Friday Nights used to look like:
-Relax in the quietness
-Change from one dress into mini dress and from high heels into higher heels
-Nice sit-down dinner with date or friends
-Grown-up talk and Grown-up drinks
-Staying out until 2 a.m. without worry of having to wake up before noon
My Friday Night tonight looks like:
-Come home from playdate with kids
-Realize I completely forgot to plan dinner. Try to sell my idea of frozen pizzas or chicken fingers to the kids and fail.
-Husband sends me text with a picture of some kind of cement asking me to run to Home Depot and find it.
-Get lost in Home Depot but eventually find pictured object and score some fast food on the way home.
-Get home and he says, "But you were supposed to buy two!". I tell him he's wrong and I think about arguing my case more except I remember the 3 hungry little people I'm responsible for feeding.
-Sit down with kids to eat and 1 kid decides to lay on floor screaming because I chose the wrong food and another child decides they are no longer hungry. By the time I have dealt with the other 2 kids the 3rd kid is done and I eat alone.
-Decide to do dishes and, during this time, the toy room explodes and lands over every room and stairway in the house.
-A child screams "POOP!" and I run to the bathroom to see it COVERED in poop. All kids deny it was them. First I turn on coffee maker (because in a minute I know I'll need a cup to recover), begin the cloroxing of the entire bathroom, step in a smear and lose every ounce of cool I was attempting to maintain. Kids all still deny the poop but pretty sure this time it's because I'm screaming, "WHO DID IT?"
-Finish cleaning the bathroom and go to get that coffee until I hear the front door and realize my 4 year old decided to bolt. Run after her with my boys running after me.
-Catch her, lecture her for the 5000th time and realize it's time for baths and bed. Yay! Coffee and sitting will wait.
-Start the bedtime process and giant flying bug discovered in kids bathroom. Chase bug with shoes, give up, shut bathroom door and pretend bug isn't in there.
-Put kids to bed and dress in yoga pants.
-Start to go workout and all kids get out of bed. They need a drink, they need to pee, they have a question, they have another question, too hot, too cold, can't find blankie/doll/book/watch, need a song-a long song-a song from Frozen, ugh. Kids back in bed.
-Come back downstairs, decide my working out window has once again passed and remember that there's a slice of chocolate mousse pie in the fridge and that sounds waaay better than aerobics. Turn off coffee maker and grab wine instead.
-And here I find myself wearing yoga gear and bare feet instead of pretty dresses and heels, sitting alone with wine and pie, watching Pretty In Pink on a sofa full of toys and very much looking forward to staying up late reading the end of that book on my nightstand.
-Oh, and the giant flying bug has escaped (or there's 2) and is circling my head right at this moment.
Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Just this morning I was sitting with my 10 year old who mentioned that time we went to Walgreens to buy a sandwich, chips, drink and an umbrella for the homeless man, standing in the rain, with a sign asking for food. What I remember about that day is sitting in my parked car in a parking lot across the street as I watched this older gentleman, at a busy intersection in Webster Groves, Missouri, with a bowed head. I watched car after car after car speed past him- no one was slowing down, no one was stopping to give him money, no one was giving him food and, when the light turned red, the stopped cars rolled up windows and heads turned the other way. He was asking for a MEAL! He wasn't asking for drugs, he wasn't asking for alcohol, he wasn't even asking for money-what is wrong with us that we are so busy we can't be bothered to stop for a moment and acknowledge a simple need of another human being? To be honest, I didn't want the person who helped to be me either. I was fearful for my 3 year old, Spencer, sitting in the backseat and, shamefully, I was stereotyping all homeless persons as unsafe. After waiting awhile I eventually gave in to my conscience and drove over to him. As I rolled down the window to hand him the Walgreens bag I expected a quick drop-off and drive away but he looked me in the eyes (I still remember exactly what he looked like), he thanked me over and over and then he said, "God Bless You" with such sincerity that it brought me to tears. Spencer watched, he took it all in and asked me a lot of questions after it occurred. It was such a small task but, for my then 3 year old and now 10 year old, Spencer never forgot.
Coincidentally, I also read a news piece (actually several) this morning that now 33 cities have adopted laws against individuals and/or groups from feeding the homeless?!?! While I usually attempt to steer clear of any type of political anything on my blog, I've decided to dive into this political atrocity headfirst. Why? Because we're taught to obey the law and we're taught to respect elected officials (even when we disagree)-well, my parents made a wholehearted attempt to teach me this anyway but let me be the first to say that the government is WRONG! (and now my blog is being watched by drones who will attack my house while I sleep but I stand by my 'opinion', which is pretty much fact). How can we possibly teach our children to become upstanding American citizens who care about others in need and go out of their way to take care of those needs when the government declares this as breaking the law?
