I gave up competitive swim team 2 weeks into my senior year of high school, basically because I wasn’t the best anymore and my younger (10th grade) sister could out swim me.
Only one season before “completing” my career, I just quit. Never mind the 10 years of time, energy, and money OH THE MONEY my parents put into my talents, I was just done and I didn’t care about anyone but myself.
Hindsight, I regret my decision.
I’m pretty sure I broke my parents hearts for not finishing out my senior year in the pool. But regardless of what they wanted, they let me make my own bad decision. A decision that I would regret as an adult, but a decision as a teen I needed to make for myself.
Piper and Nola started violin this year. One of my children flourished and thrived, while the other went kicking and screaming to each and every practice and performance.
I’ll give you two seconds to figure out which of my daughters hated being told what to do, and how to practice.
It was early on into the season that she decided she hated it, despite having a blast at the twice a week practices. She adored the friends she made, and she fell in love with her teachers (except for that one teacher that made her play laying down looking up at the ceiling, that wasn’t fun).
But whoa girl, each and every day we asked her to practice, and each and every day we made her go to group lessons, we were met with exceptional resistance.
It’s been a year of Level 18 on the Nola Rage scale. And we’re beat down and tired.
So we asked her to make the decision. She could quit if she really wanted to, but still needed to finish out her commitment of the season.
Tonight was her last performance, and she did so great. She was adorable, and I know she had a really fantastic day. The tiniest little blonde head in the group, that was my girl.
But this was her last performance. Even as we bounced out of the symphony hall high on adrenalin and a post-performance capri sun, I whispered in her ear and asked her if she was sure she wanted to be done.
Yes, she stilled wanted to be done, and I respect that.
As we walked back to our car, we decided to reward ourselves by popping into a candy store adjacent to the orchestra hall. I told both Piper and Nola to take a few minutes and pick out one piece to celebrate a job well done. As we were shopping, another family from the orchestra had the same idea.
The boy (who was a junior in high school) and his mom over heard that Nola had just retired and was hanging up the violin. The older and “wiser” mom looked at me and made it clear that “she pushed her kid” and I shouldn’t give up so easily on Nola. Her 17 year old son rolled his eyes at me and basically made it clear he does not enjoy playing his instrument, but his mom makes him.
She then went on to say that “he’s going to play in college whether he likes it or not, because he’s going to get a scholarship.”
You guys, I’m going to parent exactly opposite of this woman.
Sure there are things we have to do. We have to go to school. We have to keep our room tidy-ish. We have to show respect and kindness to those around us, and we have to obey most of the laws our government has set before us. These things are not options.
But we don’t have to play the violin, or swim, or enter the spelling bee if it makes us miserable. If we start, we must find a reasonable stopping point, but the agony doesn’t have to go on indefinitely.
Everyday I wake up and this parenting thing gets harder and harder. I want to be supportive, without cracking a whip. I want my kids to stay strong and never give up, but know when it’s ok to throw in the towel and not feel shame.
This girl has no shame, only a sense of pride and accomplishment that she played her last piece, The Happy Blues.
Celebrating her violin retirement with a fancy sucker reward. She’s my fierce and determined girl, and I love her.
So there’s a pretty sweet grocery store in town which I frequent once a week or so. They have great organics, tasty in-a-pinch freezer meals, lots of fancy cheeses and cheap wine.
The employees are super helpful and willing to slow down and chat. AND CHAT, AND CHAT SOME MORE.
The checkout lane is always some sort of happy hour-ish (and I mean 60 minutes of happy). It’s where you discuss favorite food combinations with stragers (Peruvian rice + fresh broccoli + orange chicken = TO. DIE.) What you’re doing with the rest of your day (why do you ask? Shall we go get tattoos together or something?). And of course a conversation about your kids names and if they would like any complimentary stickers to put on the interior of your passenger side window.
I honestly do love this place. The employees are honest and genuine, and the food is great. Did I mention the employees are honest?
At checkout last week:
Cashier to Gage: So what’s your name?
Gage: My name is Dage.
Me: No, his name is Gage. He has a bit of a problem pronouncing, well, almost everything.
Cashier: Did you name him after that creepy kid from Pet Cemetery? I love scary movies!
Cashier: That’s cool. What are the names of your other kids? (as she reaches in for a Paul sized high-five but quickly retracts after she realizes he’s attempted to eat a fig bar with little success of getting any of it in his mouth.)
Me: Um…Piper, Nola, and that’s Paul.
