Thursday, October 15, 2015


Someone posted a video on Facebook recently of the most horrid looking thing I have ever seen.  It appeared to be a burned gherkin pickle with painted on eye balls, and it had a bright orange forked tongue that resembled the horns of Satan.

The comments on this apparition ranged from disgust to fear, including one man who asked, “Are the lambs still screaming, Clarice?”  But then the voice of reason shone through, and a level-headed nature lover declared that this was an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar.  And this is what it becomes once it is done terrorizing the villagers …

Turns out that the creepy little creature was not a warning sign for the end of days.  Turns out it was the promise of better things to come.  It just had to go through the ugly to get to the beautiful.  I bet the change was scary, though.

We have had some changes at our house too.  This week, my daughter officially exchanged her cleats for boxing gloves, and her lacrosse stick for a paintbrush.  She wriggled out of her cocoon to see what else was out there in the world. When she first told me and her dad of her plans, I was supportive, but really unsettled about it, until I noticed she's the happiest she has been in a long time.

It took courage for her to leave behind a sport she has played, and identified with, for so many years.  And she is using this new-found confidence in other areas of her life -- confronting a bully, setting higher standards in her relationships, and taking ownership over her future.  She is literally kicking butt.

I have always found change to be difficult and uncomfortable, but in this case, it has been like a strong cleansing wind that has swept through my daughter's soul and given her wings.

So, I leave you with David Bowie, who seemed to understand parenting much better than I.  And, once again, I have received from my daughter another lesson in living:

And these children that they spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through
                            --- David Bowie, Changes

Until next time, keep crowin', and embrace the butterfly!

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Subtle Giraffe

Today is my 43rd birthday.  Birthdays are often catastrophic for me --- on a Biblical level.  Truly, honestly, cursed. Those who know my story can confirm that this is not an exaggeration.  I usually approach August 31 with a great deal of dread, and with the assumption that it will be the worst day of my life. That I will once again be the lame gazelle that can't escape the merciless clutches of the deadly cheetah.

But today, it wasn't like that at all.  Today I was like the subtle giraffe.

A dear friend called this morning to wish me a happy birthday, and to share details from a family funeral that occurred over the weekend.  The stories progressed in such outrageousness that I finally told her, "The universe is literally shoving this down your throat, begging you to write it all down."

And then I wondered, what is the universe trying to tell me?

Two weekends ago, my parents were in town.  My sister and her family came over for brunch, which turned out to be a birthday party for me. They were running a little late, which is to be expected when you have a toddler.  But it turns out the reason was because the baker dropped my cake and then spelled my name wrong on the new one.  My sister wouldn't leave until the cake was perfect.

Last weekend my sister-in-law and her kids made dinner for me.  When I walked in the door, my three year old nephew jumped into my arms and gave me a big hug.  He then led me around the house to show me my flowers and balloon. He wanted me to see that everything was perfect.

This morning, I awoke to texts and Facebook messages from people who chose to start their day by wishing me well.  I had a greeting card from my husband on my nightstand and breakfast waiting for me downstairs. I received a random text from my son's former coach, telling me what a great basketball player he is.  And then I got a text from my daughter.

I have experienced great pain and loss on my birthday.  But today I received the gift of the subtle giraffe.   A thing so big, yet so easily overlooked, that it took a million signs from the universe for me to open my eyes and see it.

Turns out, I am actually blessed.  Yes, some horrible things have happened to me.  And yes, I am still dealing with their darkness.  But look at all the people that love me - and look at all the good things weaving their way into my world.  I have a daughter who makes me laugh like no one else can, and is going to change the world, just by being herself.  I have a son whose drive to succeed and whose work ethic inspires everyone around him.  I have a husband that loves me so much, and a family that goes out of their way to make me feel special. 

How can I feel cursed with so many people in my corner?  

The answer is, I can't.  I will still have good days and bad days, but on this day, this birthday, I can see life for what it truly is - an adventure, a safari, in which sometimes, the cheetah goes home hungry.  

Turns out, my birthday was perfect.

Until next time, keep crowin', and look for the subtle giraffe in your life!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Thy Kingdom Come ...

