Happy Holidays, motherhood

Life Lessons of 2017

It’s hard to believe, but another year is drawing to a close.  To date, this has been a year of tremendous change as Full Speed became a teenager (!) and T.Puzzle jumped more solidly into the double-digit realm.  It’s not the age-number per say, 13 and 11 respectively, but the growth and maturation I’ve seen from them.  It’s been a lot to process as I am seeing more clearly the young men they are becoming.

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Full Speed is on the left, T.Puzzle on right

T.Puzzle continues to surprise us.  He developed a love of distance running.  How Mad Dog and I produced a distance runner is still a bit mystifying, but it is awesome that T.Puzzle is finding his own interests and pursuits.  LEGO construction and playing video games remain firmly at the top of his list, but nice to know that he likes to get up and go sometimes, too.

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Full Speed became a middle-schooler this year (it starts in seventh grade in our region) and he has adjusted beautifully.  He shows leadership to his classmates willingly coaching them through Algebra assignments, and has a zest for presentations in class.  A recent assignment in Civics had him debating school politics and he was in his zone.  Leadership qualities and a passionate debater, hmmm…does that sound like anyone we might know?  He also learned that not every dream is realized as he tried out for his school’s soccer team and didn’t make the cut.  My favorite part about this life lesson was his genuine happiness for a long-time friend and classmate who did make the team this year.  It’s not to say that Full Speed’s given up on soccer forever, but oh my, isn’t there a wonderful world of possibilities out there waiting for him?

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One of the very best parts of 2017 was the addition of our newest family member, Miss Lady.  She is by no means a perfect dog, but she absolutely has been the perfect dog for our family.  She keeps things lively here which I’m not so sure our senior resident (Little Guy) appreciates.

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Little Guy’s shocked expression captures the essence of his disbelief at the amount of his new sister’s energy.

If you ever need to feel like you are the most amazing being alive, come on over and hang out at our house for a while, Miss Lady will not disappoint with her enthusiastic snuggles and love for you.

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Miss Lady is as sweet as she looks.

Mad Dog continues to travel all over America and then some as the scope of the call centers he oversees grows and grows. As hard as it is to be away from him sometimes, I see how fulfilling his position is and know that it is keeping him challenged and inspired. That’s truly all I want for all three of my boys, to be challenged and inspired.

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As for me, I’ve made a little more space in my life for the things I enjoy.  I continue to walk our dogs every day, have started a daily yoga routine and write as much as possible.

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Life is short so whatever brings us joy is absolutely what we should pursue.  It’s as simple as that.

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Hope you had beauty-filled 2017 and that the lessons that lie ahead for all of us keep us growing in the direction of love.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

children, gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

The Goal is LOVE (Happy New Year)

When I began this blog, I didn’t really have any big goals.  I was still grieving the profound loss of my mom, which does and doesn’t get easier, and coping with raising two rambunctious boys.  I started writesforallmommies on a whim and it became a great coping mechanism for me.  It allowed me to connect with others in a way that my very introverted personality sometimes doesn’t allow.

Through the years, I have had posts that click with a reader, friend or relative.  That is the best feeling in the world.  To know that something I wrote resonated and hopefully made them feel less alone.  Let’s be honest, raising children (or life in general) can be very isolating.  We feel judged as much as we judge.  We question ourselves as much as we question others.  We put on a brave front that we know what we are doing, when in fact, we know very little about how our actions will impact the future.  It is frightening and exhilarating and mystifying and lovely all at once.

I recently received an email from a mom thanking me for my support during her daughter’s recent diagnosis of ectopia lentis. This is the same, genetic eye disorder both of my boys have. It is so rare, that it is difficult to find adequate resources on-line or anywhere at all for that matter. This mom is one of three that has contacted me through writesforallmommies.com concerning this matter.

To be able to help these moms cope with the overwhelming feelings that came with this bizarre sounding disorder has been one of the greatest rewards of writing this blog.  I share this with you because if you are going through a particularly rough patch right now, know that it is preparing you to be of service to someone else.  My boys were undiagnosed for a long, long time and not knowing anyone who had gone through the same experience was gut-wrenching.  I know I didn’t completely prevent the feelings of despair for these women, but I eased the way and gave them hope.  My boys are living proof that vision does not define them.  They are awesome, adaptive and remarkable.  No matter what happens with their vision down the road, they will remain awesome, adaptive and remarkable.

You are all those and more, dear reader.

Happy New Year!

