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We’re Growing Up

I wondered when it would finally happen and I realize, it’s happening now.

My children are no longer “babies.”

They are growing into young men right before my very eyes which gives me such mixed emotions. While part of me is happy to see them thrive and grow, the other part mourns the loss of the babies I once held in my arms. I can’t believe how quickly the years have already gone, and I anticipate the ones to come will pass with equal swiftness. I am not even remotely ready to be the mother of teenagers, or to have them shun me with the contempt most boys of that age feel for their parents. I’m not ready for them to believe they have surpassed intellectually and in their knowledge of the world. I’m not prepared for them to begin blaming me for my shortcomings as a parent or resenting me for doing too much of one thing, or not enough of another.

I already find that I miss the complete and utter adoration and admiration when in their eyes, I was perfect, amazing, and could do nothing wrong.

I realize the window on my motherly perfection is beginning to close and there is nothing I can do to keep it open. My boys are becoming more savvy in the ways of the world as it becomes bigger for them, day by day. I am happy and excited for their new experiences, but at the same time, I am fearful. Perhaps, less for them and more for myself.

Being a parent was easier when I could hold them in my arms when they cried and their tears would simply disappear simply because I was near them. It was comforting to me when I could soothe their little pains or problems with kisses and hugs, or words of wisdom they would listen to with big eyes and open ears. But as they get older and their problems get bigger I realize their ears won’t always be as open, their problems will get much larger, and I will no longer appear to be as smart as I was when they were two. It’s great for your ego when you have two little people who hang on your every word and think that everything you say is the most important thing in the world. The narcissist in me will definitely miss that!

It makes me sad to anticipate the changes that are before me as a mother and them as brothers. I liked when my kids thought I was fun, smart, and cool. They still feel that way, but I can see the veil slowly starting to lift until I am revealed to be “just mom.” While being a mom to young children is exhausting, it is also incredibly wonderful for your ego. After all, is there ever another time in your life when you are ever so incredibly loved and adored as when your children are young? Sadly, I also see the slow but sure separation between brothers as they find their own friends and interests, and the loss of closeness saddens me. We’ve raised them to look out for one another and I hope they will always find their way back to one another as first friends and as brothers. As the next phase of motherhood is barreling upon me, I find that I am full of trepidation. Will I know what to do? Will I be able to help them with their bigger problems? Will I be as effective and patient? What do I know about ‘boy’ problems? Will they care what I have to say? Will I still be able to guide them into adulthood to be good men?

I know I can’t stop them from growing up and I am excited for this next phase of their lives. The independence and confidence that shines within them is amazing and incredible, and I am proud of all of us for getting them to this point. I look at them and am in awe that a decade ago, they weren’t on the planet, and now here they are bringing happiness to my life every day. While I have such hopes and dreams for them, I can’t wait to find out what theirs will be and how to help them get there.

I’m growing up with them and I can’t wait to continue growing old with them.

 

 

ALS Bucket Challenge

Today I had the pleasure of being nominated to do the #ALSBucketChallenge.

I knew my time was coming because the challenge was circling around me, but I wasn’t sure when it would hit. And then it hit, today.

After I posted it, I had several people thank me for doing it because they have a loved one, or had a loved one who suffered from the disease. But it was my privilege to get to do the challenge, if it would for one moment, remind people of the Hell of this disease and make us think about those who suffer from it. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a progressive nuerogenerative disease that effects nerve cells in the brain from the spinal chord to the muscles in the body and ends in total paralysis.

I had to get past the personal embarrassment of posting this less-than-flattering video, by giving myself some “tough love” and remembering that it wasn’t about me. It was about something bigger and way more important. You can find the video posted on my Facebook page, and hopefully it will help just a little bit in this epic battle against this horrible disease that affects about 30,000 people at any given time.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=688043104608607&set=vb.435181503228103&type=2&theater

God Bless those who suffer from ALS, and the ones who love them. Let’s hope this challenge will help raise awareness and funds for research and hopefully a total eradication of ALS!

http://www.alsa.org/

Sorting Socks

I haven’t blogged in, what feels. like. forever.

I find that summer is an extremely difficult time to write. It’s not because the words are not there, but because the time to let them flow, is not. This can certainly make for a frustrated writer.

Between baseball, working, spending time with little boys who are home all summer, and juggling the craziness of plain old life, blogging falls to the bottom of the priority list, with working on my fourth novel not that much higher. I’m not whining… not really. Doesn’t anyone and everyone feel the way I do about things they love? Life just gets in the way which is expected.

But do you want to know what really makes me crazy?? It’s the ONE thing in life I can’t stand or accept no matter how hard I try. It’s the one thing that pulls me from being able to write and makes me insane… sorting socks!

With four people who wear multiple pairs of socks sometimes all in one day even, between washing, sorting, matching, and folding I waste hours of valuable writing time. HOURS! HOURS! If you’re like me, socks are the last thing I deal with when doing laundry. I would rather clean a toilet than sort through a gigantic pile of socks in every imaginable size and shape. It’s a task that feels futile… you know what I mean. Laundry is the one domestic duty I detest because it’s time consuming, annoying, and never ever ending. And honestly, I’d rather be writing. I’d rather be writing than doing many things, but I’m not kidding, I would rather go naked if it was socially acceptable that wash another load of dirty clothes.

An old friend asked me the other day,” How does it feel to be a writer?”

