These Are The Days

Smart ~ Writer ~ Mom

Month: August 2011

41 Things I’d Love to Tell My 21 Year Old Self

For some reason, turning 41 isn’t bothering me nearly as much as turning 25 did. Not exactly sure why, but it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. So I’m going with it…
 
I’m a Virgo almost to the letter. If you look up any kind of astrological profile of Virgoans it always says that we are loyal, modest, intelligent (love that one!). But we’re also fussy, perfectionists and excessive worriers. I love being a Virgo, but I’m ditching some of the standard traits and realigning the stars in my favor. So screw perfectionism. Screw worrying. And on with living. 
 

I love my life. And I love what I’ve done so far and what I still have to do. So today I’m taking a look back. 


In no particular order, here are 41 things I’ve learned (so far):

  1. Although it may not be obvious at first, everything happens for a reason.
  2. The book is always better than the movie.
  3. Flowers are never necessary to send, but they’re always nice to get.
  4. If a baby is squirming, brace yourself. Something is coming out from one end or the other.
  5. Motherhood is the sweetest gift. Dads have it good – but moms are incredibly lucky.
  6. Setting every clock you own ahead ten minutes doesn’t guarantee you’ll be early.
  7. A calm mommy makes for a calm baby.
  8. Constantly worrying, obsessing about pleasing other people is absolute bullshit.
  9. You don’t need anyone’s approval to live your own life.
  10. Marriage takes work, focus and commitment – it’s not a really long date.
  11. Ferris Bueller was right – life moves fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
  12. Confidence – really believing in yourself – is the key to everything.
  13. Travel every chance you get.
  14. Have goals. Have a plan. But live in the moment.
  15. Laugh as often as possible.
  16. Trust your gut.
  17. Even though you know the secrets, still keep the magic of Christmas.
  18. Sex is good. Really, it is!
  19. No need to be a “little Hercules” with the weight of the world on your shoulders…put your mind at ease.
  20. Just like yoga, life is about the practice – not perfection.
  21. Everyone has a story, a challenge, a need to be loved – so judge not!
  22. It’s better to have a really good healthy fight than to walk on eggshells just to keep the peace.
  23. It’s OK to enjoy being a girl – you’re not letting down the feminists.
  24. Republicans aren’t so bad 🙂
  25. Glinda the Good Witch was right – you had the power all along.
  26. There’s nothing more annoying than a “yes” person at work. Dare to be bold and express another viewpoint.
  27. There’s something to this visualization thing. Read “The Secret”, get a vision board and go with it.
  28. Mothers really do sleep with one eye and ear open and walk around with their heart on their sleeves. It’s infinitely exhausting, but wildly gratifying.
  29. Happiness is a choice.
  30. Words are powerful.
  31. Don’t spend more than 8 hours a day at work and don’t bring work home.
  32. Never burn a bridge – it simply isn’t worth the satisfaction.
  33. Get a good camera and when you don’t have it handy, take lots of pictures with your heart.
  34. Own your own personal truth and get rid of skeletons in the closet.
  35. Empathy is one of the most important virtues.
  36. Things aren’t always what they seem – don’t jump to conclusions.
  37. Forgive.
  38. Talk to your children honestly, clearly and in plain English – don’t babytalk and don’t gloss over important things.
  39. Never sweep anything under the carpet; deal with everything openly and honestly.
  40. Have your husband’s and your kids’ backs at all times.
  41. You are stronger than you know.  
 

You Say Super Mario Brothers, I Say Shut the F*ck Up

My daughter adores her DSi. She could sit for hours at a time playing her games or taking pictures or using the draw functions. Yes, that comment just secured my mother of the year award, thankyouverymuch.

I don’t mind video games so much. I played Atari as a kid. And yes, I am from the stone age. Still, I don’t see the harm in moderation. But this Super Mario Brothers game? It’s like crack.

Now I’ve never done drugs. And while I’ll admit to being just this side of curious about pot, I have no desire to try any of the hard stuff. I have my vices and comparatively speaking they’re not too bad. Coke (the soda), driving fast, chocolate, chronic lateness by like 10 minutes. A solid B+ in my book. But Super Mario Brothers? Apparently it’s a cult. It’s crazy-addicting. And it’s got my daughter. And, when he’s not traveling, it’s got my husband, too.

When she loses a game or fails to get to the next level (whatever that means) there are usually tears. She’s so hooked on this game it makes me want to scream! She brings her DSi everywhere. And her friends at summer camp apparently help each other to get to the next level. Is it just me or doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of playing a video game? Where’s the thrill in having someone else get there for you? I don’t get it.

No offense to the lovely people that created Super Mario Brothers. I’m sure it’s made them millions. But in our household? It’s created a bunch of crack addicts. And I’m not sure they’re ready to detox.

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I was chatting with a friend at work the other day when he said something that took me by surprise. He was telling some story – I forget what it was about. And he said, “Yeah, she’s like you…very motherly and compassionate.”