My daughter and I were chatting after lunch at a Panera in Virginia, finishing some food before a lacrosse game, when she laid down some wisdom.  As usual, it came most unexpectedly.  After I made a particular comment, she replied, "Well, thy kingdom come, thy kingdom go."

Me:  What do you mean?
Her:  Isn't that how it goes?
Me:  No.  Let's review the Lord's Prayer again.  But can I use that sometime?
Her:  Sure.

I didn't have to keep it in my pocket for long.

Three days later, we were back in Virginia for another lax tourney, but with a different team.

We joined this new team by invitation, and were honored to have the chance to participate in a national championship.  The practices had gone really well - my daughter's Coach #1 said she was top 50 college material and was planning to use his connections to get her recruited.  The team has a major corporate sponsor, and so our only expenses were for travel.  Having just finished a season with our regular club team, which was suddenly mired in bickering and turmoil, this was like a breath of heavenly fresh air.  We even had a cute bulldog puppy as a mascot.

Thy kingdom come ...

Game One:  Here we go.  First game with the team that is going to get us to the top and make us a household name.  Game begins, game ends.  We lose.  Coach #2 brings the team to a huddle.  Coach  #1 yells at the team to get off the field. Coach #2 tells Coach #1 to relax.  Coach #1 disagrees with this directive in a verbally violent way.  Everyone within earshot stares, slack jawed.

Thy kingdom go ....

Game Two:  Game begins.  Game ends.  We lose. Coach #1 comes up to my daughter afterwards "I know you didn't play much, but you are going to start the next game.  You are my favorite."

Thy kingdom come ...

Game Three:  Game begins.  Game ends.  My daughter doesn't play.

Thy kingdom go ....

It is now nighttime.  The team pays for pizza at the pool as uniforms are being washed.  My daughter joins her compatriots in the lounge area.  I sit at the parent table and observe what happens when salad is combined with beer.  My daughter later reports Coach #2's revelation:  "I hate coaching.  I don't want to do it any more.  This is my last season."

Thy kingdom is going ...

Game Four:  The team pulls out a one-point win over a team from Utah. During the post-game hand shake, Coach #1 tells Utah Player #4 "It sucks to suck."

Thus begins SuckGate.  The Utah team takes umbrage to an adult verbally abusing a child, and sends their largest male over to our tent to demand an apology.  Coach #2 complies and delivers an apology to #4. Coach #1 is then approached in a poking fashion to also apologize.  He does so, reluctantly, because he says the girl started it.  Our parents are in an uproar, because Utah #4 was saying "sucks to suck" during the game, and the Utah girls were elbowing and fouling.  They believe the Coaches' behavior is justified and honorable. Prudently, I decide to get involved:

Me:  Yeah, but an adult should never speak to a child that way.
Team: Daggers and hell fire go back to your mamma's teat you worthless traitor.  'Merica.

Thy kingdom is gone ...

So I tuck tail and head to a table at the concession stand with my daughter's best friend and her parents.  As we are sipping on Cokes labeled "Bro" and "Awesome" another team parent comes up to us.  He has approached the coaches to ask why his daughter was asked to join the team but isn't getting any playing time. Their response was that if he didn't like it, he could get the *F* out.  Thus, he and his family were getting the *F* out.

Thy kingdom is in flames ...

Game Five:  We are playing the defending champions and we lose gloriously.  However, my daughter gets time on the field and the team mom/Coach #1's wife exits the stands with a pee sized stain on her butt.  So, it's a win win.

5:36 p.m. text:   Meet in the lobby at 6:00 for team dinner.

We meet in the lobby at 6:00 for team dinner.  All the girls on the team are wearing denim shorts and tank tops, except my daughter and her best friend, who were excluded from the dress code memo.  They receive feedback on their attire for the remainder of the evening.

We leave at 6:30 for a caravan to the Latino Village, which is actually a small yellow building used for the lottery, candles of the saints, and various sundries.  We then get back in our cars and head to Plaza Azteca, who was not expecting us.   Later that night, at least 5 girls, including my daughter and her best friend, enjoy an evening serenading the toilet.  But the silver lining is that Coach #1 paid the entire bill while getting drunk at the bar. Coach #2 did not attend, as he was dog sitting our mascot.

