Laugh, Cry, or Dig a Hole and Die (of embarassment)

Busy busy busy. But who isn’t?

I have a large calendar, basically an adult trapper keeper (yeah, you know what I’m talking about). It has a red cover and I’d rather lose my wallet than it. I would be lost. Today’s square wasn’t too full. Joe was out of town (actually that changed yesterday but I didn’t erase it), a last minute dentist appointment (I’d rather go to Gitmo), and the orientation at the littles’ preschool. The orientation was just for parents so I couldn’t bring the girls. When Joe was still supposed to be in Chicago I had arranged with the school’s director for her teenagers to babysit my girls at their house.

Never write something on the calendar in pen. It's a bad idea.

Never write something on the calendar in pen. It’s a bad idea.

Luckily Joe’s trip was cancelled so I was able to make the last minute dentist appointment without some serious finagling. He arranged his day to meet me at the dentist (I have to assume he didn’t eat lunch in order to do so…at least his grumpy mood indicated that he was hangry…) and I was able to endure the hell on earth that is a dental cleaning. (I mean, seriously, I HATE the dentist. It probably deserves its own post…but it would just be a string of expletives and angry emojis). When I got home I almost immediately started dinner. We usually eat a little later so Joe can join us, but tonight we needed to leave no later than 6 to drop the kids at the sitters’ and make it to orientation.

Can I just say, this will be our third year (and third child) at this preschool. I feel like I’m *probably* well oriented. The director even gave me a bye when I asked about it. But she also offered her kids as sitters and I am too much of a rule follower not to go when I have the ability to.

So that brings me back to dinner. (I joked with the receptionist at my dentist’s that the only reason I make food is to throw it away…tonight was no exception. One day these kids are going to have to feed themselves and they will regret all this food they were too picky to eat. Or not…at least until they’re parents themselves and in the same situation.) Dinner wrapped up and as we were cleaning up I realized we were running low on time. I started rushing. I yelled at the kids to shoe-up and move out. We hustled into the car. Drove to the sitters’ house. Then I behaved like only a mother of three who’s running late does. With barely a hello, without letting anyone get a word in edgewise, I basically THREW my kids at her. “Here’s some microwave popcorn if they want a snack, diapers, wipes, my phone number, Joe’s..oh and don’t give Elizabeth any dairy. She’s allergic.”

“Um…I am babysitting for you tomorrow.”

“What? Isn’t tonight the… wait, what?”

“Yeah. My mom is getting her hair done right now. Today’s Wednesday? I’m babysitting tomorrow…Thursday? The thing at the school, it’s tomorrow.”

I can’t even. I got nothing. I don’t know how, or why, or when I screwed up my dates so badly. Or how I didn’t realize the mistake sooner. I’m not sure if it’s funny, sad, or embarrassing.

Mostly I’m kinda bummed I have to put on real clothes two nights in a row this week because of my mistake.

Throwback Thursday

It’s always a surprise. That moment when a sound or smell takes you back. There are certain things you remember from your childhood and know will make you nostalgic. But the ones that are most visceral, that suddenly sweep you back to a different you…they are always a surprise.

I vividly remember one of the first times it happened. I was teaching seventh grade at the time and came out of the building that spring day to get in my car and go home. The crack of an aluminum bat rang from the baseball field. It might as well have been a sonic boom for how it suddenly popped me to attention. The house I grew up in was behind a middle school, a few houses down from the baseball fields. I didn’t realize that sound was part of my childhood. I never noticed it per se. But the second I heard it that day in my late twenties, I heard it echoing through my youth. It was ever present, just part of the wallpaper. I didn’t hear it, but it was always there. The feeling that grabbed me and brought me back at that moment was crazy.

It happened again tonight. I was making lasagna. I haven’t made it in a while, we just don’t eat a lot of pasta and dairy at home. A friend is having a tough time and I was making it for her. It felt good to be in the kitchen making food. Food has such a warmth about it when made for someone else. And suddenly, there it was. My body was on a different plane. I was pulled back through memories of times I’d made this dish before. In college for friends, with my mom in her kitchen. I don’t know why this dish did it for me the way it did today. I mean, this is a “signature, go to, I make the best lasagna you’ve ever had” meal…so it’s special to me, sure, but why today did I have this response? Maybe because I’m in my “forever” kitchen? We call this our 20 year house. This is where we’re raising our family. This is Established. Maybe because I had kids running underfoot and my brain connected it with my mom at my age? Maybe I have just been pulled in a million directions lately and the process of making a lasagna – the layers, the repetition – maybe it was a kind of meditation that cleared the clutter for a moment.

