Lessons

Seventy Times Seven

1ffaa62d05c5a2528d8737195f2a0f42[1]I love this. Seventy times seven. It could be any number realistically if you are not into spirituality and all that. I mean it can be just as effective by saying eighty times eight. In fact, you could even say Buddha times ten. It’s all relative in the grand scheme of things.

For all the big private school religion I received and my boys, I never heard seventy times seven other than in Math class. It is pretty powerful if you think about it. It just puts some real big issues into a more comical way of looking at things. It might be really sacrilegious but I kind of look at it as seventy times seven just sort of means have a ton of compassion, forgive immensely, F*it and move on.

Seventy times seven and a million more times. That’s right folks. No amount of harboring the pain and Target store panic attacking will change the bull crap. It won’t matter how many times seventy times seven you plead your case or fight your cause. If one times one didn’t get it done, seventy times seven won’t either. Sometimes you have to approach it as going in at zero and coming out at a negative five hundred.

There is real purpose here. I promise. It’s called forgiveness without the actual forgiving part. Sometimes you just cannot forgive. Sometimes you just have so much pain that the anger rips through your blood like a toxin that will never go away. It’s about acceptance because no amount of forgiveness will change it.

Forgiveness isn’t about thinking they will come to your rescue. Forgiveness isn’t about being repaired, stitched up and not having a scar. The scar remains.

F O R E VE R.

That is just how it goes. Stop giving the power to the people and give it to yourself. There is a fine line between forgiveness and feeling peace. They are not one in the same. Choosing to forgive doesn’t release you from feeling angry. Forgiveness doesn’t remove the emotion of anger for anger cannot realize what happened is now part of the past.

Anger is simply refusing to allow you to heal. You fear letting go of the anger because it will force you to be someone else once the wound closes up. The scar remains. We get it. You want your old skin back. But it is never going to happen. You are forever scarred. No amount of anger is ever going to fix that. Ever.

happiness[1]So forgive, because it is the only way to clean up the destruction. They are not doing it. Forgiving does not necessarily mean you will have a future together or ever fully make amends. Forgiveness does not mean you are laying down and accepting what they did to you. Forgiveness means you are finally done waiting for the person(s) who broke you to put you back together. It is your job to heal you, not theirs.

Forgiveness is about moving forward. Seventy times seven and again and again to infinity and back, forgive and let go. You are scarred and that is your new path now. Start a new journey and become who you are meant to be…in your new skin, with all your scars. All seventy times seven of them.

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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!

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.

Lessons

Asphalt Soup and the Math Goes Whoop

I’m pretty confident I am ready for the school year to be complete. I really am over fourth grade. In fact, I was over it back in 1980 something too. Now it’s all coming back to me because I have little children. Little children that still need my help with homework. What they don’t get is I need Google and I need sleep. Oh thank heavens for Google. Education is just different these days. Seriously how in the world did I get a college degree and start and manage a business? I think we were still on cut and pasting in the fourth grade. Oh and fractions and decimals, that $h*t didn’t start until Junior High.

So after an eight-hour day of work, dinner, baths, homework (sort of) and getting three kids to bed, sometimes mommy dearest can make mistakes. Especially when it comes to checking fourth grade Math homework. It happens, people, let it go! A free pass for incorrectness should be an excusable mishap given most nights I wrestle my three-year old to get to sleep. Oh and laying in bed with my five-year old while he reads to me, it is sweet on most odd days but every other day including Holidays, I sometimes want to pull my hair out. Just say the word already. It sounds like shout.

My patience runs low on energy at about 8:00p.m.  Plus fourth grade Math homework is waiting for me after ‘Splat the Cat‘. I am not a bad mom, I’m real. You know it parents, frustration with a capital F. Oh my friends, that is a whole other blog post bubbling in my veins but for now we focus here on Math mistakes.

Because they can and will happen. And when I am exhausted, the last thing I want to do is help my son with his Math homework. So if I incorrectly add and multiple then divide by ten thousandths and make my ten-year old change his answers, I think I get a free pass. If the stupid a$$ decoder using our answers gives us *asphault soup, then so be it. If asphalt is also misspelled, than please excuse that as well.

20130430-215138.jpgSo, please Mrs. Teacher do not reprimand my son for being mischievous. I made him change the answers and the two freaking words with one misspelled fit in the boxes so with much sleep deprivation and mommy exhaustion we decoded *asphault soup instead of getting the said better code of alphabet soup. I mean really, no need to send an email.  No need to hand out the pink detention slips.  Although I wouldn’t mind sitting alone in a Library for an hour with complete silence. 

