The Blizzard of 2003

 

We’re waiting for a blizzard tonight.  If it arrives like the weather channel is predicting we will have plenty of snow to rock a good snowman/woman/person/ball by morning.

Almost 13 years ago, in February 2003,  my brother paid us a visit.  He brought 3 beautiful Micky Mouse Costumes for my daughters who were 2,2, & 4 at the time.  He said they were ridiculously cheap Halloween leftovers from the Disney store and the girls could wear them next year.   My first thought was that I didn’t need to store 3 beautiful Mickey Mouse Halloween Costumes that won’t fit by  Halloween.  My second thought was thanks.   I overreacted, my trademark.   I hated them, the kids loved them.

His plan was to spend the day at our house and stay for supper, but he said the forecast was calling for a major snow and he wanted to leave in time to beat the storm.   Again, I overreacted telling him that he was crazy, I’d heard nothing about snow and he should not worry.  But okay,  “Go if you feel you must.” And so he did.  May I add another bit about stay at home mom burnout?  I never heard the news,  I watched Barney on TV and Elmo music in the car.   To learn the weather, I woke up and looked out the window.

So after he left, I forged outside with the girls to get ready for the snow, just in case my brother was right about the weather.   First stop was the craft store. I was not going to be without glue, paint, or play-do and be stuck in the house.  Food could wait.   I bundled up the kids and off we went just as the snow began to fall. I don’t remember exactly what we bought in Michaels but I do remember that by the time I got out of the store there was 3″ of snow on my car.  I put the kids in the car, brushed of the windshield and thought maybe I should stop at the A&P before going home, just in case.

In and out of the car with three preschoolers in a snow storm, I must have been crazy, or determined, or desperate.  I remember seeing the manager in the crowded store and suggesting he close since he was pretty much out of food,  but all we needed was a couple of boxes of captain crunch, some boxed milk, and we were good to go.

That afternoon and the night that followed we got almost two feet of snow.  I was wrong about the snow and I was wrong about the Mickey Mouse costumes.  The girls put them on and refused to take them off for two days.   They wore them to play, to nap, to eat, and to bed.   I was right however about Halloween, the costumes didn’t fit them by then.  But who cares.

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It must be me

 

This past weekend I had three days of blissful no phone/no fuss bonding, with a bunch of ladies who all shared the same goal.  To make pretty scrapbook pages,  to drink some wine, and to while away until the wee hours of the morning  knowing there was no need to get up early, no cleaning and no mediating arguments between minors for 54 solid hours.

According to the phone report that came in as I was preparing for the drive back home, my husband took care of the errands, the food shopping and doling out the chores while I was away.   Everybody was in a good mood, the house was cleaned up and dinner was in the oven.   “Take your time,”  he said, “enjoy your weekend.”

So as any smart woman would, I did just that.  I took my time and enjoyed my weekend.   I was the happiest kind of sleep deprived by Sunday evening and  I was hoping my relaxed stressless weekend could continue all the way until bedtime.

When I got home, the kids greeted me in the driveway.   They were all in a great mood.  Everybody helped unload the car and we moved pretty quickly from my homecoming to dinner and kitchen clean up.

After dinner as we relaxed together on the couch for a short while, I started to notice things not really done.  The barely vacuumed rugs, and the garbage that wasn’t taken out.  I checked with my husband to make sure he got everything at the supermarket and as it turns out the grocery list wasn’t completely purchased.  I gave him a sigh.  It wasn’t really so much that things went undone, it was more about those happy expectations he gave me that fell a little short of what I imagined.   He called to the girls, explained the situation to them and they redid what they were supposed to do, and they did it quickly and without any real complaints.   One finished the grocery list and the others finished the chores, shocking me, and providing a very nice ending to a very nice weekend.

But I guess my dear husband took the euphoria  with him when he left for work this morning, because by the 7:20AM school departure I’d already done it wrong, said it wrong, looked at them wrong, made the wrong food food choices and oh yeah, I didn’t wear a coat outside so accordingly I set an example that was wrong, wrong, wrong.    It occurred to me that none of that happens when dad’s in charge which brings me to this question.   Is it me?

