An ode to True Love..

True love, unlike what it says in the Princess Bride..

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…does not always mean finding that perfect person – the soul mate which you spend the rest of your life. Nice ideals bred out of the romantic illusion sold over the last few hundred years since Prince Charming slipped that slipper on Cinderella’s foot.

For us, Valentine’s Day is a panicked rush where I scrounge to help three children make Valentine’s Day cards for their classes while loading them up with dollar store chocolates hoping most of them are nut free. Valentine’s Day means staying up late to set a table laden with felt hearts and small gifts because a tradition was inadvertently started when your eldest child was four years old and you are now locked into it –  even if all you want to do is get yourself to bed and watch a show on Netflix or read a book. Valentine’s Day means rushing home and not getting any work done because you need to make those chocolate heart cakes for their afternoon snacks – even if it is out of a box.  You do all of these things – even if you don’t want to –  because you’re a parent. If that isn’t true love, then I have no idea what is.

From what I have learned being a parent means living every day for true love.

You know it’s true love when:

  1. Get up early every morning to make sure little people get a half decent breakfast before school.
  2. Become a taxi cab driver who works for free and drives everywhere.
  3. Sleep in your car because you’re too tired to take a walk outside after the morning school drop off and ensuing arguments in the car because a kid forgot something.
  4. Wash and fold clothes non-stop. (Or until you give up and close the door pretending laundry doesn’t exist.)
  5. Give up caring how messy their rooms are because you want them to express themselves – even if it secretly drives you a little crazy.
  6. Still say “I love you” at the end of the day – even if they are being argumentative, moody or downright rude.
  7. Walk away – at any point – without losing your cool and put yourself in a time out.
  8. Try not to cry or make a big deal when they do the dishes for you without asking.
  9. Force yourself away from the playground after you heard someone was bothering them.
  10. Finally – you know it’s true love when you keep waking up each morning and say to yourself – “It’s a new day. Today will be better.” But you secretly know it will be the same and you get up anyway.

For all the tired parents out there who may wonder who are the people who go out for a nice adult dinner on Valentine’s Day – once your kids are off their chocolate highs from the copious amounts of candy they had at school (or brought home) – give yourself a pat on the back. You know what true love really is and you live it each and every day.

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Is there a re-set button?

Nearly a month since I last posted…gasp! However, as busy people and parents can attest, sometimes priorities are given to other things and in my case, any spare moment I could  take was spent finishing all the homework from a writing course. But finally, the homework is all turned in and I have made headway on a personal writing project. This is an accomplishment for me and I am excited to move it forward in the upcoming new year.

My thoughts today turn towards holiday preparation, packing for vacation and sitting relishing in the feeling of not being under deadline for a day or so. My late nights continue, except instead of having a glass of wine with my ever-increasing complex characters, I am hiding elves while trying to get my house “party-ready” for an upcoming soiree in between holiday shopping online to save on much precious time. Life is never boring.

This morning as I stumbled downstairs, after insisting Mr. L and I crack open a french Gamay Noir (avoiding the temptation of the beautiful Italian wines being held back for our party) the night before, my bleary-eyes turned on the coffee maker while I patted myself on the back for making lunches while enjoying said glass(es) of wine. We were still running a little behind schedule, but not too bad as the kids gobbled up pre-made chocolate chip pancakes with bananas on the side and ventured off to finish getting ready. Then I hear Elizabeth,

“EWWWW!!!! Mooomm!!!”

I run to our main floor powder room and find her holding one foot up in a semi-tree pose. Asking her what is wrong, I smell it and then I see it. The hugest pile of dog poop in the middle of our foyer. Footprints back into the powder room mark where my eldest daughter of nearly eight years old somehow stepped with her bare feet in the massive pile.

Now, our dear yellow lab is a an older guy, nine and a half, and admittedly a great dog. However, this past year, we have started to notice the poor guy just cannot hold his bowels as long as he used to. Especially if whomever was responsible for the last walk did not ensure he finished all his business. It is simply becoming too hard for him to wait on our crazy morning schedule in the mornings and when he needs to go, he goes.

So this morning, after finding his accident, I put the old guy out in our backyard in case he wasn’t quite done. With only two sips of coffee in my bloodstream and my english muffin turning stone cold, I clenched my jaw as I began the process of cleaning up the floor and my oldest daughter hearing the shower go on upstairs. Oh right. Mr. L has time to have a shower.

“Honey, how did you not see that?” I ask.

“I don’t know…I just didn’t.”

