Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What's Love Got To Do With It?

I remember the night my husband proposed to me like it was yesterday.  I remember having a funny butterfly feeling in my stomach all day and thinking that something extraordinary might be in the works. I kept my outfit simple (jeans and a black shirt). We went to dinner and had some cocktails and talked about life and where we thought it would go…life that is.  We left dinner and I remember thinking there was nowhere else I wanted to be. We decided to go for cocktails to a place where we had drinks on our first date. While we were in the parking lot my husband bent down to tie his shoe and the next thing I knew he was proposing. I will leave out all the personal things he said but I will share this: I screamed with joy the moment I realized he was not in fact tying his shoe. I kissed and hugged him and screamed YES at the top of my lungs.  I smiled and thanked all the on lookers who clapped and congratulated us.

We went into the restaurant for a couple of celebratory cocktails and I proceeded to call my parents, my sister and a couple of my closest girlfriends. Each phone call was greeted with tears of joy and over exaggerated good wishes. I was in fact on cloud 9.  It was the moment…the one I had dreamt of from the time I was a little girl. It was the moment I knew a journey was beginning that would start with a wedding and lead to so much more.

We planned a wedding within six months, no I wasn’t pregnant. I was just shy of thirty and he was thirty two. We knew what we wanted and we weren’t going to wait.  Our wedding day was exactly what we wanted it to be. We had our vows, our pictures, our loved ones clapping, our first dance, drinks, food and a night filled with fun. It was the day that our journey through this life began. I remember feeling that there wasn’t anything we couldn’t do together from that moment on.

We have since done all the typical couple things… bought a house, adopted a dog, had some kids… but we have also been through some not so typical things.  When our oldest was only 18 months my husband went for a regular physical and during that visit the Dr. discovered he had an Aortic Aneurism. In what felt like only moments our world changed in such a big way. We discovered this on a Monday and by the following Thursday he was scheduled to have open heart surgery at the age of 36…yes 36. Our families gathered around us like some type of bandage. They took care of our son so I could spend every moment at the hospital and we got through it.  We got through it with the love of our families and us…the vows we took to get each other through anything, through sickness, through health and well basically through hell.  I can tell you when you stare into the possibilities of hell; it is then that you know you never want to see it again.

We are by no stretch of the imagination perfect but we are in love. We may not like each other on a Monday or a Wednesday but we are in love. We may despise each other by Friday but on Sunday there is no one else I want to see.  You see love is about life and life is about ups, downs and the middle of the road. Love is about perspective, knowing where you have been and where you want to go is usually what leads you to know exactly where you want to be.

Where I want to be is here.  I want to be here in the home my husband and I have made. I want to be here with the children we have been blessed to bring into this world. I want to be surrounded by family (no matter how ridiculous it becomes) at the holidays. I want to celebrate mile stone birthdays, anniversaries, accomplishments and disappointments together.  I mean who doesn’t? Who doesn’t want to share life’s biggest moments with the person they love. Who doesn’t want to share it all with the one person who can make the cloudiest of days suddenly seem clear? Love isn’t easy to find let’s face it. There wouldn’t be so many damn dating shows if it was, but while it’s not easy to find it is the one thing that is there, it’s there if you’re looking for it.

It is strange to me that love is something our government thinks they have the right to vote on. I mean the Bachelor doesn’t even allow America to weigh in with a vote and why do you think that is? I’ll tell you why…because TV executives know that their audience would find it ridiculous. We would find it silly that we should tell someone who they should love.  I mean honestly love isn’t something you can force on someone (otherwise my brother in law would have been fixed up ions ago) it’s something you feel. We all know that.