Because in all reality, why after two hours of working through the problems do we have to then play Pink Panther and decode the secret riddle anyways? Just turn the $h*t in and call it a day. Yep, that’s what happens when you have that attitude. My son is still calling me out for it. He was summoned to the teacher’s desk for being naughty. It was I Mrs. Teacher and I am freaking tired. So if school does not get out for summer soon, this mama will be face planting in *asphault soup.

So, I ask, what BIG mistake have you made when helping little missy or junior with their homework?

*Asphalt purposely misspelled to fit on a line.  Namaste!

Lessons

Uh Oh, It’s a No Go on The Spaghetti O’s

Uh oh, no, no on the Spaghetti O's.
Uh oh, no, no on the Spaghetti O’s.

Who gets denied the opportunity to contribute to charity?  Whose donations do not qualify as a viable food source for a hunger center?  Who gets the ixnay on the spaghett-tay?  Well, we do of course. 

Over Spring Break I took the kids to the Library.  Given our Spring Break week looked more like Winter Break, we had to forego a trip to the zoo and spend our time indoors.  I figured a nice quiet place surrounded by books would do the three little guys and myself some good.

It was also that one time of the year where I can drastically reduce my library fines.  You see, I am very good with money.  I pay all my bills on time.  I can set up and hold to a budget.  I even manage my business’ finances.  It’s all good.  Yet, when it comes to returning library books and movies on time, well there is a bit of a problem.th[9]

I now have to lock up the kids library books in my closet.  This way in order to grab the next book they have to return their current book to me.  It is one way I can monitor the books and avoid calls from The Library Association of Unretunred Library Items.  I have bought more books and movies that seriously we could open up our own institution to borrow and lend books, DVD’s and CD’s.  In fact, I just found Thomas’ Snowy Day Surprise hidden in a moving box from 2005.

Do you think they will accept its return this late in the game?

Anyways, when I have a chance to reduce my fines, I’m all for it.  I have picked up trash, donated used books to schools, volunteered my time during children’s story hour and most recently had an opportunity to donate canned goods.  So on our latest trip over break, while the little monkeys were climbing the book shelves, I was negotiating a fine reduction.  $1.00 off fines for every canned good item.  I was so happy to donate to the hunger center that I was willing to empty out my whole pantry.  I even told the Librarian to keep the extras. 

I wanted to show the kids it is not just about doing something to get something in return.  That giving more is always the better option.  Until the Librarian started to indicate to her assistant that the many items I turned in need to go into the unacceptable bin.  I’m sorry, come again?  Black beans do not qualify.  What could the volunteers possibly do with black beans?  Garbanzo beans do not qualify.  Artichokes are not a real vegetable item.  Low sodium soup is not acceptable.  I guess there is a need for iodine.  Probably for an electrolyte boost or something.  Oh and Spaghetti O’s, what was I thinking?  No really, she said, “You really shouldn’t feed your children this as nothing in this can is real.”

thCAR9DJUZNow if any of you know me personally or have been following my blog, I do not feed my children Spaghetti O’s or their equivalents.  Not that I am knocking on Chef Boyardee or Campbell’s, but I believe in raw, whole foods without added dyes, processed ingredients or genetically modified substances.  I know it is not everybody’s thing but it’s how I choose to raise my little guys.  It is how I choose to nourish them and my own body. 

So naturally I explained to the Librarian and her assistant, that someone brought these over to my house and I agree I would never give the kids such a delicacy as Spaghetti’s O’s.  They just peered at me through their Librarian lenses and in disbelief, said “Mmm hmm.”  So along with a lecture on healthy and nutritious foods I should feed my children, my Spaghetti O’s were denied as well as the beans o’ plentiful and my library fines remained the same.

So, finding Thomas’ Snowy Day Surprise just tickled my fancy.  I cannot wait to return this item.  Yet, I will probably receive another fine as it is now probably a discontinued item on the Librarian’s List. 

Who else owes their retirement in library fines?  Have you ever been denied an item for donation?  Since when did hunger centers get so picky? 

I mean hunger is hunger.  Legumes are high in protein and filling via their carbohydrate content.  Now Spaghetti O’s on the other hand, well shame on me for trying to donate those, but I figured it was better than putting them in the trash.  Well, my good lesson to the children on giving more than necessary all sort of backfired.  They were ashamed of me for trying to give away “bad food” to the homeless.  The Librarian was able to pull off her signature move by lowering her glasses and gazing at me with sternness as if  I just shouted in her institution.  It was a total belly flop and complete waste of a Spring Break morning.

So, where are you at in library fines?

Lessons

You Wiped My Son’s Eyes

20130402-141335.jpgYesterday morning was off to a rough start. I woke up late. It was cold and the thought of bouncing from bed to shower just made me want to pull the covers over my head. I needed a gradual good morning. One that allowed sipping some hot coffee, curled up under the blanket by the fire.

