Always A Parent

It goes without saying that life is busy when you’re a parent.

But every once in awhile, you get the kind of week that makes all the other weeks seem easy.

That week for me started the weekend before last, when we rushed home from school and work Friday night for a tree lighting event in the neighborhood. That was followed Saturday and Sunday with my daughter’s first dance recital, my son’s first-ever audition for a musical, grandparents in town visiting, my husband’s office Christmas party and an overnight hotel stay for the two of us (yay!), My wedding ring going missing (It was later found in the dirty laundry because of course), and a memorial gathering for a friend who died.

That next week required daily rehearsals for my son in a town a half hour’s drive from home, his participation in a Christmas parade, the usual daycare shuffle for my daughter and homework for my son, and a half-dozen after hours work meetings and events for my husband and me.

Crazy doesn’t begin to describe it. Somehow, we survived with the help of lots of fast food and little bathing, our marriage still intact.

The problem with these super busy weeks is that the regular chores don’t go away. The laundry keeps piling up. The dishes go undone. The groceries don’t buy themselves.

Fortunately, my parents came up to watch my son’s show with us.

He slayed, by the way.

I watched with a big stupid grin on my face and proud tears in my eyes the way moms do.

And then when we got home, my parents helped me get our lives in order again the way parents do.

My mom and I together tackled the overwhelming piles of laundry, and organized the kids’ rooms.

My dad washed our cars and took out the overflowing trash cans.

After they headed home, I was motivated enough to clean all the bathrooms, mop the floor, finish the dishes and squeeze in some much-needed yoga. My husband did the grocery shopping and prepared our first home-cooked meal in too long.

Because parenting doesn’t stop when our kids are grown, and our job is just as important.

Whether we have babies, preschoolers, middle-schoolers, high-schoolers, college kids or adults with kids of their own, a parent is there to make us believe we can step on stage under the bright lights and handle this thing called life.


Holiday Magic

My 3-year-old daughter took a late nap yesterday, and wouldn’t sleep when it was bedtime.

First, I let her look at a book quietly in bed. But soon, she wanted more snuggles and another song.

With sleep still miles away, I let her lie with my husband and me in bed for a few minutes. I carried her back to bed. I rocked her like I did when she was a baby. Still, my daughter fussed.

I begged. I threatened. I bribed.

She just wasn’t tired, she said. My patience, however, was exhausted.

I went on a quick walk around the neighborhood, and returned to a little voice calling out “Mom!” as soon as I reached the top of the stairs.

The cool night air had given me a fresh perspective, and I hoped it’d do the same for my daughter. I picked her and her Christmas quilt up, and carried her out to the front porch.

We sat down together with her warm in my lap and watched the holiday lights twinkle all around us. I sang to her the parts of her favorite Disney songs I could remember and a few Christmas carols.

After a few minutes, I carried her back inside, me calm and her renewed and ready to sleep. A little holiday magic and a lot of do-whatever-works parenting. 🎄

Sisterhood Of The Wet Pants

Tonight we were walking home from a neighborhood tree lighting, my daughter and I hand-in-hand and my husband and son in front of us.

It was a great night. The kind of night where the small town camaraderie was as warm as the cocoa being handed out. It was also a dark night. I couldn’t see a damn thing. My heeled boot got caught in a gopher hole, and I stumbled and almost fell.

The combination of surprise and sudden movement caused me to pee a little and then some more.

“Gah!” I yelled to my husband ahead of me. “I totally tripped and peed. I’M FULLY PEEING MY PANTS RIGHT NOW”.

“There’s somebody in that truck right there, and they just heard you say you peed your pants,” he called back.

What he didn’t know: that somebody was also a mom.

“I totally understand!” came a female voice through the darkness. “I do the same thing!”

I was so relieved. “It’s the reality once you have kids!” I replied.

“Yep!” she said.

We moms are a tribe. Always there for each other, even in the dark of night. Sleepless. Weak-bladdered. Sick of the bullshit. Fierce protectors. The sisterhood of the wet pants.

