My oldest daughter, sweet, darling 10-year-old that she is (God help me), suffers from chronic sinus issues and has battled the past two weeks with the last round.  It’s been a struggle to get her to throw her tissues in the trash, take her sinus meds, her nose spray, her vitamins.  She’s ten, the age of reason, right?  She doesn’t need me to remind her or tell her anything.  My confession? It’s awful, I know, but I really can’t stand listening to it anymore.  And, I’m not the one that is suffering.  (cue the: sneeze, cough, sniffle…)

This darling daughter of mine reminds me a bit of Pig Pen; she’s a mess (which is troublesome for an anal retentive clean freak mom).  I mean, the fingernails are always filthy, the hair constantly in her mouth like a pacifier, at any given moment it looks like she’s back from an episode of MASH with dirt smudged across her face. Her feet stink.  It’s horrible – the smell that is. Maybe I should feel bad for bashing her growing feet but they are nasty. When her shoes come off in the car, I want to vomit.  When her shoes come off at home, I want to vomit.  We’ve had to implement the “go wash your feet immediately upon exposing your skin” rule so as not to offend those of us that live here.  I’m admitting this because it’s my understanding that parents of boys share this banter all the time – I’m joining you despite the lack of testosterone in my house.  (repeat here: cough, sniffle, sneeze…)

I’m sick.

I am typing now because I spent five hours on the couch this afternoon and evening.  I let me husband bring me soup.  My middle daughter rubbed my back.  The youngest slept on my lap.  I whined, sniffled and coughed my way through the results show (Go Scotty, Go Scotty, Go!).

I never get sick.

Hell, I am in the middle of a two-week detox.  I gave up alcohol Sunday thru Thursday.  I’m doing P90X.  I shop at the farmer’s market.  I buy organic meat.  I take multi-vitamins, B vitamins, fish oil, acidophilus.  Yes, I drink coffee.  Yes, I eat sugar.  Yes, I consume real butter.

But, I never get sick.

And yet, before today, I’d never jumped out of a shower, grabbed a towel and dried off in a swirl of hidden snot.

SNOT.

Gross.  I know.  You are cringing.

But, like I said, she’s ten.  She’s got sinus issues.  She’s learning.  I should be grateful it was in a towel and not on a kitchen dishcloth or a couch pillow or, god-forbid, her fleece jacket sleeve.

But, there it was, wrapped around my leg.

Awesome.

I have met many a gross and unexpected thing over the past ten years. (You too? Please share.)  But, reveling in the few moments, the few RARE moments of pure, post-shower cleanliness are sacred to me.  Once I walk out, get dressed and exit the bathroom, it ends. Kid grime and workout sweat and germs from everywhere else take over so, yes, I relish those few minutes immediately after the shower turns off while the air is humid and your soul feels disinfected.

So when you spend those moment wrapped up in your kid’s snot, unknowingly. . .

Really, can you blame me for blaming?


It’s May Gray here in southern California.  Apparently that means that I need to prepare for gloomy, chilly days and accompanying mood swings.  Residents here drink a lot of coffee, turn on their heaters and wear layers.  While the rest of the country is welcoming spring, southern Californians are fighting the blues.  Rumor is that next month is June gloom.  Who knew?

Today, we are fighting rain and wind (read: it’s drizzling and breezy).  I’m holding tight to my coffee cup and listening to NPR, my favorite radio station.  I started listening to National Public Radio sometime in my mid-twenties to feel more grown-up.  Having since grown up, I can now admit that I legitimately love it.  I walk away from the station feeling a bit wiser and more worldly.  I share stories with my kids, my husband and can count on at least one friend to call me up every time there is a particularly moving piece on StoryCorps.

One of my favorite pieces was aired by Doris Kearns (presidential historian extraordinaire).  Having spent a grueling amount of time researching Abraham Lincoln, she had discovered that the president had suffered from two severe bouts of depression.  She explained that during what many believe was his second depressive episode he was approached by a friend who told Lincoln that if he did he not snap out of it, he would die.  Lincoln responded by saying that although death seemed welcome, he was afraid he had not done anything memorable yet.  He feared that people wouldn’t remember him and so he resolved to live.

