humor, motherhood

Picture This

Unbelievably I was asked to submit a baby photo of Full Speed to commemorate his upcoming graduation.  It is hard to fathom that he is on the cusp of being in high school but, here we are.  There were so many great photos to choose from, I sent in several.  The parent committee chose to display this one:

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Full Speed’s obsession with Elmo is evident by the joy of his smile.  Love this photo!

T.Puzzle would like a different angle when it comes to his future 8th grade photo selection.  He wants something that feels authentic to him.  After his coaching, I found a couple of gems.

When my boys were small and T.Puzzle would wake from a nap, I would plop Full Speed in his crib and they would wrestle and play.  More often than not, as it seemed to be the natural tendency of their interactions, their play would quickly turn violent.

Things would start out happy:

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This is the photo T.Puzzle wants me to send in once things went south.

At least his smile is genuine:

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motherhood

How to Train a Husband (It’s Not What You Think)

I was curled up in bed as another round of coughing wracked through my body.  I had been sick for four days and knew something was not right.  My body refused to heal and I couldn’t figure out why.

I had enough sense not to Google my symptoms.  In my weakened state any glimpse of doom I might read would derail any chance at wellness.

“Full Speed!”

I croaked out his name and asked him to join me in my room.  I asked him to Google dehydration for me.

He sat with me a long time.  He patiently read through each symptom discerning what he could share with me in my fragile state and what he could not.

After a few moments, we confirmed it.  I was dehydrated.  Full Speed helped me formulate a plan to get me feeling better.  He went and got me some Powerade.

This made me cry.

This confused him.

I went on to share that I was so proud of him for being a good caretaker.  I then confessed that the girl he may or may not have been messaging (he will neither confirm or deny this allegation), made me emotional.  Of course I am so happy he has found someone who has peaked his interest (or not), but I am sad he is no longer my ‘baby’.

This made me cry harder.  Torrents of tears and emotions poured out of me and nearly washed both of us away.

He continued to sit with me.

He listened.

He offered words of comfort and reassurance without judgment.

I said, “I don’t know if you realize this, but I am teaching you how to be in a relationship.  When your future (current?) girlfriend gets emotional you will be prepared.  You will know how to handle it just like you handled this situation with me.  In fact, you may wonder if ‘that’s all she’s got?’ because I admit, I may or may not be a tad more emotional than your average woman.”

With that, I let out even more tears.  When I was done, he twisted off the cap to my Powerade, handed it to me and left me with a hug.

As he left the room it hit me hard.

I was training him how to be a husband.

In my complete expression of what was in my heart and my mind, I was showing him how to sit with another’s vulnerability.

Showing Full Speed the truth of my inner world is a part of husband training.  The other half happened nearly two decades ago.  It started the minute I fell in love with Mad Dog.

At the time and being only twenty-four years old, I could not know how he would be as a husband and father years later.

He has far exceeded any expectation I ever had.

Every day he shows my boys what it means to be a husband.  They watch how he works tirelessly to provide for us and how he will do anything to make my dreams a reality.

When Full Speed clicked open that Powerade before he handed it to me, he did so after watching years of Mad Dog doing the same.

In no way am I saying that Full Speed is required to get married.  It is his life to live and it is frankly, none of my business.

My business is to stay truthful.  To continue to be authentic in how I live and love.

Sometimes I am embarrassed by how much emotion bubbles out of me at the most inopportune moments, but it is who I am.

In a way, this may be where my greatest strength originates.

I am lighting the way for love for both my boys.

True love.  The love that is most real.  The kind that endures the ups and downs of living a life together.

The kind that takes you on unexpected adventures but also finds your heart tucked safely inside gratitude simply by being together.

Exactly as we are.

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Mad Dog, thank you for taking me to see Michael Buble’.  You are the best.

 

 

 

dogs, motherhood

Times They are A-Changing

Things change as time passes.  Now, when I take my boys to the movies, they no longer jump up on the seat and shout at the screen during action sequences.  While I don’t miss wrangling them into a loosely based version of socially acceptable movie theater behavior, I do miss the wild abandon they would demonstrate as they actively believed they were part of the movie.  (Full Speed watching Transformers for the first time is the stuff of legends in our house).

On a personal level, over time I have noticed a shift in the way my body reacts to dips in temperature.  Ten years of living in Florida has given me the bold physical constitution of a tiny, very old woman.  My midwestern genes fail and I recoil at any temperature below eighty degrees.

My boys tease me endlessly about this.

Recently, Mad Dog purchased me a blanket.  It is velvety smooth and weighted.  Just the kind of thing to help combat cold weather and the stress of our on-going home renovation.

With the boys on break and the home stuff in full swing, we had to take refuge in our upstairs guest room.

I asked the boys to please bring up my new blanket.

Full Speed could barely contain his mirth.  He thought it was hilarious that it was sixty degrees out and I needed this mammoth-like blanket to warm me.

However, he was quickly overruled by Little Guy.

He knows greatness when he sees it:

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humor, motherhood

60,000 Points

We all have our quirks.

In fact, I must have been at the head of the line when quirks got handed out.  They abound in my life.

Mad Dog has his, too.

