Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Full Life

Sometimes there is so much in life it gets overwhelming. Work, chores, errands, events, etc. When it's so full, its weight almost physically resting on your shoulders, it's surprising what the cure is. For me it's actually when more enters, in the form of family. I was reminded of this last night, card night.

No, no...actually earlier than that. I'd just finished unpacking my office stuff in the furniture that'd arrived and was exhausted. Instead of walking my sister dropped her stuff to pick me up and take me home.

Getting home from work, the kids and I started the preparations for card night. Family arrived early and the house filled quickly. Grandma, aunts, cousins, and second cousins. Family ranging from 3 to 80 years. And as if we didn't see each other frequently, hugs were big as if we hadn't seen each other in months.

Desserts, cheese and cracker trays, drinks, pizza, and chips filled the table and counters. Chairs passed person to person around the card table. Kids ran around, under tables, over chairs, and jumped coffee tables, then through kitchen, front yard, back yard, living room, kids rooms, and back around again. Squeals, hollers, laughter, cries, discussion, and arguments filled the air.

Throughout the games the noise continued, added with competition, catching up on each other's lives, neighborhood news, community news, work news, and all the others news things that must be caught up on.

And the more noise and activity that filled the space, the quicker the stress of everyday shed from my shoulders. It reminded me that a full life isn't stressful, it's the kind of things you fill your life with that makes it stressful...or not.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Life's too Short

This is just one lesson of many I try to teach my children:
  • Life is too short to worry about pleasing every person, just because you're afraid to be looked at differently.
  • Life is too short to call people friends who you really don't like, just because every one else is keeping them around.
  • Life is too short to keep negative aspects around, just because you're afraid of change.
  • Life is too short to listen to a person's rant, just because everyone is telling you that person "knows" something you don't.
  • And life is definitely too short to not move on, just because you're afraid you won't find something better.
I had to remind myself of this lesson today when I decided it was time to de-friend my first online friend...very weird experience, but also very liberating.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Don't be Sad

I sat on the couch crying. It was the scene from Steel Magnolias where they unplug the daughter's life support.

Holy Terror walks into the front room from the hallway and stops quick, staring at me. He looks around nervously, seeing what could be bothering me. He climbs up onto the couch, cuddles against my arm and grips my hand, petting it with his other.

"Mom? Why you sad, Mom?" Tears water his eyes, ready to spill over.

"It's a sad part of the movie." I point to the screen, my eyes pouring tears while I sniffle my nose.

"We change the movie so you not sad. I don't want your heart to be sad."

I laugh through the tears. "It's okay, Honey. It's one of my favorite movies. I like to feel sad at this part because I would be sad if that happened to me as a mommy."

He looks up at me with his skeptical face. "You want to be sad?...That's silly."

But he stays right there next to me until the sad part is over, his one arm wrapped around my arm and holding my hand.

What a sweetheart.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Coming Home

Okay, I'll admit it. Yesterday was a pisser of a day at work. Some days just are, I guess.

Driving home - which automatically puts me in a foul mood as I prefer walking - I held back the urge to curse and yell at the traffic, inched my way the 2 miles home at the pace I could've walked, then maneuvered into the drive so I wouldn't run over the hose nozzle that sprawled right where my tire goes.

I turned off the car and took a deep breath, then looked over into the front yard. There was Hubby talking with a friend (most likely about fishing). He glanced over and tossed me one of his crooked smiles. Added with the sparkling greens he was born with, a little weight of the day slid off my shoulders.

I piled out with my bag, rounded the car, and headed up the sidewalk. Passing them, I confirmed with an inner grin that yes, indeed, they were talking Sturgeon. Entering the house, I found it cleaned and empty of my mini peeps.

Bummer. They usually perk me up with their welcoming barrage. Oh well, I thought and drudged down the hall to change out of my work clothes.

There, welcoming me through the bedroom window were the squeals, laughs, and hollers of my children playing in the pool. The rest of the weight crumbled off my shoulders. I stood at the window and watched them for several minutes.

