New Beginnings

For awhile now, I’ve felt stuck.  Very, very stuck.  I’ve written on various occasions about my need to discover my intended path, or my desire to realize my true purpose.  It’s incredibly frustrating to feel like you are supposed to being doing something, but have no idea what that something is.  It’s also an incredible waste of time.

Almost three years ago I took a part-time job, effectively ending my run as a stay at home parent.  Initially, it was a great opportunity for me to change things up, while also contributing financially to our household.  This job also allowed me to remember that I was more than a wife and parent.  I was a valuable, professional contributor, who could learn new things and grow.  As a stay at home parent, it’s easy to forget these things.  Easy to forget all your accomplishments in the years before you had children.  The new job was challenging, and I enjoyed it.

Fast forward two years, and the job wasn’t as challenging.  The growth had become stagnant.  Not because it wasn’t a good job, but because I had outgrown it.  It was time to move on to something else, but the problem was that I didn’t know what to move onto.  I was still stuck in that never-ending revolving door of not knowing what I wanted to do.  Not knowing what career was best for me.  I spent twenty years working in social service, and I knew when I left that field that I was ready for a change.  Working in music publishing was great, until I had outgrown the position.  And to be honest, I never really found a passion for the industry.  I enjoyed it, and liked what we did, but I couldn’t visualize myself growing into the business in other areas.  At least not with the company that employed me.   Perhaps with one of the many studios, but that would require me to give up so much time with my family, and I wasn’t willing to do that either.  So, like many of us, I stayed stuck, doing the same old thing, keeping the same job, thinking I would eventually figure it out.

This past August, I got a text from another PTA mom, who informed me that a part time position in the front office of our elementary school was open, and she thought I should apply for it.   I immediately knew I wanted this job.  Lightening bolt!  I also rationalized that this new job could help me balance out the stagnancy of my other position.  A rejuvenation, of sorts.  (And also, I need the extra money.  My kids are expensive, and the older they get, the more expensive they become.)  I have long since abandoned the thought of needing a specific type of job or title.  People who know me often say they’re surprised I’m not running my own company, or involved in some big corporation.  I will admit that sometimes I do feel guilty,  knowing I can do more, and choosing to do less.  Is it laziness on my part?  A cop-out?  I don’t think so.  I just want to be inspired.  I want to enjoy my work.  And I want to be available to my kids, while they are still young enough to actually need me.

And I love it!  I love the energy, I love the people and I love the environment.  I love the kids that come to my desk and ask for copies.  I love the kids that come in with boo-boos and need a hug.  I love the teachers who are friendly, hilarious and build each other up every day so they can all be successful.  I love my office co-workers and the health clerk who dances when there are no kids around.  I love the team of PTA moms (myself included) who are in and out, volunteering and making so many good things happen for our kids.   And I love our principal, my new boss, who is positive and supportive and the best cheerleader in the room.

In my other position I worked from home, only really interacting with my boss, when she needed me for something, or if we went to lunch.  The majority of my work was completely independent, no interactions required.  This was convenient and flexible, and also what I thought I wanted for a long time.  It served its purpose for almost three years, and I am grateful for those opportunities.  However,  I’ve also learned that it was sucking my soul dry.  The isolation of working from home, rarely interacting with others.  I need people!  I am a people person.  I thrive in environments where communication and interaction is key.  I like to work the room.  I need to engage.  I didn’t understand this about myself until I was in a position where it wasn’t available to me, even though it was what I thought I wanted.  This part time job working in the school office has energized me in a way I haven’t been in years!

I let my position go with the music publishing company last week.  It was a hard decision, but the right one.  It’s wasn’t enough to have a sliver of something better.  I always see those memes on social media that talk about letting go of the things in life that don’t serve you, because they take up energy better applied elsewhere.  I understand the full meaning of that now.  It’s not enough to have two jobs, one you enjoy to balance out the one you don’t.  It’s better to focus on the one you love, then other good things will follow as a result of the positive energy you put toward it.  I believe that fully.  I am grateful for the realizations, and the lessons.

