Sunday, January 29, 2012

DO Carpe Diem

There's an article that's been circulating, called "Don't Carpe Diem". It's written by a mom who is concerned that parents put too much pressure on themselves to love everything about parenting and feel like failures when they don't. She makes some good points which I don't mean to undermine, but I am forced to confess I do not agree with her philosophy. Yes, parenting is hard and full of duties we'd probably rather not do if we viewed them in an emotionless vacuum. However, I would never categorize it, as the writer seems to, as a perpetual battle through each day with one or two golden moments if you're lucky. Maybe it's my age or maybe it's that I just interpret "carpe diem" a little differently. To me, seizing the day is about chasing down as many of those golden moments as possible and, when I can, transforming the harder ones into something more palatable. It means setting different expectations and priorities for this period of my life, realizing that chores can go undone in favor of playing with and enjoying my kids and that societal pressures will not make me feel guilty about it (most days, anyway).

If you look at the blogs I follow, you will see a number of women whose children have died or are dying. Closer to home, my cousin and my niece have both buried children. I do not presume to speak for any of them, but I feel safe in saying that they would all feel unfathomable joy to be given the chance to endure the toughest of hurdles or deepest of embarrassments that parenting has to offer if it meant having their precious babies back with them. The things that make the rest of us count the hours until bedtime would mean something much different to these mothers. So, when my perspective is not enough, I borrow theirs. I love the golden moments for my own sake and love the miserable ones for their sakes.

To borrow the writer's analogy, I'm not waiting until I reach the summit of Mt. Everest to enjoy the view. It's always possible I'll never make it that far. I'm going to love the climb and give thanks for all the ground I cover and every view along the way.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


My parents invited us to dinner last week. When they said we were having grilled chicken I'm not sure I was expecting this:

Yes, that's a hard hat he's wearing. I think he said it was to hold his knit hat in place. Or maybe the knit hat was holding the hard hat on, though that wouldn't explain why he needed the hard hat to start with. I will say, it was a little warmer right in front of the grill, but not much.

That grilled chicken was truly delicious--mesquite smoked and all. He even grilled potatoes. Not bad fare for January.

Nature even supplied us with a flower to mark the occasion.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for the summertime preview!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Take a Bath, Take a Bath . . .

Few things are more entertaining than toddler speak. I find myself stopping people from correcting Oliver's pronunciation because I love to hear him  say "Numi" instead of "Snoopy" or "hagog" instead of "hotdog". Soon enough his speech will be clear to all, but this is that magic time when only I can understand what he's talking about (most of the time). Our favorite right now is Jingle Bells which (being a winter song and not really a Christmas one) is still being sung ad naseum in our house. Oliver loves to sing this at top volume, accuracy of lyrics being of little consequence to him. His take comes out sounding very much like, "Take a bath, take a bath, take it right away!" If I were a good mommy blogger I would post a video of that for you. As it is, you'll just have to take my word on the high cuteness factor. I'm hoping summer brings a return of my favorite from Carter's toddler days: "baby soup" (bathing suit, obviously).

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cabin Fever

What do you get when you close up five family members in one log cabin in the middle of nowhere for days on end? Pure happiness. My husband has been officially retired and on the home school staff for two weeks now and it has been awesome! Our daily life has a balance to it that just wasn't there before. We are still feeling our way along as far as nailing down the routine, but already the quality of schooling going on here has taken a huge step up. I wish every home schooling family could be as full time as we are right now. I think the best part is the loss of the sense of urgency that used to always be in the background as John tried to fit all of his home duties and family time into a time limit dictated by outside responsibilities. Now--though he admits he is busier than he ever was when he was going to work--he has enough time for everything and everything he's spending his time on is more meaningful to him. It's just a great time in our lives and makes for a fantastic atmosphere in our home. Let me wax briefly sentimental and say that I picked an amazing partner and truly couldn't be happier. Okay, gushing over.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My Secret Past

I took Austin to see Rob Thomas at the Borgata in Atlantic City last night. This was his Christmas present from us this year. He is a huge fan and this was his first time going to a concert, so it was a pretty big deal for him. I wasn't sure whether he would be overwhelmed by everything, but he was just fine and loved it--singing along to every song and bouncing in his seat. We were really close to the stage, which afforded us the unexpected opportunity for Austin to meet his idol at the end of the show. Rob was so nice--he shook Austin's hand, looked right into his eyes, and thanked him for coming. It was a great moment and one of those times you live for as a mom of a special needs child, when you feel that deep down sense that you are succeeding in providing truly happy experiences for your child. Well, I'm sure every mom lives for those moments, but I think special needs moms are just a smidge more blown away by them because they are so hard-won.

As I said, we had really good seats, which put us in the midst of all the superfans. Ten years ago, I'm not sure I really knew or appreciated that these people even existed or just how organized and intense they can be. But then, through a funny little twist of odd circumstances, I found myself smack in the middle of that scene. I will admit to having a long history of obsessive adoration when it comes to my favorite musicians, but it was always primarily a solitary thing for me. And yet, there I was, part of a fully fleshed out subculture of fandom that is very hard to explain to anyone who's never been inside such a group. My life was full of cross-country concert trips, ticket buying/scalping/upgrading, secret concert videotaping, concert webcasting, backstage passes, meet-and-greets, rumor mills, behind-the-scenes catfights, and the relentless pursuit of every piece of minutiae that could be associated with one minor celebrity. But it was also full of friendship and adventure, which is what I miss, having discovered that I do not have the single-mindedness, time, or energy to keep pace with the pseudo-cult that is superfandom. Watching the women all around me last night brought back a lot of memories, though, seeing them all lined up with their zoom lens cameras and their cellphones, comparing notes with each other before and after the show. To those of you reading this who became my friends through message boards and middle-of-the-night hotel rendezvous, I just want to say thank you for the crazy madness and yes, I still have that wonderfully embarrassing quilt.