I am recalling that piece today as I sit here trying to fight the blues.  Even if it’s sunny out, this crisis of depression seems to be looming over all of us.  We never really talk about it; hell, that’d mean we were weak.  We certainly don’t talk about our antidepressants or therapy sessions.  Instead, we self-medicate (wine? dessert?) and hope that we can shake off the nagging feeling before someone notices and, be they so brave, asks us what’s wrong.

Instead, maybe we should be asking ourselves how we can be memorable?  If we approach this from Lincoln’s perspective, we should be reflecting a bit more on our legacy in order that we recognize our present day value.  So, in the spirit of optimism and legacy creation, here are five ways to fight your inner demon and create a strong raison d’être.

1) Socialize.  Stop waiting for the world to come to your doorstep.  Fight your inhibitions and meet one new person each day.  It doesn’t mean striking up a conversation with a stranger; it may be as simple as extending a smile and quick greeting to an unfamiliar face – but do it.  You’ll be surprised at the bounce in your step when you walk away knowing that you stepped outside a comfort zone.  If you recall, I stalk people, unabashedly (http://wp.me/sMA1W-stalker); I always walk away smiling.  Spend time with your friends and family, either in person, on the phone or via the myriad of  social media instruments at our fingertips. My guilty indulgence?  People.  Love ’em.  Need ’em.  Can’t get enough of ’em.  Our relationships feed us so take time, everyday, to cultivate one of yours.  People will remember.

2) Exercise.  Study after study has proven that even just a short burst of activity, one that elevates the heart rate for 15-20 minutes, is enough to produce mood-enhancing endorphins.  It’s true.  But you’re tired.  I know, me too.  It’s raining. Heard of an umbrella? The day is over.  No, it’s only over if you throw on your pj’s and sit down in front of the TV. Don’t. Walk outside and let the moonbeams fall on you.  Breathe deeply and move down the street.  It’s that easy.  Not to mention that an endorphin rush can trigger a similar reaction in others.  People will remember.

3)  Volunteer.  We are all busy.  Too busy in fact and there is not one moment of free time we have left to commit to anyone, let alone someone who doesn’t share our name.  Alas, the satisfaction that comes from doing for others, being there for others, creating something for others is deeply intrinsic.  We all need to feel needed and there is no better way to create this than to volunteer for something.  Commit to an organization.  Teach Sunday school.  Make dinner once a month for a friend.  Walk a dog at the humane society (see #2).  Write a thank you note to a veteran.  You don’t need to spend ten hours a week to make a difference; whatever you do will impact another’s world and change yours.  Trust me. People will remember.

4)  Dessert.  When feeling blue, just do it.  I am a huge believer in the happiness of a good dessert.  I am sure that many of you are cringing now; you are angry at me for suggesting it, pissed off that you’ll remember me telling you to go for it later when that chocolate fudge cake is staring you in the face.  Indulge in a cupcake, a hot mochachino, fresh-baked apple crisp.  I’m talking about deliberate, conscious, decision-making for the most decadent delight you can imagine. Go ahead, blame me.  At least when you are cursing me for being a bad influence, you’ll be smiling. And then – I am remembered.

5) Breath.  And, while you are doing this, reminisce on your legacy.  You are children, siblings, spouses, parents, friends; therefore, you are memorable.  You influence.  You love.  You inspire.

You are already remembered.

You’ve conquered Lincoln’s greatest fear.


Modern Family.  I watch it in tears, laughing until my sides aches, shaking my head at the way so much familiarity is put concisely into 22 minutes of what ends up feeling like a core workout.  This past week, Claire confessed, OUT LOUD, that not only did she harbor occasional thoughts of wanting to punch her children, she envisioned them all falling over like dominoes.

I’ve always loved her, but at that moment, I really identified with her.  I’ve had the same vision.  (Gasp!)

