Friday, February 21, 2014

Getting Older....It Sure Beats The Alternative

So as I sit here on the eve of my 38th Birthday, it strikes me that I have spent far too many days lately feeling unhappy with my current appearance, when, to be honest, this is the happiest I've ever been. The saying "Youth is wasted on the young" couldn't be more true...we are all too insecure or reckless during our youth to really appreciate it for what it is. And what it is is this: A fleeting period of time where your brain is still growing, you haven't yet figured out who you really are, what you want to do, or be, where you want to go. Yet your body requires minimal to no "upkeep" to run at peak performance, it just is what it is. So, you do it all. You are many people day to day, you go many places, and are many things. You don't think about it.

And when your body crosses the line from, oh, say, your late 20's to 30's, you slowly begin liking the you on the INSIDE more than you ever have before. You are kinder to yourself and others. You've got the backing of experience to remind you what that 4th glass of wine feels like in the am, how rotten an unkind word to a stranger makes you feel for days, how a reckless purchase means missing something else, really more important. All this is part of the dreaded "growing up".

So anyway, here I sit, my boys running around me, taking advantage of "Family Night Friday Night", knowing they've got at least a few more minutes of "Transformers Prime" before I call it a night. I woke up this morning and washed my face, brushed my teeth. Yesterday I actually bought Sensodyne know, the kind for sensitive teeth? You know, for OLD PEOPLE? And as I dried my face and reached for my daily lotion (um...still using whatever samples I get for free) I really looked hard into the mirror. I don't really do that too often, I've always found my face amiable enough and just sort of left it at that. Much like my diet and exercise routine, my skincare is minimalist. I wash and occasionally moisturize. I drink lots of water. And as I looked at myself in the mirror, I wasn't shocked or horrified, but I did suddenly see a late 30 year-old where I swear, a 25 year old had just been.

This "aging" thing, man. It sneaks up on you. One minute you can party like it's 1999, and the next you're catching the Early-Bird Specials AT the 99.

It's hilarious! It's scary! But want to know my honest opinion? It's awesome. It's like coming home. It's like your outward appearance has finally caught up with your inward self. This body of mine, (well, okay, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but whatever) has finally become the outward reflection of what I feel like on the inside. Strong. Warm. Soft. Big enough to encompass all the layers of love, passion, determination, fierceness that I want to show my boys. Hard enough to weather the blows of a World that is sometimes merely unkind, and sometimes downright sick and cruel. No wilting flower here. More like a solid Oak.

There were times, too many to count, where I used to say I'd never live to see 30. What kind of a stupid thing is that to think? Well, I was living life full tilt, and didn't have any responsibilities other than myself (or so I thought). Looking back though, I wish I had been a little more aware of things other than myself. Don't get me wrong, being self-aware is a great thing, but I wish I had spent a little more time realizing what difference I could make in the World.

Now I see it, though. Now I know my strength, and now I feel a sense of desperation because I have little humans of my own who I am one part sheltering, one part training, in this World. But the truth is, all of the Worlds' kids are mine, and yours. We are spinning madly on, as things deteriorate quickly. For whatever socio-cultural-economic reasons, many kids today are left without viable role models.

So it's feeling more and more like it's up to me to change that not just for my kids (duh) but kids everywhere. I think the biggest thing I've suddenly realized as I'm approaching adulthood (shut up, that's still how I feel!) is that it's not so much "You Only Live Once"; No, you live It's "You Only Die Once" so better get to it and make it count, every day you get a chance on this planet to be something, anything, to someone or some THING, who needs it.

So I say now, screw the wrinkles, screw the extra pounds. Screw the stretch marks, the jiggles, the age spots. They were hard won. It's on the inside, this brain, my mind, which feels like it's finally aged. Gained wisdom and experience to take my sons shoulders, turn them one way or another, and hope for the best. The years I had while young and trim and able to climb a cliff in a mini-skirt and heels are gone. And I'm cool with that.

