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Saturday, August 27, 2011

I Miss the Cafeteria Already

It happened. Tonight on the way to gymnastics. I wasn't ready. My heart still hurts a little. 

I was told last year when the girl was in 3rd grade that 4th grade is big transition year.  Some were crazy enough to say that the girl may not want me to come to lunch anymore.  I smiled thinking, I'm sure that happens to some of the moms but come girl begs me every week to come to lunch, sometimes multiple days a week.  That would NEVER happen to us. 

So tonight on the way to gymnastics on the first week of school I said, "So when do you want me to come to lunch?"  ....... crickets ........

My heart sank a little and I slowly turned to look at her while sitting at the stop light.  There she sat, looking a little sheepish. She doesn't want me to come to lunch but she's aware enough to know she's crushed her mama just a little. 

I said, "Seriously? You don't want me to come to lunch?" 
Response: Not Really. 
Me: Okay so 6 months ago you're begging me to come to lunch everyday and now I'm no longer worthy?
Her: I don't know, it's just not good this year. 
Me: Just so you know, my cool factor has gone up considerably in the last 6 months. 
Her: Just so you know, you never really had a cool factor. 


At least she has her mama's keen wit and sharp sarcasm. 

So, this is cause to revisit a post from the past.  Our relationship is changing, I can no longer snuggle her in and protect her, she's reaching for me less and less to be hand in hand. Time to be sure we're still connected at the heart. Time to extend trust, and pray like Mary at the stone. Pray that she'll rise again and want to be my little girl.  I think that happens at about age 27. It's going to be a long 17 years! 

Reach for Me  Vintage Random Thoughts - 2007

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Does Your Ordinary get in the Way of Your Extraordinary?

Here's the deal.

Some days I feel capable and ready to take on the world. I get overwhelmed with ideas and stories I'll write and companies I'll start and services I can provide that in my head have the ability to change some lives, maybe even change the world. 

My eyes light up, my heart beats fast, I start to look into making these acts of greatness real.

Then something happens.

The ordinary drowns out my extraordinary. 

The lampshade I need to return at Lowes before the dog steps on it in the backseat and crushes it, hurrying to pick up my son from school so he's not the last kid in carline AGAIN, the girl needs a new leotard for gymnastics because she's outgrown this one AGAIN, my husband, as handsome as he is, has AGAIN misplaced his wallet and is frantically calling me to help him find it over the phone, and we need flour if I'm going to bake those blueberry muffiins before the blueberries go bad because I bought too many because they were on sale, and we need to have something that looks more like vitamins than takeout tonight or we're going to be another statistic for the insurance companies to quote about the healthcare crisis, and what was the great idea I was working on a minute ago?

So it occurred to me as this post was spinning in my head, on those days that I wake up ready to be J Lo and not Jenny on the Block, I am reminded that J Lo probably no longer ties her own shoes let alone worry about the rotting blueberries in her fridge. I, however, have managed to find some extraordinary in the midst of ordinary.

Yesterday, I was on the phone with a client who is also a mom to three kids from 4 to 13ish. She has a leadership position in a professional services firm.  She has a big job at work and at home. I like her because I think we have that shared bond that says, "How in the hell are we going to get all this done?" and then we do.  Because in the midst of ordinary, we find a way in little bits and pieces to be extraordinary.  Yesterday, she and I crafted a plan that will likely take her entire business unit from ordinary to extraordinary. In fact, there's the ability to grow this business unit measured in millions to serve their clients better. We did it while she was going through airport security and rushing to catch her flight home, and I was in the middle of picking up the dog from the groomer, picking one up from guitar and managing to get in to see the last 20 minutes of gymanstics practice with my girl in the "too little" leotard. 

That my friends..... is extraordinary. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Notebook, New Class, Fresh Start

I've always had an affinity for a new notebook. The clean slate and fresh start of all those blank pages ready for 'possibility'.  A new school year always brings a fresh start.  A chance to meet new people, start again.  I said to the girl this morning, "Meet new friends, pick the good ones, show your teacher you are eager and ready to learn."  We had a good talk last night about what went well last year and what are the things that could be better for this year. 

We don't have to be in fourth grade to get a fresh start in this new school year. Create your own fresh start. Assign yourself a "first day of school".

Go out and buy a new journal, pick up a great pen. Or get a new case for your iPad or laptop. Something that symbolizes a fresh start.  Then find a quiet moment or two to decide what the new year will bring for you. 

