Posts Tagged ‘Mother’s Day’

My best of times, worst of times Mother’s Day.

May 15, 2017

Mother’s Day is never an easy day for me.

I’m filled with gratitude for this amazing village that surrounds me, helping me to be the best me – as they step in to designate hit for me when needed – and helping to raise my girlies for me. I have great sisters (birth sisters and accumulated sisters), cousins, friends, and the best dang stepmom I could have dreamed of. So many people help keep us upright and I am blessed!

But even with all of that happy, there’s the reality of my own mom. Mother’s Day goes in both directions. And my mom is…not how I remember my mom. But I still need to honor Mom as she is. I called her and let her talk for as long as she could. I talked to her about what was going on with us, and she didn’t have much to add from her end. But I know it meant a lot to her to hear from us. Kim and Rhi were there, so I felt like I was, too. Talking – even when she’s obviously having a bad spell – is good for her.

But it wrecked me. Seeing Mom be Not-Mom is always a gutpunch. On Mother’s Day, even more so.

So.

But let’s rewind. The girls and I were having an epic, wonderful weekend. We had a dance party on Friday night, and then after we wore ourselves out with wii-dancing, we played board games and talked and talked and talked. Everyone got along and it was great!

Saturday was the same. The girls went on errands with me without complaining, we went summer clothes shopping for Gracie (who has outgrown all of her clothes since spring), and Bee found a thing or two. She had more that she had picked out, but when I would point out that they wanted $20 for a tank top, she decided herself that it was ridiculous. Watching her carefully weight wants and needs, and the spending of my money, it was glorious!

After shopping, Bee knocked out her project and did it with minimal fuss. Gracie ran out grocery shopping with me, like she does, and I only had minimal grumbling when I made her. She put away the groceries when I got back while I helped Bee finish her project. Bee even wielded the hot glue gun all by herself! And the project was AMAZING:

Bee made the house and lined up the cotton and grapes. It was my idea to do a beginning, middle, and end slide on a rolling paper background, wrapped around two pencils to wind and unwind the paper scenes. (I am so frickin proud of my idea to mount the pencils on push pins that I super-glued to the base. The pencils went onto the push pins with the eraser. That way the bottom was attached firmly, but the pencils could still twirl. Genius, right?!) And then Saturday night the girls kept asking to do something as a family! Something as a family! Please? So we watched movies and had make-up tutorials that we re-enacted on ourselves. Don’t ask me how late I let them stay up! Because they weren’t arguing and we were having fun all together.

And then actual Mother’s Day showed up. Bee decorated all my usual seats with scarves, to make it fancy. The girls got ready for church and gave me a million hugs and told me how much they loved me. It was lovely.

After church, they came home and we opened cards and…no gifts. The cards were nice – don’t get me wrong! But – and here’s where I feel like a horrible person who’s a little materialistic, but let me explain how it’s not – I know I shouldn’t take how my Ex sees my value as a mom by him helping the girls get me a gift for Mother’s Day, but I do. I know he appreciates me – we get along so much better now and we’re honest to god friends, like I was at one point afraid we never would be. I’m close with his new wife, the girls’ stepmom. We call ourselves sister wives! ha! But I can’t say the lack of gifts didn’t hurt a little. I felt like I wasn’t worth the effort. My sister Kim helped the girls get me something, just in case, and it was lovely. Bee picked out a season of Victoria, that she and I could bond over together. (Kim’s right – time period costuming is definitely in our future!) And Gracie got me a bouquet of roses that she arranged.

But, after Gracie arranged the flowers and I got big hugs after church….everything went downhill in a hurry. The girls bickered all afternoon. They entrenched themselves in the living room and turned into zombies, playing Minecraft. I had to do laundry. I had to load the dishwasher. No one wanted to do anything fun with me. My afternoon of watching Victoria wasn’t realized. They were busy. No one wanted anything to do with me. I had my heartbreaking conversation with my mom and the girls had their turns talking with her. And then they went back to…not me. Which, I could have handled in small portions. I don’t expect every single moment to be devoted to me. I just wanted some sort of acknowledgment that it was Mother’s Day and I mattered. That they liked spending time with me. Without me asking. Just one activity together. Like the rest of the weekend!

