Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Music Wars...

You may have heard me mention that every so often, the kiddo and I end up in a music battle.  We take our tunes very seriously in these parts and while we share similar tastes, there are days the mood hits and one of us just can’t help goading the other about a particular song choice.  Such was the case this morning.  I had the tunes cranked while making my bed; a chore I DETEST and would never do it if the hubster didn’t appreciate it.  Talk about Felix and Oscar!  As a result, on days I make the bed, I usually turn up the music to ease the pain. 

The kiddo couldn’t resist commenting on Natalie La Rose’s Dance with Somebody as he stepped in to my room and snagged the speaker, promptly redirecting the Bluetooth to play something called Lean On by Major Lazer.  “That song is so last summer,” he offered to my Natalie choice.

“And this song is so awful,” I countered a minute later as I looked over at him as if to say 'find some taste' and regained control of the speaker, only to hit him with DJ Snake and the Biebs crooning Let Me Love You.

“You don’t play fair,” he smiled as he started to bop before grabbing the other side of the comforter I was wrestling in an effort to help.  “You and I both know no one can resist the Biebs.”

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The World Gets to Me...

Some days I can take the things that happen around me in stride.  I can rationalize that I’m here and such and such is happening over there, or that a given hardship befalls someone else but me and mine are fine so life must go on...

But on other days…  On days like today…  I’ve just got to be honest--the world gets to me.

When I hear about a mother who throws her infant from the 10th story of a 26-story apartment fire, the world gets to me.

When I see a picture of grown men praying on a baseball field, the world gets to me.

Have you ever held a wholly innocent and helpless infant in your arms?  Now close your eyes and try to imagine being in a situation so desperate you’d throw that baby out a window because you knew to the core of your being your last breath could be counted on one hand and the window was the last hope for life before death prevailed. 

Have you ever reached across the aisle and come together to support the greater good?  Now imagine diving on top of people you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to best in the nine to five realm in an effort to shield them from the gunfire whizzing past.  Imagine praying for the people you were trying to discredit and crush in yesterday’s meeting.

The sad truth is that we live in a world where it’s becoming all too common to only expect the best of humanity to emerge when tragedy knocks down a given door.  This isn’t the world I grew up in and it’s not the world I want the kiddo to inherit.  The same kiddo who wants to make it to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. one day and might very well get to play in that baseball game along the way. 

The world gets to me on days like today because it shouldn’t take headlines to remind us of how we ought to love, and hope, and protect, and pray for one another.  We greatly cheapen ourselves when we only allow our best to show up in the face of the horrific.  By only reacting to tragedy, we rob ourselves the opportunity to make a difference in the everyday.

I want the people in my life to love me like the mom in the window; enough to help me see a way when I lose hope. 

I want the people in my life to love me like the congressional baseball players; enough to hit their knees and call out to God for me even though we disagree and they’d rather write me off.

If you’ve got friends and family you aren’t encouraging today but you’re weeping over the headlines, I don’t want to make you mad but I am calling you out because you’re missing it.

Somebody needs someone to be bold for them today.  Somebody needs someone to call out on their behalf today.  And whether there's a headline for it or not, somebody in your circle needs something only you can provide for them today.  Don’t miss it.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Maybe I did. Maybe I didn't...

In the middle of our walk between art galleries today at a local museum, the kiddo stopped and turned and stood in awe for several moments.  “Do you know these two?” he finally asked quietly.

Maybe I did.  Maybe I didn’t.  What I knew didn’t matter at the moment.  “Why don’t you tell me about them,” I replied instead of answering.

“This is King George III and his wife, Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg,” he began, and our discussion didn’t end until sometime after I’d learned more about European history and art than I thought I’d ever know and our lunch had moved into dessert and coffee nearly two hours later. 

These are the days he gets to be the tour guide and I get to hang back and soak in all he’s learning.  These are the days I get to listen and stand in awe of all he’s becoming.  These are the days I want to remember.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

What I really meant to say...

