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Kiss and Tell January 15, 2009

Filed under: Parenting — mrshappiness @ 6:37 am
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Have you ever had a moment that you completely do not remember and wish more than anything in the world that those that “do” would kindly forget? Until very recently I did not. I cannot tell you whether that is because I had forgotten, or I had just been lucky enough all of these years to have friends that were more absent minded than I or just kind enough to act that way. Whatever the reason, it really doesn’t matter because now I have children and they neither forget or kindly let you think they did.

It all started with my inability to sleep. I can spend hours staring at the ceiling, watching the clock and wishing that I will count my last sheep. Unfortunately the sheep keep on coming and the sleep never sets in.

When my doctor became concerned with my healing after surgery, he thought it would be best if I took something to help me sleep. After years of poor sleeping and a week of sleepless nights, a bit of help sounded like a great idea. Ambien was to be my new friend and I its new partner and together the two of us would fall fast asleep.

I must admit, I have never slept and felt as great as I did these past couple of months. What a difference a restful night makes; or so I thought…….

Several weeks after taking Ambien, my daughter and I had an odd exchange of words. She is 8, smart, funny and quite the little devil. So when she laughingly teased me I didn’t think much of it, until I spoke to her father.

My daughter came into the kitchen with a devilish grin lips purced and eyes twinkling with mischief. She tilted her head looked up at me and began kissing the air making smooching noises ranting the phrase “kiss me kiss me oohhh ooohh  mommy wanted to kiss daddy”. As I brushed the top of her head with my hand and quickly brushed her off along with the nonsense she was spilling. “What are you going on about”  I asked as she laughed out loud taunting me with her laughter. She then stopped, looked at me and said “why did you want to kiss daddy so bad?” “Kiss me kiss me” she continued to sing. After a few seconds I told her to stop and then reminded her that “she” was crazy because I did not go to bed with daddy. As a matter of fact, I pointed out, she and daddy were asleep before I ever went to bed because I was in the other room exercising.  I then reminded her that she somehow was in my room on my floor and that…… Yes “that” you see is where I remember no more. I stood for a moment and realized I did not remember finishing my exercises, or getting in to my bed. I did not remember how my daughter got into my room but woke in the early morning to find she had slept on my floor and not in her room. Hmmmm, it felt odd, not being able to piece the night together, but never in my wildest thoughts did what happened next ever cross my mind.

Later that day I brought my daughters comments up to my husband. He stopped and looked at me and set down what he was working on. He simply looked at me and spoke one word, ‘YES’. ‘Yes’ he said again, she is right. She is telling the truth, don’t you remember????? I must say coming from a woman who usually has it pretty together, this was not a yes I wanted to hear. Not because I cant fathom the possibility of kissing my husband but because there is not one moment of it that I remember.

I stopped what I was doing and walked toward him, half laughing and half “not”! What do you mean? I did what?  What? Are you kidding?  I think was all of the intelligent response I could muster up as I listened to my husband retell my night. The night I had forgotten.

Here is how I heard it:

When I got to bed I asked him to kiss me goodnight. Demanded is probably more like it. This would not normally be an issue but he was asleep and apparently unresponsive so me being resourceful went and found myself reinforcements, one small eight year old sleeping soldier that I drafted to fight for my honor. Yep, I woke my 8 year old daughter and asked her to tell daddy to wake up and give me a kiss goodnight.  As if I were also 8 and needed my girlfriend to make this little boy “pony up” I made her fight my battle. According to her dad, this is as she pleaded with me to let her go back to sleep cuz it was the middle of the night and she was tired. Little did she know that I did not care! Nope, I really just wanted a kiss goodnight. Once I had what I wanted all would be right with the world, but until then, no sleep, for anyone.

Oh yes, this is one of my proudest mother moments. One that I have already forgotten and will always regret. A night that to my husbands disappointment was unplanned, unimaginable and unlikely to ever occur again!

So my friend Ambien will have to go it alone and me I am back to counting sheep. And my daughter, well we are square. I apologized for accusing her of lying and she got to share the story with her brother and sister at dinner. Oh yeah!!!! With my luck she has also told her teachers, best friend, Sunday school teacher and the local PTA.



From the mouths of babes December 29, 2008

Filed under: Parenting — mrshappiness @ 11:42 pm

Today marks one week since my daughter has returned. The transition has been difficult for each one of us. It is strange bringing someone back into your life that has been so much of an outsider for such a long period of time. Although she calls me mother and she is my daughter, we are more like strangers than we would care to admit.

Sarah is quiet, uninviting, and incapable of interacting in just basic casual conversation.

As I think of her struggle to absorb all that has changed, learn each family members quirks and differences and find her way to become part of this tribe, I find myself comparing it to that of a newborn child.

