Month: November 2014

Unscripted Encounters

I like making plans with friends.  It’s my something to look forward to after a long week or, when we’re lucky, a great midweek escape from the mundane.  But sometimes I forget to make plans.  Sometimes life gets busy and schedules fill up and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day, the week, the month for plans. 

That’s when unscripted encounters come in handy.  

Tonight we went out to celebrate my husband’s birthday as a family of four and ended up celebrating as a party of nine.  We were surprised by a chance encounter with friends, quickly combined tables and immediately shared in the excitement of three boys anticipating the arrival of their Christmas wish….a puppy!

This unscripted encounter certainly made my whole family quite happy.  We’re already looking forward to our planned meeting of their new puppy.  I think his name will be Riley. 🙂

#TopThat

20141130-000504-304674.jpgI came across an online article earlier today that alleged a Guinness World Record had been broken right here, in my own backyard.  Now, I don’t typically get caught up in record-breakers because, quite often, I find that the records are a bit peculiar.  I mean, in all seriousness, how does one recognize their talent to lift a table with only their teeth or their ability to squirt milk a substantial distance….from their eye.  Quite honestly, the Guinness Book of World Records seems to reveal only one astounding thing:  there are a whole lot of people out there with waaaay too much time on their hands.  

But, today I became intrigued.  Today I packed my family up at dusk and took a 30 minute drive to find out if the rumors were true.  Today we went hunting for a holiday light display – but not just any holiday light display.  We went hunting for the largest residential holiday light display in the world.  The world!  The whole, humungous, gigantic, round WORLD!  Of course, I doubted it was true.  How was it possible that of all the houses in all the world, the one with a record-breaking light display might be in my very own backyard?

I love Christmas almost as much as I love Halloween so I had to try hard to quell my excitement at the mere thought.

There were no street lights. and barely a porch light, leading the way to the alleged display.  It seemed endlessly dark – no twinkling lights anywhere to be seen until…..

“Whoa!” my youngest daughter shouted.

“Oh my gosh!” the oldest chimed in.

There it was.  The Christmas light display to rival all other light displays.  It really was right here.  In my own backyard.  Wow.  #TopThat.

Do-Over Moments

I sat down with my girls to watch Maleficent tonight and quickly found myself relating to the wickedly loveable main character.  It was her deep regret of the irreversible spell she cast – the decision she made in anger – that made my heart bleed for her.  I understood the feeling all too well; the desperate wish to alter time, to shout “do over,” and immediately be granted the chance to have that moment back.  But it seems that, even in fairy tales, there are no do-overs, no one ever gets that moment back.

I suppose that I am one of the lucky few – I don’t carry a long list of do over moments in my emotional parenting baggage, because I typically stay true to two parenting rules:

      1.  Never make a parenting decision (or any other decision) based on fear or anger
      2.  Never interfere with a child’s (or any person’s) natural progression of thoughts, beliefs, feelings or knowledge – everyone  comes to their own reality in their own time

But I strayed from those golden rules this week and was immediately rewarded with my very own wish for a do over moment.

You see, I shared the secret of Santa with my oldest daughter this week.  It was a decision I made out of fear;  fear of someone else telling her or fear of her anger towards me if I didn’t tell her.  And, worse still, it was a decision I made without regard for my daughter’s place in time;  her thoughts, beliefs, feelings about the magic of Christmas in that moment.  It was a decision that I immediately regretted – one that I couldn’t take back.  We don’t get moments back.

I suppose that this doesn’t sound like a very happy post tonight….wait for it.

There are teaching moments in life.  This was one of them.  I could certainly wallow in my regret of the decision that I made.  I could continue to wish for a do over but, that would be a waste of more moments that I’ll never get back.  I don’t like wasting moments.  And I certainly don’t like wasting holiday moments.

20141128-234833-85713149.jpgSo, this Thanksgiving week, I made the decision to leave for my parents early – ahead of the impending storm that threatened our plans.  I made the decision to spend Thanksgiving eve with my daughters and 20141128-234835-85715123.jpgwith my parents, hulled up in their house cooking potatoes and cooling chocolate.  I made the decision to wake my girls up early on Thanksgiving morning so that we could run in the Turkey Trot with my brother.  We don’t normally get to see him  on Thanksgiving.  And I made the decision to invite my girlfriend and her family along for the run.  This may turn into a new family-friend tradition.  And, finally, I made the decision to allow my oldest daughter to help with the arrival of her Grandma and Grandpa’s elf-on-the-shelf, Henry, and that of our own elf, Annie.  She is embracing her new role as Santa’s Helper.  

20141128-235353-86033627.jpgThese are the week’s decisions – moments – that are now our Thanksgiving memory.  And so, tonight, I’m happy to have a whole list of moments that I’d like to do over for all the right reasons.

Decisions. Decisions.

So here it is, 48 hours ’til Thanksgiving day, and I’m obsessively watching the ever-changing weather reports that will dictate my plan of action.  Should I stay?  If I stay, what kind of sad Thanksgiving will this be?  Should I go?  If I go, when should I leave to avoid the traffic and the danger of bad weather?

