Monday, February 3, 2014

Children are fascinating creatures.
I'm both appalled and amazed by the amount of whining and crying that can come from one small mouth in a day.
Not a small build up of tears over time,
but literally from 0-60 in two seconds flat.
Seemingly out of nowhere.
I'm amazed at how wasteful they are, 
how they still have zero concept of what it means to save and "waste not," (it is our job to teach them this of course.) 
How easily Charlie tosses his less than half-eaten bowl of Wheaties (Wienies, he calls them,) down the drain when I'm not looking, 
or frivolously drops the thicker half of his beautiful, made with love PB and Honey sandwich in the garbage.
How Jack so mindlessly pours a half full glass of over-priced OJ in the sink if he's too full to finish it.
But it is the END of the world if the gum Charlie's had in his mouth since 10am,
isn't well preserved in a baggie for the following day.
I don't get it.  Or them.
I am shocked and amazed by how much coercing, sometimes by force,
is required to get them to brush their teeth and wash their hands. 

Simple and mind-numbingly easy tasks that literally take 30 seconds to complete, 
that actually LEAD to better health,
but you'd think was as ridiculous and painful a request, 
as asking them to chop off their left leg and toss it in the snow.
I don't understand.
It blows my freaking mind that if SpongeBob is on, 
there's NOTHING.  And I mean, NOTHING that can distract their gaze from the TV.  Not the house burning down.  Being told we're taking them to Disney World (which, by the way, we're not doing.  Ever.  I'll explain myself later.)
Or that Ryan Seacrest is standing on the front stoop and wants to come in for a hot chocolate.  
(They have this thing with Ryan Seacrest.)
They stare, eyes glazed over like they're witnessing the Apocolypse. It's disturbing.  And so awesome.  
That show (prior to cancelling cable,) bought me HOURS of free babysitting while I worked to accomplish things, knowing the children wouldn't budge from their positions.
The weirdness and frustration and downright disgust, 
is always mixed with goodness.
I tend to define the success of most days by the remaining hours.
Between the pick up from school to the time their heads finally hit the pillow and all becomes right with the world again.
As they fight and wrestle to push past each other in our cramped entryway,
tripping over wayward boots and backpacks, coats that never quite make it to the hook, my chance for a shower and everything else I should've done while they were otherwise occupied by more PATIENT adults,
my impatience and irritation rises at breakneck speed.  Not only with them, but myself.
So me and myself have a little chat.
"Yes, this sucks.
But it won't always be."
I am awed and inspired daily by their lives and, despite their MANY idiosyncracies, 
the way they live.  
Without any "practicing" or intention or chosen deliberateness,
not broken yet or discouraged with life (give me a few years,)
they inherently CHOOSE positive. 
Charlie, sick as can be a week ago, fevers, no appetite, sleeping hour upon hour, unable to move,

sits up and proclaims between fever spikes, 
"Mom!  I've had such a lucky day!"
"Ah, what?"  I responded, as I flipped the wash cloth draped over his hot forehead.
In my anxious mind I thought an infection had invaded his brain and these were his dying words.
"Why is that?"
"I got an invitation to a birthday party?
I get to pick out a Wii game when I'm all better?

(Yes, I bribe my kids to get them to swallow Tylenol to stop the suffering.)
AAANNNDD, I have a sledding party next week to go to!"

