Truth!

In addition to cleaning out my closets, I have been cleaning up my blog.  I have a newly updated About page which you can read here:

ABOUT

I went through my first year of posts to edit the boys’ names.  I originally referred to them as Frick and Frack.  These were the nicknames my mom gave them when they were very little.  You could see how this could become confusing to a reader so I went back through and updated their names to Full Speed and T.Puzzle.  There are a lot of posts in that first year that made me laugh out loud and made my heart swell with love.  There are touching posts, posts about the loss of my mother and posts about how Mad Dog is always right (not really!) and as a married couple we never fight (no comment!).  There are some posts I read through where I cringed and broke out in a cold sweat.  It was like I was right back in it.  Reliving those vivid details of some of the epic power struggles I endured with my boys (especially T.Puzzle at the onset of his terrible threes) was not for the faint of heart.  After reading these I fully understand why I never felt compelled to expand my brood.  However, I am deeply grateful for the two that I have.  One of the biggest takeaways in terms of my parenting abilities is NEVER ASK ME HOW TO POTTY TRAIN!  I failed repeatedly and miserably not once but twice.  There was a point in time that I wondered if I should buy stock in Pull-Ups as I was fairly certain my boys would be wearing them FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!  Again, I could not do that again.  Two is my absolute limit.  I heard the Pull-Ups people were really bummed to hear that.

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T.Puzzle is stunned that he actually learned to use the potty.

There were some stand-out posts and there were some where I was clearly phoning it in.  However, there was one in particular that floored me.  It is the one I wrote on the year anniversary of Writes for All Mommies’ inception date.  Here is my favorite passage from it:

I think the biggest change for me has been coming to terms with motherhood. I think sometimes when we are unhappy with who we are, we blame our choices and our circumstances. I will admit, especially in the newborn years, I struggled with my all-consuming role as a mother. I thought that maybe if I had made some different choices, like continuing to work or if I was somehow parenting better, I would feel happier. Turns out, it wasn’t my boys or motherhood, it was me. It doesn’t matter what I accomplish outside of motherhood that determines my value, it is ultimately up to me to determine that. Whether I become a world-famous author or if all I manage is to raise two, well-adjusted boys, my value remains constant. I get that now.

Truth is timeless.  That is for sure.

You can read the post in its entirety here:

HAPPY BLOG-A-VERSARY TO ME!

From this I would like to take it one step further.  What if I actually don’t have to do a thing to prove my value?  What if our value is actually tied to who we are and not what we do?  Is it possible my value was already locked down before I even decided to have kids or pour my heart out on my laptop keyboard?

I now know this is not only possible, it is absolute truth.

It’s true for all of us.

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Sending love to you all.

The G.O.A.T.

Some evenings the stars do not align and my boys have practices at different times.  This is never a problem if Full Speed is the one waiting for his start time.  All I have to do is bring a book for him and he is content to wait it out.  T.Puzzle is more complicated.  Sometimes he likes books and sometimes he hates them.  Sometimes he’s chatty and sometimes he is belligerently bored.  And, being that I am a stubborn sort myself, I don’t allow electronics during the week.  Basically, I’m stuck with him for better or for worse.  Recently, I’ve been able to embrace this time with him a little bit more.  Working on word puzzles with him is a good bet and I find his self-centric worldview to be incredibly entertaining.

As we were sitting in my car waiting for his practice time I was overcome by a wave of love for him.  You remember the kind maybe?  It’s like that moment when you crept into your child’s room to gaze upon them when they were small and peacefully asleep.  Watching the sweet rise and fall of their chest made you feel like your heart would burst right out of yours.  That is the best feeling and one I felt I wanted to share.

“You are so cute!” I gushed.

T.Puzzle’s instant response with dimples blazing, “I know.”

This kid.  He thinks he is the G.O.A.T. (the greatest of all time).

A few weeks back I got a call from his school informing me he had hit his head.  All was well but recently he asked me about it.  How did I know he didn’t have a concussion?  I said that the school nurse had asked him a bunch of questions that he answered correctly and that indicated he was fine.  What were the questions he wanted to know?

“Well, she asked you who your favorite person in the whole world was and you said ‘my mom’ and that’s how we knew you were okay.”

“I know your lying, Mom.  That couldn’t be true.  If the nurse did ask me that the answer wouldn’t be you, it would be me.  I am my favorite person in the whole world.”