Game Six:  We lose, because karma.

The tournament is over, and my daughter and I return to the hotel. I quickly and expensively change our flight to an earlier time, discover that we are in the "C" boarding group and promptly upgrade to business class.  If you have not flown Southwest, then you won't understand that.  The sociology experiment that is their boarding system preys upon the weak, and should be reserved for another blog.

And that, dear reader, is it. Because my friend Tania told me, "Not sure you really have to have a hook; sometimes, it’s just a report."

Until next time, keep crowin' --- but very carefully ...

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Please look at this photo.  It is a picture of a raccoon riding on the back of an alligator. On its two hind legs.

You may have seen this photo on the internet already and know the back story.  But if you haven't (and even if you have) there is clearly more here than meets the eye.

At first glance, we have a bad ass raccoon that ain't scared of no gator.  He simply needed a ride downtown and this looked like a highly efficient option.  He's got confidence, vision, and a clear path ahead.

However, the truth of this photo is this:  One day, a father and son were out in the woods and accidentally startled the raccoon.  It then scampered away, and by pure dumb luck, landed on the back of this alligator. The fact that the raccoon was not eaten and actually escaped is a Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom miracle. (Young people, Google it). What we are actually seeing here is a moment of frozen shock, not chutzpah.

This little internet nugget came and went, but the image still resonates with me.

I think, so many times, we portray ourselves as a raccoon on an alligator's back.  No worries, no fears, life is an easy, breezy ride down the river.  Social media has made it conveniently possible for people to always put their biggest and brightest smile forward.

But when you dig a little deeper, when you ask questions and spend time and squeeze hands, you find out that the raccoon doesn't want to be on the alligator, that it is holding on for dear life, and that it is desperately looking for the quickest way out.

How many times in your life have you felt that misunderstood, that alone, that scared?

It's OK.  I have too. I just don't talk about it.

Pretending to be whole is hard work.  As humans, when we are broken, we often don't know how to put the pieces back together.  We turn to friends, family, food, faith, fountain drinks spiked with a little something - the search for peace takes us many places. And sometimes, we come up empty.

So where do we find sunshine on a cloudy day?  How do we get off the gator's back?

Um, actually, I don't know - I was hoping you would tell me.  

I jest.  But truly, I don't have "the" answer.  What I can tell you is that lately, I have been working on visualizing this:

And don't start singing Frozen ... 

Now, I know that letting go is not as easy as releasing a balloon into the sky.  But it is a first step.  Recently, I have let go of a few things.  I have let go of the belief that I control my children's destinies.  I have let go of relationships that cause more harm than good.  I have let go of the notion that I will actually clean my house. And I have let go of the dream that summer is for resting.

During this process, I realize that I may try to jump back up and grab that string dangling in the air. Because letting go is one thing, but having faith that everything will work out anyway, is quite another.

I'll let you know how it goes.  Hopefully the news will be good.  But even if it isn't, at least I know I'm not alone - or gator bait.

Until next time, keep crowin'!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Get Lost

My 15-year-old daughter and I were sitting in the Chick-fil-A drive thru the other day, watching some women with their small kids in the playground area chatting about organic hand wipes or applesauce brands or something in that vein.  I looked at the scene with feelings of nostalgia, remembering my early days as a mother, looking for other mom friends and taking those field trips to the fast food restaurant or the park.

My daughter looked at that scene and declared, "I really hope I don't lose myself when I become a mom."

And scene.

Full disclosure, I did start laughing.  Because my daughter says sh*t like that all the time.  We are so different, and her perspective on the world fascinates me. For example, we were watching one of those CSI shows the other day.  During the autopsy scene, I had to cover my eyes because I started gagging, while she was glued to the set, remarking "how cool" it was.

And I don't want her to change.  But here is what I wanted to tell her, but didn't, because the conversation continued on to other things.  The truth of motherhood is, you absolutely will lose yourself.

