July 2012


“If you’re a control freak, it’s going to be hard to let go.”  Once I heard this, I was determined to let go.   Especially, when I saw the big grin on my oldest son’s face.  More than one of us knew the challenge I was about to face head on.

 

I took the boys to their first archery lesson yesterday.  The instructor invited me to join them.  Normally, I would have demurred, but remembering that I like to see people try new things, I decided to let it be me.  First, we sat through safety instructions and learned about the equipment.  Then, it was time to tie my hair up, and get to it.  I raised the bow, got into position, pulled the string back to my chin, placed my hand under my jaw, aimed, and… LET GO!  Over and over again.  It was exhilarating.

 

On the way home the Oldest asked if my favorite part was hitting the center of the target.    Surprisingly, to him and to me, it wasn’t.  I was more than happy to tell him that my favorite part was the overall experience.  I loved it.  What a beautiful lesson.

Infidelity and who’s to blame?

I thought Big Poppa and I could enjoy a quiet moment at the dinner table last night and argue this one (again).  When someone cheats, he believes the person in a committed relationship, and the person they’re cheating with, are both at fault.  My position has always been that the cheater is solely to blame.  If a married man woos a single woman, the fault lies solely with Mr. Married.  He is the one breaking his vows.  And, call me experienced, but married men don’t usually lead off with, “Hi, I’m married with two kids.  My wife isn’t doing it for me, or with me, anymore, and  I can’t remember the last time I got a blow job.  Interested?”

Like I told Big Poppa, I’m not discriminating, either.  If a woman cheats on her husband, the blame is hers alone.  Man or woman, a cheater is a cheater, and needs to take responsibly, even if their spouse is ready to blame ‘the other woman’ or ‘the other man’ in an effort to abscond blame from their spouse, wrap their mind around the unimaginable, and move on while staying married.

So, then Big Poppa says, “I can see what you’re saying, but  let’s say you went out with a bunch of girlfriends, and you were hanging out with some good-looking guy, and he got a little too friendly.  Let’s say you drank too much and things happened…’

So, then I say, “Are you saying it’s okay to cheat on you if I get drunk?  Lord have mercy, why did you wait seventeen years to tell me?”

*For the record, that’s NOT what Big Poppa was saying.  He cleared that up pretty quickly, once we both stopped laughing.  

My usual morning routine involves darting outside to grab the L.A. Times, wearing more than an eighth-grade girl wears to school and less than I’d like my neighbors to see me wearing.  This morning, I saw a sight that stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes.  A mature lady, who moved into the neighborhood from Haiti a few years ago, was learning to ride a  pink bicycle with the joy of a child.  I had to call out to her and her partner, and express my wonder and encouragement.  It was her first time on a bicycle.  Ever.  What a way to start the weekend!

I love seeing people try new things.

Last week, my ten-year old was confronted with having to swim across the Olympic-sized public pool to get an arm stamp indicating he could use the diving board in the deep-end.  He told me he didn’t think he could do it.  He was pretty certain.  He’s a decent swimmer, but he felt the distance was too far, and doing it without stopping, as is required, would be impossible for him.  Loads of children were lined up, ready to watch each other swim two at a time.  My son got in line, waited his turn, and nailed it!  I burst into tears.  Thankfully, behind dark sunglasses.  He was proud of himself for getting the arm stamp.  I was proud of him for trying, stunned with wonder and admiration.  I asked him how he managed to jump in and swim when he didn’t think he’d succeed, and he said, “I figured I’d just try.”  Matter of fact.  Just like that.  I don’t know how he got the way he is, but I’m so happy I get to be his mother.

Teachers are all around us.  I am blessed to be learning.

“Did you know that it’s National Parenting Gifted Children Week?”  Can you believe it?  I can’t.  I really can’t.  I was alerted via a  Facebook group that keeps parents up to speed on important happenings regarding the Gifted and Talented Education program in our school district.

I have two thoughts…

When I was in grade school, I was told that I was gifted and that I’d be going to a special classroom for ‘giftedness’.  I was SO excited.  Gifts!  I was going to get gifts!  Seriously.  That’s what I thought.  Can you believe they let me in the door?  Our first activity was papier-mache masks and I thought, ‘Wow.  We have to make our own gifts. I guess that’s cool.’  This memory pops into my head all the time and makes me want to seek out the IQ test scores that indicated my intelligence.  A mistake may have been made.

My other thought is… How would one go about celebrating National Parenting Gifted Children Week?  I can tell you, parenting gifted children is no walk in the park.  They argue.  They find your weak spots.  They negotiate for everything  like hostages are at stake.  They wear you down, poke holes in your parenting, and try to drown you in your own feeble reasoning.  I’m thinking the usual celebrating probably only occurs when they grow up and make enough money to put you in a really, really nice old folks’ home.   So, I have an idea.  If you’re a gifted child, the celebration is up to you.  You owe it to your parents to do something nice.  Buy them a gift!  If you have no money, make a papier-mache mask!  If you have no glue and flour, simply take a mental vacation, so your parents can, too.

Happy National Parenting Gifted Children Week!