Dinner was more of the same. Bee asked if she had to make dinner. Why couldn’t I do it. (Sigh.) They watched me set the table. I finished first and rather sit and talk to them at the table while they ate, I just got up and left. I shut my door. You’d think they’d realize I was hurt. They definitely got it when I came out, hours later, and was crying. I had to clear up the leftovers. The girls went right back to Minecrafting in the same seats they had been in since they got home from church. I told them through tears how hurt I was and how they had ruined my day, since they only came to talk to me when they were complaining and tattling about their sister.

So, no. Mother’s Day wasn’t my favorite. So many things went wrong. And no one took any trouble to make it right.

I could have kept quiet. I could have just sighed and hoped next year would be better. But I decided to write about it because this is the truth of what happened. It might hurt some people’s feelings. I don’t mean it to. I just needed to write it out, to purge my hurt feelings.

And maybe things will be better.

Five for Friday.

May 22, 2015

Good morning, all! And for once, I mean that…well, as much as I ever can in the mornings. I actually got good, quality sleep last night. You never realize how much you miss good sleep until you ain’t gettin’ any. So let’s use my energy while I have it and see what’s going on…

1. Like I said – insomnia. I’ve always suffered from insomnia, usually delayed sleep insomnia versus early-wake insomnia, but lately, I’ve had it all. Coupled with the Sleepiness of Doom. The sleepiness had been worse – I literally couldn’t get through the day without dropping everything to take a nap, sometimes at 9, 10, or 11 o’clock in the morning. It was interfering with work to the point that I had to explain my mystery medical event to my boss to avoid getting in any kind of trouble for random periodic absenteeism. So I stopped taking my sleeping pill. It was one of the stronger overt-the-counter varieties, and it had been working fine…until it decided to work 24 hours a day. So I stopped taking it. And then my insomnia kicked in and I had the opposite problem. Sigh. I’ve switched to taking one of the weaker sleeping pills and I make sure to take it early enough that it won’t linger the next day. I think I’ve hit on the winning combo, but we’ll see. We’ll see.

2. Mothers’ Day earrings! Of course I forgot to snap a pic of them before I left, but they’re so pretty! Gracie’s fantastic fairy godmother, Auntie Kim, helped her pick them out for me. Only they were from England, and Gracie thought she was the shiznic picking out something imported, so they’ve just arrived. Tiny little flowers made from book pages. They’re fabulous! And so am I, because I figured out the book was Pride and Prejudice just from the words “sister” and “I endeavor to”. Boom.

3. Speaking of Kim… Guess who’s coming to visit? HUZZAH! And guess who’s coming to visit next weekend instead of this weekend, even though this weekend is Memorial Day? Womp wah. But it’s okay. We’ll take her when we can get her! We’re going to just show up to get the girls with Auntie Kim in tow and see if we can surprise ’em. So shoooooosh. (An extra thank you to the Ex for being so flexible with the girls’ visitation so they can play, too.)

4. Speaking of the girls, last night was the school-wide talent show. You know, that we only got one day’s notice about. My level of frustration knows no bounds about that, by the way. If it wasn’t Gracie’s last year, I would have just pulled her and not gone to show them that we can’t just drop what we have planned. Any way. Bee wasn’t in it, but Gracie said she was. That was all I knew. I assumed she was part of the stomp team, since that’s all I hear, morning noon and night. Stomp-stomp-step. Clap. Clap clap. Stomp. STOMP STOMP STOMP. But noooo. Not step. That’s just to drive me mad, apparently. Gracie-girl was helping to direct that talent show! Who thought that was a good idea, exactly?! That child does not need her sense of dictator-i-ness encouraged, thank you very much! I sense great danger ahead.

5. As far as reading goes, I’ve finished a few lackluster books this week. The Cruise of the Blue Dolphin. The Body of the World, by Eve Ensler. I re-read Gerald’s Game for my Stephen King re-read project. It’s not my favorite of the Kings, but I always like it a little more than I remember I did, which is always a pleasant surprise. Oh, Heart of a Woman – about Maya Angelou? – hoo baby, that a great read! Girl had done some stuff in her life! And also Cinderland by Amy Jo Burns. Amy reached with a few of her passages, making the language feel clunky and awkwardly constructed, but there were just as many that captured the raw feeling of needing to escape a failing armpit-of-a-town, not unlike my own collective growing up. For that reason alone, I think the group of kids I grew up with needs to read it.

