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I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Son and the Magic of Disneyland

First let me apologize for any typos.  I have a broken index finger and can't type (hence the break in blogging).  I broke it doing Crossfit, which sounds super cool unless you know the details which reiterate that I am, in fact, not cool.  At all.

ANYHOW,  this summer I am getting to know this amazing person better that lives in my house-Skip.

Yes, he is my son so I've known him awhile, but he is definitely his own person these days.  In fact, the last year he was kinda becoming a bit of a jerk- the too cool for school crap, eye rolls- typical stuff for a 3rd grader.  I was a little worried because he had always been this sunny, enthusiastic kid.  Quite honestly, I was concerned.  I didn't want my son to turn into one of "those" kids.

Apparently, my worry was for no reason at all.

About 2 weeks ago, we dropped him off for his jiu jitsu class.  We were going to find a parking spot and I watched to make sure he got in okay (it's at our gym which is packed and has a lot of people going in and out).  An older woman (not old lady by any means) came in behind him and my son stepped aside, opened the door for her and let her go in first.  Wow.  And she wasn't some 20 year old hottie either.  I was very impressed.

Then this past weekend we went to Disneyland.  I explained to him that Jerky Skip needed to stay at home.  We were going to have fun if it killed us.  Or more specifically if he dished out attitude, I was not above humiliating him in public (if you know me, you know my love of big, silly hats and inappropriate displays of affection) or leaving the park and coming home.  Because I have been known to do both.  I also spent a summer in the college program working at Disney World and I was well aware of what happens to families between the hours of 1 pm - 4pm in the heat in the middle of a packed amusement park, forcing as much fun as possible into a short period of time- fun that costs more than my first car.  It isn't pretty.  It was NOT going to be us.

No worries. 

Jerky Skip was no where to be seen. 

I think it had to do with my husband buying a Goofy hat.  And my son bought one.  And Disneyland is a really fun place.

He didn't even fight with his sister.  Because of that, Drama Girl also seemed to vanish.

Everyone decided if we were in the Happiest Place on Earth that we were going to act like it.  And it worked- despite the heat, the lines, the crowds-- we had a blast.

But one of my favorite parts of the trip, and what I really think made the difference, was watching my son interact with my friend Deanne's daughter.  She is an old friend and I hadn't seen  her in years.  Our families had never met.  She has three children whose ages are the same as my kids (the youngest two are a few months older and a few months younger than my daughter).  Her oldest is the same age as my son and she also happens to have Down syndrome.

I wasn't sure how my kids would react to her oldest daughter so I asked Deanne how to prep them or answer questions.  I didn't want them to be rude or uncomfortable.  Deanne was terrific and sent me some great books so we could at least discuss it beforehand.  My daughter was a little oblivious to it after meeting her kids.  Zoey was more concerned that her oldest was shorter than her younger sister (who is very tall) so she couldn't possibly be older.  She is 6.  Things need to make sense.  She is freaked out that I am older than my husband because "that's just wrong, Mommy.  Daddies should be older."

My son however, showed a level of maturity on this trip that blew me away.  The younger three glommed together like a pack which left him with the grown ups for a large part of the time.  Suddenly, before my eyes, he wasn't a little kid any longer.  He was so mature.  He made jokes with us.  My broken finger had him asking (because I needed to keep it elevated)- "Do you have a question, Mom?"  His insights into various people we saw were funny and dead on.

He also ended up spending more time with my friend's oldest daughter, the one with Downs.  He exhibited a kindness and thoughtfulness towards her that I think far surpassed his years.  He never shied away.  He gladly sat next to her.  He was compassionate and never treated her as "less than."  I could tell from his actions that he genuinely liked her and respected her-  the joy she showed when she saw the characters or her enthusiasm for just being at Disneyland.  It made him act a little nicer, be a little more aware of how cool everything was and because of her, he had a better time and was a better person.   Something clicked for him. 

I think they will be friends for life.

And I got a glimpse into the man that my son will be.

And I could not be happier.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Crossfit Saga continues....

Last month I was proud to complete my intro class to Crossfit and I completely wimped out and opted to repeat the intro class.  The regular classes frighten me.

Then I realized that holy crap, I actually had to stick with it.  There would be no magic fairy that was going to make this easy.

This realization made me sad.

Over the weekend my husband, father-in-law and I were discussing how former military members make good teachers.  They have realistic expectations, know that sometimes you have to do crap jobs as part of the big picture (a gripe I often have about staff- yes, filing IS part of the job--- unless, of course, you are very pregnant like my assistant was), and in general, they will plow through to get something done.

