Tag Archive | mother

The Creative Challenge.

I have always fancied myself a creative person but ever since I went back to work I have struggled to find that part of myself.  I sat down with my daughter to paint the other day and I was blank.  I couldn’t find a single stroke to put on the canvas.  Madison looked at me and asked why I wasn’t painting.  “I have nothing” I told her.  “As much as I want to paint I simple can’t find any inspiration to put onto the canvas.”

“That is because you have forgotten how to dream” she responded.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well ever since you went back to work you have your head filled with work stuff.  All you think about is work and bills, and the house.  When you fill your head with that there isn’t any room for dreaming.  If you can’t dream, you can’t create.”

You know I really don’t remember the last time I had a dream.  Such wisdom from a young mind.

So now it is time for me to find my creativity again.  It is a part of me that I love and don’t wish to lose.  I am challenging myself to do something creative everyday for the next 365 days!  It doesn’t have to be something phenomenal it just has to be something.

So today is the first day of my challenge.  Do you think coloring my hair would be considered creative? Okay I may be stretching it a little.  So instead I have baked today.  A coffee cake and brownies…creativity in the kitchen.  It isn’t much but it’s a start.

As for tomorrow let’s see what I can come up with.

I challenge you to join me in the creative challenge.  Get in touch with your creative side and share your accomplishment with me.  Don’t let the best part of you get lost.  You know the famous saying….use it or lose it!

Who knows….maybe I can even start dreaming again!

 

Who Am I?

Have you ever sat and wondered what you were meant  to do?  Thinking to yourself, surely I am meant to do something important, my life has to mean something.  I know I do.  Then I ask myself, am I not trying hard enough?  Am I not using my “talents” to their greatest ability?  Am I missing something?  Because truthfully I don’t see myself as having accomplished very much in my life.

I went to University and got a great education, had the potential to be an amazing nurse, yet chose to stay at home with my kids and not work at all.  What have I done that I will be remembered for?  When I laid my head on the pillow at night I would ask God to talk to me, tell me what it was I was supposed to be doing and I heard nothing.  I assumed I wasn’t listening hard enough or even worse I wasn’t important enough for even God to bother with.

Now I know that I didn’t hear God because he had already told me what I was to do and I had done it.  I was meant to stay at home and be with my kids.  God simply said, stay the course, don’t give up.  Oh several times I tried to steer my ship in a new and more exciting direction, carve my own path, draw my own map and each and every time I was put back on course.  It is only now that I realize you don’t have to effect a multitude of people to be important.  You don’t need to change the world or have your name known by millions, effecting one or two people is enough.

I will never be the next great artist, a Pulitzer prize-winning author, I won’t be the CEO of a major company or a political leader.  I will not save thousands of lives or develop a cure for cancer, I won’t be a professional athlete or famous movie star.  I won’t leave my mark on a very big piece of real-estate when I leave this earth and I will be lucky to fill the first half of the church at my funeral, but there are a few people who my life has made a difference for and that is all that matters.  I may not cure cancer but perhaps my son will, I may not be a great artist but perhaps my encouragement will allow my daughter to be one.  I may not invent a new piece of medical technology but perhaps my other son will.  I may not save the lives of thousands but perhaps one day, someone I spoke to, or encouraged, or merely smiled at when they felt alone, sad or desperate were effected just enough to go on and live another day.

I have stopped asking what great and wonderful thing I am supposed to do with my life.  Instead I thank God for the opportunity to be myself.  I try to remember that my actions speak louder than my words and everything I do and everything I say has the ability to change the life of someone around me.  What an awesome responsibility!

Be the best self you can be everyday!  Perhaps you will write the next great novel or be the hottest blog on the internet, you never know.  What you do know is that each and every day at least one person will hear your words or see your face.  Make sure what you show them is something that you will want to be remembered by and that you DO have an effect on this world.

Love Story

Oh how I have missed you.  I put you out of my mind for so long because the pain of thinking of you was just to great to deal with.  Yet you where never far away.  As much as I tried to forget I knew you were there waiting for me and that made me miss and want you even more.  Yet that same wanting only made me feel worse, you reminded me of something I once was and something I longed to be again.

I am sorry I banished you from life, I am sorry that I made you go away.  I beg you to forgive me but I had to do what was right for me.  I had to send you away until I was ready to face you again…and here I am!  It has been a year but I am ready, I am ready to see if we belong together once again.   I am ready to see if you still make me feel as good as you once did and if we are once again a perfect fit.

It is with great anticipation I am facing you once again, I am excited but scared.  I am nervous to see if my journey has brought me to a place where we can once again fit into each others life.

I see you from across the room, you look the same as I remember.  I hope I look different to you, I hope that you can see the transformation I have made.  I pray that you appreciate the change I have made so we can be together again.

