Thursday, May 28, 2009


The other day my two year old put his hands in the air and squealed whheeee. He had a huge smile on his face. Such joy. I am a little concerned though because Hockey Boy taught him to do this riding the little roller coasters at Disneyland. So now I am wondering what it is about my driving the minivan that makes him feel like he is on a roller coaster. He seems to like it though so why change a good thing.  

One of the things I love about being a Mommy is experiencing my kids' absolute joy. Not such a fan of their absolute frustration or the wails that accompany the tears. They experience everything to its utmost. Highs and lows. The other day my kids were watching Tarzan while I was trying to get my office cleaned. Yes I use tv as a babysitter. How else am I supposed to get a shower or anything done. So they were happily destroying their brain cells watching the Disney movie. A few minutes into the movie, I hear giggles. The giggles continue and grow into boisterous laughing and even some guffawing. They were tickled by the silly scenes. Their laughter made my heart fly. I almost stopped what I was doing and went to join in the fun. But I stopped myself. Nothing stops the giggles faster than Mommy coming into the room. At least that was what I told myself as I stayed quietly in my office enjoying a few minutes of desk clearing and Facebook.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Tired

Eric Clapton has a song on his recent CD called So Tired. He sings about life with little kids. My favorite part is 
"Just can't wait til the sun goes down and all the kids have gone to bed
Trying to sleep you know but sleep won't come
With all the stuff goin through my head"

It is so true. Last night I was ready to go to bed as soon as the kids were asleep. My husband is traveling this week so the evenings are quiet. But of course I didn't because the house was finally quiet and it was my time. So I told myself I would just watch How I Met Your Mother on my DVR before going to bed. I love that show. Then when it was over I realized it was Monday night and there was a new episode on so I had to watch. Next thing I know it is 9:30 and I am exhausted so I decide to be responsible and head up to bed. I am in the middle of a great read right now so I was just going to read a chapter or two and next thing I know it is 10:45. I really have to get to sleep now because by my calculations I may just barely get 8 hours of sleep before the kids started wanting breakfast if I feel asleep at that moment. And that was also assuming no one got up in the night which is really hit or miss right now. But then my mind started thinking of all sorts of things. Our plans for today. The book I was reading. Whether we should put in new carpet or save the money for later. How I am not sleeping but thinking which is only going to make me more tired tomorrow. You know the drill. Mind racing just as you finally lay your head down to get that deeply needed and desired sleep. 

So now I am so tired. And blogging about why I am tired. I really need to be better disciplined about getting sleep so I can write something insightful or entertaining. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gymnastics Boy

So my oldest son I call Hockey Boy because he loves hockey. He loves ice skating and playing on his hockey team. He loves his Detroit Red Wings and watching hockey with his Dad and I. He really likes all things athletic and would play every sport if we let him but in order to avoid being a family that lives in our car full of sports equipment, we only let him play one sport at a time. He always chooses hockey and the back of my minivan is full of hockey sticks and his hockey bag. When asked what he is going to be when he grows up, he always says "a hockey player." 

My youngest also really loves all things athletic. If it involves a ball or a stick he is ready to go. When we go to hockey practice he insists on pulling Hockey Boy's bag and carrying his stick into the rink. He likes to put on his brothers' old equipment and wear his little Red Wings jersey to practice. We finally let him try skating at a party before we moved. I thought he would stay close to me, holding my hand the whole time. No, not him. He took off on his own skating the whole time. He wouldn't even take a break for cake. I am not sure how long I will be able to keep him off the ice. 

Middle Man is not a natural athlete. He has always been more interested in coloring, puzzles and books. He loves music and art. He took a soccer class last summer with his big brother and would get really frustrated and just stop. He has never really asked for me to sign him up for any sports. Until recently.  

Middle Man's old preschool class had a gymnastics teacher come in once a week to teach a little class. He loved it. When asked what he was going to be when he grew up, he answered, "a gymnastics player." When we moved back home he started asking me to sign him up for gymnastics. I did not at first. I was sort of hoping it would go away. But he kept asking every few days our first month here so I finally broke down and called the gym that my friends' all recommended and set up a trial class. It is not that I did not want him to take gymnastics. It is just that the gym is 15 minutes away, I have to entertain the other two kids while he is in class which is always a challenge and often results in sympathetic looks from other parents, it is another commitment in the afternoons and makes our schedule busier, and if he gets serious about it, gymnastics is another time consuming weekend sport like hockey, also expensive like hockey. 