I just sat on the edge of the couch in awe.
Even in their worst moments,
they naturally choose to be present.  
To see the good instead of the bad.   
(Not always, but most of the time.)
They pay no mind to present pain, but instead enjoy and look forward to what's to come.
From their inspiring and simple lives,
I work to improve MY self.
I try my darndest to get up early before the kids, to work out with Jillian.
But I just love sleep so much.
And eating.
Which is why I need to get up and workout.
Most mornings I hit snooze 42 times and am pressed to get something in.
On one of said rushed mornings, Jack saunters in, 
his old man robe slung open like Hef, 
clutching a little dog he sleeps with (he'd kill me for sharing that,) rubbing sleep from his eyes.
"Mornin' mom."
"Hi.  Love.  Morning."  I pant, huffing and puffing as I try to do Burpees on my bedroom floor.
God, I hate those things. 
I try not to be sarcastic.  It's hard.
"Yes.  I'm exercising.  And what are you doing up so early?  You should go back to bed."
"Nah.  Not tired.  I'll just watch you."
Great.  So I go on with my bad self because 
#1.  I'm chubby.
#2.  I want him to see a mom not ashamed nor embarrassed by the sloppy mess she's become, and instead own it and the fact that I've got about three good Burpees in me before I want to die.
"She's crazy."  I say, referring to Jillian.  "AND she's mean."
"She's not mean, mom.  She's just pushing you.  Like a coach.  That's what coaches do.  Push you to be better."
I peer over my sweaty brow at him from my plank, wiping the dew away with the back of my forearm.
Why do they have to be so smart? 
"Ok.  Go make yourself some breakfast."
As he walks back out of the room, 
I look after him for a second.
He's clearly not our child.
Born into this world naturally long and lean.
Defined arms and abs, protruding hip bones, a Channing Tatum in the making.

Lucky, I think.  And beautiful.
I realize there are SO many invaluable moments that make up a day,
days that make up a week,
weeks that make up beautiful year after year as a parent.
Not just the deep, meaningful, sentimental moments,
but the hilarious ones that pull forth a laugh deep from the gut.
Like realizing, owning and embracing the truth about myself,
that the easiest way for me to teach my kids and make light of their struggles, is through sarcasm and humor and lots of cursing and yelling when they don't listen.
Charlie was digging for a hat for school.  I told him to take my pink hat with a little ball on top.  "No.  Seriously.  Just wear it.  Who cares?!"
"MOM!  My friends will laugh at me!"
"And what do we say to kids who laugh at us?"
"I don't know!"
"Shut your piehole!  That's what we say!  Now put on this hat!"
Yes, that's what we say.  Because we don't care.
Teaching my kids valuable lessons in dealing with the insecurities of others. 
That's my job.
Although our days are seemingly "ordinary" 
when compared to the lives of my Instagram and Facebook stranger-friends
who "appear" to be living fairytale lives,
my life is extraordinary to me. 
The simple days of sledding,
(Don't be fooled and think for a second this was fun.  We were literally outside for three minutes.) 
More hockey,
 Um. . .more sledding.
 Snowy streets galore and hot chocolate by the gallon.
And when I get to escape, damn right I take it.
Because we all need something(s).
Sometimes it's a brief mental escape.
When Lady Gaga and "Applause" comes on, I can't stop myself.
I start doing the robot.  Usually behind the wheel of my mini van.
"Oh no."  Grace looks up from her book, my little bookworm.  
"Mom's doing the robot again.  That's never a good thing."  
She mocks me.
"Whatever Grace," I reply.  You're just jealous of my sweet moves. Ya' can't stop me."  
"Someone needs to stop you," Jack pipes in, snorting from the passenger seat. 
No love.
And despite the boo's, it takes all restraint to keep from pulling over and twerking on the shoulder of the road.  
I love that song and love to dance.
I have my escapes.
The cool, crisp winter air,
although BEYOND frigid in recent days,
revives my spirit and propels me in to enjoying life the best I can.
Of course, stopping to take pictures of everything along the way.
Sunrises in the city I live in.
Sunsets in the city I came from.
 All the stops in between.
At the top of a long upward slope (one I huff and puff up when I escape, even stop to collect myself halfway,)
is worth the climb.
This life may not always look like much. 
But it's so much more when you stop to look around.
"A life swimming with underserved grace." -Steve Lewis


Unknown said...

I like your child's eyes, I like blue eyes. However, I have a pair of black eyes.*(welcome to my ginseng web*

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