aca-family time

When your family circus is mostly grown and mostly out from under The Big Top and have lives, you sometimes need to plan family outings in advance.

Literally.

Don’t judge.

Pitch Perfect is on the list of movies the whole family enjoys watching together so much they will literally drop everything to watch together; a list that includes Mean Girls, Bring It On, Easy A.

Yes, chick flicks.

Again, don’t judge.

Yes, Bill’s favorite movies too. So seven months ago we made plans because a birthday celebration, a wedding anniversary celebration and, even better, the darling husband return to good health after a deadly heart attack.

The Pitch is back!

Aca-awesome!

Wait!

Where’s Abby?

Bay to Breakers because when most of your circus act is grown and mostly out from under The Big Top and have lives, their lives sometimes still get in the way of family plans made months in advance.

Whatever, Abby!

We still have Mean Girls.

because sometimes you just have to pull over and let it out

Scratching your head a little over that title, eh?

Yeah me too.

Have you ever had that moment where you knew that you were going to be sick but it was absolutely the last thing that you wanted to do because…who wants to get sick…where you are at…who you are with…who really wants to just hurl right here, right now.

Of course my darling husband and a couple of my kids swear by the nonsense of letting it go (so to speak) because you’ll feel better after.

They are totally, completely weird that way…truly….I judge them all the time when they choose to share their weird theory…and then I feel nauseous because I just can’t deal with vomit…not at all.

Oops!

I should have told you what this was about.

No not really actual vomit.

Except there is this one time…it’s kind of gross…still…

Okay.

Way back in 1993, Bill and I bought our very first brand new car, all bright and shiny and red with that fresh new car smell and only 8 miles on the odometer…a Mercury Villager! Thus began my long journey, that seems to have no end, of me driving a minivan. It wasn’t that bad…except now when I really don’t need a minivan. But that Villager! I loved it. We were literally the first family at my daughter’s school to have one and we always caused quite the stir at the drop off and pick up. While I was collecting my kindergartener, Hollie, I would spy other moms pressing their noses against the limousine tinted glass to gaze upon it’s gorgeous interior. I loved that car! It was perfect for a young mom with two small children and one on the way. And it was the first brand new car that I had ever owned.

Oh yeah, I was pregnant when we bought it. Yeah, I was struggling with hyperemesis too. Big surprise. But after nearly 8 months of it with Zoë, I was a pro…at least I thought I was. I knew the vomiting was inevitable but at least this time I could control it…?…I know, I’m an idiot sometimes. So there I was coming home from a routine OB visit, driving my gorgeous, red minivan, when…oh no…NO!….OH NO!!!….It’s coming….where is a bag, a towel, something, anything….there’s nothing??!!…oh dear god…it’s coming…

Frantic and not knowing what to do but determined not to throw up in my shiny, new car, I pull over a block from home and…

Yeah.

I never, ever drove that way home as long as we lived on Amelia Drive ever again.

Oh, and family, I did not feel better afterward! I actually felt worse and it had nothing to do with the homeowner of the house I stopped at to puke on their curb saw me. I just did; even if my body was forcing that vomit out.

I’m being gross, aren’t I?

I’m sorry.

It happened again the other day. I tried and tried so hard to keep it down, to somehow will it to not come out but…

And then after that came the words…ALL the words. All the words forcing their way out of my mouth…and they just kept coming and coming and coming…

I just can’t seem to get away from the Mean Girls references, can I?

What can I say?

It needed to come out…all of it…and it did. Of course I was miserable after…as is the one whom received all those words…so many words…hundreds…more than a thousand…all tumbling out on top of each other , forcing their way out.

It all had to come out.

All of it.

And, because it’s me, I felt even worse.

Ugh!

But sometimes you just have to pull over and let it all out right there.

So I did..

Excuse me now, I have a big mess to clean up.

reminder: have courage and be kind

It’s your birthday this week, Mom. What are you doing Friday the 13th?

Um, I don’t know…

Good. Keep that date open for me…for your birthday present. She smiles and flounces off, as she often does as the dancer, as the princess that she is.

What could it be?, I wonder to myself…a pedi?….a massage….shopping?…dinner?…all too much, of course. Still, I am excited, because she tells me that she is so excited. I can’t imagine her enthusiasm to not ever be contagious.

Happy Birthday To Me arrives and the first gift I receive is this:

Every one else, it would seem, is tripping on the time change springing forward one hour, but I am good because I have a perfect non-fat, no whip, white mocha, a Sephora gift card and I am seeing Cinderella with my darling 4th daughter the evening of Friday the 13th. No superstitions here!

Ever since I was a very little girl, Cinderella was my Princess. I know, not very feminist of me. Who cares! For me, a very lonely, awkward little girl, who never seemed to do anything right for anyone, no matter how hard she tried, Cinderella reminded to keep dreaming, keep believing…and I did. I do.

It is because of the Cinderella of my young life, I was worried about what Disney would do to her in a live action movie…Silly, I know, because this is Disney. Even with the PERFECT re-working of Sleeping Beauty into Maleficent of last year, I still had my reservations because this was my Cinderella. Yet, I still wanted to see it.

I had nothing to worry about.

Except for perhaps the “Cinderella” who greeted us as she tugged uncomfortably with her gloves and fidgeted with her ball gown…not princess-like at all! My Princess showed her how it is done even when clad in simple skinny jeans, a tee and ballet flats. The movie theater had the right idea having a “Cinderella” ready to meet and greet everyone on opening night. The reactions of the little children there was priceless. But it is hard for a professional princess to not want to show how it should be done right.

