Doing my part to disrupt the space-time continuum.

Posts tagged ‘mom’

Mary Invents Bullet points

This isn’t exactly a “Merry Christmas” post. It’s really just Christmas story musing. Since virtually no one will be sitting around reading blog posts on Christmas, maybe it’s an okay follow-up to the holiday cheer.

Hardly a Christmas has gone by that I haven’t contemplated the plight of Mary, Jesus’ mom.

I don’t know how many Christmases I’ve spent weeping for that poor girl, while at the same time, relishing the story behind the story: That she was CHOSEN by god for a blessed miracle.

It was intriguing to think how stealthy the whole thing came down. Mary and Joseph, not yet married, not yet doin’ the nasty and yet, BLAM! There she is, preggers, having to hide from an entire community that would just-as-soon stone her as poot in her direction if word got out. Then there’s Joseph. Good guy, by all accounts. Goes so far as to consider ‘releasing’ Mary from their engagement without the finger-pointing and public humiliation that society would have obliged. Until …

An angel arrives on the scene to say, “Whoa! Dude! Hold up! God, like, TOTALLY has this thing under control. He’s been cheating on you with Mary but it’s cool! The groom in the womb will save you from your doom!” (That sounds just a little less stupid when you remember that Jesus is called the ‘bride groom’ and the church is called the ‘bride of Christ’. )

Naw. Nevermind. It’s still stupid. Anwyay

Joseph, who must have been pretty much freaked out of his mind at that point, rolls with the whole thing because, truthfully, what’s he GONNA do? Say to the creator of the universe who could crush him like a cockroach, “No thanks  … I’ll just peace-out and leave you two love birds alone…” ???? Me thinks not.

In any case, the person REALLY left in a predicament was Mary. She was what? 14 years old? And there she is, left with all that responsibility. She had a baby to birth, a funeral to plan and a resurrection to organize! All without benefit of prenatal vitamins or pain meds. And who was going to help her get all that stuff done? Nobody was going to believe her cockamame story in the first place:  “No! I did NOT have sex with that man!”

No cigar!!!! No one would believe her. It’s a total pickle and hardly fair.

Now, I know that for all the die-hards out there who simply cannot tolerate anyone messing with their Christmas story, (let alone their bible interpretations), this post is a total knicker-twister. Let me just say, I was once a die-hard myself with a Christian resume’ as long as your Christmas list so I know how this can wrankle with the winky. But I stand behind the notion that surely the god of the universe could have come up with a plan that didn’t hang a powerless little girl out to dry.

I dunno … it’s just my thought.

The Fascination of A Dead Frog

We walked side by side after the rain stopped. The park was almost entirely empty. I guess no one wants to  go for a walk right after it rains. He ran on ahead toward the creek.

The thing about 10 year old boys is that anything that’s gross, sticky, bloody or puky is THE most fascinating thing beyond all human reason. “Mom! Mom!” he yelled,  “LOOOOOOK! It’s a FRRRROGGGGGG!”

By the time I’d caught up, he was knelt down on one knee. “It’s deeeeaaaad,” he said in a low, slow and reverent tone as he poked the remains of the decedent with a stick.

It wasn’t just dead. That fucker was flat. Flat-Dead. Squished … as if  he’d gotten trampled by an entire HERD of bull frogs.

My son was spellbound by the crime scene. “Ew” he whispered, “Look at the guts.” I leaned in closer looking more at my son than the remains.

“Oh,” I said, trying to lighten the moment, “I’m sure the little guy is fine!” I nudged my son gently with my elbow. “Looks like its just sleeping,” I tried to coax a smile.

Silence fell. Blink – pause – blink.

“Mom…” he began as his voice grew frustrated, “Really?! I mean … No. Just … ugh … No! It is NOT sleeping … It’s deeaaad!” Poke. Poke.

“Aw, c’mon now! Don’t be so negative Mr. Gloomy Pants!” I encouraged. “Give the poor little guy the benefit of the doubt! Maybe he’s just tired or maaaaybeeee….” I said trying to rouse his sense of humor, “Mayyybeee he just got back from a huge frog party and he needs some time to recuperate? You know … take a nice little shower? Maybe knock back a juicy quarter-pounder … with cheese?”

Blank looks on 10-year-olds are hard to ignore when they last 6 hours. It’s even harder when you can clearly see the wheels turning as they inwardly battle the inevitable, horrible truth: That they share YOUR DNA. Finally, he broke the silence,  “Do you SEE that gray stuff? I’m like a thousand per cent sure it’s his brains.” Poke.   

