Thursday, April 28, 2011

What I Know

On the way home from soccer, the girls and I were talking about school and when they would go to college.  The conversation ended something like this:

Paige: So you went to college to be a mom?
Me: Well, they don't really teach how to be a mom in college?
Paige: So they just didn't teach you anything?

Not exactly, but some day's it sure feels that way!  Take today for example.  The morning started with Paige refusing to get in the van because she didn't feel well.  By the time I convinced her to move, Emerson had not only stepped in dog poop but had smeared it all over his socks and jeans.  After a quick cleaning of the shoes and grabbing extra clothes to clean the boy up, we left for school only to realize that I had failed to feed anyone breakfast.  Lovely.  Paige hates breakfast, so she was not disappointed to be missing a meal, but my Brooklyn is a Farmers Platter kind of girl and Emerson was already begging for a drink.  Starbucks to the rescue! 

Fast forward to four o'clock when I realize that Adam left Paige's soccer cleats on the back deck after cleaning them.  Practice starts in two hours and we need them dried.  I had been told to stuff them with newspaper to help absorb the water.  Paige did a superb job of stuffing, but I thought we could speed things up a bit more.  I pulled out the hair dryer and told her to give it a go.  Two minutes later she is standing by my side saying that she is very sorry but she got the hair dryer too close and the newspaper is shrinking down.  Half way to the bathroom she mentions that their is smoke.  Was there ever!  If I soak the cleat I will be back to square one, so I risk burnt fingers and dig away.  Disaster averted.  For now.

Two hours later we are finally ready to head to practice and the soccer ball that had been sitting next to our front door for two days is suddenly missing.  I don't if I should blame the wind or a thief but it is gone.  We searched the yard, the garage, and the house.  Nothing.  I spent the fifteen minute car ride convincing an idealist 7 year old that this would not ruin her practice.  During which there would be 50 mph winds of 37 degree air pounding my ear drums incessantly.  I had nothing.  It was miserable.

When the hour was finally up and everyone ready to leave, the sliding door to the van will not unlock.  During my attempts to unstick the lock, Paige slams the door locking my keys inside.  Fantastic.  A quick call to my mom and my brother (who just move home yesterday) is on his way with my spare key.  Fifteen more minutes.  I can do this.  Then both girls announce that they need to potty and it cannot wait.  We are standing outside an elementary school at 7:30pm.  There is no where to go....but outside.  Of course. 

There is no degree, class, book, theory or experience that prepares you for what motherhood has in store.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Nine Years and Counting

You know him as Adam.  I call him Neil.  He calls me Liz, which is better than Taco.  Trust me.  We've been there.

Our story goes back 20 years.  Two thirds of my life.  I did the math.  It blew my mind.  I was the mother in our 4th grade play of Peter Pan and he was my youngest son, wearing red long john pjs with a butt flap.  The following year, I crossed him out of my year book and wrote "emenies" next to his picture.  He was excellent at spelling.  Me, not so much.  This may have fueled my hatred.

I have no memory of this boy through middle school, but in high school he caught my eye.  Or should I say, someone guessed that I liked him and after a few seconds of consideration I decided to go with it.  Before that moment, the thought had never crossed my mind.  I was 15.  My reasoning skills hadn't exactly matured.

Little did I know that one moment in a chemistry class would impact my life forever.  In the next few years, I would fall in love with a boy and watch him turn into a man.  The one and only man I have ever kissed.

We were married before either of us could buy a bottle of wine.  My mom says that she has never seen me smile as much as I did on that day.  To this day, I can honestly say that no one makes me laugh harder than Neil.

In many ways our relationship has changed and, yet, it is exactly the same.  We have grown up together.  From doing homework together to doing homework with our daughter, our relationship has evolved.  I love that.   

After 9 years of marriage, he is still the one that can make a bad day better.  He still dances to the store's music while I shop.  I still believe him when he answers me with a sarcastic response.  We still fight over the wrinkles in the sheets.  He still thinks flowers the day after a holiday are more thoughtful (but has agreed to table the issue.)  I still can't fold a shirt to his liking.  He would still drop anything to save me.  I still smile the most when he is near.  We are still a team. For better or worse. 

 I am his and he is mine.  
I love you, Neil!  Happy Anniversary!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Just Like Us

If you know my children, you know that movies are an issue in our house.  Convincing our girls to watch a movie can take weeks and more often than not brings them to tears.  The reason: Paige can not handle suspense and Brooklyn wants to be like Paige.  We once made her watch Toy Story and she sobbed through the second half.  (That may qualify as faulty parenting.)  I can count on one hand the number of full length movies she will sit through and most of those were discovered in the last six months. 

So tonight when they both agreed to rent Hotel for Dogs at the Redbox, I was impressed.  Five minutes into the movie Paige was freaking out, but that passed. Towards the end of the movie the dogs are taken away by dog catchers to the pound and I began to hear a whimpering.  As I looked down, I noticed that Brooklyn is shaking and when she turns her little face is wet with alligator tears, lip quivering.  "Why are they going to kill the puppies?" she cries.  In that moment, I couldn't help but hold in a little laugh.  My heart broke for her but all I could think of was a story that had been told so many times.  A story of her daddy, when he was a little boy, sitting in front of Charlotte's Web quietly sobbing. 

As I reflected on that similarity, my mind drifted to all of the other ways our kids take after us.  When Paige was born, Adam's mom stood in front of her tiny bed and was taken back 20 years.  There was no denying she was her daddy's girl.  Brooklyn's loud and incessant talking is no doubt a gift from her mother.  Ask her to throw a ball and you may see a glimpse of me there as well.  Also, I dread watching any movie that doesn't fall in the comedy or romance category.  Wonder where they get it?

The beauty is this, a God who didn't NEED me to create these kids USED me.  He didn't just place them in my belly.  He used two of His children to form three more.  Taking into account our physical characteristics, personality traits, and tendencies. Some days it may feel like more of a punishment than an honor to be raising these unique mixtures of ourselves, but my heart knows it's a privilege.  What an amazing gift!