Wednesday, October 28, 2009

is a change in terminology all it takes?

Last night I was feeling super-overwhelmed.  The word "drowning" kept running through my head.  The days are not long enough.  Jam-packed with activities, homework, projects, lessons, MOPS, study, e-mails, groceries, cleaning.  Husband away on business.  I am not getting everything done.  I have this vision of course in my head about where I should be and what I should be able to accomplish.  Simply not there.  So, as I keep thinking "drowning", for some reason "soaring" popped into my head.  Strangely enough I felt a more positive twinge.  Hmm.  Okay, I'll bite.  I'm 'soaring' through my life and navigating the trenches in a most excellent way.  If I write that and try to think that instead of thinking that I am drowning, does it somehow make it so?  Hmm.  Food for thought.  So, blogging friends, off to soar through my day.  Let's hope I don't bump into any stray trees.  ;)

Monday, October 19, 2009

two-thirds of the way in. the volturi are coming.

How stressful!  I am torn between wanting to hurry up and finish so I know what happens and being horrified at finally being done.  Sigh.  Has anyone read The Outlander series?  My friend is raving . . .

paid in raisins . . .

I have a confession to make. I once was kind of glamorous. Not for long, mind you. But still, for a period of time in the early 1990s, being glamorous was a 'high-priority' on my list. My paycheck? For glamour. My weekends? Doing things that glamorous people did. My wardrobe? Fabulous! My skin? Over-tanned. My heart? Stressed and empty.

I spent a tremendous amount of time thinking about me. I worked at a hugely busy law office and then worked on me. My time spent with friends was spent racing from place to place, 'seeing' and 'being seen' and struggling to fill voids with conspicuous consumption that I know now could never be filled.

Marriage and motherhood changed my world. I made a dramatic leap of faith in leaving my hectic 'glamorous' world for a traditional marriage to a man in the military followed by the birth of my three children. I have never regretted my decision. My priorities shifted. I changed. Everything changed.

My paycheck? I'm paid in raisins, 'one of a kind' works of art, paperclip jewelry and 'love you mom' notes. My weekends? Filled to the over-flowing with festivals, scout meetings, birthday parties and family dinners. My wardrobe? Target clearance and MOPS' Garage Sale treasures. My skin? I'm not sure. I haven't had a chance to look in the mirror during the past ten years. ;) My heart? Full. Incredibly full with the love of my family.

Do I regret those empty, glamorous years? No. Actually, I do not. I did have some exciting experiences and for that I am grateful. But, first and foremost, those years give me a fresh appreciation for waking up to a fulfilling and enriching life of living for others rather than just for myself. I experienced those 'fabulous' times and I am grateful to have had those opportunities. But, would I go back? Would I choose a different route? Absolutely not.

I now embrace my "mommy chic". I like having a favorite headband and a 'dressy' ponytail holder. I like that my lipstick is more often than not 'buy one, get one'. I am excited when my pants cost $3.74. And I cherish my filled heart.

Glamour? Beauty? It is in the eye of the beholder. To our little ones, we are all simply beautiful. To Him? We . . . are . . . exquisite.

Friday, October 9, 2009

how can I possibly fold laundry when there is an unopened Book Four in my house?

I am completely out of coffee.  My husband needs white workout socks.  I just used the last bit of Tide moments ago.  Cereal boxes -- empty.  I should be at the store right now but I am taking a three-minute sanity break.  Blogging friends, how am I possibly supposed to fold laundry, go food-shopping, put away the stuff from food-shopping and wash the floors after vacuuming when there is a new unread Twilight book in the house?  Sigh.  Okay.  I am resisting.  Boring.  Hmm, perhaps a compromise?  I'll foodshop just a bit at Target, more fun than Winn Dixie, come back and fold laundry, while watching Project Runway and Top Chef.  Okay.  That sounds better.

Breaking Dawn?  Resting on my nightstand . . .

yes, Book Four -- being delivered by a lovely friend to my mailbox within moments . . .

I have heard it is the best of the Twilight series.  I am 'misty' in anticipation.  I am so ready to return to drowning in Twilight.  Not Jacob, Bella, not Jacob.  Edward, only Edward.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

oh, my. twilight. now I get it.

Now I get it.  Started the series ten days ago when a dear friend walked through my front door and handed me Book One.  Three books down.  Stalking a friend for Book Four.  I am entranced by Twilight.  What rock have I been under?  Oh, why, oh why, did I resist?  Team Edward?  Sign me up.

the Orient Express and the Ferocious Fearlessness of 'Before Children Travel'

The year was 1996.  My husband and I had been married for about a year.  We were living in Germany at the time and he was deployed as he had been throughout most of our marriage.  He spent the first six months of our marriage stationed in Kuwait and the second six months in Bosnia.  Most of our communication that year was via letter.  It was the "olden days" -- before everyone had computers, cell phones, Blackberries, etc.

I received a postcard from Bill letting me know that he had been granted leave -- finally, a long weekend!  As leave was rare and precious, I hurriedly read more of the little note.  Oh, no!  Yes, he had been granted leave, but it wasn't to come home to Germany.  It was going to be in Budapest.  Whew.  I had never been to Hungary before.  I knew it was going to be a challenge.  Hungary wasn't a spot that I could simply make do with my smattering of German and high school Spanish.

Well, I didn't have children and had already spent a good part of my life as a young adult in and out of New York City so my fearlessness was at a relatively ferocious point.  I purchased a train ticket out of Frankfurt, found a wonderful old Grand Ramada Inn from a tattered tourbook and booked it, and began packing.  While I will not bore you with details as to what I packed, I can tell you that what my tiny suitcase contained was nothing like how I pack today.  And, the name of my train?  The Orient Express.  Really.  My weekend -- an unbelievable memory.  Something I will never forget.

When I pack nowadays for my family of five, I am like an efficient machine.  Each of my three girls is allotted their own small suitcase.  Extra unmentionables.  Lots of layers and room for favorite treasures -- just a few, of course.  A suitcase for me.  Bill?  Well, he gets a small carry-on.  :)

The electronics, reserved for the cabin.  Two more books per child then we think we will need.  Extra caffeine for the parents.  And the pre-travel scrubbing and gassing up of the van?  Very necessary!  For me, it makes the journey so much more pleasurable to pull away from the house in a neat and clean van.  But, as the years have passed and my expectations have become more realistic, I have learned to be proud of my little family if we can make it to lunchtime without completely thrashing our vehicle. 

While long trips have become easier with the children as they have become older, I wish I could say it was a dream to travel with them.  But I can't.  I found myself cracking up today, driving from church, in Daddy's sedan, to Home Depot for grout.  My three daughters were arguing and pinching and poking away, resisting any semblance of correction or good behavior.  The scene in my rear-view mirror was so cliche and so absurd that I couldn't help but laugh.  Fortunately, my giggles surprised them out of their argument, and the halos shifted back into place.

I often feel like we as moms need merit badges, just like my girls receive merit badges in Girl Scouts.  Traveling with small children = two merit badges.  One -- Made it to Destination in Relative Good Humor.  Two -- Made it to Destination without Leaving Anyone or Anything Mission-Critical Behind. 

While traveling with my family can be tedious and trying to my patience, I still catch myself looking around at my little crew with a heartfelt joy.  I wouldn't trade my fellow passengers for the world.  And a little secret I have finally started to pick up on?  If Mommy remains upbeat and calm, often the behavior of the rest of my companions will follow . . .

The picture?  Margaret Island in the heart of the Danube River in between the sister cities of Buda and Pest . . . found on Google.  1996?  Long before I had access to digital.  :)