Whatever it was it felt warm and comfortable, easy and familiar. I felt connected to my life in that way that happens sometimes when you see a bigger picture than just today, tomorrow, to do.

When you know a recipe well enough that you just need a list of ingredients...and not even a complete list at that.

When you know a recipe well enough that you just need a list of ingredients…and not even a complete list at that.

 

These are the things no one tells you

These are the things no one tells you about getting divorced:

You may find yourself a year later, sitting alone in your living room with the lights turned low, watching a bloody-dirty-messy Game of Thrones marathon, crying.

You won’t be on some amazing date, rock climbing then wine tasting. You won’t be out shaking your ass to the bass, flirting and doing shots and dancing with boys like when you were 25. You won’t be having 50 kinds of dirty sex. At least for this one night, you will be sitting on the couch under a heavy blanket, wiping tears onto your tank top.

Not because you’re sad – because you are in fact incredibly happy.

Not because you’re lonely – because you are in fact surrounded by so much love and laughter and friendship, more than you’ve ever felt before.

Not because you are scared – because you are a warrior and you have embraced all the amazing possibilities of choosing your own life and molding it in your own vision.

But, just, because, you are now only YOU. And you are used to being half of us/them/they/that.

Maybe you have felt a new love, and it has not worked out smoothly, perfectly, like the movies, like your plans. Maybe this love has already torn your heart apart.

Maybe you have not found any love yet, and you fear it will never arrive.

Maybe you are alone in a house that is all yours, with a night and a tomorrow and a next week and a next year that is ALL YOURS, and every decision is all yours – and you aren’t sure what to do with all that powerful YOU.

But I believe, I believe so hard and so strong and with so much force that YOU are enough. You are the most, the best, the goal. You are the very thing that led you here to this place on this night with these tears, and YOU will be the thing that grows wings and soars.

Perhaps no one has ever told you this secret. Perhaps you are just discovering it this very minute, on this very couch, crying these very tears: YOU are the reason.

Isn’t this a relief? You are why.

When Jed was about 4 he started asking about my comparative love of things. “Mom, what do you love more, apples or strawberries? Mom, who do you love more, grandma or grandpa? Mom, who do you love more, me or dad?” One night at bedtime, he asked, “Mom, who do you love more, me or you?” I answered honestly. “I love me first, Jed, then you are right after that.” Tears welled up in his eyes. “Take it back mom! Say it again! You love me first!” I tried to explain that everyone has to love themselves with the first-most-best love, because the love we put into ourselves makes more love to give to everyone else. “Do you understand that, Jed?” “NO!!!!! Say it again the right way!” He was almost sobbing at this point. So I said that yes, indeed, I loved him first and most and kissed him goodnight. He tested me over and over again, “Mom, who do you love more, me or you?” “Do you understand yet?” I’d ask him? “No.” So I’d say, “You Jed, I love you most.” Just recently, two years into our love game, he asked me again. “Hey, mom, who do you love more, me or you?” I looked over, and saw a tiny bit of a smirk forming at his mouth, saw a tiny glimmer of knowledge in his eyes. “Do you understand yet?” I asked. “No, well, a little bit, but say it the way I like you to say it,” he replied. I smiled, happy to know that he will learn this lesson early in life. “I love us both the same,” I replied. “That’s good enough for now,” said Jed.

Brownies for Breakfast

Lindsay Horvath is a 36 year old stay-at-home-mom. She writes, photographs, mothers and drinks her way through each day. If you want to know more, she blogs at horvathhappenings.wordpress.com.