Only in our house it’s called the Whack-a-Mole vision.  You know, the arcade game where you whack down the head of one mole only to have another pop up and before you know it you are viciously beating on a table, all the while knowing that you are never going to win?  My vision is like that in that I can feel the handle and see the broad, cushioned paddle.  I concentrate.  I aim. I let my arm fly forward and as soon as I knock one out (one=child), another one pops up.  Over. And over.  It never ends.  And their faces, their cherubic little faces, laugh.  They point.  They coyly dare me to try again…their sweet, taunting voices exude words that sound like:

“Hey Mooommm!!!!  Over here.  Keep trying mom.  Come on, take aim again.  You’re so going to lose but we love your spirit.  Ouch!  Nah, just kidding.  Seriously, is that all you’ve got?  Really???” (Cue the incessant laughter…)

But the vision is more than my frustration.  It’s a message.  Translated, it is unquestionably everything that they really want to say to me but can’t.  Their still young.  They don’t really know they adore me this way.  But I do.

Start.

Over here.  Keep trying mom.  Don’t give up on us.  We know that you get frustrated, particularly when you start counting how many times we call for you in ten minutes.  We love that you’re not perfect; the stained, dirty workout shirts you wear to school when you drop us off every morning because the laundry didn’t get done kind of gives it away.  We love that you take chances; like those 1600 mile road trips when you’re driving alone with four kids, not just three.  We love that you fail.  Everyday something goes wrong (well, a lot usually goes wrong), and you get angry because your plan didn’t work.  But, you plan some more.  You create a scenario of expectation for the next time.  You always try again.  Thank you for teaching us how to persevere.

Come on, take aim again.  We’ve watched you stand up for yourself.  Defend yourself.  Believe in yourself.  We know that you want us to do the same.  We are learning that it is hard to be true to oneself, that it is easier to succumb to the expectations of others.  But you want us to be confident; to turn the other cheek, to not back down.  Thank you for raising us to be strong-willed, independent and stubborn.

You’re so going to lose but we love your spirit.  We are growing up (faster than you’d like some days) and sooner than later we are leaving.  You are raising us to take on the world, to find a place that we belong outside of the home you’ve created.  You are going to feel like you’ve lost when we leave.  You are going to wonder if we will be ok.  You may wonder if you’ll ever be the same.  But we will never see your fear or your uncertainty.  We will never know how much you long for us to stay close because you’ll never give it away.  Your spirit of wanting more for us, of being happy for us, of believing in us is all we’ve ever known.  Thank you for loving us enough to let us go.

Ouch!  Nah, just kidding.  We’ve blamed you.  We’ve found fault in you.  You’ve ruined everything at some point in time.   We want you to trust us and we are so quick to interpret your decisions as punishment.  Please don’t listen when we tell you how awful you are.  We’d never really want you to go; we’d never really want to be without you.  Thank you for understanding us, for giving us space and time, for taking us back.

Seriously, is that all you’ve got?  Really?  Eventually we will need you.   Undoubtedly you’ll be there, a quiet, understated presence.  But we know there is more. Certainly you are anxious to jump back in and love us, but you hold back and let us ask for it.  You create a way for us to need you.  Thank you for letting us ask for you.

And the incessant laughter?  Seriously, can you blame us?

End.

So, if I may suggest this, let my new-found understanding guide you too. This is what your kids are saying to you. The next time you have a moment of clarity so honest it feels wrong, please know that your kids are really, really trying to tell you something.

From them to you.  From me to you.  Happy Mother’s Day.


like now

07May11

I run.  I use the time to think. I plan my days: my grocery list, my to-do list, my “finish by the end of the week” list.  I anticipate my girl’s moods afterschool, my husband’s call to tell me that his schedule changed, the coffee date I set with a friend.  As I run, I think about the girls I coach, the faces I’ve met, the job I want.  When I run, I write.  My legs and my mind move in unison and I promise myself I’ll sit down to type it tomorrow.

But tomorrow always starts with a run, which leads to a list and ends with a promise.

