Friday, March 28, 2014
On my 5th birthday, I received a pink bike. My mom made a little treasure hunt for it throughout the house and when I ended up in the back yard, there it was, shining brightly, awaiting the adventures we would have together. I remember most of that experience so vividly; I can still feel the warm July air; I can still see the blue demin dress I was wearing; I can still hear the anticipation in my mom’s voice of what was about to happen. Five is a special number for a kid, and my family made it special for me; so special that 28 years later, I still think of it and smile.
When Son turned five two years ago, it was special. One whole hand required to tell the world how old you are. He was finishing up his last year of preschool and climbing trees and playing soccer. When did my firstborn baby become a little kid? He suddenly seemed so big which made it easier for me to still then look at Daughter as my baby. She was still then my constant companion; my running buddy, my napper, my go-to girl to head to Target with. All this independence that came along with Son turning 5 was still a bit overshadowed by this Girl who still needed me to do so many things with her, for her. I stopped to enjoy it a bit more because if Son could turn five so quickly, it was only a matter of time before I would blink and she would be right there, letting go of my hand to climb a little higher on that tree.
And now She is five. And how special She is.
For if you know my Daughter, you know that there is no one quite like her. A Girl who marches to the beat of her own drum. A Girl who eschews a Princess dress in favor of a ninja sword. A Girl who seems to be filled with so much silliness that you can’t help but smile when you glance at her in spite of yourself. A Girl who reminds me so much of myself as a child: putting on shows in the front yard for no one in particular, slamming doors not once but twice to make sure her mood is recognized, making up stories with facial expressions as big as her imagination. Her sense of humor is one of her greatest attributes, for even her Brother can’t help but laugh at her antics. When she wants your attention, she demands it. Don’t you dare ignore her. I can already see her wings sprouting; I can see that she is going to want to fly. And I know that I will have no choice but to sit back and watch her soar.
As I watch my Children grow, I am so overwhelmed with gratitude. And I can’t believe, even though eeeevveerrryyyone likes to tell me, I really can’t believe how quickly the years go by. Enjoy every minute, they say. And while I am maybe not enjoying every minute, I am doing my best to remember that any moment, any day, any adventure my Kids experience has the possibility of being locked in their brains forever and I can only hope that they look back and remember that it was...special.
Happy Birthday, Baby Girl. May your life be as big as that imagination of yours. May your life bring you as much joy as you bring to me.
I love you to the moon and back.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Once upon a time, way back when Son was in his first year of preschool, and Daughter was just the sweetest little attachment on my boob, I experienced my first “Ski Week.” Yes. You read that correctly. “Ski Week.” Not spring break. Nope. That comes later. (Just a few convenient weeks AFTER Ski Week actually.) I remember looking at the calendar posted outside his classroom and thinking to myself, (or more likely saying out loud to the innocent bystanders near me): What. The Fuck. Is Ski Week?
Funnily enough, growing up in Iowa with ALL THAT SNOW, we didn’t have Ski Week.
We had snow days.
For when, you know, it was TOO DANGEROUS to go to school.
But here, in Fancy Southern California, they have “Ski Week” so Fancy Kids can go and see the snow they are so deprived of. In case it’s not coming across the way I have intended, I was pretty bitter about the concept of this so-called Ski Week. That first year of preschool, I had a two year old and a newborn and the THOUGHT of NOT HAVING those 8 hours a week Son went to school because Fancy California Kids had to go skiing made me cry. My first question was: If we are NOT skiing during Ski Week, may I please still drop off Son at his classroom? Turns out: no. You may not. Second question: Someone tell me again WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?
Short version: schools in certain Fancy Communities were losing money because so many Fancy Families were taking their Fancy Kids skiing over Presidents Day weekend and staying the entire week so schools were losing money so Fancy Communities said WHAT THE HECK! Let’s make Ski Week a Thing!
Flash forward 4 years.
What did the Gelato Family do during Ski Week?
Go skiing. Duh.
It’s one of those moments when I looked at myself and thought...I am sometimes, once in awhile, hopefully not very often, that very person I used to make fun of. And, whenever possible, still enjoy making fun of. I mean, does the very fact that our family went skiing during Ski Week make me...Fancy? Are people snickering at me? (Answer: Yes. Always. For many more reasons, I’m sure, than skiing on specifically assigned week to do so.)
As a child growing up middle class in Iowa, I was not privy to such experiences. A great vacation to us was a HOTEL! With a POOL! Amazing. In fact, one of my greater joys in life is comparing Husband’s childhood vacations with my own. Let’s just say...we never made it to Kauai. Or Australia. Or Whistler. But we did make it to Omaha and Chicago. And let’s not forget South Dakota. A cooler full of sandwiches and RC Cola, a deck of cards to keep us occupied, and we were off. And I remember them all with great fondness. (Probably more fondness than my mother who I’m sure would have died and gone to heaven if she could have just handed us all an iPad and some headphones.) So, it definitely is an...adjustment...for me to get my Children to appreciate these vacations. I mean, it’s certainly not their fault that they are being raised in this Fancy Community, but it doesn’t mean they get to be dicks about it. Point in case: when we told Son that we were going to go to Mammoth for Ski Week- his response? “Mammoth? Again?” Daughter wasn’t much better: “Do we HAVE to go to Ski School?” No, you little assholes. You don’t HAVE to go to Ski School, you GET to go to Ski School. I mean...WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
And then it hit me.
Don’t worry. I know what to do.
Nothing knocks down a little Fancy like some unpaid manual labor. You don’t do it for allowance, you do it because I told you too. Also, I’m thirsty. Aaaannnddd....I could use a snack. And could you keep it down out there while you’re washing the windows? Mama’s shows on are.
If anyone’s going to be Fancy in this house, it’s gonna be me.
Here’s to being not so Fancy. Until you deserve to be so.