What did those kids do to that nice lady?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Dear Son....

Dear Son,

When you were born, I didn’t know that you would be one of the 5% of people on this planet who don’t like macaroni and cheese.  When you were born, I didn’t even grasp or understand how much the very discussion of, act of, and refusal of poop would rule my life for YEARS.  I didn’t know when you were born that unless your socks line up EXACTLY the way you need them to, the world might end. I didn’t know that I would experience things like You Will Give Me 5 Grapes At Bedtime Or I Will Refuse To Go To Bed for 4 months straight. I didn’t know that every night for many years, I would have to sing ‘Baby Mine’ to you and I didn’t know how much I would miss singing it once it was no longer requested. When you were born, I didn’t know that when you ask me what time it is, you mean what time is it EXACTLY and 1:15 is not an acceptable answer when it is, in fact, 1:13.

When you were born, I couldn’t even begin to understand how my heart would stretch and grow as I watched you love your Baby Sister. When you were born, I didn’t know how painful it would be to watch you get swallowed up on the soccer field, only to later watch your confidence grow and grow until YOU became the one everyone was watching. I didn’t know you were going to be so stinking smart, which is wonderful because I still don’t know how to do your math. I didn’t know that one day, the little boy who refused to let go of me on his first day of Kindergarten would ever one day walk off with just a quick hug and run to catch up with his buddies. I could have never known that the tiny baby I held in my arms would grow to be such an earnest, kind-hearted boy who's sense of right and wrong so pronounced.  When you were born, I could have never possibly known the ups, the downs, the confusion, the self doubt, the battle cries, the failures, the triumphs that come with Motherhood.

Because all I knew when you were born was…love. All I knew when I heard you cry for the first time was that Life. Was. Different. Forever. All I knew when you were born was that I wanted to protect you from anyone who would ever dare to be anything other than kind to you. Because you are my Son. I am your Mother. All I know is to be your fiercest protector, your greatest fan, your toughest critic. To try and hold you to the standards that allow you to become a Man one day who treats children and animals with kindness; who has respect for his elders, who is generous with his love and admiration to his partner, who calls his mother every week and makes his bed every day. A Man who believes he is better than no one and puts his head on his pillow each night knowing he did his best that day. And some days, that won’t be the truth. Some days you will fail. Some days you will be short tempered.  Some days you will be the worst version of yourself. You will have no patience and you will feel frustrated and you will put your head on your pillow that night and ask for forgiveness and promise to try harder tomorrow.  (These days are called Parenthood.) When you were born, I was reborn. And each day with you, no matter how hard and trying they can sometimes be, is a gift. The greatest one I’ve ever been given.

So…Baby Mine, don’t you cry.
Baby Mine, dry your eyes.
Rest your head 
Close to my heart,
Never to part
Baby of mine.

Happy Birthday, Son. I love you more than my written words or lovely song lyrics could ever express. But I will keep on trying. 



Friday, November 20, 2015

Fight Club

You know that rare opportunity when you have just one of your Children (or maybe just two…or three; however many you have divided by how many less make you more of a sane person. Work with me)…and you’re all…oh…I really miss The Other Kid. Which is sweet and most likely true. But if you’re anything like me, that sweet little thought of missing The Other Kid is immediately followed with:  Why is it so quiet? Why am I so relaxed? Did I just laugh? WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ME? And then it hits you:


Nobody is fighting! No.Fighting. OhMyGodHallelujah! There is no fighting.  There is no fighting!  HOT DAMN! HOLY SHIT! THERE IS NO FIGHTING!!  THIS JOY MUST BE SPREAD!  TELL EVERYONE! GO! GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN!  SHOUT IT FROM THE HEAVENS! THE WORLD NEEDS TO KNOW! QUICK BEFORE THIS ENDS! MY MESSAGE OF PEACE MUST BE SPREAD!  (I think a tear just escaped from my duct recounting such joy.)

