humor, motherhood, parenting

My Brush with Danger

As the lone female in our house I get that I am more detailed oriented when it comes to self-care and the minutiae of running a home.  It then lands on me to decide how important I think something is and to the degree I want to pursue it.

Take toothbrushes for example.  I took it upon myself to buy everyone electric brushes because I believe (or at least believe the marketing) that these will improve my boys’ oral hygiene (especially with T.Puzzle newly in braces).  This particular kind sends you replacement heads every three months.

Great.

So the three month mark arrives and it’s time to replace.  Absolutely no one other than myself cares about this.

No one.

Either I replace them all or all three of my guys will use the brush they have indefinitely.

While I did drag my feet on principle I couldn’t take it anymore and set about getting new bristles in place.

The grime I encountered on the boys’ brushes as I did so made my skin crawl.  I’m not sure what it was or how my boys had not yet contracted a flesh-eating bacteria from it, but the muck and guck in and around the toothbrush holder and on the toothbrushes themselves, made me queasy, queasy, queasy.

How they saw that and still used the brushes is a mystery or a remarkable act of courage.

I now have a choice.  I can give them instructions on the ins and outs of daily brush care, or I can let it go.

If I let it go, which is the direction I am leaning, I am praying that I can Amazon Prime myself a hazmat suit for when the next replacement bristles arrive.

IMG_8044
Lucky to be alive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

family, humor, motherhood, parenting

A Humble Hero’s Journey

Your parents are right.”

Words more dreaded than this for a teenage boy simply do not exist.

This is where the story of our beleaguered hero begins.

He had a humble upbringing.  Raised by a beautiful, age-defying, always-dancing mother and an extremely handsome (you’re welcome, Mad Dog) and benevolent father, our hero rose unassumingly through life’s ranks and, as any good story would have it, found himself face-to-face with doom (aka high school).

Our Humble Hero was not afraid for he new his birthright.

Great men are born to great men.

He had done the math (sort of, just don’t check his eighth grade Algebra 1 transcript) and realized he had everything he needed to succeed.  He had wit, he had charm and he had incredible good looks (you’re welcome, Full Speed).

He had everything he needed except for one thing …

study skills.

Most academic heroes, grammar gods and algebraic warriors know that without such skills, failure looms large.  Their parents also know this.  These parents state the obvious and hope their progeny take heed.  Things like attending tutorials with teachers, studying in study hall (gasp!) and taking your time on tests all fall under the wisdom arc of great, parental knowledge.

Did our Humble Hero listen to these time-tested tenets of success?

Here is his story told in his own words:

Call to Adventure: The call to adventure occurs after parent night. Mad Dog learned that the Humble Hero’s L. A. teacher had tutorials. He came home and said “The Great Teacher has tutorials Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning.

You should go”.

Refusal of the Call: Our hero ignored the call thinking that he was too cool for more school. He assured Mad Dog that everything was under control.

Acceptance of the Call: One day, the hero got his grammar/vocab quiz back. He had missed 9 grammar questions for a score of 82. It was at this moment he knew he had messed up.

Crossing the Threshold: The hero arrived at The Great Teacher’s door and he entered the special world of her classroom.

The journey had begun.

Meeting the Mentor: All heroes need a guide that shows them the ways of life. The Great Teacher showed the hero how to become one with the grammar gods.

Trials and Tests: In class, the hero had to deal with worksheets about grammar. The days went by and eventually the hero finally figured out what a preposition does.

The Supreme Ordeal: All of the hero’s hard work had prepared him for this moment. A 50 question quiz with half of those being grammar. Mere mortals could not withstand the pressure of this quiz. But, our hero isn’t mortal. Brandishing his magic weapon, (a worn down mechanical pencil), he was able to complete the quiz with only minimal suffering.

The Reward: Much to his surprise, the hero had accomplished his goal. He had gotten an A on the grammar quiz.

Return with the Elixir: The hero was overjoyed. He couldn’t wait to tell his parents what he had accomplished.

Mad Dog’s response “I was right, wasn’t I?”

The hero could only muster, “Maybe”.

From this moment forward, strange occurrences became the Humble Hero’s new normal.  As he began to attend other tutorials along with continuing to be mentored by the Great Teacher, all his test scores and grades improved.

How could it be?  Do you mean to tell me the Humble Hero had the power to succeed THE WHOLE TIME.  Move over sister, your ruby slippers got nothing on this guy.

The moral of the story is simple.

Listen to your parents.

And, maybe listen the first time.

But, then again, where’s the adventure in that?