I’ve also been sluggish with my writing because I’ve been busy reading.  Researching if you will.  I am spending endless hours pouring through books of multiple genres to learn how to make myself “truly happy.”  Yep.  There it is, out loud for you to chuckle at.  This gal wants to be truly happy.  I want it to radiate from my core.

Of course, the experts tell you that to be happy you need to do the things that make you happy.  Run?  Check.  Read?  Check.  Write? Well, no. Not lately.

They tell you to live in the now, to enjoy the now, to relish in the satisfaction of knowing that you are solely responsible for changing your now.

I’m not enjoying now.  I’m cowering.  I feel like I owe someone (maybe me?) an apology.  I’ve been hiding from my own intrinsic happiness, thinking that everything I needed to be fulfilled I’d find tomorrow.   I haven’t enjoyed the little successes because I only want big ones, and, interestingly, I can’t put the BIG ones into words.

Today’s run was slow.  I only thought about myself which sounds selfish but I needed to make amends with my own expectations and renew my suffocated ideas and goals – the smaller ones that I’d convinced myself didn’t matter.  As I ran, my mind was busy writing and I was giddy at the mere thought of getting to the computer.  I was happy.  I set a small goal – write today.

Has it made me happy?  Sure.  I’m sipping wine and grinning while my fingers melodically strike the keyboard.  I haven’t once wished I was somewhere else.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll read an extra chapter on my quest for merriment.  Or maybe I’ll try to run a bit faster as I work through my lists and ideas.  And maybe I’ll embrace my now with a more open mind.

I’ll write.


stalker

04Feb11

I have become one of those people.  I am the woman who approaches you when you are sipping your latte in the coffee shop to strike up a conversation about how much caffeine the residents in southern California drink.  I am the person who makes eye contact with you while you are enjoying a glass of wine at dinner (were you on a date?) and then walks up to your table and starts asking questions about the restaurant.  I am the woman who sits next to you at the park, and as soon as your kids start entertaining themselves, delves into a discussion about neighborhoods and preschools. I am the mom you meet at the smoothie stand who calls you up immediately and invites her daughter to play at your house.

Yep.  That’s me.

So you should also know –  I am the crazy lunatic runner who tried to outrun you at the beach with my stroller.  I couldn’t.  Instead, I  decided to sprint another hill.  As I was singing along to the Hannah Montana songs that my four-year old was listening to, wishing I could be a “real” runner and find a group to train with, I decided to find you.

I whipped the stroller around and raced towards the only parking lot I could see hoping to find you there.

Why I thought that chasing down a group of women that all looked like models on the Athleta catalog seemed like a good idea I do not know.  But, I did.  I hunted them down in a parking lot and asked questions in the middle of their plank countdown.  I pretty much invited myself to their next workout.

This morning I laced up and went to meet this group of locals whom I had decided to run with.  It didn’t dawn on me until I was there that I might not be able to keep up with them.  Not until I unloaded the stroller and stuffed the back full of food, music and DS games did I realize that I may be making a huge mistake.  My North Carolina legs are on lactic acid overload every time I head out to run in SoCal, so the idea of trying to push myself with a group of runners that I knew nothing about was suddenly terrifying.

Negative splits.  Out and back.  Comfortable on the way out and then at least 85% on the return.  I heard this.  I smiled. I nodded my head.

Shit –  I was screwed.

This group of women headed out running “easy.” Funny, the pace we were running at felt more like my 85% effort.  I couldn’t start slow, nor was lagging behind in the first mile an option, so I ran.  I talked.  I smiled.  I was euphoric. Weird.  It seemed to good to be true.  We got to the mid-point and took a “break” for some core work and I started to assess the run back.

My euphoria quickly diminished and shifted into panic.  I had felt so good because I had been running downhill for 24 minutes.  Now I was supposed to push the damn stroller uphill and get back to the starting point in less time?  Really? NOT HAPPENING.  I wished everyone luck and reassured them (who am I kidding, I reassured myself) that I would get there eventually.

Which, would have been much easier had the spunky, ridiculously talented, naturally gifted runner who was coaching the group not offered to push the stroller.  This was not good.

