Sunday, March 25, 2012


I have always had a problem taking compliments. I'm working on it, because it's actually prideful to not accept a compliment graciously. But here's what I need to work on more - accepting compliments for my kids. I started thinking of this today after talking with a friend whose daughter is classmates with my daughter. Her daughter is very bright and is much more advanced than most kids in the class. And as we talked, I realized she wasn't being boastful. I realized there is nothing wrong with saying great things about your kid. Because just saying how great they are doesn't mean you're saying they're better than someone else. See, I never wanted to be the mom who seemed like I thought my kids were better than anyone else. I've always taught my kids to treat other people not just like they are as important as you but that they are even more important than you. But, in doing so, I have not been doing them justice. By not wanting to brag about them, I forget to boast about them. You know those moms. You say "I'm so happy Billy got an A on his Math test." And she says, "Oh, my Johnny only brings home A pluses!" Or you tell her how proud you are that your Hannah won the lead in the school play and she says that her Taylor had the lead role three years running but decided she would take a break from acting this year. That's probably why I admired the way this mom spoke of her daughter. She wasn't like "Oh, yeah, Sally is just too smart for first grade." I didn't feel like she was comparing our children nor did I get the feeling that my child was inadequate next to hers. I think that happens a lot when you're a mom. You tend to compare yourself and your kids to other people. Oh, her minivan is way better than mine, her house is bigger, her kid crawled/walked/talked/pooped on the potty sooner than mine. I guess I just never wanted to seem like I was trying to one-up anyone. But, by doing that, am I telling my kids that I'm not proud of them and their accomplishments? Is my attempt to be humble too much? I don't know. How do you know when your pride becomes prideful? I do think I say great things about my kids. I know how important it is for kids to overhear you talking about them in a good way. I do hope I tell them enough how great they are. They are smart and funny and kind and considerate and loving and honest and courteous and beautiful.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Ten years ago, my first child was born - a little girl with a big name, a bad case of colic and the ability to melt anyone's heart. This is a really hard age for me and for her. The whole double digits thing isn't sitting too well but we are still celebrating like mad. I've done everything I can to make her feel super-special, even to the point of embarassing her as much as I can because, let's face it, that is my job as a parent and I probably only have a few good years of that left. I wonder if she'll ever read this. As a writer, I feel like I am better on paper than I am in person so I choose to write her letters and cards and notes and keep a journal. Sometimes, my words don't flow like I wish they would - especially when you're looking in the eye of the girl who was just born yesterday but is somehow now a "tween". Only a parent can get how difficult it is to watch time fly so quickly. Only a parent can get how much your life completely changes when you give birth to a new life. I know that someday she may have that emotional upheaval in her life - waiting for months and then finally meeting the person who will forever change your world, the person who teaches you to have unconditional love. Really, when you think about it, you are in pain, you're scared, you panic, you can't breathe and then all of a sudden there's this baby covered in "stuff" and you're exhausted and the nurse is pulling off your gown so you can breastfeed and there are more people in the room and you're half naked and you're overwhelmed with more emotions than you've ever before had. And then you touch her and look at her - I mean, really look at her - and wonder what you ever did to deserve God's grace and this wonderful blessing. In one moment, you're picturing pigtails and ballet class and prom dates and wedding gowns. So, here's this little girl (well, not so little - 8 pounds, 8 ounces) with a big hold on everyone's heart. She got her first name, Catalina, after both her great-grandmothers, who came here from Cuba to make better lives for their children. Her middle name, Therese, is for my mother, whose family escaped the Nazi labor camp where she was born. They were all strong women and I know my daughter will be the same. As the firstborn grandchild on either side, she has an awesome responsibility. God chose her to be first for a reason. He wants her to lead the way, to set the example and be the role model. And she is doing it. These first 10 years have been the fullest I could ever know and I look forward to the next 10 and the 10 after that and the 10 after that and....