Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lordy, Lordy, I Am Forty!

Birthdays are not my kind of thing.  Far, far from it.  I don't know why I hate them so much because the alternative to growing old is not something I want to delve into anytime soon.  So, I'm forty today.  And, I am thankful to be alive to experience this birthday.  Truly, I am.  It's just that I got here way too quickly. 

Seems like just yesterday I was sitting in a classroom writing out a timeline assignment.  We were suppossed to write our dream timeline of what we want out of life.  For sentimental sake I saved mine and recently took it out for a reread.  I must have laughed for a good ten minutes.  Here is a sampling of those youthful delusions:

Write a few bestselling novels.           (Um, nope.  Not yet.)
Buy a private island and live there.     (I wish.)
Marry Charlie Sheen.                        (I dodged a bullet with that one!)

As surprising as this sounds, my dream future did not include a mortgage, car loan, a child that told me he would rather go to bed at 7 o'clock in the evening than put away the dishes and a pile of dirty laundry sitting in the hallway.  My life is full of sweet stuff.  No kidding.  And, it's not just the Hershey Chocolate Syrup I like to drink straight from the bottle and skip the step of mixing it with milk.  The sweet stuff is in the little details. 

Like the other day when I arrived at my son's school for his basketball game and the way his eyes lit up when he saw me walk through the door.  Or, on Sunday when I got to sit in a room with my dad and my husband and watch them watch the Daytona 500.  And, how they both yelled, "There it is!" at the exact same minute in response to a wreck.  It was in knowing ahead of time who my dad would pick for the best driver to ever race a car.  Richard Petty followed by Dale Earnhardt, for the record.  It's the two dogs fighting for the right to lay across my feet.  I think there's room for them both.  They don't agree. 

My life hasn't exactly matched up with the fictional timeline.  No private island, just a house with a mortgage and an overflowing laundry room, but I don't care.  Because, I'm forty and I'm not dead yet.  There's still time to get to the bestselling novels.  I'm letting go of the whole marriage to Charlie Sheen idea, though.   

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Tiger, A Helicopter And A Hippie Walk Into A Baby's Life

This week Good Morning America showcased three teenagers as the proud products of three distinct parenting styles: a girl cub of a "tiger mom", the boy has a "helicopter mom" hovering over his shoulder and the last girl is the result of a "hippie mom".  All three are straight A students, seemingly well adjusted and staunch defenders of their parents.  In short, they do a mom proud.  It is obvious that people can learn a few things about child rearing by listening to what these teens are saying.  But, people are apparently asking themselves, which way is best? 

I know exactly which category I fall under.  Please, excuse the noise.  It's just the sound of my propellers spinning at warp speed. Now, I can't speak to the motivation of that mother from the morning show, but I know that a large part of my parenting technique does, in fact, stem from fear.  And, I know right when the fear set in.  It happened the moment the nurse's aide plopped my newborn son in my lap and said, "Hold on.  I'm going to wheel you out to the curb where your husband is waiting with the car."  As we rode the elevator down to street level I held my baby in my arms and questioned the judgement of the medical staff.  How could they just turn me loose with this baby?  What had happened to all their supposed higher learning?  Shouldn't they know better?

Some of the fear stemmed from the fact that it seemed unbelievable this baby was here and in my arms.  We had been through two and a half years of infertility treatments, a difficult pregnancy and his early arrival by about a month.  Top it all off with the fact that at ten weeks he quit breathing, turned purple and was admitted into Children's Hospital and the poor, little fellow's fate was sealed.  He never stood a chance.  Many is the time I've stood over his sleeping form, marveling at his angelic little face and thinking, "Boy, do I hope you have a lot of insurance when you grow up.  The amount of therapy you are going to require by the time I'm done with you will be outrageous."

So, I'm a helicopter mom.  I meddle in his life, monitor his movements about the neighborhood, and forbid certain video games.  It's frightening to send my heart and soul out into the world and not serve as a buffer from any cruelty that could be waiting around the corner for him.  When he was being bullied on the bus ride home from school my first instinct was to grab a claymore or broadsword, storm the bus and challenge the tormentor with a, "Who's the poopie pants now, Mister?!"  My husband convinced me that this would be wrong.  And also, we are not living in medieval Scotland and I am not a Highlander warrior with an arsenal of weapons back at the castle. 

