Sunday, March 27, 2011

Heebie Jeebies

The older I get, the less I can tolerate anything. Why is that? I used to love roller coasters - going upside down and all that. Now, I get nauseous on a carousel. I worked for years around animals and nothing about their smells and discharge bothered me and then I had kids and nothing about their smells and discharge bothered me either. Now, everything grosses me out. (Personal note: Kara, if you're reading this, stop now - it's gonna get yucky). This weekend, I went to an indoor water park with my kids. After a few minutes, the skeeve set in. Do you ever get skeeved out about stuff? Like, when you're in the pool and the kid gets water up his nose so he just blows it out? Think about it. You've probably done it. Guys are famous for blowing their noses in their hand and then just flicking it clean. They want to clear their sinuses, they just snort it all in, hock it back up and loogey it on out. So, you're in the pool and you see a little black thing floating and all of a sudden you get visions of the Baby Ruth floating on the pool in Caddyshack. Or there's a bit of a sheen on the water that could be baby oil but who knows. You see kids in diapers - sure, they're swim diapers, but still. Well, I guess the ones in diapers are better than the ones just sitting there peeing, right? Or you find a band-aid floating in the water. Or some random hair. Look, I know all of this is normal. It happens. I'm a regular person and I'm sure my hair comes out or I lose a band-aid every once in a while. But, then you feel it ON you. You step in the hair or a piece or napkin or something that someone left on the floor and you just start feeling it. It's almost like having anxiety or a panic attack or something. It's like ON you. And there is no way you're going to shower off in the public locker rooms at the water park. So you have to drive home. And when you get there, you're in the shower and shampooing three times and scrubbing your flesh off and sticking q-tips in your ears to get something you might have missed. I don't know when I became this person. I used to be a firm believer in the "kiss it up to God" philosophy in life. Now, I'm a germophobe? Oh, what to do?!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Missing the point

God and my pastor have some way of figuring out exactly what I am struggling with at a given moment and then making sure they get a message to me on Sunday. Lately, I have been feeling a little disappointed in the way things have been going in my volunteer efforts. I started to feel a bit aggravated with people and their lack of commitment and nonchalant attitude towards things. To me, if you sign up, show up. If you're not going to show up, call. Seriously, we live in a world where technology allows us to get out of so much. Remember when you had to actually speak to a live person, either on the phone or face-to-face, to let them know you would be letting them down? Now, you can just email it or text it and it's just way easier. So, just do it. I understand that you have a child or two (or three or four) to worry about. But, I am thinking about 40 children or 100 children or whatever for that specific program or event. But, that's not the point. The point is that I am missing the point. I am getting too wound up in the logistics of my efforts. I'm thinking about the paperwork when I should be thinking about the principle. Why do I volunteer? Why do I invest so much time and effort? It's because I need to. I should. We all should. We need to take what we know and share it with the next generation. We need to stop raising children who feel entitled to everything because we give them everything and never let them experience failure or what they consider fairness. We need to raise kids who know how to earn something and work for it. Kids need to learn that life isn't always fair. We need to show children that it's okay to not always be first or best. We need to teach them how to lose with grace and dignity - to be a part of a team and not just think of themselves. So, that is what my pastor taught me this week. He sets a good example. He doesn't need to do what he does, but he said just being able to touch the life of a child is amazing. Sure, he's raising amazing children in his own family, but outside of his home, he is making a difference in young adults. Did someone do that for you? Was there a teacher or a coach or a neighbor or someone else who said something or did something that made you want to be a better person? Did they tell you they believed in you and make you want to believe in yourself? If yes, that is great. If no, don't you wish there was that person in your life? Can you imagine how wonderful it is to be that person to someone else? So today, instead of dwelling in the disappointment and pondering all the paperwork, I am going to think about how what I am doing might someday mean something to a young woman who was once just a little girl at a science fair or on a camping trip. To me, it may just mean a few hours. To her, it might mean the world.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Curse you Darius

That's right. Curse you Darius Rucker for making a song about little girls growing up. Of course, I don't know if you were the one that made sure it played on the radio right when I was thinking about how fast my daughters are growing up. My oldest daughter just turned 9. It's her last year in single digits. And my youngest is not a baby anymore (no matter how hard anyone fights it) - she'll be 6 in August. I'm sure all of you parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. can imagine sitting there looking at a child and seeing them as they are now but also seeing them as they were years ago. It's like having a 2-year-old sitting there at the same time as your 9-year-old. You want sweet potatoes smeared all over her face and fingerpaint on her little smock and crayon on the wall. When you have a baby, people tell you that your life will change forever. They tell you it "goes so fast." And you just smile and nod your head like you know what they mean. But you don't know what they mean. You don't know it until you lay awake for hours just making sure your baby is breathing. Until your heart breaks as they walk into nursery school. Until you feel the tremendous fear of an emergency room visit. Or until you secretly follow the school bus to make sure they get there okay. I can't imagine how I will be when one of my girls goes on her first date or to the prom or gets her driver's license. Stop, don't even think it - I know you're saying, "Sure Liz, that's cake compared to when they get married." But, I know my job as a parent. God wants us to raise our children to be good adults to live for him. It's my job to give them the tools to leave me. So, I really need to cherish them while they're here. Like Darius says, it won't be like this for long.
He didn't have to wake up He'd been up all night Layin’ there in bed listenin’ To his new born baby cry He makes a pot of coffee He splashes water on his face His wife gives him a kiss and says It gonna be OK It won’t be like this for long One day we'll look back laughin’ At the week we brought her home This phase is gonna fly by So baby just hold on ‘Cause it won't be like this for long Four years later ‘bout 4:30 She's crawling in their bed And when he drops her off at preschool She's clinging to his leg The teacher peels her off of him He says what can I do She says now don't you worry This’ll only last a week or two It won’t be like this for long One day soon you'll drop her off And she won’t even know you're gone This phase is gonna fly by If you can just hold on It won’t be like this for long Some day soon she'll be a teenager And at times he'll think she hates him Then he'll walk her down the aisle And he'll raise her veil But right now she's up and cryin’ And the truth is that he don't mind As he kisses her good night And she says her prayers He lays down there beside her ‘Til her eyes are finally closed And just watchin’ her it breaks his heart Cause he already knows It won’t be like this for long One day soon that little girl is gonna be All grown up and gone Yeah, this phase is gonna fly by So, he's tryin’ to hold on ‘Cause it won’t be like this for long It won’t be like this for long It won’t be like this for long

