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.

The Story Of My Life…In Jeans

Inspired by a deluge of “clear the clutter from your life” articles, I finally got around to the arduous task of cleaning out my closet.  I was determined to do it the “proper” way and actually purge stuff, as opposed to my usual way of simply moving all the crap around in seemingly neater piles.

I began trying on all of my jeans and came to a stunning revelation…

JEANSMEMEFINAL

I mean, we all have that one pair of jeans that we refuse to part with because one day, just maybe, either by some miracle of modern science or horrible stomach flu, we’ll fit into them again.  But this was more than a pair, this was many pairs of false hope on a shelf.

So as I was quite literally stepping into and out of the many threads of my past, I pondered my unwillingness to let go of these old, ill-fitting articles.  

You see, I’ve never been much into fashion…I was a jeans and sneaker wearing kid who turned into a jeans and sneaker wearing grown-up.  To the point where I pretty much plan my social life around the acceptability to show up in jeans. My first thought when I’m invited anywhere is “can I get away with jeans?”  Me having to wear a dress or skirt to an event is the equivalent of forcing a 6 year old boy into a suit and tie.  I will whine and complain and tug at my clothes until somebody gives me some ice cream to shut me up.

Me and Jeans:  A Timeline Of Our Love Affair

Late 1970’s/Early 1980’s

I was just a grade schooler and Jordache and Sassoon were all the rage.  I remember begging and convincing my mom to buy me a pair…no easy feat since they probably cost four times as much as the Sears brand jeans I usually wore.

Late 1980’s/Early 1990’s

My high school and college years.  Acid washed Levi’s and maybe I’d find a pair of the higher-end Guess jeans under the tree on Christmas morning.  I remember the teenage me always wanting to lose a few pounds, but man, hindsight really is 20/20.  And in that I mean that my middle-aged knee probably couldn’t get into my high school jeans now. They were tiny.

Mid-Late 1990’s

This was a dark time in our relationship, as I spent those years working in a professional office environment (translation: no jeans).  Every morning as I grudgingly slipped on my maroon shoulder-padded suit jacket and pants (why, just why?), I would stare longingly at the pile of jeans in my closet thinking “someday we’ll be together again.”

1999-2008

My child-bearing years.  I was so excited to be pregnant with my first child that I could not wait to fit into a new kind of jean…maternity jeans!  And five minutes after that sweet little baby was born, I could not wait to get the hell out of them.  And so it went through three kids and eight years, maternity jeans, regular jeans, back and forth.  As a stay-at-home mom during that time, jeans and I rekindled our romance and we were together every day, comfy and happy. And those jeans got spit-up on, colored on, and tugged on, and still they’d come out of the dryer, softer and more appealing, despite the abuse they took on a daily basis.

2009-2018

Ok, I’ll say it.  Sigh.  Mom jeans.  Well, maybe not total mom jeans, but close enough. A couple of years ago, I was jeans shopping (surprise) and couldn’t find anything I liked in the women’s section.  Being petite, I had the bright idea of heading to the Juniors section of the store.  Let’s just say it was a quick lesson in humility that had me fleeing to the old lady petite department in the hopes of regaining a shred of my self-confidence back.

And throughout all the better, brighter, bolder fashion fads over the years, I’ve never cheated on jeans.  Not with parachute pants, not with corduroys, not even with Lululemon leggings.

So there you have it…the story of my life in jeans.  And I wonder, am I alone in this?  Are there other women out there that have this allegiance?  If so, perhaps we could all meet up someday.  I imagine you’ll see us coming from a mile away…women of all ages, shapes and sizes, united in their devotion to (and of course, wearing) JEANS.

This post was originally published on Her View From Home. https://herviewfromhome.com/the-story-of-my-life-in-jeans/

 

Glimpses

IMG_1832

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 teenagers, 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.

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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