I’m pretty sure the equivalent to no fighting in the house has to be flying. Like a bird. I literally feel like I could soar across the sky shouting the news down to the Good Parents of The Earth. And while I’m up there flying over your homes, I will have magic fairy dust to sprinkle over the land that turns all Children into peaceful, loving creatures who speak in hushed tones together and put their laundry away without being asked 67 times all while saying please and thank you and oh my gosh, this dinner again? How did you know I loved chicken so much, Mother? Thank you, Mother. Not only are you beautiful and kind, you have oh so many ways of turning chicken into a wholesome, delicious meal for us. Why don’t you sit down while we do the dishes? Oh and here-don’t forget your wine. Oh look, here’s Ben Affleck circa ‘ The Town’  to rub your feet…..


Sometimes a fantasy takes over and you just go with it.

But seriously, nothing makes me feel like a failed parent quite like the unrelenting, unending, steadfast fighting that goes on between The Children. Sometimes it is fun and games. Sometimes it is not. All times it is annoying. I have a lot of brothers and sisters and we would also fight on a regular basis and I think to my now Grown Ass Mom Self-where was my mom while we were beating the shit out of each other? Was she crying in the bathroom like I do? Was she at work?  Was she some kind of super hero who’s power was the ability to just…ignore us? Or wait. I know what she did. She told us to go outside and not come back until dinner. Then she locked the door. You could do during the 80’s in Iowa. One of it’s many charms. 

Seeing as I have a close relationship with all my siblings, I do have hope that one day Son’s perpetual habit of sticking his foot out to trip his Sister will be seen as a sign of love, not just an opportunity to hear her cry and then scream at him WHY DID YOU DO THAT in that special shrill voice reserved for Dramatic 6 Year Old Girls, then lunge at him and have a wrestling match commence which will result in someone crying (me) and yelling WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?

But that day is not today.

But I think it will be eventually.  I mean, I still love my brother today even though his favorite thing was to do was to hold me down and fart on my head. And if I can overcome that…well, then…anything is possible. Perhaps even flying.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Good Stuff

It’s dark. It’s chaotic. You are surrounded by Sugar-Crazed Maniacs and glossy solo cups. Every few feet, a familiar face appears and the small talk must be UNBEARABLE to said Sugar-Crazed Maniacs because, after all, there are countless lit-up houses waiting to unload their sugar stash to eager, small hands and sweet-toothed parents, eyeing the good stuff. Young eyes grow big at the mounting pile of lollipops, licorice and peanut butter cups and, feeling overwhelmed by darkened chaos, you look at the time and realize it’s only been a paltry 45 minutes since the first “trick or treat” left the lips of the Children. The urge to encourage your little ones to start making their way home is overwhelming; after all-they have more candy than they will ever possibly consume and also-that glossy solo cup is feeling light. And it’s not just home and then to bed. No, no, no. There will be the ritual dumping of candy and trading and fighting over who gets what followed by the desire of The Children to sit on the porch and pass out treats to Oddly Older Teenagers still out and about because it’s almost as much fun to pass out the candy as it is to collect the candy and the prospect of a quiet house after a big night feels hours and hours and hours away….

But somewhere along the path of darkened chaos, it is The Children who are bumping into familiar faces. Friends and neighbors alike, they run off in packs, promising to stay together, to be right back. And they do. And they are. A glossy solo cup is suddenly feeling a bit heavier, thanks to a friendly neighbor with a bottle to share and a wall to lean against. As your eyes dart back and forth, trusting-but verifying-The Children’s presence, the time doesn’t seem to matter so much anymore for the magic of Childhood is wildly in play right before your very eyes. Will it be this Halloween they remember so poignantly as they grow older? Maybe it will be this moment, this very one, that they look back on and smile about in some 20, 30, 50 years. It certainly isn’t going to be the candy they remember the most fondly. It will be this. It will be a dark night with friends swirling all around them, feeling free and happy. It will be the rebellious fun of staying up way too late as your parents tell you, Sure. We can stay out later. Grab a friend. Let’s walk together. After all….look at all these lit up houses just waiting for you and your small, eager hands. We’ve still got a few trick or treats left in us. 