I had the choice to act now and get a head start before the kids woke up. This would lead to my being present at the breakfast table with them. This would allow me to control the “I wants”, sibling bickering and a nicely prepared breakfast ending up in the trash. The nutritious breakfast taking second place to M&M yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice.

The other option would be the gradual good morning. I chose this option. Despite past experiences, I decided to roll with it but was convinced I could stay mindful. I could start the turkey bacon and sip the coffee. I could wake the kids up, have breakfast on their plates and then jump into the shower. I could let them carry on with their bickering with an occassional diversion from getting ready to mediate. I could do this. I did.

It was frustrating. There were many interruptions. I forget my eyeliner on one eye. I forget to plug in the curling iron. The nutritious breakfast took a hike for sugar laden yogurt and Easter candy. I had a choice. I refused to get upset. I refused to be frustrated. I calmly put the yogurt back into the refrigerator. I put my other eye’s liner on. I plugged in the curling iron. I mediated. I took deep breaths. I referred them to brush their teeth and get their school bags.

I carried on. It was getting closer to crunch time. My oldest sounded the 8:01a.m. alarm. I knew the bus would be coming. I stopped. I had to make a choice to get them out the door. I wanted them off with smiles and hugs. I refused to not be mindful. I refused to let the chaos win. The chaos fought me hard. One went out the front door, one out into the garage, the other climbed into my car. Stop. We are not leaving yet. Come back in. They all did, eventually.

All he wanted was his snow boots. I tried to explain to him he wouldn’t need them today. He kept asking about the weather. Through the hair dryer I could hear him saying it is sunny now but a dark cloud is coming. He wondered if the cloud meant rain or snow. I had a choice to stop the hair dryer and crouch down to his level, meeting him face to face explaining he would not need the snow boots. I chose to put on his tennis shoes. I didn’t see he was frustrated. I didn’t let him explain. All he wanted to tell me was that if it was going to rain or snow and he didn’t have his boots he would have to stay on the asphalt during recess.

20130402-141259.jpgI had a choice to listen or be the parent in charge. I chose to be the parent in charge. I chose to not listen. He walked out the door with his head hanging low muttering a statement which really was asking for permission. He was going to grab his snow boots anyway. I saw his fingers grasp the boots. I removed them from his hands and put them back on the shelf. He grabbed them again. The bus was coming.

My oldest took off without a hug or a kiss. My baby was climbing into my car and then the bus stopped. I took the boots from his hand and threw them into his bag. I told him he was not listening. I chose to be upset. I kissed him off quickly and with his head down he walked down the 150 feet path of cement.

I was defeated. I let the chaos win. I did not send them off as I intended. I motioned for him to run. He never looked back. He never picked up his head. He stayed at the same defeated pace. Still yet I was upset. Upset that he didn’t listen. But really it was I who didn’t listen. I was too busy giving in to chaos. I made a choice to ease into the morning. A choice I knew would have repercussions. A choice I knew could lead to farewell defeats.

Then she grabbed a tissue as he boarded the bus. She wiped his eyes and hugged him. My heart sank. My eyes dripped with water. I wanted nothing more to run to them and get them off the bus. How could I let this happen. I was mindful of what she did. It bothered me. It stung. I felt like I failed. I made a choice.

Parenting isn’t always easy. Especially when you have multiple children and you are a working parent. It is a fine balancing act; getting yourself ready for work and children off to school. The intentions are good. The breakfast is nutritious. The lunches are packed. The schoolbags are ready. The teeth are brushed. Everything is in place. But what our little ones want most is to be heard. I know in this instance I was only acting on motherly intuition. I only wanted the absolute best for the children. But sometimes, we need to stop and just listen. Our children can provide an enormous amount of teaching. If we just choose to listen.

Lessons

$182.13 and You Got What?

Some people decided to drink their St. Patty’s Day away. Others suddenly turned Irish for a day. Some looked to the leprachauns for luck and inspiration. I went broke on my three little clovers. I decided to forego the festivities and spend the day with my little men. We had a great day filled with a mommy workout, a free lunch due to their creative coloring artwork submissions to a local cafe, boys haircuts super pimped out style, a trip to the grocer and an all hands on deck homemade dinner. It was the “Patty’s Day of Perfection”. Well almost.