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Crafty Mamas

I'd like to think that I'm pretty crafty. I can handle a hot glue gun and use a sewing machine. I can draw a good-looking heart and some other decent shapes. I can cut in a straight line and make one heck of a snowflake during Christmas. But, there are some moms - man, when you talk about being creative - they are like the queens. Today, I was standing outside waiting for the school bus wondering what cool (yet embarassing) thing I could do for my almost-nine-year-old when I remembered a friend who made these cool birthday signs and stuck them in her front yard for her kids. I bet you that is something that those kids will remember when they're old and gray. And it's something they'll probably do for their own kids. I wonder if every mom has stuff like that inside of them. Those creative juices that make you just want to throw a party for something as random as groundhog day or decorate the house just because it's Friday. Sure, you can look up ideas online or in magazines, but you've got to kind of have it in you, I think. You've got to have that gene - that one that makes you the perfect person to be a teacher. Teachers have to come up with new things and cool ideas every day. They have to be inventive. They have to capture kids' attention. As I was sitting here tonight sucking out every creative thought I could muster trying to come up with ideas for tomorrow's Girl Scout meeting (and next week's Girl Scout meeting) and the ninth birthday and oh yeah, St. Patrick's Day, which my children insist we celebrate.... so basically, I'm running on empty. I look online. I check the Family Fun that is buried under a pile of books. Yes, they all seem like wonderful ideas. But, oh, I don't have a milk carton. No, I don't know if I'll have time to go out and get that floral wire. Shucks, that paint needs to dry overnight and we just don't have time for that. Am I using the lack of a creative gene as a crutch? Yes, I think I am. I might just be lazy. I might just be a procrastinator. If I could just bottle a little bit of that creativity and energy those creative moms have. I did try. Yesterday, I went to the craft store and bought poster paint and linseed oil. You're supposed to be able and mix them and then swirl them in water and place a piece of paper inside to create a marbled paint effect on the paper. It didn't work. We got spots and splotches and oily spots. I will try again. I will not let the craft defeat me. I know creative mamas just don't give up!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Not me

I always thought I had two children but apparently I'm wrong. I have this other being living in my home. His name is Not Me. I haven't seen him, but I know he exits. I know this because he is the one that does everything. He leaves the lights on. He leaves toothpaste in the sink. He leaves laundry on the floor. He leaves toys on the couch. He forgets to put the cap on the milk. It was his turn to feed the guinea pig and he didn't. Seriously, I don't know what is wrong with this kid. I guess he doesn't know what his jobs are around the house because I can never find him to tell him. I can't wait to get my hands on that kid!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Laid back

The other day, I was driving behind my youngest daughter's school bus when it stopped to pick up one of her BFFs. And there was her mom waiting with a big plastic cage. I wait till the bus drives off and ask the mom what's up. And there in the cage is an adorable little hamster. Her daughter wanted to show the hamster to my daughter. How cute is that? But, it got me to thinking as I said goodbye and drove to work how much I love that mom - let's call her Muriel. A lot of moms wouldn't schlep the hamster out to the curb just to introduce it to their daughter's friends. A lot of moms wouldn't even get the hamster because it's too messy or might be stinky or whatever. Muriel is so not that kind of mom. Now, I'm not saying that she gives her kids everything they want. They are not spoiled. In fact, they are extremely sweet, well-mannered, considerate and caring little girls. (And you're not born that way - it comes from your parents.) But, Muriel is the kind of mom who jumps on board with a good idea. She's the mom that dives on the back of the sled with her kids to go down the big hill. The kind that lets you play with glitter and glue and play-doh. (Did you know that there is a large population of moms who don't let their children use play-doh in the house? Yes, it's true!) I guess she's easy going, laid back, whatever you want to call it. Yes, she's a cool mom, but it's more than that. She's not one of those ladies who thinks it's more important to be her child's friend than her mom. She just knows how to make her kids happy. And she does it in that natural way that doesn't mean buying them a million toys - she can just do it. There is nothing wrong with being the Martha Stewart kind of mom. There is nothing wrong with being organized and sticking to schedules. But, I don't think that a Martha mom would ever have a hamster. Now, I'm no Martha mom, but I'm also not a Muriel mom. I want to be more like Muriel. I don't know if you can force yourself to be easy-going. I guess that kind of negates the idea of being easy-going, doesn't it. But, I will tell you this.... from now on, when my kids ask me to do something I might not necessarily enjoy, I'm going to ask myself, "What would Muriel do?"