for him, but he keeps holding onto the dream.  I suspect he is doing it as much for me as he is for himself.  That only makes me love him more.

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T.Puzzle has changed dramatically.  He still has threads of empathy woven permanently into his soul, but it surfaces less now.   All he wants to do is play football.  If he’s not playing it, he’s talking about it.  I miss the sweetness of him, but I admire the competitor he’s become.

Which brings me to the new level of interaction my boys have with Mad Dog.  They all live, eat and breathe football.  Even my precious walks to school with the boys are now consumed with serious discussions about stats and standings.

There isn’t much I can do about it.  It would be like my boys asking me not to be a writer.  I can’t ask them to be something they aren’t.  My job is to help them fully realize who they are.  Right now that happens to be fanatical football fans.  Sure it would be nice to have someone to watch romantic comedies with, take long walks in nature and sit with me in silence as we ponder life and existence.

I guess that’s why dogs were created.

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gratitude, happiness, humor, kids, life in pictures, marriage, mommy cliques, mommyhood, motherhood, parenting, self care (or lack thereof), self-discovery

Happy 2011, Everyone!

Resolutions for 2011 are as follows–

T.Puzzle: To be Superman when I grow up!

That’s super, man.

Full Speed:  I promise to be the bestest boy in all the land.

Considering his initial behavior at our New Year’s lunch out by the ocean, this goal may be slightly on the lofty side.

Mad Dog:  To get fit and have more patience with my boys.

First of all, I think he looks fantastic as is and secondly, I’m thinking he wanted to add ‘and more patience with my wife’.  Since he was speaking this goal directly to me, he was wise to leave that part out.

Me:  To have more gratitude for what I already have.

Case in point...

That’s the great thing about motherhood, it gives you many reasons to be grateful.  I’m serious, mostly…, and no, I haven’t fallen and hit my head (at least not badly).

These are some of the lessons I learned throughout 2010.

1.  No matter how much you dream it or wish it, you are not in control of your life or your children.  It seems the more I try to micromanage Full Speed’s and T.Puzzle’s behavior, the more likely I am to fail and be miserable in the process.   Sometimes you have to let go and let them be who they are, even if that means they act wild sometimes, forget their manners and generally drive you and your spouse nuts.

2. On good days, motherhood is about the balance between caring for the needs of your kids and caring for your own needs.  On bad days, motherhood is about survival.  All you can do is survive until your children’s bedtime, chalk it up to a bad day and start the adventure anew the next day.

3.  When the bad stuff happens, it’s your best opportunity to learn.

4.  I am extremely lucky to have someone like Mad Dog as my children’s father.  Kids love to emulate what they see, and fortunately for me, this means they see love, respect and generosity as a way of life.

Full Speed puts his hands in his pockets just like Mad Dog on our day at the zoo.

5.  Frustration doesn’t get you very far.  Acceptance, an action plan and forgiveness go a whole lot further in this world.

6.  Having kids allows you to remember your own sense of fun.  It’s also a great excuse to wear silly hats when you ring in the new year.

Happy New Year, Everyone!