I’m not sure anyone really knows what love has to do with it (ok maybe Tina Turner) until they are in it but I know that from the time I was very young I had amazing role models. I had couples all around me showing me what it was to love, respect and be someone’s partner. My mom and dad have been married almost forty years and while they may not always be perfect their love is. I have two sets of grandparents who loved each other until death parted them and beyond. I have Aunts and Uncles who have been together for years, I have cousins who have ran the marathon and came out winning. All of these people have raised children, had careers, taken care of sick parents, siblings or loved ones and yes some of them have been gay. I never understood why being gay was something to talk about. My two favorite people on this planet are in fact gay and I knew this from a very young age….7 years old tops. How did I know? I knew by the way they loved each other. I knew by the way they laughed together and hugged one another at family parties. I knew by the way they looked at each other. No one ever told me they were gay…because no one ever had to and to be honest I didn’t care. To me they were a couple to strive to be like. They respected each other, they worked towards amazing goals together and I felt like a better person when I was around them.

They are still a big part of my life. They attended my wedding. They support me. They love me. They are me. You see that’s what it comes down to…we are all the same.  We all love. It doesn’t have to be the same that’s what makes it awesome. We have all been in a relationship at some point in our lives that someone didn’t understand and it sucks: The girl who just wants her father to like him, the guy who just wants his friends to be okay with the fact that he has a girl, the band geek dating the football player, the artist dating the cheerleader, the football player with the math geek. In all of these scenarios you want to scream. You want to scream what is the big deal?! I like them….what do your feelings have anything to do with it?! Now imagine being gay…and you have to worry about what our government dictates is ok.

It’s ridiculous. I don’t have any eloquent words for it. It’s ridiculous. I want equality. I want equality for the next generation and the generation after that. I want my children to be able to celebrate getting engaged to whomever that may be. I want my children to be greeted with applause in a parking lot when someone puts a RING ON IT! I want gay couples everywhere to be able to walk into a bar and announce they just got engaged and have everyone applaud & buy them a round. I am not asking for world peace (although it would be awesome) I am asking for something much simpler, I am asking for equality. Tonight my oldest son asked what the red with two stripes on a friend’s Facebook page meant so I told him, well it’s a symbol that we are all asking for equal rights on who to love. He replied: Why does anyone have to ask for that? We can’t help who we love it’s just a feeling.  I kissed him and said buddy you are so wise beyond your years. I love you so which he said I love you too mommy but do I have to ask somebody first?

It’s enough already. This isn’t about religion, after all church and state are separated no? And if your argument is religion well let God decide…just wipe your hands clean and be a nice person for once (I promise it won’t kill you) we live in a world with big problems; you know our deficit, poverty, hunger, disease. I could go on and on. It seems too silly to a 4 year old and well to his mom that the question of who we are allowed to love should be taking up time at the Supreme Court.

Its’ time America, tomorrow has to be better. It is in fact about me and you. Love has everything to do with it.

 This seems fitting...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'm Just Here For The Food

Anyone with a toddler knows that what used to be a trip to the grocery store to simply buy food to feed the people living under your roof has become anything but simple. The preparation that goes into any trip to a store with other human beings inside of it is pretty much insane. It begins a half hour before you even get into the car to leave. You have to pack a diaper bag (why they call it that is beyond me it should be called the you will not believe how much crap I have in here bag) not only with diapers but with wipes, extra binky’s (paci’s or whatever your kid may call them & if your toddler doesn’t use one well I bow down to you), a sippy cup with juice, a bottle of water for when said sippy cup runs out of juice, a snack cup filled with gold fish, a backup snack, five “distracter” toys, 32 books, a change of pants (because  you never can be too safe) and a wallet to pay for the groceries.

After packing the diaper bag you move onto changing the toddler’s current diaper, getting their shoes on, putting on a coat and then oh wait what’s that smell?! Damn it. Coat off, changing diaper AGAIN. Ok coat back on, grab coupon book, diaper bag and toddler and load all of it into the car. Once you get to the store you find a cart unload the bag, toddler & coupon book. Take a deep breath, beg both your toddler and the shopping gods to please allow a smooth trip and in you go.