So there you go. A few small things going on right now. Now I’m going to go plan out my weekend. One set of plans that I want to happen – plant trees, shop for vacation clothes, patio parties, bourbon slushies, food truck-apalooza – and one set in case it rains all weekend like it’s going to. Sigh. Make the rain stop guys. And in the meantime, enjoy your long weekend!

What day was it again?

May 12, 2015

I didn’t have the energy to summon Mother’s Day yesterday. I couldn’t think about it, I couldn’t write about it, I couldn’t even get annoyed with myself for being melodramatic about it. It just was what it was – and what it was, was over. Thank god.

I have great kids. I know this. I know this and I’m thankful for them. Don’t think I’m not. But Sunday? Sunday they were rotten kids. Sunday they went to church and they were fine. They presented me with their gifts when they came home and were loving and lovely while they showed off their cards and the potted flowers they brought back from church and the keychain they bought me (with Stepmom’s help) that shows how to travel by map from Tejas back to Mass., and the giftcard for cheesecake. And Bee was tickled to show me the blueberry bushes – another piece of home – that she had smuggled to our house with Auntie Kim’s help. And lo, it was good.

But then lo, it was bad. Bad, bad, bad. I asked Gracie to empty the dishwasher, and all I got was whining and attitude. Even after I reminded her that it was Mother’s Day. And then there was a round of “let’s complain about everything Mom offers for lunch.” And then Bee abandoned the omelets she was making us so I had to finish them. The front room wasn’t cleaned when I asked. Gracie complained when I asked her to help me put away the laundry, and then walked away and pretended she couldn’t hear me. Then Bee walked away in the middle of me helping her to call Grandma to talk to everyone back home. So I announced in the middle of the living room, “You know what? I give up.” And then I dropped the phone where I was standing and walked into my bedroom and slammed the door.

Childish, yes. But hopefully more effective than what had been falling on deaf ears. And if it wasn’t? Well, I could just take a nap.

And so I did.

When I woke up, I packed up the girls and took us over to Jeff’s. X-man gave me a beautiful stone paperweight (that might turn into a doorstopper) and bookmark, and then the kiddos played video games while I had a glass of wine and some cheese. After X-man’s mom picked him up, we all went out for some Irish Nachos (official sponsor of rescuing Mother’s Days everywhere) and gorged on West Wing when we got back to the house.

They can’t all be fantastic Mother’s Days, but at least mine ended well and everyone was still alive at the end of it. Even if it was by the skin of their teeth.

Blueberry

Some years it’s like that – the whining and the rain and the defiance, even though I am constantly reminding them, “Hey, it’s Mother’s Day!”

I choose to widen the definition.

May 13, 2014

Happy belated Mothers’ Day, you guys!

Truth: That exclamation point costs me a lot of effort. Mothers’ Day isn’t the easiest holiday for me. Oh, sometimes I can shut my brain off for five minutes in a row and I can simplify it – Mothers’ Day can be simple and lovely and a tool with which I get my minions childrens to do whatever I want! Clean their rooms, do chores, stop bickering, let the dog in without complaint…

But when my brain is whirling, I start feeling all the feels. The past few years I thought it was because the girls were at their dad’s for his weekend. True, I could have invoked Mothers’ Day and asked for them for the day, and he would have gladly handed them over. But I let him enjoy his time with them and then we had a lovely Mothers’ Day feast each year. One that I cooked myself, true, but a lovely meal, all the same. So everyone won. This year Mothers’ Day fell on my weekend for the first time in years. And I was still feeling all the feels.

It’s my mom. Usually I can disassociate who my mom is now with my real mom, the mom I grew up with. Turns out not so much on Mothers’ Day. I called her and planned to spend as much time as I could with her; I set aside a nice big chunk of time with so many cheery stories. Only my mom wasn’t having a good day. She doesn’t like to talk on the phone much anymore, the Parkinson’s has made even that difficult for her. She has trouble following conversations, especially on bad days.

That could have sunk my day right there, all the feelings that brought to the surface, all the should-have-been scenarios floating through my damn imagination. But then all of my stupid friends came to the rescue being all stupid and…stupid and stuff.

