Paper or Plastic?

I know you’ve seen that meme floating around facebook that says something along the lines of “I’m so glad it’s Saturday, so I can run errands, clean house, do laundry, grocery shop…..etc. etc. etc.”

How true it is. Funny that my Saturday to-do list matches that meme verbatim. Funny, not funny.
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m beginning to believe a tell-tale sign that you’ve hit a certain age is when you start griping about how the 17-year-old kid is sacking your groceries at the store. I can’t help but wonder if there is a training for this or if they just let them at it.

My dad once said, “Sacking groceries used to be an art form. Now they just throw them in there any old way.” I dismissed this comment and chalked it up to being a grouchy old man remembering days gone by with paper bags and orderly groceries. Fresh faced boys with a little too much Bryl cream gingerly placing eggs in paper bags. We all have those images from sitcoms or movies where ladies walk from the grocery store carrying one paper bag with a loaf of french bread sticking out of the top. Paper bags have a structure and can be artfully filled with great precision. But nowadays we don’t always get the choice for paper or plastic. We get what we get, which around here is plastic.

I went to The Walmarts today and quite almost bought out the store since we literally had NOTHING to eat at our house. We’ve been living on Saltines and grape jelly over here. So my basket was overloaded. You know, to the point I had to change my stance and engage my quads in order to turn the corners. Now, a younger me used to not care about how the groceries were placed in the basket or how they went on the conveyor belt. A younger me put the groceries up and let the checker/sacker who is one in the same, sort it out. But the older me, she has a system. I strategically unpack my cart onto the belt so that items can go together in the sack making it easier on me to
a) fit them all in my basket
b) carry them in from the car
and c) put them away.

Today, didn’t really go so strategically, and as I placed my sacked groceries into my cart, I couldn’t help and think of my dad and his comment. When you have an already overloaded cart, you’re operating on limited space. A large grocery bill ends up being about 976 plastic bags full of groceries that you have to fit in your basket, carry in from the car, and put away.

This is where a little art of sacking would come in handy. I honestly don’t understand why they put one item in a sack. Why? My checker/sacker put every kind of meat that I purchased in its own sack. No need to mix pork and beef. And of course cleaners need their own sack, and then the tiny package of sewing needles go in their own plastic sack on the off-chance they may bust out of their packaging and puncture the OJ. I don’t know. I just don’t know.

So many items in their own sack. Except of course the can goods. They all go together, all 22 of them. Don’t mind this permanent indented red mark on the crook of my elbow from my 70 lb sack of green beans.

I couldn’t help but do a little combining right there in the checkout line. It was that, or have a rigor. It’s okay if bread and eggs go in the same sack, it really is. And paper towels don’t really need their own sack. It’s okay, throw a container or two of yogurt in there. It will be fine.

Even with own combining, I still made a gazillion trips into the house. By this time, my quads were truly burning and of course, I was starving, my Saturday was half gone and the second half will be my date with laundry, and by the time I got all my groceries in my little kitchen, there was no where left to step and I was exhausted. Walmart Grocery Shopping should be the new Olympic Sport, especially when you’re down to nothing but saltines and grape jelly. It’s quite a feat.

But ode to joy! I now have a kitchen stocked to the brim, and Pizza Hut on speed dial. You know the drill.

 

 

 

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Love in My Lap

IMG_2849.JPGThe clock is a kill-joy on mornings like today. Mornings when my baby girl is so warm and snuggled up against me, her breathing heavy and full, a half-snore.

Mornings come so early for us, and bedtimes don’t always come easily. It’s hard to rub the sleepies from our eyes some days, and this morning was no exception.

I am on the countdown to summer break, for both of us. Well for all of us. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find our cat marking X’s on the calendar, if she only had opposable thumbs. I think she’s on the countdown too. She knows that soon we can sit like this all morning if we want to. We probably will. I love her soothing purrs and EK’s half snores.