Hope they’re giving out the good stuff. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Sound of Silence

I’m sitting here in my kitchen. It’s quiet. There is nobody here but me. The TV remains black and silent. The Bose speaker remains unplayed. The hum from the fridge, an occasional door slam, a lonely dog bark and the click of the keyboard; these are the only sounds I hear. It is so rare to sit in silence. It is so rare to be alone in my own space. So many days I think I need to be doing something or going somewhere. And, of course, many days I do. And of course there are many things I could be doing right now in my own home; there will always be something to organize or clean, something to be picked up. A list to be made, a dinner to think about. But today at this moment-why be busy just to be…busy? Why not just sit and be alone?

Because, let’s face it, with summer only a short time away for me and my kids, shit is about to go down. So these little tiny moments of silence-I am hoarding them away in the hope that when summer does arrive and the opportunity to sit alone or roam the house without hearing MAMA! 127 times an hour, I will be able to call upon the sense memory of these silent moments and it will carry me through whatever asinine thing The Children are fighting over. (See Mom! That whole Acting School was good for something. I’ll sense memory the SHIT out of this silence.)

While I have a few things lined up here and there and two trips planned back to the Homelands this summer, I have to admit-I do not believe in a packed schedule. Not for them or for me. And while I am not immune to the fact that the Gelato Children will drive me to the brink of insanity with all of our…togetherness…together we will be and together we will be A LOT. It will not be easy to do this I know. We do not live in a world were kids can be so free as I was as a child during the weeks between spring and fall. We live in a world where instead of discovering boredom, kids discover Minecraft. Which is a shame because out of boredom, some pretty great things can happen.

For it was in boredom during those childhood summer months that I discovered the tree in my neighbor’s yard wasn’t a tree-it was a planet I had just fallen from and had to discover this new world I landed in. It was in boredom that I played countless memorable games of HORSE in the back alley with my brothers and sister.  It was in boredom that I found a secret hiding place in the middle of the lilac bush in my back yard. It was in boredom that I read books over and over and over again, forever securing my love for Where The Red Fern Grows. That I found a friend to take a bike ride to nowhere with, all day long. That I hung upside down on a swing until the whole world looked lopsided. It was in boredom that I strapped on those roller-skates and put on a show for whoever happened to be watching. It was in boredom that I discovered my imagination. It was in boredom that I discovered I was…free.

This is the gift I hope to bestow upon The Children this summer; this gift of freedom. Perhaps they won't appreciate it now, but I hope as they grow older they realize how much joy can be found in it's wake. In the middle of all this "boredom,"  I know we will also fight. A lot, I'm sure. We will sometimes watch too much television and I will give in to the pleas for another ice cream cone because...why not? We will get cranky. We will complain. We will have the best time together. I will be filled with gratitude that I never miss a thing…which means I Never.Miss.A.Thing. It will go too fast, even as the days drag on. And before I know it, another school year will have started. And while the beginning of a school year does bring relief to the parent, it also brings the mourning of another milestone marked. For their growth is rapid. My kids are way older than I ever was at their age. And that isn’t going to slow down or change-it will only speed up and continually scare the crap out of me. I enter each new school year unaware of the ways in which they will grow and learn. Unaware of the challenges and the victories that await. Each new school year is entered with a deep breath and a mantra: We got this.

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. This school year is winding down rapidly and sweet summer is so close we can touch it. So until then, if you need me, I’ll be sitting here, alone in my kitchen. Not cooking. Not cleaning. Just sitting. The click of the keyboard, the hum of the fridge, an occasional door slam the only sounds I hear.

Enjoy your silence.

And good luck. The force is with us. 

And let’s not forget…there is always wine. Front porch open anytime for friends who are...bored.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Parking Wars



Such a heavy word. Such a heavy thought. Sometimes you just need a vacation from thinking about parking.