This is what makes those pisser days worth it, coming home to a family.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kayaking with My Boy

One of the highlights of our vacation, for me, was going kayaking in Bodega Harbor with my oldest son. After breakfast we prepared the kayaks and walked over the mound to the small boat launch perched on the southern side of the harbor waters. To the left of us was the harbor mouth, which opened into the shallow bay and the huge Pacific Ocean.

We hopped off the boat pier, climbed over the slimy rocks, and across the small sandy beach. With one more look out at the blue-filled morning, we pushed off and headed up into the harbor. Following the shallow shoreline we found ourselves gliding over a deep kelp forest. Looking into its depths, I was humbled...and a little frightened. Just a few feet below, the clear cold water went dark, hiding the rest of the depths.

We moved from the shoreline out a little closer to the boat markers and found ourselves above the open grey-green waters. To our left, in the center of the channel, a family of seals popped above water and paced with us. A few looked over, to see what we were about before all of them dipped under. A few markers ahead they popped back up in our path. They kept about the same distance either to our left or in front, though once or twice a dark shadow glided below our kayaks, making us wonder where they were hanging when below surface.

Parkour Boy was having a blast and being fit, I found myself - a pretty good kayaker - working to keep pace with him.

About thirty minutes in we paused to take a sip and decide which way we wanted to go from there, when I looked down and weaving through the kelp was a small bat ray. It continued underneath me and then wound back around, underneath Parkour before going back into the depths of the kelp forest. My only regret was not getting the camera out in time to take a photo of it. (I included a stock image for those of you who've never seen a bat ray before.)

On our way back, we got quite a workout as the tide was still coming in. At a couple points we were paddling and not going anywhere. It was fun, going nowhere, and laughing with my son though. He's so strong and resilient with such an adventurous spirit.

I was pooped by the time we made it back to the bay side of the beaches, where the rest of the family was waiting and hanging out. I fell onto the beach blanket with my jelly arms and legs while my son went off with his sister to check out a rumored coastal cave up around the bend.

What a moment I hope Parkour Boy will cherish into adulthood. I know I will.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hubby Story: Trip to the ATM

Back with another Hubby story while we're out enjoying the waves. In his point of view:

So, I'm at the bank at the outside ATM, just starting to do my thing when this guy comes running up the sidewalk, flailing his arms and yelling like an freak. At the same time, I see another dude on the other side, in my peripheral.

I'm standing there, waiting for some kind of impact as this crazy reaches the bank of ATMs and slows down, stomps his feet and then trots by to the center machine. As I'm tracking him, I see the other guy was some old man. Him and I share a look about the weirdo now in between us.

So, I go back to my thing at the ATM. All the time the weirdo is sweating, angry, and pounding his way through using the machine.

Finally I stop, turn to him and ask, 'You okay?'.

Well, this guy just turns and glares at me for the longest time, and f*%#, I stare right back. Finally we look away at the same time and finish up. This jerk stomps off, flaying his arms and making weird noises.

The old man looks at me and, shaking his head, says, "That kids on somethin'. I'm tellin' ya."

So I reply, "Yeah. Not somethin' I'd want to be on."

We share a laugh and go our separate ways. Can't even go to the ATM anymore
without some crazy bothering you.

And that's my latest Hubby story. See ya all in a couple days when we get back.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finding Home

A couple decades ago we parked the car. Opening the door, the rolling rumble called to me with the whip of the wind. Sea Gulls squacked with nuisance. The smell of salt and exposed algea assaulted by nostrils.

Making my way over the last sandy hill scattered with long grass, boulders, and tough flowers, the edge of North America welcomed me.

My heart was lost.

My soul settled watching the wave crest and break onto the beach. Out beyond the white caps my eyes took in the vastness of the beautiful grey-green waters. Peace spread through me as I looked even farther beyond, where the sky merged with the horizon and became one with the ocean.

From the earliest moment I could remember, of all the towns and cities we'd ever lived, I knew I wasn't home. And trust me, we lived a lot of places. None of them called to me.

This place didn't just call, it sung. I'd never touched toe to sand before, yet knew it was the place I belonged. I will never live to far away and will always be comforted in this part of the world.