 

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It is.  It must be me, right?

Happy Monday .

 

Silence is …. awkward from a Tracy Chapman Fan

 

This morning I drove my daughter to school in complete silence.  She was in a bad mood.   I thought about asking her why but it seemed kind of obvious.

She’s in high school.

It’s 7:20 AM.

I’m her mom.

She’s tired.

Life’s unfair.

Pick one.

I put the radio on in an attempt to break the silence and Tracy Chapman’s song “Fast Car” was playing.  One of my favorites that I forgot about until this morning.

“… City lights lay out before us
…  your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
…  I had a feeling I could be someone.”

I had an urge to sing out the chorus good and loud I like did when I was young and driving in the car with my girlfriends, but we both stayed quiet.   Still the music was jumping out at me.   I hummed a little, and this didn’t seem to annoy her so I ventured a little further and oh so quietly sang along for the last few lines.   Still no complaining.

As soon as the song ended, I said “I used to love that song.”

She said, “why.”

“It’s a great song!” I said.

“It’s depressing.”

“How?”

“Did you listen to the lyrics mom?  Her dad was a drunk and she gave up her life to take care of him and then she fell in love with a drunk and now all she wants is for him to drive away and leave her alone!”

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“Are you kidding” she said?   She didn’t look at me but I could feel the look..  the kind that only comes between teenagers and their parents.

So I came home and looked up the lyrics to the song.  She was right, it is a sad story but what if hid did drive away… and then who knows what might have happened!

I still love that song, and Tracy, and my daughter to whom I owe a thank you for teaching me again that if I can figure out how to navigate the awkward silences, I might learn something.

I wanted to share a T.C. video with you but I can’t pick one so here’s a bunch  Tracy Chapman Official Videos

And here’s the one that reminds me that every day is another chance to get it right.

 

The First Storm of 2016

Stormy Skies               Back to school after winter break –  It is a Monday _  7 AM

A Perfect Storm

 

“Life isn’t fair,” is what I said,

This morning they wouldn’t get out of bed.

“I don’t make the rules,” I tried to reason,

But this was  teenage high-school treason.

“How about breakfast?” I offered a smile,

While they protested, rank and file.

“Fine,” I said, my optimism waning,

“Crap!” they exclaimed – “Is it (bleepin’) raining?

“Just go, you’ll see, it won’t be so bad,”

They shot me with hate rays for making them mad.

They never once waned in their grouchy teen ways,

I know they’ll be pleasant one of these days.

As they walked out the door,

I said Sayonara,

I put sugar in my tea,

and the 80’s

on Pandora.

 


 

 

 

New School Year

It’s back to school time and my favorite moment of every day is 7:36 AM when…

Theory –   everybody has what they need for the day and is happily off doing their job as high school students.

Practice – they are suffering through a ridiculously early start time missing sleep, homework, and breakfast.

Reality –  if my phone has no text messages, it’s a good morning.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein.  Can we please bring Albert to the next school board meeting?  Or Father Guido Sarducci?

 

Ducks on my Dashboard (okay they’re turtles)

 

 

There are three rubber ducks in my car, each a different color.

I took a seminar once about color and personality  and at the time my personality was called orange, so I  assigned the orange duck to my oldest daughter because  she’s the most like me.   The other two girls have a specific duck too, but for other reasons.

When we’re in the car and two of them are at “high argument” status, I arrange them accordingly, and when the argument is over, I lay them down due to battle fatigue. If one of the girls does something special (like empties the dishwasher without being asked) her duck gets alone time and the others get put away for a bit because let’s face it, at that moment I have a favorite.

My daughters all understand the duck system and normally all three of them are on display but sometimes one finds herself riding in the console. The duck punishments are never long but it gets the point across that mom is not happy.  It’s on those occasions they soemtimes ask what they can do to get out of the console and back on the dashboard.  I say, “Well, why are you in the console?”, which usually  leads us right into a conversation about better behavior followed by a slow and deliberate climb of the duck to the coveted center spot.  I know this sounds a little crazy and maybe it is, but parenting teens requires creativity, patience, persistence and anything that works – even if it’s a bunch of rubber ducks.