Monthly Archives: September 2009

Being a Grown Up

Ah to be a grown up. So many years of childhood were spent dreaming about the day when we would become and adult and take on the world. Oh the control, the freedom, the fun. I definitely agree that being able to eat ice cream for dinner if I feel like it, have the freedom to come and go as I please (um, this is a bit untrue considering that I am now a parent, but that is an entire blog post on its own), and basically make my own decisions is awesome. It’s nice to not have to get permission to do things.

But, oh golly, there is a darkside to this whole being “grown up” thing. Remember when you were a kid and you really wanted something? Let’s say said item cost $20. You would save your allowance, do some things around the house to make a little extra money and then you were on your way. If you drained your savings account, no problem. Just wait for a birthday card from grandpa or the next allowance installment and you were back in business. Well, as a grown up, we all know that it doesn’t work this way. We scrounge, save, and probably lust after something fabulous but then life happens. We go to get our oil changed only to find out that our car is leaking oil from a cracked “casket” (is that the right word?) and we need to pay $350 to get that fixed. Sweet. In addition, some random thing called “trail arm buffings” (honestly I can’t even remember what it’s really called) that they have been warning me about for a year has finally gone to heck and also needs to be replaced. But don’t worry, that’s only like $500. Sweet.

Unfortunately, my parents don’t need me to paint their trees anymore (can I get a “what what” AZ folks) and I definitely do not get paid to empty the dishwasher around here. So, to get $850 back into my savings account is no small fete. And, you know what, there were some things that this little girl had her eye on, not to mention the fact that we are attempting to save for all of the ridiculous costs of moving from the east coast to the west coast next June.

So, *sigh* the downside of being all grown up shows up when I am definitely not in the mood. Lame.

The Leadership Blues

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Oh the plight of a leader. So much glory and so much crap to deal with all rolled into a marvelous package or title. Whether you find yourself leading your group to victory or in no direction at all, being a leader can be really, really, hard. It’s feast or famine for most. When a leader is chosen, there is excitement, hope and support. More often than not, this positive energy soon morphs into harsh criticism. Why do we have such a love/hate relationship with those in leadership roles?

Most of us reading this are fortunate enough to live in a place where having opinions is not only allowed, it’s expected. It can at times be a bit extreme, bordering on plain old disrespectful. One, of the many, reasons that I hate politics and refuse to align myself with any party is that I find it void of respect. What happened to agreeing to disagree? Or even having our own opinions rather than just doing what a group of people tell us to do or think? And on a smaller scale, how do we treat the leaders that we interact with on a daily basis?

I personally have such a love/hate relationship with being a leader. I love to be part of creating something, though implementation and follow through are not my strong suits. But I am an idea person and an opinionated person. Anyone who knows me is not shocked by this information. I like to say I have “theories.” (my sweet husband bears the burden of most of these “theories” daily. yes he is a very good man). I don’t think that I’m alone in this. If you are a living, breathing human being you are going to have some preferences and ideas of your own, as you should. But, how do we live with this tension of staying true to who we are, while maintaining what Aretha sang about so well years ago? R E S P E C T.

I had a bit of a situation yesterday where I was in a team leadership role and chose to express a difference of opinion when one of the other leaders was speaking. Since then, I have been OBSESSING about it. How many people did I offend? Was I totally out of line? How could I have done it differently? The person that I disagreed with handled it very well, and immediately accepted my apology. It wasn’t that I felt the need to apologize for my opinion, but rather my mode of expression. I do not think it’s okay to sit idly by when someone is saying something as truth that is not. Did that make sense? We are to go after a person’s words, not the individual. If we choose to attack anyone in leadership because we see things differently, we are out of line. Fight passionately for what you believe in, speak your mind and don’t hide your feelings, but do it with respect. Respect the fact that not everyone sees the world in the same way that you do. Respect that others are entitled to their opinions even when they make you nauseous. And find a way to keep the line between the person and their preferences clear.

If you respect someone, you cannot hate him. You don’t even have to like someone to respect her as a human being, with her own thoughts, experiences, and world view. I’m not saying it’s easy, or that you need to then continue to spend copious amounts of time with said person. And hey, if you both are into it, continue to engage in some passionate dialogue. Just do it with respect.