You will lose yourself the moment you look into your child's eyes for the very first time, staring up at you and wondering what the hell just happened.  You will lose yourself in sleepless nights, stomach bugs, stitches and splinters.  You will lose yourself in her laughter, her tears, her songs, and her long-winded stories.  You will lose yourself as she discards the tutus and ribbons you have set out for her, and instead grabs a pair of cleats to head out the door.You will lose yourself as she navigates friendships, relationships, wins and losses, good grades and bad.   You will lose yourself when she loves you, and also when she hates you.

You will lose yourself, because your heart and soul will never fully be yours again. And you are different now, because someone else's life is irrevocably entwined with yours. There is nothing you will want more than for your child to experience happiness, good health, and success her whole life. And when she gets older, and more independent, and makes more and more decisions on her own, you will lose yourself in the memories of raising your sweet, sassy, smart, silly girl.

That is probably more than my daughter wanted to be hit with in the drive thru.  And it isn't what she meant when she asked the question.  I know she was wondering if she would still get to pursue her own dreams and goals while being a mother.  Perhaps.  But I think she will find that her dreams and goals become something different once she holds that baby in her arms.

The journey and the choices are hers.  I can't wait to see what happens.

Until next time, keep crowin' and get lost in the ones you love!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Let's Make A Deal

Remember the old game show, Let's Make A Deal?  The host, Monty Hall, would challenge contestants in a high-pressure game of chance.  You had to wear a crazy costume and hope that whatever door, pocket, curtain, or box that you picked would contain the ultimate prize. Here's a clip for you young people:

This show became very relevant to me over Spring Break. This year, we negotiated our plans with our teenage daughter, who wanted to hang with her friends rather than her family.  So, we were faced with two choices.

Door Number One:  Our regular haunt, my oasis, a remote island, accessible only by ferry, drivable only by golf carts, and about as quiet and peaceful as you can achieve without being unconscious.  Zen Momma, Tragically Depressed Daughter.

Door Number Two:  Party Island, my daughter's perfect place, where people walk up and down the highway in thongs and fanny packs, while cars and rented scooters litter the streets like lice on an urchin child's head, and the sounds of police sirens and stereo bass bounce you right out of bed.  Manic Momma, Blissfully Joyful Daughter.

Guess where we went?

Needless to say, my daughter and I had two different vacations.

Here was what was behind my door:

The view from our house - Dusty's Oyster Bar.  We could sit on our front porch and listen to the melody of the intercom system calling for Butler, party of four.
The local floral and fauna in our yard ...
That appeared to reproduce over night ...

This is either a jelly fish or a breast implant.

Gloomy fog or a pot cloud?  You decide.

Woke up one day to this booby trap -
little brother was getting real tired of his sister's sh*t.

Here was what was behind my daughter's door:

Morning Yoga

Pretty beaches to walk, lots of new friends to meet.

Fun in the surf

Restful afternoons in the ENO

So who was the big winner?  Well, surprisingly, we all were.  My daughter had the time of her life, I received some free shock-treatment, and we all came home in one piece with rosier cheeks.  Looking ahead to future vacations, I am happy to report that while Panama City Beach will forever be an asterisk in our Spring Break story, I'm confident that there is a happy medium between isolation and the 9th circle of hell.  At least I hope so, and I have an entire year to find it.

Until next time, keep crowin' and stick with Door Number One!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Gone to the Dogs

We are in our first year of high school lacrosse, and so some of the other JV moms and I have put together a carpool.  The other night I had driving duty, which entailed picking the girls up from practice, taking them to the team pasta dinner, and then bringing them home. The meal was at a varsity player's house, and several varsity moms were providing the food.  It's a fun, team-building event.

Anyway, as I drove from practice to the dinner, traffic was bumper to bumper.  I asked my daughter how long the dinner would last, because I really didn't want to get back in the soup if they planned to eat and run. She told me that I should leave and come back (of course) but ultimately, we compromised on me sitting in my car outside the house. This way, I was not imposing on the busy hosts, and I would not be late picking up.

We pulled up to the house and the girls jumped out.  I positioned my car in a good spot, rolled down the windows, and proceeded to wait.  Within minutes, I noticed a sweet, white Chihuahua running through the yard and out into the street, just as a large work van whizzed by.  I realized that there was no invisible fence, as the dog then left the yard and started trotting down the street.

