Sunday, January 20, 2019
It’s January twentieth and I can see green grass. I live in Conroe, Texas, and my garden awaits my future attempts – fertile, expecting, hoping. I am healthy, expecting, and hoping.
Not like, actually expecting, like I’m pregnant, which I am NOT, thank you. But expecting good things.
Having said all that, you need to know that we’ve buckled down to potty train Benji. He turned two in November. My grammie McAffee, Evelyn, who raised ten kids, said two was the exact right age to start potty training.
Mom felt the same way – we figure, woman has ten kids – she knows what’s she talking about. Plus I’m sure she didn’t have Paw Patrol stickers and teddy bear Gummies and M&M’s and all the other incentives we have. She was probably like…”I’ve got a cow to milk and seven other kids to feed and get dressed and cook for. Pee. Now.” And they did?
They must have because every one of them goes to potty like every other adult I know. Right, dad?
It reminds me how crazy making this whole ‘baby-rearing’ thing can get. It reminds me that its all going to be okay. Even crazy people go to potty when they need to.
It’s. All. Going. To. Be. Okay.
That is the motto to my life. Because my life has never unfolded ‘naturally’ or in a straight line, or even in a way that makes any kind of sense to anyone watching it.
But it’s been my life, and my mistakes, and my victories, and I judge my life against the progress I’ve made inside. Am I wiser? Am I stronger? Am I kinder? Then those things that, from the outside, may seem like failures, were spectacular opportunities for me to get real, to put pride aside and to get authentic about what I need and what I want out of this one, wild and precious life I have.
And so tonight I am feeling grateful for all I have. For my miraculous life, for my two miracles Benji and Ellie, and of course, for the Saints winning against the Rams tonight. They haven’t yet. It’s 23-23 Saints but one minute and forty-one seconds left. So, so much time to win.
So, feeling optimistic and grateful I am going to say THANK YOU, to the Universe for letting the Saints win, 26 to 23. And then for them to win the SuperBowl because, ‘Who Dat Nation, y’all!’
Also, wish me luck. Potty training may be inevitable but it isn’t easy. #laundrydemands, #hanginginthebathroomfortwoweeks, #lotsofCarsunderwear, #M&M’sforall.
Sunday, January 13, 2019
Well it’s that time again – time to share my thoughts on….
“Things I’d Never Thought I’d Say”
Here’s a sample, most of which happened within a 30 minute period while visiting Nana and Papa in Canada over Christmas: DISCLAIMER: THIS IS ALL TRUE AND HAPPENED EXACTLY AS DESCRIBED. I can't make this stuff up people.
(Me to Ellie) “Ellie – it’s hard to comb your hair with your Fairy-Princess wings on.”
(Ellie) “Yeah. Thanks for doing your best, mom!” (Aw)
(To Benji) “PLEASE DON’T EAT THAT OFF THE FLOOR. Yes. I see it’s (probably) a raisin and I’m proud you found it inside the couch – but don’t put it in your mouth.”
This is where I stutter to a stop. I have to EXPLAIN why it isn’t okay to eat something he found between the couch cushions. Somewhere between ‘because it’s gross’ and my speculation as to how many bacteria and viruses were lurking there and what trouble it could cause his digestive system…he eats it.
“Mommy I ate it.” And then he runs away happily, hoping, I’m sure, to find more mystery food to eat.
(Five minutes pass in relative peace)
(To Benji) “Please don’t head-butt the dog. Again.”
(To Ellie) “It’s okay to feel angry. I wouldn’t give you your Kindle and you’re upset. It’s okay to be upset. It isn’t okay to Van-Dam style drop-kick your mom."
I’m feeling that vein in my neck throb and I am suddenly at a loss for words. Again. How to explain why you can’t beat up your mom? Somewhere between ‘because it’s wrong,’ and ‘you might hurt me’ and ‘people in general may kick you back in the future’, she brings me her kindle (because she's relentless) and asks to watch her new favorite show, Stinky and Dirty.
