Aladdin

Aladdin micro

See this kid? The one with the chubby cheeks dressed as Aladdin? We went together to see the new live-action version in the theatre the other day. He didn’t wear his costume though, because, you see, this boy is 17 now.

When my son was little, Aladdin was his absolute favorite. My talented mother-in-law sewed him a costume, complete with a little red hat, and he wore it EVERYWHERE, dragging his magic carpet and Abu behind him.

Every car ride he would beg me to play “One Jump” over and over, so he could practice the rapidly paced words. He drove us all crazy with his incessant singing day and night…and I remember wishing for the Aladdin phase to pass, because that song was CONSTANTLY stuck in my head.

Be careful what you wish for.

Because it seems I blinked, and suddenly found myself watching a different version of Aladdin, with a different version of this boy. A boy who towers over me now. A boy with stubble on his formerly chubby cheeks. A boy with a deep voice, who is too self-conscious to ever sing out loud to me today.

And as we sat in the darkened theatre and “One Jump” came on, I snuck glances over at my son, leaving for college in just one short year, and struggled to hold back tears. I’m not sure how we got here, he and I, to this stage of life, so quickly.

And the same me that wished the Aladdin phase would pass, now wished that I could go back in time for even a single day, and hear that little voice singing to me again.

Parenting little kids is tough. I’m finding letting go of big kids is tougher.

So to the parents of young ones…give them an extra snuggle today. And to the parents struggling with the next chapter…just know you are not alone.

This boy of mine may not hold my hand any longer, but no matter how big he gets, he will always, always, hold my heart. ❤️

Mother’s Day Mayhem

My three kids on Mother’s Day: “Mom, you go relax. We’ll do everything. We’ve got it covered.”

Narrator: But they didn’t have it covered. They didn’t have it covered at all…

“MOM!! “OH NO. OH GOD. SOMEBODY GET TOWELS!! HURRY!! MOOOMMM!! SOMETHING IS WRONG. WHAT. IS. HAPPENING?????”

Yes, friends, they poured LIQUID dish soap in the dishwasher and flooded my kitchen. And if you look closely, you’ll also notice they loaded the forks and KNIVES upside down. Umm…who raised you people and are ya trying to kill me?

Never a dull moment in the life of a mom. Which, honestly, is kind of what I love about it…giant soapy mess and all. ❤️
Dishwasher

The Girl Who Loved Socks

Ava socks micro

This is what my daughter wore to her first day of 1st grade. Three pairs of different colored socks, all inside-out, stuffed into her “fancy” shoes, with black leggings, a headband for a belt, and a striped dress on top. And oh, let’s not forget the bright pink BATHING SUIT she is wearing under all that jazz.

Why would I let my child dress like that on the first day of school, you ask? Because this ain’t my first rodeo. She is my third and youngest child, arriving nine years after my first, when I was close to 40. And I’ve found that one of the benefits of being an “older” mom is that you learn to pick your battles.

Because as anyone with a daughter knows, there are SO many battles.

She is my free spirit kid, a leader who marches to her own beat. Unlike me, she loves fashion and has been assembling her own outfits since she was two. Much of the time she resembles a mini version of Lady Gaga. And always, always, she wears three pairs of socks.

With my older kids, I would have cared what people thought. Did they think I was a bad mom for letting my child walk around like that? That I was lazy or over-indulgent? Perhaps. But with parenting experience comes confidence. I know I’m a good mom, my kids know I’m a good mom, and that’s all that matters. How I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that.

Who knows, this kid could grow up to be a famous designer, or come in, like, 11th place on Project Runway, all because I gave her the freedom to parade around town like a modern day Punky Brewster.

But the battles that I do pick? Those times, I make sure I stand my ground.

Other times, you do what you have to do to get your kid and her overstuffed fancy shoes out the door.

It’s Not What You Think

Crane Fly

I’m telling you, it’s not what you think. Let me explain. My youngest daughter recently went on an “outdoor education” field trip with her class. Upon her return, I found these drawings in her backpack.

ME: “So…umm…you made these on your field trip?”

HER: “Yeah, we had to draw what we saw in nature.”

ME: “Oh. Huh. Soooo you saw….”

HER: “A crane fly! The first one I drew didn’t look that much like a crane fly but the second one really does, don’t you think?”

ME: “Yes! YES, it DOES! That’s EXACTLY what it looks like!”

Parenting. One small heart attack at at time.

 

Sicilia

Sicily
Picture it…a beautiful beach in southern Sicily, the olive-skinned locals sunning themselves. All the men are in tiny Speedos, and all the women are in tiny bikinis, no matter their age.

Now picture one pale Pacific Northwest family barging onto the scene with their hats, umbrellas, swim shirts, nine types of sunscreen, and full coverage bathing suits. And, oh yeah, did I mention the GIANT PINK FLAMINGO?

A little background: My big, loud, Italian-American family is in Sicily this week to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We are here to watch them renew their vows in the little town my great-grandparents emigrated to America from in the early 1900’s.

There are no other Americans in this town. There are no other Americans on this beach. There are certainly no other people running into the Mediterranean Sea carrying eggplant parmesan and focaccia bread high above their heads yelling to their siblings, “C’MERE YOU GOTTA TASTE THIS!”

And there is definitely no other mother/grandmother riding on a giant pink flamingo and striking up a conversation with literally every single person she floats by. Honestly, I think my mom talked to more people on that beach in 3 hours than I talk to in six months.

Never mind that she doesn’t speak any Italian and they don’t speak any English. She gestures wildly, they gesture wildly, everybody laughs, and long story short, I’m pretty sure a guy named Luigi and his family are coming to our rental house for dinner.

“Laughter is the same in any language”. – My mom