Summer’s Here!

          Finally summer has arrived! The northeast has been pummeled with constant rain and windstorms for what seems like months. Nevertheless, my family surged over the finish line ending freshman year of high school for Noah and 6th grade for Jordan.  As I write this it really begins to hit me for the first time, I have children in high school and middle school. I mean I know that but to see it in print….

      Luckily for all of us, pre-teen angst is similar to my halftime angst. I call it halftime because it sounds better, more optimistic. Or maybe I’ve just been living with boys for too long. Middle age sounds dowdy, decrepit, and old. Like a clock slowly winding down, tick tick. Halftime sounds optimistic like there’s more of the game left to be played. There’s still time to reevaluate prior mistakes and successes, make adjustments big and small before the second half. A do over of sorts. I may be rationalizing a bit here but  a bit of self-delusion may be all I’ve got.

      Predictably, this year has been filled with the unexpected intermittent, uninvited  hot flashes, skin and body/image changes you would expect at this age. There are the inevitable mood swings, temper tantrums, irritability, interminable sleep marathons, insatiable hunger, (which can lead to tantrums, but I digress), sleep deprivation, exhaustion, talking endlessly to people who don’t seem to understand the english language, and frustration! Indecision, indifference and confusion often lead to complaints such as: “I’m bored” to “I never get to do anything fun”, and my personal favorite, “I just need time to myself.”  This daily litany and self-analysis is enough to drive a person crazy. And it’s not just about me, if you think all of that sounds beyond unbearable, the boy’s moods swings, temper tantrums and changes have been no picnic to live through either.

      Still summer is a transition and a welcome one at that. We can seclude ourselves on the deck, at the beach or tucked cozily on our beds reading (me), watching tv, playing video games, with an occasional grunt which passes for conversation, (boys). This summer I have decided to just live without a plan or a goal.  Okay decided sounds like I had a choice my sons thought otherwise.

      With the usual complaints and occasional disdain from my sons, the consensus is that: “we don’t need you to plan every minute of our day we’re older now”. Fair enough, (If only that didn’t include the constant hurrying up to wait and “oh didn’t I tell you that I need $20. and my game is 45 minutes away and I told you I need a ride and we have to pick up….Why aren’t you dressed????”). What? Nobody told me! Which is inevitably followed by the bemoaning sounds of “Oh Mom!” There is the ever-present muttering, mumbling and criticism which haunts my days and sometimes nights. Any other men/boys and I might have broken up with them by now. I mean I’m supposed to get life advice from a 15 and a 12-year-old? Yeah right, (cue eye roll). See, I’m learning.

      Since they’re so smart, I’m taking their advice. Here’s to staying loose and letting the summer unfold, teenage style. Despite the challenges of living with boys who crash into walls, spill any liquid they touch, break every glass/plate/cup we own, and don’t get me started talking about bathroom hygiene and cleanliness.,(don’t fret, a trick of the trade for teenage boys, Axe body wash, minus the body wash part), it’s gonna be a great time.

      We are living it up, enjoying life, and spending time together, mostly. We’re gonna take it easy and go where the wind takes us. It’s only half time but I like the way the first half of the game has gone so far. Here’s hoping I kick butt in the second half. 

      

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Motherhood is a tricky taskmaster! How can 2 little boys evoke so many emotions in one timeless, sometimes endless moment?!

My heart has increased in capacity a trillion-fold and at times so has my exasperation. I mean how many times can you say, “did you brush your teeth?” No really, with an actual toothbrush And toothpaste And water?”

You’ve discovered you’ve raised litigators far better than any seasoned attorneys on tv and in real life. How else could you end up in a never-ending, circuitous and mind numbing discussion about what I actually meant when I said cleanup your room, are you ready for bed, did you pack completely for the game, or my favorite, are you all set for school? 

Cue, the eye roll and the exhaustive sigh…why must they have to go through all of this when all they want to do is….well anything else but listen to me nag? I mean sure heading out to the game with your cleats nestled snugly by the front door so you wouldn’t forget them, but you did. Or dashing out the door with the infamous, “I got it Mom you don’t have to remind me.” Now cue my eye roll.

