Thursday, December 18, 2014

TBT

Since it’s Throwback Thursday on Facebook, I thought I’d do a little throwback myself here.

This.



Quite possibly my favorite Christmas photo ever.

Will was 3, Little Meems 17 months.  Every time I got ready to snap the photo, she’d pull her dress over her head.  Every. Stinkin. Time.  All I wanted was to get the perfect photo of my perfect children for my perfect Christmas cards.

I did finally get a good photo, but upon further inspection realized Meems’ nose was running and crusty and Will had a scratch down his cheek.  So I Photoshopped them to perfection and sent the card.  Big sigh of relief.

That was relatively new mom me.  That was the girl who used to stress because she didn’t have all of her good china or any chafing dishes (seriously??!!) and her daughter’s tights got a snag in them right before the photo.  That was the girl who had the perfect family and the perfect house and the perfect job and the perfect life.  Babies napped, no one talked back, happiness was a trip to the playground.  Happy, happy, happy.  Perfection, perfection, perfection.  That's what I wanted to believe (and wanted you to, too).

A third child came along and my attitude completely changed.  Nice and tidy and perfect became "it is what it is" with a healthy dose of humor and humility.  I realized perfection was too stressful.  My children are older now and there is never a shortage of stress, some of it BIG stress.  Perfect Christmas cards can no longer compete.  Nor should they.

I look at this photo and I admonish myself for not just going with the flow and having a sense of humor.  It is what it is.  The way they belly laughed every time she did this – that’s what I remember when I look at this precious photo of my precious babies.  She was so impish when she was little and this photo portrays her personality so precisely.  And she was full to the brim with personality.

I’ve learned, in those many years since then, to let go of that picture perfection.  Or rather, to try.  My years of holiday cards are a testament to that.  I look back and in nearly every one, Meems’ personality is on full display.  Mouth open, smiling with her whole face, her whole body and being.  Kids’ hair needs to be cut, shoes are untied, brothers are making faces, mouths have food in them, someone is throwing a temper tantrum, someone has a neon green cast, Tate is even wearing gogo boots with his jeans in one.  Because Tate.  Because of course.

Better than perfection?  Joy.  Happy, laughing children.  Letting go.  The giggle-laced trips down memory lane.

My life isn't perfect.  My home isn't perfect.  My kids aren't perfect.  What you see on my cards is what it is.  That's life with these munchkins folks.

And, to me, that's perfect.

Friday, December 5, 2014

O Holy Night

I am not by nature a sappy person.

My husband is.  My kids know this and we all giggle about it sometimes.  But he has an open, warm heart, and I love that about him.

That's not to say I am never sappy.  We all have those things that just slay us.  For me, this morning, it was Christmas music.

There are three Christmas carols that get me every time:  Silent Night (especially sung a capella by candlelight after Christmas Eve service), O Holy Night (because the words, have you ever really listened to them and thought about them?), and White Christmas (specifically, the Bing Crosby version because it was my grandmother's favorite and she adored Christmas and it makes me miss/feel her spirit).

This morning, on the way to school, amidst all the holiday cheer on the radio I was blindsided by Josh Groban singing O Holy Night.

O Holy Cow.

Out popped the tears.  That song is so powerful, and coupled with his voice, I find it so, so moving.  Achingly beautiful.

It started with teariness.  Meems noticed I had stopped singing (I was verklempt y'all) and then, upon hearing a sniffle, asked me if I was crying.

"Yes, honey.  Just a little."

Alarmed.  "Why?"

"Because it's such a beautiful song.  It moves me so much."

By this time I'm full-out bawling.  Alarm gives way to shock and horror.  We are pulling up to her school.  I'm trying to pull it together.  She lays her hand on my shoulder, and says, ever so gently, "it's OK Mom."

And just as I'm thinking about what a sweet, caring heart she has and what a gift it truly is to be her mother she adds...

... "you can just let me out here."


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Grace


Today, my Little Meems is trying out for honors chorus at her elementary school.  If you recall, this is the child who puts the “noise” in joyful noise.  But she loves it, and because of that, will go after every singing part ever, but will probably (if she’s lucky) be relegated to the chorus.  Which would make her happy too.  Because she’s singing.

I am worried for her.  I am nervous for her.  I have been praying for her.  She has been practicing.  She thinks she sounds better if she adds some vibralto and sings through her nose.  She is confident.  Unafraid.  Hopeful.  Excited.