Is Poop Cool Now?

Is poop actually COOL now? 💩

I mean, I know the poop emoji is cool. But is real poop allowed to sit at the lunch table with the football players and cheerleaders these days?

When my daughter and I visited Claire’s today (RIP to that classic store), I was surprised at the sheer volume of festive holiday poop gear. Headbands with glittery poop in place of reindeer heads. Necklaces with dangling poopmojis. Poop purses for days.
What’s next? Kissing under the poop swirls?

Maybe just a pop (poop?) culture phenomenon, I told myself.

But today while attending a friend’s birthday party at a park, my 7-year-old son proudly announced he was going to go “number 2” and his friend waited outside the bathroom for a solid, not runny, 25 minutes while my son did his business. They talked the whole time.

Call me a little confused, because back when I was banging in school my friends and I avoided being caught pooping at all costs. If we did have to do the deed at school, we made damn sure to do it fast and to flush if we needed to mask the noise. “I have to go pee” we said when we needed to use the bathroom, whether or not the pee part was true.

There was shame associated with poop. But my husband says that he didn’t feel ashamed to poop among friends as a boy.

All of which begs the question: is poop shame a gender thing, a generational thing, or is poop suddenly just plain cool?

A Cause For Just-Because Toys

My kids know that when we go to the store and they behave, they MIGHT get to look at the toy aisle. They’ll hold each toy for a few minutes, and put them back. Off we go to pay for our toilet paper, bananas and maybe a clearance necklace for Mommy. That’s the rules.

But yesterday was different. I’d gotten a call from my 3 year old daughter’s home daycare that started out “Everything is OK”, except her shaking voice told me otherwise.

Police had been pursuing a kidnapping suspect, and the assailant floored it right onto the grass next to the playground area at a neighborhood park my daughter’s daycare was visiting.

My daughter was captured on the police dash cam as the daycare provider scooped her up ahead of the fleeing car.

I have the good fortune of knowing the police chief, who told me they believe the assailant had been on his way to kidnap children in a nearby neighborhood. The chief told me my daughter had been about 30 feet away from the car, still much too close for my comfort. The driver is being charged with child endangerment.

Absolutely terrifying, unpredictable shit.

We can worry all day everyday, and still things will happen. I’m just grateful that my daughter and the other children are safe, and I have an excellent daycare provider who would throw herself in front of a crazed driver any day to protect “her” kids.

We can’t always keep our kids safe, but we can love and appreciate the hell out of them. And sometimes that means going to the store just to buy the super deluxe doll set with all the accessories. Come at me. 👶

Real Parenthood

This is real parenthood.

Two kids at “the happiest place on Earth” (Disneyland) watching Mickey cartoons on a cell phone because they won’t stop climbing the railings and poking each other with toy swords and fingers.

Looking at a video of Mickey instead of posing with someone dressed as Mickey because it’s been a long few days and Mom is tired and Dad is on a roller coaster. Even big kids beg to be picked up in long lines, and we take the snuggles where we can get them.

All dressed up and every place to go, but staring at a phone. Life without an Instagram filter. I’m not proud of this picture, but this is parenthood. And you’d better believe beyond the edges of the photo, there were other parents losing their patience. There were toddlers arching their backs and wailing, overdue for naps. There were snacks and more snacks being passed out.

Because this is parenthood. Even at the happiest place on Earth.

The Best Day

Today, I saved $102 at Grocery Outlet and they had Jelly Belly Belly Flops, which I’m always looking for, and something called chocolate wine.

“Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins came on the radio in the car, which is probably my all-time favorite song.

It’s 85 degrees today.

I got to watch my daughter shake her bon bon so happily at dance class.

My husband made me the most bomb breakfast burrito to take with me.

My son’s new favorite thing to do is read out loud to himself, and I love to listen to him. Our cat is 11 and still likes to snuggle like when he was a kitten. By bathrooms are clean and the dishes are done.

Tonight, we’re going to Boo at the Zoo.

This might be the best day of my life.