As infants we do not speak. We rely soley on our parents to feed us, bathe us and provide us with all of our basic human needs. They do all of this as we sit back and do nothing but absorb. We take in all that life has to offer, we learn the voices, likes and dislikes of those around us. We learn what foods we love and those that we hate and do all of this without uttering a single solitary audible word. We make noise, cry, groan and complain, but we are not expected to offer up meaningful conversation. Quite the opposite is true for when our first single, one syllable word is spoken, the crowds applaud, the sky opens up and God himself seems to come down to sing our praise.

My daughter is much like an infant but in a 16 year old body. She does not have the benefit of being adorable just for rolling over, belting out a Dada or eating her first bite of “real” food. The world she faces is much less forgiving, a lot more demanding and waiting to see what she has to offer.

I will do my best to remind myself of this as she stands by watching me pay bills, stands over me mopping the floors and stares me down at dinner. She is a baby in an overgrown body and I her teacher dressed up as a mom.


A Recipe for Life November 22, 2008

Filed under: Parenting,Uncategorized — mrshappiness @ 7:00 pm
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As some of you may have read in an earlier post, I have been off work lately. This rare freedom of being home with no actual schedule has taken some adjustment. Today I chose to take this opportunity to do one of those “mommy” activities. you know, the ones that so often when you think of them sound wonderful, by the time you begin them, feel overwhelming, and years later when you look back on them, are remembered as magical. Yes, one of “those” activities. 

 The activity that I chose to subject myself to was an afternoon of baking, so I invited my daughter and her seven year old friend to make cookies. Not cookies from a box, or an already prepared dough, nope, not for my kids. I thought it would be a truly wonderful experience a special bonding moment if the three of  us made cookies from scratch.

 Before the flour began to fly through the air and the eggs had cracked on the floor, the task seemed quite simple.  Each girl had her own work station,  each station with its own set of bowls, measuring spoons, bin of flour, box of sugar, butter, vanilla and secret ingredients (also known as salt and Baking soda). The only ingredient that the junior chef’s did not have, was the most crucial ingredient of all, the bag of chocolate chips.  Yes, these were under the control of the “chef-master” for fear if they were left unsupervised at the work stations, we may be having chocolate chip cookies, minus the chocolate chips, which are never quite as good.

It became clear to me even before the girls showed up to bake, that this entire project had become a little too organized. Perhaps a bit over managed would be a good term for it. Yes, I can say with confidence that the measuring spoons and measuring cups were too neatly and carefully placed on the counter, and that the placement of the baking soda, sugar and flour were perhaps a bit too carefully spaced. It is quite possible had anyone but the girls visited my kitchen, there may have been questions like “which cooking magazine is coming over to do a photo shoot” or “when will Emril be arriving”? Yes looking back on it I am a bit amused at my expectation of what was soon to be.

  Could it be that this medical leave had brought out this overly organized mother who had lost her zip and pizazz and traded it in for “work stations”? For anyone that knows me, overly organized is not exactly my “cup of tea”. I am a wing it kind of gal. A ride by the seat of her pants and hope it will all work out person. I am not a planner, certainly not a strategic organizer, and definitely not a chef that follows cooking rules. To be perfectly honest, I almost never use a measuring cup, had to search high and low for my measuring spoons and am so disorganized, that I had no idea I owned four bags of flour and multiples of every other ingredient required to bake such cookies.  Never the less, today was a new day and my cooking class had begun.

The girls arrived and I was ready to go. Assigning each one to a separate side of the kitchen, instructing them to “wait” until I had read the first ingredient from the recipe. Could it be that I had chosen to substitute these innocent second graders in place of my employees? Could I possibly miss my job so much, that I was turning my home into a place of business? How odd that for so many years I have joked about the desire to have a few weeks off, “if only I could break a bone” I believe were my exact words. Is this where the ” be careful for what you wish for” rule comes in? I hate to admit it, but I think it is true.

There is nothing I love more than the hustle and bustle of a busy day. The shorter the deadline, the better, as far as I am concerned. The more people I have to manage and the more clients that come through my door, the more stimulated I become. No pile too high no task too big, “bring it on”! yah, I hate to admit it, but I love my job. I love how it makes me feel and the satisfaction that it offers. Yes, this is true, so true at times I am ashamed to admit it, but never more so than today.

 When the first ingredient was read off the recipes, it became evident I was in for a different day than I had planned. I felt it, the feeling I had created in the room. The look in their eyes and the panic on their faces when that first puff of flower went dancing to the floor.  it was all this mother needed. My desire for a job well done did not have to be dismissed. It was the job that I had lost site of. What was I setting out to achieve? Did I really need five dozen chocolate chip cookies in my house? Was that my mission? No. My mission was to create a fun bonding experience for these two little girls, and what defines fun is whatever is fun to “them”.

 It only  took 45 seconds into this baking project for a couple of second graders to show this mother, manager, and organizer that no matter where she was, or who she was teaching, the same rules always apply, ‘know your audience”.  With no expectations, no need for organization, no real desire to even gain an edible cookie from the task at hand, I stood in my kitchen offering oodles of praise, little advise and a lot of encouragement. As these two little girls so cautiously wiped down every little spill, it was my lips that blurted “kitchens were made to get messy, just leave it and have some fun.”

