Monday, July 29, 2013

The Grumpy Lady...

Walking through the mall and Munchkin needs to go potty.  Here is the thing...he is big enough to be independent, however not big enough to go into the mens room by himself.  Not even close.

Last week, a woman actually had the GALL to tell me that my six year old was too old to be using a women's restroom.  Let's me clear.  He was washing his hands.  He had to go...he was not running around peeking under stalls or doing anything that should garner any looks or comments.   He is a little boy who can BARLEY reach the faucet and generally can't reach the paper towels. 

I was flabbergasted.  I stood there for just a moment silent and then I said "I am so sorry that you feel that way.  Have a good day!"  I smiled at her.   She looked shocked and then shot me another dirty look. 

For a split second I was feeling bad.   I felt like I was the one in the wrong.  Then I went and posted the encounter on Facebook and within minutes I was inundated by people commenting that she was way out of line! Whew.  I was relieved.

See as this was happening, I choose to "kill her with kindness" because I didn't want Munchkin to feel like he was in the wrong or out of line in any way.  I did not want to let this strange lady have ANY ounce of control over our day or our life.  When Nate asked me why she was so grouchy, I replied that sometimes people can just be mean when they are having a bad day.  He looked at me funny and told me that it wasn't nice of her to be mean and maybe she should make a better choice.  

Yes my dear, she did need to make a better choice, because our choice is just fine for us!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Diving and Decisions

Munchkin has NEVER and I mean NEVER had a fear of water.  This means that when he was 15 months old and I was widowed just a few months and took him to the beach with my mom and dad...instead of sitting still and putting sand EVERYWHERE like every other baby on the face of the earth...he would run full tilt to the water, which meant that I spent all my time running on the beach that summer.  I taught him how to float and how to kick and how to get his face out of the water. 

That winter, I put him in swim lessons.   By the end, he was able to actually swim.   He was not even 2.  My goal was for him to know how to move in water...I really didn't care what his stroke looked like, just that he knew what to do.

Fast forward to this summer.   He decided that he wants to invent his OWN swimming.  Which would be fine if it was actually swimming and keeping his head above water.  His "invented" swimming looks much more like an octopus drowning than anything else.  More than once I have had to reach down and pull him up because he has scared the pants off of me.   He replies that he can DO.IT.MYSELF!  AHH...the independence. 

So, even though in the past he has been a strong swimmer.  Even though he has gone off of diving boards for the two previous summers.  I put my foot down.  I told him until he showed me he could swim across the lap pool without touching the bottom that he couldn't go off the diving board.   I really could care less about his "form" what I want to see is that he has the skill to keep himself moving and afloat. 

It is mid July.   We have been having this battle of the wills since Memorial Day.   Every time we go to the pool.  I mean EVERY TIME.

Him: Mom, can I go off the diving board.
Me: Have you decided to try swimming across dolphin cove?
Him: Nope.  I don't want to.
Me: ok, that is your choice, but no diving board until you decide to do it.
Him: That's not fair
Me: I didn't say it was fair, I said it was the rule

Last weekend we went to the pool with my brother and his kids.  They just finished swim lessons and my nephew actually listened to the instructor.  He is a pretty good swimmer and can get from point A to point B without much trouble.   The boys decided to have a race.   His cousin kicked his butt because, you know he was actually swimming instead of flailing his arms and legs and sinking. 

Munchkin was FURIOUS.  He is not accustomed to losing at things.   His attitude did earn him a time out and it was another opportunity to talk about being a gracious loser. Yeah, he isn't very good at that.  I explained to him that if he used his real swimming when he was racing it would probably work better and that maybe his invented swimming was better for the splash pool.  Yep that didn't go over well either.  See he wants things to be his way.  He wants them to work exactly the way he envisions them in his head.  I didn't mention it again, and we enjoyed the rest of the time at the pool. 

Fast forward to last night.   He asked if he could show me his swimming across the pool.  He put his mind to it and swam the entire length of the lap pool in one try.  STINKER! That then earned him a solid hour of going off the diving boards and swimming to the other side.  We agreed that only "real swimming" was allowed in the dive pool. 