 

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In my life of social media, I tend to stay away from other people’s tragedies, in particularly other people’s tragedies that involve children.  Not because I don’t care, or I’m not interested.  But because I just…can’t.  There is this huge vat of raw fear that lives in every mom’s soul, the fear of something happening to their child or children, and that fear can manifest itself in many ways.  Seeing your child’s life flash before your eyes as a car whizzes by a little too close in a parking lot.  Tripping on the stairs while carrying a newborn and envisioning her toppling over the railing and smashing to smithereens on the tile.  Hearing a news story about a freak accident and–just for a moment–imagining what it must be like to be that child’s mother.
But of course, you push this fear into a neat little box and place it up on a high shelf, always in view but out of the way, because if we did not do this, it would surely eat us alive.  We would lose the thing that makes life so great, the joy we get from every day things, if we were to constantly worry about the endless possibilities of death, accidents, illnesses, predators, anaphalyctic allergic reactions, brain aneurisms, fires, floods, drownings and car accidents.
But once in awhile I allow myself to be pulled in to someone else’s tragedy.  There are a few “sick baby” pages on Facebook that I follow.  One is Prayers for Baby Alex…a little boy who was in the NICU with Nola.  Another is about a baby named Ethan belonging to a friend of a friend who was born with a rare spinal tumor and (ironically, as I’m realizing now) was just released from the hospital today.  And another story is about a little girl named Chloe who was the same age as Gabe.
Chloe, the daughter of a friend from my “mom board” was killed in a car accident on December 22, 2014.  Her mother talked about, after her death, how that morning they had had brownies for breakfast, just because.  Some of her friends suggested that they, too, would give their children brownies for breakfast on February 18, which would have been Chloe’s 7th birthday.  A page was born, Brownies for Breakfast, and it grew from a few friends of friends to a massive 28,000.
28,000 people, kids.  Let that sink in for a moment.
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And the purpose of this exercise in life was so simple, so deep, and so important.  Stop, for just a few minutes.  Stop working, stop worrying, stop correcting, stop chastising, stop cleaning, put down the phone.  Take a minute to enjoy the tiny things that are really the biggest things in the world.
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This kid loves to help in the kitchen, but oh my goodness is she a mess.  Most of the time when she “helps”, there is a lot of parental assistance.  Today, for a change, I decided to let her do it all.  And I do mean everything.  And when we were done, we licked the spoon (okay, bowl), ate our brownies of uneven consistency and let the rest cool for the other half of our family.  I can’t tell you how incredibly happy this made my sassy girl, who always wants to “do it myself!” and who also has a serious weakness for sweets.
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And of course, the flip side.  The moment of remembering Chloe, and thinking of her mom, who I wouldn’t know from Adam but who I know how she feels in her heart, just a smidge.  Just a tiny inkling, because I am a mom too, and her Chloe is my Gabe, and my Stella.  And a minute of gratitude, because while her kid is no longer here, mine are.
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So thank you, Chloe, for the reminder.  For me and the 28,000 other people who took time from our busy, busy worlds to stop and enjoy a moment, remember what we have, and say a little prayer of peace for your family.  To remind us to take that box down and dust it off, for within the fear of what if also lies the great, immense joy that comes in the simplest of forms, things that are so often pushed aside because there just isn’t isn’t time.  Its the epitome of being unable to see the forest for the trees.
And so: Brownies for Breakfast.  Literally and figuratively.  Happy birthday, Chloe.
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#browniesforbreakfast

A couple of weeks ago,  you may have seen an event we shared on our Facebook page called “Brownies for Breakfast.” This beautiful event was created by the mother of a 6-year-old girl named Chloe who was tragically killed in a car accident this past December. On the morning of her untimely death, Chloe asked for brownies for breakfast and her mother obliged, for no other reason than to make her daughter happy.

The event asked that you take some time today, February 18th, on what would have been Chloe’s 7th birthday and really enjoy your time with your kids. Whether you actually have brownies for breakfast, or you enjoy a special outing together, or simply take a moment to really savor your time with your kids, today was supposed to be a day of honoring Chloe’s memory and being grateful. It’s such a heart-wrenching and touching story that the event quickly swelled from the small group of women in the FB mothers’ group where the idea was hatched to well over 28 THOUSAND people from all over the world.

I was really moved by the idea of this event. I couldn’t wait to shower my children with love and affection. To be super patient and thoughtful and engaged. To really, truly reflect on how amazing it is to have these two unique, brilliant people in my life.

But guys… it was a really hard day.

