Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sugar and Spice

This is Lucia. She is four years old, and she is trying to hypnotize you with her smile. So that you will do her bidding. Is it working? Because she is pretty sure she can get you to do whatever she wants, using that look.

When I found out (4 years ago!) that I was pregnant with a baby girl, I was pretty stoked. Girls are oh-so-cute! And they are, you know, girly. They smell good, like cupcakes. I would get to watch episodes of Rainbow Brite again! And have someone to share my Anne of Green Gables passion with. We would travel to Prince Edwards Island on a mother/daughter trip! Except that I forgot that little girls are also dramatic. And they stare at you with tear-filled eyes when you speak to them in a slightly raised voice. That they carry, at minimum, 37 stuffed animals with them at all times. That all said stuffed animals have names, and are related to each other in some way, so that you can never, ever donate them to the Goodwill. That they find your stash of hidden dark chocolate, and wonder why you are not sharing? Since sharing is caring?

 The above picture is the face she makes when she is "a little bit sad". She express this sentiment whenever she feels slighted or her feelings have been injured in some way. That day she she felt "a little bit sad, Mommy" because she realized that she did want to take swimming lessons after all. Even though, moments earlier, she had been terrified at the very notion. Her expression makes me want to laugh and hold her at the same time. I know her feelings are genuine (I think) but the look on her face are almost cartoon-sad.  She is so epically sad, and you want to make it all better, but at the same time you need to make sure that she understands that everything does not revolve around her feelings. It's a fine balance. 
Lucia has the amazing ability to fill me with joy, and yet at the same time, fill me with guilt. At school, during career day, while all the other kids wrote down that they wanted to be a nurse, fireman, teacher etc., my daughter wrote "I WANT TO BE A MOMMY WHO DOES NOT WORK, AND STAYS HOME WITH HER DAUGHTER". When I arrived to pick her up, her teacher pulled me aside to apologize. She explained that they tried to change her mind, but that she wouldn't budge. I found it funny and appalling at the same time. Which is how I tend to feel whenever either of my children express an opinion.
 Lucia is my favorite little girl on the planet. She is incredibly funny. Has the best memory ever. Don't ever promise her something that you can't deliver. She will never, ever forget. She also has an amazing sense of style and fashion. Which, if you know me at all, will make you wonder where she got it from. Do your shoes not really go with your outfit? She will go into your closet and find you ones that do. She asked me once to put my hair up, because it looked better with the dress I was wearing. And she was right. I had several people comment on how nice my hair looked like that day. And I had to credit a 4 year old. She likes watching me put on makeup, and whenever I ask her is she wants to try some, will retort that she is "only a little girl!" in a very shocked voice. Her dad likes that about her. Her favorite personality trait? "I like being funny. I like it when people think I am funny." That she got from me. She enjoys a funny story. She likes a good punchline. 
 I can't believe how quickly time has flown. If she ever really knew how very much I love her, and that I would do anything for her, it would be very dangerous. She would totally use it against me.

Friday, March 15, 2013

At This Age

I am sitting in the waiting room at the hospital. I just left my son in a very large and intimidating operating room. He was lying on bed, with a mask on his face, surrounded by people in scrubs. He looked very small. As I walked away, tears running down my face, I was reminded about our conversation yesterday in the car. You see, today was CLOWN DAY at Gideon's school. Yes, you read that correctly. Clown Day. Apparently, his school won something and clowns were coming to teach class to give some kind of lesson. Gideon was terrified. Honestly, if he hadn't had this procedure scheduled, I might have let him stay home. Now, most people know about my intense dislike of clowns, and unfortunately, Gideon has inherited that. He explained to us that although he went to the circus last year, and enjoyed the clowns, AT THIS AGE, he is now afraid of them. He said those words: "At this age". Because last year he was just a naive youngster, not knowing any better about what lies beneath the makeup. But now, he knows better, and AT THIS AGE, he is afraid of clowns. I wish I could reassure him, but I cannot. I understand his fear. I once saw a clown driving a car on the GSP, and almost had an accident.

Another thing Gideon has inherited from his mom, is anxiety. He was diagnosed this year with an anxiety disorder, and I blame myself. I am riddled with the stuff. As I sit here typing, my stomach churns. I feel nauseous, and my heart is about to beat out of chest. I am typing just so that my hands stop shaking. I know deep down that Gideon is going to be fine. This is just dental surgery, and he has been under anesthesia before. yet, the dentist said a 1 hour to 2. And it is now 1 1/2 hours. So, it is past the 1 hour mark. Why is it taking so long? Why do I see other parents and family leave the waiting room, and I am being left behind? I would pay for a few clowns to come and do a dance right now. Clowns Shmlowns.