One of Mad Dog’s in particular is his penchant for ‘beating the system’.  While he is known to splurge on occasion (hello, Nike Buckeye shoes of every make and variety), he LOVES to save money or credit card points.

It’s like a game to him.

For instance when we exited the Mavs game a few weeks back, we had to walk several blocks (cold, drizzly, rainy blocks), to save eight dollars on our Uber ride home.

I didn’t say I had to like the game, but I am aware it is happening.

Until sometimes I’m not.

I’m just not.

Life in the Big D has been tumultuous.  Some of it the natural byproduct of a move across the country, some of it by virtue of home renovation.

Leading up to our annual Buckeye cruise, I was neck-deep in supervising our master bathroom renovation (it’s still not done).  There is also a new-build next door which required our shared fence to be torn down.  In addition to all this fun, our back alley is under construction.  I am no longer allowed to park in my garage (for six months!) but the bonus is lots of clanging, continuous construction noise.

With all of this going on, I was ready to vacate, I mean, I was ready for a vacation.

So ready.

Beyond ready.

To readiness and beyond.

Mad Dog promised me (PROMISED ME), that all I had to do was make it through one more day of complete and utter chaos.  Although our flight would land after midnight, I would rest my head on luxurious pillows and bed linens at a top-notch resort.

I did my part.  I managed and I delegated.  I packed and I organized.  I oversaw and I directed.  I kept our dogs safe and alive.  I got our awesome sitter up to speed.

I rocked out harder than Queen at Live Aid.

I continued to crush it.  I navigated the airport with grace (take that social anxiety!).  I found my zen as our flight bumped its way through the atmosphere (take that fear of flying!).

I was a woman on a mission.  My singular goal consisted of getting to the hotel and to the best of my ability, leave my life of stress behind me and RELAX.

ha ha ha

It was 1:30 a.m. local time when we were dropped off at our hotel lobby.  The receptionist greeted us and proceeded to locate our reservation for the night.

This is where things went from hopeful to uh-oh.

She informed Mad Dog that we weren’t technically booked until the next day (meaning the coming morning).  Mad Dog, in his game beating glory, thought he could save points by counting 1:30 a.m. as EARLY CHECK-IN.

Yes, using a certain credit card and bonus points will get you early check-in BUT NOT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GODFORSAKEN NIGHT.

Mad Dog played it cool.  No problem.  He asked to book whatever available room they had.

ha ha ha

No rooms.  None.  Zero. Zilch.

No problem.  Our courteous receptionist said to have a seat and she would try to find us something nearby.

All up and down the coast for the next twenty miles WAS BOOKED SOLID.

By this time it was after 2 in the morning.

Eventually, Mad Dog found an available room about forty minutes away.  While waiting for our Uber to take us there, I unleashed my fury.

I could barely look at him.  I could barely share an Uber with him.

He tried to make light.

“This would be something for the blog.”

I glared at him and said, “Never.  I am never going to speak of this.  I am too angry.”

Ah, yes, but as we know, anger fades with time.  Often the worst situations end of being the most hilarious if we keep an open mind.

The next day (technically the same day as we didn’t end up going to bed until after three in the morning), I could start to see the traces of humor in our points-saving adventure (which technically didn’t save us anything with the addition of a 40 min Uber ride to and from our original hotel).

As we were seated around the pool having returned to our fancy hotel, I told Mad Dog as much.

“Someday, I will look back on this story and laugh … so will my second husband.”

That’s the thing about love, it has to be unconditional and forgiving.  You only can love an accept another to the extent you can love and accept yourself.

I must be doing okay on the self-acceptance part because I forgave Mad Dog pretty quickly.

We ended up having a fantastic cruise.  The time away helped me remember all the reasons why I fell in love with him.

Too numerous to count.

 

 

 

 

 

 

motherhood

MJ Forever

I grew up in a house with Chicago sports playing in the background.  Watching sports was my mother’s passion.  I quickly learned if I wanted to spend time with her, watching whatever team was on T.V. was my in.

Obviously, my love of baseball and the Cubs came from her.  Some sports, no matter how much I loved her, I could not bring myself to watch (sorry Illini football).  But some, filled my heart with glee.

Enter the era of MJ.

Michael Jordan was like no other.  I could have watched him for days.

I was lucky enough to see him play in person when the Bulls were in their heyday.

The electricity, the showmanship, the roar of the crowd … all part of the extraordinary magic of this time in sports history.

I think Jordan and the Bulls ruined me forever.  Since that time, I cannot bring myself to invest in watching another NBA team.

Yet,

I do understand the value of a shared experience with the people you love.  Therefore, I kept a minimally open mind as we attended a Dallas Mavericks game at the American Airlines Center.

My expectations were low and initially, my attention wandered … a lot.

The first quarter showed a little flair, but the second and third saw the Mavs dropping well behind the Trail Blazers.

It wasn’t pretty.

Somehow, led by the spark of Luka Doncic, the Mavs came back to life in the fourth quarter ending the game in a spectacular fashion.

Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard duel in Mavericks’ win vs. Trail Blazers | NBA Highlights

Maybe the Mavs and Luka were trying to win me over.

Maybe it kind of worked.

Maybe all that really mattered were the smiles of victory on my boys’ faces.

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Bet my Mom would have loved every minute.