One day, I will rule the world.  But for now I will check attendance, order school supplies for teachers,  put band-aids and ice packs on tender skin, and support this team of educators responsible for so many young lives and minds.  And I will love every minute of it.

Cheers to new beginnings!

Little Boy History Lessons

martin-luther-king31This morning, I asked Bryce (age 6) if he knew who Martin Luther King, Jr. was, and why we celebrate him.

He responded with this…

“Yes, I know who he is.  He was a great man who went to jail, like thirty times, so that black people and white people could eat together.”

(Insert proud mom moment here.)

It’s a simple answer, yes.  A complete answer, no.  But through the eyes of a six-year-old, it’s one hell of a start.  🙂

Life is Good.

Hello, world!

The summer has flown by, as I knew it would, and as I predicted, I only got about three posts up all summer.  Figures.

But life continues to be busy.  Since I got home from my grandparent’s house at the end of July, I hosted my college roommate and her family for a few days, was sick for two weeks with a nasty virus that closely resembled strep throat, threw a birthday party for my son and twenty of his closest six-year old friends, and got both of my kids back to school.  So yeah, life and children continue to dominate my time and attention.   Blogging has been on the back burner for a long time, and I’m hoping now that I have both of my kids in school full-time that I’ll have more time and attention for both myself and all of you.

cold germsBeing sick for two weeks wasn’t fun.  I went to the doctor about five days into it and she ran all the typical tests to rule out bacterial infections.  It felt like my head was going to explode, and every time I swallowed it felt like my eardrums were bursting and I was trying to swallow crushed glass.  Fever, fatigue, and all the glamorous parts of feeling like total shit.  My husband had to be out-of-town for work for several days, so taking care of the house, kids, and all the pets when all you want to do is lay down and die was no picnic.  Unfortunately, the doc couldn’t give me any drugs because it was a viral infection, and it took a solid two weeks before I felt human again.  To add insult to injury, going to the doctor in the first place is always such a mind-fuck.  I already felt like shit, and have you ever noticed that going to the doctor makes you fat?  Seriously.  I walk in and immediately feel like I’ve gained ten pounds.  Then the nurse puts you on the scale and you realize that in the two hours since you got dressed and hauled your sick-ass to the clinic, you really must have gained ten pounds because their ancient scale, that must be counter-balanced with massive invisible boulders, says so.  Why don’t doctors use modern digital scales that will weigh me the same as when I’m at home?  And now that I feel like a sick, ginormous, fat cow, I have to sit, forever, in the little room and wait.  imageAnd there’s a mirror in there that is now confirming what the scale said.  Somehow my face looks heavier.  My ass seems to be climbing up my back and my muffin top is more muffin-y.  And now I want to cry because my throat hurts, my ears hurt, I can’t get any meds, and just walking in the door made me feel like Martha Dump Truck.

Damn, I’m glad that’s over.

My son’s birthday party was fun, and humiliating.  But I found my self-respect at the top of a bounce house, so that was an unexpected bonus.  We had the party at Pump It Up.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Pump It Up franchise, it’s basically a party venue with giant inflatables.  Each room is a massive, two-story room with multiple indoor inflatables, like bounce houses, obstacle courses, rock climbing walls, and things like that.  We had the Glow Party, which is like a super cool rave for kids with music and glow in the dark everything.  I had promised my daughter that I would do some of the inflatables with her because as the big sister, she was the oldest kid at the party and didn’t really want to hang with the six-year olds.  Thank God it was dark in there.  I was a little dressed up for the party and my nice jeans were somewhat confining.  Also, you have to wear socks in these things, and I quickly realized that with

This looks a lot like the structure I was attempting to climb

This looks similar to the structure I was attempting to climb. The picture doesn’t do the height justice, though.