 I've got bigger things to climb.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Little Drummer Boy

So as most of you know I have three sons. And my middle, Fireball, is a classic "Marches to the beat of his own drummer" type kid. But, like, even more so. Fireball marches, skips, hops, the beat of his own drum. He is a riot, but trying to describe him to anyone who hasn't met him is really difficult, because I am sure when I try people think I'm either exaggerating or straight up making it up.

So I decided yesterday to, for just the afternoon (we were out as a family and spent quite a bit of time in the car) seeing as Fireball was super chatty because we were a captive audience (we were with him) that I would write down the things that were streaming out of his mouth. I imagine what's going on inside his head and I think it must just be all these little pings, pongs, boings, bubbles. This kid, man. This kid.

SO, here, I present to you, my reader:

A list of things my son said in a two hour block on Saturday Afternoon. 

"I can make my brain goat cheese!"
"My grampa died. My grampa from before, he was from mars."
"I can use water to melt snow."

 "I want to get a job too. 
I want to train to be a Ninja."
"Mommy did you know that a square makes a circle?"

"Mommy I just ran through the speedy tunnel! There's a bad guy! HUH!!!"

"I'm sad and cave."

"Even, you know, sometimes I'm a robot."

"My bones eat chocolate water."

"Chocolate milk kills water."

"I drank that like a lion."

"I have a cut, that's why I can't eat this salad."

"I miss my family. My family that's in China."

"I'm scared of pickles" (as he's eating a pickle)

"Lobsters don't die."

"My chocolate milk is on fire!"

"I ate food. I ate a dog that was dead!"

Later on that evening, we got home and I put Fireball in the tub. Then these gems came out:

"My beautiful water is all gone!" (I drained the bath tub) (I put some more warm water in) 

 "My beautiful water is back! Oh my beautiful water! Yeah my bubble! My bubble! I win! Mommy, wanna see my fireworks?" (and then he splashes all the water out of the tub). 

So there it is, folks. Should I sign him up for creative writing, or therapy? My kid is such a complex combination of energy, fire, silliness, emotion. He is such a joy...and such a frustration sometimes too. But he has such a large chunk of my love it's ridiculous. And I wouldn't change him for the World. Fireball, stay fiery my friend, and never stop marching on!!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


So do you ever feel sometimes like you have so much to say that it's too hard to articulate just what you want to say? Yeah, I've been sort of paralyzed lately by inertia because I have so much to say and it's all wrapped up in being a "housewife" and "Mom" while also becoming more and more alarmed at the state of our Country and planet. If I am not careful, I get so jaded that I stop caring. And then I look at my 3 boys and am terrified of what "not caring" could lead to for their future. Little daily lessons for them parallel what big things, as adults, they must learn to master.

Take greed. As kids, I'm trying to teach them to share. It's not a natural inclination to give up something you want. I think all of the World's woes can be sourced back to mankind's reluctance to share what they have. The basis of all religions is to encourage generosity, is it not? The reason for all war is over "things", be they boundaries, oil, or whether "their" religion has to share space with someone else's. And it all comes back to greed. When I think of mankind's biggest downfall, it's that we are not born wanting to share; altruism is taught. That's one of the sucky things about human beings. We're not born with the desire to give.

When I see my kid writhing in palpable pain because I forced him to give his brother a turn with a toy, I first chuckle, but then I think how this is really one of the best gifts I can give him. The opportunity to suffer, realize he's still alive, and get over it. And then the next time, he gives up his toy a little more readily. Because he's learned that sharing doesn't kill. Which some grownups seem to have a hard time grasping.

We are living in a time where sharing is becoming more and more looked down upon. Sharing for the sake of sharing is simply not done in America. You have to earn it, according to the masses. I could go on and on about class consciousness, but for the sake of brevity, I'll just say that it makes me downright sad that I'm raising my boys in the kind of World where "success" is determined by wealth and not much else. Because I want so much more for them. But we need money to survive. And some would say, thrive. I'm trying to figure out a way around that. I'm trying to figure out how to show my sons by example that sharing what little you have has rewards which can't be measured.