It is the paradox of motherhood that just when I’ve had enough and have struggled to overcome my overwhelming need to hurl myself shrieking and cursing off the deck, these incredible, loving, funny, compassionate boys curl up next to me, rest they’re heads on my shoulder and whisper “I love you to the moon and back Mommy,” and all is momentarily forgotten. The slate is clean and fresh and my heart soars and swells with unconditional, unceasing, and unrelenting joy. I am humbled and awed by the amount of love I feel for these two extraordinary children that God has knowingly placed in my everlasting care. 

I am blessed to be their mother and every breath I take ends in a silent prayer that they be healthy, happy and know they are loved. I have done my very best in being their Mother and though there are days I knock it out of the park, there are other days I pray my children forgive me for missing the highest mark. 

To my incredible mother, thank you for showing me how to travel this journey we call life and for being a remarkable example of grace, resilience, determination, growth, forgiveness, joy, sorrow and love. Happy Mother’s Day.

Peaks and Valleys…

Summer has flown by and yet there were achingly slow moments where time seemed to stand still.

The summer was filled with our usual flurry of activities that left us exhausted, drained and planning our next day’s adventure with hopeful anticipation. There were camps, counselor-in-training camps, swimming, scouts, over nights, island living, lunches, brunches, gardens, library trips, movies and baseball which morphed effortlessly into football as we drove from one event packed event to the other. 

We got a puppy, because life just didn’t seem complete or full without the added unconditional love of our beautiful dog, Bella Luna, “beautiful moon.” The boys have been asking for years and I succumbed to the pleas and relented. Turns out Bella is the kindest, gentlest, dog ever born. Her beautiful brown eyes smile gratefully as she settles into her new home with not one but two boys who lavish her with praise, devotion, and affection. Ahh, the life.

It truly has been a memorable and wonderful summer with a view from the mountain top of happiness that I will remember and treasure. I am blessed.

Still, the glory of the summer was interrupted by the sorrow and grief of losing my 35 year old cousin, Drucilla. My beloved Aunt Maureen, has now lost both of her children, a sorrow no parent wishes to contemplate let alone discuss. A waking nightmare. 

I know there are no words to say. No comfort that will ease the hellish and unrelenting despair that has seeped into the crevices of her spirit and etched itself on her face and in her skin. Drucilla’s young children are dazed and lost in a land where solace has no home, no name. Their life’s tapestry, woven since their births, has been forever altered, splintered and shattered into millions of pieces and life will forever be defined as “before and after.”

The summer’s joy for all of us will be shadowed by the finality of her death. While the summer peaks offered magnificent views and gratitude in abundance, the valleys remind us that the “woods are dark and deep,” and traversing the terrain of heartbreak and grief requires humble acceptance that life is a balancing act. Nimbly moving through joy and pain with alacrity and I pray, Grace.

 

 

Silence in Summer…

What a glorious summer we’ve been having. It’s seasonal arrival was right on time and our family has reveled in its warmth and verdant views. It is truly a blessing after the winter of Snow and huddled nights under the blankets for warmth and comfort.

Spending most of my summer waking hours with my beloved sons, is a tapestry of color, laughter, and love that I will carry with me all the rest of my days. I take a piece of each of them with me, in every breath I take.

Still, there are days, I long for a lazy summer in the hammock, reading, drinking iced tea and the only sound for miles is the birds, squirrels, and the whispering of the wind through the shades of the over abundant and ever-present, green leaves. Silence is never truly silent, is it? There is always some sound or another present in the stillness. I long for it anyway.

I loved living on my own, in my own company. I loved knowing that when I got home the expectations and demands of other people, were locked safely outside my door. Their presence only required, if I requested.

Family life is nothing like that. You are totally ensconced in each other’s daily rituals, foibles, side jokes, habits, and plans. There is nowhere to hide even if you wished silently and perhaps fervently to. And believe me when I say, there are days that I wish to hide away from the inane and mundane, to run away and lounge about in a supine position, and veg., all day and night with a great book and drift mindlessly away.

So it’s ironic that when I finally get those rare moments of solitude and silence that I so longed/begged for; I miss the bedlam and mayhem that encircles my son’s lives like an orbit of chaos, where ever they go. I miss looking over and seeing their eyes alight with joy as they jump off the dock into the water, or ride their bikes, camp, pitch a good game, score a soccer goal, toast marshmallows, or pitch a tent in the yard. 