Sometimes all we need to be successful is to DECIDE to do what needs to be done.   Hopefully this is a lesson that he will remember!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

These Days

The other night, we were playing outside.  Munchkin was running around the yard.  I was admiring the grass that I had cut a few days ago.  The air was cool and the sun was setting.   Two of our friends were walking by and stopped to chat.

I am feeling so blessed that we live in such an awesome neighborhood, where everyone knows each other and people play together in the evenings.  Where friends stop to talk and literally are just a phone call away.  Where kids play outside and ride bikes and chase lighting bugs and whine to stay up just a little later.

I am grateful that for the moment we are living an idyllic life.  One that I had hoped and wished and planned for.  Evenings in the yard, coffee on the patio in the morning.  Looking at the bunnies hop through the yard and hoping that the fox isn't hot on their tails.  I am in awe of all of the wonderful things that have happened in our life.  I never dreamed that we would ever have a house again.  Yet, here we are!

Six years ago I was hoping to share these days with Robert and our child someday. Five years ago, I couldn't see past the brokenness to imagine these days would ever happen or feel good without Robert here.   Today, even though Robert isn't here, I have a sense of contentment with the life that we have.  It doesn't make it ok that Robert is dead, but I can tell you on most days, I have found the fortitude to be grateful for what is in front of me today.  I am grateful because I know how quickly and permanently things change.  I give thanks constantly for our blessings and I pray every day to continue to be blessed. While I certainly think I have had my share of tragedy, this bliss is not guaranteed to continue and I know that.  I have worked very hard to stay in the present moment and to practice gratitude and it seems to be working.  It seems to be getting better for us. 

We are very, very blessed these days.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Counting my blessings

Last night, a company that I have been doing business with decided to close.  I have full belief that they did everything that they could to prevent it and are even looking to place those that worked with them with other companies. 

There are some really great women that work with Gigi Hill and countless that relied on them for the sole support of their family.  Last year when I went to the convention with my best friend, I had the privilege of meeting some pretty amazing people.   Even though I was not selling the purses and just went for a vacation, I had an amazing time and was welcomed with open arms.  

My heart breaks for all of these women.  There are people left with a ton of inventory. Investment into inventory for a company that as of last night no longer exists.   There are families left with no income. 

Let that sink in.  NO INCOME. 


Here is the thing, on all of the facebook groups, these women are being positive and inspiring and offering prayers for the two owners of the company who were in tears as they made their announcement last night. 

I have yet to see a "poor me" post or even any anger.   I realize this is less than 24 hours into the process and Gigi Hill asked for 24 hours for a plan to present to everyone.  But still.  No one has been anything but super supportive to each other. 

Nothing negative at all.  Nada, zip, zilch.

If that is not the epitome of grace, I am not quite sure what is.  

I know I am lucky.  I have a great job that I really love and even though it is a new job, it provides for my family.   I did sell Gigi Hill on the side, but literally only because I really loved their purses.  I do have some inventory here at my house, but honestly not all that much.  I am blessed.   I am lucky.  But far more than that I am grateful for all of the women that I have met in the past year that are truly are graceful, caring and amazing.  I am inspired by the Grace and Faith that I am witnessing as we speak. 

I too offer my prayers to everyone that other doors open and that everyone lands on their feet in a place that will be perfect for what they need for their families.   Please join me in that prayer! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fishing and Life

For at least several months my Munchkin has wanted to learn to fish.  A total little boy thing right?  A rite of childhood passage.  I can tell you that I am very well equipped for this one.  My parents made sure that the girls knew how to do guy stuff and the boys knew how to do girl stuff.  I am lucky in that regard and I know it. 

My dad used to take us all fishing in Lake Michigan.  Usually from shore, but sometimes from the pier.   I can still remember it.   So, even though in my mind, this was clearly a time when Robert would have taught him something and I would have gotten to hang back, sleep in and enjoy some coffee--I was able to say ok without having to ask someone else to do it. 

We headed off to the beach this past weekend and when I hit town, mom requested that I stop and pick up a few things.  Honestly, it is a small price to pay-too little, one could argue for the privilege of sharing the beach with Munchkin and spending time with my parents.

