Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


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I have never reblogged a post from a fellow blogger before, but this post by my friend Lynne, at Free Penney Press, is worth reading. The blog post shares the story of Nick Vujicic, an Australian man born without arms or legs. Nick’s story will inspire you and remind how blessings can be found in any situation. It’s all about the attitude. Thanks to Lynne for sharing.


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Channeling Erma

Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently my new friend Joanne mentioned my blog reminds her of humor writer Erma Bombeck.  She said she likes my story telling which she feels is very much like Erma’s.  Needless to say, I was flattered.  There is only one Erma and to be even remotely in her same class as a writer is wonderful.  Interestingly this is not the first time I have heard this compliment.  I have always admired Erma’s ability to take the mundane and find humor.    I also admire her style of writing free of swearing.  In today’s land of humor writers most use profanity to get the biggest laugh.  Erma’s writing was done in a time before swearing was so commonplace.

My friend Joanne sent me one of her favorite writing pieces from Erma and I thought I would share it with you.  The piece is about friendship.  The kind of friendship that needs no words for understanding.  Thanks to Joanne for her kind words about my blog and for reminding what a great american talent Erma was.

FRIENDS UNDERSTAND THE FUTILITY OF WORDS

by Erma Bombeck

For over 40 years (How about 47 years), I have had the best friend you could ever have.

When I told my best friend I was fat, she never said, “I just lost three pounds without even trying.”

When we went to a sock hop together in college and she was offered a ride home, she never ditched me.

When I gave myself a home permanent and left it on too long, she was the only one to sit with me in the bathroom until it grew out.

When I told my best friend my husband gave me two snow tires for our anniversary, she never said, “You should be happy he remembered.”

When I was pregnant and my stomach looked like a tray on a car door in a drive-in, she never said, “There’s a glow about pregnant women.”

When I had a miscarriage and everyone else in the world said, “There will be others babies,” she cried with me over the one I lost.

When she told me she was staying home for the summer, I wouldn’t have dreamed of sending her a card from Spain telling her what a great time I was having.

When her mixer broke down, I never asked her if she had sent in the warranty card so she’d be covered.

When I moved 3,000 miles away, she never once told me what I was doing to her.

When her mother died, I never said, “She had a rich, full life and she was in her 70s.”

When I argued with my husband and begged her for advice, she kept her mouth shut. She just listened.

When we couldn’t get a sitter and had to bring the kids along to her house for dinner, she never fell apart.

When I had my first autographing party and no one showed up, she never once suggested, “They probably didn’t see the ad.”

When her political candidate lost and mine won, I never said, “Ha ha, I told you so.”

Every time we got together, neither of us had to say, “I’m glad to see you.”

When she was up to her armpits in snow, I never called to say, “The sun is shining here.”

Recently, my best friend lost her child. He was her youngest and was in his 20s.

I listened to her.

I cried with her.

I felt pain that I had never known that I could feel before.

But not once did I say to her, “I know how you feel.”

Love your writing, Erma.  Here’s to channeling your humour and wit to my blog for many years to come.


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Guest Writer – Dad English Teacher

Today, you are in for a treat.  I have asked my blogger friend Larry, at Me Myself and Kids to be my  guest writer.  He is a gifted writer, father of two young boys and high school English teacher.  When Larry recently asked me to write a post for his blog, I was a bit intimidated.  I felt like I was back to high school writing a paper for English class.  However, he was a good sport and only made a few minor corrections.  Whew.

With school just around the corner (thank GOD), I asked Larry to write from the perspective of being a teacher.  Today’s post is explains what it is like to be a parent/teacher and how he often brings his work as a teacher home to his boys.   Enjoy and for more of Larry’s work, please check out Me Myself and Kids. 

Dad English Teacher

“How did the setting contribute to the story? Sure the setting looked nice and was glamorous, but I don’t see how it added to the story in the least. You can have a marital conflict anywhere?”

My wife and I had just finished watching the movie Descendants. Everybody talks after a movie – some do during the movie (including me), but that’s another story. The actor/tress was great, I love the scene when …, that character was hilarious. However, I talk about conflict, symbolism, and plot development. After all, I am an English teacher.

My wife and I have been reading with the boys since they were born. Well, maybe we waited till they got home from the hospital. I don’t just read to the children or now listen to them read. I question them.

