Posts Tagged ‘family’

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Facebook: Family Losses and Gains

October 30, 2012

During the time that I was doing a lot of traveling for work, others in my life were dealing with major issues. Arresting issues.  Issues that made me stop in the airport, while trying to run between connections, and find the wall to support myself to breathe and to cry. And to cry.

First:

Last spring, I was thrown off by a facebook post by an old friend from high school (we’re the class of 1990, FYI) where she said that she took her oldest son (approx 2 years older than Em – i.e., 17 yo) to the doctor for what they saw as Swimmer’s Ear.

The Swimmer’s Ear was treated, the doctor asked extra questions, the son said he’d been feeling off.  The doctor ordered tests.

Leukemia.

Just . . . inconceivable.

My high school classmate shared her journey via a facebook page from the start.  There was a point where I told a local friend about the page and she thought “so public! that can’t be right!” and I said, “no, she is doing this so well, doing such a good job.”  And it’s true.

The journey was long, and it wasn’t easy.  There were 4 rounds of chemo, each one 29 days.  After the third, he was cancer-free.  It was amazing.  He was a fighter, he was amazing.  There were so many stories of his strength, his perseverance, his grace.

Despite the remission, he needed the 4th round to ensure that the cancer was truly gone.

I don’t know for sure how far in, but it felt like a very little bit into the 4th round, Tucker started to have some medical issues.  Not cancer-related, but infections and fevers and nausea.

it didn’t stop.  Time was odd to me, as an observer.  I’m not sure I realized, as I had trials and arbitrations and hearings and deadlines and briefs, that 6 weeks had passed, and Tucker was still in the ICU.

I think it was October 8, maybe the 9th.  It was around the Columbus Day when I was walking through the airport and received the news that Tucker didn’t make it.

I sobbed.  I was in the airport in my suit with my fancy lawyer-rolling bag, and I just stopped walking and I just cried.

I still cry.  At first it was every day.  Now it’s at least once a week.

It’s just . . . he went in for swimmer’s ear.  He was vibrant, he was connected, he was talented.

I have a couple of those.

And my classmate!  A mom.  She was so close with her son, so dedicated.  So – in love.

It hurt so much.  For them so much more than the tiny trickle down that hurt me, and honestly?  It hurt me a lot.  My classmate and her family are continuing with their amazing attitudes and their love of Tucker.  But without curling up in a ball and becoming absent from life.  I can’t imagine resisting that temptation.

I remain devastated.

Second:

I have another high school classmate.  We became friends after I had a social upheaval in my junior year, and she was just so very accepting and kind.  So widely beloved, and just an amazing person.

It was fun to reconnect with her on Facebook.  I think we both had fun.  We played games and traded witty comments.

She went to Ethiopia.  I think two years ago.  She worked in orphanages.

This year, she shared that she was adopting a baby she met in the orphanage.  The baby was wee when she met her in 2010 (I think), but continued to grow as my friend went through the application process.  She made the situation public this summer, just before she was heading to pass court in Ethiopia.  She was adopting this baby-girl.

I watched the process through a trip to see the baby-girl, seeing the baby-girl’s ambivalence at these near-strangers {i.e., parents} who had traveled oh-so-far to spend time with her.

I think that trip was in August. And then came a waiting-game.  It was so painful.  To watch my friend prep her daughter’s room, to buy her daughter clothes, to see her other children (ages 7 through 13, I think) prepare for their sister’s arrival (and conduct amazing, fantastic, effective fundraisers to help pay for the airfare to fetch their baby-sister) – but yet have to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  For the ok.  For the passport.  For the medical exam.  And the baby-girl’s 3rd birthday (3rd birthday!!) was approaching.  But the waiting continued.

She’s there.  Right now.  The baby-girl is coming home.

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I cry a lot, lately.  Some is sad, some is happy.  But I just feel like there’s so much going on.  I just — I just love.  And I want to find more ways to let people know that.  The people who are in my immediate life, and in my extended life.

 

 

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Drama on the Home Front

October 22, 2012

In some ways, I feel like I would have used this as a post title in the past.  I know I’ve used similar.

