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September 2011

Scene from an imaginary restaurant


I knew I was in a fancy place just by looking at the waiter's attire: Size 4 Perry the Platypus underpants.  His name was Tocular.  He carried a pencil and a pad of paper on which he claims to have written down my order.  Listening to him reel off the specials was enough to win my vote as best restaurant ever.  Wav-ee-o-wees were his top pick for the evening, so I went with his suggestion.  When I inquired about his unusual name, he replied, "It's only my name when I'm a waiter or cooker.  Not all the time."  Interesting.

My son and I played restaurant for about an hour last night.  Watching him run from where I sat at the kitchen table to his little "cook station" next to the refrigerator at full speed every other minute was the BEST.  He kept offering different meals like waffles with kiwis,  salad with banana dressing, banana splits.  Mostly everything had a banana in it because that's all the fruit we currently have in the house.  That's my boy.  Always using whatever resources he has available.  I stayed for about four days worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

When we were done playing, I asked him to help me make REAL dinner.  He was so excited.  He helped me spread the butter on the garlic bread and rip up the lettuce for salad.  His favorite part was using the salad spinner.  Although, he got tired after a while and started pushing the spinny part with his foot...and then he sat on it.  Hey, if Kramer can have a garbage disposal in his shower, a little butt-spinned salad is nothin'.  Especially if it's a 3-year-old butt...they're so cute, they don't even count.

When it came time to eat, my son was so proud of himself.  He set the table and asked everyone to wash up.  He got up on his seat and kneeled up as high as he could.  He MADE this dinner for his family.  He smiled and explained everything on the menu with full gusto.  I think it was the first time we didn't have to remind him to eat.  He savored every bite while watching all of us do the same.   It was the best dining experience I've had in a while...but now I'm oddly craving a banana split.


Failure rocks!

No, it doesn't.  Failure is the worst.  I should know.  I've been failing a lot lately.  I'm not really sure what's up, but all the stuff I do normally on a day to day basis seems whacked out.  I love making dinner for my family, but lately we've been eating a lot of take-out.  I love running, but I can't get out the door.  I love sleeping at night, but can't keep my eyes shut.  I hope it's just the back-to-school schedule shift that's getting me all swirly.  I'm not used to having time to myself, and I don't really know what to do with it just yet.  This past week, I've been using the hours that my kids are in school to write.  It has been fulfilling, yes, but also guilt laden.  There's so much more I could be doing.  Running, cooking, cleaning... but what IS a good use of my time?  I am not a Lady Who Lunches, so that's out.  I don't want to use all the time grocery shopping, because I can do that when the kids are home.  I need balance.  Something for me, something for my family, something for me, something for my family.  I know it will come eventually, but this transition period is making me tired.  I feel like a caged tiger, full of pent-up boiling energy.  By the time the day ends, I'm exhausted from trying to figure out what to do with my time...and of course the time has been wasted in the process.  I'm not feeling sorry for myself at all.  I'm more pissed at myself for not being able to do it and being pissed isn't really a good motivator. 

This weekend, my husband and I are running the Philadelphia Rock N' Roll 1/2 Marathon.   It's our second time running it together and we haven't trained (basically) at ALL this time around.  But we're going to get through it come Hell or high water.  We might be gasping for breath and crawling by the time we reach the 13.1 marker, but we're going to do it, dammit. 

And that's how I'll get through this stupid transition period, too.  It's all just like running a race...Sweating, limping, bonking, drinking lots of water, encouragement from my husband, kids cheering on the sideline, gasping for breath.  But in the end when it's all figured out, I'll be beaming and happy.  Like I just ran a freaking 1/2 marathon.

Cartoons saved the day

What an emotional day.  Really.  Today is September 11th.  Everyone alive right now knows today's significance.  10 years ago today, I remember being scared to do ANYthing.  I didn't even feel right making a decision about what to make for dinner that day.  I decided on chuck roast with tomato garlic sauce. Mashed potatoes and green beans on the side.  We ate in front of the TV, because we had to know.  We had to know that our loved ones were accounted for and not dead.  We had to know that the next plane wasn't going to smash into our roof.  I felt like we sat there for days.    We did, actually.  Once the roast was gone and the dishes were clean, we stayed glued to the TV for about a month.  And after that month, we ventured out and talked with our friends who had done the same thing.  We lit candles, opened the garage doors and sat in there drinking beer & playing darts; still watching the flight patterns of all the close planes that flew overhead.  Hoping they were filled strictly with vacationing families on their way home from a lovely Disney trip.