Which brings me back to the little daily minutiae of lessons in sharing. The epic, explosive rage expressed by my own child sure is humorous to a degree, but it also magnifies my view of my job as their parent. If I fail this teaching moment, I've become part of the problem our World is facing. Until we can all agree that this is our home and its natural splendors and resources are for everyone to share, we are just absolutely fucked. There's no pretty way around it. Since the dawn of civilization, we've had a hard time sharing.

So the inertia I feel sometimes is perhaps more like feeling overwhelmed that all these seemingly mindless tasks before me as a parent actually have really, REALLY, big consequences. And while most days I feel pretty good about the job I'm doing, it can just be daunting day in and day out. The desire to be blase about it, to just roll my eyes and bear with day after day of giving in to temper tantrums is something I have to consciously fight off some days months. Because if I give in to their demands, and let them get whatever they want, I've failed them, me, and all of you.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mothers Of The Year

I'm going to let you all in on a little secret, so here goes: Without my Mom friends, my really close Mom friends, I would be utterly and completely LOST doing this job. I would probably be found each evening in the fetal position rocking slowly with a glazed over look in my eyes. I mean it. You women make my World go round.

Being a woman is really the first and foremost thing about me that I just am in every fiber of my being. But of course, I know I'm a human first, but really, being born with a vagina instead of a penis just completely shaped everything in my soul that makes me who I am. There are millions of ways in which being born a sex which has a global and historical disadvantage (Eve was framed) has made me, in my opinion, a stronger person. Motherhood has only highlighted and reaffirmed that.

Becoming a Mom was just...indescribable. The amazing sense of power and responsibility that came with it was both daunting and thrilling. But nothing could prepare me for the cherished bonds I formed with the other Moms I encountered. Some Moms were sanctimonious, while others were saviors. I learned throughout the last 6 years which ones to hold on to tightly and which to send on their way.

The women who stayed have been probably the best thing I gained having children. The solidarity, the understanding, the help. The shoulders to cry on, bitch to, vent. I don't care who you are, if you're a Mom, you have bad days. Like, really bad days. Days where you feel like this was the worst possible path you could have chosen, that you are doing severe damage to your kids and your World just by being their Mom. And then your friend tells you all the good things you're doing right that you couldn't see because you were so panicked about your mistakes. Or, they rally to your side when you do make an awful mistake and hold your hand as you try to fix it. In the best way, being a Mom provides you with the gift of empathy and the desire to help your fellow Moms. When I call us "Mothers of the Year", it's because we are so hilariously NOT "Mothers of the Year"....but that's what makes us all so okay with ourselves and each other. We know we're doing the best we can. And we're laughing and crying together as we try to figure this all out.

So this post is just basically a "Thank You" post. Thank You you Moms who lift me up and make me a better person. You get me. I don't have to pretend to be something I'm not around you. Fake it til you make it is a great slogan for some things, but being a genuine, flawed, still learning and trying to be better Mom, being who you really are is the only way to go. And without my fellow "Mothers of the Year", I don't think I would be able to do it. You don't care that I can be lazy, or loud, or sarcastic as hell and make light of things that are really serious and that I put all my flaws out there because, that's who I am. I swear. A lot. And you don't care because you know that's who I am.

So, there ya go. My big ole secret. I would really suck as a Mom if it weren't for you guys. The ones who take this parenting thing seriously but not so seriously that you can't see the humor in the fact that somehow we ended up being little people's Moral Compass. This gig is crazy, right? How the heck are we gonna keep up with it, them, the World? How are we possibly NOT going to screw this up? I'll tell you how. Laughing, holding hands, and crying into our bottle of wine. Love you my Sisters from other Misters.