Madigan asked me to get her ears pierced.
So I immediately launched in to this sermon about how pierced ears are a HUGE responsibility. She'll have to take care of them. For weeks and weeks. A lifetime, really. And under no circumstances will she wear anything dangly until she is over 18. Posts. Super lame boring posts. That's it. And she will have to earn the privilege. She'll have to step it up around the house. With chores and piano practice and pet care and, while we're at it, I would like to see a sunny disposition every second of every day.
And then it struck me. She is responsible. She is a dedicated school and piano student. She is a diligent worker and keeps her room organized and helps around the house with dishes and laundry and with the pet care. She has just started "mother's helping" with our neighbor and her 8 month old twins. They cried a lot the first time she went, but she liked feeding the babies and is looking forward to going back next week. She is a good kid.
So on paper it all looks good. And I'm going to say yes. But actually, those things I've just listed aren't the reasons I want to say yes.
The reason I really want to give this to her is because she doesn't ask for much. She shared a room with her brother until last year. She has lived on hand-me-downs without complaints for most of her life. When she gets nice things (like an Mp3 player or a karaoke machine) she takes care of them. She doesn't lose or damage them. She not the kind of kid to beg and whine and complain. So when she asks me for something she has thought about it. She knows that I could say yes or I could say no and she will have to live with either answer. And this thing, this ear piercing thing, was so important to her that she decided to ask.
And so I will say yes. And we'll go together for this rite of passage. This step toward independence. This step toward womanhood. And I just might cry.
Madigan asked me to get her ears pierced.
Birthdays. They are so wonderful. I really don't understand people who don't want anyone to know. People who won't tell you their birthday. What the hell is that about? What a setup. Do they expect me to ask around? Do they secretly want a surprise party, cause only when groups of people have kept this silly secret will they feel valued? Whatever. Surprise parties are dumb. And not just cause I've never had one. I think they are so dumb that I have never thrown one. It's not like you don't know that you are growing a year older. And someone always blows the surprise. Here's a secret for you - that someone is usually me. How do you like that?
This week I had a delightful series of small celebrations. After my jam making extravaganza with my family on Sunday I had a lovely lunch with Lisa on Tuesday. We went to our regular joint, had a delicious (and not at all low-cal) meal and talked and laughed. Perfect. Just what I wanted.
On Wednesday Lori took me for a Hawaiian pedicure at lunch. We and ate salads and relaxed while being scrubbed with Orange Peel & Pineapple Sugar Glow and smoothed with Caramel Ribbon Glaze. My toes are Strawberry Margarita pink and I feel as delicious as I smell.
Tonight Heather invited a couple girls to her home for a birthday dinner. We talked forever about everything and dined on Salmon and asparagus. She made molten lava cake with raspberries. I floated home tonight.
I don't expect this kind of attention and treatment all year. I receive it gratefully this special week. These are my friends. I love them. And I want joyous memories of time spent together. This week I will remember for a long long time.
I turned 36. I am in my late 30s. This life goes by really fast. Which makes me remember that I'm going to die. Someday. I am a bit of a worrier. Often about things that are not really valid concerns. Apparently, it is just my way.
The truth of the matter is I love my birthday. I love taking time to really consider what I like. What I really want to spend my time doing. Telling my family, with my choices, that they are the things I love the most. That what I want are the homemade cards, the photos, the time spent together. I want to snuggle on the sofas watching Tim Burton movies after Boston Cream Pie. Cause soon enough my kids will be grown. They will be busy with their lives apart from me. They will be choosing careers and partners and places to live. I'll be thrilled to pieces for all of that (as I assume it will fall on the heels of the teen years) but until that day comes I want to be here. To be with my children. To hug them and love them in a way that is only possible while they are small.
It goes by so fast. On this day I want nothing more than to be living this day.
My mom's best friend gave her two flats of apricots. As I am a "work with what you've got" kind of girl, I suggested we make jam. And so it was. My mom, my kids and I made apricot and apricot-raspberry jam. Cases of the stuff.
I would love to particularize our day; all the colors and smells and kitchen conversations. But I have a very stuffy head and I'm tired. Plus I want to watch Dexter. So instead I'll show you.
Have a look:
My baby is 6. He is going to his first soccer camp this summer. His first summer camp ever. I am anxious, to say the least. He's doing very well. He really enjoys it. I just have that mama-tiger thing with him. That tight feeling that comes up in my chest and holds on to my heart when he is doing something he has never done before.