Wow.

I’ve had lots of roles in my life: daughter, sister, wife, friend, mother. And I’ve had lots of job titles: banker, sales associate. marketing director. But I’ve never really thought about the adjectives… the labels that might describe me.

Loyal? Yes.

Funny? Sure, especially after a few drinks.

But “motherly?” Hmm.

I do my best as a mom. I try hard to let my daughters actually feel my love, not just hear me say the words “I love you.” But like everyone else, I fail alot of the time. You get caught up in life and work and chores and everything, and before you know it, they’re asleep and that day you feel like you’ve blown it.

I felt that way alot this week. Like I had blown it. I snapped at my older daughter way too much, my patience visibly wearing down. I’m no Joan Crawford but sometimes I wonder if I demand too much of her. Fortunately, my little one is still too small to argue with me. She just smiles and rolls with it.

But my older one? She’s older, wiser. Practically a tween. I’m on the border of being someone she wants to snuggle with at night to someone she wishes would just leave her alone. I don’t want to parent out of fear, but honestly, I don’t want to be the reason she’s sitting on the couch of the Dr. Phil-of-the-day sometime in the future. Of course, I don’t want to be her best friend, either.

I find myself stealing moments and burning them into my memory as if it will all be gone tomorrow. I’ve noticed that her arms and legs are longer than they used to be. Obviously she’s getting bigger, but she’s looking less and less like my little girl and more like a GIRL. Her skin isn’t as baby soft and smooth. And her feet are nearly my size.

Stop and breathe. Savor the little-girl-ness and the innocence…

I cuddled with her a little longer tonight and listened to her lullaby songs (which she’s listened to since she was a baby…and I love that.) She told me how excited she is for an upcoming family wedding; how she got to the next level on her video game; and that we should go to the library tomorrow to get some new books. I kissed her and hugged her. She held on tightly. Then we did our kissie lips…something her father and I have been doing since we were dating.

Good night sweet girl, happy dreams.

Good night mommy.

It’s hard to be a parent. But it’s also my most rewarding role. When my friend referred to me as motherly, it wasn’t meant to be insulting. I knew he meant it sincerely, as a compliment. I guess when I think of someone being motherly, I think of the perfect mom. We all know them. They’re experts on eveything. They can juggle everything. And they’ll tell you all about it. But really, they’re full of shit. I don’t like that version of motherly. I prefer my own slightly screwed up, slightly paranoid, slightly impatient version better.

And no matter what I do, my girls will probably end up in therapy anyway.

My World Wide Web

“A spider’s web is stronger than it looks.”

My older daughter and I are reading Charlotte’s Web together. And it’s delightful. She has trouble with some of E.B. White’s old fashioned words like ‘bestirred’ and ‘salutations’ but it doesn’t matter. We’re enjoying the process. And I’m enjoying revisiting this childhood classic all over again.

She asks me to explain the reference of morning dew and why it makes the words on Charlotte’s web appear more vivid. So I tell her what dew is and how we almost always see it on cool mornings in early fall. It’s most noticeable when we’re leaving for school, I explain. You can see the light mist hovering over the grass. And right at the surface, it appears as though crystal fairies had visited and deposited their sparkles atop each blade. It’s almost magical. Her eyes are transfixed. She understands.

And together we read Charlotte’s message aloud, “Some Pig!”

A few more pages tonight and then off to bed.

Thanks Natalie

Just a quick shout out to Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs. I’ve always loved “These Are The Days”…

From here on out, I’ll be writing about whatever’s on my mind. My main reason for writing is to remind myself that these really are the days. I get stressed out way too often. Too focused on tomorrow and beyond. Or worse, too focused on obsessing about the past. Should’ve, would’ve….

I have to consciously remind myself that if I’m worried about the past or the future, I’m missing the important stuff that’s happening right now. Like my daughters’ milestones. Or a smile from my husband.

So this tiny corner of the web is mostly for me. But you can join along too. I welcome feedback, comments, suggestions. I’ll share a bit of my life – sometimes maybe more than a bit. But I think it will be cathartic. Like therapy. And hopefully it won’t be too boring.

Of course, I’ll also write about mindless stuff too – pop culture, celebrity gossip, music, politics. Did I mention I’m a raging liberal? Yeah. So things could get dicey as the political season heats up.

What else should you know about me? Well, I love driving too fast (sans kids in the backseat), Coca Cola, and postcards from around the world. I’m a proud alum of UCF and I’m fiercely loyal to the Red Sox, the Celtics and the Patriots. I’m also a Bruins fan, but admittedly, I don’t really follow hockey. But I know enough to get by. Not a fan of bluegrass music, cashews, or scary movies. Seriously. Nightmares.

So that’s it. I want to really focus on living in the moment. Appreciating every day. Life is way too short – I don’t want to waste a minute. So thanks to Natalie Merchant. Here goes – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-HLxpWGCzc

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