Why do you think the boy looks sad?

What does exhausted mean?

How would you feel if you were the character?

What do you see in the picture?

Reading with dad english teacher is a chance to teach a lesson.

We were packing up in order to go to the local pool/beach recently. Shovels, boogie boards, noodles, snack. Check, check, check, check.There was one more thing we needed.

“Just bring a book.”

“I don’t want to bring a book.”

“I want you to bring one.”

“Fine. I’ll bring one.”

No, I didn’t expect the boys to get out of the pool, so they could read just a few more pages.  I want to instill in them the believe that they should always carry a book. You never know when you will have some spare time. So, why not have a book? Read, feed your brain, learn, and grow.  Yes, my students, I mean children, this is what dad english teacher wants for you.

“Did he just say that word?”

“I think he did.”

“How does he know that word?”

“SY (5.5 year old) how do you know that word?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you read it somewhere?”

“Stop asking me!”

Despite my displeasure with his tone, I hug him tight. Good vocabulary makes me happy. I am dad english teacher you know.

Common grammar mistakes make me cringe.  I correct. I know I can be annoying when I do this. I try to hold back, but my brain shouts out “That is wrong. Make it right!” I’ve gotten many an annoyed look upon correction.  It’s worth it. My children, on the other hand, are willing learners and when they use proper grammar… well, let’s just say that’s one of my simple pleasures.

As we walk in from a long day, BR announces,

“SY and I are going downstairs.” As they go downstairs, he adds to his little brother, “No were neither watching Thomas nor playing with Lego.” He put the other person first and used neither nor. How beautiful is that?  I have to give him a high-five.  It bring a smile to dad english teacher.

Yes, I bring the job home. I get excited over weird things. Literary elements, reading, and grammar make me happy.  Odd. I can accept that. In my defense, I am an english teacher.


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Guest Writer

Today I am proud to announce I have another guest writer on my blog.  The guest writer is none other than my fabulous older sister, Janet Storm.  She is an amazing writer and current copy editor at the Daily Reflector.  About a year and a half ago I called her in a midlife meltdown, complaining how joining Facebook (which she encouraged me to do) was causing me to suffer from low self-esteem.  She often writes articles for her newspaper and here is a reprint, from the Daily Reflector.  By the way, Nate is my alter ego blog name.

My sister, Nate, called me last week, an accusatory tone in her voice.

“I’m feeling some low self-esteem,” she
said. “It’s your fault!”

Having had this particular sister for a number of years, I knew the sort of questions to use to gently prod her for the source of her distress.

“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked.
“Well, you got me to sign up for this Facebook thing!” she replied. “Now I’m looking at the accomplishments of all the people I went to high school and college with, and they’re all doing more than me!”
One friend, it seems, has earned a master’s degree. Another is training for a marathon. Several have lovely families and full-time jobs.
My sister, a stay-at-home mom, asked me, “Do you think I’m
lazy?”

I started to laugh.  Years ago, when her two older boys were small, my sister recruited me to come and babysit them for a week while she and her husband traveled to a convention in Florida. Eager to spend some quality time
with my nephews, I quickly agreed. Let me add that my sister’s mother-in-law also agreed to come and lend a hand. I fondly recall the seven days that followed as the week that almost killed me.

My nephews, who even then were sunny, polite little boys, were also incredibly active. Every minute they were
awake they were on the go, and I was on the chase. With the help of Nate’s mom-in-law, I read them books, took them outside, helped them build Lego towers, set up a vast, wooden train track in their bedroom, fixed them meals and snacks, and practically fell to my knees in gratitude when they finally went to bed at night.  So much for day one.

Nate has never allowed her boys much TV access, and at the time the family didn’t have a computer, either. She did, however, have a Thomas the Tank Engine video that I was instructed to drop in when I needed a break.
By the end of my stint, we all knew every word of that video by heart. I wasn’t trying to pass off my child care duties to poor Thomas, you understand. Every day I was there I cooked, played, built, disassembled, read and ran with those boys.

We walked together to a nearby shopping plaza that contained a giant toy store so they could play with display
items. I took them to McDonald’s, a place their mother shunned, just so they could goof around in the outdoor recreation area.  Still, I got so tired that by day three I enforced a mandatory nap time during which I also slept. Nate’s sweet mother-in-law crawled into bed about 8 p.m. every night.