I had never even heard of this law until today when it was announced that more cities are joining in to put a ban on feeding the homeless, but it has been around for awhile and why? Because the government wants to take charge of the homeless, ration the amount of food given to them, choose the areas homeless people are allowed to inhabit and, one city claims, to make sure the salt, fat, sugar content of food for the homeless is doled out in healthy amounts...this ban has been in effect for over a decade and guess what political officials? You are failing! All of you Elephants, Donkeys and Turtles (do the independents even have an animal?) are to blame and, to make matters worse, certain cities have even started handing out fines (the largest so far is $2,000 to a couple for feeding homeless people in a park in Daytona Beach, FL.) and threatening prison time to individuals caught helping the homeless in Daytona Beach, FL., Raleigh, NC, Myrtle Beach, SC and Birmingham, AL. Although I couldn't find a list of all 33 cities involved, since 11 have recently signed on to be included in this ban, as of 2007 these cities include Atlanta, GA., Baltimore, MD., Chattanooga, TN., Cincinnati, OH., Dallas, TX., Denver, CO., Ft. Lauderdale, FL., Ft. Meyers, FL., Gainesville, FL., Hempstead, NY., Jacksonville, FL., Las Vegas, NV., Miami-Dade County, FL., Orlando, FL., Pinellas Park, FL., Portland, OR., San Francisco, CA., Santa Monica, CA., Sarasota, FL., Tampa, FL., West Palm Beach, FL. and Wilmington, NC.
So, to the government officials and/or drones now following my blog I'm curious how you plan to care for all the homeless on your own? How do the homeless know where to find help in these 'forbidden homeless' cities and how do you expect them to get to these government help stations? Bus, Taxi, Limo?? After watching the police step over countless homeless people spread out from one end of the strip in Vegas to the other end I certainly know police (you know, those people we pay to take care of people in need?) don't bat an eye at the devastation that is happening around them, do you really think they're going to help a homeless person to their squad car and drive them to a place to receive government assistance? That is, they don't care until you dare to help one out and find yourself with a ticket or behind bars (and not the fun bars with fruity drinks).
Over the years I have tried to stress to my kids the importance of caring for others and treating others the way they would want to be treated. My kids have chosen to give their time, their money and even their food (Coen recently saved a bag of popcorn from a Cardinals game because the man outside looked really hungry and the man was thrilled-what could be more simple than that?) to those less fortunate. This type of behavior or teaching is not one to be commended, it's simply an act of kindness every capable being should possess. A few minutes out of your time, a few dollars out of your pocket- so many hesitate on this already and the government is certainly not doing their part to support this type of giving or change others perceptions of the homeless as actual PEOPLE.
After I read about these bans I asked Spencer what he would do if helping the homeless was illegal in St. Louis-would he feed a homeless person begging for food and risk breaking the law or would he ignore the person to obey the law? His answer: "I don't understand why this is wrong and I don't care if they take me to jail, it's more important to care about people and give to people who need help". I didn't tell him if I agreed or not, I told him that it would be a difficult decision for anyone to make but, as his Mom, I'm proud of the little man I've raised. I hope, if ever finding himself in this situation, he stands his ground and follows his moral compass since our elected officials seem to have misplaced theirs.
Posted by Jenny Reijgers at 12:04 PM
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Life's too short to save it for later
To wait for tomorrow
Or hold off on a dream
Why do we save the I should have said's and the I should have done's until it's too late?
We waste our time away with the expectation that tomorrow will come
and we fear feeling foolish while we should fear moments passing without important words being said.
Life's too short to not make others a priority
To say I'll see you soon instead of I'll see you now.
We forget that this person we're taking for granted in our lives may soon become this hole in our heart.
There is only one of them and there will never be another...yet we wait for someday when we have right now
And risk the chance of living with the regret of these choices.
Life's too short to forget to say I Love You or I Miss You or Thank You
There will never be a phone call, a text, a visit, a hug, a kiss, a smile or a compliment you'll wish you could take back.
Your life can be one of missed opportunity or living in the moment,
Either way you don't have the forever that you think you do and the timing will never be right.
Work will wait, Time will not. Seize this short moment while you still have it in your grasp because truly, truly...Life's too short.
After the recent and unexpected passing of a High School friend I was reminded of life's uncertainty. A Facebook page turned into memories and old photographs, a reminder of how many lives one person can touch and even some "I should have said...", "We should have done..." and "I hope you knew..." messages inspiring me to write this post as a reminder to myself (and to others who choose to accept the challenge) to be foolish, take risks, live life to the fullest, wear your heart on your sleeve, make time for those you care about and dare to live without the regret.