Sighing I clean her feet hoping it’s not on her pants too and tell her to finish getting ready. Mumbling under my breath that wouldn’t it be nice to have a hot breakfast just one day,  I run to deal with the preschooler who just announced he’s finished #2 and waiting for me in the upstairs bathroom. It’s official, I am surrounded by poop.

Mr. L still has not made an appearance. I calmly ask  our younger girl to go get her coat on as she needs to get to her bus, in five minutes. As I’m cleaning up Jacob and getting him dressed I hear another sound.

“Owwww!!! I’m okay..I think. There’s no blood.”

Leaving Jacob in his batman underwear, I run down the stairs to find Elizabeth grabbing her forehead.

“What happened?” I ask worried she has once again split her head open. After all, this is a child who walked into the corner of a wall and required three stitches.

“I was trying to warm up your breakfast in the microwave and I opened it up hitting my forehead.”

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Prying her hand away from her forehead, a sizeable goose-egg is quickly forming complete with a bruise line similar to the door from the microwave. Taking her downstairs to get ice, Mr. L finally arrives and asks what is going on. Looking around at a girl in bare feet holding her forehead, a preschooler with a dirty face in underwear and a five-year old who is starting to panic she is going to miss her bus, I ask,

“Is there a re-set button to start the day again?”

Thankfully, with Mr. L’s help, Audrey got to her bus on time, Elizabeth rested until her bus drop-off and the goose egg seemed to shrink a bit and Jacob and I finally got dressed.

As I reflect on the comedic tone my life  as Jacob runs around singing “Bubble, bubble, bubble bubble guppies,” I can only smile and vow to manage Jake the dog’s walks better and pay attention to the sometimes neglected sixth member of our family. After all he’s earned having his golden years be pleasant and full of attention. He did watch three babies usurp his original place in our household.

I will try to remember to watch what I mumble around a very observant young girl who is trying her best to help her sometimes frazzled mom out. But I will admit, it warms my heart to have the kindness of a family member thrown my way. Sometimes parents, or this mom in particular, feels there is little gratitude from our families for all I do.

Lastly, I will pat myself on the back. In all the crazy that is sometimes my house in the mornings, I kept my cool remembering there is still a half bottle left of that Gamay Noir to enjoy tonight.

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What a way to start the day…

Achoooo!!!!!

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This past week I have felt the sympathetic looks from many people. Teachers. Friends. Other parents at the bus stop. Random strangers in the stores. These silent pats on the back have kept me going through nearly two weeks of runny noses, coughs, sinus infections, sore throats and a very, very grumpy family. Cold season hit our household like a tsunami. Large waves of kleenex rose up as a tidal wave as the mantra became, “Go get a kleenex to wipe your nose.”   This mom of three is so tired she turned on the television so she could nap for twenty minutes. Soups and chillies were made through a sinus headache in an attempt to battle the colds away. Orange juice and almond milk was poured into glass after glass to lessen the fluids seeping from every nose of nearly every single family member. We have a dad so tired he plods through the house after work still in his untucked button up shirt too exhausted to go upstairs to get changed. 

How do we do it parents? When we are sick ourselves and fighting exhaustion, how do we still manage to put one foot in front of the other to make lunches for the kids (who are lucky that day not to have a fever), go to work, start up a volunteer snack program at an elementary school or simply function when this kind of week hits a household?

We are the soldiers. We may have larangtyis, drink green tea with honey instead of wine (hell, I haven’t even wanted wine for the last two weeks) sit zombie-like under a warm blanket watching whatever is on the television, sleep when we can, pop tylenol to numb the pain of a headache or sore throat, but we get through it. Or so I keep telling myself this week. 

How do I manage when fall colds hit our house? Besides the above already mentioned I try to remember: 

1) At least it’s not the stomach flu. 

2) It’s only 5-10 days. Colds do end. 

3) It is a good excuse to get that hired cleaner in and scrub every surface in the house to get rid of lingering viral intruders. 

4) Water. Water. Water. Make sure everyone is drinking lots of water. Good habit anytime. 

5) The kids think it’s great to get juice every day as it is usually a treat. Super Mom points. 

6) It is kind of nice to sit cuddled with one (or all three kids plus the dog) watching a movie because frankly, we are all too tired to do anything else. 

7) Never run out of kleenexes. Good excuse to hit Costco. 

8) Green tea is better for you than a glass of wine. Instant detox program. 

9) My body needed a break from exercising anyway to heal up from last race. 

10) You can cancel almost everything. No other excuse is needed. Who wants to be around someone with a bad cold anyway? All obligations can be re-scheduled and you actually have free time to write, nap, catch up on tv, read whatever your fancy. 

How do you manage when colds hit an entire household?