See, my friends kept texting me and messaging me and emailing me to wish me a happy Mothers’ Day. I’d make up my mind to be all glum and then one of my friends would crack just the right joke to make me laugh. Or be sincere and honest enough that I couldn’t roll my eyes. Or tell me about the post that the girls’ stepmom wrote that made me cry (good tears!) and realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by such strong, wonderful, caring women. I realized how many moms I have in my life, holding me up and helping parent my girlies.

The girls’ stepmom, who is kind and patient and always trying to do the right thing, who pushes to keep blending our family in all the best ways. It takes an amazing woman to step into a newly fractured family and let them figure out new roles without upsetting the balance. She saw where we wanted to be – friends and co-parents – and helped the family get there. I know I beat this phrase to death, you guys, but I really did win the step-family lottery. She is an amazing mother to my girls, and her daughter is a terrific big sister to Gracie and Bee.

My sisters, who are always there for my daughters when they need a fairy godmother to come to the rescue. They listen to confessions, keep secrets, devise strategies (with me and the girls), buy them clothes, spoil them rotten, and all other manner mama duties.

Kim G., our favorite second-mama at school, who comes to the rescue when Gracie’s shoes don’t fit (and lends her her flip flops for the day), provides counsel when there’s frenemy drama, lets me panic over tornado warnings during school hours and assures me she’ll gather my children and keep them with her, signs permission slips when I forget, administers medicine when I can’t break away from work, and reassures me that the girls are with someone who loves them after every school tragedy pops up in the news. There is something to be said for having one of your best friends teach at your children’s school!

Corrie, my partner in crime, who sees my girlies nearly as much as I do! Knowing there is someone to swoop in at a moment’s notice to watch or feed or tend to my girlies is a panic button I could not do without. My girlies consider her family to be their family, and our girls feel just as comfortable at each others’ house as they do at their own. Any one of the girls call “Mama?” and Corrie and I both pop our heads up and and shout back “WHAT!” Awww – it’s the start of my mommune, isn’t it?

And to my aunts who are like my second moms – I wouldn’t be the person I am without you. Thank you for throwing cookouts when I come home, for driving me to school and CCD classes when my mom couldn’t, for always stopping by to visit, for always treating me like a grown-up when I was a kid (and a kid when I was a grown-up), for always conveniently going out for a night when I needed babysitting money, and creating such a safe space for me to be me. Thank you for creating such a wonderful definition of family.

Mothers’ Day isn’t just about bio moms. It’s about all kinds of moms. Stepmoms, foster moms, kickass aunts, second-mamas, fairy godmothers, friends and anyone else who steps in and helps raise these wonderful kiddos of ours. That reminder helped lift my spirit Sunday when I really needed it. Thank you to everyone in my village for that.

When the thought really DOES count.

May 7, 2014

I was bracing for one of those nights. It was Monday, Gracie was sick, the girls had a pile of homework, and we had to pick up some prescriptions – not exactly an errand I could put off. So I wasn’t expecting a good night, never mind a moment that melted my heart.

It helped that Gracie was feeling a bit better than she was the night before. The girls got through dinner without any arguments (a minor miracle on a Monday), Bee launched into her homework without any fuss, and Gracie happily took her shower once I promised the steam would help loosen up the junk in her lungs. And then after the shower, Gracie got out and asked me, as she was rather hilariously trying to work her wet hair into a bun, if she could look something up on the computer.

“You have homework tonight, Gracie,” I reminded her.

“It’ll be really quick, I just need to check something,” she explained.

There was something in her voice, but I didn’t quite know what it was. Just that something was up. “What do you need to check?” I asked.

“Something…” she drawled out, sounded overly casual, and desperately hoping I wouldn’t notice she was being very vague.

“What kind of something?” I pressed. Because mama-senses.

“Something for Mother’s Day!” she harrumphed, but in a good-natured way.

I told her she could use my laptop, but that she had to be quick about it.

A few minutes later, I walked into the room and saw her rush to flip over a piece of paper. “Mom, how do you know when to click on things that say ‘enter your code here’?” she asked. Ruh roh. What was she doing?! I explained to her that those pop-ups were scams, and her face fell a little.

“But it’s for a free something! I heard it on the radio!” she assured me.

This was going no where good. I knew she was excited about whatever it was she was checking on, but it was definitely something dodgy. And her ten-year-old brain couldn’t wrap itself around the art that is the lure-you-in-with-free-gift marketing ploys.