The nutshell:  In elementary/middle school (my girls were in a K-8 school), my kids were in plays.  And they were successful.  They had lead roles.  Because they enjoyed it and did well, I decided that it would be the way I gave back to the school.  So in my last year of law school, I offered to be a “parent volunteer coordinator.”  By the end of that year, I was a producer.

One of the best experiences of my life.

And I did that, and got to know kids and parents and processes.   I felt like what I learned as a producer informed my experiences as a lawyer.  I learned how to deal with people, how to deal with my own failings, how to rein myself in, how to deal with people, how to convince people to do things they *really* didn’t want to do.

And my girls kept thriving.  They got great roles, they enjoyed the social aspect, they had self-confidence.

Then Emma got to the high school and … well.  They didn’t cast her in any shows.  She did other things, she was resilient.  her sister – still back in the K-8 school – kept getting lead roles.

Then it was Juliette’s turn to go to the high school.  She ended her 8th grade year as the lead in Anything Goes, and she was strong in that role.

I was worried.   It might be bad to admit that I was worried that after Em was rejected for 2 years that Jules would get in to the show, and Em would feel deflated.  Now, Emma has been just — amazing.  She hasn’t been shattered by the decisions not to let her in.  She’s shrugged and said, “I just wasn’t a good fit.”  Last year, she was sad. But she spent the summer doing different acting things, and she has been really strong with crew, and she’s been fine.

But as auditions came up, it was clear that Emma wanted in.  Juliette also wanted in, but after having seen her sister struggle to get in for 2 years, she wasn’t so confident.  She was looking at the Freshman Play as her better chance.

I was really unhappy that auditions took place during my week of travel.  I stayed in touch via phone and text, but I hated being gone.  With auditions on top of sports, the girls were out of the house until 8 and 8:30 p.m., and then got home to eat dinner and do homework.  One one of the audition days, David told me that J was up until 12:30, and E until 2 a.m.

After Freshman Play auditions, J found out pretty quickly that she got a callback.  She was so very excited, and really energized.

A couple days after musical auditions, both girls found out they did NOT get call backs.  Jules wasn’t too surprised, Emma was looking at the bright side (“now I can focus on crew!”).  Emma also said, “well, the policy is that no callback doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a part.”  But I said that to her last year when she didn’t get a call back, and she told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.  (Hmpf.)

Then Jules went to the Freshman play callback, and felt like it went really well.

I got home Friday night, and Jules was a ball of nerves starting then and through the weekend.  “What if I don’t get in?  I really want to do the play! What if I don’t get in?  I might not get in.”

I was encouraging.  Reminded her of her past successes.  Told her I really thought she’d get in.

Monday rolled around.

Mouse didn’t get in.  She texted me, and said she was really sad.  Friends of hers did get in, and she didn’t, and the musical callbacks were the following day, and everyone was a buzz, and she had nothing.

When we were all home that evening, she just dissolved.  She cried (she doesn’t do that so often).  She was very, very sad.  I gave her hugs and let her sit on my lap (which is hard, considering I’m 5’6″ and she’s 5’8.5″).  I wiped her tears, and held my tongue when I thought things like, “it’s good to learn how to do deal with disappointment.” and “well, we still really don’t know about the musical.”  I just let her cry and told her I knew that she was very, very sad.

That was Monday night.

Tuesday a.m., she had the puffiest eyes in the world.  She went to school, still a little glum.

I started to get nervous on Wednesday because she was still glum, even a little snippy.  I didn’t want to see her get into a funk.  We started talking about her doing Volleyball on a private “club” team this winter, since she didn’t have a sport or drama.  She was game, and I thought we’d be okay.

Thursday was my big arbitration, as I mentioned.  I debriefed with colleagues, and made my way to the T station with a friend.  As I was descending the escalator at 6:15, my phone rang.  It was Emma.  She never calls, always texts.  A friend of mine recently told me that HER daughter was crossing the street and got HIT BY A CAR.  So I freaked out.  I answered the phone with “are you okay?!”  First there was nothing on the other end.  Then some yelling.  I got even more nervous, and said again, “are you okay??”  My friend was getting nervous.

“O MY GOD, MOM! THE CAST LIST IS UP AND ALKJKLJHOUWINBEOJN”

“Wait, Emma, what?!?”