It’s no secret that my baby isn’t a baby anymore. But I will carry her from her bed to the recliner as long as she reaches her arms around my neck and snuggles her face into my neck each sleepy morning. I will carry her as long as I have strength to do so. I will hold her in my lap as long as she curls up in it. I will breathe in the smell of her hair and kiss her little head for as many days as possible.

I believe that the gift of being an older mom is knowing in my heart how fleeting the days are. I may not be young and hip. I may occasionally get mistaken for her grandmother. I may be old-fashioned and a bit of a stick in the mud. I may get tired soon after playing shadow tag, but I am sure of one thing. I am not foolish enough to believe that these moments will last.

When you get to a certain age, you start looking back. Here I am, halfway through life (not positive, but realistically yes, but gosh that’s hard to think about) and it went by in a blink. Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes. I remember a younger time when it felt like days dragged on and waiting for something to come seemed to take an eternity. Like graduation or a wedding day. Even summer breaks felt long when I was a youngster. I remember a younger me full of goals and dreams, rushing through days, not living in the present but taking every day for granted, the next would come and I would wash and repeat. Can you relate?

Not anymore. Now me and J-Dub look at the clock in the evenings and can’t believe it’s 8 pm already. Where does all the time go? It flies. That’s the truth.

The clock that hangs on my wall was a gift from my dad. I remember my 25th birthday when he gave it to me. I remember the 25 year old who was cute and hip and took everyday for granted. She could probably play shadow tag for hours. The clock chimes on the hour. I try to have EK ready before 7 bells each day, but today we sat a little longer. I relished the seconds that passed. I attempted to slow down time. I did not want them to end. I felt such joy and love. But the clock chimed our reminder that time is passing; slowly for some, much more quickly for others.

I nudged her awake, stirred the cat, and began the day with a heart of pure gratitude for the love I hold in my lap each morning.

 

Halloween 2017

My 5 year old had her heart set on a Halloween costume that she found in a catalog chock full of high end costumes that she had discovered from my mom’s house.  The costume was a leopard with all the fanciness you can handle with a full twirly black skirt, faux fur gloves to the elbow, and  spotted ears. Of course, it cost a small fortune. I dare wager a kidney transplant might be cheaper. I kicked my honed parenting skills into high gear and attempted a persuasion technique where I could distract her by finding a much cheaper version of pretty much the same costume. I’m dealing with a five year old, this shouldn’t be hard.

I failed.

No other leopard costume that we searched out would suffice. It had to be this one and only this one. I might have to take out a loan, but by gosh this was the costume.  I dragged my feet for a couple of days. By the time I logged back in to place the order, lo and behold, it was sold out.

What to do, what to do? Surely another costume will work since there’s just no way around this problem, so I tried my persuasion technique again, searching the inter web high and low for suitable substitutions to no avail. I was only greeted with crocodile tears and a stubborn streak a mile wide. Nothing else would do. No other costume on the planet was as good as that one. She only ever wanted to be this leopard. Only this one with the full twirly black skirt, faux fur gloves to the elbow, and  spotted ears. So I did everything in my power.

I contacted the company: Will you be getting item #34756389 in stock in a size 5 before Halloween?
The answer was no.

What to do? What to do? She would just have to face the music. The costume was not to be had. Disappointments are part of life, she had better learn to deal with them now, right? When she was told we would have to find another costume, more tears ensued.
At this point, I was a bit exasperated. I advanced my parenting skills from persuasion to guilt. It sounded something like, Do you have any idea how ungrateful you’re being? Do you know there are children out there who would love to get a new costume? Or to even get to go trick or treating?  To dress up as anything even remotely interesting? And here you are, with a play room full of princess dresses, and various and a sundry other accessories and yet all you want is this one and only danged old leopard costume. Do you see how spoiled your acting? 

Tears and more tears. No other costume would do, it was decided. It was this costume. It had to be this costume. The one that was sold out and wasn’t coming back.
What to do, what to do? I’m no rookie. At this point, I upped my ante of parenting skills and decided to throw in a little reverse psychology. It sounded something like, Well then fine, you can just not go trick or treating. You can just stay home and hand out candy.