Decisions.  Decisions.

If we stay…..

Tuesday:  I’ll curl up on the couch with my girls tonight and watch Elf because that’s our favorite holiday movie and it’s time to start fa-la-la-ing.

Wednesday:  We’ll be able to try out our new winter coats and gloves and snow pants on Wednesday.  We’ll be able to build a snowman and I can keep all of the special chocolates I was in charge of making for Thanksgiving.  That last point may tip the scales in favor of staying.

Thursday:  We’ll sleep in and stay in our pajamas all Thanksgiving day.  We’ll build a fire and roast marshmallows and maybe we’ll eat s’mores for dinner.  And then we’ll watch Elf again.  That sounds cozy.

If we go….

Tuesday:  I’ll try to find some Thanksgiving music to play on our road trip because, as my youngest pointed out just the other day, everyone always forgets about Thanksgiving.  “When I grow up and own my own store,” she said, “I’m only going to play Thanksgiving music.  I’ll play Christmas music only when it’s time for Christmas.”  I love her thinking, but is there such a thing as Thanksgiving music?

Wednesday:  We’ll get to spend a cold, blustery day inside at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  The girls will help cook up some delicious Thanksgiving fare and I’ll even let them taste test a chocolate or two.

Thursday:  We’ll wake up early, meet up with my brother and with some friends and we’ll head out for our very first Turkey Trot.  We’ll run in the cold and we’ll work up our appetites and then we’ll all head to my sister’s in hopes that she’s a better cook than me. 🙂

It occurs to me now that, whatever we decide, we are lucky and we are blessed and, wherever we are, we will be happy.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good week!

 

 

Reminders

I keep circling back to this new blog I began following recently.  Finding balance in a world of extremes is the tagline and, for some reason, the writer’s thoughts immediately resonated with me.  The tagline alone drew me in;  it could be the title to so many of my posts – especially the one I feel brewing tonight.

Tonight, my oldest daughter came out of her room to curl up next to me for a brief while.  She didn’t say much.  She simply reminded me of the great, big heart that it seems she was just born with, her dreamy, free spirit and her wildly wonderful imagination.  That is who she is.  That is what makes her spectacular.  That is what makes her…..her.

I needed to be reminded of that today.  Because, sometimes – just sometimes – I try to balance her magical spirit when, what I really should be doing, is embracing it.  I’m happy to have this reminder today.

Insta-Madness on Sunday Fun Day

20141123-214034-78034720.jpgMy oldest daughter earned the right to her own Instagram account last week with her achievement of high honors in her first semester of middle school.  I’m still not certain that this was our wisest parenting decision but, she is the oldest and, therefore, the experimental child.

We’ve placed her in a petri dish and we’re waiting to see what grows.

This afternoon I had the rare opportunity to spend some alone time with my oldest.  We did a little shopping, had a little heart-to-heart and went out for a late lunch.  We acted silly, “We’re like a comedy routine,” my daughter declared after realizing that multiple shoppers were staring at us.  It’s possible that not a single soul within 500 yards of us would take us seriously after watching our photo shoot with the store mannequins.  I blame that on Instagram.

“It’s part of the instagram mall treasure hunt,” my daughter explained.  Having no experience (or interest) in instagram-ing, I had to take her word for it.  I have no idea how an instagram treasure hunt works or what else might be on that treasure hunt list but, truth be told, I was happy to follow her lead.  It made our day that much more fun and silly and carefree.

Yep, a little insta-madness on our very own Sunday fun day was just what we (I) needed today.

 

The Family That Runs Together….

20141122-175920-64760470.jpgLast month my brother asked my girls and I to join him at the annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.  I think he was under the false impression that recruiting us would convince his own family to run with him.  It didn’t.  But, it did convince my girlfriend to join us.  Wait.  Let me rephrase that.  It did convince my girlfriend to register her kids to run with us while she sits on the sidelines sipping champagne.  I think I got the short end of that stick.

Anyway, my girls have been super excited about the upcoming race and, today, they asked if they could run along with me in an effort to gear up for the big 1.4 mile run.  Initially I had mixed feelings about taking them along.  You see, sometimes I run to get away from them and their constant bickering.  Call me a bad mom if you must but it’s quite possible that running is the only thing that saves them from my occasional wrath.

Seeing that it was a beautiful day and appreciating the fact that they had put in their fair share of house cleaning this morning, I finally agreed to let them tag along.  I wasn’t convinced that they’d make it a full block, but they quickly proved me wrong.  They took the lead early on and immediately forced me to admit that there was a substantial age (and, possibly, agility) difference between us.  Ho-hum.  

They kept an impressive pace……until they decided they were done.  I should have seen that coming.  

“Can you go get me a stroller?” was my little one’s request.  “Can’t I just lay here,” was the request that came from my older daughter as she lay face down in the grass.

Eventually, the little one convinced the big one to give her a piggyback ride.  That lasted only about a minute before they began bickering and trying to kick each others legs out from underneath them.  That’s when I left them and ran ahead.  That made me happy.

I just might be sipping champagne on the sidelines with my girlfriend this Thanksgiving.