The tension is there but it’s obscured by menial tasks and busyness. I finally sit down after months and months of avoiding it and making excuses. Months ago, I shut the door to my creative mind, the part that strings words together for no one but me. I stacked boxes in front of that door, boxes full of dusty phrases like, “I can’t,” “I need to focus elsewhere,” and “first I need to take care of these things…then I will write.” It seems noble to deny what makes me happy to take care of everything else first. In fact, I start to believe that I don’t even want to write, that it’s too much work and I don’t have time to get into my own head right now.
I can press a 25 pound kettle bell over my head with one hand but sometimes the weight of a pen seems like too much trouble.
I got past it today, for today. I had to leave my house and go to my favorite coffee shop and let Toni make me soup, but I got past it. After about 300 words I felt something crack in my chest. Something opened up that had been locked for a very long time. I struggled not to let tears flow because I was in a public place and I would look crazy sitting there with my laptop crying in my soup. But that’s how it felt to write again after all this time.
This guy is my dad. I get to spend the 4th of July with him (and my mom, brother and sister-in-law too.) He got a discount on his coffee at McDonald’s today because of what that hat represents. He’s a veteran and there was a time when he caught flack for that. It means a lot when someone acknowledges his service. So, if you see this guy, shake his hand and say thanks.
I love writing at Strange Brew Coffee House. There are distractions here but sometimes the distractions and conversations overheard are fuel for the writing. A young woman sat down across from me and we talked about her purse. We agreed that women who carry a clutch make no sense. Why would you carry a purse that ties up one hand all the time? What if you need to answer your cell while holding your coffee? What do you do with a clutch? I guess a purse can tell a lot about a woman.
I carry a small rectangular purse with a zip down outside flap. I keep all my crucial I.D., credit card, and money in that flap for easy access. All the junk goes in the zip top on the inside. I recently put a little bag in the glove compartment of my car for extras like dental floss and Tylenol so I could free up space in my purse. My purse says, “I like to keep it simple.”
My sister-in-law carries a huge bag. It is stylish, floppy and spacious. She usually has a full-sized can of hairspray, a hairbrush, a bag of nuts, large bottled water, an apple, an orange or banana, her camera, a book and an entire make-up kit in there. When we are out having lunch, she will periodically dig through her bag and come up with various gems. Her purse says, “I am prepared for anything.”
I met a woman in Vegas who carried a bag like that and she had a habit of digging through hers every few minutes for something. She was a smoker so most of the searching was for her lighter but I kind of felt like it was a nervous thing. She took comfort in digging through that big purse. What does your purse (or wallet, guys) say about you?
It’s interesting how friendships occur throughout a lifetime. In school we make friends with people involved in similar activities. In college we make friend with those who live in close proximity and whose schedules fit our own. Then if after marriage we become parents, the kids take over the friend making process. We find ourselves spending time with the parents of our kid’s friends. We make play dates and plan school parties together. We go on field trips, attend school plays, and sit in the stands together. Over time, we blink and find that together we’ve raised a generation. Though sometimes we disagree and make different choices, we are bonded in parenthood.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I’d like to share some wisdom I’ve picked up from some fabulous, fellow mothers.
A (The improv mom): “Don’t negate. Say yes, but with limitations.” “Yes, you may have a cookie after we eat dinner,” softens the blow where a “No” would have sparked a nuclear meltdown. Save yourself the headache.
K (I mean business): Sometimes there’s nothing left to do but pull the car over and give them your FULL attention. That’s usually what they’re after anyway.
Mamma L (The shepherd): Make them cut their own switch. Kids will typically punish themselves worse than anything a parent could come up with so let them make the call. You’d be surprised, really.
V (Just V): Laugh with your children or when appropriate laugh at them. A sense of humor is a gift to be passed on.
A (The juggler): If you put garbage in, you get garbage out. Choose how much trash your kid is exposed to wisely. Put in a lot of love and that’s what you’ll get back.
L (The chauffeur): Playtime and coffee is only good until somebody gets hurt. We have learned from experience that there is such a thing as too much fun and it usually ends with somebody going home in tears. Most of those events are curable with a good nap. (Naps for mommies have double curing power.)
My Mom (numero uno): Kids lie. They don’t mean to, but they do. So, call them out and teach them that life is easier to navigate when you don’t have to remember which version of the “truth” you told last.
I guess I would add two of my favorites to this list:
1.) Only say it, if you mean it and are willing to follow through. Too often in the heat of the moment we react to our children. I have found that it is much better to say, “I am not happy with your choices and there will be consequences…I’ll get back to you on that,” than to say in anger, “You are grounded for the rest of your life!” Let’s face it; I don’t have the patience or the stamina to enforce that one.
2.) Counting to three works. I don’t know why. I’m not even sure what happens if I get to three. It also works in reverse as a countdown…3, 2, 1. I tried it on my teenagers the other day just to see if it still works and it does! Though I did get a little feedback at 2, to the sound of, “Wait, I’ve got to finish this level!” It’s a beautiful thing.
I hope everyone had a lovely Mother’s Day. Feel free to add your favorite parenting tip to the list.
Well it’s spring again. How do I know? The first clue was the daffodils in the yard. The second clue…ants in my coffee. We have ants, ants in the kitchen, ants in the bathroom, and ants in the bedroom. They are little ants, not the kind that could carry off the cat, but ants are ants. I loathe them. Last week I sprinkled a product called Terro all around the perimeter of the house. I know this means my karma will have a deficit but I think it’s worth the risk. I am sick of ants in my food and every time I wipe down the kitchen counter I have to pick their little bodies out of the dish rag. Did I mention I loathe ants? Actually what I loathe are ants in my house. They are fine outside, in nature where they belong. But inside, they are on my turf and I want them gone.