There was no end to the boys’ energy. But that video stopped them in their tracks. For half an hour, they were absolutely mesmerized.  It was like a miracle. And I was sorely in need of miracles by say, day four. I am ashamed to admit that on more than one occasion, when the video ended I asked the boys, “Hey, you wanna watch that again?” They always said yes, bless them.

When Nate and her husband,  finally came home, I wanted to kiss their feet.

“How do you keep up with them?” I asked my sister.  She shrugged. “That’s what moms do.”

Here’s my opinion: Motherhood ought to earn its participants an automatic master’s degree. Chasing after active toddlers makes marathoners look like slackers.  And my sister isn’t lazy.  I repeat: One week of caring for two little boys almost killed me.
Go ahead Nate, post that on your Facebook page.


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Guest Writer: Golf, Mud and Muck

“Boys are beyond the range of anybody’s understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years” – James Thurper

Well friends, I am happy to announce my first guest writer on my blog.  This funny story is written by my oldest son, who witnessed an event, that I wanted to share with you.  I let him do the writing because he is a great writer and he saw things first hand.  Welcome Old Boy!

The warning sign

While we were up at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Oregon, my brother and I went golfing with my Grandpa and his friends. We basically acted as chauffeurs, driving them and their clubs around. Well, anyway, we went around the course once and then decided to play the first 9 holes again. Now, we got through holes 1 & 2 without a hitch, but at the back of Hole 2, a problem arose. I was waiting for one of my Grandpa’s friends who I was driving around, when my brother raced past me in his golf cart. He screeched around a corner, and hit the brakes at the start of Hole 3. He leaped out of the cart and rushed off across the course.

            On Hole  3, there’s a huge pond in the middle of it, and the golfers have to hit over it to reach the green. However, with the amount of rain Oregon gets, they had to completely drain the pond so it wouldn’t overflow. On our first time around, my brother and I had looked at the pond. There were at least 50 golf balls lying in the middle of the muck. My brother had run down to try to get some of the balls, but I saw the signs warning of deep mud, and I stepped back. My brother, however ran into the mud, and started to sink into the muck. He quickly ran back up the side of the empty pond, with the bottom of his shoes caked with mud.

            Anyways, when he ran off across the course on our second way around, I just ignored him. I picked up my Grandpa’s friend, and we drove to Hole 3. When we arrived, we looked out into the pond, and there was my brother, stuck up to his knees in the mud. His arms were flailing like a windmill, and he was yelling his head off. We were all in shock. We just stood there with our mouths open, gazing at this kid who’d decided to run out into the mud.

            Finally, with an almighty squelch, he pulled himself free of the mud and ran out of the pond. As he neared us, we heard him yell, “My shoes! I lost my shoes!” I started laughing, and we yelled back, “Go run back out and get them!”

            He ran back into the mud, sinking even deeper, and he stopped 3 feet away from one of his shoes. He bent over and grabbed the laces of it and started pulling, but he was too far away and couldn’t get a good grip.

            “Step closer and grab it!” we yelled

            “No! I’ll get muddy!” he called back.

            “You’re already covered in mud up to your knees!” we yelled back, shaking our heads.

            He stepped closer and pulled. A chunk of mud the size of a small bowling ball was hoisted from the muck. He dashed back with his shoe, arms flailing, and threw it up onto the grass.

            “Go back and get the other!” I yelled

            As he starting walking back into the pond, someone yelled, “Walk in your own footsteps!”

            My brother ignored him and forged another path, caking more mud onto his legs. He reached the 2nd shoe and tried to pull it up, but it must have been stuck in 2 feet deep of mud. He struggled against the mud, and finally pulled an even larger clump of dirt from the mud. He sprinted back to shore, almost slipping and falling into the mud more than once.

            When he had finally climbed back onto the grass, we pointed out a neon yellow sign reading Caution: Deep Mud to him. “See this?” we asked. “If you had read this, you wouldn’t be stuck in here right now!”

This story vividly explains the lure of golf balls to a young boy.  All logic and reason were lost to my middle son, as apparently the golf balls were calling his name.