  • Maybe you need a new teacher.  Find a mentor, someone you trust that has something to teach and invite them for coffee. 
  • Weekly Planning is a good way to get fresh start.  Pick an exact day and time each week that you'll commit 20-30 minutes planning the week. Write down your appointments and tasks and assign them a time in your calendar. If you have a family, it's good to do this together on Sunday night or Saturday morning. 
  • Maybe it's time to pick your new friends for the year.  Maybe you need a whole new playground. Jim Rohn said, "you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with." Take a look around, maybe it's time for an upgrade.
  • Maybe you need to make sure you take a recess each day.  All work and no play makes you exhausted, cranky, and not all that interesting overall. 
Just some of my random thoughts about starting anew.  You know what you need.  Your family knows what you need.  Pick a date, pack a nice turkey sandwich in a new lunchbox and start a fresh new year.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What I Learned on my Kid's Summer Vacation

Well, it's over. The lazy hazy days of summer..... over.
No more Popsicles at 10am, no more sunscreen smell lingering throughout the house.
*sniff* *sigh*

I hate the start of the school year as much as my 13 year old son.  It's another layer of complexity that our already chaotic family doesn't need. It's another full time job as bus driver, lunch maker, timekeeper that I don't need or enjoy.

So, I thought I'd ponder a bit tonight over the summer and share with you the lessons I've learned this time around. Some aren't new lessons, they just catch me off guard again.

1. Nine year old girls don't founder on an excess of turkey sandwiches or ice cream.
2. Left with too much time alone, kids will migrate to bad choices like a moth to a flame. They need engagement with us. They may be too old for summer day camp but they still need organized activities and participation.
3. Left with too much time on their hands and a portable "bad choice device" like a free text app, they will spread their bad choices to friends and parents of friends.
4. No one died in our house from it not being officially cleaned in 3 months other than a wipe of the crud and a swipe of the Dyson.

5. If you list the chores on a chart in the kitchen and expect it to get done, eventually they will do it. (I still try not to act shocked when they do the chore and check it from the list)
6. Husbands also respond better to the chart than the nagging.
7. Parents need breaks. The farmers market, world's longest yard sale and a few wine nights with girlfriends may have saved my sanity.
8. Amusement Park vacations cost as much as a luxurious beach resorts and have NONE of the same restorative qualities.
9. Two meals a day seem to be just fine most of the time as long as there is ice cream.
10. When ice cream is on sale, buy 3 gallons.
11. It's not summer without a great read. Mine was The Help this year.
12. Riding on the back of a 4 wheeler being driven by your 13 year old son is heart warming and incredibly sad all at the same time.
13. When you shorten your work schedule, it forces you to get more focused and get more done in less time.

What did you learn this summer?  Post your comments!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I have Unleashed the Beast

Aren't we flattered when our kids take on our interests?  There's a part of us all as parents that want a "mini me" from our kids. It validates us a bit, doesn't it?

Until we unleash the beast.

Sunday night I didn't sleep at all.  Okay maybe 30 minutes at a time but not much else. Why?  Because I was re-arranging furniture and decorating in my head all night.  Ridiculous. I had been with my cousin antiquing and junking all day on Saturday kicking up inspiration and then my favorite decorating magazine came on Sunday and that super charged my ideas and by Sunday night I was a crazed maniac ready to stalk Nate Berkus for some help. I finally pulled out my journal and tried to scribble my ideas quickly to a tangible state to let my tiny little mind get some rest.

I limped through my job all day on Monday with the look of a dazed no sleep stupor.  I picked up my girl Monday evening to buy school supplies and on the way home decided to throw out an idea to her.  Hey, I said, trying not to sound too excited about my idea as to not trigger her growing apathy for anything I get excited about.  "Would you like to re-do your room for your birthday present?"

Slowly I looked in the rear view mirror for the response.  Would it be the almost 10 year old practicing of the pre-teen angst with that wrinkling of the nose, squinting of the eyes, followed by the articulate, "nah". Or would I get my sweet baby girl who still loves her mama and thinks I'm pretty cool?

I saw a twinkle in her eye and a simple, "really?" with quiet anticipation about what re-do really meant.

When I explained that we could actually paint and buy new bedding and truly change her room, I saw a fire ignite that I knew I would not be able to put out for weeks.  I had unleashed the beast.

She began to talk fast with ideas racing and thoughts about how she would move out of the house for a few days while we finished and then she'd come back in with a blindfold and see "the big reveal".  She was now almost salivating, "you know mom, like Nate Berkus and Oprah do".  I replied, "Of course we can blindfold you."

