Scenes from Life: Being a Mom (Parent)

Go with the flow. Be flexible, agile, patient and open to experience the unexpected. Live on minimal sleep. Drink plenty of caffeine. And, some wine after the kiddos go to bed. Eat standing up while making breakfasts, packing lunches and taking inventory of backpacks. Exercise to keep stress away.  Stay organized. Two planners — traditional and smart — are what it takes; for me. Support systems of family, friends, teachers, neighbors and virtual connections for stability; and comic relief. Listening to music does wonders, too. The Killers, When You Were Young, is pumping me up.

It takes a human with a balance of love, stamina, strength, intelligence, fortitude, compassion, calm, resolve, persistence, resourcefulness, creativity and many other attributes to be a mom (parent). Prior to being a mom (parent), I spent most of my time helping Syntel, a global information technology solution provider, generate new business leads and land multi-million-dollar contracts. It was a pretty intense, fast-paced, always-changing, not-for-sissies life.

So, 12 years ago, I sat at my desk in a cubicle at the 525 office building on 16 Mile in Troy, Mich. I was prepping for the next leg in life. 22 more days. The calendar did not lie. My temporary replacement baulked at the project list he would inherit and support. Could he keep up in this needed-it-yesterday environment? That was the least of my worries.

My plan was to work from home until Issa — my eldest child — made her début. Then, maternity leave. But, my first lesson in being a mom (parent) was about being ready for and managing the unexpected. Issa arrived early. Work-from-home projects had to be delegated. Maternity leave began earlier.

What to do? Give Issa all the love and attention she needed to thrive.

The second lesson was about adaptions; survival of the fittest. Before Issa, I easily slept until 9 am. Unfortunately, Issa gravitated toward her dad’s wake-time of 6:30 am; even on weekends. In the beginning, I unleashed a few snarls of discontent at my husband; especially when he claimed not to hear her crying for some attention.

What to do? Wake up! Drink coffee. Play.

Now, early wake-times no longer phase me. In fact, I accomplish more. I stay on track with work, school schedules, volunteerism, socializing, and wine time.

A third lesson, which I am still in the midst of learning, is about resilience and resourcefulness. As Issa entered preschool, we (my husband and I) discovered she had ADD (attention deficit disorder) as well as global development delays. Riff (my youngest) also has learning challenges and development delays.

What to do? Learn. Make friends with school district decision-makers, teachers, therapists, education consultants, pediatric non-profits, and peer parents. Advocate for whatever Issa and Riff need to be on a path for current and future success. Actively support them through participation in their activities, tough love and understanding.

Finally, the most important lesson is the one of patience. Before Issa, patience was not a natural virtue. It still isn’t. It’s just not in my DNA.

What to do? Self-imposed time-outs, calming strategies, and positive self-talk.

Home life is peaceful. Well, maybe I went a little too far there. My home is not synonymous with church. There are daily moments when I snap into a being I do not recognize. I swear, yell and use not-so-nice sign language. Imperfection at its finest; beautiful chaos.

So, now what?

Go with the flow. Be patient. Experiencing the unexpected is one of the greatest gifts of being a mom (parent); and it is not for sissies.

 

Six Sentence Monday: Entry 10

I cringe in when one of my children is sick. Both count on me to make whatever ails them better. It’s up to me to keep my composure; and to not completely unravel. Those expressions of ill content on their sweet little faces is almost too much. I remember how my mother used to care. She was the best — and still is — at getting me through the worst life can deal.

Six Sentence Monday: Entry #8

There are so many thoughts duking it out for acknowledgement in my head. It’s almost overwhelming. I am thinking about how to maximize the education my children receive, and how to make sure I am spending enough quality time with my aging parents. Also, I am considering my options as I look to re-enter the workforce, prepare to sell an old car, and schedule time with friends. Then, there is the upcoming weekend schedule. As we near Halloween there is much to ponder: costumes, decorations, candy, class parties, pre-holiday fun, and the best route for trick-o-treating this year.

Previous Six Sentence Posts …

Six Sentence Thursday Special

Six Sentence Monday Entry 6

Six Sentence Monday Entry 5

Six Sentence Monday: Entry 3

Preparedness is important. While others stockpile school supplies and snacks, Riff  focuses on being ready for the “what if” in life. For the previous week, he has practiced fire and lockdown drills. School staff can be assured. My family and I reviewed drill expectations as well as our own emergency plans. Riff knows what to do.

School Days: Eight Days

last-days-of-summer-801.jpgEight days until summer living fades to buzzing alarms, races to the bus stop, homework and stricter bedtime laws. Issa, Riff and I are nearly ready for September 3; the school start-date in Michigan. Riff shopped for his school supplies with me at Target last week. At the start of this errand, Riff wasn’t all that excited. But, at the checkout he animatedly announced, “I am all ready for school!”

Valentine’s Day: The Gift of Time

Recently, I have fought winter snark. A prevalent symptom for this condition includes increased cynicism in the way I view things I read, hear and see. So, here I sit. It’s Valentine’s Day; the holiday when my heart is overflowing with the love I feel for family and friends. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and friends more than words could ever express. And, I do believe it’s important to express those feelings often.

My cynicism about this holiday is mostly directed at the push to give stuff. I love receiving candy, cards, trinkets and flowers as much as any other human. But, to me, the greatest expression of love or affection is the gift of time; quality time. If I had to choose, I would skip the candy, bottle of Barbera (maybe not), and jewelry in exchange for some extra hours of fun with my husband, children, parents, sister, extended family, and friends.

