family, life

A Moms Love

When the kid was little. He almost died. Easy to write, hard to say. Even now, during my click clacking of the words, tears still fill my eyes. To say, I am overprotective, is an understatement. This almost tragedy along with my Jewish upbringing, which was the epitome of hover- craft parenting, meant the kid was doomed. Or as I put it loved to the max. Still is. I am guilty of trying to take away all the bad with my magic wand. One that has waved mightily over all the simple fixes of life, but recently has seen better days, as my waving has became a habit to cure all that can’t be cured. Life is life and wands wear out.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I can be tough. On others, myself, but never the kid. I am still the hapless waver of my tattered stick, believing I can change what I feel should be changed. And there you have it…what I think. Not anyone else, just me. If others think it, I am the only brave one to confront, push, and attempt for the ending I see leading to a happily ever after. I think of myself as a trailblazer. The kid. Not so much, I am annoying at best. I have used the I gave birth to you, too many times. While I feel it should still ring true, with every passing year the sound becomes faint. Not gone in my ears, just faint.

To be fair. He is right, I am too much. He has to do him. But an open mind and my abundance of love and guidance does not hurt anyone. Or does it? This is debatable…as raising him was not a picnic. Truly. During the lows I saw his soul, desires, talents, faults and fears. We have had our moments. Most have passed and our relationship has settled. Recently, I entered “fixer recovery” and my wand has been banished. Now, I am just another overbearing mom that sees a variety of directions that will bring him great pride and teach his son lessons of a lifetime.

No matter what path my son chooses. He is my world and the reason I gave up my wand and entered “fixer recovery.” I will always be happy with his choices as he is my gift from God. But a mom can dream. But dreams and support are different from pushing, annoying with overbearing ideas and comments coupled with a hint of hovering. I will stick to my dreams for him but be ready and on call whenever needed. This is what I call a healthy balance and a sponsor (if fixer recovery existed) would call back to Step 1. Baby Steps!

I love you KWL.

Christmas, family, granparent life, grey hair

Elfing Ways

A long, long time ago there was a young mother (not so young) who wanted to bring Christmas cheer to her only son and husband. Money was a new found struggle, while the hubs had a growing business thus purchases were supposed to be limited. I found “The Elf” at a house party and it was the best $30.00 (I did not have) but spent in my life. Insert the hubs daily eyerolls and daily lectures that gifts of daily love and belief of this magic elf ( matchbox cars, cheerios, Pokémon cards etc.) were not needed. Of course, I knew that, but carried on. I am the picture of moderate (comparably) Christmas spending and usually with a bit of debt and a targeted pay off date. I am money smart, in my world, just no one else’s. But Christmas must go on…and frankly no one complains. Secretly, they love it. Especially, the elf.

But every penny of ornaments, decor, stocking stuffers, and presents including those requested from Santa and the needed clothes make my clan happy. As I am the only shopper for the family, and it is all for others, I see no harm. Try to debate happiness or put a price on happiness. You can’t. I won’t. Back to the elf. It always hung on the front door to make ease for delivery or at times a quick delivery before I dashed to work. The worst days were when the kid woke up early and the elf was forgetful the previous night. He would crawl into our bed and I would logically explain the elfin route, storms in the area, and prompt him to write the elf a note and have an “extra-good” day. Boom, two gifts the next day with his traditional “Thank you Elf, I love you!” My heart would explode. And special thanks to the ASU theater department. Stories come easy. Too easy.

This went on yearly, as far as I could stretch it. It made me happy because while the gifts were trinkets, they brought smiles, hugs, and the reaffirmation of my craziness would be given. My Heart ❤ was always full and my boys were happy. Occasionally, my husband would actually remind me to get the Elf gift ready. That was akin to winning him over! Once in awhile I even caught him smiling.

But this year caught me off guard. Insert the grandnugget. Last year it was just decor. This year it is HO HO and with it came the story. Which I extended further, and further with a trip to the north pole, an elf for his room and yes, the transfer of THE Elf to my sons home. I shudder. This was not my idea. It was the hubs. He sat me down and explained how it is time to pass on the fun. I cried. This passing of the torch is killing me, but it is has to happen this year. Twenty-seven years after I created this monstrosity of love, it must go on. It is my hope that my son passes on the tradition to his grandchildren.