He is a kind and gentle soul. He doesn't run out on to the field and hoot and holler. He walks out and watches. He participates when invited. He falls in line, does not push his way to the front of the pack. He is not a "look at me, watch me!" kind of kid. That being said, he has incredible athletic skill. He throws and kicks better and farther than I do. Literally. Which my husband will say is not so good anyway, but I don't have a great frame of reference. He's better than a 35 year-old adult that I know - who is me. Did I tell you that he's 6? And still comes to my bed in the middle of the night a few times a week? And is a lovey snuggly pumpkin? He would probably prefer that I didn't tell you that last bit.
Levi will often think things through, he is slow to speak up until he is comfortable, is thoughtful and patient, not very much like me at all. He does things with Zoobs and K'nex and Tinker Toys that blow me away. Great movable structures. He's awesome with puzzles. He is also a math whiz (puzzles and math are close neighbors in the brain). His father cannot stop talking about all of these things. I get the daily "Levi did this new thing..." report from Rube. And though nothing makes me happier than listening to my husband talking about his beloved son, Rube thinks I get impatient. And I do. But not because I don't totally dig hearing about it all. It's just because I am an impatient person. You understand the difference, don't you? I knew you would.
It is hard to believe that I had anything to do with the creation of this person. This tiny man who loves me so much. Hard to believe, yet my life would be unimaginable without him and the sweetness he has brought. He is a wild card in my life. And I am all the better for having played the game.
My first post is done. I can move on to bigger and better things.
Let's start with my day. Today is a Thursday. Thursdays are a great day for me because I have my "me time" on Thursdays. It is on the family and work calendars every single week and it is non-negotiable. And by non-negotiable I mean I will not be available for anything I don't want to be doing after 4:00. I will not be picking up kids. I will not be preparing any meals, doing any chores, running any errands, taking any unwanted phone calls, nothing. I might get a pedicure. I might go to a movie, either alone or with a friend. I might go to the mall and overspend. Whatever I want to do, I do!
Given all that freedom, what I usually do is go to sushi with a couple of girlfriends, and then go to my women's group. For nearly 10 years I have chosen to spend the hours from 7:00 to 9:00 almost every Thursday night in a candle-lit family room on in Willow Glen, San Jose. In this lovely home on a tree-lined street (read: regular American dream) I have wept and laughed and yelled every cuss word known to man and I have learned what it means to be a wife, mother, friend, and woman in my skin.
I am blessed beyond words to have these women in my life. The women have changed over the years. Women come and women go. Some stay a few weeks. Some camp out for years. The new ones change the dynamic for all of us. They mix it up and change our perspectives. Sometimes they learn something from me. More often I learn from them.
There have been times when attendance has felt like a chore. When I could not imagine listening to another woman drone on and on about her problems. I have found, however, that paying focused attention to someone other than myself for an hour or so a week makes me more sane.
'Cause here is the deal, I bring my whole self there. My whole self. My happy to be so blessed one day and jealous beyond words and pitching a fit 'cause I didn't get what I wanted the next. My light is welcome there. And so is my darkness. I am very familiar with the dark side of me. I like my dark side. It makes my lightness more real. Less fake. And I only know that this is true because I have watched these other brave women do the same. To sit in a room and say out loud the things they don't even want to think. To share the load of illness, divorce, death, and despair. To share the sadness that comes when you begin to feel joy after these terrible things have passed. And lives have moved forward. And the world didn't stop. And we have changed.
It is Thursday. I can do whatever I want. Today I want to spend it with these women. We'll see what happens next week.
OK, there is no actual money being exchanged. And while we are on the subject, my mouth isn't really involved either (except to quietly repeat a sentence I just wrote back to myself to see if it sounds stupid, or sexist, or too smart, or whatever).
So I've been a shameless blog lurker for a number of months. OK, maybe years. Bordering on stalking. I feel like these gals are my friends. Sometimes I find out that a group of them will be gathering in a nearby city and I contemplate showing up at the restaurant or bar where they have chosen to hang out. They see me, and I see them, and we all decide to be best friends. They are all already great friends, which is why they have traveled hundreds (if not thousands) of miles to spend a relaxing weekend together. Without me. Not that they know me. My point is, this blogging thing is a big brave step for me. I'm here to speak my mind. Here goes:
Actually I'm going to have to start my mind-speaking later. I'm watching Last Comic Standing.
Today I am a blogger.