What about you?

Thinking About …

While waiting for my morning caffeine kick to nudge me toward my elliptical machine, I read Facebook status updates.  Two posts moved me so much I had to share.

First, a high school friend encouraged her network to rally for the United States …

Prayer Request—I have a prayer request. There’s a lady I’ve known forever. She’s very sick. On top of that, she’s being abused by those to whom she has given everything….. Lies about her abound, and seem to come from all sides. Just breaks my heart. Seems there’s nothing I can do alone but maybe, if we all join in and lift her up together, He can heal her. She’s well over 230 years old, but way too young to die. Her name is ‘America’… And I love her and have always been proud of her. Please take time to say a prayer for her – even if it is a short, simple prayer like, “Lord, please heal our land. Amen.” Thanks!

Next, a business owner and healthy eating advocate I had the pleasure of meeting two years ago, shared the following to help those healing from loss.

Also, I had this to say to my people …

You know who you are. I call you family, friend, neighbor, mentor, teacher, helper, advocate or inspiration. Some of you may not live nearby or know me personally. We may not visit, call, write or text often. Time together is often scarce. We’re all so busy. I understand that; and I’m sure you do, too. But, just in case. You should know. I think about you often and I love you. The part you play in my life means so much.

Finally, a childhood friend of mine who has been healing from some recent losses and who authors a blog called Tickling My Fancy recently wrote a phrase, which I have plagiarized without shame when I write e-mails to friends or family.

She says, “Hug your people!”

So, that’s my call to action for today and everyday. Don’t forget … Hug Your People!

Last Days of Summer: Katniss, Beautiful Revisits, Classic Rides, Missing Husbands and Fifty Shades of Fudgery

It’s been a while. My hiatus wasn’t even intended. But, then I looked. My most recent blog post is dated  July 26. I compare this blog community faux pas to those ancient days when I failed miserably as a snail-mail pen pal. While I like writing, I am just not a letter-writer.

So, that’s my first excuse for being such a lousy summer blog pal. The next five are …

1. Katniss Everdeen stole my attention for seven days as I devoured Suzanne CollinsHunger Games Trilogy. As I finished each book, I had to start the next. With the exception of maintaining my job as family chauffeur, chef, and referee all other responsibilities went out the window. That’s what summer break is for, right?

2. Beautiful revisit with my husband and children to my aunt Kate’s lake house in Claire, Michigan. For one weekend, we relaxed, fished, boated, swam, and hunted for snakes.

3. Classic rides lined Woodward Ave. for Detroit’s annual Woodward Dream Cruise. Our time was mostly spent in Birmingham’s Old Woodward district, which gave us plenty of classics to drool over.

4. Missing husbands aren’t all bad. While mine was in Baltimore for several weeks, the kids reveled in the last couple weeks of summer vacation. They visited family friends in Canada, slept in, watched too much television, and ate hot dog dinners. The bonus for me: less mess, no sharing, and uninterrupted time with Mr. Grey and Miss Steele (see no. 5).

5. Fifty Shades of fudgery tied me up for three days. It was one day for each book in the trilogy detailing the kinky, over-the-top, hearts and flowers romance between Mr. Grey and Miss Steele. It is the only story I have ever been interested in rereading; and with the same level of interest as the first read-through. Note to those with lovers: minus some of fudgery, the trilogy is a guide to either re-igniting the fire; or to keeping it lit.

School’s Out: The Rest of Week 3 Unfolds at Michigan Adventure

Despite a packed calendar of family, social, work and enrichment commitments, I was determined to find some free days to give our family a vacation from the usual scenery. So, after lighting up the sky with a spectacular firework display the previous night, Tracy and I loaded up the car. We buckled Buddy, our Pekingese into the middle seat between Issa and Riff. Then, we took off for Michigan Adventure, an amusement park located in Muskegon, Mich. In addition to a number of thrill rides and its wild adventure water park, Michigan Adventure is mere miles away from the shores of Lake Michigan.

Issa and Riff are ready for fun at Michigan Adventure

Highlights from our adventure include …

The pool at our hotel, Baymont Inn and Suites cooled off Issa and gave her the opportunity to practice for upcoming swimming lessons.

Issa enjoys the Frog Hopper.

100-plus temperatures on day 1 of our visit to Michigan Adventure did not deter Issa from all the thrills she was tall enough to ride. In 2010 we visited and she was denied entry onto the Mad Mouse and Zach’s Zoomer because she wasn’t quite tall enough.

Riff nursing a sick tummy at the hotel while I finished reading Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and watched Detroit Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals on Saturday. Issa and Tracy enjoyed Day 2 at Michigan Adventure splashing in the water park.

Upon returning home, week 4 includes the beginning of enrichment classes for Issa and Riff, swim lessons, and a three-day family reunion. Gotta love summer.

Feeling the End-of-School Vibe

Despite my rantings on here, I am a bit stoked to admit there are only four point five days until my children break loose from school for summer vacation. I am not immune to feeling the end-of-school vibe, which started beating through the entire neighborhood at the beginning of May.

What about you? I can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia. First, I watched a live production of Xanadu last Saturday, which took me back to the early years of the K-12 education. Then, Rock of Ages trailers have been playing on television all week. The soundtrack to this film contains many fave hits from my junior high and high school days. Finally, our neighbors — who live two houses down — have a son graduating from high school this week. There are quite a few of his friends celebrating their accomplishment with him this evening. Hearing all the shouts, laughter, and cars zooming around brings back a gazillion memories of the same from 23 years ago.