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

A Little More Time

jackwiggles

See this little boy? He drove me to the store today. No, we didn’t take the Wiggles car. We took a real car, because this boy is not so little anymore.

I kept glancing over at his lanky 15-year-old frame sitting behind the wheel, and wondering how we got here, he and I, to this stage of life, so quickly.

And as we drove I realized that as much as I complain about shuttling my kids all over the place, I will miss this time together, in the car.

The car where my son drove me crazy when he was 3 and obsessed with the Aladdin soundtrack, incessantly singing “One Jump Ahead” over and over until he got it right.

Where, as a grade-schooler, he would pepper me with questions about anything and everything as we drove to and from school.

Where, as a tween, he would introduce me to new music he had found, and complain about the injustices of middle school.

And though I listened, I secretly wished for peace and quiet on my drive. Where I didn’t have to answer a million questions. Where kids weren’t fighting in the backseat, or complaining when, God forbid, I put on an 80’s song.

But suddenly, with my second child now on the brink of independence, the days of peace and quiet in the car are rapidly approaching.

And so now I find my wish has changed. I wish that I could have just a little more time. Time with those little voices singing Disney music, time with knowing exactly where they are at every moment, because they needed me to get them there and to pick them up.

Time with the boy in the Wiggles car.

But, as we all know, there is no turning back time. And so I’ll try my best to be grateful for the present, rather than longing for the past or wishing for the future.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my years of parenting, it’s that the present is actually the very best place to be.

“Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had.” – Unknown

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Those Are Not My Real Boobs

boobs

Those are not my real boobs. Let me explain. It was the first day of kindergarten for my youngest child and I arrived at the classroom to pick her up at the end of the day. All of the children were running up to their parents proudly displaying their new drawings of flowers, hearts and animals.

My daughter thrust her picture into my face, beaming, “It’s you and me!”

I looked down at the picture. Of boobs. Really, really big boobs. Yes, MY little artist didn’t draw hearts or flowers…she drew an EXTREMELY inaccurate depiction of her mommy for all the world to see.

“Wow!” I said. “Just…wow!”

Laughing to myself during the drive home, I was imagining the teacher probably thought Dolly Parton was coming to pick up this child. I bet she was a little surprised when it was just me and my B-cups that strolled through the classroom door that afternoon.

I love this drawing because it is a reminder of how our children can view us so differently than we view ourselves. Look at me here…my boobs are perky, my hair is thick and bouncy, I have a perfect, tiny nose, and my smile is bright.

I mean, really, I’ve never looked better. And if that’s how my daughter chooses to see me, I will treasure it forever.  🙂

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The Story of Herman Wiener MacDonald

bear

Why is there a gigantic bear in the back seat of my car? Because it’s hard when your kids grow up. Let me explain…

Four years ago, our family relocated from suburban Southern California to a small, rural island in the Pacific Northwest. Since moving here, we’ve done a family outing to Costco one Saturday a month, an off-island excursion that is fairly exciting for these parts.

The five of us pile into the car, and we talk, tease, fight about what music to play, and generally annoy each other during the 45 minute drive. But it’s actually just nice having all of us together in one little space when we spend so much of our week going in different directions.

We have a pretty precise system. First, we spend like $8.00 to feed all of us lunch at the food court, the best deal in town. Then we hit up every sample table like all the other Costco crazies, waiting in line to get 3 pieces of popcorn in a paper cup, a quarter of a piece of toast, or a shot size swig of juice.

Today, we needed to make a Costco run for the first time since our oldest child left for college. So now there were only two kids in our back seat that had always been filled with three. And it felt a little empty.

So we did what any logical people would do. We bought a 5 foot tall teddy bear at Costco, buckled him into our college daughter’s seat and texted her a photo of her replacement.

Well, that’s not exactly true. My 15-year-old son has been wanting to buy his little sister that bear for months. And I kept saying, “We have no room for a giant bear. No.No. And no.”

But today that ridiculous giant stuffy was on sale for TWENTY-FIVE BUCKS. And if there’s one thing I can’t say no to, it’s a crazy deal at Costco. Even a 5 foot tall deal that will take up half my daughter’s room.

So the kids are happy. I got a deal. The car is full again. It worked out. Let me introduce you to Herman Wiener MacDonald. My 9-year-old named him. Don’t ask.