I am scared to death.  That’s my little girl and I don’t want to see her fail.  I want to encourage her to go after all her dreams, not just this one, but I’m a realist and have the wisdom of age and experience, and that makes it hard.  She is so innocent.  We all have a story of when we went for something we were totally not cut out for – it’s a rite of passage and provides us a knowing chuckle as we age.  It’s an invaluable life experience, regardless of how painful or wonderful.  I’m hoping for the best outcome to this situation.  Whatever that may be.

I’m proud of her.  She’s one courageous little thing.  What’s more, I admire her. 

Today, this girl with her courageous heart is my hero. 

If you’re reading this, cross your fingers, send up a good thought or give her a high five.  Or pray.  Pray for a clear voice.  Pray for confidence and strength.  Pray for courage.

Most of all, pray for grace.  I think that sums it up best of all.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Secret

I am alone.  I'm here 45 minutes early because the coach said so.  Where is he anyway?  I've been sitting here for 15 minutes because I'm too lazy to leave and, besides, where would I go?  There are a few other players here but no parents.  Where did they go?  It's like they're all in on some secret parental code that I don't have access to.  Or maybe they live closer than I do and they are enjoying a quick bite to eat in their warm kitchen while I freeze my pants off.

Speaking of pants, I wish I'd worn them.  It was 75 today and I went for a run before we left so I'm in my little Lululemon skirt and suddenly it's not Lululemon skirt weather.  The sun went down and I forgot how gosh-awful windy it is out here.

I'm hunched over on myself, trying to capitalize on my own body heat while I type this out on my phone because I'm that crazy.  Shiver.  Curse you iPhone for not having swiping as an option.

Still alone.  8 lacrosse players.  No coach.  It is now 15 minutes pre game.

Maybe the other parents are sitting in their cars.  Smart.  Is that part of the secret code?

This place is right next to the interstate and therefore is windy like you can't believe.  At least that's my theory.  It's either that or it's located at the center of some permanent wind vortex in Chesterfield County.  There is a roll of abandoned turf over there and I'm tempted to cover myself with it.  At this point it wouldn't be any weirder than sitting here freezing by myself.  Plus I'm desperate.

Damn you elementary school dads night.  You and your warm, loud gym, while I sit here freezing. My right forefinger is numb and turning white.

Maybe they went to get coffee.  Those parents.

I think I'm losing brain function and my left thumb is starting to lose its accuracy.

You know, this is love.  My son adores lacrosse and I adore him so here I am.

At the wrong field.


Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

You Blink Your Eyes...

...and suddenly you have a teenager.

And just like that, everything changes.  Or rather, the changes that have been slowly happening for a while now have a label.  

Gone are the pudgy appendages.  Everything is bones and angles.

Gone are the snuggles.  The kid who wanted to be held constantly now won’t let me touch him with a ten foot pole.  I do anyway.

Gone are the ear infections.  11 ear tube surgeries.  No one misses them.

He’s still a kid who finds joy and fun in everything.  

He’s still very much a boy.  A kid.  Peter Pan incarnate.

He’s still the kid who’d rather be outside, moving, moving, moving.

He’s becoming more compassionate.

He’s becoming more responsible.

He’s becoming more aware – of who he is, who he wants to be, who his friends are.

He is funny.  

He is strong.

He is an enigma.  Crazy in the best of ways, he puts it all out there.  Yet he has a sensitive, introverted side I just can’t seem to crack.  

For thirteen years, he’s been brought me joy, exasperated me, made me shake my head, confounded me, amazed me, impressed me, made me laugh.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say the teenage years worry me.  Heck, sometimes they scare the crap out of me.  But they’re also full of anticipation.  Who will he be, and will he make good decisions, and will he have a girlfriend, and how will he do in school and will he be strong?  Will he ever remember to brush his teeth (that there's the true cliffhanger, folks)?  I am crazy about this kid and all he can do and I know I haven’t even experienced a trillionth of what’s in store for him.  I love our conversations, his sense of humor, his easy nature.  I love the kid he is now and the glimpse of who I think I see down the road. 

13 wonderful, crazy years.  In 13 more years he’ll be all grown up and on his own (fingers crossed).  

And 13 years is NOT THAT LONG.