Even as this is posting the family and I are reconnecting with the ocean and enjoying our time on the beach. I hope everyone has the opportunity to find their place in the world and has the maturity to appreciate it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I'm Ready

From down the hall I hear Super Wy, "I'm ready!"

I look up from my writing to see him barrel into the room wearing his green dinosaur underwear and white socks, fists pumped.

"I'm ready!"

"Ready for what?" I ask, thinking it'll be about the coming vacation again.

He wiggles his hips, "For Kuuuuunnnng Fuuuu!" He karate chops the air.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fireworks Fun

It was a day of building excitement as the kids waited for evening. Probably the only evening they've looked forward to since Christmas.

We packed the suburban with chairs and blankets, backpacks with snacks and water, and the vehicle DVD player with Kung Fu Panda. Finally, it was time. The kids managed to keep their shoes on in the excitement and we piled in and drove down to the Bell Products parking lot.

Right on the other side of the building were the fairgrounds, where they light off the fireworks every year. It's a tradition, and I always get nostalgic sitting there by the railroad tracks, across from the river and downtown.

Lined up were cars full of other middle-class families. In the center kids played soccer, twirled sparklers, and threw poppers. Parents watched all the kids as their own and glare down any vehicles coming in too fast.

The ultimate community family.

The night sky came to life with the first pink and green explosions, quieting all four kids who looked up in amazement and joy as twinkles sprinkled down from above . The booms echoed off the valley walls and back. Smoky black powder- like smell filled the air.

I love Fourth of July. The sense of pride, community, and family are always strong and it's the only time a whole parking lot of people "oh" and "ah" at the same time...well, almost. There's always the "drunk guy" in the crowd making a butt out of himself until the family shuffles him to the car.

...but that's part of the atmosphere as well...

Hope all my American friends had a great 4th of July!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Day's Worth

Little boy giggles follow me down the hallway...along with what I think are new mysterious pencil markings on the wall. I enter the front room and plop onto the couch, taking a deep sigh and looking around.

The area rug is crooked and bubbled up to make mountains ranges, valleys, and roadways for toy cars. The coffee table is off-center to make the perfect angle for karate flips. Blankets spill out of the bench seat, castoffs from the makeshift tent. The table still has cups of water half drunken. Little dried footprints line from the backdoor to the table from the toddler swim party. There's a weird dripping coming from the kids bathroom, and the dogs are MIA in the back yard.

If the household carnage before me is any was a full day.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Slippin' Through My Fingers

This evening I felt like watching Mama Mia. I thought it was because I was in the mood for some ABBA, which I'm sure to an extent was correct. But, the real reason hit me when the bridal preparation scene came up and Merrill Streep started singing "Slipping through My Fingers".

I should have gotten a clue when my Facebook status a few minutes before began with, "I miss my daughter!"

This year she's really hit a milestone with her development. She spends most of her time with her girlfriends. Shares all her hopes, dreams, and secrets with them. They get most of her laughter and smiles for the day. When she's home, the phone is pressed against her ear as she talks with them.

Yes, I'm, anyways, there I sat, watching a movie that usually her and I watch together...feeling a little lonely. The boys are being crazy. I'm constantly hitting pause to deal with their boyism. Then pausing again do deal with husbandism...the bridal scene's about to start and the phone rings.


I pause the movie yet again, and as I'm talking, who walks in? My daughter. She grabs the phone and starts to the room. Passing by the television, she see the frozen scene and stops.

"You watching Mama Mia?" she asks, almost accusatory.

I nod and whisper, "Yeah. Just paused to answer the phone." I put my attention back into the conversation.

When I'm done, I look up to restart the movie and find my daughter on the couch by me, waiting. "Man, I love this part."

I try not to turn uncool and focused on replaying, forcing the goofy smile from cropping on my face. And, like I said above, Merrill Streep started singing and it hit me. I just needed a little bit of mommy-daughter time with my precious, over-opinionated, stubborn, wildly wonderful Drama Queen.

If you don't know the song I'm talking about, here it is. Just click on the image.