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!
So the three little monkeys of mine now have swimming lessons. All in one place and for a half an hour every week. For thirty minutes I sit calmly and safely. I sit there and zone out from time to time while cannon balls shatter in the distance. I nod my head every once in a while to acknowledge a water tread, back float or half attempt at a dive. I nod away, they think I’m watching.
Sometimes if I get really animated I yell out, “Great job boys, keep it up.” I feel so free. I know there will be no Sharpie’s upon my walls or gallons of milk dripping from the counters. I know no child has clogged a toilet with a toy screwdriver which would later lead to its demise and removal. I know nobody is putting special bubbly in mommy’s contact case. I know no child is breaking and entering a neighbor’s home for chips in their pantry. I am at peace.
Why in the world didn’t I come up with this sooner? Why? This is the calmest thirty minutes I get each week. I do not care if the instructors pass them. I will pay anything to keep them learning water survival tactics. You’ll see, by the time they are 20, 15 and 13, we will have Olympic hopefuls in the making. I am a perfectionist and I believe, in order to achieve, we must practice, practice, practice. Ah, Namaste.
So by the time Peeno gets out of the pool and I wipe him dry, Noochie is getting out. Then Nickelbass finishes up his last belly flop from the high dive. Now I have regrouped, recharged and didn’t even need alcohol. But as we all know, all good things must come to an end. Now when your children are escorted out of the pool by their instructor, you dry them off and they put their shoes on, you expect them to make their way towards the exit sign. There should be no need to have your guard up or your mommy defense in overdrive. Nobody is getting back into the pool.
But yesterday when I was gathering my belongings, because somehow we always leave with more articles of clothing than we came in with, little Noochie decides to conduct a test. Yes, quite similar to the Emergency Broadcast System. Where it gets your attention until you hear, “This is only a test”. Well I guess over the thirty minutes while I was meditating, when I thought little Noochie was working hard at his breast stroke, he was eyeing up the Lifeguards.
Not in the ‘dude scoping out the chicks’ kind of way, but as in, ‘are they really paying attention kind of way’. Oh yes, you guessed it. He “accidentally” falls in. Of course they do nothing. I hurdle the swim team members, resin chairs and water-logged noodles and practically jump in after him. He says, “Mommy just calm down. I got this.” Then he swims to the ladder and in Baywatch fashion climbs out. I am all like in fight or flight mode and this little $h*t walks up to the Lifeguard and goes,”Hey, I just fell in the pool and you weren’t even paying attention.” I wanted to crack him upside his head. Yet, at the same time, he did have a point. Well at least he proved a point, which is exactly what he set out to do.
The Lifeguards are all apologizing to him, a five-year old, and I was still without words due to a potential drowning shock. But last night as I lay in bed with fury critters (more on that to come) I thought to myself, what a sly little guy. He is five and while he was challenging his instructor to push his limits and watching me to make sure I didn’t miss a stroke, he was also eyeing up the fact that the Lifeguards were not life guarding. The fact that teenagers were shaking in their swimmers for fear of job loss as a result of a five-year old’s test, just awed me.
Last year on vacation, when a stranger said to her sister, “That boy. That boy right there is gonna be somebody. He just has that look about him.” Well, she was talking about Noochie. I guess she was on to something. I hope I survive to see his triumphs.
What recent scare did you almost ___________ your pants from? What about you LifeGuards? Do you pay less attention when parents are around?
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.
So, 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!
I blinked and then waited two minutes. I blinked again as the two bars appeared in the window. I blinked again and there they were, still looking at me. My gaze was fixated. My limbs were numb. My emotions were high. It was real. You were real. My whole world was changing. You were the blessing that would make it happen.
During the nine months you tossed and cuddled inside me, so much of my young life was evolving. I rarely had time to slow down and embrace what it meant to be “with child.” But we ran, boy, we ran. We hustled and started a business. We worked long hours and would be swollen from exhaustion. We pushed through every tingle and overcame every pain. It was all happening so fast. Nine months go by too quick. But on the day you were born you reminded me to slow down. To appreciate our last day together as mother carrying her unborn child. You planned it this way. I know this now, son.