I was determined to make that kid laugh, even in the face of the gruesome scene that lay before us.  “Well … that doesn’t mean he’s not okay in a manner of speaking,” I began. “I mean, you could wear him as a hat or maybe you guys could hang out and play Wii? Look!” I said as I used a twig to lift what I think was a leg, “He’s flat enough that I bet you could use him as a Debit Card! You know …  you could do a little shopping…?”

I bit my lip and waited for a grin, a chuckle … a something… but no. He sat back on the concrete in utter defeat with his head in his hands. All hope was lost. His mother would never be anything other than weird and that frog would ever be anything other than dead.

I put my hand on my despondent little guy’s shoulder and proceeded tenderly, “Son … Seriously… Never mind what I just said … ” Slowly  he raised his head and met my eyes. “Honey … Dead frogs don’t make good Debit Cards … just trust me on this one.”

An Old Backpack Won’t Change The World

But it MIGHT change a cold night.

On nights like tonight, when the weather is ugly to everyone (even babies and puppies), I think about homeless people. Can’t help it. Even in my deliberate attempt to self-medicate through a selfish act of indulgence (a hot bath) and self-serving wastefulness (extra bath salts), I fail to numb the sadness I feel when I picture some runaway sitting alone under a bridge in the cold.

While I’m busy attending to my routine of personal hygiene, taking my hot baths and toothbrush for granted and wondering if my daily rinse with hydrogen peroxide and water is going to blow my head up, there’s someone at that moment who’d give anything for a toothbrush. They might even risk having their head blown up if it meant a fresh, minty mouth. I probably would.

All this contemplation has reminded me of something that happened one winter almost a decade ago.

Every week, my 12-year-old daughter and I made a trip into Atlanta for an appointment with her doctor. On one trip, we saw a homeless guy standing on the off-ramp of I-85 with a sign that said NEED FOOD. My daughter wondered out loud,”How does he stay warm? Or brush his teeth? Or keep from stinking?”

“He doesn’t,” was all I could say. How do you explain to your kid that there are over 20,000 people in your city alone that have no place to call home? That they wash in gas station bathrooms, wear filthy clothes and eat from trashcans? What’s the word homeless mean to a kid like mine? What’s it mean to ME?

The next week, we saw another guy at that same exit with a similar sign. It was even colder and the sky threatened to rain.  From that moment, it was as if all those invisible homeless folks suddenly became visible, popping out of every corner as we made our way past the usual landmarks. Kinda like when you buy a new car and then you start noticing that kind of car everywhere. Only awful and overwhelming and without the new car smell.

Once you see them – you see them. And they can’t be erased. Especially the shadows you take to bed with you at night. Theirs are the shadows that don’t get lost in the dark. Not even when you pull your heavy comforter over your head. They aren’t to be forgotten, either.

My daughter certainly didn’t forget. Two days later she bopped into my bedroom with three old backpacks over her shoulder and announced, “Operation Backpack.”

“Huh?”

“Operation Backpack!” she repeated.

Then she told me her plan to collect old backpacks and fill each one with a bar of soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a bottle of water, socks, gloves … stuff like that. “Then,” she said, “we’ll keep the backpacks in the car for our weekly trips into town. Next time we see someone at the exit or when we stop at a stop sign, we’ll hand them a backpack out the window!”

I was speechless. Honored. Awake. Aware.

We spent the remainder of that winter implementing Operation Backpack and you know what? It didn’t make a damned difference  to the thousands of homeless people in Atlanta or to ANY people in Atlanta for that matter …

Except to seven.

Two of those seven were me and my daughter.

2 Reasons Why You Should Name Your Vacuum Cleaner

I named my vacuum Mrs. Nesbitt.

Mrs. Nesbitt has been an integral part of my life for almost 10 years now. The moment I met her, I had to have her, so I shelled out almost $400 to make her mine.

Mrs. Nesbitt is not just ANY vacuum; She’s MY vacuum and I love her. She’s a part of our family and a valuable, contributing member.

I named my new vacuum Mrs. Nesbitt because I felt it a fitting name for such a fine machine.  It’s a fun name to say and mildly entertaining to think about when your only excitement for the day is housework. But beyond the sheer fun of it, naming your vacuum actually serves a purpose!

Number 1: Naming your vacuum can make your day sound more interesting.