I'm a bit of a weepy mess this afternoon but before you feel bad for me, I'm giving you permission to laugh at me.  I know it sounds ridiculous.  I've said the words out loud about a dozen times now, wondering if they’d somehow mean more or less if I heard them in my tone of voice rather than in my head.  I only have two more days to drive carpool and while this should make me jump for joy, I know my life will never be the same.

So let me back up and bring you in on where all of this began.  I've been wondering how to break it to my son that I want to drive him to school on the first day in August.  Do I have a good reason? Not really.  He’ll have his license.  He has a car.  He’ll have driven nine thousand miles over the summer in various lighting and weather conditions because we’re going to live in his car until I feel confident he knows enough to pull out of the driveway on his own.  But I have a few bits of mom logic bouncing around my brain that I’m prepared to toss about when I plead my case. The first day is always frenetic and I’ve been in the high school parking lot on enough day ones to know the student parking area looks like a toddler took a warehouse full of matchbox cars and threw them everywhere.
The view from the from of the line.

So I got brave yesterday and floated this notion by the kiddo.  There I stood, fully anchored in reality yet hopeful, as he grinned at me from ear to ear.  “Mom. No way. I'm looking forward to driving myself.”

I know this.  The kiddo and I are close and we talk about things like this.  I know he's excited.  So I joked and laughed and played it cool and said typical mom things that came to mind like who will hold your coffee while you're getting all of your stuff out of the car and you can’t eat and drive so you’re going to have to add ten minutes to your morning routine.  I have jobs in the morning.  I'm the breakfast maker and the coffee holder so I thought these were valid talking points. But what I really meant to say were heart things like who will tell you to do great and have a great day and that they love you before you head into the fray?  Who will be waiting with a smile to pick you up and listen as you download your day?  I ended up going with the simple truth.  “I’ll miss running through our checklist.”

You see, my kiddo is an Aspie.  And while his Aspie is extremely mild, like a dash of pepper on a beautifully frosted slice of cake, routine runs the game.  I never knew when he was diagnosed at the tender of age of five, when we learned that his routines were a God-wired part of him and not just learned behavior, that these same routines I often loathed would become so ingrained in me that I would have a harder time breaking some of them than he would.

It was then my son said the sweetest, most heartbreaking thing I've ever heard leave his lips.  “I know, mom.  Haven't you noticed I've been giving you less and less information during our afternoon run down? I didn't want to hurt your feelings but I know I have to start doing the rundown for myself so I've been trying to keep my conversations with you fairly brief.

Oh sweetheart, I wanted to shout.  I’ve noticed.  Of course I have.  The logical part of me has known what he was doing since he changed up our routine shortly after spring break but my heart didn't want to admit it.

“So what if I just ride with you?” I asked.  No, I’m not above a backdoor approach to getting my way.

“Sure,” he offers quickly.  He’s been driving me around town for months so this isn’t anything new.  But then he catches me.  “Wait a minute,” he smiles.  “If you ride with me that means you either take my car and come back after school or you sit in the parking lot for seven hours.  Nice try, but no deal, mom.”

So the kiddo is on to me.  Okay.  That’s fine.  I get it.  I’ve seriously got to up my game.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The B's have it...

If you know me well (or if you've been to my home office), you know I have a fascination with the letter B. My office is covered with B's and that's how I like it. In fact, many special people in my life have given me B's over the years and every time I look around my space, I smile.  

I even had a B coaster on my desk. Until today.  

The truth is, I never really liked the coaster because it's not quite my style. Actually, it's not my font. The day I bought it I remember bemoaning the fact that the other 25 letters of the alphabet had fun fonts like Papyrus and Georgia and Bradley Handwriting while B got Comic Sans, outlined and italicized. Oh, the horror! But still, I didn't have a B coaster so home it came. But I broke rank today when I saw this...

I have so much to be thankful for I don't know where to begin but I'm never above being reminded.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cotton Management...

