Month: May 2017

Brave

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On Saturday at dress rehearsal, my daughter was the only one who refused to even participate. It was her first real recital on a big stage in a big auditorium. She felt nervous and unprepared, since her best friend and dance partner had hurt her arm and couldn’t perform with her. My heart sank as she peeked out from behind the curtain, watching the rest of her class perform their ballet number to John Lennon’s “Imagine” they had worked on for months. At home that night, we talked to her about being brave, and the importance of facing your fears so you can overcome them and never be afraid of them again. Then about how she looks just like Merida on the Disney movie Brave. Then about how she could get ice cream if she just went on the stage with the rest of her class tomorrow. And how she can not get ice cream if she doesn’t go on stage, sorry. Nope. No ice cream if you don’t dance. What can I say, it was not our finest moment. It started out pretty good, and devolved quickly into bribery and talking about cartoons. Then we talked to each other about not being disappointed if she wasn’t dancing with the rest of the class tomorrow. Yes, even after we make Grandma and Grandpa sit in traffic for 2 hours just to see her. I tried to tell myself it wouldn’t be the end of the world if she just wasn’t ready. She didn’t seem ready. Then I started to feel like kind of a jerk for caring so much. What was I, some kind of deranged stage mom? On the day of the performance as I sent her back to line up with the rest of her class, she had tears in her eyes. So did I. I hugged her as hard as I could and told her that she would be awesome no matter what. Watching the other classes before hers in the dark middle school auditorium, I finally began to relax and knew that no matter how it turned out, in a few years she would have brand new interests that may or may not include dance class, and will have completely forgotten about this. Just kidding, I mentally played out the extensive shame cycle of disappointment she would experience if she didn’t dance with the rest of her class today and how it would negatively affect her life choices from now until approximately age 38. Normal mom stuff. It was time for her class to go on. I realized I hadn’t breathed in a couple of hours. The curtain inched open, and there she was. Smiling! Dancing! The song ended, and we all rushed backstage to congratulate her. She was so proud, and so happy. And I suddenly knew with all my heart that I was not a deranged stage mom. The look of victory on her face told me why I cared so much.

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I’ve Lost It

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You know that rule about how when you have children you’re not supposed to “lose yourself?” Well, I’ve broken it. Hard. Like, obliterated it with a sledgehammer, sawed up the bigger pieces with a chainsaw and set it on fire. The person I am has been permanently altered, and there is no going back. In my spare time I research art projects for my kids and browse the $7 rack in the children’s section at H&M. I spend an unreasonable amount of time thinking about snacks to buy for them. Sometimes those snacks are dinner, but what my kids don’t know is that before they came into my life I would wander into work half an hour late for no good reason, sometimes spend 7 hours in a row watching television, and always ate snacks for dinner. I wasn’t prepared for all this work. How can you be? How do your children not become your entire life? I eat, sleep and breathe my kids. Literally, when they talk to me I lean in as close as I can to smell their little breath. I want to inhale their entire bodies. It’s probably creepy. I can’t help it. I cry every time I see a sleeping baby in public now. I’ve googled every combination of the words “mother, emotional, tired, and normal” humanly possible. Oh, and bedtime. Bedtime is so hard. And so loud. Then as soon as it’s quiet I think for a minute, “What if my apartment was this quiet all the time?” Then I decide I REALLY want that. Then after about 10 minutes, I decide I am extremely uncomfortable with quiet and never ever want a quiet house again. The thought of a quiet house makes me so, so sad. Then I hear my daughter calling me for another sip of water, and all I want in the world is a quiet moment to myself. Rinse, repeat, goodnight kiss.

Mom

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I found this photo of my mom that I took on the day we moved from our old house on Brookhaven Drive to our new house (well, new to us but 100 years old) on East 8th street. I was in the 7th grade. All I cared about was meticulously transferring my Paula Abdul posters in a Trapper Keeper to my new closet door in my new room, and confirming multiple times that the Nintendo would work in our new house. I did not care that my parents had done all the tireless work required to find a family of four a new house to live in. I didn’t care, because I just didn’t know. They made it seem so easy. Look at my mom right here, so deep into the moving process that she’s up to the part where you pack the food. She probably even reminded my dad to drink that last sip of orange juice in the fridge because she knew he would be annoyed if she poured it out. She definitely rolled her eyes while doing so. She had probably just days before done something like allowed 9 prepubescent girls to sleep over and scream at the top of their (our) lungs until 5 am, then after 1 hour of sleep made everyone breakfast. Or finished sewing my sister and I some kind of amazing couture outfits out of any fabric we wanted from the sewing department of Wal-Mart (it was spelled with a dash back then, I wonder why they changed it). She never said a curse word, and barely ever raised her voice. She’s so full of love. She will probably make a snarky remark or point out one of my grammatical mistakes in response to this, because she never wants to admit to her amazingness. But all I know is that any of the patience I have with my own kids today comes from her. So a million times, thank you mom.

Momspreading

 

momspreading

mom·spread·ing
ˈmomˌsprediNG/
noun, informal
The practice whereby a mom, especially one traveling on public transportation, adopts a sitting position in which her children take up multiple seats while looking out the window, asking for snacks, demanding you play “I spy” while you are looking for said snacks, fight over who gets to swing around the subway pole similar to children who ride in cars calling “shotgun,” ask you what character you would be if you were in the film Moana and getting frustrated at you for not answering right away because you were chasing your stroller that has practically rolled out the door as you forgot to apply the break while trying to stop your youngest child from smearing chewed up granola bar residue on a lady’s nice jacket, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats. The offending mom might even feel a small shred of remorse for momspreading everywhere if she ever had a chance to stop for 2 seconds and realize what exactly is going on once in a while.