I took a moment to assess the situation.  The dog seemed to be in mid-life, and may have been confused. With the girls going in and out of the gate of the back yard, it easily could have escaped undetected.  I then took another moment to grapple with the decision between saving the dog's life and embarrassing my daughter.

Morality prevailed, and I opened my car door and called to the dog.  Having recently watched a series of animal rescue videos on YouTube, I knew the proper way to earn his trust and calm any fears he might have about strangers.  It didn't take long, and I was pleased with my success.  I put the dog on my hip and carried him up to the front door.  And despite his short-lived freedom, I could tell he was happy to be going home too - he gave my face a few enthusiastic, wet puppy kisses.

I rang the bell and waited timidly - I am still getting to know these moms, and I knew they weren't expecting me.  As the hostess walked up and opened the door, I had trouble reading the look on her face.  Was it concern over her dog getting out?  Was it stress from the interruption of feeding a horde of hungry girls? Putting on a big smile, I brightly said in a sing song voice, "Did you lose your dog?"  :)

Her response cleared it up for me. "That's not my dog."

A deep abyss of mortification opened wide in front of me.  The aging family treasure I thought I had snatched from the vice grip of death suddenly morphed into a yellow-eyed, disease-ridden stray whose privates were rubbing up against my shirt.

"Oh. Whose dog is it?"
"I don't know. I think it lives in that cul-de-sac, but I am not sure.  It just runs around a lot."

Huh, look at that. The dog doesn't have a tag.

Returning to consciousness, I realized she was talking, "Well, I could bring it in the backyard, but my dog would go berserk."
"Um, I think I will just send it on its way."

And with that, I set the filthy mongrel down and turned to begin the long walk of shame back to my car. Clearly, I needed to burn my clothes and find a sanitizing station as soon as possible.

"Why don't you come in and eat?  We have plenty."

Knowing my fate as the team idiot was already sealed, I tucked tail and went inside, making a lame joke about seeing a raccoon that I could bring in as well.  All of the hostesses were perfectly lovely, but I knew I could never see any of them ever again.

Driving home, the girls found my story funny, and I believe my daughter felt so sorry for me that she forgave my breach of etiquette.  As for the little white devil, he better hope he never sees me again - I will go all Cruella de Vil on his @$$.

Until next time, keep crowin' and when in doubt, stay in the car!!!


Friday, March 13, 2015

And I Quote

In our house, we play a lot of sports.  There is always a practice or a game - I just sit in my car and wait for someone I know to get in.  And not only is it hectic, but it is demanding.  Both of my kids are now at a level of play where they are experiencing true competition, where coaches are no longer required to be fair, but to win. There is a constant pressure to earn your spot on your team over and over, and over, again.

In my day, sports didn't really gear up until high school - I don't remember locking in with an agent by 3rd grade.  But here we are, and there it is.

My kids have set goals and are working to achieve them.  And just like any other humans, they have good days and bad.  But every time they walk out the door, I like to arm them with the right words.

"The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday."
"Work until you no longer have to introduce yourself."
"Once in awhile, blow your own damn mind."

As the legend goes, when my Great Grandma was in her child-bearing years, she kept baby names in her apron pocket.  Every time she gave birth, she would pull a name out and bestow it upon her child.  They were excellent, hearty, full-bodied names, like Beulah Exolona and Ruby Leota.  In that spirit, I keep photos of Pinterest quotes on my smartphone, so that I am ready at a moment's notice to produce creative word genius.

Since we are in the height of their respective seasons, I have been flipping through my camera roll more than usual.  The challenge is, how to continue to provide fresh motivation to my kids on the sports roller coaster? What goes down must come up?  The only thing you have to fear is fear itself?  At least you didn't throw up?

I can't draw on my own athletic experience, because it consists of two middle school basketball practices and a single season of tennis my freshman year of high school.  I then succumbed to the asthma, at which point Coach Coffee told my teammates, "That Alison, she is sorry."

But what I can draw on is my own desire to be proud of myself, to truly feel I have done my best every day. I encourage that with my children, even though I don't exactly know how to achieve it.  That's an entirely separate Pinterest board ...

"Be gentle with yourself, you are doing the best you can."
"When something goes wrong in your life, just yell 'plot twist!' and move on."
"The Mad Hatter: 'Have I gone mad?'  Alice: 'I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret.  All the best people are.'"