socks on it’s hard to get any grip on the structure with your feet.  So,  I was attempting to climb this two-story monstrosity that was part rock climbing wall and part slide in tight jeans and slippery socks.  You see where I’m going with this?  You had to put your feet on these small squares and then use alternating tether straps for your hands to climb up.  Well, the tiny-made-for-five-year-old-feet squares would collapse under you if you didn’t move fast enough.  Half-way up there was this ledge you had to get over, and then another ledge all the way at the top.  I fell trying to get over the first ledge.  Kids were flying past me and laughing as I flailed and dangled by the tether straps.  Did I mention it was also pretty steep?  And also that I’m not a ten-year old?  Anyway, I dug deep and hauled myself to the top, and as I was struggling to get over the second ledge, and considering saying fuck it and just letting go, my son’s friend from his class was sitting at the top of the ledge, and she was watching me as I hung on the tethers.  She’s an adorable little girl and she says, “Keep going Mrs. B!  You can do it!”  Sweet Jesus.  How do I fail in front of her now?  I couldn’t, and it was ugly, and I’m glad it was dark in that room, but I managed to get my fat ass over that ledge and to the top.  I was sweating and tired, and when I went down the slide it was so steep and fast it actually launched me out of the shoot and I landed in a heap in front of several parents watching from below.  There was no way to play it cool, so I laid there like a lump, catching my breath.  Thankfully, several parents said how impressed they were that I even attempted to get to the top, so at least I got some street cred out of it.  Or they were just trying to make me feel better.  Either way, only one other parent attempted the same structure and made it to the top, so that makes me one of the cool moms.

My kids went back to school on August 31st, so I had three days last week of blissful alone time.  I’ve never had that, and I savored it.  I read several of your blogs, did some housework, ran errands without children, and met friends for lunch.  It was heaven.  I’m really looking forward to this school year.  And for the first time since my oldest daughter started school eight years ago, I didn’t cry at drop off on the first day.  I fucking celebrated and went out for sushi!

Life is good, people.  Life is Good!!!!!!

Baseball and Itchy Butts

23777071_sMy five-year old son, Bryce, just finished his first regular season of Little League Baseball.  It was a fun season and all the boys seemed to learn a lot and have a good time.  They slowly progressed from chaotic dog piling on every ball to learning to work as a team, and for the most part, learn the boundaries of each position to support each other on the field.

During our last game of the season Bryce was placed in the position of pitcher.  He didn’t really have to pitch to the kid at bat, but he maintained that position for his team.  There was a coach positioned several feet in front of him and the coach pitched to the kids since the five-year old division is a combination of live pitch and t-ball.

So imagine this adorable five-year old kid in ‘baseball ready’ position, on the pitcher’s mound, in plain sight of everyone.  (I was watching the game from the dugout, helping another mom to manage the boys and organize them during each inning transition.)  I’m watching Bryce, shouting encouragement to him and the rest of the team, and then I see him use his ungloved hand to go in for a deep and prolonged wedgie grab.  His hand was on the outside of his pants but he was working the angles, maneuvering  his hips to get a good handful of whatever he was looking for.

The other mom starts cracking up, and I shout to Bryce and give him the what-the-heck-are-you-doing-face.   He looks up at me, smiles and gives me a thumbs up.  And then he goes right back into the ass-grabby position, but this time he takes his glove off and is digging at his butt from both the front and the back.  He’s bent forward, looking between his legs as he attacks himself, and he’s digging for gold like a marathon miner.  He’s in the middle of the field just going to town, completely oblivious to the game continuing around him.  Balls are flying past him and he’s more concerned about whatever is going on in his pants than the rest of the inning.  He ignores my shouts to pay attention to the game.

At the end of the inning the kids all run back to the dugout and I start checking his pants, thinking (hoping) that surely all that ass-grabbing had to do with his sliding shorts either riding up or being bunched wrong under his pants.  So I ask, “Why were you digging at your bottom out there?  Are your sliding shorts riding up?”  And in front of everyone he says, “Nope, I was itching my butt.  I think I sharted and I need to wipe it.”

IMG_1115My kid used the word sharted in front of his team and other parents.  The other mom next to me is thoroughly losing her shit with laughter.  As my face turned red with shame, I looked at her and said, “Please inform the Delegation of Perfect Parents that I will have to forfeit my membership and my Parent of the Year award…again.”

One month

That’s how long its been since I posted to my blog.

Holy shit.  Time flies.

