Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Just Give Me Five Minutes!

Have you heard of the book, "Five Minutes' Peace," by Jill Murphy?  It is one of my favorites!

(Photo courtesy of amazon.com)
One morning the mama elephant, Mrs. Large, walks into the kitchen to find a colossal, breakfast mess!  Her three rambunctious children have spilled a box of cereal all over the floor; the youngest one wearing his corn flakes.  A turned-over jar of honey is dripping down the table legs and crushed soft-boiled eggs liter the counter.    

Mrs. Large takes one look at the disaster and sighs heavily.  She tucks her newspaper into her bathrobe pocket, places her tea on a tray, and lumbers off to the bathroom.  She turns on the faucet and draws herself a nice, warm, relaxing bubble bath.  All she wants is five minutes.  That's it.  Five minutes to relax.  Five minutes of peace.  Five minutes to soothe her "mama soul" before facing the day...and her children!  (Sound familiar?)

  
Unfortunately, her bubble bath quickly loses it's therapeutic properties!  She is joined by her children--one who serenades her on the flute, one who wishes to read aloud to her, and one who bombards her with bath toys.  Eventually, all three children hop into the tub with her!  Poor Mrs. Large.  She can't catch a break!  She gets out of the tub and returns to the kitchen, where she miraculously (and jubilantly) enjoys "three minutes and forty-five seconds" of peace before her children find her again.

This sweet and delightful book is pure joy to read.  The ending always makes me smile.  Perhaps my affinity for the book stems from the fact that it is so easy to relate to!  As mothers, we love our children immensely--a "to the moon and back" kind of love!  We do so much to ensure their happiness.  Our worlds revolve around them.  We work hard day-to-day. 

BUT SOMETIMES WE NEED A BREAK!  Just five minutes to breathe deeply.  To eat a cookie.  To drink a Diet Coke.  To lie down and close our eyes.  To meditate.  To cry.  To read a chapter in a book.   

To use the bathroom! 


Whether it's five minutes, three minutes and forty-five seconds, one minute, or twenty seconds, take a little break today.  Do something nice for yourself.  YOU DESERVE IT!     

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

VIP!

The final bell rang, piercing the Monday morning air with it's shrillness.  Young children ran to big, brown, double doors; anxiously lining up to await the start of their school day.  I stood by the fence and watched as Lilly ran to get in line with her class.  Her much-to-big backpack was strapped across her skinny shoulders.  The morning sunlight danced in her ponytail.  She clutched a rolled-up poster in her hands, and had a wide grin on her face.


"Guess what?  I'm the VIP," I heard her say to various classmates.  "I'm the VIP today.  Isn't that cool?!"

She had worked on her poster all weekend.  Filling in the blanks, gluing the pictures on, and coloring it with markers.  She was thrilled to be the VIP--the very important person, the "featured kid of the week," the one who got to share her likes and interests with the class.


As I helped Lilly with her poster--and later, as I watched her present it to the class--I couldn't help but think of my own VIP experiences; the times I was chosen as the "spotlight" in school.  On the surface, I was shy and bashful about being the center of attention.  My cheeks blushed that pink shade of embarrassment when my mom revealed to my classmates that my favorite food was tuna fish sandwiches.  With pickles!  I timidly talked about my beloved Care Bear toy and my affinity for Reese's Peanut Butter cups.

But, beneath the surface, I felt excited to share a bit of myself with others.  I felt proud and worth knowing.  I felt like I was, in fact, a "very important person."


When do we lose that, I wonder?  When do we lose that sense of importance and self pride?  Does it happen during the yucky and bumpy adolescent years?  Does it happen when we are finished with school, when we attempt to make a place for ourselves in the vast, adult world?  Does it happen when we become mothers; seemingly obscure in our often "unglamorous" roles? 

I think about this blog often.  I periodically reevaluate the goals I set for it and the direction I want to take.  I ponder on what to share and what to say--my overarching theme.  

But mostly, I think about this blog's purpose.  It has remained steadfast and sincere since the beginning.  Here's the thing:

I want you to walk away (or click away!) from this blog feeling like you matter.  Because you do.  I want you to read and then remember to find the joy in your every day life.  Because it's there.  I want you to take comfort in knowing you are not alone in the fears you feel, the dreams you have, and the hurdles you face.  Because you're not.  I want you to remember to laugh.  Because that's the good stuff.


Above all else, I want you to know that you are a VIP.  As you read, I pray you are able to feel that from the words I write.  YOU, sweet friend, dear reader, are a very important person.  Take pride in that--as I did over tuna sandwiches, as Lilly did when she showed off her poster.  Take pride in knowing your importance can't be paralleled.  You are important to your children.  You are important to your close friends.  You are important to your loved ones and your family.  You are important to me.


No poster required! 

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Confess

It is Thursday morning,
and I confess:

*Lilly's hair hasn't been washed in days.