This technique blew up right in my face when through her big old tears, she said that was just fine with her.

I should have quit right there. I should have waved the white flag. But she comes by her stubborn streak honestly. I couldn’t in good conscience allow her to stay home and not trick or treat when she is only five years old! They grow up so fast. Trick or treating and costumes are such a blink in time. The mommy guilt reared it’s ugly head full force. I took a deep breath, let some days pass, and suggested we should look on Pinterest for a costume idea. Good ol’ Pinterest. She agreed to this idea. We pulled up Halloween costumes and she found one she wanted. The Poop Emoji.

Yes, poop. My dear little, beautiful, darling daughter wanted to dress up as a pile of crap. I said how about a smiley? How about a winkie face? How about a unicorn? No. None of those would do. It was this costume. It had to be this costume. It had to be a poop emoji.

It took some doing, but we got it done. A shirt, a little brown tulle, and wa-lah! She was the gosh darned cutest turd I’ve ever seen. She won second place in her school’s costume contest for most original Costume and she was a hit among those who were savvy enough to know what she was. We trunk or treated and trick or treated until she said she’d had enough. We turned on the light and she handed out candy for a few straggling kids.

I held her in my lap when the day was done, candy wrappers strewn, costume in a wad on the floor, chocolate on her face. You’ve had a good day. I told her. You had a great costume too. And wasn’t it better than that danged old Leopard costume?

She looked at me and said, “I had forgotten all about that!!”

That’s when I cried.  Tears and more tears.

She’s already decided on next year’s costume. And it’s not a dangled old Leopard either.  So make sure you stop by my house, because after this experience, this little turd will be home handing out candy.

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1 year down, 13 more to go

My baby girl, my only child has completed her Pre-K year. I couldn’t be more proud of her.

I know, I know, it’s a little silly when you think about being proud of completing pre-k, right? It’s not like she wrote research papers or received an associate degree while taking high school classes or worked a part-time job and maintained the A Honor Roll, or that she’s off to some Ivy League School. Like what did she really do that I should be so proud? Well, I’ll tell you what she did first and foremost. She blossomed! She blossomed and learned in so many different areas! That’s why I’m proud.

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Just look at those pictures!  Just look at them.

You might not be able to tell, but she grew an inch and gained 5 pounds too!

The little buttercup went from being mostly shy and timid to outgoing and confident. Granted, she still gets a little nervous talking to people, but at least she’s not hiding behind my legs anymore. As much, anyway.  That’s why I’m proud.

Of course she learned lots of academic type of things. She can read several words and a few little books, she has great number sense, and a lot of common sense as well. She tries her best at everything she does and wants to succeed. She is responsible and superb! That’s why I’m proud.

She also did big 5-year-old things this year, like learning to tie her shoes and fix her own hair, which might look a fright most of the time, but she does it herself and her independence and self-confidence is more important in the big scheme of things than a perfect hair-do.  She also decided that she can put herself to bed and sleep alone. But every 4th night, I can still sleep with her. She’s growing up independent and confident. That’s why I’m proud.

She worked so hard in both her dance and gymnastics classes and more importantly had fun doing it. She can swing herself on the swings with just one push to get her started, and cross the monkey bars by herself. She is learning that hard work pays off and  practice does make almost-perfect. She is learning that things may be hard at first, but not to give up, keep on trying and eventually you’ll get there. That’s why I’m proud.

She is good and kind and thoughtful which is the most important aspects I would like her to develop in her years of learning.  I want her to know that it is better to be a friend to someone who needs one, than to fit in with the “in-crowd”. I want her to know that not everything is going to come easy, but she’ll never be disappointed in herself for knowing she gave it her all. She learned more this year of the important stuff than she might learn her entire academic career. Her foundation is laid.