So, as I let yesterday’s event go and try to stop obsessing, I remain confident in the fact that what I did, speaking out in defense of dear friends, was right. I hope in the future that my passion will also go hand in hand with deep respect for those I oppose. Being a leader is so, so hard. Anyone who doesn’t think so has obviously never been one. 🙂 By realizing that we are only able to elect flawed human beings to lead us, maybe we can begin to let go of our expectations of perfection. Or stop thinking that simply because we disagree with someone that they aren’t worthy of our respect or allegiance. Do you have a leader in your life that needs a hug? Do you need to let go of your pride and be willing to show respect to someone you’ve withheld it from due to a difference of opinion? Let’s get over ourselves and be grateful once more that God did not create our species in a robotic form. Our opinions, though polar opposite, make life interesting and remind us that we are alive.

I’m Lovin’ It

I have been slacking on sharing some of the products and things that I love lately. But, I am hoping to have at least two things a month on here that are making my life easier. So here goes. I offer you, a sponge.

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I bought these sponges recently because I had a coupon and thought, “ooh, why not go green.” I figured I would just sort of use them and then go back to my regular green or blue versions. You know, the kind with the sponge part on one side and the scrubby on the other. At any rate, I was SHOCKED to discover that not only are these sponges good, they are 10 times better than the others. They are some freakin’ amazing sponges. More absorbent, softer, nice and scrubby, and just plain awesome.

Next time you need to buy some, forget the old blues and greens. Go brown, or green if you will, and you will never look back. Happy wiping.

The Fog Has Lifted

The great thing about bad days is that they always end and a new one begins. And so today is a new day and it has been great. The aliens have returned my children and there is peace in our home. I survived, they survived, and I was even able to escape the house and meet a friend for dinner last night. That combined with a great conversation with my mom yesterday and a reminder that with each new day is a renewed taste of God’s faithfulness to never abandon us have freed my spirit and returned my joy. Thanks for riding the rollercoaster with me here in blog land.

I’ve Seen Better Days…

Oh. My. Goodness. Today. Sucked.

Totally, completely, and thoroughly, SUCKED.

There was whining about 85% of the day. And no, I am not exaggerating. When one stopped, the other began. MolĂ© covered most of the duty pre-nap time and BQ took over post. It was lovely. By about 9 a.m. I had already lost my mind. I even gave myself a time-out because at that point all I wanted to do was have a tantrum of my own. I did have a mild one, and it was glorious. A little yelling, some gesticulating, and I may have thrown a squirty bath toy. Or was it a foam letter? Hmm…

If there were to be a video series featuring “Mothers behaving badly,” or even a “Mothers Gone Wild,” but with us fully dressed because let’s face it if I’m going to go wild, it will definitely not involve bearing my breasts. After nursing two babies the thrill is sort of gone. Anyway, I continue to be shocked at how short my fuse can be, how ridiculously non-existent my patience is, and how terribly three year old like I can truly behave. What the heck?

Do you ever wonder what happened to your fun/easy going side? I do. It’s like aliens have taken up residence in my body and I don’t even recognize myself. I long so much to be the easy going, brush it all off mom and yet I am not. I get so frazzled. I get so fried. And I have days when I cry. Luckily though, in the middle of my breakdown there always seems to be a child walking by with her dad’s shoe on, or one with a mouth full of pink ink who claims she hasn’t been chewing on the markers, or simply a 3 1/2 year old who comes over for a hug. Then, my frustration melts away and I am left with nothing to do but laugh.

I guess that’s really the secret to mothering through. Laughter. The ability to laugh at our kids’ ridiculous tantrums. Laugh at the way our 18 month old can get under our skin. And laugh at our constant need to compare our waistline with that of the hottie mom next door (who probably has a mom who watches her kids daily so she can exercise). If it’s a choice between despair and downright giggles, I’m choosing the giggles.

Have you had a crappy day? Wow, that my friend, is freakin’ hilarious.

The More I Hear…

Growing up, I remember comparing the “coolness” of my parents with that of my friend’s. Maybe someone’s mom let them go to the mall alone or gave them a really late curfew. Sometimes it was just that particular mom or dad’s vibe. You know which ones I’m talking about. The mom that’s still a hottie, listens to good music and acts as a therapist for all little junior high girls and their boy drama. The dad who you all secretly have a crush on who treats his daughter a bit too closely to royalty, sweeps his wife off of her feet with a kiss and a pat on the butt in your presence, and who spends his free time doing things like surfing. But, who really had those parents? And more importantly, who really wants those parents for real? If you had them, awesome.

