Laughter, Lessons, Life, Love, Parenting, children, humor, education, entertainment, arts

It’s Our Thing

The miniature version of me who really isn’t so me and is not so mini anymore, has caused great panic. First off, he took the path less traveled from school to my car. Now, I am a huge promoter of that path. Life happens off the beaten but not when 50 parents and 8 teacher proctors or whatever their politically correct title may be are watching you.

When school lets out, proceed to follow the path. That means the shoveled, highly salted, dry path leading from school to mother’s vehicle. Oh no, not little Peeno. He basically hurdles a bush, climbs a tree and treks through 6 inches of slushy, melting snow losing his boot. Yes oh yes, I am the parent slouching with sunglasses on and my visor down and my sun shade up and my car basically wrapped in a tarp so to not admit that rebellious child is mine.

But they ALL know….

As soon as he gets near the car I can see the stares, the giggles from his peers, the secret high fives from the junior high kids and my 2nd grader who is about to get down and out with all holiness this Spring, with that smirk. It’s that smirk that’s caught between I just won first place in track and want to stay modest and I just pulled off the unthinkable and got away with it. What he doesn’t seem to appreciate is that his mother often bears the brunt of his travels.

It gets better. Why I dared even to ask how his day was? Of course, I got the vow of silence but then I could see the light bulb flashing and him wanting so hard to speak it up. See, rear view mirrors have become my greatest friend. And seeing that I spend about 5.35 daily hours in my vehicle driving these kids to and from here and there, old rear view has been there.

He has been there when 96 school fundraising candy bars were being busted open. He sees army men’s heads getting chopped off with preschool safety scissors for fear of they and Krampus would severely injure Salvatore, our Elf on the Shelf and on the toilet and on the chandelier and in the refrigerator. Rear view has seen giggles that I knew I best pull the car over. He has warned me of footballs, basketballs, nerf pellets and Starbursts about to be launched my way. He sees truths and mischief and tears and smiles.

But this particular day he saw a big thought. Sure enough, little Peeno proceeds to tell me he gave out our address to a bunch of people at school. Why exactly you ponder? Because he is selling many things at good prices with a BOGO (thank you BIG Bird) special on certain days. Oh yes, come one, come all to the great post Holiday sale. He will even be selling homemade hot cocoa and homemade cookies.

My little entrepreneur has just launched a real life Etsy where Pinterest meets Little Debbie and Swiss Miss. Thank you my dear son. So in telling my boys to think big and build anything what I forgot to offer was my disclosure. With that being known, they would need to proceed to consult with mommy dearest first.

So it wasn’t mattering to him at the least that he just provided an entire student body, faculty and parish with our address. He was going BIG and home. My home, where his new store would be. This way he could make the money to buy all the salted caramel hot cocoas he wanted. Plus nobody was ever going to tell him “no” again when he wants a mud garden pudding from the Botanical Garden cafe.

I have to admit, I was impressed. Being a business owner and all, I get it. I realized I secretly was proud of his efforts and his drive for earning potential. I didn’t like his failure to consult with said business partner per se but nonetheless his mindset was in all the right places.

In any regards, rear view betrays me sometimes and works both ways. When I glanced back he was already in view. He just smiled and said, “Come on mom, you can’t be upset, this is our thing. This is always going to be our thing!”

And he was right. I even think rear view nodded too.

Dream big and create my child, because “Amazon”s don’t grow wild by a flashing cursor. Someone pushes go and an empire is created. May your thing always be your thing! And may your empire always be a bit out of this galaxy. Because it’s out there, off the beaten, that little ideas become BIG things!

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Uncategorized

Raggedy Imperfect Perfect Mess

French braids, her raggedy mess dolly, suitcase with her life’s treasures, a path threw places not reachable by those leaking her spirit and the broken parts in the heavens, letting the light in.

They broke the wrong parts. Thinking that without her wings she couldn’t survive. Peeling her fingers back one at a time while she desperately tried to hold on. She thought in losing her grip, she would lose a part of herself too. She thought she would become someone her soul didn’t know.

