Summer’s End…

By now all the backpacks are packed, lunches are made, schedules outlined, bookbinders and folders are all labeled with each child’s name and the Summer is Over!

It’s been a great and memorable summer of lounging around with my two boys. I admit the pace was hardly, restful, but I learned a lot about my sons, maybe more than I thought I wanted to know.

1. If I let them they would stay up all night or until they fall out on the floor exhausted and still they insist they are not tired.

2. The have a never-ending need to discuss our menu options for the day. And since the two of them rarely agree on anything this conversation can last from breakfast well past lunch. Unsolicited food reviews in my house are a common occurrence.

3. Even if they say they like a certain food, or have had a particular food, (“I love Quiché I had it at Grandma’s”),  I have to check, and double check their expressions to see if they actually like it. If the food isn’t up to their standards and or expectations and they don’t want to eat it, I launch into my usual spiel, (#74), about the blessings of having food, having the choice of food, and about people starving all over the planet…ok, you see why they might avoid going down that road, again.

4. They are frequently cavalier with their never-ending criticisms; of my work (“do you really have to?”), of food (“is that our only choice?”), adventure (“my friend went to this other place and said it was way better”), vacation plans (“but I wanted to go to the Bahamas!”), hairdo (“did you mean to make it look like that?”) and affection in public, (“it’s better if you don’t hug or KISS us EVER in front of people”). If I was dating them, I would have broken up with them by now for sure.

5. They have begun to question the wisdom of  well, My wisdom!? Do I really know how to get back to the bumper boat place? Ah yeah,  I was there with you guys and I drove you there in first place, remember? This is followed by blank stares.

6. They have perfected the middle school/ junior high school eye-roll when I ask mundane/chore related questions. I must do this far more often than I realized or their eyes are locked in a perpetual roll. I fear head spinning isn’t far behind.

7. Swimming played a big role in our summer fun and I don’t mean swimming like regular people swim, I mean like jumping on your brother’s back and pushing him underwater until he lurches out of the water gasping for air, Swimming. Big fun!

8. My beloved sons are not capable of minding their own business especially if they feel they are well versed on a subject. When I am talking to one son the other chimes in with his opinions, insults, useless and often irrelevant remarks and then is supremely offended when I ask him to butt out. Of course, being 9 and 12 does not lend itself to vast experiences, still they can wax poetic for hours until I am forced to leave run from the room, some say shrieking. I can neither confirm nor deny this as I am usually covering my ears and humming at this point.

9. They pass one another in a hallway, driveway, store or kitchen and they poke, push, and trip each other all the while giggling with ghoulish cackling, and fiendish delight. Then they look up at me with their beautifully innocent brown eyes and say, “What, it wasn’t me, he did it first.”

10. The funny thing is that when they return to school tomorrow, I’m going to miss them more than I thought. They made me laugh out loud at silly jokes and antics that I remember laughing about with my friends and family as a kid too. They made me forget about being an adult for a while. I plotted ways to sneak up on them and douse them with the garden hose in our yard and with great superiority and no shame, I would pull out the “Mother” card when they tried to reciprocate, (please note; this is not a good use of the  Mother card as it gains you no respect when they return fire soaking you from head to toe, and they will).

Having kids forces me to be the parent and to be a “Grown Up” and I discovered this summer, I don’t want to grow up, so there.

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer. Have a happy and safe school year.

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Inspiration…

I wonder if bloggers know what an inspiration they are to other bloggers, myself included?

I have learned so much about courage, bravery, triumph, and honesty from reading and viewing people’s creative and entertaining blogs. The world of blogging allows for a connection, a commonality and mutual respect that has for most of us, far surpassed the introductory phase of a “friendship”. We share our lives with authenticity, humor, sadness and joy and we are all the better for it.

I am so grateful for the things I have learned from my online friends; gardening, photography, parenting, children, bucket lists, fear, art, challenges, writing, painting, poetry, literature, traveling, music, and the list goes on. From each post I glean a bit more insight into the blogger themselves and I have the utmost respect and gratitude for their contributions to the blogosphere as a whole and to me as a fellow artist.

It’s not easy to put your life and stories out into the world but it is amazing when the people you meet lift you up and encourage you to keep reaching for your dreams and to make the impossible, Possible.

In this online world of virtual friends and artists, I am a better person for having “met” each and every one of you. You inspire me everyday and in so many unexpected ways.

Thank You All.

Boats of a different color.
Boats of a different color.

 

Camp Mom

Well, the kiddies are out of school, finally, and I foolishly thought I would be able to incorporate the kids summer needs, (read demands) and work and write and take pictures, and frolic on the beach and chill.  HA!