IMG_7994
A special shout-out to my fearless collaborator.  Thanks for staying true to you,
humor, kids, motherhood

Memories in the Making

I’m pretty sure July 3rd is ‘Take Your Kids To Work’ Day.  I asked Mad Dog about it, but he wasn’t buying it.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy my time with my boys, in fact it’s kind of awesome.  Being able to hang out with them with no agenda has been incredibly fun.  However, after they spend loads of unstructured time together, this leads to frustration and maybe occasional acting out.  Therefore, please, “Take Your Kids to Work” Mad Dog.

I insist.

In all seriousness, I am grateful how much I enjoy their company.  This is the reward of parenting.  All the blood, sweat and tears has paid off.  Not to say their won’t be challenges ahead, but at least for this moment, being a mom is a lot of fun.

IMG_7087 copyIMG_0098IMG_7092IMG_7095

Moving forward I understand that they will not want to hang out with me forever.  Even though I am entertaining, am an excellent Jazzerciser (this is cutting edge cool, right?) and know a lot of really famous people:

IMG_7086IMG_7094IMG_7097IMG_7099

Ah, but we will always have the memories of this summer … I intend to make the most of them.

 

dogs, motherhood

This Guy

My voice rang clear as we zipped along the street towards home.  Seconds earlier I had declared, “This song is my jam.”

There is nothing more cringe-worthy than a parent stating that any song is their jam.

It’s kind of why I had to say it.  It’s kind of true that saying songs are my jam is kind of my jam because my boys think it’s weird.

But, on this day, I didn’t let that stop me.  On this day, I really did wanna dance with somebody.

Maybe even somebody who loves me.

IMG_6795.jpg
You know who loves me?  This guy.

 

grief, motherhood

Decade (Without You)

Dear Mom,

This Mother’s Day 2019 is my tenth one without you.

I miss you.

Since you died I have to be honest, Mother’s Day has not felt right to me.  Without you, I don’t know how to be on this day.  For thirty-four years I knew, and then for the last ten, I don’t.

It isn’t for lack of having awesome kids of my own.  How I wish you could know them as they are now.  I imagine the scope of sports stats you would discuss with Full Speed would know no bounds.  T.Puzzle would crack you up.  A lot.

I didn’t exactly follow your parenting paradigm, but my boys were paradigm busters. They were/are firecrackers.  I made it up as we went along.  I had to.  I didn’t have you to ask for advice.

I made mistakes.  A lot of mistakes.  So many mistakes.  What I didn’t account for was the natural resilience of both my boys.

There really isn’t much I can do to mess that up.  My best course of action is no action at all.  

I’d like to think that some of your best qualities are reflected in both of them.  Full Speed has your practical logic locked down.  He has an uncanny ability to throw reason at me when I am hooked into an emotional arc of uncertainty.  T.Puzzle’s quick wit often reminds me of you.

You always made me laugh.

I miss laughing with you.

If I could talk to you I’d like you to know that Mad Dog loves me for exactly who I am.  You and I suspected he did, but time and living a life together has proven this as fact.

I’d want you to know that the Cubs finally won the World Series.  My heart still aches that I couldn’t share that experience with you.

I was at game three and game five at Wrigley.

For real.

Not too shabby for a girl growing up in the cornfields of Illinois.

Sometimes I wonder who your current favorite player would be.  My guess changes from season to season.  I know you would love Javy but he’s a bit of a loose cannon.  Maybe Schwarber for his gritty comeback?  Maybe Zo with his MVP World Series run and his cool demeanor on the field and at the plate?

I wish I could talk baseball with you.

I wish I could tell you that I am a writer now.  I have always been but now I sometimes get published.  And sometimes the letters I configure on a page help others remember they are loved and moves them towards healing.

To me, that is grace.

To me, that is everything.

I would tell you that I love you.  That you shaped me into the woman that I am.  That because of you I love birds, baseball and the color blue.

I know that you sometimes couldn’t understand why I wore my heart on my sleeve but it’s okay, you are not alone in this.  Now that I am older I realize my emotionality isn’t a choice, it is a way of being.  It hurts me more to hide it, so I hide it less and less.

Either way, you’d love me.  Either way, you loved me.

I still carry your voice in my heart and your love in my soul.

In many ways, you never left me.

I wish I could take you to the mountains.  I wish I could sit next to you on a porch and listen to the birds calling each other home.  I wish I could take your hand in mine, look you in your clear blue eyes and tell you what is true.

I love you, Mom.

Always have, always will.

Happy Mother’s Day.