Months and years went by and we had some kids.  We laughed and played and  got caught up with all the stuff kids do.  That's been going on for 7 years or so and now it's today.  We're still doing all the kids' stuff and nothing's changed, except it's been 10 whole years since 9/11/01.  I can't believe it.  I haven't forgotten, but I have been admittedly numbed over time.  I suppressed the scariness and sadness way down into a small spot of my soul -until today.  I glued myself to the TV once again to listen to all the names of the victims at the remembrance ceremonies.  Once again hoping and praying not to hear any names of my loved ones.  Feeling sorrow for the names that were read and their families.  Noticing the huge range of cultures and ages on that list of names.  How very long it took to read all the names.  My kids came in and wanted to watch something else.  It reminded me of my own childhood watching the news reports of Reagan being shot...wanting to watch something different.  My dad telling me, "No, this channel has the best coverage."...he didn't know I meant Woody Woodpecker.  I didn't care that our president had gotten shot.  I wanted cartoons.  Just like my kids today. 

My daughter saw me crying when they rang the bell at 9:03.  I told her that was the minute we all knew it was no accident because the second tower had been hit.  I asked my kids if they could handle watching the ceremonies for just another minute.  They said yes and sat glued with me for that next 60 seconds.  Then we turned on a Phineas & Ferb cartoon and I pushed it all back down into my soul again.  Back into its special spot where it will always stay; only to be let out when I need to let it out.

Just say Yes

018 Summer just started about two days ago.  At least it feels that way.  But in reality, it's September 1st and summer's just about over.  Temperature-wise, I'm cool with that.  Summer heat and I don't get along very well.  To me, fall vacation sounds much more appealing.  However, eating a drippy peach during a break from boogie boarding at the beach wouldn't be the same in 50 degree weather.  Today, I loved every minute of the heat at the beach with friends.  Last year on this very day, I was probably sitting at home with the kids trying to find something to do.  This year, I decided early on that I was going to start saying Yes more often.  Yes to friends.  Yes to adventures.  Yes to things that are messy that I don't want to clean up.  I'm really glad I did.

This summer proved to be such a wonderful time...all because of a little letting go.  We met new friends, hung out more with old friends, went to great places, started endeavors I never thought possible. Why didn't I do that before?  Before kids, I could do anything at any time.  Once they came around, I had to stop being so carefree, because I needed to know I was doing the right thing for them; that they would be safe.  But I took that to the extreme and basically hid away from the world with them.  Not good.  Anything that came up unexpectedly was immediately declined.  I needed to have a month's notice for a visit, and then I'd find some excuse at the last minute to get out of it. 

I don't know why I acted that way, but it was wrong.  I figured that out one day when my daughter asked me why she couldn't have a friend over.  But the thing was, she hadn't ever really asked me if her friend could come over in the first place.  She knew if she DID ask me,  my answer was going to be No so she skipped over that part and went right for the jugular.  Why wouldn't I let her play with her friend?  It hit me kinda hard.  She was right.  I was the Negativatron. 

I was so used to knowing every ounce of every minute of her day.  How could she possibly have friends?  That didn't work into my schedule.  How selfish of me!  I am nowhere near ready to let my kids go, but that day made me realize that maybe snipping a little bit of the apron strings was in order.    I didn't need to be SO much in their business.  The funny thing is, once I got out of their faces, they got out of mine.  We started being our own people.  And that made us enjoy being together even more.  When I put that knick in the strings, I actually felt relief in myself, too.  I felt like a fog was lifted...like I could be a little bit of my old self again.  Now my kids don't seem to always have a look of dread when they ask me for something, and I don't really dread their requests as much.  It's a win-win. 

So now, if I see a message on Facebook, "Hey, come to the beach with us on Thursday!" I'm gonna do it.  Watching my kids play happily with friends while I chat with wonderful ladies about anything and everything...  Why in the world would I ever turn that down?