This year my sons requested they spend a little less time at camp and a little more time with me, “you know Mom, just hanging out together and having fun.” An idyllic image of us playing croquet on the front lawn, sipping lemonade, and laughing uproariously with one another, while the crickets and cicadas serenaded us, sprang to mind. Our summer vacation resembles none of this moments.

Realizing the true depth of my commitment, I discovered I had replaced the traditional camp experience, (with other people running the show) with my own version of Camp Mom. My sole role; to entertain my sons and sometimes if I am lucky, their friends and cousins too.

At Camp Mom, I have provided a bevy of exciting adventures designed to thrill and delight young boys of all ages. We begin our day lazily, debating what to eat and deciding if the choices offered are agreeable to their sensitive palates. While there is usually a menu, provided at Camp Mom, I am often barraged with suggestions that would enhance their eating pleasure. What chef doesn’t appreciate the culinary critique of a 9-year-old?

Then comes the endless questions, thoughts and concerns about our plans for the day. This is the trickiest part, as a miscalculated suggestion can create blank stares, and glazed eyes as they ponder the seriousness of my plans. As mentioned above, I make suggestions and they make adjustments. A canoe trip down the river was fun but apparently I overlooked getting seat cushions for their paddling comfort. I bet a real camp takes into account the comfort of their campers bottoms while they paddle away.

At Camp Mom, I offer campers; crafts, photography, games, water play with hoses or water guns, swimming in a pool or down by the lake, go-carting, roller skating, biking, boating, hiking, driving range, and water bumper boating, meals, drinks, snacks, ice-cream, eating out, sports, movies, and traveling.

This has all taken place in the past 3 weeks and I just realized the summer is just getting underway and I’ve used up all of my creative ideas. I have tried to coerce, cajole and bribe them to try another camp but they are having the time of their lives. Suspiciously, when I thought I could do no more, I heard my oldest son say to his brother,  “No one is a better camp counselor than Mom.” Hmmmm.

I haven’t had time for much else and I may have bitten off way more than I can chew. Who knows what will happen next year? With all of this been said, I do love spending time with my two favorite souls on the planet, even when they look at me with their beautiful bright eyes and innocently ask, “what did you plan for us to do today Mom?”

 

Happy Father’s Day!!

The North Bridge.
The North Bridge.

 

I hope all the Dads are enjoying this beautiful day and that you are surrounded by family and friends who love you. Happy Father’s Day!!!

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Evolution…

I began writing this open letter, thinking of one friend. I soon realized that I had been less than a stellar friend to more than just one person, hence this open letter to all. 

Any Open Letter of Apology:

Recently I was thinking about a friend I had growing up. I realized that although I had wonderful memories of this person, I also had a gnawing sense of sadness and regret about how our friendship ended. Our friendship ended because I behaved despicably, disrespectfully and with grave and all-knowing judgment. I felt I should apologize to my friend right away. However, it dawned on me that I owed more than one person a sincere and heartfelt apology for my sometimes outrageous and outlandish behavior years ago.


This is an open letter of apology to that friend and to any and all of my friends that I treated horribly and with disdain. If I betrayed your confidence, gossiped about you, lied about you, was hypocritical or mean-spirited and critical of you, or didn’t defend you when someone else said or did those same things, I am truly and humbly sorry.


If I treated you as if I was better than you, smarter than you, or made you feel small in any way, I am sorry. If I ignored you or tried to manipulate our friendship or another person’s friendship, I am very sorry. If I hurt you, made you sad, mad, scared, betrayed, and dissed and pissed you off to no end, I am truly very sorry.


I don’t say the word “if” to imply that I didn’t do these things and more, only to cover the broad spectrum of people who I may have affected and/or hurt, and those I knowingly impacted with my callous and disrespectful behavior. I have learned from each one of my friends and to those who have chosen to no longer have me as their friend, I respect that too. I am sorry if I treated you as if you were not special or amazing or a child of God who deserved my respect, empathy, sympathy, faithfulness, devotion, trust, kindness, and love.


With Grace, I have learned to become the person I had tried in vain to be back then. I have learned that my disdain, disgrace, and dislike of myself was the catalyst for my inexcusable behavior towards others. I finally learned to treat myself with more compassion, integrity, love and respect. In return, I have learned to treat everyone the same way. For just like me, everyone is trying to figure out how best to navigate their own lives. Your personal journey and choices like mine, belong exclusively to you.


To the people who stood by me as my soul and spirit has been forged and transformed, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know that I haven’t always made it easy but I love each of you for the gifts and lessons you have bestowed upon me. I am forever in your debt.


Sincerely.