Saturday, November 28, 2009

Minor League Mommy Moments

I made a penultimate mommy sacrifice last night. I sacrificed a night with a friend scrapping to sit in a freezing arena to watch minor league hockey. Though my knees still ache today, it was worth it.

Let me be very upfront in my sports interest and prowess. I possess neither. Thank God my children have inherited my husband's gross motor skills. I truly am the Bella Swan of calamity on any sports field or arena. (For those un-Twilighted basically it means I am a danger to the public when involved in sports. I'm long on enthusiasm and way short on talent.)

I became a Steelers fan to stay married. He bleeds black and gold. So, love him, love the Stillers. I only watch them. I only pretend to know things about that one team.

Any other sports rank a really far, far second to a good book, a quiet afternoon, a cup o' Earl Grey tea and my boo boo blankie.

My 6 year old has sometimes struggled to find his place in the world. He's smart. He's adorable. He's got a vocabulary and an attitude and he's not afraid to use both. He's also shy and more than a little self conscious in certain situations. So, when he began to show real interest in hockey, we decided to support it wholeheartedly.

Hence, me sitting with aching knees, freezing my keister off watching a minor league hockey game. It's loud. It's fast. It's pain-ful. Truly pain-ful to watch. Here's a few highlights:

  • Shouted from the top row, repeatedly, "Dowgie! That's a great shot! Way to play Dowgie" (insert deep, western PA accent here). I only discovered in the second period the "Shouter" called all the players Dowgie and that every play was good one.

  • Not a mullet in sight. Not a one. Bummer.

  • One of the players was named Couch. To pass the time, I began to nickname all the players after furniture. I started to join in, in my head of course, with the Shouter. "Good play Ottoman! What a pass Settee'! Oh, get that rebound Barcolounger!".

  • Food is w-a-y cheap in our little arena. So I got to eat every period. It wasn't good food. I consumed it with my germophobia suspended. But it was food, nevertheless.
  • It was over in under three hours. Woo Hoo!

My little fella couldn't wait to wear the free t-shirt they handed out as we entered. He watched every play and even joined the Shouter. He was bouncing on his seat when they were in front of us and craning his neck when they were at the other end. He ran down to slap hands to greet the team as they reentered the arena after one of the halftimes, or breaks or whatever. He proudly, quietly and enthusiastically stood in line to get Barcolounger and Daybed to sign his shirt.

There are four years and thirteen days between my sons. I cannot recall life without the both of them. I can't remember, until, it is just the three of us, like at the game. For four years it was just my little guy. We shlepped him everywhere. He knew how to eat in restaurants. He ordered dinosaur meat (steak) at our former favorite restaurant in DC. He knew how to behave at a public event, going to concerts, movies and shows. Our lives are so different and less financed that we don't get to do as much. (That and the baby is crazy. I don't risk him too often in public.)

It was awesome to watch my little/big man in the cold arena. I loved giving and receiving full attention. There were no interruptions. It was 3'ish hours of us.

It was three hours of Minor League Mommy Moments.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankfullness for Fullness

Golly, I haven't written if f-o-r-e-v-e-r! Sorry to any and all who check in with this regularly. Thanks for hanging on.

I got sick. Really, really sick. I can handle a sinus infection. I can handle bronchitis. I can handle infections in both eyes. Just NOT at the same time. My six year old asked me, in the midst of the sicky-ickies, "Mommy, why are your doing everyfing? I worry 'cuz you are so sick." At the time I wasn't doing much except refilling my ginger ale. It made me think, how sick did I look when my six year old begins to worry?

I was so sick I got sick of being sick.

Now, two weeks and one course o' antibiotics later, I am ready to tackle the holiday madness. The NaNa will descend tomorrow. In what fevered haze did I think it was a good idea to invite people to a house I haven't adequately cleaned since, well, forever? Oh well, love me-love my mess!

This Thanksgiving, I am full. I am full of thankfullness. Thankful to see the light at the end of the depression/anxiety/therapy tunnel. Thankful to be able to get through most days with my sanity and spirit intact. Thankful for kids, whether they be healthy or hacking, messy or clean. Thankful that just last night I kissed my husband and felt that familiar and awesome flutter in my heart. He just looks too good in a tie! Some folks are Team Edward or Team Jacob. I am firmly Team Ron.

I am full of anticipation. Anticipation for a new year. A new year of opportunities and grace. A new year of leaving the past behind to revamp and rev up towards the new thing!

I am thankful for mommy friends. Those unsung heroes of ovarian greatness who encourage me by their very existence and with just a word, smile or pack o' coupons.