“No Kindle, No TV for awhile.”
“Because I’m a good mom and your brain will rot and I don’t want you to go to Harvard because they’re all too crazy-stressed but I want you to be ABLE to if you wanted to…so no, no more TV right now.”
(To Benji) “STOP! Don’t let the dog lick the…ughhhh, give it to me. You can’t let the dog lick your popsicle.”
“Because he’s a dog and he licks his butt. Do you want to eat something he licked now?” (Feeling so proud right now because I had an answer for the why. A good one.)
(Benji)“Butt, ha ha ha ha ha.”
And that proud feeling evaporates just like his popsicle on mom’s good dining room coffee table. (I cleaned it mom!)
(Three minutes pass as I explain, again, to Ellie why she can’t watch more Stinky and Dirty right now…)
“Benji, don’t put it down on the garbage can….argghhhh. No DON’T EAT IT! I’ll get you another one.”
“Because its gross and germy.”
“Yes, germy, make you sick.”
It isn’t just the why, germs make you sick. It’s the picking and choosing how to explain at a level a toddler will understand. You’re also walking that super-fun line between keeping them safe and creating OCD germaphobes who kick people when they’re mad.
But maybe that’s just my problem and everyone else has super-perfect mini-me’s. (Bah – what’s the fun in that!?)
Anyway, keep on parental units, keep on. Tomorrow is a new day. As long as you’re alive you’ve got another chance to find your happy, keep your cool, and find the fun in any crazy situation your kids drag you into.
Also, I think everyone should make more Play-Doh at home. It’s super easy and fun and has nothing to do with anything I’ve written here but everyone should try it! It’s like an easy way to bolster your parental confidence. (Jimmy’s picking his nose in public but hey, we made play-doh together today AND he ate a whole carrot. I. Am. Awesome.)
Yes, yes you are!
Sunday, January 06, 2019
People often ask me what I miss most about home.
Actually, they ask me ‘Do you miss Canada?’
Is there a Canadian alive living outside of her borders that would say no to that? Of course I miss home. I miss being close to family and all the ease and support that means, especially when you’ve got two young kids. I miss dad’s strawberry shortcake and putting together a puzzle with mom. I miss re-connecting with my brother and his family. I miss hanging out with old, old, OLD friends who look the same to me as they did when we were all 16 but maybe we’ve all just got ‘affection’ googles on. I miss seeing the friends I made while training in Texas and working at ‘Big Oil’.
And I absolutely miss the snow. There is something about being in the woods while they slowly fill up with snow. The only sound your breath and the easy wind in the heavy snow-clad trees. There is a deep solace there, reminded as you are in your fourteen layers of clothing that you are frail and small, and the world is immense, and full of it’s own affairs.
There is no other place on earth that reminds me how weird life is than being home in the town I grew up in. A town that continues to surprise me. Resurgo indeed. (Latin for ‘I Rise again’ and the town motto).
It’s a new year, 2019. And in this new year I want to be careful to appreciate the amazingness of where I am - an hour away from one of the largest cities in America and all that has to offer.
Still, I pass by two farms on the way to my house, and I love that Benji and Ellie say hello to the horses and cows on the way home every day. I’ve got the best of both worlds right now - able to freely run amuck in a rural area - gardening to my heart’s content, yet close to world class museums, restaurants and a hopping job market.
And the people! New people popping up every day from all walks of life and I love learning their stories, why they’re here, what they hope for, what they work for, what they love and why. Humans are fascinating and I love them all, eh? Stereotypes are so 90’s aren’t they? Everyone has a story, everyone more than they seem at first glance.
I digress! I’ve asked for clarity this year and I believe I’ve gotten it. I wanted adventure and new places and situations to explore. I’ve had that and can’t wait for more. At the same time if we found our way back among my heart-town of Moncton I would be quite pleased.
At least, until the siren call of adventure sounds again, eh?
Here’s one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost. An American, true, but he’s got a Canadian feel to him that’s quite lovely.
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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