It was just you and I that day babe. We worked a little, played a little, visited with friends and family. We baked a little and snuggled on the couch to grab one last movie. The last movie that would be watched in its entirety without any interruptions. As I snuggled into the soft silky sheets for bed and the spring breeze blew through the room, you gave me a little tug. Then another and I knew, it was almost time for us to finally meet. You gave me the day, our last moments to prepare for both of our about to change forever lives.
You put me through every test. At times you stole my breath away. At times I thought gravity would pull me under. But then at the magical hour of 10:00 a.m., I heard the most precious three words I would ever hear in my life. Some say there are no more precious of words than “I love you”. I disagree. Even though I was tired, emotional, scared and joyful, when I heard “It’s a Boy”, those my son were the three most precious words that fell upon my ears.
You were beautiful. You grew so fast. From cat naps in my arms, to stroller rides to sliding down the slide all by yourself. Then it seemed like overnight you left my side to go to pre-school. The day you got on the bus to ride off to Kindergarten just melted my heart. Your first crack of the bat was like a melody I hear over and over again. Your first touchdown took my breath away yet another time. But you ran, boy you ran.
Your first ride without training wheels would prepare me to encourage you to go forth independently. Your climbs so high upon the trees allowed me to see how much determination you had. Your jumping in puddles, rolling in the mud and food stained shoulders and sleeves have shown me how not to sweat the small stuff. Your hand print stains upon the walls and trails and trails of parmesan balls taught me that messiness is what makes a house a home.
Now you are growing up. You are leaving behind the single digits. The past ten years have taught me more about life, empathy and love than any other years of my existence. There are days I reflect on my own life the past decade. How I have changed and grown and opportunities I might have missed. But if I had a chance for a do over, a chance to repeat, I would do it exactly the same.
I would still hold you until you stopped crying. I would still let you crawl into my bed. I would still sleep on the floor next to your bed, when you felt ill. I would push you 100 times more on the swings and chase after you when you made off for the street. I would still roll around in the grass with you and push bulldozers in the mud. I would still be your elementary class room mom again and again. I would finger-paint until our hands were stained and count your little piggies. I would still rock you to sleep even when my arms went numb and my eyes grew heavy. I want to ‘Rock a Bye’ my baby again.
But we grow. We move forward. I am not sad that those days are over, I’m glad that they happened. Now as you set forth in the land of double digits, I know the next decade will fly by too. I know I will look back again ten years from now and relish the bittersweet moments again. But today I reflect. I reflect on a decade gone by. I reflect on the fact that when I heard “It’s a Boy” that no matter how Type A or organized you strive to be, every day is a new beginning, its very own unplanned adventure. You gave me that gift, son. For that, I am ever grateful and one lucky girl.
Soon you and I will gather at the starting line. When we hear the whistle sound, we will make off towards our goal. The finish line will be ahead of us and we leave behind the single digits. When we cross the finish line, we won’t stop suddenly and call it an ending. We will cross through and carry on. I look forward to our first 5k together. Rocking it out with you, my baby, and we will run, boy, we will run!
“When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting.” – Doris Brown Heritage, pioneer in women’s distance running
Yesterday 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.
I 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.
In a new post created for this challenge, share a picture that says FUTURE TENSE.
The start of a toddlers day involves chocolate milk, changing out of a pull-up and watching Blues Clues. It’s the little things in the mind of a three-year old that gets their day off to the right start.
Then one day my little Peeno just gazed out the window. As he was watching the neighbors head off to work and his older brothers leaving on the bus he turned to me and said, “One day mommy I will be like them.” Then he went back to making sound effects of Thomas while he drove his train along the windowsill.
One day my little man, one day.
The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time – Abraham Lincoln
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.
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.
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.
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?