I struggled to answer the question because quite frankly, I don’t often feel like a writer. As much as I want to be, I’m more often other things. Queen Sock Sorter, being one of them. And it’s not a question of not wanting to write more often, it’s just a matter of what is most important in my life, and sometimes, those little pieces of cotton just end up to be priority above sitting at a keyboard and “bleeding” (Ernest Hemingway).

I jest, but seriously. Show me a writer, mother, blogger, full time career woman, SAH (stay at home) Mother, who doesn’t deal with the same issues? How many times do you say “I would work out more” or” eat healthier”, “get my nails done”,  or “take that art class” if only… I didn’t have to (fill in the blank)? So, I’ve decided it’s time to make a stronger effort.

Writing makes me happy.

It calms my nerves, empties my head, and is the one thing I do for ME. I don’t write because I’m expected to or even particularly great at it. If I stopped writing tomorrow the only person who might really miss it, is me, which I accept and am completely fine with. But being a writer helps me reflect so I understand who I am and can make better sense of the world which is why I’ve always done it. Which is why I’ve decided that this Queen Sock Sorter can also be a more prolific writer.

I just have to figure out how.

I’ll keep fighting to blog and to write because sorting socks just depresses me. And hopefully you’ll see more pieces from me in the near future as I practice my writing skills, release the demons, and do something other than practice my powers as a domestic Goddess. 😉 And if anyone wants to come over and sort my socks for me, you can comment below and we can negotiate. 🙂

 

The Will to Win

I’ve become something I never imagined I would be… a Baseball Mom.

And I love it.

I love going to the baseball fields and watching the dirt fly from little cleats on a hot summer day. There is something magical that happens when you hear the crack of the bat or the smack of the ball in a mitt. And it’s a thing of sheer beauty when you watch your son slide with everything he has into Home Plate, and you see the smile on his face that refuses to go away. If you’re lucky, you get to go to every game with parents who love getting to be there just as much as you do. You become an unspoken community, cheering on each other’s kids with just as much heart, as you celebrate the wins and lament the losses. I’ve loved watching my boys grow as athletes.

To one of my boys it just comes naturally, to the other he has to work at it, each approaching their sport from very different perspectives.

The one who is natural is an emotional thinker, who approaches his game with passion and heart. His love for the game is deep, often compelling him to practice just for fun, without anyone telling him. The other child, approaches every at bat with a huge smile on his face, fearing nothing. He tells anyone who will listen that he is going to be baseball player when he grows up. He doesn’t realize that he is one now. When his bat connects with the ball, he runs the bases with such contagious joy that his fans smile with him as he takes his base with pride.

I love watching my boys grow in their skill as well as the way they connect with their teammates. I adore their love of the game, and now I also love the game, even when they’re not in it.

We’ve been fortunate to have wonderful families who parent the boys, on our teams, as well as the coaches (including my husband) who have led them with fairness, kindness and toughness. The reality of it is, that isn’t always the case in any kid’s sport. We hear it, we witness it, and we experience it as we send out boys into the world to compete against others who are far less fair or kind.

My oldest plays travel ball with a great group of kids in a competitive and selective league, which he had to try out for. During one of our most recent games, our kids were getting killed by a bigger and far more aggressive team. Despite our struggling performance, our kids did pull out moments of brilliance, which our parents loudly celebrated. When one of our boys made an amazing hit and was running toward first base, my husband who was the first base coach at the time heard their first baseman say “Why are those parents cheering? We’re killing them!”  My husband responded, ” They’re cheering because they are proud of their kids!” This other team, despite their very high score and our very low one, continued to steal bases, chant for reasons other than “rallying”, and run on our kids all the while driving their score up and our kids further into the dirt. (Parents of children athletes understand what I’m referring to here.)

I suppose one could take the above paragraph as whining, which certainly depends on perspective. But while I want my kids to win, I want so much more for them. Learning how to steal bases, take advantage of their situation, and taunt people aren’t necessarily lessons I want them to learn. It doesn’t teach them how to win or even understand what winning is about. I want my boys to have the will to win, but I don’t want them to win at the expense of others and their dignity or spirit. I sound like a girl, I know. But as I watch our coaches, they handle the boys with discipline but also with integrity. More importantly, they expect the same from them. They are taught accountability and sportsmanship, teamwork and grace. All of which will carry them through life and be far more valuable than the lessons we’ve seen other coaches teach their boys.

It’s highly unlikely that many of these boys we compete against, or even on our team, will make it to play college or professional baseball. Teaching boys to slide with their cleats out for 9U, or condoning and encouraging narcissistic chanting, is completely wasteful of the opportunity to shape young minds to win with heart and integrity. Parents and Coaches who propel and influence their children in this way, should look in the mirror and question their own motivation and purpose.

It’s not that I don’t want my boys to win. Of course we play to win! Winning is fun and it gives you a feeling of purpose and happiness that’s impossible to replicate. It’s why we have Play offs, the World Series, trophies, and MVPs. But the will to win comes from within, and winning tastes more divine when it’s done with excellence and sportsmanship. I’m no different than any parent who dreams of their sons playing professional sports one day. But I’m also realistic and understand that they just may not have what it takes. Regardless of where their path may take them, I do believe the lessons they learn in youth baseball will be imprinted on them for life.

The coaches who teach them to respect the other team, look out for their teammates, play fair, and not take advantage of others weaknesses, are instilling crucial values that will make them better men, husbands, and father’s.  And for this, I am far more thankful.