It’s All Good

Wow, has it ever been a week!  It started on Monday!  I had just gotten my weekly manicure and pedicure at Paradise Salon when I chipped my middle nail on my right hand as I fumbled for my Jag’s keys.

“Lord, have mercy!” I shouted to no one in hearing range.  I was already running late to meet Betsy for lunch.  She always chastises my organizational skills because I never get to lunch first.  How are we going to have enough time to plan EVERYTHING necessary for the Association’s Charity Ball now?  I can just hear her think this as I peel out of the parking lot.

Fine then.   I wouldn’t have even been late if I hadn’t spent the extra fifteen minutes this morning arguing with my husband. When I opened the dryer earlier that morning, a rogue blue sock had tumbled out in a sea of my silky whites.

“WHAT’S THIS?!?!?    Damn it, Charles!  If I told you once, I have told you a thousand times, DON’T MIX COLORS WITH WHITE!”  He just doesn’t get it.  He thinks apologies should just cover everything.  Well not this time, mister.  I want you to learn to listen to me!  Clearly he’s off his meds again.

Lunch was pretty much an exercise in futility as Betts shot down all my ideas for the ball, but giggled that annoying little 7th grade laugh of hers, as she showed me her designer’s plans for the ballroom that all her friends just raved about.

On Tuesday my daughter Crystal informed she got a B- in Honors Calculus.  Seriously?  After all that money we spent on tutoring last year?

“College is competitive Missy.  I don’t know what your problem is, but you need to pull yourself together.”

“Okay, Mom!  I get it.  I know!  Dad went to Brown, as did his father and his father.  I am doing my level best to march lock step in line with your plans for me, so I won’t be the first to break our family honored chain of tradition!”

   Crystal does that.  She has this way of being sarcastic when she knows she screwed up.  Deep down, she knows her father and I only want what’s truly best for her.

The rest of the week was exhausting.  I was dealt an impossible to do list:  Take our oldest son Will’s Tahoe to the shop for an oil change.  A second meeting finalizing the Charity Ball plans.   Take my mother in law to her weekly bridge club.   Deal with the frisky exterminator, what’s his problem?  Finish my Christmas shopping for all 6 of our siblings and their kids!   Unload all the groceries and then realize I forgot the freaking dental flossPeggy, our housekeeper of fifteen years gets sick the week of Thanksgiving!  Great!

Finally, on Friday I had to chaperone Jason and an entire class of second graders on a field trip to what else?  A water treatment plan where we all learned how raw sewage is recycled back into water.  I swear from this day forward, it’s Evian or nothing at all for me.   Then, wouldn’t you know it, when I was at the smelliest part of the water treatment facility, about a half mile from where I had parked, I tripped over a rock, and broke the heal on one of my brand new Jimmy Choos.  I had to finish the field trip by precariously balancing my weight on my good left leg and tip-toeing on the right.

I barely got home in time to watch Days of our Lives.

What’s this?   Right there smack in the middle of our wall screen, our dusty old box TV with rabbit ears from the attic was perched on a card table.

I called my husband at the hospital immediately!  “Page Dr. Clark stat,” I yelled at the very rude receptionist.   You’d think a busy metropolitan hospital could page a neurosurgeon in under twenty minutes.  What if someone had an actual emergency?

    Twenty minutes later, Charles informs me the overhead projector is broken so he took it to be repaired this morning.  “So I set up our old TV in the living room, because I know that’s where you like to sip your coffee as you watch your Days.”

    “Thank you,” I mumbled.  Bless his heart, he really does try sometimes.   I collapsed in a heap on the sofa.  I couldn’t help it.  I started crying.

Suddenly a memory crept up towards the surface of my consciousness.  When I was a little girl, probably no more than seven, I can remember I once fell off my Princess Daisy bike and scraped my cheek a little bit.  My granny Pearl was the one who parted my hair back off my face, wiped the dirt and blood off with her clean little hanky, and kissed my tear-stained cheek.

    “There there, my baby girl.  It’s not so bad.  You’re gonna have days like this,” she softly whispered.

“Yeah, but I’m going to be in the Little Miss Charleston Pageant this weekend and now I’ll be the only one who is ugly.” 

She laughed and laughed.  That made me cry more.  “Child, you’re no more ugly than the sun is freezing.  You’ve got to relax sometimes.  Just go with the flow.    It’s all good!”

  It’s all good.  I try to remember that when I have a week like this one.

I do something next I haven’t done in a really long time.  I probably haven’t done this since my granny used to take me to Sunday school all those years ago all decked out in bobby sox and Buster Brown Mary Janes.  I get out my bible.  I close my eyes and open it up to any old random page.  I put my finger on the page.  I open it up.  Then I smile.

Well, golly gee, I can just hear my granny say, look at the encouragement the Good Lord left for you today:

For we know all things work to the good, for those that love Him and are called according to His purposes.  Romans 8:28

     It’s all good.  Indeed.

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Back In the Day: Life in the Twenty Fish Century

The Great One and Various Other Actors

My six year old son always keeps us in stitches!   Tonight it was announced during our family dinner of Stouffer’s lasagna, sweet corn on the cob, and sliced home baked pumpkin vanilla chip bread* (not made by me) that following supper there would be a performance play of epic proportions to be performed by:

The one, the only—–The Great One!   Our little six year old!