Crossfit was designed with the military, firefighters, policeman in mind.  People who don't have the option to quit in the middle of their jobs.

I am a financial advisor.  When I have a bad day- you know, the coffee maker breaking, my computer not working 100%-- I can say "Screw it" and head home after 1 pm (the market close time for the west coast).  And I do this.

I am not designed for Crossfit.

This hit me like a ton of bricks during our conversation.  While I perceive myself as NOT a quitter, in some ways I am.  I know how to work out.  I could absolutely recreate the entire work out, get the work out of the day (WOD-- the acronyms crack me up... doing a WOD... c'mon...), and do it myself.  Yet I don't.  I need the coach.  And even then, am I really giving it 100%?

Maybe 85%.

I suck.

When I was in high school I seriously considered the Naval Academy.  I had wanted to be a doctor and they had the best pre-med program out of the military academies and seemed to have the most women.  If I really wanted to be a doctor, the cost of grad school, med school, etc, was too much, so it was pretty much the best option.  My dad is former army, I have many relatives who serve or have served, so it wasn't out of the question or discouraged.  

But the truth was, it would have been too hard for me.  Not academically.  Mentally.  I remember looking at the PT requirements, the daily work-outs and thinking "No.  Way.  Ever."  And even medical school- without the military- seemed like a lot of work (ironically, I have spent more time in school with my graduate school and designations than if I had just gone to med school and done a residency).

It was too much work.

I quit before I started.

Me.  Apparently, the only things I stick with are the things I am good at doing or enjoy.  I bail before I begin at anything that makes me uncomfortable.  I am a chicken.

Coincidentally, on Monday on the whiteboard they had listed 5 places that were hotter than Las Vegas- Afghanistan, Iraq, Oman, Sudan and the deck of an aircraft carrier- and we were only working out for 30 minutes, not 18 months.

My cousin and my many friends that have been served in the Middle East push through every day.  They don't quit.

So now I'm at the fork in the road-- I can forge ahead with something that I am not skilled at and really give it 100% or just call it a day and do something a little less stressful and painful, being grateful for all the people that do have the tenacity to push through and know I am not one of them.

Let's face it, I was jumping rope this morning and felt like I was "dying."  Yet somehow, I could still talk?  

Which Mama Bean do I chose to be? 

And it's not just Crossfit.  This transcends into my life.  Giving it 100%.  All the time.  Every time.

I joke about my lowest common denominator theory- that my 60% IS more than most people's 100%.  

But it's not mine and I know it.

And somewhere in that conversation with my father-in-law and my husband, it sorta slapped me in the face.

I need tenacity.

That is what is holding me back.  Sucking it up through the bad stuff, trudging ahead, brushing it off.

Getting it done.

Yesterday I put on an outfit and it very truly hung off me.  As in too big to keep.  My dress today is baggy.  If you saw me, you might not even notice, but I do.  It's nice.  It will probably keep me going for awhile.  I also know that it won't be consistent and steady.  I might not have another "Wow" moment in the next month or so.

But the real  battle is in my head.  Despite the smile and the jokes (I can't pass on a good snatch joke), I am fighting the voice in my head saying "Why bother? You know you can't do it.  You're not like these people."

As I wrote a few weeks back, this suddenly isn't about losing weight- it's about getting over what got me here in the first place.

I don't want to be the person that quits the second something gets difficult.  

The jury is still out.

And the saga continues...

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Husband's Perfect Day

I am happily married.  Not blissfully married, but in general, we are fairly happy.  As I like to say 80% of the time it's pretty darn good. 

We do, however, have our moments when we want to stab each other.  Repeatedly.  Because that's what love is, isn't it?

My husband is a teacher.  With 2 school age children and my not being a teacher, May-June is complete and utter hell for me.  Between the 10,000 activities at his school, the 10,000 activities the kids have, by mid-June, as I stumble off to work as the three of them vacation, I am a mess of a human being.

By August, I usually want to kill him.  In August, and those of us who are married to teachers know the routine, the lament of "Boo hoo... I only have 3 more weeks off...."  Yes, I know teaching has its challenges, but it's not like I sit around telling jokes and eating bon bons all day.  Well, maybe some days....

ANYHOW, this past spring, with the kids getting a little older, it was a little rougher on me.  And I work.  And my assistant went out on maternity leave.  And the 2 people that we initially hired to replace her didn't work out.  And I thought my head might explode.

On Wednesday, June 13, however, the universe shifted.

It was Hump Day, so if you're a regular reader, you know we celebrate.  Nice way to start the day with a little extra skip in my step.

Then I came home.  I usually walk right in the door, glare at my family watching TV, playing something or talking about what a great day they had NOT working, and start making dinner.

