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Vines and Pipes and a Year Gone By

9 Sep

It’s been almost a year since I’ve written. 

No. That doesn’t do it justice. 

I couldn’t remember my username let alone my password to access my blog. 

I gained 20 pounds since I last wrote. 

My kids turned a new age. 

Parts of the roof blew off, the A/C needed repaired, the dryer that’s older than our marriage is on the fritz, Andrew and our friend Mitch fixed our deck, we had a road trip or two, fortunately had no major illnesses or injuries but got lice again (guess I never told you about that first time), the turtle and the dogs are swell, we’re still employed, still in debt, still running and still making the most of each day. 

Sounds about right.

Got me thinking about when I was little and didn’t have a worry in the world — except whether or not so-and-so talked to me. I used to stay at my Grandma and Grandpa Rafaiani’s house and explore the neighborhood with friends. Of course, that exploring would take us to places we were told not to go. The gully — where lonely vines begged us to hug them for a swing and large pipes that stretched across a deep valley dared us to crawl. 

We never thought about what if the vine snaps or what if we slip off the pipe. We just enjoyed and came out smelling like metallic pipe and nature on the other side of the adventure. I get a whiff of it every now and again on the kids or after a run on the trails. Still tempting but then that worry thing starts to happen. Maybe next time … 

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On Strike

10 Oct

That’s it. This mom is going on strike. 

I am tired of having capable beings in this house not doing their age-appropriate part. I know I’m to blame for this. I spoiled them too much. We make them pick up after their messes but don’t ever make them do set chores. 

Let me break it down.

  

  • When the 12-year-old only washes her lunch dishes and ignores what else is in the sink or drainer to put away.
  • When the almost 10-year-old who can make an awesome diving catch for an out in baseball and always knows the next play can’t seem to figure out how to put his dirty clothes in the hamper and not stashed in hidden (or not hidden) places of his room.
  • When both children leave their shoes and dirty socks scattered about the house.
  • And did I mention the food wrappers and trash they “throw away” on the tables or couches or bedroom floors?!
  • What about that time when aforementioned children put clean clothes they were supposed to properly put away for a week back in the hamper because they couldn’t tell what was dirty or clean?! And no, they don’t get credit for putting in hamper because I had to say something to them FIVE TIMES before the mix-n-match pile made its way to the hamper. 
  • Then there is the attitude I get when I tell them to contribute and help. 

I must simmer down now. After all, I’m on strike. No more washing their clothes. Nope. Not doing their dishes either. Just Andrew’s and mine. He helps beyond measure and I’m so thankful for him. He is most definitely in the strike-free zone and I know will support my stance. 

Done. And done and done. Starting now. 

Homemade Sauce, Lyrics and a Little Girl Growing Up

5 Oct

The time to clean out the kids’ clothes is always tough. As if the actual task of sorting through it all isn’t a drag enough, there’s that whole sentimental hurdle we have to face while conquering the closets. 

It’s such a tangible sign of how they are growing. This most recent gutting was especially stinging. Even more so than the time we first received this keepsake for the students to wear on the first day of Kindergarten.  

Then, 2021 seemed so far away. Sure, it still made us aware of its presence but that would be something like 12ish years away. Now, it’s less than SIX school years away. I gasped at this slap in reality and then gently folded the shirt and placed it in the pile of “special” things to keep safely in storage.

I didn’t fully feel the sting from the slap until later that night while I was making the homemade spaghetti sauce I learned how to perfect from my mom who learned how to perfect from my grandma Nancy. Nia was sitting at the kitchen table doing her homework and we were listening to “mommy’s” music. I’ve known and felt the lyrics from James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend” but never like this. That night, they had me adding tears to the meatballs. I looked at Nia as her eyes tightened at a thought she was writing, unaware of the emotional montage I was producing in my mind.

No matter where that brilliant brain and lovely personality take her in life, I will come running. 

Class of 2021.

  

 

A New Leaf

5 Aug

A little more than a year ago, Nia was plagued with worry. She obsessed and fretted about the smallest thing. For a 10-year-old, the worries were heavy and I — a natural-born stress case myself — didn’t always know how to help her. It also started to — get this — worry me. I felt like I was absorbing her feelings and carrying them around with me.

Naturally, all this lead me to venture into the dangerous world of web searching. I found several articles that made me worry more but I also found a few that offered relief. To make sure I covered all my bases, I also took advantage of a work program that offers employees a free counseling session. I came away with two things to help us both manage our anxieties:

  • The counselor told me to picture my worry as a streaker. (Yes, a naked person.) You may see one run by but you never chase after the bare body. We agreed to modify this to be age appropriate for Nia. She suggested an animal that Nia would never chase. The streaker thought is pretty funny though.)
  • One bit of online information I learned said to visualize a tree with a leaf about to break free. Place your worry on that leaf and then watch it fall and gently land in a stream. The stream then carries the worry away. I told this to Nia and she asked, “Could an animal also eat my leaf?” I’m thinking, sure. Whatever works. (Here’s a blog that has more about the leaf relief.)