 He dictated to us the start time (ASAP) and length of our required attendance (one hour)!   So no TV tonight!

It was past 9 pm.  Most children are long asleep.  I’d already received six phone calls full of details that had made my head spin during the preparation of dinner.  My husband and adult children came in intermittently as they all got off work.  My mom came over.  My needy cats needed food and medicine.   So I was already a wee bit tired when my theatre star son announced the required play we would all be attending.    I really wasn’t in the mood for another play choreographed, produced, and acted by the same person who starred in last night’s play.

Alas, the emperor had spoken and my wishes were simply that—wishes.   Dinner was to be wolfed as quickly as possible so we could all see the amazing and fantastic play.  Oh, and audience participation would be required.

I got the dishwasher loaded.  I got off a long-distance call from my dad whom I hadn’t spoken to in months.  I took Tylenol for the migraine that was returning from the night before.

I sat down and tried to dig deep into my exhausted body and muster up some enthusiasm.  I was sitting beside my mom.  My husband was in a chair beside her with our cat’s Elizabethan collar upside down on his head.  This collar prescribed by our vet is used to keep animals from licking injuries, but my husband calls it “The Collar of Shame” from a movie I clearly never saw.  His lampshade-attachment like choice of accessorizing made him appear to be a rickshaw driver.  Do not ask me why he was wearing the cat’s collar.  I have learned in my world it is better not to question some things.  My six- and-a-half foot tall adult son stood beside me near the door in case he needed to make a hasty exit.  My daughter was given a pass by my six year old since there was no more room for people or pets to sit or stand in our sunroom that doubles as a Toys-R-Us, when it’s not being used for off-Broadway plays.

The house lights were darkened.  The conductor (my son) flipped a switch and the programmed organ began to play a classical rendition of Deck the Halls sung by tonight’s soloist (my son). Then the star of the show (also my son) made a compelling announcement to the audience!

Welcome Everyone!  This Play is About:   

Back in The Day of the Twenty Fish Century!!!!!!

Dun Dunna Duh Duh he trumpeted!!

Well okay then!  Maybe this play won’t be so bad after all.  I’d love to hear about life in the TWENTY FISH century.  I wonder if it’s better than the twenty-one-ways-of-communication century I’m living in every day!    I figured I was about to be entertained by a riveting story similar to the times our Lord and Saviour lived in.    A story where people baked bread with yeast, and made loaves that fed multitudes.  A place where the roads were made of dirt and only the prosperous or the greedy had sandals or donkeys anyway.  A story where fish really had a starring role and where fishermen fished for real men AND fish.  Regrettably, I was about to be disappointed.

Where’s the concession stand I wanted to know!  I would like a Moonpie and an RC Cola please!!

Ain’t happening.  Take your seat I was informed!  My tall grown up son was roughed up a little bit and tapped on the back with an umbrella hook by security (my son) for attempting to leave in the middle of the play, which sort of (okay—a lot)  was lacking in plot, character development, and believability.    It didn’t matter.  This displeased the emperor (my son) and so security (also my son) was called in for non-compliant patrons.

The rest of the obedient audience, that is my mom, husband, and myself, continued to endure the show:  a mixture of a laser light show (a light from a broken electronic slinky), a frightening song about ghosts being on the ceiling and inside of our head which was penned and performed for the first time ever, on the spot, by the singer (my son).  Then we were treated to a stirring rendition of Für Elise set to a backdrop of an electronic metronome.

Occasionally the actor in his limited reading ability did seek help from his grandmother to help him read the verbal script that she had helped him prepare prior to the show.  He stumbled on one line, quickly gained composure, and then delivered this line perfectly:

     Okay, this is the part you are really going to freak out!

Again, however, the plot weakened.  I didn’t freak out, but I did look at my wrist praying a watch had somehow materialized.    That’s when the emcee (also my son) announced the play no longer had a set time to end.

That did it!  I revolted!  I turned on the lamp and thanked him for the amazing and exciting performance.  We were all affected beyond belief!  We would not forget this night ever.  We could not if we tried!     You see, we love the movie star who was in it.  Even though the entertainment can sometimes be sub-par, he really has a way of hooking the audience—literally!    Every star makes their share of box office flops; why should my child be the exception?  The point is this—it’s the passion and the intention of what he was trying to get across:

I love my family!  This is so much fun!  Thanks for coming to see ME in MY SHOW!  Creating this for you has been my supreme joy!  This audience rocks!

The truth is, we had lots of moments when we laughed.  There were indeed moments I thought I might cry.  There were boring parts and there were parts with music.  Not a lot different than when we shell out $11.95 at the theater to go see a movie on a Friday night after our tax refund finally arrives!  Okay, so the story was a bit lacking.  But you know?  You get what you pay for!

But spending quality time with a family you just might be too embarrassed to go out in public with anyway after a delicious dinner, in the presence of a rising star?  Well now, that’s priceless!

 

All Aboard The Care-of-Self!!