But alas, on this blessed day of days, I opened the door to the warm scent of roasted chicken.

My favorite.  It warms your soul and your tummy.  And yes, I wrote tummy.  Bite me.

I had been worried about the chicken because I had received a text from my husband earlier in the day saying that we were out of onions, so he was using an apple instead.  His text was "It's the same, isn't it?"  Oh dear.  But to be honest, I just shove a halved onion inside the chicken, so for roasting purposes, it was a nice switch.  I was actually impressed that he knew the onion was just for moisture.  But still I worried- my husband is not known for his cooking skills.

I worried for no reason.  The beautiful bird was crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside.  It was heaven.

But wait-- there's more---

The house was immaculate.  This is the first time that my husband hasn't had to take a class over the summer and we didn't have the kids signed up for camps.  He actually is known for his cleaning skills, but this was extra shiny.

And then.....

Then I went upstairs.  My laundry had gotten really far behind over the last crazy few weeks.  My closet looked like a disaster zone.

Or it USED to.

My husband did all my laundry and arranged my side of our walk-in closet.

It was beautiful.

As I came down the stairs, speechless, he looked worried.  He has never seen me speechless.  I don't know if anyone has.

Of course, he assumed he'd screwed up and he started talking..."I'm sorry... I hope I didn't mess anything up.... I hope you're not mad..."

And with a tear in my eye I replied "June 13th.  Always remember June 13th.  If I'm ever mad at you, say that date, for on that day, you were the perfect husband."

Not many men would organize shoes and fold my t-shirts perfectly.  He even color coordinated the hanging items like I do.

And did I mention the chicken was perfect???

In some ways, he's screwed.  He spoiled me.  He played his hand.  I know what he's capable of at his best.

But in other ways when he says "Do you mind if I play golf Saturday?" and I smile, blissfully remembering June 13, and reply "Go-- enjoy yourself!"  I think I may have played my hand and he knows I can be bought with a chicken and clean undies.

Or maybe, just maybe, after 10 years, we figured out how to be nice to each other.  Because maybe that's what love really is.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Oh No! Anderson Cooper is Gay! Oh. Okay.

As you may or may not know, my parents recently moved (on a trial basis) from their small town in Ohio to Las Vegas.

My mom, daughter Zoey and I were running errands, helping them get some necessities.  Somehow, the topic of someone being gay came up.  And my mother spelled it out...


This is funny for 2 reasons, as I explained to my mother.  First, my daughter can spell and immediately began to do so after my mom spelled it (afterall, the spelled out words are the good ones).  Second, we have gay friends.  It's not a big deal.

My mom then asked if my daughter understood what gay was.  She is 6.

I told her I didn't think so.  But I also don't think she understands what straight is.  Because she is 6.

I still remember someone telling me, in 6th grade I believe, what sex REALLY was and I was horrified and insisted they had to be wrong.  That's just gross.  As far as my daughter knows, love is kissing and doing the laundry.  So gay or straight, it stops there.  I'm fine with that.  I'm more concerned that I need to undo the princess brainwashing she's been subjected to.

My son is starting to get more attuned to it.  He is 9.  It's confusing.  We answer questions when he has them.  We leave it up to him to ask.

While some people might be concerned that I am exposing my children to deviant lifestyles, I assure you I am not.  I have gay Catholic friends.  I have gay Republican friends.  I have gay friends who are parents.  I have gay friends who fit every stereotype out there.  Basically, I have friends who just happen to be gay.  And that is what I am exposing them to- my friends.

I have straight friends whose lifestyles I question more than any of my gay friends, in fact.

I was fortunate that the first gay people that I met were before I really knew what gay was (and yes, there are gay people in my little small hometown.)  That allowed me to form an opinion of the person first, because I didn't understand sexuality.  So when I finally did understand what gay meant, I had an "Oh.  Okay." reaction.  The gay couples I knew were in long term relationships.  Nothing seemed unusual.

So why did Anderson Cooper feel the need to say anything?  Like so many celebrities these days that are making a statement, he basically said he'd always been gay, this wasn't news, anyone who mattered to him has known a long time.  He wasn't hiding it, he just wasn't making it his defining characteristics.  He's gay.  Big deal.

He felt compelled, however, because with teenage suicides and bullying so largely connected with gay teens struggling, he wanted them to know that it was going to be okay.  They would get through it.  The people who really loved them, would still love them.

If my kids come out, I won't lie, I will be surprised and worried. It's not an easy path.  But it certainly is easier than it was 20 or 30 or 50 years ago. 

So Anderson Cooper is gay. 

Oh.  Okay.  Next story.