I tried to explain it to her, and her face – and the rest of her – kind of collapsed in on itself. “But it said there was a free vase and flowers and chocolates,” she argued, even though I could tell I she was starting to believe me. I explained that they were free if you bought something else, and told her she could call one of her aunts if she wanted to have a grown-up walk through it with her to check it out. My heart just broke for her. She had heard the ad on the radio when she was falling asleep and had gotten a piece of paper and written down all the details. She was trying to do something very sweet for me, and all on her own. I remember how good it felt to be able to walk to the corner store when I was young and get my mom a surprise with my own money. You grow a lot in those moments. And my baby was trying so hard to do something nice.

I gave her a hug and a kiss and told her how much her thoughtfulness meant to me. We talked about the gifts they’d given me in the years passed and laughed over a few of them. And then I reminded her that she could always ask her dad for help, or her aunties. And off she went to start her homework and finish our crazy Monday night.

Ooch, it is so hard, this letting my kids grow up business. But sometimes, sometimes, you have a moment when  you know they are doing just fine.

In which there are no good solutions.

May 13, 2013

So many times these past few weeks, I’ve given myself little motivational pep talks that all seem to come down to the same thing: “Just get through it. It’s May, you’re all busy, just push through this last month. One more month, Katie, and then it will be summer break and things will be easier. Just push through it. One more month, Katie, just get it done. Just May. Push. Do it.” Last weekend was Mayfest and Gracie’s dance competition. Next weekend is Gracie’s University Interscholastic Learning day-long geekapalooza competition. This Saturday was supposed to be the girls’ bridging ceremony for Girls Scouts before that got cancelled. And in between is Mother’s Day. Rather than ask for the girls basically all weekend (the bridging thing didn’t get cancelled until practically last minute), or try to swap weekends with everything going on, I figured it would be easier to take a day for myself on Mother’s Day to relax, enjoy the peace and quiet, and then have a big celebratory dinner and presents after the girls’ got back from their dad’s house. That was the plan.

Okay, now, in the middle of all of this – performances and weekends and Mothers’ Day – Gracie was assigned her big project for the semester: choose a project to go along with their James and the Giant Peach section. They could create a peach-themed word search, re-enact a scene in a skit, create a commercial for the book which could be filmed and emailed to the teacher, or make an illustrated cookbook with at least 20 recipes. Go ahead and guess which one my over-achiever picked. No, not the commercial. (That’s what I would have guessed.) She chose the cookbook. With all the recipes. Do you have any idea how long it takes a 9-year-old to copy down a recipe?! A VERY LONG TIME! In fact, after she got exactly one single recipe copied in an hour, I texted her dad and warned him that Gracie had this project, that it was due a week from Thursday, which meant she would have to get most of it done on the weekend. His weekend. Because she was only getting one recipe done per school night.

Gracie was happy to do the work. I helped her get what she needed – she started researching recipes while I stitched together the inside pages of her cookbook. (If we were going to “publish” this, we were doing it right!) I helped Gracie plan out her page layouts and then I got her set up at the kitchen table so I could remind her to focus. She got two more recipes copied Wednesday night, and another one done after she got back from dinner at her dad’s house on Thursday. Three days and only four recipes copied down and illustrated. Oy.

I reminded Gracie on Friday morning that she would need to get it done at her dad’s that weekend. It was the only weekend she had to work on the project. I resisted reminding her dad about it because, you know, we had already talked about it.

Sunday afternoon. I had a big roast beef dinner cooking. (Hey, I could either cook for myself or fight the crowds at the restaurants. I would rather cook for myself and clean the kitchen myself and not spend the night waiting around with fidgety children.) I get a text from Gracie, who has apparently hijacked the Ex’s cell phone. “Can I just do 10? And do the rest there?” She had only finished six recipes. Not finished at least copying all the recipes like she was supposed to. She had all weekend, there was an hour left, and what the heck?! I told her I was sorry that she wanted to go outside and play with the kids, but she was supposed to be done – she would need to keep working on it until she was finished. Then her dad took the phone back. He said Gracie had worked on it “all day and yesterday too.” When I asked if she had really only done nine recipes all weekend, when she had done four the three nights previously, he said he guessed that was it, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. The girls walked in the door a few minutes after that.