Like when I go to my home state of Iowa to visit family and we happen to “head into town,” as we like to say, and there, before my eyes, are endless rows of empty spot after…empty spot. Is this some sort of trick, I wonder to myself? You can just roll on into town and…park?  I frantically search for a parking sign…any parking sign. There has to be one! There have to be RULES here, people!  

But there are none.

We park. 

And walk away from the car.

Not a care in the world.

It feels so good. So good.

Oh a whim, I happened to ask my dad what the cost of a parking ticket is  and he said, pausing to think about it, maybe $4? 

And I’m pretty sure I said I WOULD NEVER FEED ANOTHER METER AGAIN. And then laughed an evil cackle that made people stop and stare and then think-Oh, that’s his one visiting from California. 

But we’re not in Iowa anymore, Toto.

We’re in California. In close proximity to the beach where parking is always a bitch. But I have only three words for you:


And when you live in an area where parking spots on your own street are an endangered species-especially during the summer months- it does not take long for you to become an Insane Parking Nazi. So if you find yourself cruising the neighborhood of the Gelato Family looking for that perfect spot this summer, know this:

I am watching you.

I am watching you park your car in front of my house and I am noting the day and time because if your ass is there one second over 72 hours, that bitch is getting towed. I don’t give a shit if you got arrested or went camping or whatever it is that has happened in your life that resulted in your car sitting uselessly in front of my house for days on end-I am not sympathetic towards you. Go pick it up at the tow yard. How would you like if I just parked in your driveway and didn’t move for three days? YOU WOULDN’T.  

And don't be surprised by the presence of Very Official Looking orange city cones on our block; we have a secret stash and we’re not afraid to use them. If we don’t know you-you don’t need that spot. Move the cone and park anyway-well-you do that sort of thing at your own risk.  And, yeah, it’s a free country and I guess there’s technically no law saying you can’t park in that empty spot, but the laws of My Street say if you park like an asshole and take up more than one spot you will be told to get back in your car and try again. Let’s use our brain when we park in a busy, populated area. Even my 8 year old son points out the Terrible Park Jobs, shaking his head and proclaiming-why would they park like that? Which is code for: what a selfish fucking idiot.

(And while we’re it-slow the hell down. My Street is not a Nascar race track, so stop driving like it. Drive like it’s YOUR kids playing outside on the block.)  

I understand that the Parking Wars are simply a result of living someplace where many want to be, especially in the summer months when the mighty Pacific is calling those near and far, and since we are luckily near-we have to sacrifice our street to strangers coming from far. I also understand that there are problems that far outweigh some jerk parking his car on my street and going on a 5 day cycling trip. But, see, I got 99 problems and this is just one of them. We’ll talk about the others another day.

So, you have been warned. Just know that although we may smile at you as you come back up from a long day at the beach, watch you load all your gear into your precious little car that has been baking in the sun all day and give a little wave as you finally abandon that spot-not very deep down our only thought is:

I hate you.

Happy Almost Summer.

Game on.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

THAT person

You know the person.

Hell, you might even BE that person.

What person, you ask? Oh, that one in front of you at Target having a full blown conversation with their phone nestled between their ear and neck while checking out. Or how about that one in the locker room who felt it necessary that we not only listen in on HER side of the conversation, but also the OTHER side so she went ahead and put it on speaker? And let’s not forget the one ambling slowing while viciously texting and crossing the street at the same time, completely unaware of traffic and the basic rules of a 4-way stop.

Cell phones have taken over the world-okay-I get that. It’s annoying, but you know, it happened. But do we need Obnoxious Cell Phone Users to take the world over in addition? Listen. One: you’re not that important. I promise. I know this because I am being forced to listen to your conversation about your son’s birthday party in two weeks or that girl who was so hot last night or what a bitch your friend is or like, oh my god, you’re so hungover and I’m preeettttyyyy sure that conversation can wait until you exit the store and are in the privacy of your car. Personally, I’ve never understood why people don’t care if anyone around them can listen in on their conversations, but what I really wonder is…. aren’t you embarrassed? I mean….do you not have any grace or comprehension of manners or even consider how rude it is to purposely ignore a person who is helping you because you arae having a “Very Important Phone Call?” I mean, you don’t have to have an in-depth conversation but maybe a hello and a tiny bit of eye contact will make you not seem like a complete dick. And why are you talking SO LOUD? If you’re going to display your complete disregard for everyone around you, can you at least keep it down? Why are you yelling? And may I reiterate: you’re not that important. Bring it down a notch. Or 12. 