“The cast list!  For the musical!  It’s up, and Juliette and I are BOTH ON IT!!!”

I then came back with “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?” and then had to give my friend a thumb’s up, and she was very nervous that my daughter was dying or something.

So I asked Em if she knew if Jules knew, and she said no – Jules was at Volleyball. It was 6:35 then, and we thought Juliette was a volleyball practice, there at the school.  So Emma decided to stay at the school and be there when volleyball ended so she could be the one to tell her sister the news.

I went underground, and chatted with my friend, grinning like mad.  This was such great news for my girls.  It was so great for Em, after years of trying and being told no, and it was great for Jules to be so happy and so rewarded after such a low thinking she hadn’t made either show.

I got back above ground at 6:50, and my phone INSTANTLY rang.

“MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!!!”  It was Jules. But it wasn’t 7, so I didn’t know if Em had gone into the practice and interrupted, or what?

No.  Jules was at an away game.  Poor Emma was sitting there outside the gym waiting and doing her homework on the floor for NO REASON.  Juliette was on the bus, and a friend texted and told her “The cast list is out!  You are on it!”  And she [again] cried with happiness.  Then she called me.

I ended up texting Em to tell her that J found out.  She knew already, but asked, “please don’t tell Davey?”  So I quick texted David and said, “can you please play dumb with Emma?”  Because OF COURSE I told him the moment I found out!  But she was bummed that she missed telling her sister.

So I got home that night to 2 girls that were just exploding with happiness, and me on a huge high after the positive arbitration, and . . . wow.

Such a happy house.

 

 

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Major Shift in Household Duties

July 2, 2012

Gulp.


David started a new job today.


Guess what I have to do tonight?  I have to cook dinner.*

I make much of the fact that I don’t cook, and that David does.  My girls make much of that fact; David makes much of that fact; my parents make much of that fact.  My home-friends roll their eyes at me (in jealousy).  My work friends either do the same as my home-friends, OR they are in the same boat.  (It’s not as unusual as you’d think for female attorneys to have partners who either work from home, work part-time, or stay at home caring for kids, etc.)

I know for most people, needing to cook about 50% of the dinners in their house wouldn’t be a big deal, or it would be, because they would get to STOP cooking the other 50% of the time.

Before David was in my life, I cooked all the time.  I cooked all the time while I was a stay-at-home mom to babies and toddlers; I cooked all the time when I was a working single mother.  The shift from being an at-home mom to a working single mom came with a shift in meals.  The girls’ memories tell them that we had Amy’s Mac & Cheese for dinner every night.  The reality is that it was our Friday night meal.  But I did definitely get into ruts.  I had several meals that I cooked often, if not once a week.  But they were years where the girls were pickier eaters.  When I did try something new, rebellion ensued.  I remember a certain eggplant dish in particular …  (although, to be fair, I also found that dish to be inedible).

When David and I were dating, back in California, he would come over and cook dinner for us a couple of times a week.  We were all Very Impressed.  They were great nights.

When David and I took the plunge and moved across the country together, we shared cooking duties and grocery shopping duties.  For a while.  I think I wheedled my way out of my turns shopping sooner into the cohabitation than I managed to get out of cooking — but eventually he was doing it all.  And at the time, he was working full time, and I was in law school.

When we were sharing the cooking, the deal was that he would cook and I would clean.  I don’t remember when even THAT stopped.  But it did.

At one point, when he was doing all the cooking and shopping, but I think I was still pretending to clean up after dinner, I started doing his laundry.  He had been doing his own, and I would do mine and the girls’.  But I saw that he was getting the very short end of the stick, and so I said I would do his laundry, in an attempt to even things out.

But then, I stopped doing that.  He does his own laundry now.

All this to say — This change is happening now that he is going back to full-time work, but it really has been long overdue.

Now I’m back to perusing recipes, looking for inspiration.  I need inspiration that is quick, simple, and healthy.  Not easy to come by.  But I think I can do it.  I’m going to have to acclimate myself to our grill — I’ve used it a few times, but I don’t know it well.  I’m also going to force David to eat a lot more fish than he prefers.  Because Mouse is a vegetarian, and I’m not really down with the “cooking two versions of everything” method that David has adopted.

