children, family, grief, humor, kids, kindergarten, loss of parent, motherhood, parenting

Mom’s Best Advice

I L-O-V-E this kid!Last week T.Puzzle’s teacher approached me for a conference.  The thing about conferences is that they usually doesn’t consist of the teacher listing all the ways your kid is truly outstanding.  As I entered the school building for the impending conference, I had a feeling she wouldn’t share anything with me that I didn’t on some level, already know.  Basically, he speeds through everything, oversimplifies and isn’t interested in expounding on anything, ever.  Pretty typical stuff for a kindergartener, but as his classmates are slowing down and answering questions in more detail, he is fine to zip through his schoolwork at a breakneck pace (Full Speed, Jr., anyone?). There’s not much to be done except encourage him to slow down as he does tasks at home and try to prompt more than one-word answers from him (Mad Dog, Jr., anyone?).

The hardest part of this conference day is that all I really wanted to do was call my Mom to talk about it.  She was always the perfect combination of empathic listener with a good dose of pragmatism.  She had a way of putting things in perspective while taking into consideration my extremely sensitive nature.

I miss that.

I miss her.

Of course she is on the forefront of my mind as Mother’s Day approaches.  All I can do is remember a conversation I had with her shortly before she passed.  She told me l knew her well enough that if I ever needed her advice when she was gone, I could imagine what she would tell me and I’d be exactly right.

So?  What would she tell me?  That T.Puzzle is brilliant, charming and handsome.  She’d tell me that he’s an extremely active boy who would rather play soccer than sit still, write sentences or answer questions.  She would tell me that I’m a great Mom and it’s only kindergarten.  She’d tell me to focus on the good stuff the teacher said like how T.Puzzle is respectful to his classmates and his teachers.  She’d tell me that when he’s CEO of a Fortune 500 company or president of the United States, that how he behaved in kindergarten won’t matter.  It matters only to his future first grade teacher and first grade is months away.  A lot can change over a summer and be patient.  It will all work out just fine.

Thanks, Mom.  I needed that.

children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Growing Pains

ry=400-4Somehow, my boys have the nerve to keep growing up.  Not only are they more self-sufficient, they keep getting taller and taller.  How do pants shrink overnight?  How is it that one minute pjs fit, and the next day T.Puzzle and Full Speed could be in a Chris Farley ‘Big Kids in little PJs’ skit?

How, as Moms, do we not see this?  Maybe because we are with them every day and the changes are subtle.  Or, maybe, as Moms, a part of us feels our kids will never grow, therefore, they will never outgrow us.

Full Speed recently had a revelation.  One of his teachers was talking about her grown kids and told him that her son was taller than her.  Full Speed thought this was hilarious.  “Mom, someday, I’m going to be taller than you!”  His eyes gleamed at the thought while my stomach dropped to my shoes.

As Full Speed turned to leave the room I said, “Well, I guess I better be extra nice to you now so when you are bigger, you will be nice to me.  By the way, did I mention how incredibly handsome you look today?”

He looked back, paused and said, “Wait a minute, are you saying that so I will be nice to you when I’m bigger?”


I didn’t have the heart to tell him that all I was really doing was using humor to deflect the tears that were welling up inside me.

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, family, gratitude, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Happy Mother’s Day!

Here is a Mother’s Day letter written by Full Speed.  It is probably one of the best letters ever and I’m not just saying that because I’m his Mom (oh, yes I am!).

I would like to thank all of you for continuing to read my adventures in motherhood.  I started this blog to document the ups and downs of raising my two, spirited boys.  Over time, it has become a great way to help me cope with the craziness of my life.  Now, I continue to write it simply because I love to write and because I hope it brings humor and light to those who read it.  So, basically I’m saying, I hope it helps you with problems you’ve never heard about. 

On this Mother’s Day, regardless if you have children or not, I hope you have people in your own life who celebrate how amazing you are today and every day.

children, family, gratitude, humor, motherhood, parenting

Leapin’ Lizards

English: Lizard English: Eidechse
Image via WikipediaI

I was unwrapping a box on our dining room table.  After I had cut through some plastic and rubber bands to get to its contents, I started to clear the area.  I absent-mindedly grabbed a rubber band and then the world stopped.  On closer inspection I realized this unfortunate rubber band was actually a tiny, dead, three-inch lizard.  I had it pinched firmly between my thumb and forefinger.  I dropped it as if it were on fire and screamed my pretty little head off.

The boys raced into the dining room to see what was seemingly threatening the safety of their mother.  I was logical enough to quickly convey that physically I was fine.  Emotionally, well, the jury’s still out on that one.

I asked Full Speed to get a paper towel, pick up the deceased lizard and toss it outside.  I wasn’t sure how he was going to react.  I didn’t know if he would mirror my hysteria or step up to the challenge.  Thankfully, he was a as cool as a cucumber.

I told him he was my hero.  “I bet it was weird hearing me scream like a little girl, wasn’t it?”

“That’s okay, Mom.  You are a girl so you can scream like one,” he replied without judgement.

Wow.  A hero who simultaneously rescues and bolsters your self-esteem.  Leapin’ lizards he’s a good kid!

Take that, lizard!