Friday, October 03, 2014

Crush The Fairytale...Save The Princess

I met up the other night with a dear friend from my past (and my present), we go back at least 30 years but our lives have taken two drastically different turns.  Neither better nor worse than the other, just different.  She has taken the path less traveled, the waiting it out path.  The no rush to the alter path.  The holding out for true, unmistakable, can't-live-without-you love type of guy that, she admitted, may or may not come along.  She's funny, beautiful, smart, compassionate and truly one of the kindest people I've ever known and while she could have just ANY guy, she wants more.  She wants the real thing...LOVE!  
     My life, however, trailed the other way.  I was the fairytale's do come true and love at first sight is the kind of love that lasts forever kind of girl.  I started buying wedding magazines and filling my wedding scrapbook with dress, flower, shoe and cake ideas at the age of 17!  In my High School Senior Book I wrote out my life goal was to be married by the time I was 24 and a Stay at Home Mom (hence blog title SAHM) to at least 3 or more kids before age 30.  Only problem was I didn't have a groom in mind-minor detail at the time.  In my defense I did receive and reject a few proposals over the years, opportunities to live with "boyfriends" in different parts of the Country and even found what could be love that I gave up on when it failed to materialize in my time plan.  And then, when I least expected it, prince charming showed up.  I didn't question it and I didn't need to-he was right on time.  He immediately proposed and even wanted to hurry the engagement process faster than I could get my dress order to come in. I was married by the time I was 23 and a SAHM to 3 kids a few years later.  My mission was complete and life would forever be perfect...right?  
     I write this post not to bash marriage but because I was asked to write honestly about marriage without the sugar coated glaze.  I have more friends recently teetering at the brink of divorce (or going through divorce) than I can even count and while some understandably had to give up the fight, others are trying to fix the broken pieces but all of us have the same goal: To seek happiness and real LOVE!  The kind that sparks your soul, the kind that inspires, the kind that doesn't quit, the kind that makes you smile, the kind that lifts you up, and the kind that gives you belly butterflies.  Over the years, although I'm still a dreamer and free spirit at heart, I've grown to be more of a realist.  The life of wedded bliss I expected to coast by on was and is work.  The fairytale I once allowed myself to believe could be real was a phase and this princess is scrubbing toilets, laundry stains and dishes in a Cinderella gone backwards twist with a sometimes grumpy prince.  There are times of happy and unhappy endings and moments (o.k. entire days) of feeling that I completely lost myself on this path.  With that said, I take back nothing.  I wouldn't be the girl I am today without the life I've lived for the past 14 years. 
     I cannot see beyond the box (only because I'm in the box with all of you) so my words and advice may fall short but when I think of the life I want for my daughter, the ultimate fairytale believer, I wish for you (she and I) this:  
May you never fall victim to the fairytale.
May you find the strength to walk away from him when it's necessary or find the courage to fight for him when he's worth it.
May you never stop dreaming nor fear new adventures.
May you find someone who can make you laugh and hold you when you need to cry.
May you find a love that lasts forever.
May you never settle for mediocre, even if that means being alone, and 
May you find someone who gives you the attention, encouragement and love you so deserve.

...And If that man fails you, find a good friend to count on instead ;)