So now I’m the parent and obviously there is no hope of me ever being the cool mom. Luckily, I’m okay with that since it’s never been my goal. But, with this change of role for me, has come a change in role for my parents. I had never thought about how the fact that I became a parent would also be a life change for my parents. Each generation sort of has to move up a level, which can feel so weird. Luckily, we have all seemed to navigate it pretty well. Now, rather than thinking about parental coolness, the realm of grandparent coolness has emerged. I always figured our parents would be great and they are. But, I never thought I would realize how really great they are when I heard about how lame others can be. With that being said, this post is by no means meant to make those who have grandparents who are low on the coolness factor feel badly, it’s rather for me to be able to finally come out and say how blessed and fortunate I am. It might even be a relief to some of you who have felt I take their coolness for granted. At long last, I am coming clean.

My parents rock. Maybe they didn’t do the above coolness requirements when we were young, but they were awesome. Really and truly cool parents. I see that now. When it comes to being grandparents they are equally amazing. They play with the girls, love the girls and just plain old delight in being with the girls. Not always an easy task. I am so grateful. And, they manage to take care of me at the same time. It is one of the best feelings in the world after becoming a mom to feel like a daughter again. I love it. When my mom is here I feel so loved, affirmed, and encouraged. It is awesome. I am so grateful. My in-laws are great too and I am keenly aware of the double blessing of having both my parents and my husband’s as such wonderful grandparents.

I hear stories of “grandparents gone wild” and realize that for many new parents, dealing with the new grandparents is exhausting, frustrating and full of drama. If that is you, I want to promise that I will stop complaining. Really. Not having support while raising children is so hard. If you have parents that expect you to travel thousands of miles to come and see them with your toddler and newborn while they refuse to ever come to see you, that sucks. If your parents come to visit and expect a clean home, dinner every night and children to never whine or fuss, that sucks. If you have a mother who comes to see you only to criticize your parenting style, post baby weight gain, or child’s diet, wow, how do you do it? Really. I am blown away by how many of my peers are dealing with such hard things and flourishing. You rock. Like I said, the more I hear about other grandparents, the more I realize that I am beyond blessed.

All of this is again to say if you are struggling with in-laws or parents, who just don’t get how hard it is to raise small children (if they seem to have had their memories wiped clean of that stage of their own life) hang in there. Feel free to glare at those of us who have support and don’t feel guilty. And I am publicly saying that what you’re doing is harder than what I’m doing. I will never again take for granted what my parents and in-laws do for our family. They are my lifeline and for that I am forever thankful.

Better and Better, My Friends

Because I don’t believe in “jinxing” or funny business like that I’m going to go ahead and say this straight up. The girls, lately, are getting more manageable. I know, risky, but it must be said. All of a sudden BQ is a bit more rational, there’s less drama for each minor injury, and the whining has even slowed down. I know, WOW. MolĂ© of course is still on the verge of entering many of these lovely stages and so things could get quite ugly soon. Or at any moment for that matter. But, I’m gonna attempt to savor the fact that I am at a stage where I get to have a full night’s sleep each night, the ability to go out for adventures without stopping for multiple napping schedules, and even freedom to leave the house with minimal supplies. It rocks.

I feel like I am beginning to reap some of the rewards of having the girls closer than farther apart. So, for those of you with two kids that are two years apart or less hang in there, especially if one of those is an infant. I promise it really does get better. And your sanity will come back. Maybe motherhood isn’t so bad after all.

Plane Bliss

Um, a quick post to say that I flew on Friday with my sweet husband and both of our girls. Not sure if it was traveling with another adult for the first time in forever, the fact that the flight was only 3 hours, or if it’s safe to say that maybe, just maybe, my little MolĂ© has moved past the time where flying is a complete disaster. Not sure, but it was amazing. No meltdowns, no fussing, no crying. I was shocked. I have to do the flight home solo, so I guess I’ll be able to test the theory of whether or not it was having the extra set of hands that saved the day. But, is it really a bad thing to hold out the hope that maybe we’ve entered a new stage??!! Man, I sure hope so. Anyway, next flight is on Thursday, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Preschool

So BQ has entered the world of preschool. Yesterday she headed off with her new lunch “box,” an empty backpack that she just wanted to bring, and A LOT of excitement. She loved it. LOVED IT. And I love getting to see her soar. I cringe at the use of that word, and sort of feel like I’m in the middle of a bad Bette Midler or Bob Carlisle song, but it’s totally what it is. As parents we are constantly pouring our hearts, energy, love, time, resources, and selves into our children. It’s really hard to think about them entering the real world, leaving the safety of the world that we have so carefully crafted around them. And yet, if we are good parents, that is exactly what we are trying so hard to do from day one. To give them the strength to be themselves, to stand up in a world that is constantly falling down, and to give them our hearts as their forever safe place in life. It is really hard and really fabulous all at the same time. I am so grateful that is is a slow process. I think three days a week for three hours at a time is about all this momma is ready for at this point. But I hope that I can continue to raise and love my girls in a way that prepares them for the day when they won’t sleep in the room next to mine, won’t live nearby, or even in the same country! I don’t want to do anything that would weigh them down. I want to be inside the cheesy song watching these amazing girls spread their wings and soar.