They threw fire and placed thorns upon her heart. They judged without ever stepping a foot inside her shoes. They burnt her good and almost dead. They stripped her from her dignity, her ability to feel, to be seen or to be heard. They diminished her rights. They tore down her walls making her heart and soul without boundaries and exposing her fears and passions open, for all to attack.

They peeled her fingers away one by one, making her loose her grip. They laughed when she wobbled and threw stones on her unsteadiness. They played games with her heart and challenged her integrity. They carried on laughing through the broken parts of her forest. Rattling her core and cutting her roots, they rejoice in their triumphs.

Yet, the light can only shine through when the forest is broken. Roots can regrow stronger because they’ve already been severed. Wiser will protect her by being still when she sways and sway when she can’t find the wisdom to bend.

She didn’t have to cling onto those who wanted her to feel pain or didn’t make her smile. She didn’t have to fight for a spot because her beauty grew anyways. Every downpour led her to a rainbow and every cold night brought about a new day. Roads end if the only choice is to stay on the same path.

It’s your journey to travel in the way you see fit. Not everyone has to like your journey because it’s not theirs to navigate. If they silence your worry, your heart and your fears, there are still beautiful souls seeking what you have to offer. Don’t rob those souls of the one true you by forcing yourself to those who turn away for your lack of conformity.

Wings help you fly but that little girl in you that never died, that’s who will carry you when the wrong parts of you are broken. It’s the little girl who’s passion keeps you from failing. It is that little girl’s spirit who says your good enough. It is that little girl’s belief that you can be the person she saw long, long ago.

A raggedy, imperfect, perfect mess with one hand gripping your life’s treasures and the other holding onto what needs to remain imperfect. With French braids barely moving while your little soul of courage, heart of love and eyes of passion travel by way only an adventurer would dare. The little girl will always be there believing in you. Because kid, when you get where you are going, there will only be the happiest of tears. So take her broken wings, because she’s still going to fly!

Life, Love

Protein Shakes and Fumble Fakes

FullSizeRender-2Some consider summer a time of leisure and lazy days.  If you’re into that kind of lifestyle, I sure bet it’s quite like that.  Sipping lemonade and sweet tea on the porch while the sun sets and fireflies make their way across the freshly cut lawn.  The lawn that is greener than green because you actually have the time to care for it.  Then you mosey on in to your covered patio with a Sangria night cap protected from the evening bats and mosquitos.  It all seems absolutely blissful.  I often dream of this leisure way of living but right now, I am on mom mode supercharged and supersized times three.

See I envy you and your leisurely ways of life.  But right now my summer and early Fall was filled with protein shakes and fumble fakes.  We spent summer nights traveling back and forth from OTA’s and two-a-days.  We played Friday Night Lights of a different kind with baseball bats and dust covered hats.  We watched sunsets on practice fields and swatted bees and mosquitos at football games and baseball games.  We blistered in the sun, sweating in places the human body is even surprised.  The last few weeks were spent on cold, damp bleachers where Thursday summer eves FullSizeRender-5turned into Thursday Night Lights.  These nights we were fully immersed in extra layers, cozy spirit wear blankets and hot cocoa straight out of concession stands.  I can assure you it was not Polar Express kind as thick and rich and creamy as hot cocoa can get.  It was Carnation packets emptied into scolding water.  But it was football delight!

Because despite summer porch nights being replaced with team ice cream socials and protein shakes and tenth meals of the day, it was our summer and Fall life.  We wouldn’t trade it for the sweetest of teas or most glorious of sunsets.  Because there is something greater that happens beyond the football pads, baseball hats and fold-up chairs permanently affixed in your trunk.  There is this sweet little thing called a sports family.  FullSizeRender-3

It’s the people who check in to remind you what color socks to wear.  It’s the people who send you an early morning text to wish your boys good luck.  It’s the people who help you transport your kids when you have to be at another field.  It’s the grandparents of other kids who treat yours as if they are their own.  It’s every parent who catches your child in a photograph during that incredible play you missed because you got stuck in a port-a-potty.

It is the coach who runs after you post game to tell you how truly proud of your child FullSizeRenderthey were during that game today.  It is the parent who runs down to make sure your child will get up again.  It is the coach who calls you to tell you he won’t let your child miss another game for a less than stellar test score.  It’s the teachers who stay late to help make that happen and the ones who come in early.  It’s the parent who takes your child home from school and to practice so you can trek across town to watch another.