Part of me feels like I need to apologize for such a long absence, but the other part of me realizes that my life demands that I be present and in the moment.  My family and my other responsibilities don’t always accommodate the time I need to put together a decent blog post.  We’re all busy and we all prioritize differently.  So instead of apologies, I’ll just say, HELLO WORLD!  I’ve missed you!

21 kidsThe past month has been a whirlwind of activity.  I’ve resumed my volunteer work as the garden docent for my son’s Kindergarten class.  I was also suckered into being the room mom for his class as well, so now between the school garden and working in the classroom to help his teacher, it’s like I have an almost full time job.  The upside is that now I’m openly revered by twenty one small people who look at me with undeserved wonder and admiration, thrilled that I know all their names and tell them how great they are at drawing stick people and gluing pasta to construction paper.  It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

12019874_869646123089790_8745768548767870345_n[2]A few weeks ago, Dan and I snuck off to Chicago one more time for one last wedding among my college friends.  It was beautiful and amazing.  The weather was perfect for fall and the trees were just starting to change colors.  The bride was stunning and we were all a bit better behaved than at the last wedding.  I’d like to write a full post about it but I fear that I’d really just be repeating myself from the previous wedding post.  We drink a lot, we’re super badass, we love each other, we’re friends for life.  You know the drill.

And of course, there was Halloween!  Halloween is a big deal at our house.  We love it!  This year was especially awesome because the day fell on a Saturday, so instead of the usual week night rush to get dinner done, kids jammed into their costumes and start handing out candy to the toddlers who start trick or treating before dark, we had the time to really set up and participate in the evening.  My husband decorated the driveway with strobe lights, a smoke machine, black lights, and glow in the dark cobwebs all over the garage door.  What was super badass was my costume.  I was

Yup, I looked just like her.  LOL!

Yup, I looked just like her. LOL!

Maleficent.  When the kids rounded the corner of my driveway the first thing they saw was Maleficent standing in front of a strobe light surrounded by billowing smoke and eerie glowing cobwebs.  It was so fun!  The kids loved it and so did the adults.  Some of them asked to take their picture with Maleficent, which was a little weird for me but still fun.  We also driveway party with our neighbors on Halloween, so when the kids are done trolling the neighborhood, we all hang out in the driveway and drink wine.  At around 10pm a neighbor we hadn’t met came over to introduce herself.  She said she just had to come check us out because our driveway was the talk of the neighborhood the whole night.  Seriously!  I told my husband, “Did you hear that?  We’ve got a rep.  We’re the cool kids now.”  LOL!

Anyway, it’s been a busy and fun month.  With Thanksgiving coming I know things won’t be slowing down any time soon.  I look forward to catching up on all my favorite blogs and hopefully I’ll throw together some fun stories myself to share with all of you.  It’s not like I don’t have a ton of material.  Teaching gardening to a bunch of five year olds?  There’s a mountain of hilarity in there somewhere.  😉

Back-to-School and Birthdays

back to schoolHello world!

Things have slowed down enough here where I can finally catch my breath!  Last week both of my kids went back to school.  Bryn started 6th grade at the local middle school and Bryce started Kindergarten!  It was a pretty big deal for both of them, and the week before that we were busy with orientations, registration and back-to-school shopping.  The days were so busy trying to prepare both of them for these major transitions into new schools that I never stopped to consider how I really felt about any of it.  As the parent, you just do what has to be done and reassure them everything will be amazing, challenging and brilliant.  Yay for school!  And Yay! for having three hours to myself, every weekday, for the first time in I can’t remember how many years!