The passing on of the Elf is hard. It is the last right of our child’s passage into adulting, along with art and report cards, that I still have and treasure. Still keeping these! But this is magic and in the passing I am hoping that the magic will continue for decades to come.

granparent life, grey hair

She’s That Kind of Crazy…

Being a grandmother is a gift. It is one that some open with trepidation and the acceptance of one’s age. Some spend months deciding on what to be called. Like that matters, but it does allow the transitioning into our new role. The day, our nugget was born, I was in a parade. I was in the midst of royal waves for miles with a bit of Vaseline on the teeth, to hold my fading smile. But this additional news brought a feeling that I had lost. Pure joy. I had not felt this for years. It brought me back to all the good times as a parent multiplied by a bazillion. No Vaseline needed.

Initially, I tried to be the low-key grandma. That did not last. I craved that smile and inner light this person brought to my life. It was akin to reliving my own sons great days without any of the traditional raising stressors. I could just sit on the floor and play, stare, laugh. No need to cook, clean, work, etc. All attention on one human. Pure delight. At least for me. Not all grandma’s are alike…some even allow themselves to live out of the state of their nuggets. How, I do not know. I would sell my soul to live near mine, much to my sons chagrin.

I am over the top. I am one of those. Not low-key. Whatsoever. The family is getting used to my craziness. As a result when I suggest the the nugget and I dress as elves for a school event. No one bats an eye. At least in front of me. When I suggest we go take the nugget on a European cruise for my 60th (ouch) in 🇫🇷 so we can do everything together. They took it well as I threw in Euro Disney for entertainment and if they were tired, I offered to do the entire park without them. They rallied. Eyes stopped rolling. Craziness back in check. When Christmas rolls around and well, you know…they put up with it and I just glow. My inner kid is fulfilled.

We live 90 minutes away. Too far. I am ready to move. Have dinner weekly and go to every game/concert/play etc that he participates in during his school years. I will be that one in the crowd just glowing with pride not only for the nugget but for the kid I raised, who gave me the initial gift of motherhood, and my pure happiness and fulfillment of life.

education

Turning Off

It is fall break. Some teachers travel to a variety of local or even exotic locations. I applaud them. My trip would be filled with constant lists going through my head. Passing the Versailles would be a blur and a waste. Ok. France is a stretch, on a teachers dime, but our 35th is around the corner and I am preparing a major bash. Obviously, in Paris plus more. But NOT over fall break. Nope. It’s just not me. Nope.

I am the ultimate of dull. I sleep, workout, wear nothing more than workout clothes or jeans. The old ones. Yup. Dull. I clean, cook. Kinda sorta on the latter. Take out fall clothes and say goodbye to summer ones. I grade, create lessons, and organize my weeks ahead. I nap. But it is my rest my way. I remind myself how much I like to putter. I like to clean, organize, and keep a home. I do. My biggest achievement over these few days has been the creating of the best baked potato that has come out of my kitchen. It was a moment. Yup. Dull. But am I? Nope. Not. At. All.

I take this time to reset as so much of my day is “on.” This is my “off” time to get me through until December.

family, granparent life, life

Park Mom

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away…I was a park mom. Or my term for a mom with kids playing in the park with the important duties of watching, protecting, opening juice boxes, or providing snacks while kissing boo boos. A park mom who of course can be a dad and can work. Not going further, as it would take up the entire blog, and I am not woke or PC.

A park mom usually comes alone with kids in tow and always is searching for a few minutes of quiet in the storm. These are the true warriors of toddler life. They may look exhausted but in a moments notice they are at the top of the playground equipment rescuing their cub. I once crawled up the McDonald’s Playground slide tube to get my kid who suddenly realized that going down the big tube was not going to happen on that day. He went from “I got this because I am a big boy” to a puddle of tears within nanoseconds. That’s when we kick in. Yup. To the top I went and we slid down together to applauding moms. They got it. The kid ate the remaining portion of his Happy Meal and went back to just playing in the seriously germy ball area. I could breathe and he could play. When we left he asked if I could always ride the big tube with him all the time…I wanted to say “yes” but I used my best mom speech and told him next time he could do it on his own. He did. We both won.