You don’t tug, you don’t fidget and you stand like this…

But the movie…the movie was almost perfection! I won’t lie, during the beginnings, filled with one heartbreak after another, I found myself saying out loud enough already…just as Ella meets Kit, the Apprentice. The story plays on as one familiar with Cinderella would expect; but with a few delightful twists and turns along the way to keep it fresh and more real…because, yes, feminists, even this Disney princess isn’t necessarily looking for a man to save her…especially when it is SHE who teaches the Prince that he must “have courage and be kind.”…something I believe we all need to be reminded of…some of us need to be reminded of the “be kind” part perhaps more so. Just saying…

I LOVED the movie! Jodie LOVED the movie! The reaction of pretty much everyone else in the theater tonight suggested that they all LOVED the movie too!

Cinderella is rated PG and although I would recommend it as family friendly, know that there are three characters who die in the movie, two whom die on screen, which might prove to be upsetting for more sensitive children..

Still, a wonderful movie evening and birthday gift with MY favorite princess.

Made even MORE perfect because it was my birthday! My princess did very good.

 

even more than a good, brave man

Of course we all know that last week was Martin Luther King Day which of course means a holiday for most folks…and the perfect time to maybe catch a good movie about an American Hero…which would be why American Sniper scored 105.3 million at the box office last weekend.

Don’t get me started…

The days leading up to Martin Luther King Day and after is also the perfect time for American school children to learn about the man and what he accomplished in the times that he lived; which is what Daniel has been doing…as he does every year since preschool. Last week, as I helped study for his test on Dr. King on Friday, I was struck with the fact that this time he was learning much more than him being a good man, a great man, a brave man with a dream for all American children. As a student his age should. Together we studied and talked about segregation, voting rights, peaceful activism, the Nobel Peace Prize and assassination at the hand of a sniper. And I was struck with the consideration my son had as he expressed his understanding of the subject of Dr. King that we were studying together and recent events in the news. It really is hard not to draw some comparisons whether one is a thoughtful, curious 6th grader or a musician accepting an award for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

So we made plans for this weekend.

We spent Sunday afternoon watching a film about American Heroes.

Moving.

Shocking.

Painful.

Inspirational.

And as we watched the pivotal scene where some 8,000 marchers (Black, White, Asian, Latino along with spiritual leaders from many religions and creeds) walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Martin Luther King, Daniel reached for my hand and whispered, “They did it!

Yes, they did.

American heroes…all of them.

Of course, as it always is in history, there is much more to the story; and there is the reality of today. May my son always continue in his thoughtful curiosity to learn and understand.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”
~Martin Luther King

 

no shelf life

As a 52 year old woman, I am struck by conversations related to friends celebrating or avoiding milestone birthdays, women getting older and how we are perceived as we (and the men around us, obviously) get older. Sadly, it seems to me, the majority regard a woman in her 40s or 50s or even 60s as somehow past the expiration date. Friends absolutely dreading the fact that they are turning 40…or mourning their obvious dotage as they pass “dirty thirty“…and it makes me sad just a little.

Age is definitely a relative thing. I wholeheartedly believe the idea that you are as old as you feel; which means I am basically an adolescent sometimes…an adolescent with a few grey hairs, laugh lines, squint lines, grown children and grandchildren. I’m not always an adolescent, but given my taste in music or the fact that I DO know almost every artist and song featured in the latest American Music Awards Show or Grammy nominations, compared to friends my age or 10 years younger…well… Yet, I wholeheartedly embrace the age that I am…grey hairs, creaky joints, laugh lines and everything else. I take very good of this aging shell of mine…and it shows. I take very good care of it because I have children and grandchildren and I definitely want to be around for a long time to watch them grow older. Added bonus is feeling good, perhaps better than other people my age (or younger).

I don’t take care of myself, or put on makeup, or wear jewelry or wear sometimes fashionable, flattering clothing for attention…except maybe perhaps from my darling husband. I know few women my age who dress for the day hoping for attention from a stranger…just like any other woman or girl dresses hoping for unwanted attention.

Why are there people who STILL think like this?

Honestly?!

So, no, telling me that I look pretty for my age is not a compliment.

Of course there is the reality that when a woman reaches a certain age, she, more often than not, is not getting looked at anymore…usually by the men. Ageism is real and women of a certain age become invisible to pretty much everyone…including men their own age. Men my age (and older) won’t give women my age (or even younger) a second glance unless they’re doing us a favor (in their small mind) because as Stevie Nicks pointed out in a recent Rolling Stone interview, “They wanna go out with somebody that’s 25,… So what am I gonna do, compete with that?”

But have you SEEN 66 year old Stevie Nicks?!

Damn girl!

Then there were the women…not the girls…the women at the Golden Globes this past week.

Hey ladies!

Then there is Julianne Moore who proved that people DO want to see a movie about a 50 year old woman, in the prime of her life, as she faces her own mortality and rapid decline.

If I can’t be Helen Mirren when I grow up, I want to be Julianne Moore. Really.

Shelf life?

Invisible?

No way.

Let’s re-think this because we all are getting older. We all are as sexy and smart and empowered and as visible as we chose to be and no one should ever diminish that for us because of the number of candles on our birthday cake this year…or the number of grey hairs, or laugh lines we might have.