I just returned from a trip on top of the world. Not literally, but it was pretty beautiful even though it had hints of ‘La Boca Vista,’ the fictional Florida retirement community where Jerry Seinfeld’s screen parents wintered. You know, the one where dinner is at 5:30 and cocktails start much earlier than that. Where folks drive around in their golf carts and aside from the occasional crabby person, everyone is generally happy.
I was there to help my mom plan her wedding and while we did look at some dresses and picked out music for the ceremony, she kept me awfully busy with water aerobics and dining out. Sadly it’s back to reality and what’s for dinner. But nothing like a short mommy trip away to make the heart grow fonder..
In our family, the third child does not get taken in for an x-ray until she demonstrates that she can’t walk for two days. Babe-o’s was entertaining herself by jumping from the basement stairs into a bean bag. We were unaware that she was doing this….until we heard a loud whack, a slight delay, followed by screaming. I did what any mom would do…I sent my husband to investigate! Then since I watch a lot of doctors on tv, I remembered RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation plus a dose of ibuprofen.
Of course the Urgent Care doc wanted to know how this happened. Then he questioned me about how many steps she jumped from. I didn’t know the answer so I turned to her. She then reported that she jumped from the big square one at the top! and that she was successful the first two times. The third time she decided to look at her feet to see what they were doing in the air and hit the bottom step. The doctor was fairly incredulous that she could clear the whole staircase. And I can tell he was giving me the stink eye for being unaware she was doing something so foolish. Thankfully her leg was not broken, just two toes, and they don’t do anything for them anyway.. except to tape them together. She does have to wear a fancy shoe for six weeks which means the end of her winter hip hop and jazz class.
As an aside, today all of the children with February birthdays are invited to dine with the principal in his office. She wanted to know if she HAD to eat lunch with him. I think she is still slightly afraid of him for the swearing incident.
The cute principal called at noon today to say there was a problem with Babe-o’s at lunch. My heart jumped because I thought he was going to say she accidently ate treenuts and they had to give her her Epi-pen! So I was very surprised when instead, he told me he had to talk to her in his office because she was observed dropping the F-bomb at the lunch table.
Apparently, two other first graders were sharing their repetoire of bad words. One little girl said “damn,” while the boy next to her pulled out the big one. Babe-o’s, who was across the table, wasn’t sure she heard it right so she repeated it loudly just as the lunchroom supervisor was walking by. The children were then taken into the principals office one by one to tell him what they said. The first two children were very sheepish and would not repeat the word. When it was Babe-o’s turn, she said it to him loud and clear. He told her that word was not appropriate and sent her back to class.
He tried to make me feel better by saying that given her ease in repeating it to him, he honestly didn’t think she even knew she was saying a bad word. So glad she is learning something new every day!
When I was growing up, my mom often made Aunt Mary’s cake for our birthdays. I don’t think we have an actual Aunt Mary in the family, but the cake is delicious. I made it for my son’s second birthday and I can tell you that it is a labor of love. And now that he is turning 12 today! I have been recalling my long sweet labor with him: 22 hours drug free and THEN a c-section.
To make the cake you have to sift the dry ingredients, which include cocoa powder, and then combine in an alternating fashion with the wet ingredients…that contain buttermilk. Thankfully, the frosting is an old-fashioned butter cream: lots of powdered sugar and butter.
My sister-in-law, Susie, made it for my brother years ago. She got the recipe from my mom and spent hours making it. When he sat down to eat it, he scraped the frosting off the top and declared that he really only liked the cake for the frosting. Susie was steamed as she could have bought a cake in a box and slapped the home-made frosting on top. He would have enjoyed it all the same. Sort of like childbirth…it doesn’t matter how you get there…the ending is just as sweet.
Now that my kids are all in school all day, I recently started a job search. For weeks this involved thinking about putting my resume together: Who would be a reference for me? How would I handle a big blank chunk in my work history while I was home with the kids for eleven years?
I did eventually come up with answers to those questions and in the process reconnected with my favorite Journalism Professor and with my friend Jim, an old colleague from CNN. I use the term old with hesitation: old in that we have known each other for almost 20 years but certainly not old in years!
Jim, who now works for abc News/Good Morning America tells me he is not sure how it happened but we have become the old people in the business. And he’s not kidding. The reporters he works with are in their 20’s and early 30’s. How is that possible? How did we get here?
I consult my friend T., who had a long successful career in advertising, and she tells me it’s all in how you position it. So I prefer to use the term “well seasoned.” Like a seasoned cast iron skillet, we might be showing our age but we are sturdy and dependable!