So, when I lost my shit on the first day of school I was a tad bit surprised.  I really was.  I had managed  to get both kids ready for school pretty well with only a few raised voices and barked commands to brush teeth, comb hair and put on shoes.  As we pulled up to the middle school, Bryn and I both got out of the vehicle to give her one last hug good-bye and a reassuring, “It’s going to be a great day!”  She was excited and not nervous at all.   As she turned her back and began walking into the school, I burst into tears.  I looked at my husband as I was sobbing in the car and said, “I had no idea I was even upset about this!”

mom and sonI managed to get through the Kindergarten drop off just fine.  Bryce was cool about it and even helped another little boy who was crying by holding his hand and walking him into the class.  I was really proud of my self for not becoming overly emotional on his first day ( I had pulled myself together at that point), and I was proud of him for being such a big boy.  The next evening was the night before Bryce’s fifth birthday.  I was tucking him into bed and as we were snuggling I started to get choked up.  He asked why I was crying and I said, “Tomorrow morning you will wake up and be five.  You will never be four again, and four was a really good year.  Mommy is going to miss four.”  He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, “But I’ll always be your baby.”  Well hell, just bring on the waterworks!  I cried most of the next day, which was his actual birthday.  It was the third day of school and it all just hit me like a Mac truck!  He was five and in Kindergarten!  My baby isn’t a baby anymore.

I asked Dan if he thought it was too late for us to have another one, and then we realized that I would be 47 by the time that child started Kindergarten and Dan would be 51.  So yeah, we’re totally done having kids, which then made me cry more, so then I just drank a bunch of wine until I felt better.

Wine fixes everything.  🙂

My Sick Boy.

party germsThat moment, when you reach across the bed and feel his forehead, praying that the heat has left his little body in peace…

Bryce has been sick with a nasty virus for the past week.  We’ve battled six days of high fever and other bodily functions I’m sure you’d rather I not go into detail about.  Well, that’s too damn bad cause I’m totally going into detail about it.  The kid has had diarrhea like an arterial spray.  I’ll let that visual sink in for a moment.  You’re welcome.

My kids are both very healthy.  They only get sick once or twice a year, but when they do get sick, it’s serious.  It’s a knock you on your ass for a week kind of sick.  Their bodies hold onto infection like a fucking grudge.  It’s horrible and scary.   When you’re holding your child while their body feels like it’s on fire with heat, you can’t help but be terrified for them.  They get that glazed look in their eyes, and when they talk, half the time it’s delirious gibberish.

I took Bryce to the doctor on day five of the fever and she told me it was a virus going around that was lasting 7-10 days.  She said his fever shouldn’t last for more than five days.  I explained to her that we were already at day five, as Bryce lay in my arms burning up at 103 degrees.  She reprimanded me for allowing him to have dairy products.  I explained that I was giving him whatever he wanted to eat because he had no interest in food and had already lost two pounds in five days.  She scowled at me.  I scowled back.  She is not my regular pediatrician.  (She was correct though.  I shouldn’t have allowed him to eat yogurt and milk.)  Then Bryce had a meltdown in the office when the nurse tried to give him a dose of Tylenol.  With tears in his eyes and a hot pink flush to his face he explained that their Tylenol was different than our Tylenol, and he preferred to wait until we got home and take our Tylenol.  He said their Tylenol was yucky because it wasn’t the right color.  I eventually got him to take it, but with the last sip he gagged and then regurgitated a large portion of the dose back at me.  I carried him to the car, both of us splattered with Tylenol vomit.  Good times.

i-need-a-sick-day-to-recover-from-my-kids-sick-day-19c3d[1]For six days I monitored his temp, coaxed him to take medicine to reduce his fever and slept with him so I could feel his body and watch his breathing.  I held cold packs to his back, forehead, stomach and legs.  He would look at me with glassy eyes and say, “Am I still your little fireball, mommy?”  It was the kind of fever that could have killed your child before the days of modern medicine.  Thank God for modern medicine.

Finally, this morning, as I reached for Bryce’s forehead next to me on the pillow, I felt it.  That cool, dewy ring of sweat around his head on the pillow.  The gross, disgusting, beautiful ring of sweat that indicates his fever has broken.  His little body was so quiet and deep in sleep, which was a blissful change from the constant moaning, rocking and shivering from the past six days.

I’m exhausted.  I’m relieved.  I can’t wait to get the hell out of this house.  I need to drink wine on the beach and watch the sunset with my beautiful kids and my husband.  I need to take him to the park and watch him run, and climb, and laugh, and play.  I need to see him smile with excitement, health, and joy.  That’s all I need.  🙂