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children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Losing It (Soccer, Teeth and Otherwise)

In the first game of our 3v3 season in U8 soccer, our roster of four (consisting of one eight-year old and three six-year olds in a division against seven and eight year olds), we held our own.  While it ended in a tie, it was hard-fought and everyone gave their best effort.  T.Puzzle even managed to score his first ever legitimate goal.  In his selective remembering, it is his second goal.  He is under the impression that last fall he scored.  The truth is, and we haven’t had the heart to explain it, he had kicked it in the direction of the goal and while he had turned away to run his victory lap, a teammate actually nudge it in the last couple feet.  So, we all celebrated as he got his ‘second’ goal.  Naturally, before it even crossed into the net, he raced down the field with his arms victoriously extended in World Cup-like enthusiasm. His joy was contagious. 

The second game our World Cup dreams were quickly dashed as an opponent, who it’s very possible drove himself to the field because he seemed adult-sized compared to our team, drilled goal after goal into our net.   The younger kids kept on going while Full Speed broke down.  When you are a passionate competitor like Full Speed, losing is like taking a bullet.  In this case, it was like taking bullet after bullet.  Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch….

In the end, I didn’t mind that we lost and badly.  It turned into a great opportunity for the boys to learn about life.  Sometimes things don’t go your way.  It doesn’t matter what the outcome is as long as you handle yourself with dignity.  Yes, Full Speed was crushed but he survived.  Our focus in the future is to teach him that win or lose, life goes on.  However, it’s a lot more fun when you are the one scoring all the goals…just ask T.Puzzle!

 

In addition to scoring his 'second' and 'third' goals, T.Puzzle lost his very first tooth.  Quite a day for this World-Cup future phenom!
In addition to scoring his ‘second’ and ‘third’ goals, T.Puzzle lost his very first tooth. Quite a day for this World Cup future phenom!
children, gratitude, loss of parent, motherhood, parenting

Fill the Bucket

My Mom and me. I owe her all the beauty, humor and light in my life. The rest doesn’t matter because she showed me what love means. Even if you make a mistake or don’t succeed, if you have love in your life, you have everything you need.

Moms don’t really get the credit they deserve.  There isn’t actually any quantifiable way to say we are successfully raising our kids.  How much are we, as Moms, responsible for the successes and the failures of our kids?  At what point do we stop shaping our children’s outcomes and allow them to take personal responsibility for themselves and their own actions?  Even into adulthood, are Moms responsible when a grown child isn’t reaching their full potential?

I don’t have the answers.  I do know that motherhood can be extremely rewarding but mostly on an intrinsic level.  Sure, we have Mother’s Day but in general, our hard work and dedication is rarely recognized on an external level.  This really isn’t such a bad thing.  I believe life is about being your personal best and if the world sees it, great, and if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.  All that really matters is how you, and you alone feel about the way you are living your life.  It also helps if on occasion, your kid says or does something that warms your heart.

Full Speed explained to me that he learned about ‘filling other people’s buckets’ at school.  Essentially, by acknowledging others, you ‘fill their bucket’ with kindness and appreciation.  He took these words to heart.  He told me as he walked over to meet me, that he shared with the crossing guard that he was a ‘really good crossing guard’.  Full Speed also plans to tell the lunch ladies on Monday that they are doing ‘a really great job.’

I may not get trophies or a big paycheck honoring the work I do as a mother, but after I listened to Full Speed I thought, “Wow, maybe I had a little something to do with the making of this remarkable kid.”

My bucket is full.

children, kids, motherhood, parenting

Snowfall

Full Speed back when snow was not his friend

The turkey is gone, thanks has been given and now it’s time for more holiday cheer.  The positive to living in a warmer climate is that there is no snow for Christmas.  The negative is that there is no snow for Christmas.  It is awfully hard to drum up Christmas spirit when you’ve sent your boys to school in shorts all year.

I saw an ad on television where there were mounds and mounds of snow.  It brought back many midwestern memories and I was reminded of how much Full Speed hated snow as a little one.  When I would pick him up from preschool during winter the reports from teachers, besides the obvious won’t-sit-still-for-a-moment ones, were how he would cry in misery when it was time for outside recess.  If Mad Dog and I would attempt to pull him on a small sled around our yard, he would yelp in frustration as tears would freeze on his tiny, unhappy face.  Looking back I can actually say that the memory of it is kind of sweet.  Living through it was awful and yet time has dulled the sharp edges of Full Speed’s snow-covered tantrums.

What I realized is that if I can finally find the humor in Full Speed’s snow experience, maybe whatever challenges I face with him today will have the same result.

I guess into each life a little snow must fall and it’s up to us to find a way to shape it into something lighthearted…eventually.