In an instance we are reunited..like we were never apart and you feel better now than you did when I last saw you.  Rather than making me feel confined and uncomfortable I feel loose and free.  I feel like the woman I have wanted  to be, I feel healthy and happy.  You have completed me!

Yes you are my favorite jeans and I am so sorry I crowed you out of my life.  I am sorry I squeezed you out while I made room for cookies and ice cream.  Please forgive me, I have missed you and so glad to have you back!

jeans

Now as for the eighteen pounds I have lost…I can’t say I will ever miss you!  Good-bye and good riddens…I hope to never see you again!

Quote Me…or Not

There is a  quote that I find myself coming back to time and time again.  It isn’t a revolutionary quote, a motivational quote or anything profound, so why do I keep coming back to it?  I wish I knew because maybe then I could stop quoting it.  It is the quote most of us heard in our childhood and possibly you have been caught uttering it yourself.  Following in my mother’s footsteps my favorite quote seems to be…”Because I said so!”

algonquin 024

So many times I swore I would never say those words.  When I had a child I would explain to them why they should or should not do something.  I would listen, negotiate and reason with my kids.  No way was I going to be a dictator that just demanded something from my kids.

Yet here I am with three kids and a long history of repeating my mother’s favorite quote “because I said so!”

“Alex don’t sit on your brother”
“Why?”
“Because I said so!”

“Josh don’t put that up your nose”
“Why?”
“Because I said so!”

I know there are better explanation for why not to engage in these activities such as “ because you will hurt him and if you don’t understand that you will probably end up in jail someday for being a violent sociopath” or “because it won’t come out and you will look like an idiot walking around with an eraser stuck in your nose.”

Some may say it is lazy parenting, taking the easy way out.  I used to say that but too but really it’s just plain survival.  If I answered of every why question my children asked I would become stuck in a never-ending cycle of questions much like being stuck on a spinning merry-go-round holding on for dear life while trying not to lose my lunch.

Don’t eat the dog’s food”
“Why?”
“Because you will get a tummy ache.”
“Why?”
“Because the food is made for dog’s tummies not little boy’s tummies.”
“Why?”
“Because doggies need special food to make them grow up to big and strong.”
“Why?”
“Because doggies bodies are not like people’s bodies”
“Why?”
“Because that is the way God made them.”
“Why?”
“I don’t know maybe he had a bad day with a pain in the neck little kid who wouldn’t stop asking him why!”

So you see quoting my mother with “Because I said so” was actually a gentler approach to child rearing than I could have taken.

I can’t say that I am moved by this quote but I can say that it has kept me sane.  It has probably helped my children develop a much higher self-esteem.  I can’t imagine how scarred they would have been if I had actually said what I thought rather than using my go to quote of “Because I said so.”

Let’s be honest it could be much worse I could have chosen one of my mother’s other favorite lines such as “just wait until your father gets home”, or “your face will freeze that way.”  Really mom, dad never did anything when he came home and at six I thought it would be kind of cool if my face froze into one of those crazy faces I made.

 

Mamma Needs a New Pair of Shoes

MP9004049221That’s right, this Mamma needs a new pair of shoes.  Time to throw away the old comfortable loafers and grab a new pair of fashionable, professional shoes.

For eighteen years I have been wearing the practical mom shoes.  You know how it is, the first few years you spend running after the kids then you spend the next fifteen years running them around, play group, little league, school parties, doctor’s appointments, workouts, work, it just keeps going and going.  Well this middle age mom is ready to trade those practical shoes in for a pair of shoes that might not be quite so comfortable but are definitely more exciting.

I have spent the last year re-educating myself to enter back into the work force.  Once upon a time a long, long time ago I was more than just a wife and mother.  I was actually a professional making a good salary and participating in the world of people over twenty years old.  As a matter of fact I was pretty darn good at what I did.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret my decision to stay at home with my kids, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  My kids have thrived from having me at home, but my job with them is pretty much done, so now it is time to revisit me.

So here I sit on the edge of a new beginning.  The schooling is done the resume is written and the applications are filled out.  Now I just have to sit and wait.  The resume writing was a challenge and a half.  How is it that you can turn raising three kids, one husband and managing a home look impressive work experience?  I guess that is where my creative writing comes in handy.  Let’s be real, running a household isn’t that much different from running a business.  I can balance a budget, multitask, I’m organized, work well under pressure, deal well with conflict, a great team builder.  Yup being a mom, or domestic engineer as I prefer to call it, gives you most of the skills you need for any job.

2013 promises to be an exciting new year.  This old dog is ready to try some new tricks.  I better reorganize my closet so I can make room for those new shoes.

