Friday, June 28, 2013

The Almighty Locker Room Scream

She's adorable.

She'll blow your mind with her sweet blue eyes, blonde hair and smile that will make you give her the world.

Until she opens her mouth, shrieks at the top of her lungs and belts you in the mouth like its her job and sends your glasses flying across the room to boot.

Don't be fooled.

Her name is Claire and she's my two and half year old toddler from Crazy Land.

I've always contended that bright children are hard to raise.  This is why I'm pining for a beautiful, sweet, dumb, loyal Golden Retriever who will let us pull her around the house, not require that we watch her do tricks or reward her for good behavior.

Claire unfortunately looks like a sweet Golden, but is really masquerading as a Jack Russell terrier deep down inside.

She knows what she wants, when she wants it and exactly how it will go down and far be it for you to get in her way of owning it.

And so it went today in the locker room at the gym.  After a delightful afternoon soaking up sun and swimming like fish, we headed in, along with her older sister, Kate (5) to get changed.

Claire's typical MO is to run up and down the aisle of lockers while she hides inside random ones and pops out shouting, "BLLLLAAAAHHHH!!!"  It mostly makes Kate laugh and gives me a desperate moment needed to feverishly change into my dress before grabbing her, ripping off the wet suit and trying to vacate the situation as soon as possible.

Everything was on track until a lady pulled onto the scene.

Unsuspecting, she had no idea that Claire was hiding in the locker next to hers and just as she was about to grab her clothes, my Jack Russell terrier jumped out of the locker and screamed, "BLAAAHHH!!!"  To which the woman, dropped her towel, yelled an almighty scream and then farted.

It was the most embarrassing experience I've had in a long while.

I apologized profusely, grabbed my sociopath toddler and got the fuck out of Dodge.

Why in the Hell do these things happen to me?

I have to say that it was awkward, but only slightly less than the woman two rows behind her who was belting out her own rendition of "Open Arms," along with the radio.

Is it 5 o'clock yet?  I need a margarita.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

26.2 or Bust

I can't believe I'm writing this.

You know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that won't go away.  Yeah, that one.  The one that tells you, it's time.  You've got to give it a whirl, put your best foot forward and own that "thing" that won't seem to stop permeating your consciousness.

Well, for me, that crazy ass bucket dream is running a marathon or 26.2 miles.

It's been a little over 18 months since I started running and in that time, I've run 4 half marathons, a handful of 5-K and 10-K races and logged in lots of lots of mileage in several pairs of shoes.

Definitively, running has transformed my life.  I am stronger.  I endure longer.  And, I'm more "me" than I've been in a very long time.

So, as I was chatting it up with a guy at my local running store, he said, "What keeps you from going the distance?"

To which I internally replied, "I can't," but said out loud to him, "I'm not sure.  I guess I don't want to lose my joy of running by having a really awful experience pushing myself farther than I should."

He laughed and said, "Come least try it once, then, you can put one of those stickers on your car and join the cool club."

I brushed it off and thought, I'm a mom of three little kids.  I absolutely don't have time or energy to log in 30 plus mile training weeks.  And, who the hell do I think I am?  There's no way.

And then, it wouldn't go away...the nagging, the gnawing, the wondering, the hoping, and always the fear that if I don't, I'll never know.  And, it could, dare I say, be amazing.

And so, next May 2014, my plan is to run the Lincoln Marathon and my prayer is that I'm not that woman who lost control of her bowels and crapped herself while crawling across the finish line in Boston.  Because really, I've got enough troubles with poop at my abode.

Until then, if you see me, just lie and tell me that I can do it.  I'm in an all out battle with my mind and heart right now, I need all the support I can get because damn it...I'm all about putting that cool kid club sticker on my beat up Honda.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Gave Her My Heart...She Gave Me a Pen

Do you remember this movie?

God, I loved it. 

I'm now getting to the age where my friends' kids are getting their hearts broken.  And of course, my friends are wondering how they should counsel their sweet, innocent babes.  I suppose they come to me because at the time, I was the queen of being dumped.  I had a fantastic track record of dating really great guys who liked/loved me enough, but not enough to propose.

And so, understandably, no one wants to see their son or daughter go through the pain and yuck of getting their heart stomped on by another 16 or 17-year old who really doesn't even know what they're doing.

My favorite break-up scene in the above movie, "Say Anything," is when Ione Skye tries to end her summer relationship with John Cusack by giving him a pen and telling him to write her.  In a pouring down rain storm at a pay phone, he calls his sister and says, "I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen." 