Turns out though, that people can not only be terrible at Talking on the Phone, they can be equally terrible at Texting on the Phone. Particularly when trying to say…drive and text, which happens to be against the law here in California. Or walk and text-which is not against the law- but thinking maybe it should be. Point in case? The person crossing an intersection with their head down apparently texting the President their ideas for how to deal with Russia because why else wouldn’t they LOOK UP when crossing the street? That cars drive on. Large vehicles that will hurt you greatly if impact is made upon you. Listen, I’ve walked and texted before, rather successfully, but I have this Common Sense that tells me if I’m going to cross an intersection, I should maybe…check things out. See what’s happening. Make eye contact with the driver. You know, cuz I don’t want to like…get hit by a car or a pack of those super annoying cyclists who seem to think they do not have to abide by any traffic laws. I’m not that important, but I am to a few people who would be super embarrassed by me if I got hit by a car while walking and texting.

The problem is that these Obnoxious Cell Phone Users are probably…you know, obnoxious in general. I’m sure they order their convoluted lattes with a temperature request and wouldn’t even dream of putting their cart away. It’s too bad that Apple hasn’t invented some sort of way to…shock someone…when they’re being Obnoxious. Just a little jolt…nothing too painful. Just a little reminder that you’re being a dick and you need to bring it down.


Is there an app for that?

Monday, May 4, 2015


It seems that People, in my-non-informed perhaps I’m just lazy opinion-are overly concerned with cleanliness and germs. And I’m not talking about anything major here; something as simple as being barefoot outside can sends shivers down the spine of a Germaphobe. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to the park with The Children and run into Other Children who see My Children all barefoot and happy and ask Their Mother if they, too, can take their shoes off and the absolute look of disgust that comes across Their Mother’s face is enough to tell them: Ain’t No Way In Hell those shoes are coming off. 

I find this so odd. I mean…we’re outside. In nature.

I asked one of Those Moms before…why? Why is it a big deal to you if your kids take their shoes off? And she said…the sand is just a big kitty litter for children.

What? You mean…you really think kids are just like…shitting in the sand and covering it up? I mean…really? Is this how you live your life? Because it sounds exhausting. Listen, I’m a fan of hand washing. I’m a fan of kleenex. I’m a fan of coughing and sneezing into your elbow. I’m a fan of the basic rules of hygiene and understand these basic rules exist to protect us from becoming ill. But this obsession with germs seems to me to be extremely unhealthy. And frankly, very time consuming. When did it become weird or gross for kids to be barefoot outside? When did we have to start sterilizing a shopping cart each time it’s used? Or why did I get dirty looks from Those Mothers when I didn’t use a Fancy Seat Cover for my Target cart when I had babies?  What a pain in the ass that thing was. I used it a few times when I cared about the judgment of Other Moms but quickly worked THAT out of my system. Fuck-don’t have you have enough to deal with when you have babies and toddlers and then you have to carry around that thing, too? (If we’re being honest, I couldn’t figure out how to even get that shit properly placed so, you know, Bye Felicia.) 

Oh, and while we’re at, my favorite thing? Discovering that someone used one of those sterilizing towels to wipe their down shopping cart and then just threw it in the cart and “forgot” about it. Oh, I see. You’re sooooooo concerned with germs that you leave your trash in the cart for the next person to deal with? Congratulations on being a Total Dick of a Person.
I would like to think that I have way more pressing matters than worrying about what’s on the handle of the shopping cart no matter how much fear The Today Show is trying to instill in us with their special GERMS ARE EVIL segments. Because I’m pretty sure my mom used a shopping cart and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a fancy towel to use first. I’m pretty sure I actually sat in the bottom of the shopping cart. (You know what I’m talking about.) My devotion to being barefoot as a child has carried over into my adult life. I don’t carry bottles of sanitizer around and don’t really care if someone thinks it’s gross that I let my kids eat a snack at the beach without even WIPING THEIR HANDS FIRST. And while we’re at it, guess what? I DIDN’T always wash my hands before dinner. Yeah. I SAID it. That shit HAPPENED. All the TIME. 