As you walk into the store we go to you are immediately in the bakery section (hey they’re not dummies) where they have coffee for sale (YES PLEASE!) and bagels, donuts, cookies etc.  So every week I buy my toddler a plain bagel to keep him happy quiet for the duration of our trip. You may be thinking why on earth did she pack all that other crap if she buys him a bagel? A toddler has the attention span of fruit fly and this bagel, while exciting for the first 5 aisles always seems to lose its luster by the dairy section so I need back up…trust me on this!

So bagel in hand we head to the produce section where we play counting games as I fill bags with apples. I play defense so 150 apples don’t dive to the floor as my toddler is grabbing them. We move throughout the store, singing songs, checking off my list, digging in my bag for a book, a toy, a sippy cup, another book, picking binky up off the floor, cleaning it giving it back and so on and so forth for 18 aisles. I have to hand it to my kid he’s pretty darn good. He deals with all the old ladies pinching his cheeks. He says hi and always says tanks (thanks) to the deli guy when given a piece of cheese and is pretty patient as I dig for 18 aisles for coupons and checking off my list.

Every week when we make it up to the checkout line without a major melt down I want to celebrate but like any good marathon runner mom I know it’s not over until we are walking out the automatic doors and headed to the car.  So today, there we are at the checkout line and as I am loading up our groceries onto the belt I can tell I have a ticking time bomb in my carriage. He’s rubbing his eyes, starting to whine, and giving me the calm before the storm look (every parent knows this look). My heart begins to pound and I start to sweat. The woman begins ringing me up and I am bagging as if I am on some grocery store game show. “Oh sorry honey I just ran out of receipt tape give me one minute” NOOOOOOOOOOOOO this can’t be happening. I look at toddler, he looks at me, I look at woman and suddenly the world is moving in slow motion and I know I’m not winning this race. You know that saying it’s not over until the fat lady sings…well the toddler cried and it was all over. He cried, and screamed a little and I did everything I could think of besides bounce up and down on my head juggling oranges and potatoes to stop it.

In every bad storm you always think it has to pass soon and just when you think it’s going to pass the wind picks up and it gets worse. The hot air wind in this case happened to be a cashier two down from us who was ringing up a single man. It was as if all the noise in the entire store, including my toddler stopped for a moment so that I could hear her loud and clear.

“Moms are so useless and awful now a days’ aren’t they?” Listen to that brat screaming and screaming and she doesn’t even care.” Him: “That would have never happened back in my day. My kids always behaved in public. It’s a shame what the world is coming to” Her: “She probably runs around all day dragging the kid to stores instead of doing anything fun with him, how sad. You should come first thing in the a.m. none of these obnoxious moms’s get here until 10am. Then you won’t have to listen to this nonsense” Him: “I’ll remember that for next time hahahaha”

And just like that a world of emotions came over me. I felt defensive not only for my mothering skills but for my toddler, who I know is anything but a brat thank you very much. I felt defeated. Defeated for preparing as much as I could to keep my toddler happy and in the end it didn’t work. I felt angry and sad that two people who know nothing about us could paint us with such a broad UGLY brush. I felt sad for moms everywhere who are doing the daily grind to the best of their ability only to have people who I can only imagine were one time in our shoes forget what it was like. I wanted to scream but I didn’t. I wanted to go up to customer service but I didn’t. I paid my bill and my toddler calmed down. As we were leaving he proceeded to wave and shout BYE BYE to each and every cashier and when we got to her he said BYE BYE and I said you may have ruined my mood but you didn’t ruin his. 

What I really wanted to say was this: You see lady being a mom isn’t easy. It’s hard and kids aren’t always happy, they’re human. We are all human and we are just trying to get through the simple things in life in one piece. I’m a good mom, he’ a good kid end of story. I spend enough time beating myself up about the mishaps of our day, I don’t need a stranger to do it! We came here to buy food, which last I checked was a necessity. We didn't come to be judged or handed a bag of anxiety upon checkout.  I didn’t say this though. Life goes on, so next week I’ll pack up my giant bag of crap and return as usual. I may however get on her line take away the bagel, binky and toys and just let him have at it. (DON'T mess with a mama bear)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Is This Song Over Yet?