But it was really important to Middle Man, so we went to the trial class on Tuesday. He loved it. I have never seen him so attentive to a teacher. He really wanted to do things right like the coach did, and not just do things his own way which is usually how he works. When he walked off the mat he had a huge grin on his face, gave me a big thumbs up and asked if he could do it again. How could I say no? 

Since then, he has asked every morning if it was Tuesday. Tuesdays are his gymnastics days.  

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

I am not sure exactly what I want to write. Since yesterday was Mother's Day it seems apropos but when I think of Mother's Day, well I am not sure my thoughts are really appropriate for the sentimentality of the day. 

I love being a Mom, though I find most days exhausting and frustrating and totally overwhelming because of my inadequacies. My identity is completely tied up in being a mom, a job that has forever changed me. A job that does not allow for vacations or sick days. A job that requires me to put the needs of someone else before my own. The act of mothering I can do, but I am ashamed that I don't always "feel" it. Somedays, I just do it. And I begin to wonder if I am broken. 

Mother's Day is so sweet with the homemade gifts from the boys. Handprint flowers, picture magnets. The handwritten notes they did in school. I like to see how they celebrate the day, what they envision for Mother's Day. 

But it is also a day that reminds me of my own fractured relationship with my mother. It reminds me of who I am as a mom and what I missed from my mom. I know she tried her best, but she was really sick a lot while I was growing up. Facing her demons of mental illness and struggling to find her way out of the darkness. She is much better now but the darkness rises up sometimes and lashes out. It will never fully be gone and it is something I have to guard against. So feeling safe, feeling secure, knowing she will always be there for me... Not really true for me. 

So each Mother's Day I am gently reminded of God's grace in my life as I see my kids celebrate their Mommy. And of the pain of this world when I struggle with how to reconcile my relationship with my mom.  

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Phone Person

I am not a phone person. I really wish I was but I never seem to actually call anyone, especially in this day of email. I actually like to talk on the phone (surprise, surprise) but I have trouble actually making the phone call. I am always trying to time my schedule and my idea of the schedule the other person must have. I try to think through pick up times, nap times, time zones, dinner time and then always "realize" that it would be a bad time for the other person if I called right then. So I think of a better time to call but then my day gets away from me and days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months. This would not be a huge problem if I never moved and my friends never moved. Because for the most part I see my local friends at school, church, story time. I run into friends at the park on a sunny day or in Target and we catch up. But I do move, a lot. And have made dear friends along the way. 

Email is great for the big events in our lives, announcing a baby, moving, job changes, newsletter type events, but not so great for the little things that we laugh about together or the really hard stuff you can't write in an email. Struggles in marriages or with kids. Hard times in friendships or with our faiths. Things we don't want to write down. Things we can't write because we would be a bad wife, mother, friend. So I am trying to learn to use the phone to maintain and even grow friendships at a distance. So far I have mostly been practicing with one of my dearest who has known me since college and has lived very close to me, in the same room, and very far away, across the country. I have taken the chance to call at what I deemed a bad time just to say hi. Nothing big, nothing long. I have decided that in this day of caller id my friend would not pick up if she was busy or it was a bad time and that I won't be interrupting her with my call. Wish is funny because whenever I see a friend's number on my caller ID I am thrilled! 

I use to do everything via email because when I used to get on the phone someone would start crying or screaming or fighting. Email was just easier with small kids because I could stop and start and stop and start. But now my kids are older and I have learned to walk away from Mommy's on the phone induced crying. I am okay with putting a closed doors distance between myself on the phone and my tantruming child. If the crying is really loud I will even close a few doors to muffle the noise. So I have started calling sometimes when an email would suffice just to get in the habit of actually talking to people. I did this recently with a friend in town. Not only did we figure out whatever it was that I was calling about but we chatted awhile and connected. It was fun, a lot more fun than email. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Open Doors

My kids love to see if the local fire trucks are home when we drive by the fire station. We live in a suburb without a lot of action so the fire trucks are usually home. Recently I noticed that the doors of the fire trucks are open when they are home and tucked behind the garage door. The first time I saw it I wondered who left the door open. The next time I realized it was probably done on purpose. Then the other day when I saw the door open it made me think. 

What would it look like if I left my doors open. Obviously not my van doors, which I have done repeatedly in different parking lots. (Thanks to all the strangers who have kindly reminded me to close my doors.) But what would my life be like if I left the doors open. If I did not close my life off to the unknown. If I opened myself up more to the new people around me and more importantly if I opened myself up to God's whispers in my life. 

Just a thought I have been mulling.