For instance, when one of my friends with an exciting life asks me, “Hey, TeeeRay, what’d YOU do today?” in a manner that suggests that perhaps MY day was inferior to THEIR day, I can answer with enthusiasm, “Oh, I had an INCREDIBLE time with my wild and wacky friend Mrs. Nesbitt!” And when they look all impressed and interested, I can make up something super awesome so it sounds like I had THE MOST EXCITING day EVER!

Number 2: Naming your vacuum helps motivate your peeps to USE it with enthusiasm.

Think about it: Which phrase do you think would solicit the most favorable response?

A. “Honey, please run that boring, dead-skin-cell-sucking gray cylinder over this despicable, disgusting, disease-infested carpet,”

OR…

B. “Honey, Mrs. Nesbitt would delight in the pleasure of your company as you boogie-oogie-woogie together across the living room rug to her favorite Bieber tunes.”

My peeps routinely respond better to the latter request. Yes … they roll their eyes and Yes … they express their distrust in a personified vacuum cleaner but more importantly, they run the damned thing with little or no resistance and sometimes with a silly grin and a kind word directed toward Mrs. N.

I highly recommend naming your vacuum and any other appliance in your home that your peeps typically resist using. They will find it strangely amusing enough to pitch in and somewhat psychologically disturbing – which is the best part and a total perk.

Ok … how about it? What will you name your vacuum?

Rose-Colored Glasses, Crocs and a Big, Green Booger

My 3 kids amaze me.

Each is unique, smart and beautiful. Of course, I’m the materfamilias, so it’s not like you’re gonna hear me say, “My kids suck! They’re gross! Ew!” Lucky for me, they don’t suck and they aren’t gross so when I blather on and on about the wonders of my kids, all you can really do is just sit there and look pretty.

2 of our 3 kids have jumped the Mother Ship and are now navigating the wonders of the world on their own. I no longer get to screw up their lives on a day-to-day basis … only intermittently and even then, my efforts aren’t taken as seriously as they once were. Damn kids.

Me in my Rose Colored Glasses

When it comes to how I view my offspring, I am quite guilty of donning the proverbial rose-colored glasses. But for me, it’s not that I don’t SEE the flaws. Oh, I see them. Like a big green booger, I see them clearly. It’s just that the glasses help me focus on the potential found even in a booger if it belongs to my kid. It could be formed into something useful, I tell myself, Perhaps glue or add glitter and bedazzle  some Crocs with it. (Crocs are so ugly, they’d probably look BETTER with a glittery booger stuck on them.)

Anyway, the point is this; I think most of us moms do that sort of thing. Not, bedazzle Crocs with boogers, but we view our kids with a hopeful eye and a vision for the future that often INCLUDES the flaws, the weaknesses and the imperfections.

It’s probably true that we’d prefer to view our kids as perfect and overlook the flaws entirely. But in my opinion, if we’re smart, we won’t do that. Instead, we’ll embrace the imperfections every bit as much as the perfections and in doing so, find ourselves  balancing in that wondrous place in the middle where unconditional love lives.

The fact is, it’s often our flaws that make us interesting, unique and … well … US. That’s all the more reason to slip on the Rose Colored Glasses for a clear view of the very things that make our kids the spectacularly unique creatures they are!

On Being A Mom

Motherhood

Giving all of me until
almost none of me was left
Inconceivable it seems
to know not
was it gift
or theft
?


Me and my youngest when he was 3. He's 10 now!

I wrote this poem over a decade ago when my two oldest children were around 8 and 7 and before my youngest was born.

I LOVE being a mom with its many extremes of emotion. Nothing else in my life has the power to consume me like the love I have for my babies. This love has pushed me to the very edge of who I am, tapping into the raw parts of my soul, demanding I play many roles that have stretched, stressed and challenged my strengths and weaknesses.

Momma Bear defends – Doctor Mommy heals – Parent Mother disciplines –  Therapist Mom supports. Homework Mom just says, “Go ask Dad.”  Every year of development has demanded I step up and play a new role. And what worked for one child didn’t always work for the other!  Where was that freakin’ parenting manual when I needed it???

Anyway, over the last 2 decades I’ve often surprised myself by doing pretty damned okay. But there are also a few  dismal failures I can barely face all these years later.  My kids will undoubtedly face those  same failures on a therapists couch somewhere in their 30’s.

Fact is, giving everything for my kids has been both gift AND theft. I freely gave of myself and sometimes it was probably more than I should have …  AND parts of me were stolen when I wasn’t paying attention. There are so many gains and so many losses in life and mothering has been no exception for me.

And I wouldn’t trade it for the entire world.