One of the main reasons behind all this anxiety is lack of control. I am useless. I can't help. I can't make it better. I am not in charge. Being helpless makes me afraid. Yet, I have been told to not be afraid. Commanded to, actually. Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." So, geez. How can I not be afraid? I am totally dismayed right now. It seems unreasonable that I give that up. Do I just sit here, all peaceful and calm, knowing full well that my son will be well protected, because God will always be with him wherever he goes? Yes, yes, and again yes. Psalm 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding" . My own understanding totally stinks. My own understanding is afraid of grown people who wear too much makeup and entertain children. So, AT THIS AGE,  I have to wake up and let go. I need to able to teach my son about trusting God. So, at this age, I can be a woman who is at peace with herself and her life. Who, despite all the anxiety life throws at me, I can simply lean on my God, and trust that it will end the way it needs to end. This doesn't mean, of course, that I will be visiting a circus anytime soon. At this age, I know better than that :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chubby inquiries and more

A little late for this post, but better late than never. Here it goes.

Week #2 (January 8 - 14, 2013)
  • Brotherly love. He may not remember our days much growing up in Jersey City. But I can recall all the times he's either backed me up or defended me from street thugs or bullies when I was a skinny, little, snot-nosed kid. My big brother and I have been through a lot. I'm thankful God has given him another year of life. And to many more!
  • Nice day for a walk. Because of the mild weather, I was able to walk a little more. Admittedly, one of the reasons I chose to walk was because I couldn't drive the car. Late last year, I noticed one of the new tires had a nail in it. The tire was flat for several weeks because I wasn't able to fix it myself. But, this gave me an opportunity to bond with my son as we walked from school to home. We talked about a lot, from topics related to his school performance to the subject of why I was so chubby. Since then, I was able to take the car to the shop to get the tire repaired. But Gideon's "chubby inquiries" kept the car in the driveway during nice weather.
  • Thanks for taxes. No, I'm not thankful for taxes and smaller pay checks. Who is, right? But, while the expiration of the payroll tax holiday is cutting into my take income, I still have a job (or two). And, my wife is working too. So, why complain?

Friday, January 11, 2013

No new resolution zone

2013. Happy new year!

I didn't make any resolutions this year. Maybe it's because when I searched within myself to find out what a new calendar year means to me, I reminisced about 2012. And, I was reminded of the following passage in Ecclesiastes: "So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety?"

Good question I thought. All my hard work in 2012 and years prior had to be worth something, right? Then, I read the answer in the following verse, "Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless."

Depressing right? That wasn't the answer I wanted. But yes, it can be depressing. Especially if a life challenge just finished beating you down. And, I got beat up heavily in 2012, especially from a business standpoint.

I mean, I know there is a point to working hard in life. There are goals to set. There are people to love and care for. There are contributions you can make to improve society. And, that's what the author of Ecclesiastes was trying to tell us by saying just the opposite.

"All is meaningless under the sun." It doesn't mean quit. It means being thankful for what you have. And, it also talks about stress and worrying TOO much to get to a place in life that takes you away from your true purpose.


And, you know what else? Take it all in stride. It's easier said than done, I know. How about we start by being thankful?

So this year, instead of a resolution, I decided to refocus on "thankfulness." Not just this year, but hopefully for years to come. It's not a resolution, it's a lifestyle.

My aim is to highlight three things I'm thankful for every week. So here it goes.

Week #1 (January 1 - 8, 2013)

  • Date with Lincoln: Alexa and I went to see "Lincoln." I enjoy history, especially in relation to today's politics. When I saw the previews last year, I made a note to myself: GO SEE LINCOLN! The time escaped us in 2012. But when the opportunity came last Saturday, we turned it into a date afternoon.
  • Comfy Christmas Gifts: I enjoyed all the presents I received from family. They were great! But, I enjoyed giving more. I'm thankful I was able to share in the gift-giving. But that was 2012. In 2013, I get to use my gifts. And by far, one of the most used are the 2 pairs of comfy, warm home slippers my brother gave me. I wear one or the other (not both) every day.
  • Impromptu Friend Visit: If you have toddlers, you know it's hard to get away and spend grown up time with friends. I'm thankful for my sister who had a sleepover with all her nephews and nieces (Gideon and Lucia make up 50% of that group). This allowed Alexa and I to party all night - or at least past our usual bedtimes. We visited friends in Jersey City, my hometown. While Alexa and I spent most of our time talking about the kids, our friends (who don't have kids of their own yet) seemed to enjoy hearing our stories. Hopefully, we didn't scare them. Next time we promised to talk more about other stuff, like God, politics, and music.

Hope to see you next week!