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Huff Post Mom Guilt Trip

As I glanced over to see all 3 kids sitting with an electronic screen in front of them I decided to change their bedsheets.  I made it as far as my oldest kid's bed, seriously contemplated changing the sheets and decided the dark room and comfy bed were just too much so I instead laid down in silence and dared myself to keep my eyes open.  I took out my phone, as I declared coffee break, and within 2 minutes of resting I was sent an email about some huff post article, written by a Mom of a 7 year old boy, and chattering on and on about cherishing this moment and the necessity of spending every free second she can with him, yada, yada, yada.  Sweet-yes, practical-uh, NO!  I'm not fully convinced this woman even really has a 7 year old.  Then I hesitantly flipped over to Facebook where I scrolled through countless articles by guilty Moms claiming we only have a few sweet years and then our kids are gone type articles that my friends reposted in hopes of changing our lives or something.  I skimmed the articles thinking only this-these article writing Moms are forcing the rest of us to take an unwanted trip down the path of guilt and carrying many of my Mom friends along on this journey.  Stop the bus-I want off!
Being a Mom is hard, being a huff post Mom is impossible!  I imagine these Moms also live in the Pottery Barn homes with their child's name stitched into everything in a land where dinnerware matches, crumbs don't exist and smiles never fade.  I love my kids with a kind of love I never even realized was possible.  They make my world go round and I couldn't imagine my life without them in it.  With that said, I'm tired!  There is a list of never-ending errands, my mini-van doubles as a taxi shuttling my kids from activity to activity, my calendar is packed-so much so that I often fail to read it (which would explain why my kids were the only kids dressed in baseball shirts, athletic shorts and sporting unbrushed hair on picture day yesterday), laundry is always piled, toys are always everywhere despite my best efforts, someone is always sick and homework is no longer a child's responsibility because their homework is my homework and it is never a happy time.  Just today my 7 year old and I realized we forgot to do "our" homework 10 minutes before school- cue yelling Mom, crying kid and a mad dash through common core madness that only makes sense to Physicists and Brain Surgeons.  Bedtime is also not the relaxing, peaceful, book-reading/song-singing event I wish it was, instead it's the time of day where the kids have given up any chance at getting along.  There is fighting over the bathroom, there is urine in places urine should never be, there is toothpaste in places toothpaste should never be, there's a wrestling match, usually a broken something or other and a lengthy discussion over which lights will stay on/off and if wolves/raccoons/zombies can or can't operate the garage door keypad and what I'll do if they do get into the house followed by a quick song.       
Mommas, please don't take yourselves down the long unhappy road of guilt, give yourselves credit and a pat on the back for your successes because they ARE hard to come by.  There will be happy moments, time to play a game with your kids, days of matching clothes and matching socks, moments of cuddles and I Love Yous, time to teach them something new, places you will go that will make a lasting memory and moments of greatness.  But it won't be everyday and that's o.k.!   Remembered to feed your kids today?  Gold Star!  (If you fed them a fruit or veggie-bonus points).  And if you bathed them (and the outside hose counts)-well that's just extra credit and you're an Awesome Mom!              

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Never Grow Up

Put your shorts back on, we don't open/swing around/dance with umbrellas in the house/grocery store/near other people and please stop trying to stand on your head before you injure yourself.  This has become a bit of my daily chant that I repeat to her multiple times a day.  Sometimes, though, I forget how lucky I am that I still have my Little to hang out with, who is fearless and outrageous, who sheds her clothing the instant we walk in the door because she just doesn't care, who carries around random objects (this week is umbrellas) everywhere we go without a thought as to how odd it seems and who challenges herself to do things that are crazy.  I forget for a moment until a stranger mentions how cute it is or funny it is that she's doing such and such...and then I remember.  Today that moment was during Sesame Street.  I was just drinking my coffee while she sat there answering every question those hairy monsters gave her-letters, numbers, colors, shapes-things she struggled with just last year-and I started to cry.  At first I tried to cover it up but then it quickly snowballed into this super, enormous, can't-hold-it-in ugly cry and Hadley looked over at me concerned but said nothing.  And my crazy self begged her, "Please just stop growing up!".  She looked at me for a second, grabbed her knees, looked at her feet and said, "Don't worry Mom, I didn't grow up today!".  She hugged me tight, really tight, around the neck and said she would try not to grow up so I wouldn't be sad anymore then went back to her Sesame Street and umbrella twirling.  After running errands today, with the umbrella and many funny stares (it's 90 degrees and sunny), she danced in the yard until she was tired, came inside and took off her shorts and is now singing to herself while playing princess with her wild imagination.  If only I could figure out how to freeze time-this moment would be it.              

Monday, August 18, 2014

A time for Appreciation

The facts are not in and the witnesses have been deemed unreliable, people are at war in a lose-lose situation and there is no verdict, therefore, I am not writing this post in favor for or against either the officer or the deceased.  I will wait for the law to determine the outcome of this situation when the truth is finally set free in, hopefully, an unbiased and peaceful manner.  But while we wait for this to come about I am receiving messages of concern from dear friends who have husbands, wives, relatives and friends lives on the line trying to protect this city of St. Louis from anymore deterioration.  The "I'm sorry, I Love You" good-bye texts from officers, the 'please pray that my husband/wife/friend makes it tonight' requests, the 30 hour shifts, the exhaustion, the stress, the concern of being forced into a "war zone" without proper weapons and the claim that those who fought in Afghanistan felt more safe there than in their own St. Louis hometown is disheartening to say the least.  I finally (and reluctantly) gave in last night, after receiving texts and emails from different friends claiming the above statements, and  took a break from my big brother newsfeed and US weekly (at this point this is the only unbiased news I can stand to read or expose myself to anymore-I need to find my "happy place") but I turned on the TV to more of the same and felt ill.  It's time we do something positive, all of us, and so I propose this to all who want to participate.  (Disclaimer: If you disagree that's completely fine and I'd appreciate you keeping your opinion to yourself just as I have been forced to do when I scroll through my Facebook, Twitter feeds and blogs.  I may disagree with you but I still respect you enough to allow you to your opinion without an argument).  I challenge you, who choose to participate, to do something kind for the police officers, the firemen (thank you Uncle Jimmy for all you do) and all those responding to this, for lack of a better word, crisis.  My kids and I have decided to randomly select 5 different Police and Fire Departments from the St. Louis area to make and send Thank You cards and letters of positive encouragement to (possibly more if we get on a roll).  It can be as simple as that!  Send them a Starbucks giftcard (these people are exhausted), send them giftcards for restaurants to help out their stressed and exhausted families with dinners, send them flowers, send them something to let them know WE APPRECIATE YOU!!  Most of us have needed the police and/or fire department at some time in our lives and, in our experience, they were always so quick to respond, extremely helpful and friendly.  As a resident in the neighborhood of Officer Wilson we have had police guarding the schools and the homes around the area 24/7 and I, for one, am extremely grateful for these positive, courageous and brave individuals.  It's due time for our Thanks and our appreciation.  So for those who wish to accept this challenge please feel free to pass this on and let's do something positive for our men and women in blue.          