Now, as I take my grandson to the park. The speech about inner strength and the promotion of independence doesn’t change but the pride is somehow more amazing and indescribable.

education

Slightly Burnt But Not Charred

I am happy here…

It is that time of the year that teachers complain, complain, and complain. I don’t get it. The job comes with a massive description, and if you have ever met a teacher, you know that you are signing up for a mental challenge that can break most average humans. This only gets worse every year due to societal demands, social media challenges, pronouns, and the loss of basic childhood play. Let your kids play. Please. Let them be bored. Please. Social media. MONITOR. I am sure a course in spying is appropriate. Need help. I am the best. Ask my kid. In spite of all the daily craziness and absolute fabulousness, why do teachers complain? Not sure. To all of you in the greatest profession in the world. Let’s Stop. No professional needs to hear negative feelings or see tears over bus duty. Nope. Say it, get rid of it, and think of all the great of the day. Please. If I hear one more complaint over pay…please…fall break, Thanksgiving, Christmas break, spring break and of course the summer months. Stop. If you want a larger check, leave the profession. We will all be happier. If you are counting days until retirement. Take early retirement. If you cry daily. Get a shrink. Seriously. Go find your happy. I am in mine but the negativity is making me slightly burned.

My other focus is on me. Yup at 58 gotta keep it going. Working out, eating right, and trying to laugh a bit more with the hubs and play, truly play, with my little nugget of a grandchild. Doing life through his eyes is my world because it was his daddy who taught me that little people would be my lifelong calling not just as a parent but as a teacher. Finally, happiness in the classroom comes from our life. While my pieces are pretty good there is one piece I want altered. My kid. ❣ it seems as if I have forgotten he is an adult. No one should be shocked. I need to get know the adult a bit better because he is amazing and that missing piece will take me from burned to a happy golden fluff ball! Or something like that. But right now I will settle for a pumpkin farm, polar express, and Santa workshop attendee. We will find our stride.

Before, I become charred from all the outside negative feelings and emotions coming from all sides, I have sent a daily intention to focus on the positive. What went right? What kid did I reach? What growth was achieved? Or how can I change my lesson to reach more? What made me laugh. The good stuff. I do not allow negativity to get me down. Now, that does not mean it has not entered this year. It has. Because of me. But after a couple weeks of extensive planning. I am good. Change of ways is good for all. Going from direct teaching to group centered is uncomfortable for a middle school teacher, far from perfect, but the seen daily growth is what keeps me on this path, which while rocky, due to a number of daily realities. Is a growing community of learners that are seeing their own growth, high-fiving me, and competing as to who comes to my table first! They want more learning and thus are working harder in all areas of the classroom to make our station rotations work. Which fills my heart and my world.

So, if you need your bucket filled. Count on yourself. Not others and remember why you do this adventure. It is for the kids and keep the door closed to negativity.

echelon, fitness, grey hair, Peloton

Gearing Up for Greatness Or Sleeping in Yoga Pants

Sleeping in yoga pants while not uncomfortable makes it unbearable to sleep, as I am focused on my fitness goals. As school began I fell off my bike. Obviously, not in the literal sense. The year began in its usual worldwind way that can only be described to other teachers for true understanding. No complaints, just pure exhaustion. I do not come out of this funk until October. Once this month hits I an ready for action. Every. Single. Year. It is like a marathon runner hitting the runners euphoric state. I am there. And here I stay. But the adding back of riding and elliptical (need a double dose) brings me added morning stress. So, yoga pants. Jump up and jump on the elliptical for twenty minutes and a couple miles. The bike is after-school where every excuse sets in. Yup. Every excuse has gone through my head. I even dare to cook more just to find a reason not to pedal. No one has been killed yet and our pup has put on the pounds. He is usually my only taker of my feasts. Don’t blame him, but check on him often. I need cooking classes. In another country. With alcohol. Lots.

I really do not understand those that look happy about exercising. I want to be like them. But they laugh at a six month streak. That is a bonus to them. Like adding a new training to their already perfect daily schedule. Yup. Note to self schedule a triathlon, soon. Never. I would drown. So back to my bike and my elliptical schedule. A few months from now I will feel sassy and want to add to my basic day. But probably won’t. But you never know. This girl has dreams.

family

Alpha Parent

I am right in one area of my life. The kid. He hates that. But I was the alpha in his life and alphas are always spot on because we wrestle with them in the trenches of life. I like messy. I am messy. I understand messy, I gre up messy. The hubs is not messy. Nope, neat, tidy, and is now the swooper buddy. My term. He can do no wrong. I do everything wrong. It’s ok, because I am right.