I know there are more of Us out there; I know you want to stop micromanaging your kids hand washing.  I know you have better things to fight about with your kids other than whether they have shoes on or not. It’s okay to come out as a Non-Germaphobe. It’s so much more…relaxing. And the health benefits are great. See: the immunity of steel my children and I possess. 

So come on over. Let’s go to the park. Our kids can flip their shoes off, run into the wild and feel the earth beneath their feet. I promise that I’m not going to flinch if four grimy kids stick their hands inside one bag of goldfish. I promise I’m not going to judge you if your kids share a water bottle. (I even promise that I’m not going to judge you if you forgot sunscreen. Chances are solid that I did, too.)  And you and I can sit and relax and watch as the joy of childhood is shared amongst our children. 

 A little dirt never did hurt anyone, after all.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bye bye, Baby

The Gelato Children are reaching those ages where Babyhood has completely melted off of their faces and Toddlerhood was just an emotionally challenged, completely fucked up dream I had. Nobody really needs my “help” for anything anymore, although Daughter is still milking the whole ‘Can somebody wipe me pleeeeaassseee’ thing which is FANTASTIC. I have two children who are in school. Not preschool. Like school school. And at least once a week, I get a little weepy about this situation. And each time the tears well up in my eyes, I think DAMN IT! All those well meaning people with their freedom and personal time because their kids were in school school were RIGHT! This whole Child-Raising Experience goes by….well, Way.Too.Fast.

You hear it. You can’t escape it, actually. Friends and strangers alike warn you to enjoy every second as they simultaneously tell you that your baby is going to die with that blanket over the stroller. (Yes. That happened. Son was three weeks old. I was in line at Starbucks, a New Mom with swollen, sore boobs and no sleep and confused about everything and then some lady told me that my baby was going to die. I still hate her.)  And let’s not pretend that every waking second that I had little, little kids I was thinking-THIS IS SO ENJOYABLE TO NURSE A SCREAMING BABY WHILE MAKING A TODDLER A GRILLED CHEESE! I MUST EMBRACE AND REJOICE IN THIS MOMENT!- but as the days passed at a snails pace and the months at a hare’s, and the years in the blink of an eye, there were countless moments where I would stop and take in the pure joy of my babies and wish to keep them forever so small. But still, each year of growth felt like a victory; each added finger to their age meant they were developing more independence and I didn’t have to shadow their every move at the park, or zip every zipper or wipe every butt. (Daughter, ahem, somewhat excluded as previously mentioned.) It happens gradually, all these little things, but they add up and one day you find yourself thinking: Did Son just brush his teeth by himself without even being reminded? Yes. Yes he did. 

How did this happen? How did my firstborn become this boy? How did my baby grow so fast into this girl? Where did my babies go? I miss those babies. I can’t help but tear up each time I see a mom with her toddler and baby at the bookstore or the park or just out and about. I was that lady. I remember her well. That lady is thinking…how can we kill a little time this afternoon? Let’s go to the bookstore. I can get a coffee and you can look at books and that will kill at least an hour of the day. Or-let’s go to Target. I only need lip gloss and toilet paper, but we’ll go ahead and get a coffee and a milk and kill an hour in the toy aisle. How about we go to the fountain downtown? I’ll get a coffee and you can get completely soaked somehow in the trickle of water that runs down and maybe we’ll get lucky and bump into a friend and kill an hour. 

