Insanity of Motherhood

Motherhood, marriage, and midlife.


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Guy Talk

A conversation between a mother and a little boy.

Mother and little boy are sitting on carpet.  Little boy is putting on his shoes.

I can’t get my shoes on.  It hurts.” – Little Boy

Mother looks at shoes.

“They’re too small.  We’ll need to pick up some new ones this weekend.” – Mother

“We need to get some new underwear too.  I want to start wearing boxers.”- Little Boy

“Excuse me?  Boxers?  You mean boxer briefs?” – Mother

“Yeah.  I don’t want to wear underwear anymore.  I want to wear boxers.” – Little Boy

“Really?  Why?” – Mother

“I’m big now.  I’m the only one who lives here and still wears underwear.” – Little Boy

“I wear underwear.  I live here.” – Mother

“You’re a girl, Mom.  Girls wear underwear and men wear boxers.  I’m not a baby anymore.  It’s time.” – Little Boy

“You will always be my baby”.  – Mother

Mother kisses little boy on the head.

You mean no cartoon characters on your underwear anymore?” – Mother

“Well… maybe we can find some boxers with superheros on them.  That would still be cool, right? – Little Boy

“Yeah, it’s cool.  Maybe I could get some too?” – Mother

“Mom, don’t talk about wearing boxers.  It’s guy talk.” – Little Boy


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Because

This morning Little Boy asked me to pick him up and carry him in my arms.  While we were walking in the hallway of his school a parent asked, “Isn’t he too big to be carried like that?”  I looked at her and smiled, but said nothing.  I just kept walking with my eight year old boy in my arms.  Why did I carry my little son in my arms, when he is perfectly capable of walking by himself?  Because…

Because he asked me to.

Because I didn’t have anything else in my arms.

Because we weren’t late for school and had the time.

Because I am strong enough to still carry him.

Because I won’t always be strong enough to carry him.

Because one day he will stop asking me.

Because I realize how quickly children grow up, as I deal with Old Boy leaving for college soon.

Because it’s a loving gesture to hold someone close, as I deal with a father who is ill and I may not have as many times to hold him as I would like.

Because he is still a little boy and eight years old isn’t so big.

Because I don’t care if someone thinks I am enabling him.

Because I love my boy. Love that consumes me sometimes and I want to express it.

Because when I pick him up he puts his warm cheek next to mine and I remember why I love children so much.

Because it makes him happy…really happy.  He feels loved and cared for.

Because it makes me happy.

Because it makes both of us happy.

Because we can.


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Happy Anniversary

Today is the third anniversary of my blog.  I had no idea until I happened to check my email and WordPress congratulated me on the big event.  Interestingly, I am also celebrating my 20 year anniversary of marriage with my husband this month too.  Anniversaries are a good thing to celebrate because they show a commitment.

To celebrate my blog anniversary I am writing today’s blog.  To celebrate my 20 year wedding anniversary my family and I have just returned from a two-week trip to Ireland/England for our spring break vacation.  It was an amazing trip.  What seems more amazing is how I have been married for 20 years.  It seems yesterday when my husband and I took our vows as husband and wife.

We took our boys with us on our anniversary celebration overseas.  People asked why my husband and I brought the boys along if we were celebrating our life as a married couple.  The reasons we brought the boys are simple.  First, we wanted to visit both countries and didn’t have anyone to care for the boys if we went away. Second, the boys are part of our marriage.  They are a result of my husband and I being married, so it seemed appropriate to bring them along.  Third,  we wanted to give the boys the gift of travel.  Overseas travel is something my husband and I enjoy and we haven’t done so since we got married 20 years ago.  With college starting soon for Old Boy and then for Tall Boy soon after, now was the best time to show the boys that a world exists outside of the United States.  Our hope is to inspire the boys to make their own plans for travel when they are older.  This may have been our only overseas trip with all five of us, so we wanted to make sure if was a trip to remember.

Taking three kids on a two-week, two countries trip was no easy feat.  Planning took months.  Years ago when my husband and I traveled we did some pre-planning, but most of the fun was taking a drive and seeing where you ended up.  If we wanted to stay at a place longer we would.  This is wasn’t an option for us traveling with the boys.  We planned each place, with the boys in mind, to reduce the amount of stress it would place on us and them.  Our planning worked.  With minimal stress we were able to see and do all the things we wanted to do.  Every hour I spend researching details of our stay was worth it.

The anniversary trip to England/Ireland had an impact on me.  It made me realize how much my husband and I have in common.  We enjoy seeing and experiencing different cultures and learning new things.  We don’t often do much out of the ordinary in our home, daily lives and yet were more than willing to do and try everything while traveling.  Some folks have no interest in staying in endless lines at the airport for the sake of traveling, but my husband and I are.  I wish I could say our boys shared their parents’ enthusiasm for travel, but at times they longed for the comforts of the familiar more than the spirit of a great adventure.

