Month: January 2015

I’ve Run Out of Cunning Conversation Changers

Do you ever ignore what you know is coming next?  Just sort of pretend that the inevitable can be avoided?  Put it out of your mind?  Smile politely whenever someone mentions it and then cunningly change the subject?

Or is that just my thing?

I’ve been ignoring my youngest daughter for quite awhile now.  Not ignoring her completely, of course.  Just ignoring her affection for her after-school activity.  Ignoring her desire to continuously stand on her head and her passion for tumbling across the floor.  Ignoring her love of gymnastics.

Today I ran out of cunning conversation changers.

Today I reluctantly gave in to my daughter’s pleas for time alone with her coach;  time to begin perfecting her skills. Time to usher in the inevitable change that I’ve been trying to avoid.  Today I opened the floodgates that will undoubtedly transform this after-school activity into a big ol’ time suck.  Ooops.  I meant to say, transform this after-school activity into a healthy and disciplined approach to a sport that she loves. 

Ugh.

I do wish that I had come up with a couple more cunning conversation changers, but I must admit that I was unexpectedly delighted by the sight of my daughter this afternoon.  She was glowing – exuding pure happiness while working hard to get every move just right.  Don’t tell her, but it did make me just a tiny bit happy.

 

I Could Be Your Mother. Yep, That’s Right.

Earlier today I was sitting in a meeting with a woman named Susan.  Susan and I are around the same age.  Her children are a bit older than mine, but we are certainly generationally equivalent.  She was disappointed to learn that her counterpart, who she had been looking forward to meeting, cancelled out on the meeting at the last minute.

“Do you think I’ll ever get to meet her?” she asked.

“I hope so,” I started.  “She’s young and possibly a bit overcommitted.”

“How young?”  Susan asked.

“In her early twenties.”

“Oh!” Susan swung her head back dramatically.  “She’s not a woman.  She’s a girl!”

I laughed at her response.  It seemed a bit of an overreaction.  “She’s got great perspective,” I assured her.

“I could be her mother!”  Susan couldn’t seem to get beyond her age.

Again, I laughed believing she was overreacting just a tiny bit.  But she continued on.  “Really,” she was adamant now.  “I could literally be her mother….”  She rambled on for quite a bit but, with that last comment, I had already escaped to my own head and thoughts.  I was counting backwards, wondering if she could possibly be right.  Could Susan be her mother?  And, if so, did that mean that I could be her mother?

Oh dear.

I returned home with the realization that I was somehow old enough to be the mother of a 20 year old.  A 20 year old.  The thought lingered, taking up too much space in my brain.  Looking to drown my new-found sorrows, I turned my attention to (what else?) Facebook.  Something silly, ridiculous or hilarious had to be posted there.  Surely that would help to distract me from this stunning discovery.

That’s when I saw it.  A post from a childhood friend.  A childhood friend that I started kindergarten with and eventually graduated high school with.  I couldn’t believe what I was reading.  I rubbed my eyes and read it again.  ‘Happy 20th birthday to my son,’ it read.

Ouch.

I pouted for a bit after that, but then I remembered a conversation I had with my husband just the other night.  He watched me curl up under a blanket with my fleece pajamas and he laughed.  “You’re just happy to be getting old, aren’t you?”

I didn’t hesitate when shaking my head yes.  I do like getting older. I do like feeling comfortable and cozy in my own world – my own life.  I don’t want to be 20 again.

Oh good God, I definitely don’t want to be 20 again. 

As it turns out, I’m pretty happy being mature enough to be the mother of a 20 year old.  That must mean I’m entering the wise years.  Yep, that’s right.  The wise years.

**Happy, satisfied grin**

School Closings and Such: Now I Know

WordPress, the wonderful host of my daily blog, does more than provide me with a space to write and save my thoughts.  They crunch the numbers and tally the statistics.  They track the number of people who visit my site, how those people found me and even what country those people live in.  It’s kinda cool and yet, on some level, it’s also kinda creepy.

A bit George Orwell-ish if you ask me.

Disturbing similarities to 1984 aside, I was delighted to receive my ‘Year in Review’ from the geniuses behind WordPress earlier this month.  The simple report served as a statistical look back at my first year as a blogger and, as I began to read through it, I found myself sitting squarely in the land of mixed emotions.

The narcissist in me was delighted by the fact that there were nearly 10,000 visitors to my site in 2014.  Ten thousand.  Wait, wait, wait.  Let me say that again.  TEN THOUSAND.  For a first-time blogger with a passion and a crazy idea to write an essay every day for 365 days, this was big news.  I smiled and gave myself a pat on the back……. and then I read on.

The most popular post – the one that traveled the farthest and the one that was viewed by the largest number of people – was titled School Closings and Such.

The narcissist in me gave way to my inner optimist.  How wonderful, I thought to myself.  So many people cared so much about our tiny, little school; so many people were heartbroken by the mere thought of our sweet community being divided.  So many people needed to read and share and relate to the sentiment that I was desperately trying to write about.  How wonderful.

Right?

That was when my inner pessimist reared her ugly head.  I began questioning the motives behind the popularity of this post.  I wondered if caring really had anything to do with the number of times the post was read and shared.  I wondered who was reading it and why they were so interested.  I wondered if their intentions were good and I wondered what dirt that might be looking for.

I don’t care to visit this dark side too often.

Truth is, I don’t know why people chose to read and share that particular post.  Whatever their reasons, I’m glad that they stopped by.  I’m glad that I was able to share what was happening and how I was feeling at that very moment in time.  And I’m glad that I have the opportunity to look back on it now with some perspective because now I know.