I am just… I don’t even know. Mind-boggled. Just…at a loss. I somehow got Gracie to plan and sew together book pages, create page layouts and get 4 recipes completed in the two hours that I had her on Tuesday and Thursday night after her dinner with dad, and the 2 1/2 hours that I had her after school on Wednesday night. Her dad, in the two days and a night that he had her, only made her do 9 more recipes. I asked Gracie how long she spent on it Friday (none), and Saturday (an hour or two before going to the neighbors). The Ex didn’t feel compelled to make her do more than that. He didn’t come up with a plan of how he expects Gracie to finish her very important project – more than half of it – in the two nights that I have her after school, or the one night after her dinner with him. You know – in addition to dinner and showers and her usual homework. Sure, she’s nine; she is old enough to know what she has to do. But he is also the parent, and part of a parent’s job is to make sure your child is getting things done and to teach your child to budget their time. What lesson did the Ex think he was teaching Gracie when he didn’t make her focus on her schoolwork? That schoolwork is only for mom’s house? That she can do what she wants (within reason) when she’s there? That weekends are for fun, and it’s more important to play on the weekends, even if it means staying up late and losing hours of sleep during the school week? I have no idea because he didn’t say communicate anything, other than he guessed she only got nine recipes done, but it wasn’t from lack of effort.

So what do I do with that? Usually we have a really good co-parenting relationship. He drills Bee on spelling words, and has them do their homework on nights when they have dinner with him, most of the time. But I just don’t know what to do with this. I clearly communicated that Gracie had to do her project this weekend because it was the only weekend she had, and she could only get one recipe written on school nights. And he…didn’t care? Thought it was more important to have fun? Forgot? I feel like he does stuff like this, that he is treating me like the safety net. Oh, I don’t have to make my kids do this or learn this because Kate will do it. I feel like wants to be treated as an equal co-parent, but without all of the responsibilities. Why else not care about her whether she did her homework, or come up with and communicate a plan of how it would get done?

What do I do with any of that? If I let Gracie hand in her project unfinished and get a bad grade, is that fair to show her that she can’t rely on her dad? Is it fair to Gracie that I force her to stay up 1-2 hours late each night because her dad didn’t make her do the work on the weekend? Is it fair to do that without making her work on it every available minute after school? I can’t make her skip afterschool because I can’t miss work. There aren’t any other activities that I could cut from her schedule this week.

I was still trying to figure out how to handle the situation when the girls walked in trilling “Happy Mother’s Day!” I was carving the roast beef, hoping to rescue my mood. “Go put your cards and your gift on the fireplace,” I told them. Except, no cards. Or gift. No acknowledgement whatsoever from the Ex about Mother’s Day at all. This is the message he’s teaching the girls about homework and responsibility and Mother’s Day. By doing nothing, he’s showing them that it’s not that important.

Happy Mother’s Day to me.

 

Look! Over there! Something carby!

May 15, 2012

Sunday afternoon I was pretty desperate for any outing that would take the girls away from the potential mess-making (which would requiremore cleaning) and would fill us with the requisite calm and happy (damnit!), it being Mother’s Day. Feeding the ducks it was!

There’s a pond in the smallish pretty sort of park near our neighborhood. We were promised a playground and a gazebo, but right now we have a half-mile path, trash baskets and benches. All of this, I should mention, is in the middle of a giant field near the small branch of the river. Once I got over my fear of being kidnapped (I’m not kidding about how remote it is – no one would hear you scream) or of being mauled by the feral hogs and coyotes that parade through, I started enjoying my runs in park. Every time I’ve been there during the past few weeks, I’ve seen a big, white egret who keeps triangulating across the pond away from me, and three or four ducks. The ducks didn’t seem to care too much about me either way.

It was the ducks I thought the girls might like to see, so we grabbed a few half loafs of stale bread I’d been saving for such an occasion, and walked down to see if the ducks were home. I was worried the ducks wouldn’t know that we were throwing bits of food at them – the last few times they had been sitting clear across the pond from the footbridge and might be too far away – but I shouldn’t have worried. Really. The ducks were VERY FRIENDLY.

The ducks swam over right away, almost as if they knew what was in that loaf-of-bread shaped bag. For serious, they shot right across that water…and kept coming…and kept coming, until I started getting a little nervous because they were less than two feet away from the tasty, tasty fingers of my very small children.


