Saturday, May 25, 2013

Trying not to judge

We're nearing the end of this school year.  A time of great joy, and anticipation.  And but of course, the time that I need to focus the most on holding my tongue.  Yeah, the filter starts to fade about this time of year.

Young lady comes in having some issues with her asthma.  Nothing too serious, but significant enough that it would be a good thing if parents could retrieve this young lady and have her doctor take a look at her.  

So, I ask said student, which parent should I call?  Since the system listed several parenting options, she said "call mom".   I reach mom, she and I are totally on the same page in terms of what the bigger issue is, but she notes "Unfortunately, I'm out of state, so I'll text her dad".  

I hang up the phone, wondering why did she have me call the out-of-state parent first?  She is indeed old enough and in a healthy enough state to have known what I was asking and why.

So, I firmly ask "which parent IS in town and can help".  She dials Dad.
Talks to dad for awhile, nodding, and then I insist on talking to dad.

After I explained my health concerns, Papa calmly replies "Gee, I'd love to help you out, but you see, me and my wife (step mom to the student) are over here at Cocktails and Canvas....and well, we just can't leave our....(long enough pause as if he's catching himself mid-conversation) painting!".
AHA:  now I know what Young Lady had me call out-of-state Mama, at least she expressed concern even if geographically she couldn't "help us out".

So with this, I look to the calendar, and know that in one short week, these young ladies and gentlemen become their parents worry for the entire summer.  God Bless them all...that is for sure!  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

12 on the 12th: Mother's Day

This year, Mother's Day falls on the 12th.    So, instead of taking 12 pictures that reflect what I was doing today, May 12, 2013, I have decided to reflect on 12 things I enjoy about being a mom, past reflections, current thoughts and future hopes, all wrapped up in one tidy little blog posting.

1 and 2: . For starters:   They grow up, and become more independent!

Yes, for some this is not a happy thought, but for me it is.  You see, hubby is still somewhere on the road.  But have no fear, the baby of the family, managed to get up and get himself to the grocery store where he returned with these two items.    Hard to imagine when you are stuck in the baby-stages that they will eventually remember to look when crossing the street, but they do.  I miss some parts of the little-kid-mommy era, but I am also finding reasons to delight in the teen years as well.  Today, that independence that comes with growing up sure is appreciated.

3.  They still need me.  When the boys were little, and I debated over whether to return to work or stay home (in hindsight, holy smokes!  That was a no-brainer, if you have the option to be a stay-at-home-mom, go for it), I recall my aunt noting that when they are little, they need you a little, but when they are older, they need you a lot.  Oh, I'm sure her words were more appropriately phrased, but the idea was that during those early years, the care required is rather rote:  feed 'em, change 'em, put them to bed, rinse-lather-repeat.   But as they get older, they can tackle some of these tasks on their own, but they still need that parental presence.  
Sometimes that presence is as simple as helping the older Thing figure out what to wear for "fancy" dress requirement for school (World Geography:  Model UN.  He had no idea what the teacher was talking about).  Other times, they need something more complicated, as was the case when younger Thing inquired this week why we say he is too young to date (HELLO?!  You are 13, and because we said so....but being the parents that we are, we did indeed give him a little more thoughtful answer).

4.  They make me laugh!   And Oh how I love a good laugh...

Ok, maybe I shouldn't be proud of their PG-13 sense of humor (Hello?  He knows about cougars?) But I am.   I enjoy a good laugh and certainly a great pun.   Both boys are perfectly capable of going toe-to-toe with me in the let's joke around with each other department.

5.  They give me confidence to tackle things I never pictures myself taking on..  Ok, so I've always had a quiet sense of confidence to me, but emphasis is on quiet.  Lots of self doubt rolls around in my head. I try not to let it show, but oh my, it is there is great quantities.   But, when told your child is somewhere on the autism spectrum when he is just 2 years old, well, you find the strength to just plow right through that. 
 I still chuckle as I recall some of the "guidance" given by that first social worker we met with.  I'd love to say "SEE?!    I know she meant well, but I really want to say "please don't add to a parent's self doubt by trying to prepare them for the future, when right now, we are trying to sort through the here-and-now.  We will figure out as we go along, thank-you, very much".  

And yes, we are still figuring things out...but we're getting there.

6.   They keep me busy!    I recalled getting bored when I would babysit.  When I was pregnant with the first Thing, I wondered, what if, you know, I get bored?  Oh silly, pregnant woman, what were you thinking?  Boredom never happens....extreme fatigue perhaps...but boredom, not on your life!

