Bonus Post: Lyric Status Friday — We Are Young

I love this Friday tradition my cousin, Joe encouraged me to start a few weeks ago. There is nothing like waking up and realizing it’s Friday. I don’t know about you. But, even though I am 40 and have two school-aged children, Friday mornings still make me smile because it’s almost time for some weekend fun.

Tonight

We are young

So let’s set the world on fire

We can burn brighter

Than the sun

— Nathaniel Joseph Ruess,  Andrew Dost, Jack Michael Antonoff, and Jeffrey Bhasker

These lyrics move me because in 17 days it will be time to say good-bye to another school-year. Each day, my children amaze me with what they are able to learn and accomplish. I know they have a very bright future ahead of them. Also, a number of my neighbors have students graduating elementary, junior high, and high school. All these young people are simply amazing. I can’t wait to see what they contribute to the world.

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A Head Full of Posts

A new blogging friend, Kayla at The Gen Y Girl, inspired the title of this post. She mentioned jotting her millions of ideas on Post-Its. She stores them in her purse for future reference. I do the same. Sometimes I have to be outta my writer’s chair to drive my children around, clean my house, socialize with family and friends, walk Buddy (my adorable Pekingese), or visit my gym (which I haven’t done in months). Whenever I have an idea; and I’m not at home, I have to be prepared. At a minimum, I have a pen, pencil or crayon at the ready; as well as paper scraps (hopefully without gum stuck to them).

Currently, my head is crafting a series of posts related to a fave quote I referenced here last week. The series has transformed into much more than I originally envisioned. This transformation happened while in car waiting — with my son, Riff — for Issa (my daughter) to complete a reading session with her tutor on Tuesday. On the back of a coloring book page I found in my glove compartment, I made notes about this series and then doodled a bit. I realized Part 1 of the series would take a bit more time to ensure a quality post. So, be on the look out in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can count on me to write on a few other ideas.

 

Outta My Chair

The one constant I love about parenting is being on-the-go from the time I rise until my head hits the pillow at night or in the wee morning hours. Before children, life was not dull. I was on-the-go until I arrived at my office cubicle. Once there, I sat for hours — sometimes until late evening — managing event details, carrying out lead generation strategies, and crafting presentations to incite prospective blue chip companies to pick my employer as their information technology solution provider.

When Issa was born nine years ago, my uninterrupted, three-hour sessions in my writer’s chair disappeared. That’s not to say I don’t write or work on professional ambitions. It just means I adapt to their schedules and needs. A lifestyle with children prompted me to get outta my chair, which is a change I embrace every day.

While I can do without the added housework children bring into the picture, I love the spontaneity they bring to daily life. Not one day is the same as another.

While outta my chair today, I worked out, helped Riff finish a craft project for his afternoon preschool class, went to the store, donated blood, took Issa to a reading tutor, played chase with Riff, made meals, babysat a neighbor’s children, and read stories to my children,

On-the-fly writing works for me. I write in the moment of whatever I am living. It gives me the opportunity to relax my posting schedule a bit so that I can learn a thing or two about myself, others and life.

Change vs. Stagnation

I watch the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream of warm impermanence. And, so, the days float through my eyes. But, still the days seem the same. And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes. Turn and face the strain. Ch-ch-Changes.  Don’t tell t hem to grow up and out of it. Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes.  Turn and face the strain. Ch-ch-Changes. Where’s your shame. You’ve left us up to our necks in it. Time may change me. But you can’t trace time. 

David Bowie,  Lyrics from Changes

For some reason I am okay with change. In fact, when I see it’s necessary, I usually step forward, adapt and prevail. What else can one do?

That’s not to say I don’t think carefully about the issues involved. Significant changes such as sending children to a new school, moving to a different home, switching employers, leaving a profession, or adding family members often require swift forethought. In order to be successful, transition calls for proper consultation, preparation and management of all impacted.

I’m thinking about change because it is constant in my world. Ever since I took my first breath, life dazzles, amazes, teaches, twists, bends, whirls, chills, blows, sucks, and disappoints. What about yours?

I call it beautiful chaos. Yes, I think I borrowed that phrase from a famous celebrity couple. If you can guess who, pat yourself on the back. Sorry, no prizes or cookies available.

What other choice is there? Stagnation. I agree. Change messes with routine, takes us out of our “normal” environments (whatever those are) and pushes us to step out of our comfort zones.

Sometimes staying the course is the right path. But, its important not to fear moving in a new direction. I remember all the employer changes I went through my first year out of college. Monster.com’s slogan, never settle, described my determination to find the right employer with the right opportunities to build my skills and experience. If I had resisted making necessary changes during that time, much of what I love about my life today wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t have met my husband and I wouldn’t be a mom to Issa, Riff, and Buddy.

So, my vote is for change. Embrace it. Stagnation doesn’t benefit anyone.