I fell in love last week, with the dog we’ve had for nine years.  It was nine years ago that  Big Poppa and I completed the perfect picture… strong marriage, two healthy kids, and a home in Pleasantville.   Then, I realized one thing was missing.  We needed a dog!

Lucky Pal 2003

We adopted Lucky Pal and everything was perfect, except I didn’t love him.  He was a typical puppy and he turned into a great dog, but still I didn’t love him.  He was seven when I finally figured out why.  The canine love of my life was a golden retriever mix that was rescued and presented to me on my fifth Christmas.  That dog, Goldie, was my best friend.  I remember counting his kisses until my face was covered.   Goldie always made me happy and he was always there.  Until he wasn’t.  My mom and my first stepfather divorced when I was twelve.  If you do the math, you’ll realize when I was twelve, the dog was seven.  Crazy, huh?  Goldie was a casualty.  He lived with ‘friends’, kept on a chain outdoors, and then he ‘ran away’.  For years, I’d see dogs that I thought might be Goldie and my heart would leap, then I’d realize no dog could have outlived my hope.

Goldie and me 1977

You’d think once I realized why I hadn’t let myself love Lucky, I’d have been able to come around, but I couldn’t.  Until last week.  Last week we walked through animal shelters, looking for a kitten, while sad-eyed dogs looked back at us.  I felt something shift in my heart.  Looking at abandoned dogs, seeing them look at me with hope, I knew.  No one is getting a divorce!  No one is leaving!  It was time to love Lucky with the reckless abandon I carried in my five-year old heart.  I came home open and full of canine love.  But, before I’d even closed the front door I thought, ‘Now, he’ll probably die.’  The ramifications from being a child of divorce can be long-lasting, and I still fight the urge to expect the worst when I open myself up to being vulnerable.  I shook it off, reassured myself, and hugged my dog.  I mean, I actually hugged my dog!  I’ve marveled at him ever since.  Nine years old, having never been around a cat, and allowing this little two-pound kitten to come into his home, drink from his bowl, and play with his tail.   He is amazing.  He is mine.

Lucky Pal and Willow BonBon Davis last week

I made an appointment for him to see the vet this week, because he’s due for a check-up, and because he has a little age spot, I presumed, that I thought she could check out.  I showed my knowledgable neighbor the spot this morning, and he said, “Oh, that’s cancer.”

I’m devastated. But, my heart is open and I’m not going anywhere.

Someone found my blog yesterday by googling, “turning 40 and now a tummy”.  Seriously.

I guess I’ve always wanted to be the poster child for something.

Coincidentally, all the neighbors got together this afternoon and watched me step on a scale, right in the middle of the sidewalk.  It was determined by kind and disbelieving neighbors, that I couldn’t possibly weigh as much as the scale was indicating, so another scale was fetched.  I had to hop on, hop off, hop on, hop off, and accuracy was determined and assured.

176 pounds.  Audible gasps!  Can’t believe its!  And, No Ways!  Totally true.

At least I was holding this in front of my forty year-old tummy….

My amazing neighbors grew a pumpkin patch between their houses, and let’s just say this baby weighed in at more pounds than the average toddler.  We are SO growing pumpkins at our house this year!  It’s a totally chic way to hide an aging tummy.

I almost hyperventilated from sighing today.  You know, the passive-aggressive-martyr sighing perfected by mothers the world over?   I had a severe case of sighing today, accompanied by acute irritation and moderate nagging.  By 7 p.m. I knew I needed to get out of the sick house.  Of course, I decided to go to Target.  Cliche, cliche, cliche….

 

The Oldest asked to go with me.  Even though I saw it as my first opportunity to be alone in fifteen days, Big Poppa’s just back from China, I agreed to let him come with the stipulation that he would not complain or discuss anything that involved money.  As we were getting into the car, it was sprinkling and strangely humid, and he said, “Doesn’t today feel like Hawaii?”  I almost burst out laughing, remembering  how I was waited on hand and foot at The Four Seasons Maui and how ‘this’ felt exactly like the opposite of ‘that’.  Then, I remembered when Big Poppa was working on Lost.  I took the boys to visit  during torrential storms.  The storms were so bad that the sewage system backed up all over the island and the beaches were all deemed unsafe and closed.  Do you know how many indoor activities there are to do on Oahu?  Less than the number of days we went to visit by about ten.  The rains caused the pool at the house Big Poppa was co-renting to overflow dramatically, while he was at work of course,  and my friend and I watched as the water came flooding into the house, while we waited with bated breath to see if the koi from the pond between the house and pool would come, too.  Then the toilet clogged.  Then the house needed to get pumped out.  Actually, today kind of did feel like that.

 

So, off The Oldest and I drove to Target.  When we got there we heard one crying child after another, accompanied by professionally dressed mothers wearing high heels, lipstick, and exhaustion.  I stopped in my Birkenstock tracks.  How lucky am I that I don’t have to do my errands at the end of a full workday with overtired and cranky children?  How lucky am I to have all day to do the things that need to get done, instead of just a few precious hours?  When we walked out of Target the sky was bright pink and purple behind the palm trees and it felt exactly like Hawaii.  Thank God.

 

Now, if I could just find someone to bring me a mai tai.  Paging Mr. Kane…

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