Timeless Grief

Today is September 5th. Up until I met my husband in ’97, this day was a very sad day for me, as a dear friend of mine died in a car crash 9/5/92. I was in middle school and she had been my camp counselor. More than that she was a mentor, keeping in touch after camp, taking me out for pizza, and being a friend. She was only 24. Today, she would be 41. I wonder if she would be a mom, a wife, and many other things. To say she had a profound impact on my life would be an understatement. In fact, the only reason I am not using her name is because my beautiful daughter BQ was named after her and since I do not use BQ’s real name I am not able to say hers. Maybe I could just call her The Original BQ?

Anyway, the reason this day became less hard after I met my husband is that it happens to be his birthday. Almost through God’s goodness this day that brought such sadness to me became a day that also included much celebration. It helped to have something else to think about and I found that in the midst of my sadness, I was better able to celebrate not only my husband but The Original BQ’s life as well.

It has been 17 years since she died. 17 years. It is still hard to believe. I was able to get into contact with her parents when my BQ was about 4 months old to tell them how much I loved and miss their daughter, share with them about my own little BQ named in her memory, and connect with another piece of The Original BQ. This relationship has taught me something that I think I knew before but didn’t really understand. Grief is timeless. Utterly and truly timeless. There is a phrase that says “time heals all wounds” but I think we all know that that is a bunch of bull. We usually find ourselves forced to adjust to a new normal. We continue on with life, we function, and time does pass, that is true, but we never stop missing the one who is gone. Do we? The Original BQ’s parents have not held their daughter nor seen her for 17 years and I can tell you that their pain is still palpable. Dear friends of ours lost their sweet son 6 months ago and I am sure that each day still feels like agony. The ache, the sorrow, and the absence of that one never goes away. You never “get over” the death of someone you love. And should you? I mean really, would that make any sense?

The comfort that we can cling to is not of the this world. I think if we spend our time looking for something on planet earth, or in another person to help us get through the day we are lost. What we truly need to heal those deep, deep painful places of ourselves that threaten to pull us under, is the touch of God himself. I know that there are many of you who read my blog who don’t believe in God, and that is fine. But you have to know that I do. And it isn’t just for fluffy, “uneducated” reasons. It is because in the days following the loss of The Original BQ God showed up. My mom’s hugs were great, sharing tears with friends who knew her was a gift, but it was only in my room alone when I sobbed hard on the ground and cried out, not really to anyone in particular “how am I supposed to live,” that I met this God I had heard about for such a long time. The only way I can describe it is to say that what I experienced was a palpable healing of my broken heart. That isn’t to say that I wasn’t still grieving after, but the peace I had was indescribable. A new sort of peace I had never known before. It was at that moment that I truly believed there was a God and that He actually knew me and more than that, knew my pain. Above all the gifts that The Original BQ gave me through her short time on earth, that is the one I treasure the most.

So I guess my point in the midst of all of these words is to say that if you are grieving right now, you aren’t alone. And, don’t ever let anyone tell you that in time you will “get over it.” That, my friends, is crap. Your world will go on for sure, but it will be a new normal. It’s okay to acknowledge that and to even wish you could go back. But, don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed. There is hope in the midst of our grief that allows us to take those slow steps and move forward without letting go of our memories or love for the one that is gone. Even if you don’t believe in God, you have to admit that grief can feel really hopeless and that it’s hard to find anything to assuage it. I would challenge you, if out of nothing other than desperation, to see what would happen if you asked God to show up and give you what he gave to me on September 9, 2002 when I was 13. What do you really have to lose?

I shared with you guys why I do believe in God. As you read, it wasn’t about someone arguing with me or convincing me of something. I believe in God because I experienced him. That is why I am certain that he is who he says he is and that he is above all, real. So, now you know why I believe what I do and why it is something that so powerfully impacts my life on a daily basis.

So I’m off to look at some sweet pictures of The Original BQ and help my husband blow out his birthday candles. It’s that constant rhythm of life, the balance between the the happy/sad, good/bad, funny/serious moments in life. Wherever you are today, whatever grief you are living with, know you aren’t alone. It’s okay to cry, cry A LOT even, and it’s okay to feel to lost. Just promise me before you get completely engulfed by your grief that you will try all of your options. Even if it includes doing something you swore you’d never do.