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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Revisiting 2007 - Reach for Me - for the girl's birthday

Tiny fingers around my giant one. The first time you reached for me. In that moment, I am sure. Sure of what I can provide. Sure you are safe, Sure you are loved.

Little fingers gripping mine. One step, two steps, get your balance. Almost there. Oh the freedom these steps will bring. Needing to reach for me. I am there. I am sure. You are safe. You are loved.

Always holding hands. Together we walk. You instantly reach for me. Uppie Mommy. Reaching for me. Always reaching, knowing, trusting. I am there. I am sure. You are safe, you are loved.

You run, you play, you spin, you laugh. Then you return and you reach for me.

We are walking, the street is near, we’re talking and walking, instinct, you reach….. put your still tiny hand in mine. For you it is a habit, for me it is electric. That feeling of you, trusting me, needing me, holding my hand.

My mind races. When will the moment come when you no longer reach for me at this street, any street? I swallow hard, you look up, you smile, I smile.

You bring me beautiful crayon masterpieces of hearts and flowers and love. These are pictures of you and me, holding hands. This is who we are, reaching.

Tonight you label the picture as you always do, then you stop, you mark it out, and make a monumental change. Mommy to Mom. I ask..... You say, because I’m a big girl now. I swallow hard. Yes you are.

We walk to the car, we get to the street, I hold my breath. Will she? She does. She reaches for me. Thank you Lord.

How do I keep you reaching…..reaching…..reaching?

Monday, September 28, 2009

My First Day as June Cleaver

If you read my post yesterday, the challenges of parenting kicked me in the 'behind'. Yesterday I would have said ass, but today I became June Cleaver.

Yes, today is the day I decided to try and do it all right, or at least a heckuvalot better than I have been.

The morning started out like most mornings. I didn't go all out with a full on hot breakfast or anything. Honestly, pancakes are basically cake smothered with corn syrup so I wasn't feeling bad about the cereal they usually have. It's not even sugar covered chocolate smacks. It has fiber and everything.

Around noon I decided we needed a hot meal to gather round on this blustery fall day. So ladies and gentlemen, I busted out the ....... wait for it......... crock pot. Yes, siree bob. I'm a crockpot cooker.

fter browning, chopping and hydrating the steak and potatoes, I went back to my office knowing that there would be a warm family moment waiting for us all tonight.

Then my Ward called and said he forgot to tell me he was helping his friend move tonight. Gee, Wally, that's a shame your father can't make it for dinner.

Yesterday I would have said, "Are you frickin' kidding me?!!!" Maybe frickin' maybe not.

So, I strolled on through my 1958 moment wishing I had a full skirt and a girdle.(NOT!)

Just before the boy was due home, I took my computer downstairs so I'd be his little greeting committee. We chatted about his day and then he retreated to his room, otherwise known as Legoland.

Here comes the girl. I turn the TV off the Oprah, Mackenzie Phillips, drugs and sex with her father episode that I had Tivo'd. I'd like to think I would have done that yesterday before my June transformation.

Normally, she would do her homework and then ask to watch TV. Instead, we went TV free.

See that? Check me out.

Old dog. New Tricks, yea baby.

At 5:15, I put dinner on the table. I'm not sure if that means I'm a good mom or a senior citizen. Kids were a little freaked out but it certainly kept them from consumming a pantry full of snacks before dinner. We ate dinner, sans Ward.

The boy said, "Why are we having a family dinner without dad?" I tried not to hear the disappointment in his voice. Dinner without dad typically means pizza rolls at the counter. Not tonight boys and girls, and if you're real good and eat all your vegetables maybe we'll have dessert. (Dear Lord, I'm not sure I can keep this up.)

After dinner, the girl wrote notes and pictures in her new journal which gave us some time to talk without those irritating Zach and Cody characters with their bad acting. We revisited some of the mom and daughter conversation from this weekend much to her dismay. See, I can reinforce the rules. I'm getting good at this parenting thing. Day one of transformation going well.

After dinner, (at 6:15!), we decide to watch some TV together while we finish off the chocolate cake from the girl's birthday. Do you know how hard it is to find a decent TV show with basic cable that doesn't have sex, drugs, rock n roll or teenagers with their bellies hanging out? She was a little freaked when we spun right by Hannah and Zoey in all of their teen angst and pregnancy and finally landed on........ wait for it ......... Family Fued.

Are you kidding me?????????????????/

Is that really the only show on basic cable that we could find? Yes, it was.

Finally, we found a cooking competition with sugar sculptures that was entertainment for all.

Now it's 8:00 and the little angels are heading up to bed to brush their teeth, get in their jammies, and read before 9:00 lights out. I'll head up shortly to snuggle them in and hear about the book they're reading and give them a little lovey dovey snuggly wuggly. (I'm not really capable of snuggly wuggly but it sounded like something June would do)

Confessions of the new June me, Day 1:

I did scream twice. Okay three times.

1. Chocolate on the couch incident
2. Slamming doors while giggling and brushing teeth.
You see, my friend Jen lost two fingers when a cousin was giggling and slammed a door on her hand so I have some fear and phobia that warranted it.
3. Still giggling - (obviously not totally transformed or giggling wouldn't be grounds for Mommy Dearest to come out. Work with me, it's day one.)

So, here's the summary of Day 1 transformation.
I have no desire to eat dinner in the middle of the afternoon or eat stewed meat all that often. I do think there's some improvement in how much we talk and what TV shows are acceptable. I guess I'm doing okay at this mom thing.

Maybe I'll find a hipper version of June Cleaver with cute boots and a killer haircut and still say crap once in awhile without anyone ending up in Juvie.

I'm not Prepared

The parenting punch hit me right in the gut this weekend. The true reality of how darned hard it is to raise good kids hit me in my heart, my head and my gut. While we're busy cooking, cleaning, working and folding socks, kids are growing and learning and making decisions. Some right, some not so right. If we're not paying attention, things are going to get interesting. I wish I could hit a pause button on my kids once in awhile and just breath.

I've never been one of those moms that pureed organic babyfood or only allowed them to watch the science channel. I've always believed in keeping things balanced and fairly normal. Of course my mom let me eat cake for breakfast so maybe my idea of normal is a little wacked.

We live in small town USA in the middle of the midwest and still things are hard.

Should they watch this TV show?

Should they ride the bus and listen to what the older kids are saying and teaching them?

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know.

I had a chat with my girl and her BFF this weekend about listening to your gut. They are both on the fringe of being 8 and they're already being exposed to some things that I'm not ready for.

I asked them if they ever have that funny feeling in their gut. The one that kinda feels like they are doing the wrong thing. I told them, that is God's way of taking care of them when their Mom and Dad isn't around. The funny feeling is God saying, "come on, you don't want to go there."

I also reminded them that if one of their friends says, "come on, we won't get caught." That's a sure sign that they are in some dangerous territory and the best bet is to get out of that situation. And finally, never to be the one saying, "Come on, we won't get caught, because they are taking their friends down with them."

I feel desperate to prepare them to make good decisions and understand about their choices and consequences, yet I'm not sure any of what I do or say is right.

I'm praying and listening to my gut.

I think.

Yet, when I think critically about it, I know there is a ton I could do better.

I put my parent radar on high alert this weekend and I don't think I'll come down until they're picking and paying for my nursing home.

Crap, this job scares me.