Tonight, I’m making tilapia with garlic and lemons, and roasting some broccoli.  Because I am doing a low (or no) carb thing right now, and because they really ought to be contributing to the household, especially since they’re home all day lazing about, AND because they’re picky as all get-out, the girls are making their own sides.  Mouse is baking a potato, and Lemon is making herself a vat of rice.

And while I’m trying – really I’m trying – to get back into work-mode, I’m instead perusing more recipes. Would love to hear about any that are quick, simple and healthy.  Cheap doesn’t hurt, either.  (I know, I want everything!)

* Drafted this post at work, just now posting.  First dinner was a HUGE success.  Girls loved the fish and broccoli – Mouse made herself a baked potato, Lemon made some steamed rice, David and I had double portions of broccoli.  All plates were clean.  Hooray!

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Braces

January 12, 2012

Mouse still has braces on.  She had some messy teeth issues when she was young, in addition to a genetic overbite, and so braces were a given. (In fact, this is Mouse’s second round of braces.  The first round, when she was very young (3rd grade) took care of the messy teeth issues – where one of her adult front teeth was “blocked” from coming down by an “extra tooth” in the roof of her mouth.) Lemon had braces, too, for a milder overbite.  Mouse’s braces went on in November of 2009, and Lemon’s in January of 2010.  Lemon’s came off on September 1, 2011, and Mouse’s won’t come off until March of this year.*  So she’ll have them on considerably longer than Lemon did.

There’s a good reason for this (in addition to the more severe overbite):  Lemon wore her rubber bands religiously, Mouse never wears them.  You know, the little tiny rubber bands that hook to the braces and stretch from the top teeth to the bottom teeth?

This morning was her second-to-last regular appointment, and her orthodontist** gave her a pretty decent lecture about wearing her bands 23 hours a day.  “This is the last 8 weeks – it’s the final push. You can do this!”  He said she’s right now at 93% of fixing her overbite, but if she just! wears! her! bands! it will be 100% perfect.  Why not be perfect?  After 2 years of braces?  She nodded and smiled her Mouse-like smile and we went on our way.

In the car, I reiterated:

Me: “Dude! You need to do this.  For real!”

Her: “I know, I know.”

Me:  “I think if I check and you’re not wearing them, there will be repercussions. For the last 2 months, you need to be serious about this.”

Her:  blink blink

Me:  “Seriously.”

Her:  twinkle, smile “How about instead of repercussions, we try a reward!”

Me:  blink blink

Her:  “Really, say if every time you check for a week, I have my bands in, I get a chocolate bar!”

Me:  blink blink “We can try that.”

The child is getting dangerous.

 

* I have some anxiety about this, coupled with the job transition.  I still have some monies to pay, and the payments are completely tied up with my job.  Between my health care savings account and my dental insurance – my lay off and my girls’ braces pay off are in danger of colliding here.  I’m hoping I can just pay it off with this year’s health care savings account, but there’s a chance that it won’t fly, because of the timing.  And even though the braces are mostly done, the insurance has been making itty bitty monthly payments, and didn’t reach the maximum that I was counting on.  So.  Grumble.

** I love our orthodontist.  He’s a sole practitioner, and I find him to be very down-to-earth, in tremendous contrast to the orthodontist I had to fix MY overbite.  My guy ran a factory.  Rows upon rows of dental chairs with scores of dental assistants who did the actual work.  The girls’ ortho does everything himself.  He sees us before school, and we’re in and out within 30 minutes.  He also has kids my girls’ ages, and his middle son is Lemon’s age and does crew, like Lemon. So I run into him all the time at one river or another, and we always have plenty to chat about when the girls are getting their teeth yanked on.

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Taking Stock of 2011

January 1, 2012

Yesterday’s realization that 2010 sucked, and then 2011 sucked, was kind of daunting. It’s also a little weird, because I’m far from being an unhappy person, or thinking that my life sucks.  How can my years suck, if my life doesn’t suck?

