Summer Randoms.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our summer, thus far,
has been filled with interesting conversations and insights.
Mostly with the little people that rule my world.
Grace sat across from me at the kitchen table over breakfast one morning, 
eying my wedding ring as she slurped milk from her cereal bowl.
(As you visualize this exchange, keep in mind she has a 'slight' New Jersey accent mixed with Minnie Mouse. 
She'd fit in beautifully with Caroline and Theresa on RHONJ.)
"Mom?  Ya' betta' not take those off.  If you do?  Boys will be lined up out tha' door."
Jack giggled.  "Yeah right."
"Well, I highly doubt that Grace, but a lovely compliment for my Tuesday morning," I replied.
"Take it off!  Let's see!  I just know it!"  she prodded.
So I did, slipping my rings off my fingers, clunking them against the table like high dollar poker chips.
And we sat.
And waited.
"Oh, it was a lovely. . ."
And the door knocks mid-grab for my rings.
"Liz?  Can we come in?"  Two men yell from the other side of our screen door.
Grace's jaw drops.  Jack starts yelling.  "What?!"
I knew who it was.  Brian and Steve.  Working on our basement bathroom project.
"Does that count?"  I asked Grace, as I let these TWO gentlemen in, greeted with a grunt and a shuffle to the basement.
Even though they're paid and they HAVE to be here?

Jack, who doesn't stop asking questions. . .ever, 
in one of my mid-mini-van driving stupors, asks,
"Mom?  What is life for?  What is it all about?"
"Ha?  Wha?  What is LIFE about?"
"Yeah.  Life.  What's it for?"
Wow.  That's deep.  A contemplative kid.  No idea where he gets that.
"Ah. . .well. . .do you mean, what's the point of life sort of?"
"Well, in MY opinion, I think we were all put here for a reason.  To DO something.  To BE somebody.  Maybe to make a difference."
"Like some people become president's, some become criminals, some become dads?"
"Yeah.  Like that.  Your job here is to be a good person, have fun and find your purpose.  Figure out what it is YOU were meant to or are SUPPOSED to be doing with your life and MAYBE make the world a little better."
A heavy reply, I know.
But what a great question.

Jack and Grace are in swimming lessons this summer and
Seeing my children work things out in their little minds, gain perspective, conquer fears, brings more joy for this job than I ever thought it could.
"Mom!  I USED to be afraid of tornadoes?  But now?  I think they're pretty cool.  And I USED to be afraid of drowning?  But now?  Now that I know I CAN swim?  Well, I'm not afraid anymore."
Gaining confidence and pride on hot summer afternoons in the neighbors pool.
Swimming from the diving board to the ladder.
The ladder to the shallow end.
Testing their limits and pushing themselves a little further each time, a little fear mixed with a little courage.
Those brief moments in childhood where you feel invincible.
They start now and it's SO amazing to watch.

The sweet and not-so-sweet things that come out of their mouths.
"So, let me get this straight.  Every baby has has an um-bulletin cord when they're born, that the dad has to cut, right?"
"Yeah.  Sure.  We'll go with that."
Followed by more of Jack's endearing words,
"Man, I'm SO glad that's not going to be me," he says to me as he watches me struggle to get yoga pants on. . .which, he probably shouldn't be doing anyway.  But they're always underfoot.
"What are you talking about?"
"Well, you know!"  Jack said, pointing to my early morning face.
"The wrinkles?  The moles?  You're old.  Gracie's going to look just like you!  You know, because she's a girl.  Thank God I won't!"  he chuckles. 
I wanted to take his sweet little athletic socks he was pulling up and stuff them in his mouth.
But I just smiled.

I bought peanut butter, the REAL good peanut butter.  Like crack to the mouths of babes, who've been having to choke down almond butter since my family health-make-over kick began.  
And let's be honest.  It's not the same.
Finding them, every second I'm tied up to mothering duties, my head in a laundry basket, arms elbow high in a sink of dirty dishes, phone pressed between an ear and shoulder,
to find them spooning peanut butter out with their chubby, dirty little fingers, like they've never had anything so good.
But summer,
finding time to work my OWN things out.
Getting lost in an occasional US Weekly, a missed Real Housewives, finding myself immersed in the ridiculous lives of Snooki and J-WOW,
and not feeling guilty about it.
Yet trying to defend and explain this behavior to not just my husband, but myself and why I need it.
My REASONING being, that we all have SOMETHING.  
We all have to have some sort of escape from the monotony of life with children.
The STRESS of raising children, no matter how easy or how challenging the family. 
Life as a mother is a tough gig.  So ALLOWING myself to have those little things that help me detach, give my mind a break from the constant worry, disciplining, planning and organizing.
Reading or watching someone else's life unravel to appreciate my own.
It's therapy.  Yes.  I'm calling Real Housewives therapy for a tired mind.
I heard something the other day that made me feel better about this and any other 'meaningless' and 'mind numbing' things I partake in.
We are in a CRAZY, messed up world.  And although we should try to do our best to rise above the filth, we still have to LIVE in it and BE in it.
We have to cut ourselves some slack, is how I heard that.
We have to allow ourselves to buy obnoxious new kicks.
Cute purses. 
Expensive jeans that feel like sweat pants.
Take trips.  
Binge on a block of fudge or a Big Mac.
Splurge every once in awhile, on little things that make us smile.
Make us feel good.
Detach us not just from the chaos of our lives,
but the pressure of trying to do it all 'RIGHT.'
It's refreshing sometimes to break rules, binge, ignore, procrastinate, be frivolous, and even,
just sit.
But know, understand and appreciate what's important.  Have limits.
As long as we can learn to do that, live in THIS world,
but create a better world for ourselves 90% of the time?
We're good.
In the meantime,
enjoying sweet tan lines, 
a symbol of a well-worn summer.
Love that my kids are into Club Penguin and Disney.
Not Facebook or. . .anything else troublesome to teens.
That nerf guns and hula hoops are still cool.
Although they have graduated from PBS kids to The Disney Channel. . .Shake it up, Hey Jesse and Victorious (all awesome shows that even I find myself getting sucked in to,)
that they are still kids.
Still like sprinklers.
Still like to color and read books.
Still like to play tag and ghost in the graveyard with the neighbors.  Blow bubbles and chalk up the driveway.
I'm superbly aware of this time in our life. . .how innocent and harmless it is.  Creative and natural.  And working daily to cherish every second of it.




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