I miss their mischievous giggles when they are up to no good. Usually that means they are getting along even if they are teaming up to spray me with the hose or trick their dad into taking them to the lake for an evening swim.

I miss their curiosity and fearlessness that gets me to try things I would ordinarily wish not to try, simply by saying, “Come on Mom, you can do it”. This is how I found myself staring down at a darkened floor well at the “Drop Floor” ride at the local water park. I climbed into a sealed, coffin like, bubble tube and the floor dropped out from underneath me with a flourish and a thunderous jolt. There was a moment of sheer panic when my brain realized that the floor beneath me had disappeared. Soon I was falling, tumbling, choking, coughing, and swirling, awash in a giant, enclosed, snake-like, colored hose, with gallons of chlorinated water tossing me about like a stick in a stream. Abruptly, I arrived, spit out of the tube, and unceremoniously dumped, gulping down gallons of chlorinated water,  gasping for air, into a shallow pool awash with fluorescent lights and a cacophony of indiscriminate sounds, where the staff smiled benignly and perhaps with a bit of smirk, at my valiant effort not to drown. 

I struggled with as much dignity as I could muster, positive everyone had heard my lady like shrieks and screams throughout the park,  to get out of the water without further embarrassment or worse yet tears. Tears of joy mingled with tears of all-encompassing terror and fear. I am proud that my kids got to see me and my mom do something so terrifying and live to tell the tale.

So while I long for a day of silence from time to time, there is nothing like summer days and nights with your kids. Photographs and vignettes for the mind’s eye photo album. It makes me glad to know that I am building memories with my kids and that they know I love them so much that I would even take risks with them that no other people on the planet could ever convince me to take. Now that’s real love folks.

I hope everyone is having a blessed and joyful summer. I hope in the midst of the long lazy days of summer, you take sometime off to enjoy a bit of silence.

#summermemories

 

Mother’s Day Evaluation?

imageWhat a great day Mother’s day is. I get gifts, my kids speak kindly to me while still nudging and pushing one another to see who gets to sit in the front seat. There are cards, and hugs and kisses, (at home, in private), and my children look like Angels that floated down from a cloud with silver wings and garlands of lilacs….editors license here.

My sons suggested that I get a report card, “you know Mom, to see if there is anything you could improve on, right?” Nodding numbingly and with little enthusiasm , I agreed to take part in my new Mother’s day evaluation.

What harm could it do? I mean, I’m a pretty darn good Mom. Sure, I loose my cool, curse, yell, lecture, need occasional time outs, “to pull myself together,” and there may have been tears from time to time, I’m not sure whose exactly. Okay, so there have been hiccups along the way but I’m working really hard at being a good mother. For a grade I would say B+.

My sweet sons exchanged glances of pity and listed a few, mind you just a few things that I could improve.

“1. Don’t yell at both of us at the same time cause you seem to get confused and for some reason it makes you madder when we point that out.

2. You do not need to get out of the car when you drop us off at the following locations: school, friend’s houses, sporting events, boats, buses, or when you drop off stuff that we left at home and needed you to deliver cause we Have to have it today. My 10-year-old pipes in, ’cause we just saw you earlier that morning.’

3. Don’t yell out at games, Ever.

4. Don’t call us by our silly nicknames in public.

5. Don’t nag so much about us washing our faces and brushing our teeth and cleaning our rooms, we like it messy.

6. It would be better if our bed times could be later, you do give us baby bed times now.

7. Don’t try to trick us into trying foods we told you we already don’t like. We still don’t like them even with gravy.

8. We should be allowed to spend our saved money anyway we want. It’s been a long time since you were kids and you don’t always know the right stuff to get. Plus you’re a girl.

9. Stop making us pose for your photos everywhere we go, sometimes it’s sooooo embarrassing.

10. Please, please don’t hug/kiss us when we are in public, please refer to number 2 on this list for uncool hugging/kissing locations.”

Other than that, my grade from them was an A+++. Frankly they think I’m the best Mom, Ever. However a more detailed list will be provided should I wish to improve further.

To all the wonderful Mom, Aunts, Grandmothers, Sisters, and Friends who love their children beyond measure, mostly. Enjoy your day!

#mothersday #motherslove #mothersevaluation