These next 13 years are going to fly by. I know that all too well. It may be that some day she’ll be off to an Ivy League School, or maybe she’ll backpack across Europe. As long as she stays true to herself and discovers happiness in her journeys is my heart’s desire for her. It may seem silly to you that I write these milestones down, but I know my memories won’t always be as clear and I want to remember it all: every little accomplishment, every single stepping stone on her path to wherever she is heading.

She is such a joy, and I am so very proud to call her mine.

 

Mother’s Day #5

I’m a bit of a creature of habit. Just a bit. Not too much. Only when I want to be, really. But I do have a little tradition of blogging on certain celebratory occasions. My daughter’s b-day and Mother’s Day are the only 2 I really think of right now. Most of the time, this little blog is a ball of random. When the whim hits. Which hasn’t been hitting much lately.

Sunday past was Mother’s Day. My fifth one.  I’m not sure words can describe motherhood. There have been many people who have tried to put the words down, including myself. I think one of the best I’ve ever read is: #motherhood:

How true.

Motherhood is complete sacrifice, even when you adore pie.
Motherhood is seeing the tiniest, most minuscule, grain-of-sand-sized love God has for us.
Motherhood is a heart that is both broken and full to bursting often at the same time.
Motherhood is worry.
Motherhood is joy.
Motherhood is an exhaustion beyond what you ever thought possible.
Motherhood is sticky fingers and sweet kisses.
Motherhood is a million “I love yous” and a few teenage “I hate yous”.
Motherhood is handmade cards.
Motherhood is lots of laughs and plenty of tears from all parties involved.
Motherhood is eating lots of spaghetti.
Motherhood is late nights and early mornings and feet in your ribs when sleep does come.
Motherhood is thankless mostly, but worth every moment.

This Mother’s Day I was showered with little gifts. Gifts that will be put away in the bin with the other sweet gifts I’ve been given and the ones hopefully to come.

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18447353_10213478050932513_4614352799574924184_nEach moment is a true gift. A treasure to hold. Time passes so quickly. For some, motherhood never happens or sadly ends too soon.

My little daughter came into my life unexpectedly and the emotions I went through were paramount.  We are tight. This girl and I. We have a bond right now that I hope will outlast all the growing pains we still have to endure. The past five years have flown by, and I know the next 13 will zip past. And then she’ll soar on the wings that her dad and I have hopefully helped give her. So for now, I cherish every Eskimo kiss, every hug, every stick figure drawing stuck to the fridge, and even every melt down.

Every beautiful moment of motherhood for the past five years I have tried to store away, either in my memories or in this blog. I have been given such a remarkable little girl and I am so honored to be her mom.

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A Daughter’s Love

Last night, way past a normal bedtime for a 5 year old, my little EK and I were snuggling in. Saying our prayers and our I love yous. When suddenly she said, “I’m probably going to forget you when I grow up.” Why, I asked. Why would you forget me? She answered because she would be all grown up. I tried to explain to her that girls don’t forget their mothers, while believing this with all my heart, but also hopefully convincing her that she wouldn’t forget me, that she couldn’t forget me. My momma heart felt a moment of fear and heartache at the thought that my time with her was limited, that some day it would end. Which of course it will, but not by forgetting. Never by forgetting.

In my convincing, I tried to explain in the best way I could that I’m all grown up and I haven’t forgotten my mom and even my mom hasn’t forgotten her mom. And I desperately explained how when she was all grown up we would talk on the phone and visit one another if she moved away. That we could text on cell phones and take trips together. My mind was a flurry of all the grown up things we will do. In my vision, I was hanging on to her grown up self by a thread, knowing that it could so easily snap in an instant with her own life, her husband, her family, her busyness.

We were lying on our sides in an embrace, our noses practically touching. She said if she lived next door, I could just come over and visit. That thought gave me some relief. Yes, next door. That sounds wonderful. Then I said what all mom’s say at some time to their sweet preschoolers, yet to become tumultuous, unruly teenagers. “And you don’t ever have to move out, anyway. You can live with me forever.” I’m sure some day I will try to cram these words back down my throat, claiming I’ve never uttered them. But for now, the thought of her leaving, even to live next door is more than I can handle.