A G.O.A.T. is born.

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Mr. GOAT’s sunscreen application he insisted he DO IT HIMSELF!

64 lbs

A 5’6 twelve-year-old is a sight to behold.  Especially in a sea of more average to small-framed kids usually seen at any given game for a U12 flag football team.  Full Speed’s rather tall teammate is a huge offensive and defensive weapon.  The QB only needs to launch the ball in the general vicinity of him and his giant wingspan and leaping ability almost guarantee a completion. Needless to say, it’s been a very fun season for Full Speed and his winning team.

When the news broke that our super receiver and starting QB couldn’t attend Saturday’s game, we all began to wonder how we would fare without them.  My friend’s son would step in as QB, and while he had experience in this slot with previous teams, he had never run routes with this current team.  And, coupled with missing our surefire receiver, where does that leave the team?  Pinning our hopes and dreams on the crazy fast quickness of Full Speed.

The night before the game Full Speed’s coach had pulled him aside.  He warned him to get a good night’s sleep and be prepared for a lot of hand-offs.  Mad Dog and I were a little perplexed.  Full Speed averaged about ten runs a game and was pretty successful even scoring an occasional touchdown, but how many more runs did that mean?  Twenty?  Thirty?

Oh my.

The morning of the game Full Speed pounded on our bedroom door earlier than expected.

“Can I get up now?  I know it’s early but I’m too pumped up for the game to sleep.”

Oh my.

Before a game, Full Speed becomes silently serious.  On the ride to the fields he was a ball of nerves and I could tell he was doing his best to be focused and brave.  I didn’t know what to think.  On one hand, I knew that Full Speed, as do all of us, have this remarkable capacity to step up our game when needed.  On the other hand, I prayed that at least the team would remain competitive, would have a chance for other players to shine and that some positive lessons about heart and effort would be learned.

At the coin toss, the other team won possession.  My stomach gave a nervous little lurch as the refs lined up the teams for the first snap.  Right out of the gate the opposition passed the ball to midfield where a player handily snagged it and ran for a touchdown.  I cringed as the player zipped into the end zone and worried that this was going to set the tone for the game.

Full Speed’s team lined up to hopefully answer.  It seemed like a longshot.  Mad Dog and I knew Full Speed was getting the ball as his right hand twitched with nervous anticipation.  Then, it was on.  He was off to the races.  He zigged, he zagged, he juked and he spun.  He kicked into this extraordinary high gear and broke the ankles of players twice his size.  They all were left standing in his wake confused that this little dynamo couldn’t be caught.  He ran and ran, then he ran some more.  We could hear the QB say, ‘I don’t need to pass, it’s fun to watch Full Speed run all over the field.’  To the QB’s credit, as well as all the other members of the team, they all gave tremendous effort when it was needed.  Even a player not known for speed, lumbered his way for an impressive gain.  The other team backed off for fear of being run over.  His parents were seated next to me and said that his recent growth spurt had him weighing in at 118 lbs.  Full Speed weighs 64.

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

-Mark Twain

By game’s end, Full Speed had four touchdowns, countless runs and who knows how many Heisman worthy yards gained all leading to victory.

If 64 lbs can accomplish that, what can you do?

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Summer Memories 2015

This summer was the first time my boys ever played organized basketball.  There was a part of me that really dreaded this.  On some level, I knew my boys were going to have some challenges mastering the sport.  I was absolutely right.  They both quickly learned that remembering all the rules, dribbling while in motion and taking a shot with someone twice their size right in their face were all rather impossible.  On a positive note, they both looked absolutely adorable in their uniforms.  So, basically, they always have their looks to fall back on.

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In all seriousness, I knew the season was going to be tough when the first team the boys played was adult-size and had been playing together for six years.  I actually thought it could have been longer than six years as I was pretty sure I had seen their center driving his own car to the game (not really, but I did want to check his birth certificate to verify his supposed under 10 age).  Needless to say, my boys are not so motivated to hoop it up anytime soon.  Long live soccer!!