The best quotes get right to the heart of the matter, and bring us just a little extra enlightenment. Will they help us run faster, score more often, and win MVP?  I don't have scientific proof.  But the right words can tap into a universal feeling or need, and give the reader a bit of comfort that the world is with them, in good times and bad.  And, just like a fortune cookie, they can often bring a pleasant surprise.

Until next time, keep crowin'!

Thursday, March 5, 2015


My Sunday began with a man on a unicycle and ended with a man in a kilt.  I know these are signs from the universe, I just don't know what my next move is.

My husband and I had decided it was time to replace my 14-year-old car.  Not only was it falling apart and smelled, but you just can't get into the good carpools with a two-row car.  And I need good carpools.  I literally have kids at sports practices and games literally every single night of my life.  I use the term "literally" because it is burned on my brain after the last carpool with my daughter's lacrosse teammates.  They literally said literally about literally 30 times.

As we were driving to CarMax, I began feeling the early warning signs of a panic attack. This came on for several reasons - I hate the car buying process, I hate change, and I hate that I cannot handle the car buying process and change.

As I was deep breathing, we pulled up to the dealership, just in time to see a 57 year old man with a hemp-induced beard casually rolling along the highway on his unicycle. This was clearly a red flag, so I turned to my husband and said, "We need to abort."  But he held my hand ever so very tightly onto the gear shift and we pushed through.

So, what defines "a sign"?  Is it a hippie on a one-wheel bike?  Is it the country fried wisdom on the tire store billboard?  Is it the dream at night that seems so real you think it actually happened?

I once had a classmate in an improv acting course who told me that she was intuitive. Intrigued, I asked her what she could tell about me.  She said that I believed that I received secret messages from the newspaper.  Well ....

I am inclined to disagree with the lady, but not because she may or may not have been a wackadoo, but because I don't believe I receive signs - I believe I LOOK for them.  Signs of aging, signs of weakness, signs of  trouble at every turn. Clearly, I take all signs as bad ones.

This is where the man in the kilt comes in. About 9:00 o'clock Sunday night, after a long, stressful day of organizing and shuttling and errands and lists, my daughter and I drove to the Kroger for just one more thing.  As we were walking in, a man with blue hair in a fully-accessorized kilt came walking out.  I tried to telepathically urge my daughter to make a sharp u-turn.  But, when I looked over at her to convey this warning, she was smiling. What I took as a sign of clear and present Braveheart danger, she viewed as a quirky little nugget in an otherwise mundane errand.  However, as a disclaimer, I should mention that she once tried to take a selfie in front of a drug arrest in a park, and when deciding on an elective for school, she was sold on Forensics when told fake blood would be involved.

But still.  I found our different perspectives so interesting, and realized that perhaps I should take a chapter out of her book.  Why couldn't the funny little out-of-context men actually be nice signs?  Maybe the universe wasn't warning me of something wicked this way coming, but warming me up for something good? Is it possible that I am missing the whole point?  Or do I just need to adjust my dosage ....

Like I said, I don't know what my next move is.  One thing I do know is that I am going to try it my daughter's way, and attempt to look at the world, and people, with more trusting eyes.  And I am definitely going to start reading the newspaper again.

Until next time, keep crowin'!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


The other day I was on Instagram, watching a Ball is Life video.  This particular feature was of a young man in high school who is obviously a basketball phenom. He ducked and dodged and twirled the ball around like it was a yo-yo --- he made basketball look like Swan Lake.  And then there was the boy defending him, in proper position and with ample speed, but clearly embarking on a suicide mission.  It wasn't 10 seconds before the defender was flat on the ground, tripped up by the guile and trickery of our Boy Wonder.

My son would watch that video and be in awe of the skill of the star player.  I watched it and felt for the mama that was going to have to find the perfect words for her humiliated son, whose "ankle breaking" was now immortalized on social media.

When did I switch?  When did I start seeing the world as an after-school special?

One clue may have come the other day, when I woke up in bed with the night sweats, which, according to Google, is either idiopathic hyperhidrosis, or ... the early stages of menopause.