It’s everyone you least expected to be there for you and your kids that have proven to be there through thick and thin.  It is your sports family.  They don’t just disappear when the season ends and the scoreboard dims.  They ride out every hurdle, hiccup, great play and carpool need until the season begins again next year.

They share the teary eyes and wider than grin smiles with you and your children.  They share in the high fives and bumps and bruises.  They let you know your son is in an ice bath and he will be right out “so hang tight, Mom”.  It’s the parent that looks back in the stands and shares a moment because they just watched that play involving your child too.   It’s the “I got your back” moments when you just don’t have the words to express your need.

Then there’s the ones who remain silent and out of nowhere send you a text that says….”PS, you rock and NEVER stop being mom!”  It is a moment like that which melts your heart and makes you smile.  Because sometimes we get defeated being all in for our children.  We feel under appreciated and worn out.  We dream of lazy summer days and cozy Fall nights.  Then we get that wink, that high five, that hug or thank you from a player, maybe not even your own, that makes it all worth it!

Lessons, Life, Uncategorized

Little League Moment in Buddha Fashion

In one final rally, the boys tried to hold on to their lead to advance to the next round of the 9u baseball playoffs. It was not in their cards. Not this time. Not this year. Not this season.

I went over to the dugout after Noochie’s last “at bat” and saw the tears welled up in his eyes. He was never going to release them but they were there, they were real and yet he wasn’t going to let them be in charge.

He held his head up high and congratulated every member of the other team. He thanked his coaches and teammates and he looked at me in Mogwai glances and then we headed to the car.

The silence overcame us as we drove off and made our way to get his other brother at football. When we arrived, he said to me, “I’m running to the “restroom”. Which for where we were, translated to the top of the football field hill and into the woods.

As time passed it dawned on me he had not yet returned to the car. I looked up the hill and there he was, in Buddha fashion, sitting cross-legged and reflecting.

I knew exactly what he needed from the moment. I knew exactly what he was reflecting on. I knew he would work it out within himself to regroup and move on. I knew he let the tears, finally take charge.

When he returned to the vehicle he was more at peace with himself. The somber look dissipated and he was humbled. I asked him if he was alright and he replied, “I’m better now, it’s hard, I don’t want the season to end and I wanted my final game to be better than the way I performed. But I looked the other way towards my football practice field and I’m ready to transition to that game. I’m not letting myself down because I learned a lot. I’m just ready to be a better version of me next year.”

Ten years old and so wise beyond his years.

We talk a lot about mindfulness. We talk about communicating with each other and unconditionally supporting our little family of four, the boys and I.  They have seen me at both states. Those were I let the moment take control of me and other times when I stayed grounded and mindful. Yet, of all of us, he can practice this trait the best.

Mindfulness.

He is a constant reminder to me of what’s truly important. When to acknowledge it’s sometimes best to head for the hill. When to engage and when to simply just walk away; sometimes not even turning back.

The field dust will always be there behind us and the emptiness that takes over the bases, mound and plate sometimes is a reality. But what really matters is taking what you learned from every base, every hit and strike out, every walk and every run and make the next time around, a better version of you.

Love, Parenting, children, humor, education, entertainment, arts

Cloudy with a Chance of Meeting at 3:00am

Lately it’s been hectic and heavy on the schedule. Basketball games and tournaments and recreating George Washington. 100 days of school and turning 7 year olds into 100 years old by the break of dawn. Valentine’s Day crafts and treats and cards and boxes and bags and did I mention basketball?

So when you are the third ranking child, that little thing called a bedtime routine gets a little out of whack. If even existsent at all.  So my little Peeno has had a hard time winding down post basketball. While big brother struts his stuff on the court, Peeno goes from building a Lego masterpiece under the bleachers, to riding on a team mascot’s back during halftime to talking smack in an unofficial basketball match with high schoolers on the adjacent practice court.  See, where most siblings of the players range from 13 and up, I still have one of the younger ones.