My husband felt discouraged because our boys weren’t more expressive with gratitude about allowing them to join us on our anniversary trip.  I was less concerned.  My boys are nice guys, but aren’t mature enough yet to realize the sacrifices we made to take them on the trip.  I don’t expect them gush how wonderful their parents are because we gave them a gift.  We willingly chose to take them with us.  The boys didn’t ask to come.  I know ( or hope) they will understand the size of our gift to them some day.  The next overseas trip my husband and I will be alone though.  As much as we enjoyed having the boys with us, my husband and I realized we would enjoy the next trip much more without constantly catering other people’s needs.

To be honest, I’m not happy to be home.  I know I will be in a few days, but our vacation was good at taking away stress.  The moment I walked through my front door I could feel the weight of life responsibilities push down on me.  There are bills to pay, emails to read, laundry to wash, food to shop for, and thank you notes to write.  The joy of living for only in the moment has passed.  As much as I would like to continue in the mindset of my vacation I know the daily grind of life will not allow me to feel as free.

The anniversary vacation reminded me of how fortunate I am, especially for my marriage.  My marriage is the single greatest gift I’ve been given.  I hope my husband and I have many more celebrations in the future.

Happy anniversary to my husband of 20 years and happy anniversary to another year of blogging.

 

 

 

 

 


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Like a Good Neighbor

Back into the swing of things after a brief vacation.  The family and I headed out to Colorado to visit long time friends.  The family was celebrating their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  It was a wonderful trip.

Growing up my family and I lived in a small town outside of Detroit.  My father was a teacher and my mother was a full-time home parent.  We moved into a new home development in the early 60’s.  The neighborhood we lived in was filled with new homes and parents with young children.

After living in our home for a few years a new family moved in next door to us.  I remember my mom telling me the new neighbors had a girl my age and I should go over and introduce myself.  I took my mother’s advice and went over to say hello to the young girl and met her family.

The young girl and I became instant friends, best friends.  We hung out together everyday, went to the same school and spent all of our free time together.  Shortly after meeting my new friend my parents decided to end their marriage and divorce.  Back in the early 70’s divorce was very uncommon, especially for a Catholic family like ours was.

When my father moved out my mother, who was a full-time home parent, went to work outside the home.  She ended up working long hours first as a preschool teacher and then a preschool director.   My three sisters, one brother and I used to spend our time alone at home or at friend’s home while our mom worked.

The family next door is where I spent most of my time. It consisted on my best friend, her two brothers, her little sister, and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.  Mr. and Mrs. G are the folks whose 50th anniversary my family and I recently attended in Colorado.

As a child I was outgoing and thought nothing of popping over to my friend’s house everyday.  My mother was not around to tell me I might be imposing and Mr. and Mrs. G were kind to allow me to come over when ever I felt like it.  They were welcoming people.

In our part of the neighborhood children always hung out at the G family’s home.  There was always something fun going on.  In the summer there were volleyball, kickball and basketball games.  In the winter Mr. G would take the hose and spray the front yard to create and ice rink for the kids to skate on.  Popsicles could be found in the freezer in the garage.  The G’s garage was also the place for play performances.

When it rained we headed inside for card games or listening to music in the basement.  As a child I loved going next door to visit.  I was always made to feel a part of the family.  I was invited over for egg hunts every spring and even seemed to somehow snag all the eggs with money in them.  Mr. G would always invite me to Baskin Robbins on warm summer evenings to have ice cream with the family.  If something was happening at the G house I was there.

I don’t think I fully realized what a positive influence the Mr. and Mrs. G had on my life until I became a parent and neighbor myself.  Mr. and Mr. G loved their children and were happily married.  There were my role models for what a two parent, happy home looked like raising a family.

As my children got older and invited neighborhood children to my home and realized I was offering the same experience I had been given as child.   Mr. and Mrs. G showed me the importance of being a good neighbor and to never underestimate the positive influence I could have on the lives of children other than my own.

In my junior year of high school Mr. G decided to move his family out west to Colorado to live near his older brother.  The G family settled in Colorado.  I was sad to see the G family leave.  It was hard to imagine they would no longer be a part of my everyday life.  Luckily I remained close to my best childhood buddy and visited the G family in Colorado many, many times.

When I recently attended the 50th anniversary party for Mr. and Mrs. G I was asked to give a small speech.  I felt honored to do so.  It was an emotional speech because I realized how grateful I was to both of them for making what could have been a lonely childhood and turned it into a happy one.  I felt thankful to them for making me always feel loved.