Refusing the suggestion would have meant I didn’t want the challenge of seeing what I could do.  I did.  I just didn’t really want to face up to all that I couldn’t do. Not today.  At this point in my life, I’ve become rather accustomed to running behind the stroller, blaming the stroller and talking a lot about what it will be like someday without the stroller.

However, I was here for a reason.  I relinquished my grip and ran. It felt great to be challenged.  I loved the bar being set for me and suddenly wanted to tap into the repressed runner that I am convinced lives inside of me.  Oh yeah. This was going to be good…

Until I look up and saw the hill.  My mind was reeling.  Desperate.  Please running goddesses with whom I am training today please, please, please give me back my stroller so I can hide and blame and maybe even stop behind it.

My nonverbal, telepathic pleas were not successfully communicated.  Instead, the amazing coaching goddess with whom I had entrusted my workout flew by me, with MY stroller, and cheerily yelled out to me to keep up with her.

“Shorten your steps,” she observed.  “Umm, does that mean walk?” I wanted to ask.

“Tighten your elbows,” she encouraged.  “So, what your really saying is stop and stretch?” I silently prayed.

And then, we were at the top.  I finished behind the stroller which hurt.  The traffic light was red and we had a thirty-second reprieve.  We briefly plotted a strategy for the finish and I took control of the stroller again.

The light turned green.

I love running with groups but I also love running alone.  It offers me a lot of time to self-reflect and today, for this last stretch, I was alone.  Time for self-reflection:
1) I was totally out of my league.  How in the world had I ever thought I was going to be able to hang with a group of runners that all look like they belong on the cover of a catalog and who run like they are record-holders?  2) Why had I stalked this group, thinking that their workout looked like fun?  3) When am I going to be able to accept that I am a mediocre runner at best?

I was totally out of my league, but I want to be in the league. I want to be able to show up, run my ass off, feel good. So, I’m going back.  The workout was hard.  But, it was fun. Really.  I finished smiling. I’m smiling now just thinking about it.  As for mediocrity, I’ll keep pushing the stroller. When I am running behind it I convince myself that without it I will be faster.  I’ve tricked myself into thinking that the stroller makes me stronger and when the time comes for me to train alone, maybe I will be.

Truth be told, it’s easier to be a crazy stalker when you’re pushing 50 pounds in front of you while singing Hannah Montana’s “I got nerve.”

Yep, I am one of those…


cheers

31Dec10

So many things to say and yet, on this last day of 2010, I feel compelled to only reflect on you.  I could write about the insanity of moving across the country the week before Christmas.  But why? Close your eyes and imagine it.  It needs no words.  I could try to sum up 2010 in some neat little anecdote that may make you laugh.  But why?  You lived the year too – laugh at yourself.  What I need to say is that I am proud of us.  We survived.  You.  Me.  We did it.

Our fathers were diagnosed with cancer.  Our mothers survived cancer.  Our sisters passed away.  We had babies.

We fell out of love with our husbands.  Our husbands fell out of love with us.  We left.  They left.  We fell in love.

We lost our jobs.  We quit our jobs.   We found better jobs.

Our houses sold and didn’t sell.  We moved in with our parents, our sisters, our friends.  Our best friend moved.  We went to the beach.  We found happiness.

Our businesses were destroyed.  Our patience tested.  Our hearts were medicated.  Our nerves were medicated.  We crossed finish lines in races we thought we’d never run.

Our families crumbled.  Our families reunited.  Our siblings had babies. Our children ate their vegetables.  We celebrated with cake.

We cried together.  Ate together.  Drank together.  We wished on feathers.

And, tonight, it ends; the chaos, the joy and the heartache of the year come to a screeching halt and we celebrate with champagne and fireworks.  We go to bed eager to wake up in a new year (and hopeful that the Motrin won’t be too far from our nightstand).

Tonight I am making one resolution.  Just one.

I am going to listen more.