Looking back at last year’s end-of-year posts, I see that I was right about 2010 – it wasn’t a great year for me.  2011 wasn’t really a bad year, except for work.  And work didn’t leak into home in the same ways that it did in 2010.  When things weren’t going well this year, starting in April, it was because I had so little to do.  That resulted in less time at work over the summer.  I spent more time reading, I took a day to go to the beach with a friend, I came home from work earlier.  So the effect on home was a good one.  So that’s something, at least.

According to last year’s posts, I had the following resolutions:

1) Lose weight.  I didn’t, really.  I went up and down with the same 10 pounds, but didn’t really make much progress here.  I need to step it up.  I did run a good bit, starting in April or May.  So I have habits in place – but I need to kick it up a notch.  I need to run more, run harder, and do more than just running.  I need to do some strength training, and I need to be more careful about food.  I’m not letting go of my “fit by 40” goal.  I can do this. I have 11 months, and I can do it.

2) Draft my resume.  I did that.  But not until I was up against the wall and on my way out the door.  But it’s written, and it’s been reviewed by professionals, and it’s in good shape.

Then my littler areas of focus:

My extended family: My sister and I are definitely back in touch and things are good there.  I do try to be better with my parents, and I think I’ve been less irritable with them.  My brother is no different, but I’m not taking responsibility for that.  He and his wife are a bit too overwhelmed by having young children and a job (him, not her) and bills to pay, and I have a very hard time  commiserating with them.  Because – really?  Who DOESN’T have young children and a job and bills to pay?  At least at some point?  You’d think that they believe my teenage daughters sprung fully formed out of my forehead and that I somehow have a trust fund and pretend I’m a lawyer for show, for the way they’re convinced they’re the ONLY people with young children and a job and bills to pay.  If I hear either of them reference my brothers “10-12 hour days” one more time, I may barf.  Instead, I hold my tongue, and don’t try to “one up” them with stories of my years in their shoes – with a husband who was in grad school and making NO money (but still working 12-20 hour days . . . he was clever like that), or the years where I was a single parent with young kids, a job, bills to pay, and no second parent in the house.  I just say “yeah, it must be hard.” And don’t call again.

So, no.  No improvement there.

Family (home):  Like I said – this year’s job stuff  gave me more time with my family, not less.  Lemon was a bit of a snarky kid last year – and this year, she’s in a groove and easy to manage and thriving.  Mouse is starting with the snark, but it’s less constant than Lemon’s was, and so far, we can deal.  She’s still thriving, and that makes us happy. They’re very good kids.  David and I are good – of course some months we’re totally in sync, and others we are “off,” but overall, we’re very good.  I’m still grateful every day for being married to a partner.

Community:  Well, I just wrapped up producing the Best Play Ever, and I delved into it more than in years past, because I had more time (the good side of no job . . . or transitioning out of a job).  This spring, I plan to be involved in the planning and executing of Mouse’s 8th grade graduation (I know, I know, “graduating from 8th grade is STUPID!” But these kids have been in this K-8 school since, well, K.  It is a big milestone, and I would like the stupid-callers to do so elsewhere.  Thanks!)  I know I should do something else, now that I’m wrapping up my volunteer efforts at the kids’ school, but right now, less than a month after producing the play, I don’t want to.  I want to say I’ve put in my time, and I’m done.  And as far as the kids’ schools are concerned, that may be my final conclusion.  I think I’d like to shift my focus to the town-level.  Not sure what yet, but I still have time to explore and figure it out.

Finances.  David and I did, in fact, see a financial advisor this year.  It was illuminating.  Depressing, but illuminating.  We do NOT have a house fund.  We are perma-renters.  We did start aggressively socking money away into savings, and our 401k has been doing well.  If we hadn’t done that, this job-news would have been a lot more devastating.

Travel.  We did some.  Not enough. We did New York City in February, I went to Wisconsin with Mouse in April, we went to the Berkshires. We went to Vermont.  We went to Maryland/Virginia/D.C. (when my Outer Banks vacation was thwarted).   But I still haven’t brought these girls to Europe.  And we still haven’t gotten back to California.  I want to see my friends, and my sister.