I’m still grateful to Mr. and Mrs. G.  Grateful they were my good neighbors who became part of my family.

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Um…No

A conversation between a mother and a teenage son.

“Okay. Are we ready to go? Wait a minute. What are those?” – Mother (pointing to Old Boy’s face)

“My new sunglasses. What do you think? Pretty cool, huh?” – Old Boy

“Um…no. Not really.” – Mother

“What do you mean? These glasses are fantastic. How can you say they aren’t great?” – Old Boy

“Because they aren’t. If your mother won’t be honest with you, who will? They look like cartoon character glasses.” – Mother

“You have to try them on.” – Old Boy

“No.” – Mother

“Come on, Mom. They’ll make you look super cool. I promise.” – Old Boy

Mother looks at sunglasses. Mother looks at son. Mother takes a deep breath and puts sunglasses on.

“You look great. Go look in the mirror and check yourself out. Bet you’ll want to get a pair too.” – Old Boy

“Highly doubtful.” – Mother


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Miracle

A conversation between a mother and a father.

Mother and father are sitting at dinning room table talking after dinner. Mother looks about and notices children are not around.

“It’s awfully quiet. Where is everybody?” – Mother

“The big boys are in their room.  Not sure where the little guy is.” – Father

Mother and father look at each other with panicked faces.

“I’ll look for him this way.  You go that way.” – Father

Mother and father walk away from kitchen to search for little boy.  After a few minutes father approaches mother.

“Come here.  You won’t believe it.” – Father

“Oh no.” – Mother

Father leads mother to little boy’s bedroom.  Mother looks around room and notices little boy.  Little boy is lying in his bed asleep.  Lights are on.

“Wow.” – Mother (whispers)

“Wow is right.” – Father (whispers)

“It’s a miracle.” – Mother (whispers)

Mother and father walk out of the bedroom and turn out the light.  Mother gives father a big hug and father gives mother a high-five slap on the hand.

“We don’t have to put the little guy to bed.  We have the evening free to do what we want.  First time EVER,” – Father (big smile)

” It’s a miracle.  A true blue spectacle.  The miracle is you.” – Mother (singing)

It’s A Miracle by Barry Manilow. Brought to you by Youtube creator Miss Emerald Isle


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Now

I told myself I wasn’t going to do it. I told myself I would not go public with my feelings about the recent tragedy in Connecticut…until yesterday.

A Facebook friend posted something that changed my mind.

“We need to arm our teachers with guns so this situation can be prevented.”

The man is no longer my Facebook friend.

I know this statement does not reflect the average gun owner nor does it reflect the views of most Americans, but if this man believes this is a solution to the crisis Americans are facing there must be others.

I have been an educator for 30 years.  I have worked with children from infants to highschool.  My role as an educator has been to support, nurture, inspire, and educate.  If you know me personally you know children have always been my passion.   This statement to put guns in the hands of educators was irresponsible and contradicts everything a good teacher is supposed to do.

I can’t debate guns on an intellectual level.  I don’t own a gun.  I have never been hunting.  I have only seen a real gun on one occasion when I was babysitting and the father showed me where the family gun was located.  I don’t know the facts between semi-automatic rifles or handguns.  I know nothing about shooting statistics.

But I can discuss gun control on an emotional level.  The other night my husband took my two teenagers and a friend to the midnight showing of the Hobbit.   When my husband left for the show that night I told him to take care of the boys and to be safe.  The movie place was close enough to walk to so I wasn’t worried about a car accident.  I was concerned for my family in light of the last midnight show they went to where another mass shooting occurred in Aurora, Colorado.  I stayed awake until all my family returned safely back home.

Like most Americans the recent tragedy in Connecticut has affected me deeply.  The shootings occurred in the most innocent of settings…an elementary school.  No one would have ever predicted that would be a place someone would want to destroy.

Having teachers armed with guns is not the answer to our crisis.  The statement may have been said to provoke a reaction (it worked), but we can’t allow this way of thinking to continue.  I would never want my children to attend a school where loaded guns were the norm.  I wouldn’t feel safe leaving my child in that situation.

Teachers need to focus on caring and educating our children, not fighting the bad guys.  It’s our job as a society to find a way to prevent this type of thing from happening again.  This is not a movie set.  The bullets hitting people are real.  They are dying.  And yet no one seems willing to stand up and do something…anything.

We need to discuss the mental illness situation in our country.  We need to stop glorifying movies, television and video games that show killing.  We need recognize electronic media is creating social isolation.  We need to create laws to restrict certain types of guns.  We need to discuss all these ideas and many more because problem we face is very complex.  We need to do it now.

But the one thing we don’t need is to arm teachers with guns.