I often find myself day dreaming about what it would be like to live some place where the weather is always nice. You know some place where it’s always sunny and 70. I can name a few places that come to mind but when push comes to shove I actually happen to be one of those people who enjoy the change of seasons. Call it climate ADD if you will but I find that at the end of one season I am always more than ready for the next one. That being said I have my least favorite and my favorite seasons like everyone.  I don’t know what it is about winter it just seems to be longer than any other season, even though it actually is the same length as all the other seasons. It seems to drag on and on and on and on and on.

Winter is the Stairway To Heaven of all the seasons. What does that mean you ask? Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin…it’s a good song, don’t get me wrong but it is 8 minutes and 1 second long, that’s right 8 MINUTES AND 1 SECOND LONG! Somehow when I was in the 7th grade they played this at every single dance and I would infamously get stuck dancing with someone I found to be nothing short of revolting and this song went on for 8 MINUTES and 1 SECOND! This sums up how I feel about winter right now. It always starts out fine. I love the holidays, and the first snow. I love getting the kids out on the ice for the first time and feeling like we are participating in the next Norman Rockwell painting. I love that my oldest goes skiing with my husband and they get one on one daddy/son bonding time, but come March I am over it, ALL OF IT!

I’ve had enough of the snow, enough of the sweaters, the hot chocolate, the baking and eating what we baked until my ass no longer wants to get into my jeans season.  I’m sick of warming up the car just to drive my son to preschool. I’m sick of sweating in said warm car because I just wrestled two monkeys’ kids into 18 layers of winter wear. I’m sick of wiping running noses and filling humidifiers at night for said runny noses. 

That being said I actually feel bad for spring. I don’t really like it. I know, I can hear the gasps but to me it’s rainy, muddy, sometimes still cold and just not good enough. It’s much like the song that would follow Stairway to Heaven. No one was staying on the dance floor after being stuck there for an entire 8 minutes and 1 second so the floor would clear, kids would grab soda’s make a trip to the bathroom or just sit down no matter how good the song was. That is how I feel about spring. The winter is so long that when spring shows up I kind of go ugh I JUST WANT WARM SUNNY WEATHER this isn’t good enough!

Summer, now there’s a season I can get on board with. It’s the Livin’ On A Prayer (Bon Jovi) of seasons. Like it or not, this song is one that get's people singing.  Everyone is back up and out on the dance floor screaming out the lyrics at the top of their lungs, or you know kids are out on bikes, people are working in their yards, going for runs at dusk, sharing a cocktail with a neighbor because you all just happened to be outside. It’s the go to season.

We just had another snow storm on what is basically the last 2 minutes of Stairway to Heaven since spring technically starts tomorrow. I’m ready to go get my soda margarita, mingle a little and prep myself because I am waiting anxiously in the wings waiting to hear the start of Livin’ On a Prayer and it’s then that I will know the dance is getting started!
“One must maintain a little bittle of summer, even in the middle of winter.”
Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Leave Your Age At The Door

Do you remember being a teenager ( I know I barely remember what I had for lunch but stay with me) and your parents told you they were going out for the night and your idiotic teenage brain thought that meant you had a week’s time to do the most amazing things like ever?!  I mean honestly what was wrong with us? Flash forward five (ok twenty) years later and you find yourself married with kids. Finding out you have the night without your kids is pretty much the same thing as a teenager finding out they have a night without parents. You suddenly start thinking about all the amazing things you are going to do in that time (no matter how short it might be).