Here’s why:  I hope that I will hear what others need and act accordingly. I am banking on slowing down, thinking more, processing more.   I’ll hear more of my heart – write more, read more, cook more, run more.   I think it may afford me an opportunity to better myself; to work on my relationships, to develop new friendships; to find a meaningful job and to parent wisely.

It means that when you call me to share your good news, your bad news, your unbelievable news – I am listening.  When you decide to be brave, when you do the extraordinary – I am listening.  Whether your heart is breaking or bursting – I hear you.

I hope that the New Year brings you peace. I hope that you find answers to your questions, clarity in your beliefs.  I hope that your heart heals and that you find love, with someone else and with yourself.  I wish for you to be visited by the organization fairy, the sleep fairy, and the home-cooked meal fairy.  I hope that your job makes you happy, that your children behave, that your coffee is hot.

And know that regardless of the time and space between us, you will continue to inspire me.

I thank you.  I love you.

Are you listening?


missing

15Nov10

I miss my keyboard.

I am taking it back.

Five months of madness and excuses are ending.

Get ready…


guest room

27Jun10

So, if you haven’t heard…

We’re moving.

In six months we will be leaving our home of the past decade and seeking out a new home, a new neighborhood, a new beginning.  The five of us will be traveling into new territory and testing our ability to trust and depend on one another.  Good news? Sure.  I think change is always good.

But, that doesn’t mean it also isn’t scary as shit.

I am not scared for or about myself.  I have great faith in my ability to adapt, to connect to others, to create a home.  I know that the transition will be difficult and that it will test the limits of my patience.  But, I need this.

More importantly, my kids need this.  I love that they are Carolina Girls.  I love that they take with them whisperings of a southern accent.  I love that Wilmington is the place that they were born.  But, I also love that they are embarking on an adventure that will hopefully (if they are guided accordingly) allow them to appreciate each other and themselves more.  They are going to learn about self-reliance and the bonds of sisterhood as they delve into new schools and find themselves strangers, unsure of where they may fit in.  I hope that they will learn to enjoy one another more while adapting and looking for the friends that are waiting to be found.  I pray that this transition may strengthen them as we are forced to work together to create our new home; that they come away stronger and awestruck at all that they are able to accomplish.  All of this will help them to appreciate the relationships in their lives; it will help them to maintain, cultivate and cherish those friendships that have and will continue to influence the women they are becoming.

And, yes – Trevor needs this.  He has needed this for a long time but he has resisted for us, waiting for the time that we were ready.  His fears that the girls will be traumatized and that I will be devastated without my “hood” are just that, fears, not truths. His worries about housing and cost of living, while relevant, are unnecessary.  We will be together.  We will find someplace to live that gives us what we need – room to grow as a family – and as long as it is together, the square footage won’t matter (someone remind me of this often).

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that one should “always do what you are afraid to do.”  I am not afraid of the move; I am scared that I won’t fulfill the needs of my family in executing the move.  I am afraid that I won’t find the right house.  In the right community.  At the right time.  I am afraid of starting too soon and waiting too long.  I am scared to start thinking, looking, dreaming…

Idyllic moves are just that – idyllic.  Our picturesque journeys never happen like we hope but we continue to hope that we’ll make them happen.  The adventure of it all is exciting and the unknown ultimately creates security and trust – we come to this from chaos.

One thing is certain, we’ll be together – scared and unsure searching for a future that promises novelty and love (sun, surf and seventy degrees are a sure thing too.)

There will be a guest room.

San Diego anyone?


the footlocker

06Jun10

Trevor’s footlocker is home.

This may seem insignificant, but it marks the beginning of the end for me.  The footlocker is a sign of an impending finish.  The idea that Trevor is packing up the things he no longer needs and sending them home is hopeful.  I hope for no extensions.  I hope I will be sane enough for long enough.  I hope one day I will figure out why “hope” sounds so good and sometimes feels so bad.

The waiting game begins.

I am waiting for my best friend.  It is excruciating to go so long without hearing his voice.  I struggle knowing that despite all the people I share my world with, he is the only one who really knows what the core of me is thinking without me having to explain it.  I am bursting with excitement to share the mundane details of my everyday with him and yet, I am sick with the wait that lies ahead. But mostly, I am grateful that this amazing person is on his way home to me and that our everyday moments will be shared again.

