Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One Dozen. (The birthday post.)

Happy, happy birthday my dear Dancer Girl.

Losing My Best Friend

I know it's probably all kinds of wrong, and potentially offensive to my grown up best friend, but to be totally honest - my absolute bestie,  my partner in crime, the strawberry to my bananna, the milk to my cookies, my favorite comrade, my right hand man on long shopping trips, and the person I can most count on to light up  when I walk into a room, is this kid:

Sure, our sense of style is no longer on the same page, I'm more of an understated J Crew look, and she's more of a drag queen meets early tenth century explorer, meets organic cotton fairy, but we share other passions.  We play a fierce round of Princess yahtzee, we grocery shop for the yummiest apples, and we both breathe a sigh of relief when we shut the door on the last of the drop offs and can snuggle in to a day of "just us", and craft the morning away. 

But lately, the loving snuggle bunny I once knew has been changing.  There was this birthday, and it was followed by a rash of stubborn that could only follow up the precocious streak of  independence I have always loved about Charlotte.   More and more over I find that "the Beast"  that has replaced my go to girl is barely recognizable.

These days, my best friend and I argue.  A lot.  Seemingly about everything.  "Yes you will put on your coat." 
"No I wont put it, I don't have too."
  "I am the mom and we need to get your brothers you will put your coat on RIGHT NOW."
 and so on and so forth -- usually followed by a stomping of the foot and a lot of tears. (Sometimes even the Beast cries too!)  Clearly the days when everything I did was golden are over. 

On this frigid morning we rehashed our usual discussion over breakfast.  It goes a little something like this :

"Charlotte you need to eat some breakfast."
"I want pizza and hot dogs."
"That's great, but we don't have pizza or hot dogs.  You can choose toast, fruit, cereal, eggs"
"I don't like any of that stuff!"
"Well those are the choices"
"No pizza"
"I am the Princess and I can do whatever I want"
(low growl from the Beast)
"Yes but I am the Queen and the Princess has to listen to the Queen"
"Only until the prince comes and then some guy with a chopper thing and then the Queen runs away and the Princess wins!"

As the mother of five, I know it's growing pains.  I know it's normal, I know it's a phase.    I know it's a sign that we are doing something right, because its good for kids to develop their own opinions, to have their own ideas, to foster independence, and to be clearly unafraid to defend their own ideas.   I know at the end of the day I am still her favorite player - I'm just no longer in a one man show. 

But there are days when it hurts just a little.  Who told the baby she could grow up and be one of the kids I need a break from sometimes?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Man Vs. Woman: Snowmagedeon 2014

Yesterday prior to the storm of the year hitting City announced that all cars must be removed from the streets to allow for plowing.  Men pulled trucks to the back of the shared driveway, Neighbor Man pulled giant SUVS to back of shared driveway.  Woman decided to pull van only to the front of the driveway as to make for less shoveling to get it out. 

Snow came.  And came, and came some more. 

Woman woke up before dawn the next day and realized that the arctic -30 wind chills had not yet hit.  Woman thought "someone should do the shoveling now before it gets bitterly cold."  Man would not get up.  Neighbor man has not been known to know how to identify a shovel in the six years woman has lived here.  Woman got up.  Woman shoveled in the dark, being small and dainty enough to fit into son's snow pant and coat. 

Woman shoveled as snow plows came thru, and other men brought out heavy machinery.  Woman shoveled and shoveled. 

When woman ran out of place to shovel the snow to, woman started shoveling forward. 

Shoveling only enough to get her mini van out of the driveway.

Woman heeped snow to the sides, and in front of her van. 

Woman created a barricade of snow of sorts.

Woman blocked the rest of the drive way, ensuring that Men would have to shovel too.  

Woman wins!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

This Thing We Call an Education.

So.  Here we are.  Again.  And we'll continue this conversation later....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Starting Fresh

It's not secret that I am absolutely in LOVE with New Years.  Fresh starts, new beginnings, goals, getting organized.  After a holiday season that begins with Halloween, All Saints Day parties, two birthdays and rolls into Thanksgiving, Nutcracker madness, and comes to a crashing hault with the mother of all scheduling destroying, house loosing,  holiday nightmares: Christmas, I am never more ready to buckle down, simplify our lives, and find some routine then I am come New Years Day. 

So tomorrow I'll be posting the resolutions, the goals, the hopes for the new year.  While today I nap and recover from the holiday season.  (Which I am reminded doesn't officially end until Sunday) 

For today, know that we celebrated, we counted down, and we danced our way into 2014.  

May it bring our greatest adventures yet. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Its The Most Cozy Time of Year

No time of the year is the passing of time more prevalent the late fall when the leaves have turned to brilliant shades of orange and red, and have turned the world into a beautiful snowglobe of nature.  Halloween passes, and soon our thoughts are turned to Thanksgiving and the approaching holidays and we start to reflect on the year past and the new year to come. 

So it was in the midst of all this fanfare that this guy turned seven:

Which I am feeling pretty down about.  Of all the birthdays in the house (and by that I mean the kid's birthdays, I have all but forgotten that Jason and I have birthdays at all.), Teague's birthday always seem to fall at the most inconvenient of times.   Just days after the epic fiasco that is ALWAYS Halloween, and even fewer days after All Saints Day (a HUGE day of parties and room parenting madness when one's kids attend a Catholic school) and RIGHT when Nutcracker insanity has kicked into full swing.   It seems like I am always trying to schedule something for Teague's birthday AROUND the rest of the schedule, and on absolutely zero energy or motivation -- and this year was no different.   Thank God that Teague's greatest gift seems to be his positive outlook.  Teague is the kid who can play on a team with his ball hog brother and watch him score ten goals in a quarter.  Then run excitedly off the field and announce "Mom did you see Samuel?  My brother is the best player on the team!"   Teague never fails to see the good.  

We actually had a long talk about gifts the other day on one  of our many scenic drives to and from the studio.  Molly was proud that her director had called her "determined" in class, and Sam was inquiring as to whether that was a good thing and what it meant.  Upon hearing my explanation that yes, Molly was determined.  (In fact she is the single most driven human being I have ever met, in my life.)  and that that meant she was the kind of person, who once they made their minds up to do something, or get something, they did not stop until they made it happen, Samuel agreed that Molly IS determined.  He asked if he was determined too, and I Told him yes, though perhaps not quite as much as Molly.  

At which point we talked about how everyone has special gifts,  Molly and I explaining to Samuel that we think his gift is that he is incredibly empathetic. He really feels for other people, tries to understand their feelings.  He has a good heart.  

All of this brought with it a discussion about what whether I had any gifts.  When asked directly I just laughed and told the kids that I used to think I had some, but these days I just wasn't sure what they were anymore.  The kids seemed content with that answer and we drove along,  silently taking in the beauty of our rural route home, lulled to the quiet beauty of NPR classical radio when Molly finally piped up from the very back of the van "You're pretty good at keeping a schedule Mom."  

So there you have it, I'm a master scheduler.  And it's a good thing too because I fear some major changes are coming our way, some of them largely driven by finances and I'm just praying and hoping that we're doing what's right. 

Because at the end of the day, I now pass this sign in the hallway on the way to bed:

After all , it's easy to get caught up in the mundane, the stressful, the things we can't change.  To forget that at the end of the day, I get to pull down this street 

and cal it HOME.