And he goes and goes and goes like it’s nobody’s business. And everyone sits atop their cushy pillow in the bleacher stands reminding me how “he is gonna pass right out!”  Uh, they have no idea. It’s like a sick, twisted game of reverse psychology. The little $h*t doesn’t wind down. He winds up. And up and up.

You know that runner’s high or release of serotonin after a really, really good work out?  Well this kid mass produces that sh*t.

So, bedtime has become again, a challenge. I’m sort of embracing it though because it will be short lived. In a year or so, it won’t be this way. And I know my heart will cry out for these moments. Moments of having to use the bathroom again, maybe. Needing just one more little, itty bitty sip of water. The radio song is “creeping me out”.Needing one more good, teeny little story. And “just one more song you sing but not that doe a dear one again and can you find out the real words mommy to hush little baby….”

Because he apparently knows that if that diamond ring won’t shine, mommy is gonna crack open a bottle of wine is just me hitting survival mode and not the way the lullayabe really goes. 

And then the Three Little Bears fairytale steals the scene with somebody’s been sleeping again in my bed BS. And this bed just feels too icky. And can I have 18 more pillows and Jingle and Fury are all f’ed up. Oh and snakey. Gosh forbid we don’t have the $38.00 hook a fish carnival gem we scored. Let’s find snakey! You plush, stinky little neon thing you.

And then when it’s almost all over and almost all said and done and I snuggled just 5 more minutes, he leans into me and says, “mommy there is a 100% chance I will see you in your bed tonight at about 3:00 am. I love you more than anything mommy, but I love God, Jesus and Mary just a crumb more than you. You can go now mommy, I’m sleepy!”

And the Energizer Bunny powers down leaving me with a forecast outlook to 3:00am. Goodnight sweetheart.

These days aren’t forever. I know that. And someday I will want them back tenfold. And even when his little a$$ comes crawling into my bed at 3:00am giving me liver kicks until 5:00am, I will love him more than anything…like he makes me promise him every night! 100 times over. I hope he always knows, I will be his mommy forever! All the days of our lives! He can always fall asleep counting on that because sheep don’t work folks!

What’s your little babes bedtime ritual? Can  you appreciate my new twist on hush little baby? I think it’s a solid tune! Ba. Ba. Ba. 100 Sheep to go……………….

Life

Thank Goodness He Ate the Sour Crouch

Happy New Year! Goals started and failed and re-evaluated and started again and then dropped and left for 2017. It happens. Always. Every year. The one constant. 

Yet for the boys they hold a very literal and special meaning to the idea of a “do over”. This year was all about their academic goals and being their personal best. As mother, I’m all in!

So, because I fear of the Italian Moliok and superstition of not consuming a pig and fermented cabbage on New Years Day would bring gloom and doom to Camp P, I ventured off bright and early on 1-1-2016 to gather up a piggy and some kraut. If I’m gonna do this, ingest this delicacy and force it onto my kids, I’m at least gonna do it in better quality format. 

Whole Foods surely must sell and offer up a cleaner pig? Surely organic sauerkraut would taste better than the Eagles nest pouch of slop. So I decide to leave the boys home alone while I run to the grocer. Ten minutes into the ride and with only freeway cement between them and myself, I freak out. 

  

Source:  yahoo images. 

I rethink my whole leaving 3 boys alone and no amount of pork or sauerkraut can change my luck. But I proceed on after calling them 3 times and forcing them to stay on speaker phone with my parents who I remind you are 35 minutes away by car. Yet, I guess we would know if the $h*ts gonna hit the fan even if we can’t help. 

Anyways, I try to select the best piece of pig $26.99 a pound can buy us and after a stressful attempt to walk away from the garbage, I make my purchase. 

The kids survived their Home Alone event and as far as I know there aren’t any burglars having a fake shotgun tear up their minds. I survive the whole ordeal of coming to terms I have to prepare up a pig for health, wealth, prosperity and whatever else legend says. 

Now I have to get the boys on board. So naturally I add some white wine to…I don’t know maybe tenderize the meat? Umm no, because wine makes everything fine. And then viola! Piggy on some kraut. I tell the boys it’s a must and put the fear of the Italian superstition wrath into their minds. I also explain their goals won’t be met if they don’t at least try a little. Because working hard for success isn’t enough anymore, we have to eat pig flesh and soiled cabbage to succeed in 2016. 