But right causes conflict. I push and he pulls. I know this but I continue because yup you got it, I am right. The alpha parent (very new age labeling, thank you very much) has gone through the twists and turns, and we have had a few. I watched, listened, cried, drove all over town looking for him, took him to the ends of my world and back again. I blame myself. Everyday. For everything. Insert therapist. Nope. Our bond is too strong. It is just my cross to bear. The kid will feel this one day with his little, because he is the alpha and he has my heart and very effed up mind. Sorry. But not. This feeling while miserable at times is wonderful. It is a connection throughout time and space that no one can break.

But I am still right. I will never stop cheering until he finds his voice outside of the arena of “dad” which is truly his finest moment.

caregiver, family, life

My Gal…

My mom made tough choices. Really tough ones and she missed my good stuff. The bike riding, the losing of teeth, homework, dinners, etc. All of it. It must have been hard, actually miserable, but she had to choose my stability. So she went one way and I went another. She missed motherhood or did she give the ultimate satisfaction of motherhood. I don’t ask. It’s in the past. I am ok and right now I am the mom of my mom. It’s ok. The memories I build with her now will be my forever memories.

My Miss Brenda the most social bee in The Woodmark, no longer likes to participate in “things.” So on Sundays we go crafting. It’s fun. Everyone likes me. Today, I got high-fives from those that could. Soon, they will be on my Christmas card list. They call me “Brenda’s daughter.” It’s fine, names are overrated. Either Miss Teacher, Brenda’s daughter, Senators wife or my faves mom and grandma. I think my husband still uses my name. I don’t listen. Ever.

So, I am learning. I can’t change her. I tried. So I might as well join her, literally. If this is our time, to be at a craft table, is our time. So be it. But be on the lookout as I think I am giving wood frames and birdhouses for Christmas while creating memories of a lifetime!

life, Uncategorized

A Very Serious Chat About My Dishwasher…

If you balk at this title. Move on. This is not an essay for anyone that grew up washing their clothes in a creek with homemade detergent. Also, please move on if you believe that the dishwasher is killing our planet through energy use or excessive water waste. Never heard anyone complain of the latter. But in today’s crazy world, they are out there lurking, waiting, and ready for their moment to bring their secret cult mainstream to take down my favorite appliance. Probably yours as well, if you are still reading this rambling. As for those that carried water, took rocks to their clothes, or cooked by firewood. Bless you. But we have nothing in common. Nothing.

I like hotels, room-service, spas, and the option of five-star restaurants. I did not grow up this way, but I caught on early. My first hotel experience was during a camping trip in July in Mammoth, California. It snowed. While, I survived the night in my tent. The white stuff and I were not friends. A strange foreign feeling took over my body, later to be identified as frostbite, OK. Cold. But it felt worse. From this absolute horror a diva was born. I began to scream and demand breakfast in my sleeping bag and crying to leave the experience of white fluff with a tinge of freeze. I kept muttering hotel, hotel, hotel until my limp body was carried into the car. No. But I was a pain in the a** Who did I become? My absolute discomfort brought out a monster and earned a trip to the local Mammoth hotel.

Now, we are talking. A magical place where food can be delivered with a smile, as my mother had stopped smiling hours ago. I am sure it was the frostbite and not my tantrums. Nevertheless, I found others who would cater to my ways and I was happy to use all their services. That was the beginning of the end.

Now, in my real world I do not live in a hotel, albeit I could. Our first together home was in Northern California was 400 square feet, our laundry was serviced and delivered, our apartment was cleaned by a sweet weekly maid, bellman and concierge were available 24-7, and all other amenities including a driving service for those who worked in San Francisco. City and back everyday. No driving. No parking. Pure heaven. When the hubs decided we needed more room, for less of a price tag, I cried for days.

Fast forward thirty-three years. I would live in the city with a view and amenities galore. The hubs likes this thing called land. In this trade-off, he won. But I have every gadget to make life concierge friendly. My favorite is my dishwasher. A trusted friend. Truth be told, I never load it correctly, and am not a fan of unloading it, but the concept of hiding dirty dishes and pressing a few buttons to give you the clean sanitized feel is priceless. So, while I do not miss any other kitchen appliance on our yearly camp excursion. I miss my dishwasher. It is a true necessity and an often an overlooked friend of the kitchen. My best friend. Truth be told, she could stand an upgrade. I am just not telling her yet. She would be crushed.