You can almost see the alpha duck thinking about launching himself into the face of the girls, just to make out with the bread crumbs. It was at this point I started launching entire slices of bread back a few feet and yelling, “Look! Bread! GO GET IT!” And just to prove those ducks were every bit as cunning and intelligent as I feared, theyunderstood and followed my directions.

All except for Glutton Duck. Too bad for him, we were soon out of tasty things to launch into the water, at which point the girls decided they should race around the pond and I should chase them. And they mostly won, too, because I had already run three miles around that stupid pond earlier.

It was a fun 45-minute jaunt for the kiddos and me. Let’s just hope I’m not assaulted by the gang of ducks when I run by later tonight. Otherwise we’ll find out how fast I can do half-mile sprints!

They love me! (Most of the time…)

May 14, 2012

There are many capital-M Moments in your life that you know you will remember forever. The first time your baby takes her first steps. Going off to kindergarten. Being able to buckle her own self into the car (hallelujah!). And then there’s The Moment when your children assume responsibility of the gift giving.

For many moms, that means there’s a noticeable change in the sorts of gifts presented. Now, let me take a minute right here and say I know that it’s not supposed to be about the gifts. I know that. Iknow. There isn’t one mom out there who has spent every waking moment thinking of and devoting her time, energy, and every last emotion taking care of her children who wouldn’t like some token of appreciation. Am I right? I am, indeed. So this changing of the gift-guard can make a mama a little nervous.

Guess who called Auntie Kim and asked for help in picking out a present?

Apparently Gracie decided she couldn’t rely on her father for help. The past few Mother’s Day and birthday presents have included a kitschy frame and a $10 gift card. Guidance from those quarters was apparently uneven at best. So she turned to her other “parent” available: Auntie Kim. I have no idea when the first furtive request took place, but I do remember hearing that Gracie told (yes – demanded) her aunt she needed to get me flowers. Auntie Kim asked if I thought Gracie could manage getting online to look at flowers with her.

I thought Gracie could probably manage to order the entire delivery by herself if she could find my credit card, but that wasn’t necessarily the desired outcome. Good. thing.

Auntie Kim sent Gracie an email (care of my inbox) with a link to an online florist. I just happened to call Auntie Kim while my email was open and the two co-conspirators took it from there. I wasn’t surprised when Auntie Kim reported back: “Your daughter is going to be a dictator when she grows up.” Heh. I was happy she thought Gracie could wait that long. “She wanted to get you $200 flowers.” When Auntie Kim tried to explain the theory of relativity as applies to the cost of flower arrangements, Gracie insisted. “But I love her. A lot.” Think of Gracie’s tone more as making Auntie Kim an offer she couldn’t refuse. Ah, now you’ve got it.

Oh! And one more fun little tidbit: the arrangement was picked from the sympathy section. Yea verily, they were funereal. When I was telling Corrie about the episode during our Friday night catch-up, tears streamed down our faces as we laughed about the banner possibilities (“I loved you, Mom!”) to the arrangements (large circle wreath? with one of those black metal tripod easels?). She demanded a picture when it arrived and I promised I’d bring her instead a trilling wedge of whiteness with which to remember me by.

Gracie’s sneakiness continued. She hadn’t breathed a word to me that would have raised my suspicion – well, if you overlook the fact that she asked if she could check all the packages on Saturday for any that had her name on them. “Not because they’re my birthday packages, Mom. But…just in case. You know. Umm….” I let her off the hook before she hurt herself by saying that was perfectly fine.

Saturday afternoon, after imprisoning the girls in their bedroom and the playroom to clean (and while surreptitiously waiting for the damn flowers to arrive), I finally had to secretly leave a note on the front door so we could leave to run a few necessary errands; I was afraid the flowers wouldn’t be delivered if we weren’t home, and there was no way they would have time to re-deliver them during Mother’s Day weekend. “Dear Delivery Person,” I wrote in my most child-like handwriting, “Please leave the flowers so Mom doesn’t hear the doorbell.” It worked, too. I snuck the note off the door when we got home so Gracie wouldn’t know that I knew, and later reminded her to check the front stoop. “Mom! I have to move a Mother’s Day present into the scraproom! NO PEEKING!” Gracie ordered. It’s a good thing I pretended not have seen the package outside – the box was plastered with 1-800-Flowers’ logo. I heard from Auntie Kim that Gracie was most seriously displeased with that fact since it could have compromised her mission.