Monday, August 11, 2014

Done! (War of the Races?)

I CAN'T ANYMORE!!  I watched the news until 1 in the morning.  I watched people rioting, looting and destroying their own city while news crews (and the people at home shaking their heads in disbelief) looked helplessly on.  I watched what started as a peaceful protest of a teen's death escalate into a race war and I'm done being quiet.  While I attempt to keep my blog lighthearted and happy, I'm so angry and so sad at the lies, assumptions and racial hatred being spewed all over every type of social media and news media I can't keep my mouth shut (or my typing fingers still) anymore.  DONE!  You didn't ask for my opinion and if you don't want it then stop here...
First off, google North St. Louis crime rate or Ferguson crime rate right now.  I'll wait.....  Did you just read about the 6,000 vacant homes in the area, many being used as drug and/or gang hangouts?  About the rapes, the murders and the robberies?  Or how about the average crime rates in major cities around the Country being 297.5 but Ferguson has remained between 517.6 down to 381.1 (still well above the average crime rate) since the year 2000?  And that's just Ferguson-North St. Louis, as a whole, has a crime rate skyrocketing above the rest.  Those are just a few sad facts about the area and the reason police presence is necessary and why many who know St. Louis well typically avoid driving into the area so many have been working hard to change the perception of.  Sadly, they were improving and almost there, yet now...
The facts #1: a terrible tragedy has occurred in North St. Louis, a teen has been shot and died.
But why this tragedy?  Why, when so many murders occur in the St. Louis area every year has this one made an impact nationwide?  Don't get me wrong, I believe every life is valuable but why choose now to care when we are annually listed as one of the most dangerous places to live in the United States?
Would you even think twice about this situation if it involved two people of the same race or a black police officer and a white teen?  And, unless you were present at the time, you don't know what happened.  Neither do I.  There are multiple sides to every story so how can you judge so quickly without knowing the facts?

Media Reports and Eye Witness accounts part 1: This quiet, unarmed teen boy, described by others as a teddy bear, was walking in the street to his grandma's house.  He was asked to get out of the street by an officer and then gunned down.

Media Reports and Eye Witness accounts part 2: A teen boy assaulted an officer when he was asked to get out of the street.  He was placed in the patrol car and attempted to take the officer's weapon.  The two struggled for the weapon and the teen was shot in self-defense.

There is no happy ending to this story either way you spin it.  I don't know what happened.  You, unless you were there, don't know what happened.  So STOP!

The facts #2: A group of people in North St. Louis rioted in the streets, tore up the businesses that came to better their area and provide jobs to those living in that area (also note: retail trade is the #1 occupation of those living in Ferguson ), looted from these businesses and claimed it all in the name of Michael Brown.  
While I realize most of those living in North St. Louis are trying to survive, stay out of trouble, keep their kids safe and live a normal life, they are forced to live in the midst of thugs (that's truly the nicest word I could come up with) who have convinced themselves that destroying their own town will somehow make a difference.  If anything the display from yesterday evening's behavior looks irresponsible, foolish and crazy.  Any chance once had at getting the Country to take these concerns seriously during this tragedy just slipped through the cracks and washed away the name of Michael Brown in fits of rage and raised up the name of Ferguson, Missouri in his place in the worst possible way.  Where a peaceful protest in memory of a death has been replaced with the memory of a destructive mob and the chance at uniting the races has caused an even greater, deeper and uglier divide on all sides with all races.
I don't know what the future holds in this situation but I do know that this situation cannot be reconciled until we stop acting like animals and start communicating respectfully.