Monday, November 16, 2015

In a Split Second...

...everything can change.

Yesterday, one of my son's teammates injured his neck in their lacrosse game.

Watching a child go down, having to call 911, standing by as parents who are medically trained assess him and keep him immobile, helplessly waiting as the paramedics strap him to a gurney and rush him to a trauma center, witnessing the fear and panic on his father's face...

It seemed like a simple fall.

I hugged my W extra hard this morning.  Gave him a few more kisses.  An entire weekend spent on the sidelines watching your children do what they's a gift.  A true blessing.  Yesterday was a reminder not to complain, not to take for granted that there will be a next time.  Yesterday it all could have ended for one family, their lives irreversibly changed in the blink of an eye.

It could have been my child.  It could have been yours.

The boy will be OK, thank God.

This life is precious.  Childhood is fleeting.

Hug your babies.  Embrace the chaos.  Relish the early mornings and long drives and freezing temperatures.

One day, you won't need to do that any more.  Enjoy it while you can.

Because one day could be tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Today is my oldest child’s fourteenth birthday.


Fourteen years of laughs and craziness and nonstop motion.

Fourteen years of purpose. He gave me the greatest gift of all.

As he turns 14, here are 14 things I want him to know:

1. Always be kind. You have a compassionate heart, I’ve seen it. I know you don’t always feel comfortable with that, but listen to what it tells you. It just might save you.

2. Be yourself. I think you’ve got this one in the bag. You are so very authentic. You have always been exactly who you are. People like you for that, so don’t change.

3. You’re a late bloomer. In many ways. And that’s OK. I know it doesn’t always feel OK when there’s social stuff going on and voices are changing and growth spurts are happening and other “things” are transpiring (mentally, physically and socially) all around you and you’re not quite there. It’s OK. It will make you interesting later, trust me. I know firsthand. The kids that peak early…often peak early in many ways. Bloom where you are planted. You’ll have your time.

4. Shower. Regularly. Even if you took one this morning. If you ran in a cross country meet, followed by lacrosse practice, for pete’s sake, SHOWER.  Because you stink.

5. Be nice to your siblings. They look up to you and adore you (trust me) but they are different than you. Be gentle with them. Root for them. Encourage them and support them. Everyone likes to know there’s someone looking out for them. In turn, they’ll return the favor.

6. You have to work harder.  "Enough" isn't always enough.  I learned that the hard way.  Your hard work could be the difference between good and great. 

7.  Respect girls.  They are more sensitive than you, but they are also meaner.  They will confuse you and mesmerize you and break your heart.  Respect them anyway.  They're trying to figure this life out too.  Do not treat women like objects.  You have a sister - think how you would want her to be treated.  You will be someone's casualty, and you will have a casualty or two of your own as you figure all this out.  Respect them anyway.  Be that guy. 

8.  Stand up straight.  It will impart a confidence you might now always feel.  Just try it, you'll see.  You'll also breathe better and be taller.  Both very good things.

9.   Let me hug you.  This is a selfish request, but you have no idea what I went through to have that privilege.  In turn, I promise to take it easy on you and respect your boundaries.

10.  Stop balling up your socks and flinging them around.  When you come to me and tell me you need socks, yet I can't open your sock drawer because it's so stuffed, I know that you have an entire drawer full of unmatched socks.  Really?  Some of those socks were ridiculously expensive (for socks).  Also, I'm tired of finding balled up socks behind the computer armoire, on the mantle, behind your bed, in your closet, under the playroom sofa, on top of the curtains in your room...

11.  You can tell me anything.  I know it might be awkward because I'm a girl and I'm your mom and some things are embarrassing and I couldn't possibly know what you're going through, but I do and I will always be here for you if you need advice, or a willing ear.  If I don't have the answers for you, I'll find them.  I remember a conversation I had with my dad when I was about your age, about a boy who liked me.  He gave me the best advice (and here I thought he wouldn't have a clue) because he knew my heart, and it made me feel safe and understood.  Trust me.  I'll always do my best.

12.   Laugh.  A lot.  Just not in church. 

13.  Put yourself out there.  You may succeed, you may fail, but you'll regret not trying. 

14.  Shower.  Please.  You're fourteen.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Morning Coffee and T

"Mom, can you take me out to buy some clay?  I want to sculpt things like Michelangelo.  And after that, can we go to Guitar Center and see if they have Cellos?  Wait, how much do Cellos cost?"

That was Wednesday, the only day of the week where there currently is NOTHING going on and I was looking forward to hitting the gym.  Guess where I went instead?

In the mornings, I have coffee and time with just my little T, something I haven't had since he was in preschool.  The other two, being in middle school, leave the house an hour before he does, and it's amazing how quiet this child is.  But, there's also plenty of conversation.  Such as...

"Are skin cells the only ones that regenerate?"
"Well, I finally found out how Microsoft got its name."
"Do we have any denatured alcohol?  I want to try to separate the DNA from a banana."
"What is denatured alcohol?"
"So I've been researching fencing lessons..."
"Was Steve Jobs married?"
"I understand about squaring numbers, but how to you square MC, because you can't square letters."
"Wait, is that algebra?  Algebra sounds cool, like a puzzle."
"I wonder what it would be like to be Albert Einstein."
"What are aerosols?  And, if they're damaging the ozone, then wouldn't our atmosphere be escaping, but without atmosphere the earth would be getting colder, so why do they call it global warming?"
"Are there bullies in college?"

I sip my coffee and listen.  I answer when I can.  And nod my head in agreement.  Often we Google the answers, and sometimes we just guess and discuss.  Afterwards, he hugs me goodbye and runs off to the bus, and I go back inside to reflect on our conversation and just how much I love this little boy with the big questions.

So how do you start your day?!?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

She's Off

"Are you going to walk me to the bus stop?”

“No.  You don’t need me to.  And trust me, you don’t want me to.”

“But…” a little flash of panic in her eyes.

“You’re in middle school.  You got this.”

And she does.  But, my Little Meems doesn’t love change, and heading off to middle school is a big one.  

This is a little girl who still likes to hold my hand.  Even though she’s 12, and probably shouldn’t want to, I let her, because one day she won’t want to.  I say little because she is, but also she isn’t.  She and I are stuck somewhere between the lands of big and little and we’re trying to meet in the middle, but sometimes we miss each other.  She wants to be independent, yet she wants me to do everything for her.  I want her to not need me so much, yet I want her to still value my help and opinions.  So it goes with preteens, I guess.

This popped up in my Facebook feed on Monday.  My memory from 5 years ago, when she entered first grade.  

This is now.  Although the first picture is how I will always see her.

She is still missing teeth.  She still favors turquoise nail polish.  The hair is curly (although we have discovered the straightening iron), the eyes are big, the dimples are bigger.  I miss that little face.  I miss stealing sugar from the sweet spot between her neck and chin.  

I sent this to her last night.  I want her to read it every day.  

The bus came and went without incident this morning.  I watched from the hidden safety of our garage, so I could be there with her, just not with her.

She’ll be fine.  

Will I? 

Sure.  But I’m gonna go have a little cry now if you don’t mind. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

That Moment When...

You comment on your son's Instagram post and he sees it while you're standing with him in the kitchen, reads it, scrunches his eyes like he's in pain, and deletes it, all while you're standing there.  And tells you "um, yeah, just going to delete this" while shaking his head incredulously.