November 19, 2013

Christmas > Thanksgiving

It's November. I've been reminded many times on Facebook as people post what they are thankful for that this is a month of gratitude. I've been told many times that it's "too early to decorate, listen to Christmas music, and shop" because this is the month we're thankful.

I do the best I can. I don't decorate until I'm done with my turkey and I refuse to shop ON Thanksgiving day.

But don't begrudge those of us that love Christmas our joy.

Thanksgiving. Yes, it's a Holiday of gratitude and thanks. We celebrate being thankful by over-eating, watching football, and saying thank you as we sit around the dinner table. Historically, we are remembering our pilgrim ancestors that survived the first winter in the new world. Yippee! We came, we committed genocide, we gave the natives small pox, and had some food to eat. It was God's will so let's thank Him for our victory in the slaughter of this country's native people.

Maybe I'm going too far, but that's how I see YOUR Thanksgiving. Should I remind you about it every chance I get on Facebook? No. I won't rob you of your month of gratitude.

So stop making us Christmas freaks feel guilty.

I LOVE Christmas. It's like crack to me. Every. Single. Bit. Of it. I listen to the music because I like it. I like to shop because I like GIVING gifts. I also like a deal. I like the bustle, the lights, the smell, the feeling, the ritual, the idea that an innocent child can save us all, the cold, the snow, the giving, the cookies, the bells, the cards, Santa, reindeer, gingerbread, peppermint, the gifts (not the wrapping), the family, the friends, ALL OF IT. I seriously enjoy every second. I get depressed when it's over.

I spend the rest of my year finding Christmas-like magic where I can. At Disney World, in birthday parties, barbecues, pumpkin festivals, summer days at the pool. And yes, most of my year I practice gratitude.

I'm a Sunday School teacher- I can tell you, we TEACH gratitude YEAR ROUND. We donate year round, try to serve others year round, care year round, and do our best to be good people YEAR ROUND. But you don't know that. Because I don't post it on Facebook. I don't give shout outs to God on Facebook, or say what I'm thankful for, or pray out loud on Facebook.

So I come off looking like a greedy, consumerist, pig at Christmas time.

And you know what? I don't think I care. The right wing is telling me there's no Christ in Christmas anymore, the left wing tells me I'm a fascist for shopping at Target on Black Friday. SHUT UP! YOU ARE MAKING ME FEEL GUILTY AND RUINING IT FOR ME!

You're just jealous cause' Thanksgiving can never be as cool as Christmas. In my opinion it's a cop-out and kind of a lame holiday. I don't like what it commemorates historically and I think our "gratitude" while we are stuffing our faces is a joke. Sorry. Christmas rules. It's better than Thanksgiving and I'm not apologizing for my Christmas enthusiasm any longer. I can't contain it any longer. So there.

October 16, 2013

It's been a sweet ride

I've been putting this post off for a long time. It's hard to move on and let go of something that has been a labor of love for 7 years. But it's time.

I'm closing down the Mom Lane. Not because I don't have anything left to say, but because it's just time. There are thousands upon thousands of mom blogs out there. My voice isn't all that unique within the throngs of viral blogs already speaking for moms.

More importantly is the issue of my son's privacy. He is an introvert, struggling like any kid to grow up and navigate this crazy world. He's at an age where he is very protective of his privacy and it's my job, as his mom, to respect it. He doesn't like when I tell stories about him, so I won't.

I've argued with myself that I could tell stories about being a mom without divulging his personal story, but I don't want to write about parenting. It's hard enough trying to BE a good parent, let alone to write about it, to relate it to current topics, and to impart wisdom through my own failures. It's even harder as my job as mom has grown from the care giving of infancy and early childhood to really PARENTING the hard stuff- the birds and bees, ethics, morals, conscience, responsibility, and more.

So I'm taking a different route now. I'm going to write other stuff. I'm going to finally try my hand at fiction and finish a book. I'm going to my little blog in a book to save for Tank when he's older. I'm moving on. To all of you who have shared this little road trip with me over the years, thank you. It's been a great ride.

Erin

June 5, 2013

Let your baton twirl, son

Yesterday in the car Tank was making some interesting sounds with his mouth. I commented that he should practice and become a human beat boxer. Then I attempted to show him how to beat box, as only a super cool mother would do.

He listened to me beat box for a minute and then interrupted with his own idea.

"Mom, I think I would rather be on a float with two batons. There would be sprinkles and cupcake decorations and I would twirl the batons and they would shoot candy into the crowd out of the baton. You could stand in the crowd and I could shoot candy at you."

Long pause.

"Ok, well, can I at least be the beat box on the float?" I asked.

"Sure, Mom."

Deal.

Twirl away my cupcake sprinkle dreamer.

June 4, 2013

Back it up, Soldier!

My husband is returning soon from a six month overseas deployment. Deployment, in a word, sucks. It's hard on my husband, my son, and me. Six months is a long, long, time, especially in the life of a six year old. So many moments missed, so much growth, so much change we've tried to convey over an iPhone screen with spotty Wi-Fi.

Deployment creates this kind of stir crazy itch that can't ever be scratched. Aching for people to help get you through the long days, someone for your son to play with, someone to connect with, to keep you out until bed time because once he's in bed, you can go to bed, too. One more day down. Sleeping is better than sitting up alone. Just knock out one more day.

When the orders come for him to deploy it's like a dark cloud of anticipation. Every ounce of you doesn't want it to happen, but at the same time you want him to just go. Go already so we can get this over with. You just want the Band-Aid ripped off. You steel yourself against the despair welling up inside of you. Be strong for him. Be strong for your son. One day at a time.