When I pulled into Meijer and Nate asked if we could fish, I said yes.  I selected a pole for him and some extra bobbers.   When dad taught us how to fish, we learned to cast like an expert before we even earned a hook.  As a parent, I think that is a FANTASTIC idea so I decided we would do the same thing.   I checked with the desk and asked the rules for fishing licenses.  I was told if I wasn't fishing it would probably be ok to not get one, however, knowing my luck, a dumb 40 pound Coho would bite his spoon lure just as the Game Warden drove by, so I decided to buy one anyway :)

Munchkin could not contain his excitement!  When we pulled into the beach house, he promptly ran upstairs to show Nana and Papa his new fishing pole.   I explained that we fish early in the morning and he was ok with that.  I had him help me string his pole and attach his sinker and bobber.   There was not a happier boy on the face of the earth! 

The next morning, he rose early and was ready to go.   We walked down to the beach.  I sent a few casts off to remember how to do and explained it to him.   Within a few short tries he had the casting part down pat.  Now, the whole, watch where you swing your pole, now that leaves much to be desired before I will let him have a hook!  Cause, really neither of us need to be hooked!

I stood there on the shore and just watched him.  I basked in his joy and I kept my mouth shut.   While my heart was full of memories of his father, I did not share them with him.  They are not his memories, they are mine. 

While I do enjoy sharing and answering questions, that was not for today.   Today was all about watching my child enjoy learning something new and learning that practice improves what you are working on and watching him be elated that he can cast the line further than I.  It was watching his smile and hearing his laughter and teaching him how to hold the pole, and what to do with the line.  It was about being thankful that these are things that I know. 

If he asks me, I will answer him, but I will wait for him to ask.   If he asks me if Daddy liked to fish,  I will tell him,  Robert was an AVID fisherman.  He loved to fish any chance that he got.  He would go at the drop of a hat and would plan long fishing vacations with his brothers. Before he died, he invited my brothers to go on a deep sea fishing trip with him that was to take place just a few weeks after the car accident.  I have two tackle boxes that are old and crusty now, likely full of rotten fish guts and only good for holding memories.  Sweet ones, but memories nonetheless. If he asks me I will tell him, and if he doesn't I have my sweet memories of watching Robert fish, and hearing his fish tales and looking at the mounted fish on our living room wall.   (The one that sits in the garage, in a box too tangible a reminder to enter the house)

But for now, for today, it is all about sharing a childhood memory with my son and being grateful that it is something that I can do!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What a world...

The other evening, I took Munchkin to see Despicable Me 2.  We love going to the movies together even if I do have a small heart attack every time I go to pay!!!

He is old enough now where I let him pick our seats, and he usually picks the top row center.  Not a bad seat. 

As the previews played, there was a new preview, one that wasn't there ten days ago when we saw Monsters University. 

I don't remember the exact wording, but it had to do with locating your exits and how to leave in an emergency.   WOW.  My heart stopped.  I knew where it came from.  All of us grownups know about the shooting at the movie theater in Colorado.  The shooting at the Sandy Hook.  We know about the random terrible crap and evil that permeates our world today.   I am not quite sure WHY I was so shocked.   This is not news and really a reminder to look for your emergency exits is a good idea-but for some odd reason it made me feel sick.  

Perhaps it was because I know that all too soon, it won't be cool to go to the movies with your mom, he will want to go with his friends. That means, that I will have to let go of his hand and trust him to make good choices long before I am ready to do so.  I am quite comforted by the illusion that I can protect him, even if I know deep down that it is ONLY and illusion.

Perhaps it is because I know that life is precarious and precious and changes in a flash.  While sometimes those changes are positive, they are not always so.  Sometimes those changes are catastrophic and push us into unchartered territory where we can no longer keep our head above water with our some serious support.  I. KNOW. THIS.  I should not be shocked that other people with cool heads have decided that it is a good idea to get people to look at exit signs.  It is a good idea.

So I took a deep breath and reminded myself that bad things don't always happen, that there are good things in the world and maybe just maybe I can help my son hold onto the solace of the good things.  I can't erase the tragedy that we have endured, but I can bolster us with the good around us.   I can demonstrate to him that we laugh, we play, we act silly, we love and we enjoy life.  We do all of that IN SPITE of the evil and tragedy that abounds in this world because that is how I survive.