Some positive outcomes from 2011 that I cannot overlook, and that I hadn’t included in my list:  Friendships.  I have enhanced existing friendships and found new ones.  This was especially obvious with the job-issues, as my support network was so very  strong.  While two of my three most supportive friendships at work have been in place since my summer associate days, another is one that has really taken shape this year.  I’m very grateful for this friendship, and glad that I got over my assumption that she and I would never really “relate” to one another, because she’s young and has no kids.  Not the case.  I’m very glad to have made this friend.

Another new friendship on the home-front, in my running partner.  We’re very like-minded (and our mini-me older daughters have found this in one another, as well), and clicked instantly.  I have a comfortable easiness with her that I haven’t had with someone in a very long time.  “Wanna come over?” without caring at ALL that there’s dirty laundry on my bathroom floor.  A really great find this year.

Still to come — looking ahead to 2012.

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Well, Hello, 2012!

January 1, 2012

Hoping to end this prolonged hiatus.  Not 100% sure why the silence happened.  Despite the recent job news, I haven’t really been wallowing or otherwise in a funk.  But I did throw myself into a few other things (Mouse’s school play, the holidays), and found my time pretty full.

Here are a few highlights:

  • I tried to post a video, back in December, of my Mouse in her play.  I may try again – I think I have to upgrade and pay WordPress some money before they’ll let me do it.  The show was Anything Goes, and the kids were outstanding.  The show is currently on Broadway, and a few of the kids had already seen it in New York.  Mouse wanted to see it more than anything in the world – but we were playing coy, and citing job issues and saying “we’ll see.”  In the meantime, we bought tickets, and were trying to figure out how to best unveil them as a holiday surprise.  She ended up with one of our school play tickets in her stocking, with the date crossed out and the Broadway date written in.  It took her a minute to figure out what it all meant, but then she had actual tears of joy.  It was cool.  (Lemon was also thrilled, as a Broadway-loving gal, but had less of a connection to the show.)
  • David and I had a really good holiday season.  We shopped together for the girls for the first time in years.  In years past, while struggling with my work schedule, we’d sort of taken the divide & conquer approach.  And I took the “divide and spoil” approach.  We also tended to do a lot of shopping last minute, because of the timing of my end-of-year bonus.  That was different this year, in light of not being a regular associate anymore, and so our shopping schedule changed.  Our volume kind of changed – but we just made wiser choices.  If we hadn’t bought the Broadway tickets, it would have been easily 1/2 to 1/3 of what we’d spent in the past, and the girls would have STILL been thrilled.  I’m still going to write a post about the Want, Need, Wear, Read system that we used (and perverted) this year.  We found it interesting and helpful.
  • The holiday(s) itself was also lovely this year.  We went to my parents’ house in Connecticut for the holiday itself, but also had a more intimate celebration at home on Solstice (actually, we did it on the 21st, which I *thought* was the solstice, but this year, I was wrong).  The kids opened most of their presents then, so we didn’t have to cart them to and from CT (and unbeknownst to them, NYC, for the show).  In the end, the girls were saying, “this was the best Christmas ever!”  David and I gave each other a few high fives.  We were really happy with the way things worked out.
  • New Year’s was mellow this year.  For David & I.  Not for the girls.  We wandered down the street for a party from 8:30 – 11:30, where Mouse already was and had been pretty much all day long.  Lemon had friends over, and I felt like, theoretically, it was weird to leave a house full of 15 yos without supervision.  But, realistically, these kids were more than fine.  A handful of girls who were fighting over house rules for Apples-t0-Apples when we left, and who begged me to make them a cheese plate before leaving . . . they were more than fine.  David came home before me, and found them in the middle of a game of Life.  They’d had some Sprite and potato chips.  We all watched the ball drop together, and then David and I retired to our room with our iPads.  We ended up playing games. Until 3 a.m.  Once we finally went to bed, we crashed, so we had no idea that Lemon & Company stayed up all night long, and went to the park around the corner to watch the “First Sunrise of 2012.”

And so now here we are.  First day of 2012.  I’ve been thinking about “resolutions” – but I’m not really into it.  I thought about saying this year’s resolutions will be to make my bed every day, and to keep up with my laundry.  Pretty productive, not overly introspective.  I guess I could say “find a job,” but . . . duh?  What if I don’t make that my resolution?  Will I end up unemployed all year?  Of course not.

