Sometimes it’s difficult to just “be”

Lately, there have been many moments when I realize that my son really “gets” me. He’s always been one to compliment me and call me beautiful, just like his father does. That’s one thing we try to do in this house is to boost each other up and not tear each other down. (Ok…that’s not really true. We tend to tease each other incessantly, but it’s done with love and if there’s ever any bad feelings, we stop.)

But it seems that just in the past few months, my son has realized a few things about his mother and felt the need to share his observations. “Mom, you seem to be particularly cranky. Did you go for a run today?” Or, “Hmmm….I think you need a treat. You should go buy an iced coffee.”

Then this afternoon, after having an unexpected house full of family and food and fun, I finally sat down beside my boy after everyone had left. My cold was making my head hurt and my eyes sting, but I needed to spend some time with my son. I watched him play a video game and we discussed which was easier while playing, being in first person or third.  As we talked, I started to lose my voice so he entertained me with making his character on Halo do wacky things. (I personally love it when these guys dance.) But after just a few minutes, he quit the game and left the room. I put my feet up and tried to read for a bit. No matter how bad I feel, I typically hate to lie down to nap or just rest. There isn’t enough time in the day to get done everything I want to do, as it is. Being sick doesn’t change that.

But as I tried to read with my eyes watering, my son came back into the room and said, “Here, Mom. Let me tape this to your forehead.” It was an “Out of Order” sign he had made for his computer so no one would touch it. As he placed the sign on my face he said, “There. Isn’t that better?” And as I closed my eyes and put my head back into my chair, it really *was* better. I needed a few minutes to just stop. No reading, no thinking, no doing.DSCN3175

Just being.

And it took an 8-year-old boy to teach me this.

By placing a sign on my forehead.

I’d say little nuggets of wisdom come from all people of all ages. We just need to take the time to listen.




My Staycation

This has been one of the best weeks I have ever lived.


Hiking up South Bubble in Acadia National Park.


Hiking the Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia National Park.

It wasn’t filled with theme parks or pools or even friends. There was no glamour or glitz or even much money spent. Instead it was filled with large chunks of quality time with my son, mingled with short visits with my family and bits of running and reading and cleaning, combined with one overnight stay in Bar Harbor that included two hikes, two library visits, and two ice cream shop stops (where we indulged in two scoops at each place).

In my opinion, this week has been heavenly. I’m sure my son does not have the same thoughts or memories of this week. He probably remembers that we went to the drive-in theater and got to stay up really late. (“I got to stay up until the NEXT DAY!” he proclaimed to anyone who would listen.) I have no doubt that he’ll remember that I played Halo with him–twice–and I was so frustrated that he ended up calling me “Swear Bear” due to the string of expletives cascading from my mouth when I couldn’t figure out how to walk and shoot at the same time.

My son may remember the hiking we did, but it definitely wasn’t his favorite thing. Yet when we reached the top of South Bubble then climbed down some rocks to “push” Bubble Rock, he was so proud of himself and I was so proud of us. There was no whining (except when we first got out of the car and he realized we were really going to do this hiking thing).  He never fell once going up and we went at his speed. I had a bag full of food and water and we could take our time. We moved to the side of the trail when others came and we just did our thing. Yet once we got into a rhythm, it took us no time at all. We talked about Star Wars all the way up. We played a long game of “Versus” in which we try to pair Star Wars characters against each other and argue about who would win the battle and why. For a few minutes, I convinced him to play “Wildlife Versus” where we paired animals against each other, but that turned into “Wildlife Vs Star Wars” and let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty for those poor animals.

My boy trying to push Bubble Rock off the mountain.

My boy trying to push Bubble Rock off the mountain.

But once we got to the top, we sat down on a ledge to eat our lunch, and my boy got a lot more serious. He said that he felt overweight and maybe we could do more of these types of things so he wouldn’t feel that way anymore. I looked into his beautiful brown eyes and broke into a thousand little pieces. I quickly glued myself back together, gave my boy a squeeze, and told him we could do as many hikes as he likes and probably more than he wants to.

The rest of the hike was mostly pleasant, except for the boy falling twice and skinning his knee a bit, but all in all, it was truly extraordinary. I know that hiking with him won’t always be this good, especially if we add other people into the mix. But I intend to try, and maybe he’ll grow to have a love of hiking or the outdoors. Right now I know that getting hurt is frustrating him and why he hates taking walks or runs. He nearly always gets hurt (much like I did at his age) and we talked about how awkward it can be while you’re growing and sometimes you trip when nothing is there and your bones are growing and expanding and it’s all a good thing. It really is.