A WTF Moment: A Call From School You Do NOT Want

I have been battling my two inner voices on whether or not to blab about a WTF moment, I experienced one week ago. One voice keeps saying this is information neighbors need to know. It deals with a rather serious issue — the safety of children while at school — so it’s more than just coffee-break gossip about what so-and-so did at work one day.

A second voice says people make mistakes. It’s not right to blast their errors megaphone-style into the public. I probably would have sided with this voice. But, then, I did some on-the-street interviews at the bus stop. Two of my neighbors, who have children attending the same school experienced similar — but much scarier — WTF experiences, recently.

So, here I am. I am going with that first inner voice. A bonus with  this choice  is linking you to one of my favorite bloggers. Kelly, from Dances with Chaos, posts WTF moments she experiences during her trials as a parent almost each Friday. They are pretty humorous.

While my WTF recount is not humorous, it definitely deserves a replay. So, without further delay …

It’s 10 am on Friday, February 10. I am whizzing around my house taking care of Riff. He’s my five-year-old, son; and he’s been home sick all week. I called him in absent at 8:30 am. He attends a different school than my daughter, Issa.

The phone rings … It’s one of the secretary’s from Issa’s school.

School Secretary: Is Issa absent from school, today?
Me: No, she went to school
Me (thinking and checking my phone number list): I called Riff’s school to report him absent. Did I call the wrong school? I could have experienced a brain fart. I was up until 3 am helping him nurse a bad cold. But, I didn’t call the wrong school.
Me (out loud): She’s not at school? Where is she?
Secretary: Did she come in late?
Me (starting to feel a freak-out coming on): No, she rode the bus with her friends this morning.
Secretary: Oh. Let me double check the (attendance) sheet.
Me: Well, is she at school?
Secretary: Oh. There she is.
Me: Go check and make sure. Call me back.
Secretary: Okay.
Secretary calls me back: Yes. She’s here. I hate it when I do this.
Me (thinking): You’ve done this to a parent before?
Me (out loud): You just gave me a heart attack!

Do you think she’s still thinking about this little mistake like I am?

After considerable research and thought, I have decided something needs to be said to the principal. Here are some additional reasons fueling my blog as well as my fire about having a chat with school personnel.

  • Other parents with students at the same school reported receiving similar erroneous phone calls.
  • Just last week local news reported an attempted abduction at a bus stop, which a bus driver prevented. Also, in May/June 2011, local police alerted school officials about reported attempted abductions in our area.
  • Calls to confirm absences — not called in — are not made until 10 am ish. So, what happens if a child is abducted while walking to school or after getting off the bus. School starts at 8:25 am. That’s a scary amount of lead time to give a predator.
  • Parents said voice mails were left asking parents to confirm an absence. While I feel this step in the school’s process is reasonable and valid, I am questioning whether leaving a voice mail is enough. Perhaps calls to other numbers listed on the student emergency cards would be better protocol. One parent I spoke with said she and her husband were out of town when this voice mail was left. Fortunately, the student’s grandmother checked the voice mails and immediately contacted the school to confirm the child was there. A second parent received a voice mail. But, no one in her family heard the message until 5 pm that day. What if their child had been abducted? What kind of chance would this have given the parents/family of a positive outcome to that type of scenario.

Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago, I waited. The medicine the doctor gave to induce labor had started to work. I was told, it could take hours or even days before I would meet my baby. I was about to become a mom for the first time.

Up until the previous day, my pregnancy had been a breeze. I felt good, could eat anything and still maintained a fairly active lifestyle. But, at 38 weeks and at my weekly OB check, my blood pressure was way up and there was protein in my urine. My doctor directed me to the hospital. While I felt a slight twinge of fear, I was optimistic. Surely, the hospital staff would check me out and send me home.

Upon my arrival at the mom/baby unit at the hospital, a nurse promptly informed me of my situation. I had developed pregnancy-induced hypertension (i.e. pre-eclampsia or toxemia). Symptoms included high blood pressure, protein in urine and swelling due to water/fluid retention. I would not be leaving the hospital until after I delivered my baby.

While my ordeal with toxemia was scary, my husband who also served as my delivery coach, kept worry out of my mind. He helped me focus on breathing through labor pains, staying still while receiving the epidural, and enjoying the first few moments of my daughter’s life.

When I delivered my beautiful, baby girl, Issa, she was incredibly sweet, just like she is today. I was thrilled to be mom to this little angel who continues to  grow into a smart young lady who loves her family, friends, planet, snakes, roller coasters and the solar system.

Recovery from toxemia took longer than I expected. I suppose I really didn’t appreciate how sick I was. Prior to this experience, the only illnesses I ever experienced were brushes with common ailments such as the flu. This experience taught me to count my blessings: family, health, faith, and a positive outlook.

Isn’t it interesting how the birth of a child can teach us so much about ourselves and about the world?

Happy Birthday to my Issa!