If you know me at all, you've likely heard my description of our laundry room.  At any given moment it looks like Tommy Bahama and Ralph Lauren are having an affair with the Brooks Brothers!  The men in this house don't understand the meaning of wash and wear.  It much more closely resembles wash on delicate for 33 minutes and dry for 13 minutes before hanging for 4 hours then drying for 13 more minutes to wrinkle release around here.  My guys have great taste in clothing and while they always look good, I'm beginning to think I need an advanced degree in cotton management just to wash their clothes!  Couple that with the fact that if you've taken a trip to the mall recently, you know mens clothing isn't cheap.  Words like sale and clearance don't translate across the mens aisles like they do for women.  
A few weeks ago I added a small dry erase board near the dryer to remind me how many items need to be removed at the damp dry buzzer (lest they shrink, fade, wrinkle, get too hot--the list is endless)! And this is the note that met me mid week when I least expected it, smack dab in the middle of the ordinariness of motherhood. 
The best job I've ever had is also the hardest, most challenging, often frustrating, highly rewarding, extremely thought provoking, utterly overwhelming, at times disappointing, extremely nerve racking, most heart pounding job I've ever had. There are days I want to scream. There are days I cry. There are days I laugh. Then this shows up and reminds me there are days I kn
ow to my core why I do what I do, and why I love it so much...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I think it's the trees...

There are many misconceptions about the type A personality.  Take me for instance.  I'm a hard charging type A but I'm far more introverted than people realize.  I can turn it “on” and go almost indefinitely.  Until I stop.  And then it's like my husband always jokes; I have two speeds--sixth gear and off.  No idle.  No second gear.  No moderation.

The end of the school year always brings out the extremes in my personality, this brakes/gas thing I have going as my family likes to say.  My calendar is in maximum overdrive and I'm good with that until I'm not.  Sometimes I’m blessed with a warning light when my tank is running low.  Today was one of those days.

As I was standing at the office supply store watching thirty five pounds of paper I purged from my life bite it at the hands of the cross cutter, it dawned on me that I'm tired.  It's been a long week and I've had multiple things vying for my attention every day. Between that and the rain crashing into the windows at night making me think someone is throwing marbles against the glass and the lightning putting on a laser show that wreaks havoc on my photo sensitivity, I haven't been sleeping well.  Poor sleep is a wicked tonic to throw in to the too busy cocktail.  So this afternoon I tossed my schedule to the wind and drove to the spot where I go when I need to let the world disappear.

My spot isn't far from home but it's incredibly special.  It's a place I’ve found myself at various points when I need to cry, laugh, celebrate, pray, mourn, or just stand in awe.  One time I even went for the sole purpose of screaming out loud.  Today I just wanted to sit and be quiet and my spot is perfect for that.  My world has been so noisy as of late sometimes I honestly can’t hear myself think.  Today I needed time to not worry about anything or feel anxious about anything or wonder about my calendar or the laundry or the grocery list or AP finals or the schedule for junior year or my time commitments or even the type of person I've let myself become over the last year.  I’m constantly checking a list and analyzing my scorecard and for a few minutes today I needed to not think.  To not grade myself as a wife, and a mom, and a daughter, and a sister.  As a friend, a coworker, an artist, a boss, a student, or even as a volunteer.

While it would be easy to look at my spot and think it has something to do with nature, that’s not it.  While I’m aware of the birds and the squirrels and the creek when I let myself pay attention to those things, I'm also able to tune all of that out and just be when I step off the path.  The truth is, I think it’s the trees.  There are times I need to get out of my habitat and in to someone else's.  Not being able to see the trees for the forest slows me down.

I was only off the clock for eight minutes today but they were a quality eight minutes and it was just what I needed to reset myself for a busy afternoon and evening.

What have you done for yourself today?  Do you have a spot or a thing you do to help yourself reset?  If not, you're missing out and you might want to brainstorm this a bit.  I hear a lot of people say their spot is the ocean or a beach or the lake or mountains and while those places are wonderful for a big getaway, a far off location can't be the quick respite our souls so desperately need.  Think of it like this--you need a place nearby when the warning lights go off.
You deserve to give yourself a minute to reset in the middle of this manic, overloaded, fast lane life you're living.  In fact, push the limit and take eight.  And yes, it was really eight. I'm a type A.  I counted.