Of course, then Gracie asked for the biggest vase I had. But we’ll overlook that minor detail since she promised not to get her paper flowers – if that was what she was making – wet if I let her have a little water in it.

I have to say – all of the sneakery was worth waking up to this:

It made up for all those years of “pretend” presents and for someone’s (coughBeecough) declaration on Saturday that she hated Mother’s Day and she wished she didn’t have a mother (especially one mean enough to make her clean her room). The flowers and the smiling faces from both my girls were more than absolutely perfect! Even if the flowers didn’t come with a tripod or a sippy cup of juice to pour on the curb.

Thanks, Kim – you may not be a mama for reals, but you’re doing pretty damn good with this on-demand thing!

This sums up being a mom quite nicely.

May 9, 2010

Gracie and I were playing with our new Wii [Guess what? WE GOT A WII!] and Bee was suspiciously quiet. In case you’ve, you know, never read the blog, Bee is never quiet. So I went to investigate. And I found her in my bathroom. Next to the toilet. With arms wet up to the elbow.

After (barely) holding back the shrieks to mere squeaks and emphasizing that she should never, EVER put her hands in the potty, never mind WASH HERSELF in the potty (even if it was {ahem} unused), and Bee had cried, washed up, and then calmed down, we had this little exchange:

Bee: I’m sorry for putting my hands in da potty, Mom.
Me: Thank you. Don’t ever, EVER put your hands in there again, okay?
Bee: Why, Mom?
Me: Because you will get germs.
Bee: <Thinks about it a minute.> And then you will turn into a dolphin?
Me: ….

Yeah. I’m pretty sure dolphins are smarter than that. But ooooookay. (And no – I couldn’t hold back the laughter, in case you were wondering.)

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my mommy friends! And special prayers for those who are trying to get there. It’s worth it, is all I can say. All of the highs, all of the lows, every single day.

I couldn't ask for a more heartfelt Mother's Day bouquet.

A random conversation with 5.

May 12, 2009

Yesterday, after having read my little rant, my sister popped online to tell me that the girls had indeed bought me something for Mother’s Day (with a little help from their auntie), but that it was slightly backordered. I was touched that at least someone in their lives would pay such attention to the girls and help them out with something completely unrelated to her own life. And then my sister told me about the conversation she had with Gracie, explaining about Mother’s Day, and touched slipped into rolling hilarity. This is priceless and, honestly, quite representative of how conversations with my five-year-old typically roll at my house. To wit:

Kim: “Gracie had difficulty grasping the concept, so I’m not surprised she forgot to tell you. Our conversation went something like this…”
Kim: “Do you remember what Sunday is? Remember I told you it was a special holiday?”
Gracie: “Uh, what’s ‘holiday’?”
Kim: “A holiday is a day when you celebrate special things…like Easter or Thanksgiving or Christmas…”
Gracie: “It’s Christmas on Sunday!?! We forgot to put up the Christmas tree!!!”
Kim: “No, it’s not Christmas, sweetie. It’s Mother’s Day. Remember we talked about this??”
Gracie: <longish pause>
Gracie: “Are you doing laundry?”
Kim: “Uh, no?”
Gracie: “We’re doing laundry.” [We weren’t.]
Kim: “I do my laundry on the weekend.”
Gracie: “But – it’s Laundry Day!!” [Totally wasn’t. We do ours on the weekend, too.]
Kim: “I see. Well my Laundry Day is on Saturday – and Sunday is Mother’s Day.”
Gracie: “What’s Mother’s Day?”
Kim: “It’s when you tell your mom you love her and that you’re so lucky she’s your mom.” [Gracie did actually say these very words. At least something got through to her!]
Gracie: “Oh. But I love her every day.”

And I believe that’s the point where Auntie Kim just threw her hands up in the air and just told her what they were getting me for Mother’s Day (Disney’s Little House on the Prairie mini-series! Gracie will sit riveted on the plan for all six hours, I’m sure. Hooray pieces of sanity!). When Kim told me about their “special talk,” I laughed both at the conversation and at the fact that she thought it was so extraordinary. These off the wall, rambling conversations are so typical of my eldest daughter that I just laughed. See, you gotta see them as fun adventures into the vast jungle of sheer unknowingness. That way you don’t care where you end up. Really, Auntie Kim did great!

Still, it was too good not to share!