Gasp. It's a musical, it's a punch line, but I am here to tell you - it's no joke.  I am no longer a baby, a honey, or a ragtime gal.  I cannot separate my will from my body.  But then again, at 42 1/2 it may be too soon for me to be crying menopause.  My symptoms - the sweat, the worry, the grey hair, the slow trickle of pee - could just be, in my case, related to motherhood.  Perhaps it is Momopause.*

* I thought I was so clever coming up with that, until I did a little research and found out someone else already thought of it.  Oh well.

But anyway, Momopause, I think, is a real thing.  It happens when you have teenagers, but you are especially susceptible if you are in your 40's when that occurs.  It's like mid-life crisis meets empty-nest syndrome.  When you realize that your parenting years are finite, and that your kids will be out on their own within minutes, and you need to cram in as many life lessons as you can on a daily, nay hourly, basis.

Suddenly, you aren't thinking about playdates and piano lessons and winter coats.  Now, you are pondering colleges, careers, and potential mates.  Are my kids good people?  Are they working too hard?  Are they not working hard enough?  Can they say no to drugs?  Do they want to say no to drugs? Are they happy?  Are they sad?  Did someone just ask me to draw her a bath?!

I had just about worked myself into a frenzy thinking about all of this today while driving to my upteenth child pick up/drop off of the afternoon.  As I pulled up into a driveway to pick up my daughter, I activated my voice texting to send her the usual message, "I am here."

And then it hit me.  That's it. That's the only thing I need to make very sure of, the main thing I need to send them into adulthood with - that both of my kids know, with 100% certainty, that I am here.  I am here when they triumph, I am here when they fail.  I am here to give advice, and I am here to help pick up the pieces when said advice is not taken.  I am here to bail them out, to hold them up, to stand aside and let them shine. I am here.  Hot flashes and all, I am here.  Momopause could be the beginning of something beautiful, if only I could let go, just a little.  We'll see.

Until next time, keep crowin' - and don't try to save the world - just be there when it needs a hug.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Life According to Fenton

This is literally the best thing I have ever seen.

I have watched this video over and over and over again.  And I laugh with tears rolling down my face every time.  It's funny and it's real and it's actually a perfect explanation of the meaning of life.

I can so relate to Fenton's Human (FH).  Here they are, having a lovely stroll in the park --- like they do every day --- amongst the wild deer in the sunshine.  FH is probably thinking about his to-do list, resolving to finish a basement project and get caught up on his correspondence, and to simply make it a good, significant, productive day, which will begin just as soon as Fenton takes a whizz.  But on this day, without explanation, Fenton has an epiphany and realizes there is more to life than peeing on a tree.  And thus, he takes off into the deep blue yonder with full abandon.

FH has now lost complete control.  His schedule is irreparably taken off course, his tranquility ripped apart like a scab on a band aid.  Further, Fenton is absolutely not listening to anything except the call of the wild, and this could potentially lead to:  a) severe public humiliation for FH; b) a gruesome death to one or more innocent deer; c) multiple fines levied by the township for a violation of many laws; or d) all of the above.  And best of all, someone got it on video.

So many days, I feel like FH, just chasing after my life, desperately trying to:

  • Offer my best at work
  • Manage volunteer responsibilities
  • Keep the house within fire marshal guidelines
  • Replenish food every 36 hours
  • Give the impression that I am successfully raising a teen and a tween
  • Pretend I make time for my spouse, and 
  • Deal with my rear end, which is resisting the confines of denim like a popcorn bag in an overheated microwave.

But then, I can also feel like Fenton.  On the days when I realize that I have zero control over any of the bullet points in my world, I drive myself to Taco Bell in my pajamas and play Soda Crush on my Ipad until I beat that #$%@^ level.

Of course, the moral of the story is that there is a balance, that we can mow the lawn AND run through it naked with the sprinklers on.  Maybe the next time Fenton has a psychotic break, FH will realize that it's only temporary, that his dog will come back, and that he should enjoy the moment to lay down amongst the flowers and be thankful for all the things that make him happy.  He just needs to make sure he doesn't lay down in deer poo.

Until next time, keep crowin' - and this one's for you, Arie!