humoring mom

Twas just 5 days before Christmas and perhaps a little hungover from a NICU cocktail party, tired from the Dance Stars Christmas Dance Recital and relieved after sending off that final gift and getting all the other gifts under The Big Top tree, I felt like celebrating because that is what the best holiday elves do.

How to celebrate?

Well, Kristen and LIz from Cool Mom Picks inspired me. #babythenandnow is absolutely a fun idea. Bonus is it takes little energy because other than doing laundry (my life), all I want to do the rest of today is relax because my work week, including Christmas Eve night promises to be busy. Oh, and then there is Christmas.

Of course the challenge is to get these circus clowns to do it because they are at work or playing in San Francisco or shopping or just super annoyed because we are twelve turning thirteen very, very soon. Yes, they are quite certain that I am crazy. Then there is my darling husband. Yeah, he definitely didn’t want any part of this silliness because he is sliding fast into get-off-my-lawn grumpy old man status.

Whatever, family. Just do it.

And so they do.

I love my babies! Then and now.

surviving outside adventures

Because it is Throwback Thursday I had to dig up an old photo to share…preferably one that won’t embarrass my four adult children. I just love this picture of my brothers and me for so many reasons.

The awesome that was 1970 fashion.

That pose.

Dear gawd, those damn pale, blue, cat’s eye glasses! I know my friend Kale praises me for being a hipster when hipster wasn’t cool by wearing those sweet frames; but trust me, they might have been ultra cool in the early 60s but  in 1970 definitely not. I cringe today every time I see someone wearing such frames…and yes, I’m kind of jealous that someone else pulls that look off and makes it look good.

Those tore up shoes of ours.

My brothers.

Randy.

Billy and his golden curls.

What lies behind that dead end sign on the street we lived on in Ben Avon during the summer of 1970.

Adventure! Grand, dirty adventures! A creek to wade in and swim in and even drink from. We had no clue what flowed from the giant drain pipe a little ways up the creek. We were kids. Kids who, if the sun was shining, were outside until the street lights came on because that was the way that it was.I seriously doubt Mom ever knew what we were doing and we rarely told her.

Who’s going to tell Mom about getting scratched by the raccoon she was playing with in the creek? Certainly not me. I could only imagine the trouble I would get into for that.

Are you going to admit that you literally rolled in poison ivy because your best friend and sister yelled and screamed at you to “STAY AWAY FROM THE POISON IVY!!” and you HAD to prove that you were immune. Randy never did even while scratching at literally his entire inflamed, itchy body.

Adventures behind the dead end sign, down the hill and in the creek were soon replaced with multiple other adventures because we moved…we moved a lot. A LOT…and because if the sun was shining (and sometimes not) outside was where we were until the street lights came on.

There were late night games in a local cemetery running from grave marker to grave marker, hiding and tagging one another.

Nobody tell that we snuck out after dark.

Oh those endless hikes up and down Robinson Road, which as children seemed huge as a child but not so much when I drove there the last time I visited back home. We chased cows in a nearby cow pasture and played in yet another creek…that also had a giant drain pipe emptying into it. Closer to home there was the trash barrel where the trash was burned and where we often played the Will It Burn? game because we had to try and discover what will burn and what will not.

Trees to climb.

Electrified fences to touch.

Circuses to perform complete with a high wire act on the clothes line in the backyard.

Open fields to run through as thunderstorms rolled in.

And so much more.

As children it was all so much fun…but sometimes not. I used to hide my books outside because sometimes I just wanted to sit and read…even if the sun was still shining and it wasn’t time to come in and make dinner or go to the store a mile away walking alone along Route 22 to pick up cigs and milk and tampons for Mom.

Boy was I shocked when I found out what those tampons were for a few years later!

As an adult and a parent I can’t help but sometimes cringe just a little. Okay, cringe a lot…especially about what the hell was likely draining in those creeks we always ended up in and that raccoon.

Still we survived…no rabies for me!

Different times back then we say. Still I often channeled Mom myself chasing the kids outside to play and make happy adventures. My favorite visual is Abby sitting on the curb loudly boo-hooing because “Mommy MADE me go outside and play!”. Still my clowns made their own adventures because it was their childhood and their time, their neighborhood. No creeks or raccoons or cow pastures or highways to walk along to go spend their 50¢ allowance on a small bag filled with penny candy. They were different kids, with different parents, growing up in a different place in a different time.

Still it’s a wonder they survived some of their bigger misadventures…that I know about and DON’T know about. Blame it on the bad parenting. It’s a wonder the four of them have reached adulthood.

I wonder if Hollie thinks that as she watches her children embark on their own great outdoor adventures in a different time and a different place?

Or perhaps she might better understand why mom would make them all go outside and play.

spontaneous moments like these

I have become very bad about capturing life under The Big Top with my camera. I still carry my camera with me practically everywhere I go but more often than not I’m just holding it, or worse, it is sitting in my bag. I was thinking that as I looked at this shot that has been living in my camera for a few days now.

And after berating myself for not taking pictures like I used to, I found myself smiling just a little bit because I DID CAPTURE THIS MOMENT…THIS MOMENT OF AWESOME BETWEEN A DADDY AND A DAUGHTER!!!

If I ever find myself doubting whether or not my children realize just how lucky they are that this man is their Daddy, I just have to look to spontaneous moments like this.

They know!

 

 

mortifying siblings

We love our brothers and sisters. We truly do. Still sometimes nothing embarrasses us more making us want to crawl into a hole pulling the dirt up over us sometimes as our siblings do…because, oh gawd, because they do. Especially at school. Especially when EVERYONE at school KNOWS they are your sister or brother.

Um, sis, did you NOT wash your face this morning?

OMG! Why are you dressed like me? Can you just not stand next to me?

Oh, hey. Hi.

I don’t know how you can possibly be my sister. Really. Can you just walk away? Now? Please? I swear to gawd, I’m gonna tell mom if you don’t.

Her? My sister? I have no idea who she is.

Would you believe that this is the first time since 1997 where I have only ONE child in school? School starts next week and honestly I do believe that I am going to need at least a week, if not more, to come to terms with that reality.

 

when I find myself in times of trouble

Sometimes life is just not much fun which I explain to my young adult children is why it sucks to be a grownup. I told them when they were younger too but they never listened then as children anxious to be grown up never do.

Today was one of those days where life pressed down a little too hard…a migraine…the eye twitchy thing…worrying about work (or lack of) and finances and a broke-ass car that we can’t afford to replace but replace we must and my kids (as their mom I always do worry every damn day because I’m their mom, dammit!)…dealing with my brother’s texts full of lectures and fears about Mommy Dearest’s colonoscopy because routine is never a reality for them which only served to amp up the eye twitchy thing into hyper-drive…and a scary-assed, WTF-is-happening-around-us, near miss driving from Stockton with my son in the car this afternoon. Quite frankly I just wanted to curl up into a ball and weep and wait for sleep or relief from any of what was pressing down upon me too hard to come.

And then the neighbors came over.

This kind of helps.

Actually it helps a lot.