The questions and ideas raced for 20 more minutes as we drove home. Some were scaring the bajezus out of me and some were unbelievably good.  Once home she started talking at this same pace at her father about this plan.  He was dazed and confused and saw nothing at all wrong with the brown wall and polka dots I had paid to have done three years ago when we moved in.  He's not quite up on the "we get bored quickly" status of a decorators heart.  I tried to interject between color schemes and furniture lay out that I had unleashed this beast as part of the birthday plan.  He just looked at me with the eyes of a dad that is once again clueless to the workings of a female brain.  He's grown accustomed to this finally, so after a couple, "why do you need to change your room" questions, he caved into his silence of smiling and not really listening.

Exasperated that we weren't really understanding her full vision for the project, she went to the next best thing that talking fast couldn't conquer, drawing.  She sketched and papers were flying and she was still talking fast.  Once I could see the ideas in full color of highlighter pink and yellow I decided she might need some inspiration that wasn't so "custom" (read expensive) so I logged on to the Pottery Barn teen sale and good 'ole Target'. But her idea had already started to crystallize and she was not looking at inspiration, she was looking for the actualization for what she had already created in her mind. I can't tell you how many times I've gone looking for my idea that was brilliant in my brain and didn't exist even on ebay. Poor girl, she has it bad. Just like her mother.

I was starting to fade fast from my no sleep frenzy the night prior and now I was caught up in the same frenzy handed down to my little girl.  Once while online she caught me on Facebook and "screamed" -----GET OFF FACEBOOK AND LOOK FOR MY BEDDING!  I glanced over at her with the mom look that said, "get a grip little girl or this design party is over". She backed down a bit with a shy embarrassed smile and simply showed me a little number she had found on the iPad trying to get herself off my hook. Apparently decorator addiction carries some of the same unsavory outbursts as crack. At one point she requested hardwood floors. We had to talk about budget and expectations.

Finally in a sigh of exhaustion I went to bed and left her with her dad to dwindle down the frenzy.  I awoke this morning to an exhausted girl sleeping on the couch surrounded by design ideas.  Just where I had woken the morning before.

Yes, my friends, I have unleashed the beast. My own little mini-me beast. It might be a good time to buy stock in Lowes or Pottery Barn. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What do you want to be known for?

Here's a couple of questions to ponder.

How do you get attention?

For some it's their mad fashion, or their quick wit. There's a whole list of possibilities of how you get attention.  You may not even been aware of it.

Some get attention by stomping their feet and demanding it.  Anyone that's been around a toddler has experienced this.  I also know grown men that still use this approach. They're not nearly as cute at forty-five when they're throwing their tantrums, but it still gets attention.

Some pout and sniff and showcase their pitiful-ness. Another toddler approach that can sometimes linger for a lifetime.

Some have the "problem of the week" that they throw out to their friends, family, neighbors, and the UPS man.  Oh my, what should I do. Help me. I just don't know. *insert the wringing of hands and stress induced fatigue*

There's a whole host of reasons that people continue to not so attractive things to get attention. Mainly, for many..... it works.     For awhile.

Our friends and neighbors and the UPS man all have good intentions and want to see you happy. But everyone has their limits. You may have pushed theirs.  But, it still answers the question .....How do you get attention.

Which brings me to the next question......

What do you want to be known for?

Most people will say something like....I want to be known as a kind person, or someone that served others. Or some may want to be known for their mad fashion and their quick wit.

I don't know anyone that wants to be known for their pitiful-ness, or their temper, or their food addiction, or their agony or their stress.

I ask these questions today because the clock is ticking.  If what you do to get attention isn't lining up with what you want to be known for, well ...

I don't have any idea how many days you and I have left to get those two things lined up.

I did just hear a series of sirens while I was typing this post so there is a chance that someone out there today has already ran out of time. I hope their two questions lined up.

So you have today to take a little inventory and decide how far apart yours are.  Here are my recommendations on how to get a little closer.

1. Start today, not tomorrow, or next week. Today.
2. Decide.  There's so much power in personal decision. Don't wait for permission, take action.
3. Pray.  Nothing fancy. Something like this..... Dear Lord, I've decided to do things differently and I need your help. Please help me become more ________________.  Then fill in the blank with the statement of what you want to be known for.  And, Dear Lord, please take over my anger, my pitiful-ness, or whatever is holding you back.
4. Repeat Daily.

Sure there's a host of other things you can and will likely want to do but that's a great start.