Posted by Jenny Reijgers at 9:28 PM
Saturday, May 03, 2014
Chances are if you have a Facebook page someone, sometime (or many someones) have been posting the obnoxious articles containing the titles, "Your Kid's Not Going Pro", "Your Kid And My Kid Are Not Playing In The Pros" and "Your Child Is Not Going To Be A Professional Athlete". I read each article trying to embrace the valuable lesson each writer was attempting to teach. I get their points being that time with my kids is precious, I get that there is more to life than sports and professional "hobbies" and I get that the chance of my children ever making it in THAT world is slim but while you allow yourselves to bask in the negativity of chasing dreams, even the seemingly unreachable dreams, and scoff at parents like myself because we're unrealistic (and maybe we are and maybe our children's dreams are) but I will still tell my kids every time they ask "Do you think I can go Pro?" or "Do you think I could make it to the Olympics?" or "Could I someday be a dancer like that?" my answer is always the same...Yes! It's not up to me to decide when this dream ends and a new adventure awaits their future, that decision is up to them. How much they want it, how hard they want to work for it and when/if they're ready to move on is entirely up to my kids. My job is to believe in my kids, to be their support from the sidelines, to comfort them when they fail and to be that parent who screams enthusiastically when they succeed. What you writers failed to mention in your articles is, as rare as it is, someone IS going to make it, someone is going to go Pro and someone is going to shine brighter! One writer in particular claimed your child has a better chance of getting a job as a brain surgeon than ever making it in these fields and even the chance of ever knowing someone who made it is slim to none. Except I do. My brother played baseball on the same team with Philip Gentry, who made it to the Minors and in college played on the same team as Ryan Howard, who is now a Major League player for the Phillies. My Dad wrote a song that has been published by Hal Leonard, world's largest music print publisher...and is currently working on another. My sister has made 2 professional music videos, has 2 CDs out and a fan page of thousands of followers...just type in "Where's the Line to See Jesus", she and my dad are ALL over the place. Broadway, Red Carpet, Magazine Editor, Casting Directors, Actors, Agents, Radio personalities, TV producers...I know people who have made it! Oh, and I must not forget that hour I danced next to George Clooney while we filmed "Up In The Air"....that should count for something, right? Call me crazy but these someones could be my kids! It doesn't have to be and I won't be disappointed if it isn't but I will be disappointed if they don't try for whatever it is they're striving for and I'll be even more disappointed in myself to take away that hope, that faraway hope, of attaining that goal to be...psh, realistic. Their happiness and their desire to want to shine is the reason I run my kids to ballet & tap, gymnastics and baseball all week long. It's the reason we eat frozen pizzas and fast food (but we still eat dinner together at least) and it's the reason my kids are motivated to try harder and push themselves as far as only they want to go. They're not competing against other kids, they're competing against themselves to see what they can become and to impress themselves, not me. Every ribbon, every trophy, every certificate they have received has made an impression on their lives and given them a sense of real accomplishment. If they fail, it's o.k. and if they succeed, it's o.k...I'll still be there loving them and cheering them on for the rest of their lives hoping they chase that "impossible" dream as far as they want to chase it.
Posted by Jenny Reijgers at 10:18 AM
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
For the past 2 months-2 MONTHS-Coen has had his Birthday Thank You cards sitting at his spot at the dinner table. He pushes them aside and pretends they're not there, eats his meals around them, puts his backpack on top of them when he gets home from school, etc. It doesn't seem to bother him that he's insanely belated on this simple task but now that we've reached an embarrassingly late point I had to get tough. Sort of tough, I actually did all the work for him. All he had to do now was copy word for word what I had written onto his Thank You cards. He wrote one and had this reaction. Full-on meltdown. Glasses off, tears flowing...the works. After every.single.card. THIS occurred.
So it took a full week to write 12 cards between his tantrums and my losing patience (and my mind) but today he finished! He proudly handed me the cards, asked me if I could write all the envelopes-well played-and I started shuffling through the pile. Some cards he just ran out of room and stopped the card in mid-sentence, some were tear-stained and some were completely illegible but my favorite card said this:
Dear Wallet, (side note: he doesn't have a friend named Wallet)
Thank you for the Lego Move Book and Lego Book
and for coing to my farting.
...He wins, I quit! Your cards will be mailed tomorrow. And if this is how Thank You cards go I can't WAIT for 2nd Grade- I can only hope his teacher accepts belated homework.
Posted by Jenny Reijgers at 12:02 AM