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.
Every family has a structure of ‘power’ so to speak. It’s a dance between allowing everyone to have their say and getting individual needs met. Let’s say you are on a 15 hour road trip one way (true story), and it comes time to decide where and when you might make a pit stop. Each member of the family is allowed input and then a family vote is taken.
Voting System Breakdown
(should be noted this is Mad Dog’s creation):
As an adult and as a child over the age of twelve, myself and Full Speed are afforded one vote respectively.
Full Speed = 1
Mom = 1
Got it so far? It seems straightforward but gets infinitely more complex as the process continues.
T.Puzzle gets a half vote since he is under twelve. However, if he agrees with Mad Dog he gets a full vote.
T.Puzzle = 1/2 vote, bumps to 1 vote when he aligns with Mad Dog.
Mad Dog gets three votes.
Mad Dog = 3 votes
Yes, you read that right… three votes!
In the rare event that T.Puzzle’s half vote slips under the radar and a tie ensues, Mad Dog automatically becomes the tiebreaker.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
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.
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.
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 Full Speed’s given up on soccer forever, but oh my, isn’t there a wonderful world of possibilities out there waiting for him?
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.
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.
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 it is keeping him challenged and inspired. That’s truly all I want for all three of my boys, to be challenged and inspired.
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.
Life is short so whatever brings us joy is absolutely what we should pursue. It’s as simple as that.
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.
There’s something about a margarita that makes an ordinary weekend feel like a vacation. As the thick air enveloped the patio of my favorite Mexican restaurant, I savored the tang of salt that lined my delicious cocktail. I was hanging with my three favorite guys and munching on chips and salsa…life was good.
Mad Dog raised his glass to meet mine. He looked to our boys and asked, “What should we toast to your Mom?”
T.Puzzle jumped right in, “Make a toast to the greatest human alive….me.”
Mad Dog said, “This is supposed to be about your Mom, not you.”
T.Puzzle replied, “Well, I guess we can pretend you are the greatest human alive if that would make you feel good, Mom.”
More tequila please.
No matter, I laughed out loud. This was even before the margarita had worked its way into my system.
The meal and conversation progressed beautifully. I ate all the things I don’t normally allow myself to and it was divine. I asked Mad Dog his thoughts on his spicy jalapeño drink and he said it was good. It had been garnished with a pepper that had remained free and clear of the drink itself. This is when Full Speed boldly declared that he would give eating the garnish a shot.
We warned him but also applauded his bravery.
Things quickly went south.
His face drained of all color. He was losing control ever so slightly. It started out slow and then reached max capacity.
I did the only natural thing a mother would do after imbibing on a way-too-strong drink.
I had the worst (best?) giggle fit of my life. The more Full Speed looked like he might expire lent to another torrent of giggles.
At that moment I knew I really was the greatest human alive, but maybe not the greatest mom alive.