I am thankful for you, reader. May you be only one or number in the hundreds. I thank you for walking a step or two on my journey with me. Let's keep walking shall we?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Little Big Shadows

I surprised my son and picked him up from school early yesterday. I wanted to take him to go buy minor league hockey tickets for the special Veteran's Day game next week. My little loves hockey! He plays it constantly in the back yard and even has intelligent comments while watching a game with his dad. I see a potential future of freezing my dupa off while sitting in a cold ice rink for practices. :)

We exited the car. It was a sunny and clear day (a rarity in this season for my little corner of western PA). As I walked I instinctively reached back to grab his hand which was already waiting for mine. I looked down and saw my big and his little hand in a shadow on the concrete.

I was struck by how little his hand was and how big mine was in comparison. I thought ahead to when his hand will dwarf mine with it's grown up boy-ness.

I was blessed that he was reaching as I was reaching. I was blessed that in spite of the little big shadows I and the family have been walking through we are still holding hands.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Broke Down

I will be 30-something-ish in January. I am too young to be this broke down. Went to the Dr.'s yesterday and left with no less than 5 slips of paper. One for a neck x-ray and the rest for various pharaceuticals. I am too young to be this broke down.

It seems like my body has revolted against me. Darn it.

So what if my diet has consisted mostly of pop, chocolate and McDs? What does it matter if I only sleep a coupla hours a night? Stress is a fact of life and I should just get over it. Nope. Not any more.

I have blogged before about embracing getting older with dignity and grace. (See Crossing the Ma'am Divide blog from 10/6/08).

Forget it. Nothing is graceful about being broke down. I am whining. I know.

Maybe, just maybe getting broke down is the time to get full of grace. Maybe there is a greater measure of health ahead if I make the changes I now realize I don't have a choice about making.

Or maybe I can just go shlep another pepsi and call it a day. After all, I need something to drink to take my next pill.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Confessions of a Semi-Reformed Halloweenie

I don't like Halloween. It's scary. It's commercial. It's just plain icky.

My husband and MIL, however, L-O-V-E it. To them it is a fantasy day wrapped in sparkle and coated in chocolate. Yay!

So, when my six year old looked at me and asked, "Mommy, why don'tchoo like Halloween? Daddy and NaNa and I do!"

I explained I don't like it because it's scary. I don't like to be scared and I don't like him to be scared either. And then there are the spiritual implications. That is what started the campaign-the conversion of Mommy to no longer be a Halloweenie.

Every time we came upon Halloween decorations, and in my small western PA town, they are EVERYWHERE, he would point out the ones that were scary and those that were cute. "See, Mommy!" he would explain,"that's just a cute orange something or other. It's not scary!".

I'm politically savvy. I can read the polls and I was down. So I did what any self respecting Mama would do-I gave in. I gave in with caveats.

First, we would not decorate or watch or consume anything scary.
Second, we would only trick or treat once in NaNa's neighborhood.
Third, I would NOT dress up.

I bought the kids costumes. I packed the car. I drove to NaNas.

The MIL was ecstatic. She recounted tales of her own boys dressing up and eating so much candy they threw up! Such fun. Yay.

If Norman Rockwell had painted in the new millennium, he would have painted NaNa's neighborhood. It's a 'planned' community, with street lights and houses just different enough to feign uniqueness and similar enough to keep a common aesthetic. There are children, lots o' children. As we drove into the plan, the place was lit up with orange lights and decorations everywhere. It was like a pumpkin threw up on the place.

I was a little hesitant. It was raining. I wasn't sure the baby would wear the pumpkin costume (the only one in his size I could find at such a late date). I wasn't sure how this would all work. After all, I grew up overseas. We didn't really trick or treat. In high school we drank and threw up but that's another story.

MIL set the timer for the start of trick or treating. I am not kidding. The timer. Tick-tick-tick. It kept reminding me that I was a quitter. That I had given in. That I had compromised on the spiritual/economic/social boundaries I had hoped to set for my kids. Then it happened.

Ian got dressed as Spider Man and promptly began showing me his super hero "moves". The baby did indeed reject the pumpkin costume, which was a good thing as it made him look like he had a mini-baby, orange beer belly. He became, with a little black makeup under each eye and his jersey, Hines Ward. (For those of you not in PA, he's the best wide receiver in the NFL.)

The timer went off and so did we. Spiderman kept randomly running into things as he couldn't see through his mask. It kept getting 'steamy'. The baby just chased his brother and did what he did.

The baby and I came back to help NaNa hand out candy. In the cold darkness, we sat, a mountain of candy beside us. He kept whispering, "Come! C-o-m-e!" It was as if he was calling in the children. He passed out candy with a big grin. When a little purple fairy came, he gave her not one but two pieces of candy!

It was a magical night. The boys had a great time. The neighborhood came alive with children and families, laughing and having fun. There wasn't a bit of ickiness in sight.

Do I like Halloween? Not really. I do like, however, sharing a magical moment with my boys. I will forever remember a whispered call into the cold night by my sweet two year old. I will think of my little super hero when he is old enough to conquer his own enemies.

And maybe next year I won't be such a big Halloweenie.

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