All those hours. Day after day after….year. All that time of just…being. Some days it was hard not to resent those hours as you watched your spouse leave for work. The morning hours before nap time laid out before you like some long stretch of desert in the hot sun. The few hours after nap time when the tick tock of the clock somehow moved even slower, everyone getting cranky and hungry and very thirsty for wine. That long hour of the day where it seemed bath would never end, why do they always pick the longest books and okay okay okay, I’ll sing another song and then finally, after all the negotiating, the promises, the kisses, the hugs, all the night lights on and the door slightly cracked….now…now….it’s time to do the laundry. And then it’s the very end of the day and you stop and wonder what it is you actually….did….all day. Nothing. Everything. Survived to live another day to have another day of the Same.Exact.Thing. 

Every day wasn’t and definitely still isn’t rainbows and unicorns. It’s hard to be home all the time with your kids. While you are being told you have “the most difficult job in the world,” it’s hard not to feel unaccomplished; it’s hard not to feel envious of friends and family going off into the world each day….like…being smart and productive and stuff. And the further away you get from that world, the more impossible it seems to re-enter. 

But I would never, ever take any of the hours back. Because, really, it chokes me up to realize that at 8 years old, I am almost halfway done with my son. And these past eight years, as agonizing as the days could seem, they have gone Way.Too.Fast and all I want is for these hours to slow down. Slow way down. Stretch out before me like a long country road, nothing but sky in front of us.

I’ll work on being productive another day. For now…I’m going to go play two touch in the alley with my Children. After all-this day is almost over. Another one, God willing, waiting for me tomorrow to do the Same.Exact.Thing all over again.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Morning Madness

It’s 7:43 am. T-minus 32 minutes before we must depart for school. Son is half-dressed, sitting on the ground, checking the Weather App on the iPad before making his final decision in his clothing choice. This recently developed habit stems from the history of him asking me each day: “MOOOOOM? Is it going to be hot or cold today?” And each day I would struggle with an answer because the answer is really…neither. It will be neither hot nor cold. In fact, it will rarely ever be “hot” or “cold” while you live in this Beach City. Oh yes, people will refer to themselves being “cold” while wearing a North Face ski jacket for drop off when it’s 58 degrees outside, but Son, I cannot stress to you enough that that is not cold. And hot? I’m sure the rest of the country would love for anything over 78 degrees to be “so hot.” Also-you continually refuse to wear pants so the question of “cold or hot” seems like a true waste of breath since no matter the answer, we both know, hell, we ALL know, you’re just going to put on some damn shorts and be done with it so JUST BE DONE WITH IT ALREADY, MMKAY? Hence-and I will credit Husband for this-Son was introduced to the Weather App, so he can micromanage his own outfit and-BONUS!-that of his sister, exclaiming most mornings in a smug, all-knowing voice: “Sister…you’re going to wear that? You know it’s only going to be 67 degrees today.” And let’s be honest, that’s assuming that Daughter actually has clothes on because most mornings, at t-minus 32 minutes before departure, she can be found completely naked, hanging from the frame of her bunk bed practicing her ninja moves, while yelling in quite a shrill voice to anyone who DARE suggest that, in fact, clothing is not optional at school, that SHE WILL IN A MINUTE.

Just as I’ve accepted Son will only wear pants as a dead last resort, I’ve learned that Daughter requires a full 30 minute time period to get dressed and since I’m kinda scared of her, I just accept it and let her engage in the Stages of Getting Dressed. One: Strip naked. Two: Stay naked as long as possible. Three: Reluctantly pick out clothes. Four: Stay naked. Five: Pee. Six: Put underwear on head and ask Mom if she likes her outfit. Seven: Get dressed because Mom just threatened to take away her Saturday Wii time. (The day my Wii currency goes is the day she goes to school naked.)