They hold their noses, take a deep Ujjayi breath and bite, chew and swallow. Instant luck for the next 365 days!  

 Source: yahoo images 

So fast forward to February when typically most people, including myself, damn you Starbucks, lose sight of their resolutions. Well not the 3 P’s. Report cards came and the results were as follows:

Peeno – all M’s or E’s with +’s. Or whatever alpha character was assigned to denote above average or excellent or emerging. It’s kindergarten and you know that crazy alpha numeric point system you need a masters degree to figure out. All I need to know is will he be able to read and can I assign him chores?

Noochie – straight A’s oh except for Religion at a B+. So close little fella. He has since spent every night in 3rd Quarter having a one on one with the big guy up above. 

Nickelbass – WTF?!? All A’s and B’s. My boy who worked so hard and all the pork and cabbage in the world could not make him perform how he did. This kid worked so incredibly hard and busted his a$$ to achieve the marks he did! Amen to that!

So upon further review and 3 sets of eyes waiting for my reaction to their report cards, I literally jump for joy. I go into the whole Vince Lombardi of what it takes to succeed speech,  how incredibly proud I am and always go the extra mile because it’s never crowded talk. They are delighted. I am delighted. And then Peeno chimes in.”Well you know mommy, thank goodness you forced us to eat that sour crouch, because now we became smart!”

Eh! However they want to relate my fear of superstition to, well then, God Bless. They became smart and we don’t have to eat pork and kraut until 2017! And when in doubt my friends, eat the sour crouch! 

Love

An Open Letter to the Youth Football Commisioner

  
Dear Mr. Youth Football Commisioner:

As you know my son has been playing tackle football through this organization since 5th grade. Prior to his commitment to this organization he played in various flag football leagues. Yet, although he had fun, he was missing something. We were missing something.

When he left K School and began his journey as a middle school student at SAS, football through this organization was the start of what would be his evolution. It wasn’t walking into a faith based community and sharpening his pencil. It wasn’t saying the morning prayer prior to announcements. It wasn’t tossing the football at recess in a school uniform.

Although all intricate to shaping his character, It was taking a knee the very first practice surrounded by parents, teachers, faculty, coaches and Parish priests in blue and gold with a Lions helmet next to him. It was holding his head up high when he made his first tackle. It was being high fived by a coach. It was sweat, sore muscles and prayer. It was knowing that mediocracy doesn’t make it happen. It was knowing that at the end of practice, that walk up the hill would be greeted by parents, other players, coaches and me, his mom. It was the glow he had when he got into the car.
  

Whatever happens on that practice field and before a game. What ever goes on in those huddles, pep talks and post game gatherings has made my son who he is today and the man I know he’ll become. They say it takes a village to raise a child and you are part of my village.

The game of football has taught both of us alot about life. Sometimes more than any other event or journey we have witnessed. Football to him is everything. Everything that sets the tone for his academic success. The tone that wants him to continue a Catholic education into High School. The tone that makes things possible for us at home.

His younger brother just started playing with the organization and I notice how he watches his big brother so closely. How my youngest who is just 5 cannot wait to put on a helmet and proudly wear his Gold and Blue. How our Lions gear sporting our family name and my son’s number is our first go to piece of clothing on a chilly day or night.
 

Everything happens for a reason and he has always been so self confident about his height and weight. I have always told him God gives us what we need and that small can mean mighty. So we sincerely hope he will still suit up everyday in blue and gold and run down that hill to meet his teammates on the practice field. That every Sunday after Church we will be heading off to play ball.

I know that injuries can happen anywhere to anyone. I have put my faith into God that he will watch over my son, while he is out there on the field. I know he is in good hands with all of you. I know you all have an interest in his safety. With that being said, he is an asset to this organization, not a liability. More importantly, he is part of something grand where small things lead to big moments. It’s in these moments, my little boy transforms into a young adult.

Please accept this letter as my approval to have him be a part of this team despite his weight. We sincerely hope we can continue on this journey that began Aug 1 and hopefully will go into the playoffs and beyond. Thank you for your consideration!

Sincerely,

No Weight Limit Needed