It is a very rare occasion that my husband and I get a whole twenty four hours without our children but we managed to pull it off this past weekend.  The first thoughts I had were: what to do...what to do?? We can sleep in, clean the house, go do something fun, tour a city, hike Mt. Everest, take 6 naps, go out for dinner & drinks, meet a celebrity, sleep some more….and suddenly my brain felt like it was going to explode. So I focused and came up with one idea.  Drum roll please….we decided to go to a Saint Patrick’s Day parade and party like it was 1997 or some year that I wasn’t quite this old.  It was a beautiful sunny day. We dropped the kids off at my parents and headed out in our green attire ready to have the time of the century (no pressure really).

We got there and my first thoughts as we were walking to meet friends at a bar at 10:15 in the morning were, no not that it was too early to have a green beer, but that wow I feel like I forgot something. Then it dawns on me. I am so used to going everywhere with a stroller, a 55 pound diaper bag and two additional human beings that just having one handbag was nothing short of invigorating or at the very least a victory for my back.

As we walked into the bar we found a spot that we decided to claim as ours for the day. We ordered our first round and we got ready for the fun to begin, and it did. The bagpipers were playing, the drinks were flowing and we were having a great time with our friends.  Fast forward to my first trip to the bathroom and without surprise the line for the women’s room is a mile long already so I get on it and poke around on my phone to kill some time.  It doesn’t take me long though to realize that all the entertainment I need is on this line. There are two girls in front of me dressed like cheerleaders but all in green with green bows in their hair and shamrocks on their faces. They are busy talking about which bar is going to have the hottest guys in it.  In front of them is a girl who I can only assume is the girl from Juno (minus the baby) in real life and she’s awesome. She’s clearly annoyed by all the cheerleader banter. Behind me there are three girls talking so fast and so loud that I don’t think one of them has heard a thing the others are saying.  There is a girl telling her friend that she already feels like she might puke. (It’s 10:50 am people) So as I take it all in I realize I’m an old bag in line with a bunch of young girls who are probably looking at me and thinking wow she’s old! I make the mistake of talking to a couple girls and asking how old they are to which they respond 22 hehehehehehehe. Yes I’d be giddy too if I was 22.
Out of no where Juno girl turns to me and says hope you don’t mind me asking but how old are you? So I answered and told her I was there with my husband and my two kids were having a sleepover at my parent’s house. She looked at me and said wow that’s awesome. I hope when I’m married with kids I still go out with my husband for a fun day like this.  You guys are really cool for still doing fun stuff.

And so I was schooled by Juno girl. None of those young girls cared how old I was. I cared how old I was.  They weren’t thinking I was too old to be there. They were thinking that they hope to still be coming to a St. Patrick’s Day parade and drinking green beer every once in a while when they’re my age with two young kids.

I left the bathroom returned to the bar, stuck a shamrock on my face and had a great time. We left by 5:00 pm, grabbed a bite to eat at a diner and were home sleeping by 8:30 pm but hey from 10am until 5pm I was cool.  So take if from this old Irish girl, whatever you do, have a green beer, dance the Irish Jig and celebrate being young and cool this St. Patrick’s Day no matter how old you may be.


Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege.

Irish proverb

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Tom Hanks, I Love You, Now Leave

Anyone who has kids has been through the “phases”.  You know the Thomas phase, the Dora phase, The Curious George phase, The Power Rangers phase and the list goes on and on.  Every time you come out of one phase you welcome the next one. Oh thank god he’s over Thomas if I had to listen to one more minute of school kids singing about a train I was going to jump in front of one.  Then you get into the next phase and you quickly find yourself hating that one just as much if not more.  There were times my husband and I would talk about ways we would off Dora. Oh I would just push her from that cliff or oh I hope that damn monkey turns on her one day.  Don’t even get me started on the fact that she’s wearing a belly shirt.

