Thursday, April 30, 2015

That Moment You Realize...

…that your son forgot his chromebook for school and you have to take it to him.

...that you have no gas, which you really realized last night but you thought “nah, I’ll get that on my way to work.”

...that you may not have enough to get to school and back and then to the gas station on the way to work, and you can’t go to the gas station on the way home from the school because then you will miss getting the other two kids on the bus.

...that you have a gas can for the lawnmower in the garage and you consider whether or not you should put a little of that in your car. 

...that you will probably spill it because you are clumsy and besides, you really don’t have time for that anyway. Middle school is about to start. You think.  When does it start again?

...that there are way too many kids who don’t ride the bus in the morning and now you have to sit through the same stoplight 3 times until it’s your turn to go and you are worried about the gas situation so you keep putting the gear into neutral.

...that you are not sure this strategy actually works but it makes you feel better anyway.

...that there’s a traffic jam of cars trying to get OUT of the parking lot after having dropped off their middle school students.

...why it’s such a good thing your son rides the bus.

...that, as you sit in the exit traffic jam, everyone’s trying to get out of the lot so people are doing all kinds of crazy things and now you’re REALLY worried about gas because you’re pretty sure you’re going to run out right there in the narrow entrance.

...that if that happens, you will be blocking the lane, thereby trapping everyone in this hellhole parking lot.

...that, after finally getting out of the lot, said traffic jam has cost you precious time and it’s EXACTLY the time your children are supposed to leave the house for the bus and you can feel their panic from where you sit.

...that you’re REALLY going to be in trouble when you have to go to work because now there is REALLY no gas.

...that you forgot about the gas can in that garage.  Things are looking up.

...that your children are in full on panic mode because they are used to leaving the house at 8:38 and now it is 8:41 and they are creatures of habit who are also apparently very specific and so are terrified they are going to miss the bus. After what you just went through and the fact that your car is now running on fumes alone, you panic a little too and run with them in your heels to the bus stop.

...after standing there panting for a few minutes that you haven’t had a chance to do your makeup or your hair so really you’re in some weird state of halfway dressed and also that the bus is late. Finally, something is working in your favor this morning! They get on the bus, you go home to try to fix your hair and apply new deodorant and drink some coffee so you can be ready for work.

...that you were so relieved to have everything done that you forgot about needing gas and the fact that you had planned on hijacking the lawnmower gas can.

...that you could go back and get it...

...but with your luck, you will turn around only to find that the gas can is empty and that will be that many fewer fumes you will have to power you to the Sheetz down the road and then you will be caught on the side of the road calling for help while tons of moms you know drive by on their way to the gym, not stopping until THEY realize, too late, that that was you.

...that you have hit every. single. light.  Of course. 

...that youhaven’t prayed this much in a long time, which makes you feel terrible because praying for gas seems awfully selfish when there are far bigger problems in the world.

...that your prayers have been answered.  Whew!

...that you should stop putting things off.

...that you probably never will.

Friday, April 17, 2015


...even when I've volunteered in his class for the last hour, and have a million things to do, and his lunch isn't for another 40 minutes, I cannot resist this face when he asks me to come back and have lunch with him.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Grass is Always Greener...

Sunday, my oldest son asked to mow the back yard.


I think my husband was hopeful his eldest son was finally stepping up to the plate responsibility-wise. 

He was wrong.

Turns out, he wanted to clear the grass to make it easier to play lacrosse.  But, whatever gets it done.

I use the term “grass” loosely.  There is some grass in our backyard, lots of dirt patches and, of course, weeds (the heady aroma of wild onions that hung in the air FOR HOURS confirmed this).  Between the smell and the dust cloud (because when you mow dirt, it creates a cloud of filth), it’s, well it is what it is. 

Don’t even get me started on the front yard. 

My husband has struggled for year, YEARS, to get grass to grow in that back yard.  Years, I tell you.  Finally, he has given up.  He has dug up what’s there and replanted oh, 4…5 times?  Grass grows, but then it starts to look patchy again due, in part, to children who like to play on it.  He gets frustrated that they are ruining his grass.  I ask him how we are supposed to contain three children who crave the outdoors indoors while discouraging TV and electronic games.  He feels certain that if we had an irrigation system in our yard, things would be different.  He might be right, but I think it’s an outrageously expensive way to get a create a yard full of mud.  Besides, I’m not entirely certain it would work.  That’s how frustrating that yard is.  #thestruggleisreal

Besides, keeping the kids off the grass would be impossible.  We are that family – the ones whose kids are playing outdoors in 20 degree weather.  If they can get outdoors, they will.  Which isn’t such a bad problem to have, really, is it?

My neighbor revealed to me not long ago that no grass grew in their yard until recently, as in, the last few years.  They are the original owners of their home and raised 4 children there – four children who played outside.  A lot. 

Yes, our yard is an eyesore.  Some days, I even cringe when I look at it.  Occasionally, I'll pretend I don't know who lives there.  Our whole neighborhood knows how hard we’ve worked on that yard.  You get to a point where you just have to cut your losses.  It is what it is.  We tried.  We really did.