Then that sweet girl, with her big brown eyes, and her little mind that works all the time said. “And when you die, I’ll bury you in my front yard, so I can visit you all the time.”

I didn’t even know how to react to this. It is at the same time both very loving and yet bizarrely disturbing. So we said our good nights and our I love yous and I realized once again how immense love is.

 

A Letter To My Daughter On Her 5th Birthday

img_3166I can’t help but wonder if all mothers cry when their baby turns five years old? As soon as my eyes opened, I began to think of you. Not that that’s anything new. You are always the first thought to cross my mind. And as a sidenote, you will always be the first thought to cross my mind, no matter how old you are, no matter how far from me you travel.  I think Willie Nelson sang a song along those same lines.

I couldn’t stop the tears this morning. And all through the day, I’ve fought to keep them at bay.

Five years. Five beautiful, wonderful years. They have been the most precious, most blessed times of my life. And that is saying quite a lot, sweet Emma Kate, because my life has been pretty marvelous. But when you entered the world, it went to a brand new level.

I don’t know the answers to all life’s questions. I certainly don’t know much at all. But I know that you have allowed me and taught me to love in a way that never seemed possible. Sure, we have our ups and downs. Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, but when you step back and look at the big picture, there’s definitely more ups than downs and more cherries than pits in our bowl.

You are such a good kid. You are so smart. I have written to you for the first 12 months of your life, and then every year after that. Someday, I will print these out for you to keep and reflect back on. Reading back through, you will know how absolutely, infinitely loved and adored you are.

You have a great memory. You love to play a game with you daddy and I, especially on car rides, called “Remember when…..”. You usually start and say, “remember when we…” and you’ll fill in the blank. Then we all take turns giving our own remember whens. Sometimes, we all remember, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, I’m purely amazed at the things you remember from long, long ago. It’s also kind of sad when you don’t remember something that was pretty epic, so that’s one reason I write it down.

Because one day, my little lovebird, all you will be left with will be your memories. I want you to have good ones. Me and your dad are trying our hardest to give you an amazing childhood, but at the same time, being careful not to turn you into a brat. It’s a thin line to cross. Because sometimes giving your child everything is not the best, and someday you’ll understand that. It’s not about all the “things and stuff” in life, not the newest and greets, because those things always turn not so new, and not so great.

It’s about the “remember whens”. It’s about playing hide and go seek in the dark. It’s about birthday parties with family and friends, and adventures in the woods building forts, and hiking trails, and picking wildflowers. It’s about making play dough and playing dolls. It’s about lying in the yard and looking at the shapes in the clouds, or the stars at night. It’s about snuggles at bedtime and rocking chair time every morning with a blanket and chocolate milk and a warm,drowsy head on my chest. It’s about fishing at the lake, and swimming in a horse trough. It’s about dance parties through the house when our favorite song comes on, and sharing books together. It’s all the “remember when’s” that are too many to list.

It’s all about the time we’ve shared and the memories we’ve made.

You are growing into a great young girl. You are no longer an infant, no longer a baby, no longer a toddler, and pretty soon, you’ll no longer be a preschooler. You have learned so much. Most of your days are spent at St. Matthew’s where you’ve already learned to read 100 sight words. You are my little reader, but I always knew you would be. You understand numbers and how to put them together and take them apart. You also have a whole lot of dang common sense. You are practically perfect in every way. Much like Mary Poppins, huh?

Thank you Emma Kate for these last 5 years. They have been beyond my wildest imagination. I am so happy you’re mine. Someone posted on Facebook about you, that “God said ta-da”, and I think that sums it up perfectly. I love you oodles and gobs, and more, and more, and more.

Happy Birthday, my baby.

XOXO,

Mommy