Friday, August 31, 2012


As a parent, we tell our children to be brave.  And while it makes our children better as they venture off into the big wide world on their own, mostly, this makes US feel better.  

We witness grand acts of bravery throughout their lives.  Walking.  Learning to ride a bike.  Going off to school for the first time.  Summer camp.  New schools.  College.

In those moments, we find ourselves being brave too.  For our sake and theirs.  

And those moments...they're always amazing.

But these are the grand acts, the major events, the big deals.  

The other day I put Little Meems in her grandparents' car for a trip to their house for a week.  Little Meems is notorious for homesickness, and we have had our share of rescues, including one earlier in the summer when a week with her other grandparents was cut short by too many tears and a general inability to go on.  

Girl is dramatic, remember.  

As I hugged her, I noticed that she was holding back tears.  More like desperately fighting them, while trying to keep a smile on her face.  Of course, when I noticed this I grabbed her and asked her if she was OK.  She said she was fine but I was really squishing her and it was hot and it was time for me to get out of the car.  So I did.  Because she knew, and I knew, that if I didn't she wouldn't be able to hold it together, and she was trying so desperately to do so.  

It's the little moments of bravery that touch you the most.  The ones that catch you off guard.  Because they're the moments when you're not thinking about being brave for your children.  

They're the moments you realize your children are being brave for you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Happy Monday

I have been remiss in my posts lately, especially with regards to my happiness project.  Can you be too happy to write?!

The last three weeks have been all about family.  My sister and I each have three children.  She has a boy sandwiched between two girls; I have the opposite.  Poor Little Meems has struggled to find her footing this summer among brothers who are becoming increasingly close.  Seems she's usually the odd man out in any given sibling situation.  It's hard to watch.  I know she wishes for a sister (a fact that she reminded me of just the other day and instructed me to, if I ever hear of a baby we can have, speak up, but only if it's, like, a dollar or something), and quite honestly, I'd love to give her that.  But I can't.  So for the last two summers I've given her the next best thing -- cousin time.  My sister and I switch our middle children out for a week.  It's been so successful, and so rejuvenating for those two middle kids, that I foresee this becoming a tradition. 

So, we took my nephew Finn for a week of baseball games, skateboards, pool time, Redskins training camp, burp contests, Legos, etc., and Meems had a week of salon visits, pool time, mani/pedis, girl talk, dolls, and karaoke.  
Little Meems with her "sisters."

Finn getting some well-deserved "brother time."

Last Monday was spent in the car on the 10-hour trip back from Connecticut to Virginia.  A long day and a long trip, but one I will happily endure if it means getting to spend time with my sister.  Who I miss.  A lot.  And now I'm crying.
I know, it's an old picture, but it's the only one I have.

We rounded out the week at my parents' house for a little DeeDee and PopPop time, now the kids are off to Camp Grandparents with their Gran and PopPop.

Happy for family!

Today, I'm also happy for a little time without the kiddos.  Gotta go figure out what to do with  myself!

Thursday, August 9, 2012


“Damn, this looks good!”

These are the words that came enthusiastically pouring out of my daughter’s mouth last night at dinnertime.  She was really excited to eat, apparently.  Actually, it was more like “daaayuum, this looks good.”

Four faces turned toward her with open mouths.  

“Meems, what did you say?”

She immediately sensed that she might be in trouble, so she was hesitant to answer.  “Damn, this looks good?”  Downplaying the damn.

Her brothers came down on her disbelief that she had said a cuss word.  My husband and I looked at each other all agog (what a great word!) and then giggled (inappropriately) out of pure shock.  She immediately burst into tears and hung her head. “I didn’t know it was a bad word,” she sobbed.

It’s true.  The kid, who just turned 9, is quite possibly the most na├»ve child on the planet.  She still thinks the “S” word is “stupid.”  Bless her heart.  Why tell her the truth?  

But, maybe I should.  What if she’d said that at a friend’s house?  She’s old enough that I’m sure the parents wouldn’t think it was an accidental, I-don’t-know-what-this-means slip.  If I tell her, I run the risk of her saying the words when she’s trying to be funny (she thinks constantly pushing the envelope is hilarious).  If I don’t, I run the risk of embarrassing her.  But how do you have that conversation with your child?  “Honey, the “S” word isn’t “stupid” it’s “sh--.”  Also, the “F” word isn't fudge, it’s “F---.”  Shudder.

Her brothers learned the words, unfortunately, from other neighborhood boys.  This is what happens when you ride the bus.  With boys.  

She said she didn’t know where she’d heard that word, said that way.  She probably overheared it from one of us when we thought no children were around.  How is it that they can hear you when you’re whispering something they’re not supposed to hear in another room, yet can’t seem to hear you when you’re standing right in front of them NOT whispering?  But I believe her.  The child can NOT lie.  And she was so genuinely distraught, it made your heart break wide open.

We assured her we weren’t angry, as long as we never hear her say it again.  Of course, an entire conversation ensued about “what if you’re talking about a beaver/river dam” and the appropriate and proper usage of the word.  For example, it’s not OK to say “river dam that’s nice” or “beaver dam it!” 

Because, yes, my children will try that.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Happy Monday

Almost nothing makes me happier than anything handmade by my children, especially their artwork.

A watercolor made by a first grade Will.

Mixed media and hand drawn by Tate.

Watermelon Berry by Mary Catherine...I love the colors.

This, apparently, is a portrait of me, done by Tate.  If you know me, you know my hair isn't short, nor is it that blonde (it's not blonde at all really, naturally).  But I love this because he made me pose for it and he was so pleased with his result.  Don't I look so happy?  I hope that's how he really sees me.
I don't need a gallery of fine art.
What I already have is priceless.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I Need a Vacation from Summer Vacation

My kids are bickering incessantly.

I blame summertime and too much togetherness.  It's super duper hot, which makes everyone cranky.  And they're together all. day. long.  Combine those two and it's a recipe for disaster.

We need a break.  From this house, from the heat, from each other.  Or maybe with each other, but just...away.

Our vacation this year was early in the summer.  A new experience for us and, after the craziness of the last days of school, a welcome change.  But now the rest of the summer stretches before us, no end in sight.

We used to vacation at the end of the summer, which at least gave us something to look forward to.  But it was a looooong wait to get there.

The perfect scenario is smack dab in the middle of July...which falls perfectly into the middle of summer vacation.

Sigh.  That's not to be this year.  I will have to content myself with planning day trips and weekend getaways.    And looking at pictures of the beach.

And pretending I am there.  I think I will make myself a fruity tropical drink to celebrate my vacation away from summer vacation.

Even if it's only in my head.