Now I know that my kids will be happy wherever they land, because they will always be surrounded by people who are invested in their happiness.  I know, because I will always invest in their happiness.

The Right-ness Of It All

“Life can change in an instant.”  That sounds so trite, so cliche, but it’s hard to find words that say it any better.  Every minute, every second, every instant changes something.

Just last week I was thinking about all of this.  Thinking about how the new year seemed to start on a high note.  Thinking about all of the plans already on the books for 2015 and the orderly, strategic direction that life suddenly seemed to be taking.  I was basking in it, but only tentatively.  I knew that things didn’t feel this right three weeks ago and so that meant that the right-ness might be fleeting.  Things might be right on January 18th and all wrong on January 19th.

Does that make sense?

Two days ago, I got an email that I thought might change the right-ness of my new year.  I thought that I had hit a glitch in my new-found orderly and strategic life direction.  It was nice while it lasted, I thought.  Now what?

And then another email popped up in my inbox late this afternoon.  Just kidding, it seemed to say.  Go on with your right-ness and enjoy it while it lasts.

I intend to – happily – do just that. 🙂

Well, That Was a Bust

20150127-214038-78038040.jpgRoads were closed, schools were closed, mass transit was closed, New York City was closed….. and yet the ‘storm of the century’ blew through with barely a wind gust.

The job security enjoyed by meteorologists seems highly suspicious.

The rescheduling of life based on this lackluster forecast had my knickers in a twist earlier today.  I had plans, big plans that were expected to bring about good things, great things.  I had people to see, places to be and things to do.  I had a calendar full of ‘to do’s.’  And then one slip of the tongue by some guy at the National Weather Service and BAM!  My plans were carried away on a light wind, mixed with a few snow flurries.

With school out early and every one of my offices in the Northeast corridor closed for the day, I woke up expecting an unproductive day.  Not so.  The kids found their way out into the snow and then invited themselves over to a neighbor’s house for movie time.  Suddenly, I found myself with time.  Quiet, unexpected, productive time.

Maybe the storm of the century wasn’t such a bust after all.

The Orderly, Systematic Approach

My youngest daughter has a….what shall we call it?  A meticulous way about her.  She prefers order, structure and uniformity in life and she is not shy about taking the initiative when it comes to creating that order, structure and uniformity.

She makes life interesting.

She’s always been this way.  As a toddler, she never took her favorite stuffed animal out of her crib because it wasn’t safe for a giraffe on the outside.  She didn’t play with her special toys because they might break or, worse, get lost.  Instead she would hide her toys in the depths of her dresser drawer, visiting with them on occasion – but only briefly and only when no one else was looking.

These days, her backpack has a designated space for her water bottle – and only her water bottle.  She does not, under any circumstances, take snacks to school in her lunch box.  Her lunch box is for lunch only.  And her favorite stuffed giraffe – still as immaculate as the day she got it – has yet to leave the confines of her sleeping area.

20150126-210849-76129528.jpgOh, and there’s one other thing:  her ongoing obsessive maneuvering of these cars.

This enthusiastic approach to playing with Hot Wheels might be considered unusual by some, but it’s par for the course in our house.  This ordered line-up of cars can be found decorating the floor of our family room on any given day that has just a little bit of down-time in it.  Every car moves systematically through the line-up:  cars at the rear drive up the center lane searching for their rightful space in front.  Once properly parked, the next car at the rear of the line moves along in the same way.  It goes on and on.

There hasn’t been much down time in our house lately, but that all changed with the threat of a blizzard in the forecast.  With school out early and all activities canceled, my little one took to her orderly activity once again.  She started this systematic car parking game at 6pm this evening.

Is it weird that her orderly, systematic approach to car parking makes me happy?

Every Swimmer Has Her Day

Just like every dog has his day, so too does every swimmer.

Unfortunately, today was not our swimmer’s day.

After somehow convincing my parents, my sister and my brother-in-law to make the 2 hour trek to cheer her on, my daughter fell victim to her nerves while swimming in her first meet of 2015 this afternoon.  It was a rough one.  Her first event set the tone with an unfortunate disqualification – the collective groan that escaped her coaches and I could be heard ’round the deck.

Recovery was difficult after that.  I knew it would be.  My daughter’s greatest adversary is her own wild and unforgiving mind.  She began texting me from her classroom holding area, “I got disqualified.  I was really worried and I don’t know why.  Can you come down?”  Of course I ran to catch up with her, anticipating the flood of tears that awaited me when I found her sulking alone.  I had only a minute to talk her off the ledge – encourage her to refocus – before her coach swooped in and whisked her off to her next event.  It should have been an easy second event.  It should have been a great ego-booster, but it wasn’t.  Instead of shedding seconds off of her time, she added seconds to it.  Ugh.  She was struggling to shake off her nerves.

Fortunately (I suppose) today’s meet was a (really) long one, giving my daughter plenty of time to work through her nerves and settle her mind.  It was her third event that finally saw some of that nervous energy dissipate.  She managed to shave 12 seconds off of her stroke, giving her a personal best that she was not expecting. Still dripping, my daughter and her ear-to-ear grin scurried up into the bleachers to find us and share her excitement.

Big sigh of relief.

Her nerves finally in check and a solid swim to show for it, my daughter happily bid farewell to this day and to her adoring fans….and now I will happily do the same.  Goodnight.