The first month is the worst. You spend your time adjusting to single parenting and being the sole person responsible for everything. Meals, trash, bills, maintenance, reading, tucking in, dishes, cleaning, working, entertaining, raking, shoveling, gardening, mowing, chauffeuring, coaching, laundry, groceries, you get the idea. In your spare time you are helping your son adjust. Cuddling, heading off tantrums, ignoring tantrums, promising, comforting, disciplining, soothing, playing, bathing, singing, rocking, keeping a routine. Eventually there is a routine.

So when you get word he's coming home the monotony of that routine gets infused with excitement. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can almost reach the missing puzzle piece that was lost in some hard to reach place for so long. Time drudges, but the mood is light. Our daddy is coming home. The world will be right again. Our routine will be different, but better, complete.

So please excuse me if I don't want to share that with the military.

My husband spoke with his boss who asked if he wanted anyone from work to be at the terminal for homecoming.

Excuse me? How about you ask the wife if she wants anyone from work to be there. One more way we get reduced to our husband's social security number. What if I don't want someone I barely know interrupting my son's hug with his father to shake hands with him and gawk at me while I cry.

I understand they want to show respect for my husband's service, but wait. Just wait. Show him respect at work after his two week leave. Call him. Send him and email. But please, don't show up unless you are friends of our FAMILY. Our friends have the decency not to ask if they can intrude on that moment.

We've given enough. The military has had enough of my husband over the past six months. He's ours now. So please, give us the moment.

May 15, 2013

Blabber Mouth

I had a meeting last night and on the drive home after picking up Tank's babysitter (we'll call her K) he proceeded to unleash several bits of my life story that had me wishing I could put a muzzle on him.

Tank: "Hey, K," he piped from the back seat, "I don't think I ever told you that before my mom had me she had a baby that died. Her name was Brenna and I would have had a sister."

Uh......long, awkward silence.

Me: " (To K) It's true, I lost a baby, it was a long time ago, I'm fine now. (To Tank) Remember when mom told you that I don't share that with everyone because it's really sensitive?"

Tank: "Oh yeah."

Tank: "Hey, K, I have 51 Pokémon cards now. I almost have as many as Eric."

Me: "(to K) Did you ever play Pokémon?"

K: "No, I just looked at the cards."

Me: "That's what we do. Tank's dad used to play them. I had no idea they were that old."

K: "Yeah, me neither."

Uh.....awkward silence where I contemplate how old my husband and I are.

Tank: "When my mom was little she collected cards that were gross and had names like Booger Eating Billy."

Me: "(To K) Have you ever heard of Garbage Pail Kids? (K shakes her head no- you know, because she wasn't even born yet.) Well, they were gross and we collected them and they had weird names. Your mom probably remembers them (she does, I asked her.) (To Tank) That was a long time ago, buddy. Like in the 80s."

Tank: "The 1800s?"

K and I burst out laughing. I feel even older.

Me: "(to Tank) Not the 1800s, son. I'm not that old."

Tank: "Yeah, I know. Hey mom, your white jacket is back here."

Pretty much, son. Pretty much. Wrap me up, take me away. I already have the white jacket.

May 8, 2013

Commercialism

Tank came into my room this morning while I was brushing my hair and getting ready to blow dry it.

"Mom, do you like pulling hair out of your brush every day?"

I paused and looked at my brush which had some built up hair in it- nothing out of the ordinary.

"I guess it's not the most pleasant job," I replied as I started to pull the dead hair from the brush.

"Well, then you should get this brush I saw on TV."

Oh. It started to sink in.

"Yeah," he continued, "it goes right through your hair with no damage and no hurting and you do not have to pull any hair out of it. Ever. Even if you have tangled hair or it's all curled up."

My son is a walking infomercial.

Let's hope Hot Buns aren't next.

April 26, 2013

Schedule Stress

I live in a small, Friday Night Lights kind of town in the Midwest. And I'm the mother of a large boy. The natural, stereotypical inclination is to get Tank involved in sports. I mean, he's almost 7. His friends are already playing football, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, AND baseball. That's right, AND.

The only problem is my large boy is anything but athletically inclined. When signing him up for summer T-ball I remarked how happy I was that he wanted to give it a try.

His reply, "well, I don't really WANT to play T-ball."

"Oh? Well, what do you want to do?" I asked.

"I WANT to sit on the couch and play video games and watch TV."

Out of the mouths of babes. Replace video games with read a book and I agree, I'd rather do the same.

Tank's father and I aren't athletic. We are active, sure. I like Zumba, like to be outside, Jeff works out in the gym six days a week. We are active, but not into sports. We don't even like watching sports.

So why do I feel so much pressure to get Tank into them? Team sports can offer Tank things that as an only child he won't experience at home. It will teach him to work with others, respect authority, make him less likely to get into trouble or to become obese. So, no harm in signing him up for things until he adamantly declares he doesn't want to do it. So what if he's the daisy picker on the field, right?

But I still feel all this pressure to make him LIKE sports. He's not aggressive with the soccer ball, he couldn't care less about baseball, and doesn't even know what lacrosse is. It isn't that he doesn't like sports, really, just that he's more interested in playing with his teammates than actually PLAYING the sport.

 And part of me feels like a failure because of it.

But that's my hang up, isn't it? I keep expecting him to be something he isn't- something his father and I aren't either. And why? Tank loves To Shin Do, loves to play outside with his friends, is healthy and active. He doesn't WANT to play a million different sports. He WANTS to simply play.

And that should be enough for me. For all of us that think our kids need to be involved in every sport known to elementary school, on top of music, dance, imagination leagues, building leagues- what the heck is our rush?

No wonder our society has ADD and no idea who we are- we aren't giving our kids any time to find OUT who they are- to just BE who they are. And maybe it's because we haven't let ourselves just BE ourselves for a really, really long time either.

Imagine who our kids could be if they were allowed to be just that- kids.