*Lilly may or may not be traveling the path to dreadlocks.


*My hair hasn't been washed in days.

*I let Camren eat a small bag of Cheetos for a mid-morning snack.  And I wish I could say it was because we are out of string cheese...but I can't.

*Lilly has eaten her breakfast in the car, on the way to school, EVERY DANG DAY this week.

*I watched The Voice and thought about what it would be like to make out with Adam Levine.

*I attempted to do a load of laundry Monday morning, and that blasted load is STILL in the washer.

*I thought someone was trying to break into my house one morning, resulting in me scaring the holy jeepers out of the Questar man when he saw me in the window.  With a pair of scissors.

*I haven't cooked a decent meal yet this week.  This could be because I am either 1.) Lazy 2.) Tired 3.) In frantic need of groceries.  (Or maybe I am too tired and too lazy to go get said groceries??)  I have not decided which number I am.

*I slept in one of my "regular" shirts so that I could wake up the next morning semi-ready.  Thus saving me two minutes.  Which I used on sleep.  Which seems ridiculously stupid to me now.

*I don't want to be around my mischievous, rowdy, naughty, up-to-no-good kids.  They are driving me bonkers!

  
*That last one makes me feel like a crappy mom.

*Maybe I AM a crappy mom.

*But my kids are driving me bonkers!

*While spilling purple jelly down my pants (a lunchtime snafu), Cam came up to me and wrapped his arm around my leg.  As he stood like that for a moment, quietly cuddled up to me, I confess I thought it was sweet.


*Okay!  When Cam grabbed me, it melted my ornery, crabby, kraken-like heart.

*Okay!  My kids don't bug me THAT much.  I'm just saying there are days (or weeks) when I'd like to check myself into the Betty Ford Center.  Or the Hilton.

*When Lilly and Cam--like dewey-faced cherubs--thanked me for their slurpees, and told me they loved me, I thought, "Crappy mom?  Nay!  I'm pretty swell!"

I really should go wash my hair!



(What will YOU confess to this week?!)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chutes and Ladders and LIFE

When I was a little girl, I loved to play the game, "Chutes and Ladders."  Climbing the ladders with my cardboard game piece was always exhilarating.  If I avoided a square with a dreaded slide, I celebrated by clapping loudly and bouncing in my seat!


Years and years later, I still find myself playing, "Chutes and Ladders."  Simply because my children adore it.  Camren loves to count the squares on the board and identify the numbers on the spinner, and Lilly...well...she loves to win!


Truthfully, I don't love the game as much as I used to.  (And how Scrooge-alicious is that?!)  Why?  Because I can't seem to get my game piece to go anywhere.  Like a stick stuck in the mud, I rarely move!  The spinner arrow often lands on the low numbers when it is my turn, and I almost always, always land on a slide!


I've been thinking a lot about that childhood game lately, as it seems to relate to current events in my life.  Last October, my pediatrician told me she was concerned about Cam's language development.  This observation resulted in a whole gauntlet of tests and evaluations, as well as meetings with a brilliant speech therapist.  At the end of it all, we were told he did not qualify for help through our school district.  With a pat on the back, we were sent out the door with an armful of reading material, and were told to work with him at home.

Six months later, at a follow up appointment (only days ago), I was met with some unsettling news that sent a jolt straight to my mama's heart.  Cam's language skills have not improved much, resulting in his doctor's admonition to "seek more testing."  She used all the buzz words I had heard before:  Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Idiosyncratic speech.  Jargon.  Speech therapy.

  
And just like that, this mama landed on a slide.  I whooshed all the way back down to the bottom.  To that formidable "square one."

I have no answers.  I have no solutions.  I have been handed a proverbial package of questions and concerns, and I'm looking at it in my hands, and I'm wondering, "What am I supposed to do with this?"  I am discouraged.  I am frustrated.

So, I did one of the only things I could do (besides eat a cookie)...I brought it up to my friend, Cobi.  I felt I needed to talk to her.


Her beautiful, blue-eyed son is autistic.  She is a warrior mother--a true example of strength and perseverance.  She works hard and loves fiercely, and has armed herself with information to help her son.  Over the phone, I told her all about my situation.  My setbacks and my woes.  I used my "Chutes and Ladders" analogy to convey how I was feeling.  I told her I had been met with a slide.


She said something to me that took my breath away:

"There will be slides on this journey.  You have to accept that there will be slides.  They won't necessarily send you back to square one, but with each one you will learn something.  You'll start to get answers.  There will be ladders too.  The ladders are what you focus on."

Life is very much like a game of "Chutes and Ladders."  It is filled to the brim with the highest highs and the lowest lows.  It's natural and inevitable--that we'll face ups and downs.  It is universal.  We all have encountered those exhilarating ladders, and have joyously climbed skyward.  We've also wept when the slides have crossed our paths, sending us down, and down, and down.