And this is what I have to remember. This is all a good thing. Somehow, some way, I have to incorporate what I did and how I felt this past week into my daily life, into my daily working life. I often say how much I love what I do and how fortunate I am to be a librarian. But as the days have gotten closer to going back to work, all I have felt is anxiety and sadness and loss. I broke down and cried yesterday, hoping to just “cry it out” and get it out of my system. I understand all of what I’m feeling. I do. I’m feeling anxious because I know I have a lot of work to catch up on this week and I’ll have more of a set schedule that I have to stick to. The sadness and loss is because I won’t be home with my son and his stress level will also increase because of having to go here and there and not just be with me. And you know, I realize how great we really have it. We do. I may not have summers off, but I get to do something I like and my kid gets to be nearby and spend a few hours at a library each day. A library he considers home. He’s safe. He’s ok.

There have been several tragedies in the area just this week, including the death of a 9-year-old boy in my town and the death of a 22-year-old man who was the son of one of my colleagues.  The families of these two have had a horrendous week. I, on the other hand, was given the gift of a beautiful week with my son. I did not squander it. I enjoyed it and grasped onto as many great moments as I could.

So now I need to stop whining and crying and pick myself up. I need to get my ass in gear and appreciate the job that I have and the work that I do. I need to show my son that life is not only worth living, but can be pretty damn awesome. Even when we have responsibilities to take care of, life can be fulfilling and fun.

Now I’m off to do laundry so I won’t have to go to work in my pajamas…and I might go buy a lottery ticket…just one.

I will not give up the dream!



True confessions

I don’t particularly care if you like how I dress or think my hair is ridiculous or you hate my lack of religion. It doesn’t bother me if you think I’m bossy or that my love of Cool Whip repulses you. And yet, I seem to care what you think of me as a parent.

See, my son loves video games. He enjoys Minecraft and Lego Star Wars…and Halo. Let me say that Halo is not a game I think a 7 1/2 year old should be playing.  My husband and I got into quite a “discussion” about this. I wasn’t happy *at all* and yet I relented.  Why? you may ask. Why allow your kid to play a game that is geared towards teens and adults and involves lots of shooting of guns of every size imaginable?  I’ll tell you why. Because I’m a co-parent and I must pick my battles. (Co-parenting is a subject that needs its very own blog post, so I’ll skip that for now.) But my son also got in on the discussion. He gave me reasons why he thought the game would be ok to play (“we’re shooting bad aliens, Mom, *not* people”) and he assured me that he would never shoot anyone for real. (This has always been my fear, that my son will be that guy at the top of the clock tower, picking off people for amusement.)

Once we established that my boy could play this video game, I told him not to tell anyone at school. I knew he had at least one friend that played Halo, too, and the kids often pretend to play it on the playground acting out the parts of the game, yet I didn’t want any teacher or parent to know that I had allowed my child to play this shooting game that I knew *they* wouldn’t approve of.

Why the hell do I care? Is it because I don’t want these people to think badly of me or that I’m a bad parent? Maybe. Originally I thought it was because this video game isn’t something I would have allowed him to play if I were the only parent…but you know what? As a family, we all watch The Big Bang Theory together and I told him not to tell anyone about that either. Honestly, I think some of the show is highly inappropriate for him to watch or hear, yet we all laugh hysterically and much of it is going right over his head. He’ll ask questions occasionally, and very often I tell him that we’ll talk about it when he’s older. But is it any worse than watching M*A*S*H* or Three’s Company with our parents when we were little? I don’t think so.

Maybe, in all truth, I care what you think because I want to be a good parent and I’m not always one. Sometimes I don’t make my kid brush his teeth at night or change his socks and tonight we had cereal for supper.

And yet…if all of what I’ve done (or not done) and the fact that my child plays too many video games and watches questionable sitcoms with his family makes me a bad parent, then what about everything else? What about the fact my son loves to read out loud “with expression” (his words) or that he gives someone a compliment every single day because he wants to or the fact that his vocabulary is better than some adults I know?10616646_10204630006812846_8115794330705525964_n

Or what about this? The fact that I love him more than any human being that ever existed or ever will—and he knows it.

Maybe that’s really what a good parent does–letting your kid know you love them, and that you’re doing the best that you can.

And maybe not give them cereal every night. Seriously, I need to do better on that one.