Last night, I dug the box of brownies out of the cabinet and took a deep breath. It’s been a long winter. I’ve blogged about it already and on top of all the snow days, yesterday marked the end of their four-day Presidents’ Day weekend. It’s been tough on all of us.

Lucas had done nothing but give me an incredibly difficult time since the moment he got home from my parents’ house last night (the kids had spent Monday night at my parents’ house). They got home pretty late and he wanted to play Xbox, but it was too late for Xbox, but he didn’t want to hear that. So then, because he was pissed at me, he took it out on his sister and was mean and nasty to her. At bedtime, he bitched and moaned the whole time. Too hot. Too thirsty. Too many blankets. He cried because he wants Jack in bed with him. He cried because Jack jumped out of the bed. He wanted me to snuggle with him and I did, but not enough, or not the right way. He can’t sleep. He cried more. He literally spewed gibberish while crying interspersed with “You hate me! I’m horrible! No one likes me!” (<– This part is a phase. At least that’s what I’m telling myself… because it’s just the worst.) I was up and down the stairs for nearly two hours trying to get him to settle. Nothing was working until finally I just told him to get in my bed, and somehow, miraculously, that worked.

All the while I was mixing and baking those brownies.

I used them as a focus point – kind of like meditation. Tomorrow will be different. I told myself that. I’ll be more engaged. The kids will see that. They’ll respond to it. It’ll be a beautiful day.

It was an auspicious start. Quinn came in to my bed early. Sweet breath on my face. Tiny, soft hand caressing my arm. We whispered and snuggled and giggled.

But then I had to pee. And she WOULD NOT get off of me. I tried being polite. Cajoling. Pleading. Finally, I had to pry her arms off my neck so I could get out of bed to take a piss. She cried.

And when I was done peeing, I had to drag a sleepy, extremely grumpy Lucas out of bed so he could start getting ready for school. He cried.

The brownies were met with a lukewarm reception. I took the picture of them eating (Lucas wouldn’t even look at the camera because he was too grumpy). I posted on FB about savoring the moment.

And I did, but the whole point of Full Blown Bunny is to be honest, and the truth is, that moment was fleeting. We had to rush through breakfast because we were running late, there was yelling about finding shoes and lack of cooperation in getting coats on and backpacks ready, and both kids ended up late anyway.

I spent the bulk of my day cleaning my house. Tidying up my physical space in an attempt to tidy up my mental space. It was really bugging me that I couldn’t seem to make this “savor the moment” thing work. I vowed to make a better attempt once the kids got out of school.

I picked Lucas up first and then Quinn and then we took a trip to the car wash. My red car has looked white as of late due to all the salt and other crap on the roads. I know the kids both love the car wash and I figured it would be a fun start to the afternoon.

But as soon as we got home, Lucas once again seemed bound and determined to test my resolve. Getting him to finish his homework was an absolute nightmare. Without going into too much detail (mostly because I don’t even know if I could tell you) at one point I ended up carrying him upstairs and locking him in his room because his tantrum was so out of control.

Sigh.

I took them out to dinner anyway. I was determined to make it a special day, goddammit.

We went to our favorite restaurant, I left my phone in the car, and I really did my best to just focus on them.

They ordered their favorite meals. Lucas ate everything. Quinn barely touched hers. I decided not to care.

We ordered “make your own s’mores” for dessert. The kids had a blast lighting the marshmallows on fire. Lucas ate four s’mores. Quinn didn’t eat any… just melted half a dozen marshmallows. At one point Lucas grinned at me and said, “I don’t care if I get messy, Mama, cuz that’s just what you do with s’mores, right?” He was right.

We got home after their bedtime. We had a quick Skype date with my sister because today also happens to be my niece’s 8th birthday. We sang.

Then it was bathtime and I didn’t rush them through it even though we were way past bedtime at this point. We sang songs and watched YouTube videos. They brushed their teeth while watching Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” (Lucas’s newest obsession).

They’ve been asleep about 45 minutes now.

I realized it’s less about making the whole day special because with kids as unpredictable as they are, it’s nearly impossible to do without difficulty.

What this day and every should be about is seeing the perfection and being grateful in those little moments, even if they are squeezed into an otherwise exhausting and difficult day.

The little girl curled in my arms this morning. The little boy with marshmallow and chocolate all over his face.  They’re what #browniesforbreakfast is all about.