Both of these techniques have helped us both but now it seems it’s Nate’s turn to worry and he just doesn’t relate to those. His little heart is filled with concern – so much so that I wonder if it’s been contributing to him sleepwalking. A few nights ago, I actually caught him opening his bedroom window while sleeping. We’ve since child-proofed his windows but the thought of him accidentally hurting himself while we all sleep was too much for me to take. I told him about the ways Nia and I have used to ease our hearts. He asked, “Huh?”

With that, I tried something different. My own thing. Last night, I cuddled with him before he fell asleep and I put my hand on his heart. I told him I was collecting all the worry from his heart so he wouldn’t have it anymore. He giggled as I gathered but then really let out a laugh when I told him I was going to eat all his worry. “I also have room for dessert,”  I told him, “so let me get that worry from your head too.”

Sure, kind of twisted. But you know what? I think it helped some. He went to sleep with a lighter heart and didn’t sleepwalk.

Of course, it could be because of all the other techniques we researched online and tried too (earlier bedtime, consistent sleep and wake time, quiet time before bed, earlier dinner, more water throughout the day …) but I want to claim the giggles as the victory.

I know it made us both feel better. (And me quite full too …)

 

One Thing

16 Jul

So many lists these days.

17 things to say to your daughter
12 things to explore with your son
5 things never to say to your daughter
7.5 ways to raise a son
10 life hacks to make things easier
14 things your kids should know before they’re teenagers
11 parenting FAILS
30 ways to have more energy

Too many lists.

I have one thing I want my kids to keep safe and keep always as they grow up through this crazy, overwhelming and amazing world we call life.

A sense of humor.

Not at the expense of others but for the well-being and sanity of others and themselves. Don’t take life too seriously. Don’t worry their hearts about the things they can’t control. Find a way to smile. Find the healthy memory in what seems like a miserable or sad situation and make a lighter heart.

Joy is something we can control no matter what we are going through. We can determine whether we mope or grumble through any given day. I’m not saying they shouldn’t ever be sad or mad or throw a fit, I’m just hoping that their humor finds a way through and lifts them up and out.

I see signs of their great humors now. They deliver lines to me that make them seem smarter than I ever was or will be (not in a smart mouth way, just their pure and light perspective).

It makes me feel so great knowing they get it — without a list to follow.

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Papa Talk

23 Mar

“We talked for 41 minutes!” A happy Nia processed in her brain as she looked at her phone after hanging up with her Papa.

She couldn’t wait to call him that night. She wanted to talk to him about what she learned in class about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. She knew Papa is better than google or any book she could read when it comes to history. Forget about playing a game with trivia with him, unless he’s on your team.

I know she will always treasure their talks. I think he will too. After their history lesson, he sent me a text. “Thanks for letting Nia call. Were you trying to get her sleepy by talking to me?” Silly, smart Papa.

Papa

A Perfect Season

6 Nov
Dad & Champ

Dad & Champ

He’s only 7 years old. His teammates match him in age, plus or minus a year. They love their bubble gum and eye black and to proudly (and loudly) cheer for their next batter from the dugout. They range in size from tiny to tall but equal each other with their love of the game.

It was their heart, teamwork and desire to make the “awesome out or hit” that set the stage for these young baseball players to do something extraordinary.

A perfect season — 11-0. That’s not all though. They carried that through to the post season tournament where they earned their champion title, going 4-0.

I tried not to think too much of it. It’s coach pitch and fall ball, I told myself. They are playing against other small ones still learning the game, like them. But then I realized, this may never happen again. What’s to come when Nate is in kid pitch? Will he still love it like he does now? Will he meet the others in skill and be able to hold a spot on the field with them? This is something to treasure and it’s not just about all the W’s. It’s about how the boys got along and worked together. The families who united to support the coaches and the team. It was a positive, pleasant season — truly perfect.

Watching Nate and those boys out there is something I’ll never forget. Some of the plays I saw Nate pull off on that dirt made me shake my head in disbelief. There was one game this season where he dove for a grounder then quickly spun around and popped up like an older player to make a fast throw from near Second to First for an out. How did he do that?! Will he be able to do it again? And again?

I can only hope because I’m quite addicted to seeing him in his element with his teammates. Sure, all the practices and games can be a big time commitment and challenge for us, but as long as he wants to keep playing, I’ll keep following his lead. He’s led himself (and his family) this far with it and we’ve made such good friends and have had a blast.

Until next season, thanks for these memories, #26 and those wonderful Red Buccaneers.

8U Red Buccaneers | Fall 2013

8U Red Buccaneers | Fall 2013

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