Cashier: Piper, Nola, Gage and Paul? Wait, his name is seriously Paul!? Did you just run out of out of names or something? Piper, Nola and Gage are super cool names. But Paul? Could you not come up with something better? He’s going to feel left out when he gets older….
Me: No, he was named after a couple dead relatives. (because sometimes you just don’t have the energy for the long sentimental story)
Cashier: ( after an awkward 3 seconds of silence) Ok, well here’s some stickers to put all over your minivan! Have a great day….Paul.
You guys, I know Paul isn’t a novel name. It’s not unique, and it’s been around forever. I have four kids, and quite frankly it’s actually the only name in our family that holds any meaning. And yes, I’m mildly ashamed and self-conscious of that.
Piper, Nola, Gage and baby Paul. No, I didn’t run out of names with my last one, but thanks for giving me a good chuckle at your boldness in assuming I did.
Paul, you should have been a Mingus.
Even Dage, my kid (not named after) that scary kid from that low budget late’80s movie knows when it’s best to just keep his mouth shut. Oh wait, no he doesn’t. You should have heard what he said to our Taiwanese server yesterday…
May 6, 2013 | Category: I'm a Blogger
Friends, it’s been an interesting few last days.
The weekend started with a wee bit o poopie, reeking (pun intended) a little bit of havoc into our previously schedule weekend plans. Sewage ejector thingies on the fritz? Yeah, you don’t want those to break. Especially on Friday afternoons. Our plumber was “busy with boy scouts”, which, let’s be honest: whatever. I’m going to go ahead and also speculate it actually meant: “ew, no way in hellz I’m dealing with that on a Friday night, find yoself another crazy foo”).
Thankfully, Michael is really awesome at dealing with this family’s crap (again, pun intended) so he became the man for the job. Three trips to Lowes, a few dry heaves, a basement that smells like a turd, and 12 hours later, whatever was broke has now been restored.
*three cheers and a growler full of beer for the stinky husband*
Anyway, enough about our bathroom habits. Aside from the unfortunate events mentioned above, we really did manage to turn a turd of a weekend into somewhat of a rainbow.
And as I’m sure you are aware, Saturday was May the Fourth. And well, we had a date with the Millennium Falcon Experience.
We donned our best Obi-Wan Kenobi gear, and headed out to the Indiana State Museum.
We enjoyed a virtual “ride” through hyperspace, and I think my kids minds were officially blown.
And just like an animal that can smell fear, I swear the local reporter sniffed my socially awkwardness out from across the room. Of course I was interviewed for the evening news. Here’s the live link if you want to giggle nervously with me:
Any-who, if you have Star Wars fans under your roof, you absolutely must checkout this exhibit (if you live in Indy) while it’s in town. I mean, only if you want to geek your geeky freak out.
And then on the 7th day, May the 5th, cinco de Sith, we drank margaritas and discuss the events of the day before.
Not a bad weekend, not a bad weekend at all….
May 1, 2013 | Category: I'm a Blogger
Funny how a literal rise in temperature can warm and uplift my mood. I mean, today isn’t really any different than last week. Same ole stuff, except it’s 80 degrees out which makes everything so much more tolerable. The weather outside makes a huge difference when it comes to my anxiety. A much bigger difference than I care to admit.
We’re enjoying these warm days by doing what we always do. Work a little. Play a little. Clean a little. And love a little. Gage has upgraded his black rain boots to red rain boots, and rain or shine he wears them.
Little boys, they make me laugh all dang day.
For instance, last week he was a little dick. Like, dick enough to not eat dinner, and so dick he just wanted to lay around and watch screen all day. But not so dick that he couldn’t ride his gooter, or eat copious amounts of nacks whenever he felt like it. Fortunately for all of us, the dickies have passed and he’s feeling back to his normal unintentionally hilarious self.
And our new favorite “treat yourself because it’s Tuesday and you deserve it” celebratory beverage has become chilled bubble tea. Basically, it’s a smoothie with tapioca boba balls mixed in. Friends, I could drink these unexpectedly delicious concoctions everyday all day if I didn’t have to drive across town and pay $2.75 a glass to enjoy them.
Fortunately for us, it’s not too hard to justify a treat. You know, we treat ourselves for not throwing a tantrums in Trader Joe’s. And we treat ourselves for waking up with dry SpiderMan under-roos. And sometimes, we treat ourselves because it’s the very last day of the month and mama met all her writing deadlines.
Speaking of which, working from home is probably the best gig ever, of you can keep yourself motivated enough to stay on task. For my last Disney post of the month, I wrote about baby Paul taking his first four steps. He hasn’t taken a step since, but you guys, I’m calling him a walker.