Over the course of summer, in between basketball practices and games, I got to spend a tremendous amount of time with my guys.  For the most part, I found this time to be truly delightful.  I enjoyed their humor, their company and their energy for life.  It wasn’t all smooth.  There were some classic moments such as these:

  1.  Full Speed and the Situation I took the dogs for a walk and instructed the boys to get themselves ready for soccer camp.  Here is actual text communication sent from Full Speed, “Where are you? We have a situation with the Gatorade bottle.”  Two minutes later I received this text, “The problem is I can’t open the Gatorade.”  Thankfully, this ‘situation’ was quickly resolved but the text cracked me up for the rest of the day.
  2. T.Puzzle’s Hug Aversion  T. Puzzle hates it when I ask him to hug me.  He acts as if he is being sentenced to death and tries all sorts of creative ways to get out of it.  I told him to ask his brother how to handle it.  Full Speed said, “When Mom wants a hug, just man-up and do it.”  Still, to no avail.  I eventually had to take a hard line with him and he will give me hugs but there is still a lot of resistance.  So, it surprised me when he approached me for what seemed like a genuine unsolicited hug.  “Wow, T.Puzzle, that was so nice.”  He looked at me and said, “Dad told me to find you and said I had to hug you, so I did.”  Okay, thanks?
  3. Full Speed’s Independence  When your ten year-old has ‘situations’ with Gatorade bottles, sometimes when you ponder the future, you wonder if he will be able to live independently.  Full Speed was looking in the fridge and he couldn’t find something.  “Mom, where is it?  I can’t find it anywhere!”  I walked over, opened the door and promptly found it in two seconds.  I said in a rather exasperated tone, “I really am going to have to live with you when you are older, aren’t I?”  He replied, “No, Mom, because I’m going to be the one who puts everything away so I will know where stuff is.”  Touche’.
  4. T.Puzzle’s Future Living Arrangements  Since Full Speed has established in his mind that he will be living independently from his parents in the future, he has lots of ideas about how this will happen.  He talks about possible occupations, where he wants to live and hopes I will take care of his dogs when he has to travel.  When I ask T.Puzzle about the future he is often mute on the subject.  Even though he is hug aversive, deep down, he really is attached to me and I think he can’t fathom living anywhere else than where he is right now.  Full Speed’s solution is simple.  T.Puzzle can live with him.  Well, that’s all fine and good, but I’ve noticed Full Speed can be very particular in his ways.  T.Puzzle is a little more free-flowing with life.  “How are you going to live with your brother if he annoys you on a regular basis, Full Speed?”  He answer was simple, “My house, my rules.”


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The Growing Problem

I know I have a weird denial about my boys growing bigger.  Part of it is for the obvious ‘don’t-want-them-to-grow-up-too-fast’, the other part is I sincerely dislike taking them clothes shopping.  Since we were at the pool this past week and my boys were in their very small, very short swim trunks, my denial of taking them shopping was starting to crumble.  As I looked around, I realized that they were in the minority.  And, come to think of it, they were about the only ones at basketball camp that didn’t have the standard, down-to-the-knee basketball shorts.  I mean at one point the shorts they wore did fall to their knees, but no longer.  Darn.  Time to go shopping.

I wanted to make this outing as quick and painless as possible.  Once we were at Target, I grabbed a bunch of clothes in various sizes and we headed to the dressing rooms.  Something about the dressing rooms, maybe the small space, the awkward corners and unstable walls, make my boys go crazy.  I think it’s what I refer to as their ‘pretend sense of control’.  Mad Dog has this.  When he is asked to do something he doesn’t want to do, he then tries to push my buttons about a series of unrelated topics.  Eventually, he does what is asked, but it certainly comes at a cost to my own mental sanity.  I believe this is what the boys were doing.  They started to act crazy to let me know that they were NOT happy to be trying on all these clothes.

However, instead of me completely losing it, I actually kind of found it funny.  Not entirely so, but a little.  I laughed when Full Speed tried on the way-too-big pair of shorts, and when he said he needed a ‘schmedium’ (a size between a small and medium).  When T.Puzzle begin to army crawl between the stalls, thankfully, we were the only ones there, I didn’t yell or tell him he had to stop.  I let him army crawl away.  I figured at least he wasn’t complaining and it gave me time to sort through the remaining sizes and clothes.

Then it hit me.  I need to stop having these impossible expectations about shopping with my boys.  They are going to be crazy.  They are going to hate it.   And, maybe, if I stop being so serious about it, we can laugh a little and maybe leave the store with a little bit of dignity intact…. or not…..

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Where’s a schmedium when you need it?