Flurries of Flashbacks and Winter Fun

Flurries dance outside my windows. Like a child, I am eagerly watching them stick to the ground. I am hopeful inches will  accumulate for worthwhile playtime in the chilly air.

'70s winter memories at "The Rink".

Flashbacks from childhood in my parent’s backyard play in my head. I see longtime friends — still at ages 6-11 — sledding and skiing down our “bunny” hill. Snowballs zing through the air. School work and classes escape our thoughts for a couple hours of friendly, neighborhood snow wars. Then, there are the scenes from the  dormant veggie garden that served as an ice rink for several years. No one paid for ice time to perfect hat tricks, figure-eights or crack-the-whip skills.

For those of you who follow national weather news, the suburbs just north of the “D” have been without significant snowfall during much of this winter season. Christmas Day looked and felt more like Easter with bright sunshine and 40-plus temperatures. Then, two weeks ago I played 3-on-3 with some girlfriends and their children; outside on the driveway; with temps near 50. That’s unheard of in early January.

We have been loving this flirtation with spring-like weather. But, when I heard my neighbor rev his ride-on mower, I new something as amiss in the Mitten. I started to long for the crisp, cold air; and the snow. What if this was the winter without a snowman, sledding or taste-testing snowflakes?

Despite my fantasies about living it up in some tropical locale all winter long, I don’t think that scenario would ever last in reality. Don’t get me wrong. I get cabin-fever crazed like most of my neighbors; and plot escapes to the tropics. But, just the same, I have lived in the north since birth. I have adapted to finding outdoor fun in all four seasons.

There is fun to be had when the snow flies that just isn’t existent in the Bahamas or Hawaii. Also, my love for spicy rum isn’t limited to spiking smoothies, cola or juice. It’s a fantastic additive to warm-up drinks such as hot cider, chocolate and coffee.

Wednesday at 10:49: So Much to Write

There is so much to write, so much to say and so much to do. Here I sit. The notes from this morning are there. I went old-school and grabbed a pen while listening to Riff sing the Mat Man song during snack time this morning.

As ideas and phrases came to mind, I jotted them into my journal. After all, I live with children, a husband and a dog. If I don’t write it all down, I’ll forget those precious thoughts.

But, now, I’m not loving the ideas or phrases I did back at 10:30 am. Maybe that’s because I’m in a different place. I’m always thinking.

Here are some thoughts…

Keeping up with Issa and her evolving interests is equivalent to tracking technology advances. It’s nearly impossible. Change occurs so quickly. But, it is so exciting to witness and to participate. Her interests are so academic and mostly trend toward the sciences. In chronological order — from earliest to now — it was the alphabet, ducks, elephants, mice, dinosaurs, space, and now snakes.

Laughing matters. It breaks up the stress and makes living with children survivable. I sent Riff to his time out spot for a five-minute respite. He was pretty pissed off and began throwing things that were within his reach.

He eyed a pair of my shoes and said, “He’s going to throw your shoes.”

Three inches of snow is finally being forecast for Southeastern Michigan. We have experienced nearly three weeks of 40-plus temps and sunshine.

2012 Forward Thinking

It’s been awhile. Where does the time go? Can you believe 2012 is well underway? Champagne corks and fireworks exploded days ago around the world. I wish there was a pause or slow motion button available for those extra special life moments. But, life doesn’t stop.

I hope you, your family and friends enjoyed each other as well as the festivities of the holiday season that is now history.

As I ready my children’s return to school, I am thinking about …

1. Helping my children succeed at school.

2. Recovering from a family pukefest that started yesterday at 4 pm.

3. Blogging and freelance writing.

4. Michigan State’s victory at the Outback Bowl. What a game.

5. Election 2012 and the GOP Iowa Caucuses. How could I not be thinking about this?

6. Lions vs. the Saints – Saturday, 8 pm at the Superdome. Call me a fool. I believe they have chance provided they bring their penalty-free, A-game to the Superdome.

 

Happy Birthday: Riff Celebrates Five Years

Five years and 2 hours ago, my husband and I welcomed Riff to the world. There are not words to express the joy I experienced at that moment nor the joy I continue to experience every moment he spends with me.

There is no other exactly like him. He is a blessing; a precious miracle gift. His beautiful heart shows in wide smiles and infectious giggles. As he continues to grow his personality evolves. Today, his interests include dancing, watching and playing sports, music, police cars and anything with buttons.

He is still too young to appreciate the words I string together in his birthday cards declaring my unconditional love. I didn’t appreciate the depth of this love from my own mom until I became one myself.

As I continue in the triumphs and challenges of parenthood, I realize there are no others that have taught me so much about life, love, people, and myself. Both of my children enrich me.

At some point, the rest of the world will see and know what I already do. Riff is exceptional. He is love and so very special.

Related previous posts …

Just Say It

Thoughts About Children and Multiple Choice

Charming the People

Time to Fly