As a parent it is difficult to know when to step back and let life's lessons happen or when to step forward and act as a shield.  Do you demand straight A's, or declare the whole grading system a stupid idea?  I certainly have no answers.  All I can do is try my best and keep moving forward.  Isn't that what any parent does?  The harshest critic I will ever face will be my own son one day.  My best hope is that he is kind when rating my performance. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Out Of The Closet

Five years ago, when we moved into our home, I stood at the door of my cavernous walk-in closet and thought, "There is no way I will ever be able to fill this thing."  Flash forward to the present.  

Standing in the doorway of the closet I wonder, "If a person can no longer take a step into the closet is that a sign the thing needs cleaned?"  Sure, it's tempting to shut the door and ignore the heap.  What I mostly need out of there is my work clothes and since the lay off I'm perfectly fine with living in my pajamas and slippers.  You have only to see me dropping my son off at school in the morning to know that's true.  But, my gym shoes are in there and even I draw the line at grocery shopping in my slippers.   Gas stations, yes.  Grocery stores, no.

One of the main reasons my closet got to this point is a hereditary genetic defect that runs through my family.  We're part squirrel.  We love to gather up stuff and then stash it away for later.  And, if we can't find a reason to keep something we pass it off on someone else so that it can go sit in their closet for a year or ten.  My Grandma is the master.  Nobody visits her and comes away empty handed.  Today, I scored two semi used legal pads, 10 coupon inserts that may or may not be expired and several newspapers that may or may not contain articles that would interest me. 

Everything gets dragged out of the closet and goes in individual piles.  The giant bag of beads that my mother passed down to me three years ago is relegated as my sister's problem and I set it aside for my niece.  You know those little pamphlets that hotels put in their lobbies advertising local attractions?  I have to take them.  All of them.  I have a big bag full.  Things to do and places to see in cities that I will probably never go back to.  But, there is a very slim chance that I might visit again.  And if I do, there is an ever slimmer chance that I will wish to see the World's Largest Thermometer.  You never know, so I mark them as keepers and back into the closet they go.  Magazines that have been stashed away for the recipes they contain.  Glancing through them I can't even remember which dishes tempted me.  An embarrassing amount of organizational materials.  All in their original packaging.  I make a solemn vow to myself that this time they will get used and throw them back in.  They will never see the light of day again.  A skeleton.  Literally.  For some reason a bag of Halloween decorations has ended up here.   Which brings me to "the box".  The box of impossible dreams.  The box full of clothes that no longer fit.  Not by a long shot.  I tell myself that I have to be honest about this.  Those outfits have been packed up so long they've gone out of style and back in again.  I consider Goodwill.  Then I consider that I'm looking at this the wrong way.  The box should be held on to for motivational purposes.  Inspiration to lose weight and be a size skinny again.  Plus, it's just easier to toss it into the back of the closet.  

Digging myself out from under the piles of shoes, picture frames, some kind of art project that was started before remembering that I lack talent, well read books and purses, it suddenly hits me.  What am I doing?  My snow boots are downstairs in our laundry room.  And they totally go with green polka dotted pajama pants.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thank You Almost There

Last month I found a blog from England called  Almost There and I love this blog.  It's written by a lady who is funny, down to earth and the mom of a boy near the same age as mine.  I could definitely relate to a lot of what she writes about.  She held a link up called Sharing is Caring and I entered my post In The Beginning There Was Chicken.  After reading the entries from some of the other bloggers I didn't really expect to hear from her again.  Those other entries were so great.

But, I was surprised to receive to an email from her saying she picked mine to feature for the month.  Actually this is the first time my blog has ever been noticed for anything and the truth is that I squealed like a little girl, called my husband and left him a message at work and then sent out text messages to friends and family alike.  Truely it made my day. 

I encourage everyone to check out her blog, it's rated in the top blogs of England, and also read everyone that entered the link up.  They are all so talented.  There are some great stories on there.  They made me smile, laugh, made me think and raised my conciousness for others out there and things people face in life.  

Also, I finally made a page for my Project 365.  All along I have been taking pictures and then storing them on the camera and not doing anything with them.  So, I decided to get them on here.  This project has taught me a lot about myself and my life as it's happening.  For instance:

I am apparently not smart enough to put together a 1,000 piece puzzle of some birds at a bird feeder.

No matter how many outfits we have in our closets, my family always seems to wear the same clothes over and over.

My little point and shoot had a fingerprint on the lens and most of the stuff looks out of focus. 

My life is pretty boring, but I'm smiling in all the pics so boring is fine by me.

Finally, this past week I decided to tackle some household things that needed taken care of.  I'll be writing more soon.