When I was in college, Ohio University had a class called something along the lines of “The Art of Leisure.” Campus legend had it that when you turned 21 you should sign up for this class because your grade required sitting around drinking wine with the professor. I have emailed my J-Prof Bob to see if this was actually a real course.
While I was in the hospital, my friend Kim dropped off some movies and one night I watched Eat, Pray, Love for the second time. I was struck by the author’s time spent in Italy discovering “il bel far niente,” which means, “the beauty of doing nothing,” and how this is so counterintuitive to any mom’s schedule I have ever seen.
My first opportunity to put into practice was the day I got home from the hospital. I found the house was exactly in the condition I left it: a mess. I have a hard time walking by the mess without trying to fix it. If I’m going to be lying around I sure don’t want to stare at all the stuff that needs to be done. T calls to make sure I am following the doctor’s orders. When I tell her I don’t think she understands the state of my house, she tries to assure me by telling me everyone lives this way- except when company is coming.
And then I get more back-up: a divine intervention. Pastor Thom texts me to make sure I am doing “nada,” the word for nothing in Spanish. Then he says that I better be doing nothing or he is going to have to come over and preach! Actually I think it may be good for the family if he came over to preach.
So now I have had a few weeks to rest and settle into the art of doing nothing. Yes, I am still feeding the family and doing the laundry, but in between I am trying to do something pleasurable for me. Whether it’s talking to a friend, writing or reading a book, I have to say I’m getting used to it.
Happy Halloween! This morning my little red riding hood (Babe-o’s) came downstairs and when I asked her to come snuggle next to me on the couch, she told me she wanted to snuggle on top of me. It is good to be out of the hospital and we still have some catching up to do!
Babe-o’s then told me that she loved me “up to the highest heaven.” That gave me the warm fuzzies until I asked her if that meant that she loved me more than candy corn. Not so much.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that not many people blog about what it is like when mom isn’t feeling well. Probably because it wouldn’t be very funny or amusing. Also, most people do not blog about their underwear, but more on that later. So now that I am feeling better, I have found the funny in it and am going to share a few things from my recent personal experience as a sick person. Because even though it is a cliché, laughter really is the best medicine.
Not sure about your house, but at mine when I am sick it goes something like this: I say I am not feeling well and keep doing all the things I usually do. Then I say I am really not feeling well and am going to lay down. Then I say I can’t take it anymore and someone will offer to toss me a couple of aspirin before asking, “What’s for dinner?” After eight hours of this the ambulance pulled up at our house at 1:30 monday morning. So as not to wake the kids or alarm anyone, my husband went back inside to go to sleep. Six hours later, mom is back home making lunches and getting kids ready for school.
Flash forward to Tuesday: Mom is back in the hospital and calls home to request some clean underwear. Husband drops off grocery bag with underwear and warm socks. 🙂 Later that day I ask my good friend Kim, who was my roommate in Guatemala, to toss me that bag. I reached in and pulled out a thong. Since this style of underwear does not scream “comfort,” I decide that one of two things has occurred: either my husband is totally clueless in the undergarment department or we are at the bottom of our clean laundry supply. The answer lies somewhere in between…but Kim and I laughed until we cried.
My sixth grader will tell you that we NEVER go out to dinner. He is partially correct. My husband and I love going out to dinner when we can grab a sitter but we rarely go out as a family. There is a big reason for this. It is NOT ENJOYABLE! There are other little reasons too: I spend more time cutting up other people’s food than actually eating my own, there are endless trips to the bathroom and there’s the whining. Oh, the whining. There is more whining than dining.
We will give it a try tomorrow however, when we celebrate my husband’s birthday at Benihana. We will have a perfectly nice time and we might think for a second that we should go out to dinner more often. And then we will come to our senses and save it for special occasions.
That is just one of the tips I picked up from a professional organizer. This was a few years ago, but now we are trying to implement some organizational “systems” in our new cozy house. I’m not naming names, but one of us prefers to save things while the other is heartless when it comes to tossing things. I’m hoping we’ll find the happy medium. While I would love to have Patty from Stuffbusters come back and deal with the endless pile of shoes by the doors, I think I can figure it out. At least the Container Store has plenty ‘o options to help you get organized and make it pretty at the same time.
So while I was sifting through the files, my husband poked his nose in and told me that I really do not need to save my tax return from 1991. I resisted the urge to tape his mouth shut with my fancy label maker and instead told him that I do indeed. You see, it was my very first tax return and at the time I could not be prouder of that fact that I was earning $15,000 a year and could afford my own apartment in Atlanta. But I am learning that whatever system works for you, is a good one!