The delight in their eyes and those cute giggles of glee were enough to satisfy any stirring I had within me. For the first time in years, I had the time to reflect and find my audience at home. The task was not overwhelming at all, it was a gift. A pure simple specifal gift that two seven year olds’ brought to me. To throw caution to the wind, or flour to the ceiling. To tear up the schedule and throw out the plan, to have no blueprint at all.  Sometimes that is what we need.

For those of us who spend more time at work and more energy on our job than our families, it is moments like these that we should not let slip away. Today, I was not overwhelmed, and it only took a few minutes to realize that this experience was magical. It is moments like these we should worry about “not” having in our busy schedules of appointments and tasks. These are the appointments we should not cancel, for these events will teach us the most important lessons of all, “life” lessons. It is times like these that we truly see what matters, and what will make a difference. These investments are those that will pay the highest dividends and produce the most  growth, not just for us but also for our children.  For to love our children is not just a  kiss before bedtime, or an I love you as we rush them off to school. It is not just providing of basic needs. It is the giving of ourselves. The time we offer, the tone in which we offer it, and the joy as we delight in it. 

It is this gift that I was given from my parents, and it is my hope and prayer that I will pass it along. For one day my children will be teaching my grandchildren and it will be then that my report card will come…. And I will see how successful in life I truly have been


A Dragon’s tale November 13, 2008

Filed under: Parenting — mrshappiness @ 6:24 pm
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Mornings are always a mix of emotions for me. It is my favorite time of day. As the sun rises I listen to the birds sing and squawk outside my window. When the wind moves just a bit, the leaves in the trees dance and the sound reminds me of the ocean coming up to the shore.  In the Fall, the air is crisp but the sun is warm making it the perfect temperature for a cozy robe, a good book and a big cup of Jo. And then, before my mind is ready to accept it, before my body is prepared for the task that is at hand, in an unfair moment of consciousness and reality, I hear it. The warning siren, as I refer to it. That small little box, with time and a buzzer. The box that never really stops until I hit that magical button. Yes, it is the waking  bell, the warning to all around, the signal for those most intelligent to move out and for me to move in. The “waking” of my seven year old, red headed, fiery dragon, Alissa, my daughter.

What is it about red heads anyway? What is that passion that lights their hair red and leaves the rest of us smoldering from the heat of their tempers?

I would not normally feel so informed to call out on red-heads, but I have done research. Personal research that is, for I have two. Yes that’s right two reds and one brown. My daughters both were born with red hair and my son with brown. Both girls are shall we say, a bit feisty in the morning and my son, well, he whistles, sings, chatters a good morning and a few “I love you mom” every now and again. He makes his own breakfast, gets dressed, and even helps with the dishes. Quite frankly, he has more pizazz in the morning than any one person could ever hope for. A little more than “this” one person is really ready for, but hey, no complaints from me. I’d rather whistle a little Dixie than slay a dragon any morning.

This morning was no different than any other, well, almost. Over the past three weeks all of our mornings have been “different”. For the first time in 8 years, I am currently not working. Due to a medical leave that is soon to be over, I have been at home recuperating from a surgery. So, much to my children’s delight, I have not been rushed in the mornings and have been home to greet them in the afternoons. I have been able to enjoy the special parts of motherhood that so often get overlooked when trying to juggle work, family and all of the extra activities that enter our lives. If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend you know what I mean. Our lives get busier and busier yet we have no idea what it is we are really doing. Which brings me to the point of my story. It is obvious that no one knows “what” I am doing.

As I woke the dragon she growled and snarled, hissed and spit and then she spoke. This small little body with the adorable trussled hair and sleepy eyes looked at her mother and with out a bit of hesitation said these few words. “It is not fare!” Not fare because You (me) get to stay home all day and do nothing but sleep and watch t.v. and play.” Yes the secret was out! I no longer could hide behind my facade of recovery. My playing days were over. It was time to send my magical fairy home, you know the one that made all of the dinners, mopped the floors, did the laundry, patched up torn dolls, cleaned the dishes, cleaned out closets and cupboards and straightened drawers. The one that woke at dawn to prepare for the waking of the dragon herself, made breakfast, arranged homework, picked out clothes and drove her to school. The same fairy  that took my pain pills in order to get all of these tasks accomplished, days after surgery and with little complaint, to the small child.  Yes it was time for the Fairy to leave because clearly I was having too much fun and life for some of us did not look fair.

It is such a tough lesson, the one we teach our kids. That lesson of fair and unfair and appreciation for one another. Yes life can be unfair. But more often than not, it is more fair than we think. That old cliche about the grass being greener….. There was never a saying more true.

So to all of you mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends, to the caregiviers of the world, the single dads, or you dads that stay home to care for your own little dragons,

Give your fairy and pat on the back, and feel the appreciation!