Work things. Tasty things. A few of my favorite things:
1. My dear friend Casey turned thirty-fun last week. Last night a handful of us ate sprinkle cake to celebrate. Shireen out-did herself with this one. I mean, it didn’t even look or taste anything remotely like clown puke. Happy Birthday Casey, DesignHER Momma lurvs you.
2. Kids shoes. I’ve giving away a $60 gift certificate to UMI. Friends, they’re expensive I’ll admit. But totally worth it. If you win, shop the sale section and I bet you can hop away with two pairs. (because that’s what I would do)
3. Freakers, man. Have you ever become obsessed with something and wanted to buy it in every color? Yeah, that. They came out with some new ones recently and I’m resisting the urge. Also, I’m considering hosting a sweaty backyard party in August just so I have an excuse use ALL THE FREAKERS.
4. You say BUMBLE, I say RIDE! It’s not everyday I get to give away a $400 stroller. But guess what, it’s totally happening right now. And if you don’t win, I honestly do think this stroller is tops and would 100% spend my own money on it. Honesty is the best policy, right?
5. Cool threads by AXL Brand. This small start-up is my new favorite and I wish I could afford to dress Paul “axl cool” everyday of the week. I’m having a blast promoting their gear, and of course there is a giveaway.
6. Page turning. I’m reading this book, Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn for book club. It’s dark and scary, in a good way. Kinda like me. Kidding not really.
7. Götz. Dare I say these dolls are better than those other 18″ doll with patriotic flair. About four years ago Michael bought Piper one when he came home from a business trip to Germany. Guess what? You can now buy them in the states (which is a new exciting development). And yup, there’s a giveaway for that too!
So yeah, stuff around here is good and well. Now go find yourself a frozen boba tea and relax in the sun for a few minutes. Because you deserve it!
April 23, 2013 | Category: Uncategorized
I remember a time not so long ago when I had trouble hoofing it (where’s my elevator?!) up to the girl’s bedroom (third story!) without getting winded to the point of needing to sit down to catch my breath. Never mind scolding them for a messy space, mama needs oxygen because she’s super pregnant…
I remember a time not so long ago when I would look at my body in a full length mirror and feel completely ashamed. Other women, other friends, they look so amazing! Why, oh why, did my poor body appear so messed up and ugly?
I remember a time not so long ago that I would have been mortified if anyone other than my husband and kids stepped foot into my home without warning. Living in a constant state of disarray and chaos, I hung my head in shame.
I remember a time not so long ago when I was sad, very sad, because I was sad all the time. I had no reason for my sadness, other than I was sad all the time.
I remember a time not so long ago when a dear friend of mine urged me to trust her. She asked me to read a post she just wrote, convincing me that it actually would get better. That maybe I couldn’t see it now, but things wouldn’t always be like this. That the light at the end of the tunnel was a real thing and not just an illusion.
That it wouldn’t always be this hard.
That better, easier, less heavy days would surely follow.
You guys, she was right. Things are actually getting less exhausting. I mean, I still have four kids and they necessitate so very much, but I’m in such a better place mentally and emotionally than I was a year ago.
Today, I wasn’t tired from a sleepless night nursing a baby.
And today, I washed my face and put lip gloss on. I got the girls off to school, and then the boys and I ran errands. We were like, normal people doing normal activities.
We went thrifting, and I found a perfect laptop bag straight out of the 1950′s. (process that one for a minute)
We got groceries and nobody threw a tantrum. And I didn’t even have to bribe the 3 year old with a bag of Chips Ah-noying.
We went to the park and had fun.
You guys, it was so great.
Basically, I had a pretty fab day, and I’m optimistic tomorrow will be nice as well. Because fab days are starting to happen consecutively.
It’s totally true, what they say. The baby fog will actually lift and at some point, you will feel human once again.
You will find yourself saying: yes, I can totally do this parenting thing. It’s totally hard, but I will survive! And maybe even like it!
Friends, that’s where I’m at (I think). The heavy blanket has been lifted, I’m basking in the light at the end of the tunnel.
And sure thing, don’t be surprised if tomorrow I’m all OMGEEEE MY KIDS ARE GONNA KILL ME LEMME TELL YA ABOUT IT…. (because that’s totally going to happen, right?)
But for today, I’m starting to feel lighter. Realizing that the warm spring sun is actually shining in my direction, and I’m present to experience it, even if it is just for a moment.
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