To my fellow stay-at-home moms and/or middle age women I hope you wear whatever shoes you want to.  Don’t be afraid to try on a new pair if they keep calling your name.  No they may not be as comfortable as your old ones but with a little time you can break them in.  If you are satisfied with the shoes you are currently wearing be proud of yourself for what you are doing.  We are all contributing to society in one way or another and we need to be proud of that.  Don’t short change yourself you still have the skills to compete in the work force if you so chose.  If you have another dream hold on tight to it, your time will come, don’t give up and believe in yourself.  Before you know it the kids won’t need you as much any more and you take a little time for yourself.

Wish me luck…it’s been a long time since I’ve had to knock on doors and sell myself as an asset to your company!

Finishing is Merely Beginning Again

I’m so close I can taste it.  The finish line is within site and I am sprinting toward it, looking for that last kick, the rush of adrenaline to propel me forward and declare victory!  Is that the crowd I hear cheering me on, raising their voices, clapping their hands, pushing me to reach the finish line in a blare of glory.  Nope, it’s just my kids whining about super not being on the table and the laundry stacking up, but wait I do hear a cheer in the background, it’s my husband, excited about the prospect of me finally finishing my schooling so I can get out and earn some money.

I am almost there, another two weeks and this year of educating myself at the ripe old age of forty-five will be complete.  I can’t believe I did it (almost).  It has been a challenge balancing family, home and school. There were many a day when I wish I hadn’t started this journey, but the stubborn side of me was not going to start something without finishing.  I was not about to show my kids that failing or quitting was an option.

So here I am facing the finish line in this most challenging journey. Believe it or not I think I might miss it when I’m done.  It has been a constant companion and has allowed me the opportunity to realize that I am still an intelligent person with the ability to learn new things.  Being a stay at home mom made me feel like my mind was turning into a bowl full of jelly  but now I realize I didn’t lose anything.  Instead, I see that the years I dedicated myself to my family taught me to be patient, determined, organized and creative, all traits that allowed me to be successful in my studies.

With the finish line in site I am racing forward, propelled by the pride in my accomplishment.  My arms stretched in front of me reaching for the ribbon, preparing myself to throw up my hands in victory, I catch something out of the corner of my eye.  Far in the distance I see yet another black and white banner stretched across the path.  In celebrating my victory for this grand accomplishment I realize that the finish line of this journey is merely the starting line to my next great challenge!

Much like a runner, I look forward to my next race.  Instead of fearing it, my year of training has given me the tools and confidence I need to take my place in the starting blocks with the expectation of running a personal best. I look to the stands and see my husband and children.  In their faces I see the reflections of the past year and I realize that when I was tired or discouraged it was their support that lifted me back to my feet.  It was their hands that put the laundry into the machine or the dinner on the table when I was unable to.  This next race I will run for them as well as for myself.

Thank you for the support and I can only hope in return I have made you proud and taught you a few things.  From my example I hope you see that you are never too old to start something new, with hard work and determination you can accomplish anything and most importantly, never give up!

Forever Summer

Time goes so slowly, another school year is starting and it will be absolutely forever before it is over.  It will be forever before I get out of school.  Thirteen years of school and then on to college for another four.  You have to be kidding me, I am going to spend my entire life in school, it is never going to end.  If only I had a time  machine, I could jump through time and get on to the exciting part of life.

Apparently I found my time travel machine.  That is the only explanation I can find for how fast the time has gone.  I cannot really be the mother of a college student and two other teenagers.  Am I not a teen myself?  Wait no I passed through those years, that’s right, I wished them away.  It’s not that I want them back, I just don’t understand how it all went so quickly.

I still remember that feeling of time moving so slowly.   A year of school seemed like a lifetime,  just waiting for the next summer to come along to mark my freedom.  The endless summer that seemed to go on forever allowing my brain to cleanse itself of all I had learned throughout the school year.  I had all the time in the world, never a rush, and always tomorrow.

The blink of an eye.  That is all it takes now.  A blink of an eye and the school year is over.  A blink of an eye and the frost is in the air and the summer is gone.  A blink of an eye and the kids are grown and moving on.  There is never enough time, it’s always a rush and my tomorrows are coming to quickly.  Soon there will be no more school years.  The kids will be gone and I will have to find another marker of time.

I think I would like to turn off my time  machine for just a little while.    Just long enough to savor these precious moments.

If I can teach my kids just one more thing it would be to not wish their life away.  Don’t rush through today looking for tomorrow.  Today is a beautiful day so live it to the fullest, enjoy it and make it count.  Perhaps I can be a role model for you, watch me and learn.  I am making the most out of every day, and although the calendar tells me I am in the fall season of life, I intend to  live like it is forever summer.

I’m Just Sitting Here Watching the Wheels Go Round and Round.

Photo by Brian Lane Winfield Moore

“I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round.  I really love to watch them roll.”

SO much to do…yet here I sit doing nothing.