 7.  They made him a Grandpa! 
And what a sight this has been to watch the boys spend time with their Grandpa.  My mother passed away before even meeting her son-in-laws, so it is extra special to watch my dad take on the roll of grandpa.   He seems to enjoy this adventure more with each passing year...
8.  I fully appreciate alone time!  

Before motherhood, I pretty much had full control over my time.  If I wasn't working, and hubby was otherwise occupied, I had complete say in what I did.  Now, with being a mom, those moments all to myself, with full say in what gets done, is not as readily  available.  And instead of being resentful, I am grateful.  I'm one of those people, who if there isn't enough on her plate, just doesn't do much.  Now, I appreciate the gift that comes with having time to myself.  And whether I curl up with a good book or play in the craft room, that time is still mine, all mine! 

9.  We're creating our own traditions
 From "Baby's first Energy Drink (something he begged for his 12th birthday)...
To new Jammies on Christmas Eve...
We are establishing new traditions that I hope the boys will look back on with great happiness.  Both Hubby and I made a conscious decision to live here in Colorado, far away from extended family.   It has meant that for many holidays, we've set off on our own in terms of establishing new traditions.  No, they aren't what we grew up with, but who knows, maybe they are traditions that both boys will continue with their own families some day (in the very distant future!)

10.  Watching them sleep
Or Small..
There is a sense of sweetness when they are asleep.  A reminder of all that that they are capable of...while they quietly reset their bodies to tackle a new day.  

11.  Hugs and Kisses

Ok, they'd be mortified if I showed any pictures, but our good-night ritual still consists of hugs and kisses.  It's changed a bit:  as they come into my room and tell me good-night (since well, they have the energy to stay up past 9 pm even on a Friday night).  Yep, nothing melts your worries quite like the hug from your child.

12.  Brotherly Love

Sally Field is remembered often for her glee-filled speech at the Oscars, noting that "you like me, right now you really like me".  For me, I am most proud when I see my boys enjoying each other's company.  Again, something they'll deny when they read this blog some day...but they really do like each other.  And for that I am most proud.  

And with that...I say Happy Mother's Day to all.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What happens in Chicago...

What happens in Chicago...
Should probably stay in Chicago, right?
Eh, where is the fun in that?!   So, before I explain this picture...let me back up a bit...
It all started some 37 years ago....I suppose these days the kids would call Karen, Nancy and Cathy my posse or my crew.  But back then, we were just friends.  We met in 7th grade, and with common personalities and interests, we ended up staying friends throughout high school and beyond.  

 Next month marks 30 years since we graduated high school.   While chatter started online about the possibility of a class reunion, none of it sounded very interesting to us.  What did sound interesting and way more fun was to spend a weekend with those friends we met so long ago and yet to this day, remain good and trusted friends.  That was a milestone worth celebrating, not meeting up at some country club, and dining with random strangers we went to school with so very long ago.   
We talked about where-and-when we wanted to reunite.   As is our usual style, we opted to keep it simple.   We picked a city that would make it easy for us to all gather:   either by train or by plane. We picked a time of year that would hopefully give us good weather and not too many crowds.  A bonus for me would be to go when I would usually be working, so it would seem more like I was indeed "running away from home".  And well, alas, watch out Chicago, here we come!  
First to arrive were Nancy and I....
And on Saturday, Cathy and Karen would join us
(who by the way,  ended up  also becoming  sister-in-laws, with Cathy marrying Karen's brother...and here you thought that only happened in the movies!  

So, now that the gang is all here, let's recap...
While In Chicago....
We feasted....

We spotted some curious sights....

And some familiar-landmark sights...

We noticed that in Chicago, April showers did indeed bring May flowers...

And but of course, we shopped...

 Until we dropped...
(ok, we didn't drop, we just got a little punch drunk goofy....)

And after Cathy and Karen took the evening train back to Milwaukee...
Nancy and I went in search of a little bit of religion....

And finally, what about this guy?

His name was Marco
He wore a Diamond
(come on now, start humming the Barry Manilow Copacabana)
Oh never mind....his name really was Marco, and he really was from Rio...
and as for the rest of the just had to be there...

Thank you Karen, Nancy and Cathy....not only for a fun filled weekend in Chicago but for being such an important part of my life these past 30 plus years.   This journey we call life is indeed much sweeter when shared with the company of good people like you ladies.

And a shout of thanks for friends here in Colorado who helped keep the Things safe in our absence.   With Hubby somewhere in Alaska, and me headed out of town, it did indeed take a village to make this adventure fall into place in such a picture perfect way!