So I’ll keep pondering.  While watching the Patriots catch up to and then kick the ass of the Bills.  I’ll try and be more introspective this evening.

I know one thing, already, though —- I’m not sorry to see 2011 out the door.  And I wasn’t sorry to see 2010 disappear, either.  I know I’m ready for a good year.  Very ready.

 

 

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I’m not ungrateful I swear . . .

November 25, 2011

I tried to do a “things I’m grateful for” post on Wednesday.  But then Lemon came home from a friend’s house and proceeded to have the usual “I’m leaving for the Middle of the Country tomorrow!” meltdown, and I got distracted.  Then yesterday (Thanksgiving), WD and I mostly stayed off our computers.  We took the girls to the airport for their 7;15 a.m. flight, and then went back home and into our bed.  I slept only fitfully until I knew the girls had landed safely, and then slept HARD until noon. Then we sort of hung around and read books and chatted all afternoon, until our delicious dinner out.

Today, I was up early to meet a friend for a walk, which was good.  It was a nice crisp but sunny morning.  Now I’m back with my Dragons, and with my laundry and my play producing.  I’m talking WD into putting up our holiday lights on our balcony, and we’re thinking about Christmas shopping for the girly-q’s.

Last year, we were relatively obnoxious with the Christmas gift buying. This year, we will not be obnoxious.  I found the “Want, Need, Wear, Read” outline over at Mom to the Screaming Masses, and plan to adopt it as my mantra for this year.  We will tell the girls that things will be a little more modest this year — but we won’t be quite all the way to austere.  Their “wear” will probably be Uggs, and I think Lemon’s “want” will be Harry Potter movies.  Not sure yet how many (I haven’t done the shopping) (oh, wait – I just did.  The complete set of all 8 movies on Blu-ray is $70.  So she’ll get that).  But she also wanted a keyboard, but she can’t get both.  For “need,” I can’t think of much that they need.  (Nice, huh?)  I am seriously and without a shred of joking thinking about socks & underwear.  Maybe socks, underwear & “extras” (what we call scarves, gloves, hats).

I have less ideas for Mouse.

But that’s my day.  Gift-planning, reading, walking.  Encouraging light-stringing.

Here’s the partial-post from Wednesday night, exhibiting my partially-formed list of things I’m grateful for.  If I had finished, I would have added anecdotes about my friends, my parents, my cats (I do love my cats).  At least.

 

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As easy as it may be to wallow in the week following a lay-off, I find myself having a good time, and feeling very, very grateful:

  • Last night, I checked in on my 15 year old daughter just before she went to bed, as I usually do. She is 15!!  That age where people are supposed to be glum, and supposed to hate their parents.  Stuff like that.  I offered her a hug, and she took me up on it.  The hug lasted a very, very long time.  When she was 1, 2, 3, 4, even 5 — thinking about having her on my lap for minutes upon minutes was nothing.  It was accepted.  But last night’s prolonged hug wasn’t “nothing.”  I am grateful for the hugs that I still get.
  • Today, Mouse called as she was leaving school at noon (pre-holiday release time).  She was thinking of seeing a movie.  She was going to have lunch at a friend’s.  “Oh, and hey – mom?  A is making me say this:  Um, J and I are a thing.  As of today.  Okay?”  J is a boy that I’ve suspected as a possibility for some time, but Mouse has denied it. A is Mouse’s closest friend (since 1st grade!) – the one who insists that she’s my third daughter, who posts on Lemon’s Facebook wall as ‘your other sister’ every day.  I am grateful that even when my teenage daughters do NOT want to confide in their mother, I have a relationship with their friends that kicks in.  I know this is a lighthearted middle school relationship, but I do truly believe that if there were a problem – a real problem with my girls –  the same would hold true.
  • My girls are leaving tomorrow early in the morning to visit the Ex in the Middle of the Country.  I don’t like this.  I like them here.  But WD and I are doing what we can to make the holiday special, even without the most special parts of our days.  I am grateful for WD.  Because he helps to make my days special.  He knows what’s hard, and he works to make it better.  We are going out to dinner tomorrow night, at a nice restaurant.  We are /

(That’s where I stopped.)