Me vs. Van Gogh

I knew it was risky.

I knew it could end badly.

But they told me it couldn’t be done.

They said it was impossible.

“You’re crazy,” they said.

I took that as a challenge.

I began on a Thursday.

“Patience is a virtue,” I said.

“Huh?” my daughter said.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” I said.

“Stop saying weird things, Mom,” they said.

I worked for hours. Hours turned into days. Days turned into weeks.

“We’re hungry,” they said. “Are you ever going to cook again?”

“Give a man a fish, he can feed himself for a day. Teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for life,” I said.

“Why does she keep saying things weird stuff we don’t understand?” they said.

“It means…make your own dinner,” I said.

I soldiered on. Late nights. Early mornings.

“Nobody has clean socks,” they said.

I kept at it.

Finally, only five were left. Four. Three. Two.

Still two.

Oh, no.

No. No. No.

“It cost fifty cents,” they had said.

“It’s USED,” they had said.

“There’s NO way the pieces are all there,” my husband had said.

They were right.

But.

My 9 year old.
She bought it for me at the school holiday shop.
With her own fifty cents.
She put it under the tree, all wrapped up.
She couldn’t wait to give it to me.
She was so proud of her gift.

I had to try.

And then. Under the table. I see it.

The last piece.

“I can’t believe you did it, mom.” she said. “That was like the hardest thing ever, but you never gave up.”

I smiled.

Success.

puzzle

To The Mom Who Thinks She Didn’t Do Enough Today

FRAMES

I am not a lazy person. But there are days when my surroundings seem to make me feel otherwise.

Let me explain.

Do you see all of those frames? We moved into our home nearly five years ago. I unpacked those photos and put them on the floor – temporarily of course – in the corner of my bedroom. Until I had a moment to hang them up on our bare walls.

Well, that photo was taken yesterday. Yes, those frames have somehow been sitting there collecting dust for five YEARS. Every time I look at them I think, “I should hang them” or “I should give them away” or “I should update the photos”. But I do none of these things. I am paralyzed with indecision.

I have an overflowing notebook of delicious-looking recipes I have torn out of magazines with the best of intentions. Yet I serve the same meals to my family, week after week, month after month.

I sorted through my clothes and bagged them up to donate. They’ve been riding around with me in the trunk of my car for two months now, causing me grief every time I turn a corner too fast and they spill out.

I have piles of paper on my desk. Reminders of things that need to be done. Transfer my wedding video to DVD before it fades away. Call the insurance company about a medical claim. Use that movie pass before it expires. Shred the old bills so I can file the new ones into the bulging folders. Make the orthodontist appointment. Buy that birthday gift.

I’m not special. This is the life of a mom. With a family of five, most days I’m only able to accomplish the have-tos. Have to go grocery shopping. Have to feed the kids. Have to take the dog to the vet. Have to do laundry. Have to pay the bills.

So all those want-tos? They just sit there, serving as constant reminders of my own perceived inadequacy. I walk around my home, and see those frames, and those recipes, and those piles of papers and I feel like I’m not doing enough. I’m not “getting it all done”.

But here’s what I’m beginning to realize, or rather, what I need to realize. Moms are not machines. We can’t go and go and go without stopping or we will break. And there is no free replacement if we do.

I may WANT to hang those picture frames or shred those bills tonight when the have-tos of my day are done.. But honestly, what I NEED to do is to sit on the couch, curl up next to my sweet dog, and watch some Netflix.

And I also need to change the voice in my head to tell myself this doesn’t make me lazy. It makes me human.

So to all the moms out there, like me, who fall exhausted into bed each night thinking they didn’t do enough today, I hope you remember this…

You are the wheels that keeps the crazy train that is a family moving along. You are the engine that powers it and you are the conductor that steers it. You are amazing. And I’m betting that, today, you did enough.

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The Costco Return Line

tinafeyMEME

If Costco were a religion, I’d be a believer. When I first became a member in the early 90’s, it was called Price Club, then PriceCostco, then eventually Costco. That’s how long we’ve been together. Also, that’s a clue as to how old I am. Seriously though, I am a huge fan of the company for many reasons. They sell quality products that are responsibly sourced, they treat their employees well, and their return policy is incomparable. Really, no return seems to be too absurd for them.

I once bought a vacuum cleaner, and it died after I used it for two years to vacuum up more hair than you ever thought could possibly come from one Labrador Retriever. I could have created a whole second dog with that sweet Lab’s hair. Everybody told me, “It’s Costco…return it!” I was reluctant at first, but when I took it in, they issued me a full refund (two years later!) – no questions asked.

Even bigger than a vacuum, I returned a king size mattress that didn’t live up to its promise of a good night’s sleep. In hindsight, it’s possible the bad sleep was caused more by my toddler and infant at the time than the mattress, but, hey, I couldn’t exactly return the children. Or could I?

I had a friend that once bought an entire living room set, moved six months later, and when the furniture didn’t fit in the new house, returned it for a full refund.

Then there are the infamous stories…the woman who returned an empty bottle of wine because it “gave her a headache” and the lady that returned a frozen fish that was in her freezer for 13 years. And Costco doesn’t bat an eye.

On a recent outing, the return line was exceptionally long and it seemed each customer’s situation was more complicated than the next. I was waiting impatiently, receipt and membership card in hand, ready to go, like the good customer I am.

But these other people were up there with all kinds of problems and stories, going on and on about one thing or another.

One lady was returning a printer and they unpacked the box to make sure everything was there. And the printer cable was missing. So the clerk asks her where the printer cable is and she feigns innocence like, “What? Oh? Really? I didn’t realize. Cable? You see, my husband…..” Blah, blah, blah. When lady, we are all thinking you bought this thing so you could return it and get a free printer cable. Really, now.

And so it went, one long explanation of their return after another. The whole time in line I was annoyed because I couldn’t see what the lady in front of me was returning and I was curious. So it’s finally her turn, and as she goes up to the cashier I see her unwrapping a small item in her hand. I nosily re-position myself to find out what her item is and I see what appears to be a quarter of a salami on the counter.

Lady, are you freaking kidding me? You just waited in this line for 30 minutes to return your half-eaten appetizer?! First of all, it couldn’t have been that bad because somebody ate most of it. Second, unless all your Christmas dinner guests died of food poisoning and you are turning this hunk of meat in for lab analysis…this is a WASTE OF EVERYBODY’S TIME.

But at least it explained the weird smell wafting through the line.

Whatever, people…it’s finally my turn. Now, please excuse me so I can return my hair dryer and get the hell out of here already.

“I’m sorry, what? This hair dryer? It came with a mini hair dryer just perfect for travel? Oh? Really? I didn’t realize. Mini hair dryer? You see, my husband…”

 

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