Having a two-year old is like having a blender that you don’t have the top for. — Jerry Seinfield

There’s a certain word my son just can’t seem to say.  All kids go through this phase when they are toddlers and learning to speak. Generally,  by fix or six, they have mastered the pronunciation of most words they know.    But one word, my son never bothers to correct, even though I have told him the correct way to say it, is:  CAROUSEL!

He has always insisted it’s called The Care-of –Self.   Which knowing him and his sweet personality, it fits.

When he was a baby, much to my sometimes horror, he would lovingly pat any woman who held him, in the chest—top, dead, center as it is known in mechanical terms.   As a toddler he called these lovely items:  Mashers.  I noticed from the time he could speak, whenever he didn’t know a word; he just gave an item a word that seemed to fit.

Certainly mashers fit the name of someone prone to his proclivity, as well as the aforementioned item being squashed by small hands.   I used to warn moms, grand moms, and even young teenage girls, if they were to pick him up, “If you’ve got them, he’ll get them!”  Thankfully, he’s outgrown this innocent toddler behavior—well hopefully until at least the late teen years.

I wish I remembered more of this early vocabulary he created.  At five, he first became aware that people die and ultimately are buried in cemeteries.   So whenever we’d pass a cemetery in the car, he’d say, “Look Mom, there’s a ghost hive!”  On Mother’s Day, he always wishes me “Happy Saint Mother’s Day!”

One of the funniest words I recall was about a time he had used the bathroom and unfortunately the toilet clogged and ran over.  “Mom!  HELP!”  I came running as fast as I could.  He was tearing up and said, “Help!!  There’s “toilet juice” all over the floor!   It’s disgusting!”   Indeed it was, but I couldn’t help but chuckle at his description.

Another time, even though he was already five, he pointed at a robin scampering across our yard.   Strange little creatures, you’re more likely to see them on the ground, then above your head.  But he saw it and pointed out, “Look mom, it’s a Robin Red Chest!”

Once at the playground, a child bolted down a plastic curvy slide so fast, that his hair stood totally on end!  My son noticed this scientific phenomenon and yelled out, “Mom, his hair ran out of gravity!

Only a few months ago, he observed an apartment close to our home that had burned down several months ago.  Construction crews had started stripping it down to the foundation, removing all of the burned siding, and clearing out the burned interior.   When we passed this apartment, he noticed the new crews working.  He pointed at it and said, “Now all the house needs is its skin on it.”

I wrote down a handful of these words over the years, but the majority of this creative-speak simply evaporated into the atmosphere and that makes me sad.

See he is growing up now.  The first trimester of childhood, that is the first six years, is already up.  How can this be?  He’s my mid-life baby whose sole responsibility is to keep me young, busy, and on my toes until my late fifties!

I have just one piece of advice to all you young, and young-at-heart wonderful mommies out there.  Somehow, somewhere, write down those cute little things your boy-wonder or little starlet says.  I know you already take a million digital pictures, but make sure you jot down somewhere those “first REAL words”.  You think you won’t forget this ever, and by next Tuesday you’ll have no idea what that cute thing was, only that they said “something” adorable.  Keep a notepad in your car, your diaper bag, or purse with attached pen so that you can capture it.  Even if you just shove all your little notes in a folder with your kids name on it, you’ll be glad later.

I know the days of early motherhood can be long.   The duties are harsh, your “to do” list borders on cruel and inhumane, your body is tired and worn out, and all your efforts are consumed with orchestrating nearly everything:

  • Coordinating play dates!
  • Providing top-notch educational experiences!
  •  Teaching little ones to tinkle and stinkle in a potty!
  •   Learning how to read words!
  •  Breaking up fights among siblings!
  • Planning three nutritious meals a day and snacks that are nibbled yet never entirely consumed!
  • Hourly diaper changes!
  •  Grocery and supply shopping!
  • Acres of dirty laundry and hours of cleaning that are never seen!

You spend your days navigating the disaster zone of spilled cheerios, leaking sippy cups, and a minefield of sharp, talking toys, as well as the brigade of ten thousand tiny pieces (kit toys).

Yes, I know!  You moms are at your most amazing, when you feel the least visible and the most vulnerable to losing the last shred of YOU!   Time moves simultaneously at the speed of light and slower than a snail’s pace.

Just remember this:

These sweet days will pass.  These little darlings will grow.  You will get through this!  And ultimately you will be begging your mind to remember one day those subtle moments when each of your sweet children said something precious or did something adorable.

The journey of motherhood is an arduous one.  You will learn a new language and skill set right along with your baby.  So whenever you can, however you can, find the ways to rest your body, and nourish your soul:

  • A call to a friend while sitting down, not tending to a child
  • Read a great book or magazine at nap time
  • A box of chocolates!  Calories don’t count if you’re near tears anyway.

As I hit submit on this post, I am praying this simple prayer:

“Lord, for any mom today that needs encouragement desperately, please let her know she is super amazing!   I don’t know who she is, but I know she’s giving with everything she’s got to her family.  Reward her faith and let her feel appreciated and loved.  Make sure she is blessed with the knowledge that she is a good mom and may she at least once today have the opportunity to board “The Care of Self”.