After it took more of a workout to get out the door Sunday morning to get the kids to my gym than my actual workout, I got dooped by the gym childcare center. Apparently somewhere between a gym name change and last Saturday they now require a key card pass to check the kids into the kiddie zone at the gym. I’m sorry but I seem to have missed that memo. It required all this paperwork, new credit card on file, blood type, shoe size, a photo ID of me with the kids, me separately and then each kid separately. By the time I checked into the workout class they were already 3 towels of sweat into their groove and by the time I busted my first bead, class dismissed. Huh?

Then off we went to gather our free brunch courtesy of childhood doodles. As they each cashed in their lucky leprechaun coloring pics, I was standing in between them and the mob of drunks from the local college who needed a quick carb fix before round two of their Guinness frenzy. Yikes. When you tell children some people just act silly on St. Patty’s day and they look at you with a questionable gleam in their eyes, do know they know. Anyways, we carried on through our brunch while I distracted them by spilling Vitamin Water all over my lap. Oh boys, time to go, mommy made a mess.

Would you like a hot facial wrap with your neck and shoulder massage there little fella?
Would you like a hot facial wrap with your neck and shoulder massage there little fella?

Luckily it was a “National Holiday” or something observed for all things Irish and nobody was getting their haircut on a Sunday afternoon. Most people don’t down 10 pints of Guinness and crave a haircut. Most people. So we had the whole place to ourselves. Now let me tell you these boys got the royal sports spa deluxe treatment for free. I’m talking haircut, scalp massage, wash, wax, dry, finish, hot towel facial wrap and neck and shoulder massage. They definitely got the MVP VIP upgrade. I can only imagine how they talked their way into this one.

When I went to the ladies room I didn’t expect to come out and see the three amigos getting massages and wrapped in towels. But I do know what I will do the next time they are getting too wild and crazy. I will institute the mommy hot towel wrap massage session. They were so quiet. I totally would have paid extra for this service and I even inquired how I can pay in advance to secure this MVP VIP treatment in the future. I actually read six uninterrupted pages of my book I downloaded last August. Count them. Six. Six whole pages.

Now with nothing but time and booze free fun ahead of us, we headed to the grocer for a few things. The kids begged and pleaded for each of them to have their own cart. Peeno had a mini me and Noochie and Nickelbass got the express shopper dual basket cart. So we were off. Mama duck and her three little ducklings cruising from aisle to aisle. Now when there is one cart and eight hands, I can usually put things back onto the shelves (a few aisles away of course – and I do apologize in advance for messing up the store). But when there are four carts and three sets of grabby hands, I cannot be responsible for what happens.

So, as they were unloading their carts and I was desperately trying to open a fruit stick for Peeno before he had a major meltdown, the cashier was scanning and scanning and scanning. It wasn’t until my oldest asked, “Umm Mommy, do you have money? Like a lot?” I immediately threw down the fruit stick, well, tried to shake the sticky thing, and peered up at the running total. $170.00 and still scanning. Then the cashier pages Customer Service Baggage Help. Oh no that could never be a good sign. So when all was said and done I had to hand over a card because cash wouldn’t cut it as my total was $182.13. Cha-ching! Now mind you I had just gone grocery shopping three days earlier.

Being this independent can only mean trouble.
Being this independent can only mean trouble.

When we got home and I began to unload the groceries, these are some of the items we now have in stock. Two pineapples, a cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes on the vine, hydroponic tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, potatoes in every family to include Idaho, Yukon, Red, Sweet and Yam. We also have every variety of Kids Cliff bars in triples. Three mega size shower gels, deodorant for a five-year old, protein powder for a nine-year old, bananas, more bananas, another pineapple, almond bites, ice cream sandwiches, 4 pints of ice cream and frozen pizza in plain, BBQ chicken, Greek, pepperoni and sausage. We also have sesame sticks, trail mix in everywhere color of the rainbow and I no longer have a pot o’ gold.

But we learned about economics and bartering. We learned that sometimes it takes 4 bags of coffee to get the grinder to explode work and grind the beans. We learned that our grocer has a baggage help person on staff. We learned that coupons are pointless when it comes to keeping hands from getting stuck on a conveyor belt. We learned that mommy cannot just whip out a card when the green stuff runs low. We learned teamwork and most importantly we learned that spending time together, no matter what the cost, is worth it. Even if after $182.13 and my bags didn’t even include mommy juice wine.

After the initial shock of cost and the full stocked pantry, we were able to use our ingredients to prepare a delicious dinner. Like all hands in the cart, we had all hands in the Sunday dinner food prep. It was lovely and if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t get a sitter for two hours at $10.00 bucks a pop for a quiet budget wise trip. Sometimes the most unplanned and out of budget mishaps turn into the best adventures.

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle. - James Russell Lowell
Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle. – James Russell Lowell

So parents, do you bring your children to the grocer? Do you leave them at home with a sitter? What did you do back in the day?