The world of television and movies is so different from when I was a kid. When I was growing up my parents watched the news before dinner. There weren’t any kid shows offered. There was no such thing as a DVR where I could record, pause, fast forward and (cringe) rewind my favorite line from my favorite show a million times. No sir. If I had to pee I missed 3 minutes of the show, if we were going somewhere I missed the end of the show plain and simple. 

My kids live in a world of watching their favorite show ad nauseam.  My youngest is slightly (fatal attraction) obsessed with the Toy Story Trilogy. To be honest it didn’t bother me at first, not one bit. My oldest liked the movies but had really only seen them a handful of times. We have all three. My youngest has both Buzz and Woody who he can often be found dragging around the house. He also has every other character in the movie.  He wants to watch it on a rainy day, a snowy day, a sunny day, a sick day…ok so pretty much every damn day.  His favorite character is Woody, which I get, Tom Hanks makes that character loveable in every way and I happen to be a big Tom Hanks fan. However this was getting to be a bit much.  I started to hear his voice in my sleep.  I would see other people’s mouths moving but I would hear Tom Hanks speaking.

Finally we seemed to catch a break for a little while.  Then as luck would have it one of my all-time favorite movies was on…during a snow storm nonetheless!  BIG. That’s right the 1988 movie BIG, with, well yes with Woody  Tom Hanks.  I had the brilliant idea to record it on the DVR as we sat down and watched it as a family. My husband and I were both excited to watch a movie that we liked, with the kids.  That was 1 month ago. We have since watched (or had on in the background) BIG 487 times.  My toddler wakes up in the morning walks into the family room and says Mommy Big? It was the cutest thing the first 97 (ok 3) times but it has gotten beyond old.  I could win a trivia contest on this movie hands down (let me know if you hear of one I’m so in!) I know that his first paycheck is for exactly $187.30. My preschooler isn’t any better.  Guys what do you want to watch while I make dinner? Him: I think BIG mom.  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME?!

Here’s the thing Tom Hanks. I like you I really do but if we move on from this to Forest Gump or Cast Away I am going to run until I find a ship that will take me to an island where I can talk to volleyball for a very long time.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Letter To My Boys

I remember the day you were both born like it was yesterday. I remember the feeling of overwhelming joy colliding with fear all at once. I remember the sound of your first cry and the feeling of your skin against mine for the first time, and thinking I am now a mother (twice).

When you each came home we spent time feeding, napping, changing diapers and getting to know each other. There were baths, and books, and long nights of NO sleep.  There were oohs and ahhs and tummy time and cuddle time. Time…time has gone so fast already and I just wish I could press the pause button just for a little while.  I find myself looking in the rearview mirror at the two of you laughing with each other in the backseat and thinking about all the things I want for you both.  The early days of living in our bubble & hoping I could hide the world from you for just a little while are fleeting so this is what I want you both to know.

Life is in and of itself awesome. You are truly able to become whoever you want to become. You can do whatever you put your mind to…as long as you stay determined and work hard for it.  Life is also hard. The world is full of people who won’t see you the way I do, and that’s ok. I want you both to know not only right from wrong but to be proud to stand up for what’s right no matter the cost.  I want you both to respect girls. I want you to hold doors open, say please and thank you & look people in the eyes when they are speaking to you.  I want you to work hard and never expect a hand out, but be willing to help someone should they need it.  I want you to judge people from the inside not by the color of their skin, or appearance.  I want you to lead instead of follow.  I want you to become the men who fathers will want their daughter’s to date. 

I want you both to be happy, to never settle for things because you think it’s what other people want you to do. Life is short and you only get to do it once so do it right. I want you to remember that no matter what I love you.

I may be getting slightly ahead of myself… so for now I want you to play with no worry, run with no fear & dance (better than me). I want you to go to bed happy and wake up even happier. I want you to laugh with your friends. I want you to climb trees and discover something new and exciting in the every day.  Most of all I want you both to feel loved.  The days can get crazy filled with spills, falls & cries, but I know that these days are ones we will always remember and I’m going to make them last as long as I can.