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.

Glimpses

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See this kid? The one with the long, silky blond hair and full cheeks? He’s 15 now. The hair is dark and cropped short. The cheeks are angular, with stubble much of the time, as he mostly ignores my reminders to shave. The smiling blue eyes are the same, though the smiles aren’t gifted to me quite as often as they were back then.

I used to piggyback this boy up the stairs to bed. He towers over me now. After years of listening to his high-pitched squeals during lightsaber duels, it often startles me when I hear the deep, booming voice that comes out of his mouth now.

He is my one son, sandwiched between two girls. I’ve learned some things, raising this boy.

Boys are loud. Boys are messy. Boys are smelly.

Boys are sensitive. Boys are thoughtful. Boys are protective, especially of their moms.

The most unexpected thing I’ve learned? Boys are so, so sweet.

I’m not gonna lie. 15 is tough. Tough to be, and tough to parent, especially in this day and age. When my kids became teeagers, I had to tell them things like, “Please don’t smoke, drink, take pills, have sex, or cyber-bully anyone.” When I became a teenager in the 80’s, my mom told me things like, “Please don’t bring your Cabbage Patch doll to the dinner table.”  True story.

You know, when your kids are little, all you want is for them to leave you alone for five minutes. Then come the teenage years and suddenly, they leave you alone for too long.

The eyes are rolled, the doors are slammed, the walls are up.

And through those walls, sometimes it’s hard to see that sweet little boy.

The one who snuggled me the most.

The one who held my hand the longest.

But then.

Glimpses.

I come downstairs one morning and on the kitchen counter is a piece of coffee cake. The very last piece. With a sticky note on top, that says, in terrible handwriting, “Save for Mom”.

He knows it’s my favorite.

There’s that sweet boy.

Another time, I overhear my 9 year old daughter being rude to him.

I interject: “Stop being mean to your brother!”

“It’s ok,” he says. Then, turning to his sister:  “Even when you’re mean to me, you’re still my favorite person.”

Another glimpse.

And so, through the throes of teenage angst, I hold onto those glimpses. Of the sweet little boy he was, and of the good man he is becoming.

Not long ago, he randomly announced to my husband and I something I won’t soon forget. He said, “Do you realize that one day you’ll pick up your kid and it will be the last time that you do? But you won’t know it then.”

I’m glad I wasn’t aware of the last time I picked him up.

Because it would have broken me a little to put him down.

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.

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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Still Expecting To Receive Our Family Christmas Card? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Don’t worry, it didn’t get lost in the mail. It didn’t get returned to sender because I forgot to put stamps on. You didn’t get axed off my list. I simply (gasp!) didn’t do one. Let me explain…

I should have remembered to take a photo of my three kids together when my oldest came home from college at Thanksgiving. But in the hubbub of hosting a dozen people that weekend, I just plain forgot.

I should have brought my camera when we were all together in early December at the Corgi Ugly Christmas Sweater Parade (yes, it’s a real thing). But I didn’t. I took pictures on my phone in horrible lighting and one was worse than the next.

I could have used a photo of my three kids from a vacation we took in January of this year. But…January? Why send out a photo of what my kids looked like LAST Christmas? That seemed silly.

My next thought was to do a card with three recent individual photos. Until I realized that I didn’t have a single picture of my 15 year old son by himself in all of 2017. I was going back through the months of pics and began to panic when I hit March and still no photo of Jack. I thought about cropping him out of a group pic, but really, that’s just sad. Middle child syndrome is REAL, people. Sorry, buddy.

At that point it was around December 20th and we were leaving for California and I had a million other things to do. And I realized that for the first time in about 20 years, there would be no Dutt family Christmas card.

And I felt like a bad mom.

For like, three seconds.

You know, in the “olden” days (i.e. pre-social media) you really didn’t see a picture of people’s kids for a whole year. You had to wait for that card to come in the mail to ooh and ahh over how big they had grown. But now? Well, if you’re reading this on Facebook, just scroll through my page if you want to see what my kids look like. I’ve posted entire conversations between my kids. I have a blog where I drone on incessantly about my kids. Really, you should be quite sick of my children already.

But all those excuses aside, here is the reality.  Moms do a lot. I mean, we pretty much do everything, especially around the holidays. My husband is a great guy, the best, but if I heard him say, “Hmm, I wonder what I should send Great Aunt Mary in Connecticut for Christmas?”, I would probably call NASA to report a possible alien body snatcher.

I decorated. I shopped. I wrapped. I baked. I shipped. I packed. I made sure the “Santa” gifts were wrapped in a different paper from the others, lest my already suspicious 9 year old take notice. Sometimes, you just can’t do it all. I may not have done a Christmas card. But I did enough. And I’m good with that.

3kidsP.S.  This photo? That blond girl is now in college. That little boy towers over me. That little girl..well, she’s still kind of little, thank God. And that sweet puppy now has arthritis. No, the photo isn’t recent, but it may well be my favorite…and it’ll do for today.

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