Our yard always has at least one child playing there.  Sometimes, it has 2, or 3…all the way up to 8 or 9.  I love that they love to play outside.  I love to sit on the screened porch and enjoy the laughter and sounds of kids having fun.  Our yard is big, it is full of equipment and (often) teenage boys who seem to gather here to play in it.  There’s a slack line, a zip line and a big, wavy slide that’s perfect for surfing or snowboarding down (don’t ask).  There’s a platform in the playset that has been a fort, a clubhouse, a crow’s nest on a pirate ship, a lookout and is the perfect place to launch water grenades.  Treasures are buried there, kids explore there, flags are captured there and at one point there was even a faux Indian campsite built there, complete with a teepee and a stone edged fire pit.  That yard was my savior as a stay at home mom with three kids ages 4 and under.  The Mom Olympics (a game I invented that involves the kids racing each other around the house in a variety of ways – hopping, running backwards, skipping – so that they’ll get tired) – were held there multiple times. 

Yes, in this particular case and in a literal sense, the grass is always greener on the other side(s).  Believe me. 

But the “green” of my backyard is a such a happy, earthy shade.  Which, yes, is to say it is literally the color of the earth.  BUT it's also colored by memories and laughter.  

It seems there is the promise of grass in our yard, one day.

But I’m not ready for that just yet. 

*To our neighborhood, we are truly sorry.  Kind of.  But hey, now that we've given up on the back yard, we can try to fix the front yard!*

Sunday, April 12, 2015


We have been on Spring Break.  Lucky for us we have generous friends who let us use their cottage in Naples, Florida.  To say it's gorgeous down here would be the understatement of the century.  I am not ready for this week to ever end.

For a number of reasons.

Sigh...such a dreamy vacation with my favorite people.

Now it's back to reality.
Back to laundry.
Back to homework.
Back to packing lunches, and lacrosse games and tumbling classes.

But it also feels like the end of an era for me.

Because this.

When school starts, this girl will have to go through Family Life classes.

You know, the birds and the bees. 

Which means I've got to get to her first.  And it's something I dread, NOT merely because it's going to be uncomfortable and embarrassing and awkward, for both of us.

It's because I know that afterward, she will never be the same Little Meems.  A little of her innocence and little girl-ness will be gone.  She'll have knowledge of grown up things -- things you incredulously mull over in your head and try to wrap your pre-pubescent brain around as you lie in your bed at night.  Realizations about people you know and people you love...I remember my son couldn't look at me for a week after my husband had the talk with him.  It's like finding out about Santa -- a little chip appears in the paint that colors your childhood.  And there's no repairing it.

There's no sigh in this world big enough or dramatic enough to express how I feel about this.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Last Saturday, my son ran the Ukrops Monument Avenue 10k for the first time.  He’s 13 and my adventure/adrenaline seeker.  Truly fearless.  He thinks he can do anything.  He’s usually right.  I adore him.

My husband, father and I ran as well.  Despite our seeded wave times, we all started together with Will.  There were nearly 30,000 people in that race.  That’s a lot of fish to get lost amongst.  Brave, baby fish included.  He’s very independent but I’m still mama and like to keep a watchful eye.  I knew he’d outrun me, but I also let him know that if he couldn’t, I wouldn’t leave him behind.  Although I had a goal time in mind, I would sacrifice that any day for the sake of my child.  He is all that matters.

The race started, everyone took off.  Unsurprisingly, my husband and Will pulled ahead, running together.  It was unclear who was running with whom at that point (was he running with his dad, or vice versa?) but I was glad they were together.  I settled into my own, much slower pace.  To my surprise, my dad settled into my pace too.  He is much faster than all of us, but he had mentioned he thought this race would be slower, due to some recent health hiccups and a hip that should really be replaced.  I encouraged him to go ahead, that I was fine, and he waved me off.  Though we became separated a couple times, we always managed to catch up with each other.  I wondered if he was feeling sorry for me, not wanting to leave me behind.  But it was nice to have that presence beside me – solid, watchful, encouraging, comforting.  You know, all the things dads are supposed to be.  I then decided he must have decided to take it easy that day and I was a good pace for that.  I could handle that. 

It was a parent/child race for this family.  

Around mile 5, Will pulled ahead.  

Around mile 5, I fell behind.

My husband told me later that Will turned to him and asked if he could go, then sprinted off to finish a good minute ahead of his dad.  While my husband was pleased and proud, he said he was a little sad to see him go.  It had been thrilling to run with his child, to just be with each other for this race.

As for me, I had loosened my left shoe, due to a bruise on the top of my foot.  After completing 5 miles, my shoe was almost falling off.  It had to be dealt with.  I pulled to the side, and motioned for my dad to go ahead.  No point in him stopping too.  The look on his face -  in that second, I knew.  It had been thrilling to run with his child, to just be with each other for this race.

I sprinted the last mile trying to make up for lost time, but also hoping to catch up with him and finish what we had started.

My mother is always telling me you never stop being someone’s parent.  Whether your child is 13 or 44. 

You also never stop being someone’s child.  

Whether you are 13 or 44.