I love that I miss him.  What if I didn’t?  I know that the distance between us makes it hard.  Painfully hard sometimes.  But, it makes us better too.

I wish this same kind of crazy adoration for you.  I am sure that in a few months I will be complaining about something but for now, I am fortunate to be loved and to love –  I want this for you.

Your heart should skip a beat at least once a day.  You should want to share your secrets, your joys, your foibles, your vulnerabilities.  You should be talking until long past midnight about nothing at all, enjoying one another’s company for no reason in particular other than there seems to be more to say.  You should feel confident and trustworthy in the quiet moments.  You should be made to feel beautiful and protected.  You should know that you are capable of being alone but even better when you are together.  You should know how it feels to have adoring eyes follow you across a room.  You should love yourself because you believe you are worthy of being loved.  You should love others because you know how amazing it feels to be loved.

You shouldn’t spend time wondering about whether it will work.  You should know from the depths of your body that it does work – even when it feels like it might not.  You should never feel alone.  You may be alone, but the answer to your emptiness should never be in doubt.

You should want your children to have what you have.  When it comes to love, they don’t deserve better; you should have already found the best.

You deserve to be happy.  You deserve someone who makes you happy.  Someone who would move heaven and earth to make you happy.

Tonight, I close my eyes knowing that all of this is mine.

He’s coming home.

The footlocker is here.


This was written by my friend Lauri: mom of 4, caretaker of all others, one of the few people I know who has an unending supply of patience for the 10 and under crowd.

If you didn’t already know this, I am very often inspired by the people around me.  My sister inspired me to make my own guacamole for the first time.  Brothers and Sisters’ Kitty inspires me through her ability to handle her father’s sudden death, husband’s untimely heart attack, infertility, cancer, and now political sabotage.  Neighbors inspired me to run a 5K which I never even considered.  In the spirit of all things that have inspired me, another happened today.  Today, in the midst of a rite of passage in our house, I was inspired by a friend who insisted I write about it.

My 2-year-old baby girl had a rite of passage today.  She is younger than any of my other children when it happened, but it was her time.  Is she potty trained?  No.  Did she get stitches?  No.  Did she realize I am actually not the most perfect being on earth?  No, not yet.

Today was a day like any other.  In-laws left for home in the morning and the laundry that had piled up during their visit needed to be done.  Camping gear from the weekend needed to be put away for next year.  Emails to be returned, witty comments on Facebook to be read.  I recruited a friend’s little girl to help entertain my littlest girl while I crossed things off my to-do list.

Annie got her first haircut today.  It was upstairs at the eager hands of her 4-year-old lusciously haired friend as I left them unattended while fixing their lunches.  The girls emerged downstairs for nuggets and berries when I noticed something wet on Annie’s hair…was it water?  Was it hairspray left by Grandma Kathy in the guest bath?   The smell was familiar, but what was it?  Glue.  Elmer’s Glue.  In case Annie didn’t like her haircut, the girls tried to glue it back on.  Haircut.  Glue.  Haircut.  While sudsing the girls up in the bath, I saw the signs of the haircut and kept thinking it wasn’t so bad.

When I left the girls upstairs, I made sure they knew to stay away from the hamsters cage.   I never told Annie’s friend to not use scissors and cut Annie’s hair that I had just recently been able to pull into pigtails, did I?   You live, you learn.  I chose to take some inspiration from Annie whom kept reliving her experience for each of her siblings when they saw her, and she could not be happier with her new “do”.  In fact, she sought out and brought the locks of hair to me just a little while ago in case I had not realized just how much had been cut.

While a first hangover, the start of college, a bat Mitzvah, or getting a tattoo may be bigger in scope, some rites of passage aren’t even enjoyed by the person doing the passage-ing.   This Rite of Passage is a sign that Annie is growing up, and she will soon have the stylish pixie cut to prove it.