But getting dressed is only half the battle. Turns out, shoes are also a necessity for attendance of school, but each day this, apparently, is a shocking surprise to the Children who need at least 15 to 167 reminders to put their shoes on. It starts with a gentle “Hey, guys? Let’s get our shoes on.”  And ends with a PUT YOUR (silent in head screaming MOTHERFUCKING) SHOES ON PLEASE! Followed by the inevitable “Why are you yelling at us?” whine. Because YOU SEEM TO LIKE IT. And then somehow, day after day, we all shuffle out of the house at 8:15, fully clothed with shoes on, back packs full of homework and lunch boxes and get in the car where we then proceed with the standard Let’s Fight All The Way To School, which usually begins with the infamous Stop Touching Me and ends with the Mom Mantra: Thank You, Jesus, For School.

This Morning Routine has been brought to you by the Gelato Family. I am guessing that each of your households has it’s own…special morning routines. And while our own can make me completely mad at times, I know I’ll miss the chaos when it’s gone. So I just breath deeply and remind myself that one day, Son will just…put his shoes on. And Daughter will just…get dressed. 


I take that back.

I’m totally screwed with That One.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Daydream Believer...

Over the summer, the Gelato Family took a trip to Texas to visit the Grandparents. I know what you’re thinking. Texas? In the dead of July? Beautiful. But there was a pool. And there was Grandma. And there were marshmallows. (And there was also those two nights in New Orleans that Husband and I managed to sneak away… so…everyone was winning.)

But this is not important.

What was important were the massive boxes my mother pulled out and said-here. This is your stuff. What do you want to do with it? Also known as: Get this shit out of my house. You haven’t lived here for 16 years for Christ’s sake. 

And so there I was, sitting in my brother’s old room, which I certainly don’t remember looking quite as adorable when he was living in it, left alone with these boxes. I flipped them open and was quickly overwhelmed with nostalgia. Letters and cards and pictures and yearbooks and journals from years passed waited eagerly to be rediscovered. I thumbed through them, paralyzed by the familiar, yet juvenile handwriting. I read letters written to me by loyal friends 20 years ago when I moved from one state to another at the age of 14. I smiled at the naivety of our thoughts. I was awed by the sheer volume of words, written in pen, on paper, put in an envelope and mailed to a recipient a thousand miles away, over and over and over again. 

But what I really got lost in were the Dreams of a certain girl I knew a long time ago. Dreams written out in page after page of dusty journals. Dreams of the stage, of New York City; of a life that seemed so big, but so close. Dreams that defined me, as each yellowed letter or card from friends and family seemed to encourage the future I was so eagerly looking forward too. As if they expected it as much as I did. As though it was the only option for me. 

I had to put the words down. Tears filled my eyes as I thought about that girl. It stung a little bit to think of her and those Dreams that did not come to fruition. Life happened. Choices were made. Things didn’t go that way.  I wondered how it would feel to go back to that girl and try again….to do things differently. Not be so afraid to ask questions. Not be so afraid to just be myself. Take the confidence I had while on a stage or in a class and translate it to standing in a room full of strangers, asking them to like me, to pick me. What would that life have looked like? Would I have enjoyed it? Would it have been fulfilling? 

Suddenly, The Children came bounding into the room, disrupting my thoughts and my letters. They were talking excitedly about Some Great Adventure they had with Grandpa. I squeezed the tears out of my eyes and focused on their small voices and big words. And amongst the letters, the discarded words, the forgotten pictures and cards, amongst the mess I had made of these memories, those dreams, I realized that my real dreams were standing right in front of me, demanding my love, my attention, my patience. Perhaps I did not know what my Dreams were until I met them.  Each part of my body now made sense; my hands for tickle sessions, my legs for soccer sessions, my arms for hugging sessions, my mouth for kissing attacks on their faces, my eyes for witnessing their amazing ability on monkey bars, my ears for the sound of their voices explaining why an insect is an insect, my heart for it’s ever growing capacity for love, my lungs to breath in their sweet, sweaty smell and hope to never forget it. 

I’m not suggesting that my Childhood Dreams have died; they live inside me and probably always will. Maybe one day they will come to fruition in an unexpected way. Maybe they won’t. But for right now, for this time, my Dreams are living, breathing, extensions of myself. 

I didn’t know I could dream so big.