Why is it that when there is a lot to get accomplished I am struck with the desire to sit and think about the work rather than do it.  I know that once I get it done I will feel satisfied, relieved, proud, yet here I sit.  Perhaps I just don’t like feeling good.  Maybe I feel more alive when I am under pressure.  Who knows but right now it is just ticking me off and if I could reach I would give myself a good swift kick in the a**.

Maybe I should try one of those lists my husband is so fond of leaving around the house.  Much like the pieces of the dryer that are lying around the house in an attempt to fix it.  Yes that would be one of the jobs I need to do…buy a dryer.

Okay this is it, I am turning off my computer marching my butt out the door to buy the dryer, otherwise my children are going to school in dirty clothes tomorrow (now there is motivation, a thirteen year old daughter without clothes).  When that is done it’s laundry, weeding, mulching, studying, closets, bills, basement, garage…who am I kidding let’s just start with buying a dryer.

Please tell me I am not the only one that gets stuck in these ruts.  Maybe it’s the whole back to school thing!

Eat Your Words Mom!

“Be an active participant in life”.  That was last summer’s saying for my sisters and me.  Instead of sitting back and watching the kids have fun we decided we would actively participate in all the activities.  Yes it required a few extra trips to the bathroom before hitting the volley ball court or an Advil or two before bed after a day of water skiing but we actively participated in the day’s events.  The kids (rather teens) thought this was great and found a new respect for their aging mothers.

Today was a perfect day on the lake.  The sun was shining and the air was still.  The bay looked like a mirror reflecting the beauty of the day.  As usual a day like this begged for the boat to head out and the kids to push the limits to see how much air they could get on the wakeboard or how high of a rooster tail they could get on the slalom ski.  I took my place in the boat as the official photographer and spotter.  After a couple of runs the kids asked me to take my turn and try my luck at the skis.

This seems like a simple request for many, but for me it is a little more of a challenge.  You see for ten years I attempted to water ski and had no luck.  I mastered the art of falling on my face, my butt, my back… you name it, and I fell on it.  Just two years ago I finally managed to get up but forgot what I did to get up as quickly as I learned it.  Hence I usually spend the rest of the summer sucking water into every orifice as I try to master the concept of skiing again and again.  So today I declined the invitation and stated I would be happy to sit and watch them have fun.

This is the moment my own words came back to bite me in the butt.  “What happened to being an active participant in life mom?”  Oh how tempted I was to tell them I was just getting too old for this, but instead I donned my life jacket and grabbed the skis and decided to take on the challenge once more.  This time it was my son driving the boat and giving me the last minute instructions on what to do.  I had a quick flash of all the times I had grounded him or said “no” to him and hoped this wasn’t the time he was seeking revenge.

To my surprise I rose from the water and found myself skidding across the surface on the two pieces of wood strapped to my feet.  I would like to say that the experience was amazing and I have found a true passion in skiing but to be honest, I found it to be less than thrilling and extremely tiring.  So this is what I have been working so hard for, this is what I drank gallons of water for and face planted more times than I care to remember.  Oh well, at least I was an active participant in life.  Most importantly my kids were thrilled with my success and proud of me for finally finding success.  So when they asked me how it was I smiled and said it was great.

As for the wake boarding… it still eludes me and I am afraid that tonight will be another night of Advil.  But I will wear my bruises with pride and remember that I am an active participant in life and my kids think I’m kind of cool.

 

I’m Not Super-Woman

The water is calling me to come and play!

Apparently I am not super woman.  I cannot actually do and be everything.  It came to me as somewhat of a surprise and I must admit, a slight disappointment, but I believe I am coming to terms with it now. Sometimes you just have to let something go in order to get done what truly needs to get done, hence the silence on the blog front for the past little while.

I think it is maturity and the aging process that has finally taught me that it is okay to admit that you can’t do it all.  I look back on my early years as a mom and wife and wonder what I was thinking.  Apparently the word “NO” was only in my children’s vocabulary.  Now as I am older I do not feel any guilt when I say “no I can’t do that.”  I feel no shame to admit that at times I am overwhelmed by the tasks around me and I just need to stop and rest for a while either mentally or physically, while I regroup.  As a matter of fact I feel a great sense of pride in being truly honest with myself.

Now that I have the family settled back into the house at the lake for the summer I look forward to finding a routine that includes my “me time.”  Time to blog, time to read, time to paint or just time to sit and be quiet (okay, quiet will have to come before everyone else wakes up).

So this is me, just me and not some imaginary super woman, back again after a month of complete chaos ready to enjoy the summer.   So what should I do today?  The water is looking at me as calm as I have ever seen it.  I believe it is inviting me to come and play.  Maybe today will be the day I finally conquer the wake board.  Yes, I think that I am feeling pretty lucky today… the wake board it is.

So maybe I still like to imagine I am super woman just a little.  I’ll let you know how that works for me a little later.