Month: June 2014

Tornadoes

Me:  “I’m tired.  Can you drive home?”

A:  “I can’t reach the pedals.  Why are you so tired?”

Me:  “I didn’t sleep well last night.  I had a terrible dream.”

A:  “About what?”

Me:  “There was a tornado.  I saw it out the window and I knew it was coming directly at us.  I was running around trying to find you guys so that we could hide.  It was horrible.”

A:  “That’s a bad dream.  I always climb into bed with you when I have a dream like that.  Why didn’t you come in my bed?”

Me (heart melting):  “That’s so sweet.”

Long thoughtful pause.

Me:  “Maybe next time you have a bad dream like that you should try my approach and stay in your own bed.”

It’s possible I won’t be taking home the ‘Mother of the Year’ award.

Home

I’m sitting in my childhood bedroom writing this. My girls are fast asleep around me and my dog is sitting at my feet. I can’t help thinking about sleeping in this same bedroom, years ago, with my two sisters flanking me, my childhood dog at my feet.

Funny how far you come but how little things really change.

Being ‘home’ always feels comfortable. It’s a place that I love to visit, a place I always feel welcome, a place I always feel loved. It’s a place that always gives me perspective – a place I’ll always need in my life.

My old home is a nice place to fall on occasion, that’s for sure. But I sure am happy that I have a home all my own to go back to when my visit is over.

Lucky Little Beasts

If the last two days are any indication of the summer ahead, my kids are lucky little beasts.

It feels as though a lifetime of memories has been made in the last 24 hours.  From a giant neighborhood water gun fight to late night swims to pool days with friends to a night of art, ice cream and just plain fun.  They are sleeping well this week.

Can we bottle this happiness somehow?

 

 

 

You Are Youer Than You: A Letter to My Daughter

To Our Little Monkey,

I can hardly believe that today is your last day of elementary school.  You’re moving up, moving on, spreading your wings – you are ready to fly.

Before you take flight, I hope you’ll take some time to read this.  I hope you’ll keep it someplace safe so that, when you need to, you can read it again because you will need to read it again.  This letter has been days, months, years in the making.  There is so much I want to say, so much wisdom I want to impart – I’m not sure I even know where to begin.  I think I’ll start with something simple.

We love you.  That is the simplest but most important thing you’ll ever need to know.  We love you completely and unconditionally and when life seems complicated and uncertain, when everything else seems to be changing and you’re feeling unsure, this is the one thing that will remain constant.  This is the one thing you can always count on.  We love you.  Period.

Next up, you’re going to make mistakes.  Notice that I didn’t say you might make mistakes.  There is simply no question about it – you are going to make mistakes.  That’s just a natural part of life – a part of learning and growing.  A part of being human.  We all make mistakes.  Take responsibility for those mistakes.  Wait.  Let me repeat that.  Take responsibility for every one of your mistakes.  Do it.  Trust me on this one.  Even when you think you should cover up your mistake, hide it, blame it on someone else – don’t do it!  Take responsibility, own it, learn from it and find a way to move on.  You will love yourself more for having done the right thing….and the people around you will too.  Don’t forget this one.

Be brave.  Sometimes the world will be difficult to navigate.  Sometimes you’ll have me or Dad or Audrey to help you along.  Sometimes you’ll have a friend that stands by your side.  And sometimes, well sometimes, you’ll need to navigate those difficult parts of life all on your own.  That can be hard.  These moments will require you to be brave.  These moments will help you find the strength you didn’t know you had and the voice you thought escaped you.  In these moments, remember this one very important thing – this too shall pass.  Life is a continuous journey of highs and lows, good times and bad.  The bad times will pass.  They will be replaced by good times.  In the meantime, be brave, be patient, hold on, have faith and remember….we love you.

Be kind.  There is a wonderful saying that goes something like this – everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Be kind.  Always.  Live by this rule.  It will satisfy your heart and it will make the world a better place.

Be a friend. Remember, friends are the family you choose for yourself.  Choose wisely.  Choose friends who love you for you, choose friends who consider your feelings, understand your heart and who inspire you to be your best self.  Recognize the good friends you’ve already surrounded yourself with and remind yourself often that there is always room for a new friend.  Don’t shut anyone out.  And remember this too:  a good girl friend will get you through some of the toughest parts of your life and a good boy friend will offer you a perspective you might not otherwise consider.  Boys think differently than we do – they just do.  It will get harder as you get older, but keep a few good ones around.  They have wisdom to share.  Listen.

Work hard.  Work hard at school, work hard at art, at swim, at being kind, at being brave, at being a good friend.  Just work hard.  Hard work pays off in dividends.  Give life everything you have and life will give you everything you need.

Embrace your past.  There is a certain comfort that comes with a shared history.  There’s an easy familiarity, an understanding of where you’ve been and how you’ve come to be.  Embrace that.  History is important.  But, never lose sight of your future.  Remember that your past has given you roots and your future will help you fly.  Spread your wings!

Finally, be patient.  Be patient with yourself and, please, be patient with me.  We’re both new at this – let’s take it slow.  Let’s remember that we are both going to make mistakes, we are both going to get angry, we are both going to cry and, hopefully, we are both going to laugh…a lot.  Let’s promise right now to be patient with each other.  Please?

This is simply the start of your journey – the first step in the odyssey that will be your life.  There is a great, big world waiting for you – waiting for your talent, your kindness, your free spirit.  The world needs you.  Don’t ever forget that.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss

I want to tattoo this on your arm.  I want you to look at it and read it and be reminded of it every day.  I want you to remember that you are one-of-a-kind, an original work of art – a Picasso, a Van Gogh, a Monet.  You are spectacular and there is no one else on this planet who can give the world exactly what you can.  Be brilliant.  Be you.  Every.  Single.  Day.

We love you.

 

She Did It!

The ceremonies and celebrations seem endless.  This is elementary school graduation?  What happens in high school?  College?  Graduate school?  Dare I even envision medical school?

I’m partied out.

I suspect it’s not the parties that have taken their toll.  More likely, it’s the roller coaster of unexpected emotions that have exhausted my mind.

Today should have been simple:  the commencement of D.A.R.E.  A ceremony to celebrate all that these kids have learned about navigating the difficult terrain of peer pressure and bullying.  In truth, I expected to sit this one out.  I expected the day off, but that wasn’t in my cards.  You see, my daughter – the one who becomes unhinged at the mere thought of walking across a stage – was one of four students chosen to read her essay at today’s ceremony.

She wasn’t as delighted as I was about the honor.

I find fewer and fewer moments in my own life that cause my palms to sweat and my heart to race.  Now it’s my children’s lives that cause me angst.  My heart started racing as the kids walked in.  My palms began to sweat when the police officer explained that 4 students had been chosen to read.  I felt physically sick – a lump in my throat, a knot in my stomach.  Was I going to throw up?  Oh God, please don’t let me throw up – or, worse still, don’t let me pass out right there on the cafeteria floor.

Her name was announced.  Nothing.  She didn’t stand.  She didn’t run.  She just did nothing……but that was probably only for a second.  In my sweaty palmed world though, it seemed like hours.  Finally, she stood and walked to the microphone.  She read her essay – quietly – but she read it.  Out loud.  In front of an audience of people.  She did it!

When all was said and done, she found me and sat next to me and she cried.  My poor girl.  She must have felt the weight of the world collapse onto her shoulders.  That was her worst fear come to life.  I reminded her that it was over, that she had done it, that she should be so proud, that I was so proud.  She just needed a good cry.  I get that.

But, she did it!  She held it together, she got through it and she did it.

Can we move on to middle school now?