How we choose to handle the ups and downs is entirely individual.  Me?  I choose to take my friend's advice:

Accept the slides.
Celebrate the ladders.

                       

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Everyone Has A Story

I have a blog because I love to write.

  
I love to write because I discover a little something about myself every time I do.
I love to share what I write with YOU because you laugh and cry and learn something right along with me. 
And then we are able to relate to one another.

  
We become a community. 
We become bonded by our experiences and our stories. 
We realize we need each other, and it's a beautiful thing. 

Everyone has a story to tell.  Everyone.


Stories link us to people.
Stories capture life and slow it down for a while.
Stories are lessons in living the human experience.
They are witnesses to the lives we have led.
Stories are powerful and wonderful. 


And as always, thank you for reading mine.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Listen To Your Mother

Heeeyy yoooou guuuuys!!!  (Children of the eighties, do you like my little homage to, "The Goonies?")  I have something very, very exciting to share!  I mean, it is so exciting it makes a warm, gooey, chocolatey chip cookie look like a stupid hockey puck!  It makes Brad Pitt look like a homeless man living under a bridge!


Ready?  I AM GOING TO BE IN THE LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER SHOW!  Hooray, hooray, hooray!

What is the, "Listen To Your Mother Show?," you might be asking.  According to the website, listentoyourmothershow.com, it is, "A national series of live readings by local writers in celebration of Mother's Day.  Born of the creative work of mothers who publish online, each production is directed, produced, and performed by local communities, for local communities."  How neat is that, my friends!?  The show celebrates the beauty, humor, and complexity of motherhood; giving women all over the country the microphone, to share their stories and inspire each other.

Are you in Utah?  Will you be in Utah on May 9th?  Come to the show!  (If you come to the show, I will give you a big hug!)  I don't doubt it will be a beautiful evening of laughter and love.  You won't want to miss it!  If you'd like more information on the Northern Utah cast, please visit the following link:  http://www.listentoyourmothershow.com/northernutah/show-information/


I've seen the cast list.  I know several of the women involved in this extraordinary show.  I've looked at all their blogs and I have to say... they are AAAHH-MAZING!  I feel extremely humbled to be given this opportunity--to step up to the mike and rock it right!  (I hope.)  I will be sharing the stage with greatness--truly talented women, writers, and mothers.  I.  Am.  Blessed.

If you would like to purchase tickets (and oh my gosh, I think you would), you can purchase them here:   http://www.thanksgivingpoint.org/page.aspx?pid=299&cid=1&ceid=133&cerid=0&cdt=5%2f9%2f2013

I would really, truly, sincerely love to see you at the show!  (I'll be the one in the bright yellow heels.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

FOOD; A Letter

Dearest Camren,

The exuberant smile that spread across your little boy face the moment you saw me come up the walkway, was enough to melt my heart like buttah!  Your toothy grin and your squinty, happy eyes, seemed to say, "Mom!  I'm so excited you are home!"


Or maybe it wasn't about me!  Maybe you were just excited about the food!

Earlier that morning, I had rummaged through bare cupboards, searched empty drawers, and scoured a desolate pantry.  My efforts produced one, lone granola bar found among the cobwebs.  As I ripped the foil wrapper and handed you the bar, I said, "Cam, it looks like I need to go to the store.  You stay here with Daddy.  I'll go get food."

Food. 

Goodness, you love to eat!  Like a typical boy, you have a hearty appetite.  (And a hollow leg.)  You devour turkey sandwiches and pickle spears.  You adore my spaghetti.  You bounce happily on your toes when we make pizza.  And just like your mama, you feel that one cupcake is never enough!

I suppose it has been that way from the beginning.  You have always loved to eat...and I have always been your supplier!  When you were a baby, I was the one who would primarily make and feed you your bottles.  I prepared your rice cereal.  I spoon fed you mushy, sweet potatoes.  I cut up your bananas.  As you grew, I helped you open your string cheese.  I helped you put the teeny tiny straw into the teeny tiny hole of your juice box.

Sometimes, I worry about what it will be like to feed you as a teenager.  I grew up with brothers who were never full.  I imagine you trudging into the house on your big, sneaker-clad feet, with a backpack slung over your shoulder.  Before you even take off your jacket you are already asking me, "What is there to eat?," or, "What can I eat?," or, "What do we have to eat?," or, "Where's the beef?"


I frequently joke with your dad about your passions for grub.  I say, "I know that boy loves me, but only for the food!"          

If that's true for right now, little man, that is okay.  (I think you love me for putting bubble bath in your tub water, too!)  Perhaps there will come a time--later in life, during the tumultuous, lumpy and bumpy, adolescent years--when you do, in fact, only love me for the food.  That is okay as well.  You are my son, and I would have you know and remember this:  I will love YOU forever.  And...

I promise to always feed you!

Love,
Your "cookin' in the kitchen" mama