My real-life favorite break-up scene was when my boyfriend pulled over in a retail parking lot to tell me that the girl he planned to marry was the one that he couldn't live without and he could live without me.

Ouch, I know.

So, as the parent, what do you do?  Well, for starters, ask for your teens' phone and text the douche, with a simple line like, "You fucked with the wrong family.  Watch your back, bitch."

No.  No.

That wouldn't be productive.  Instead, I think after the ugly girl crying is on hiatus, you go into their room and tell them that this experience is a gift.

They will of course, order you out and scream and yell that you just don't get it.  And to their credit, you don't.  Everyone's first break up is incredibly personal and devastatingly painful.

But what you do get, if you've been down that road is the ability to stand on your own two feet despite anyone else's personal rejection of who you are.  You recognize that it's not about being thinner or having bigger boobs or different clothes or living on the right street, it's about embracing all of you, even when someone else doesn't want to be connected to it anymore.

And that is a powerful lesson.

There is no shortage of anger in the process.  And, no matter what anyone says, being pissed is a good thing.  My step-mother used to say, if he doesn't like you...tell him that you don't like him more and then, live the shit out of your life.  The greatest example of triumph is not to morph yourself into what you think you should be, but to live who you are with gusto.

And in the end, you may be Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court and end up being passionately committed and in love.  Or you may be, Kelly Roberts, a girl who found herself incredibly strong, resilient and ready to bring her authentic self into the relationship that would prove well in her partnership for life.

Until then, I think you should still offer to beat the shit out of the little punk.  After all, it's your kid for Christ sake.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Remembering Her Five Years Later

These are pictures of my maternal grandmother, Elaine.

She was stunning in every way that you can imagine....physically beautiful, unconditionally loving, incredibly brilliant, and a born survivor.

She passed away five years ago today.

My grandmother grew up an only child and lost her mother to a brain aneurism when she was just 16-years old.  She met my grandfather when she was 15 and he was a scandalous 19-year old boy headed out to the navy during WWII.  Right or wrong, they loved each other fiercely and the hundreds of letters our family has in boxes demonstrates what it takes to wait for the love of your life while you're out at sea praying for a war to end so you can marry your soul mate.

I've missed her lately.

She was a masterful communicator.  She knew how to butter up anyone so that she could break the cold hard truth and they would thank her for looking out for them.  It blew my mind everytime.

She was a fashion model in New York City in the 1940's and understood how to work the camera lens while recognizing that at the end of the day, it was a pay check and that physical beauty was a dime a dozen.

She was a doting wife....and I mean doting.  A true 1950's housewife with dinner and the newspaper on the table along with a scotch and a kiss at the door.

But more than anything, she was a mother and a grandmother.  And she loved her children and grandchildren with a ferocity that feels unparalleled now-a-days.

She believed that ultimately, people were good and that it just took finding the sweet spot whether at the grocery store, the drycleaner, the bridge table or the neighborhood culdesac.

I miss her.  I wish that she knew my children and how much I try to emulate her way of living.  My prayer is that she's dancing with my grandfather, happy, beautiful, and free.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Right Words Afloat in an Imperfect Me

I had been searching for the right words for weeks.

Trapped in my own auto-correcting head cursing the fact that I'm a first-born and a perfectionist when it comes to doing the things I love.

And so it is with language.  I'm meticulous about word choice.  My children have come to understand that there are certain words we use and ones that we don' shut-up, hate, butt, fart, and lame transitions that can be summed up by a single word.

I'd been yearning to write on my blog.  Wanting to get these thoughts out of my head, but instead finding myself filling the time with other tasks like cleaning, parenting, working, and ultimately, pushing "me" to the back of my as to not get it wrong in real time.

And then, Sunday morning arrived.  Or, I should say that I arrived along with my family in Colorado.  And I knew, against my better judgment that my heart would be ignited and that hopefully, my hands would find the keyboard.

But quite the opposite happened...on a singular walk with my two-year old daughter, I stumbled upon a stream and a little girl who was desperate to get her hands wet.  It looked something like this...

And while we were finding the perfect stones to plop into the stream, it dawned on me.  Every stone is perfect to her.  Every opportunity to make a wish, plunk it into the water and watch it wash away is wanted.  Every chance to get her hands cold in the water and pluck a white blossoming flower is beautiful.  And this is all that she wanted to do every time that we went on a walk.

And so as I quieted my head and made room in my heart for the sound of the water and the giggling of my little girl, I realized, it's all perfect.  Perfectly imperfect and exactly how it should be.  And every time that I don't write or I don't run or I don't share me with the world for fear of a misstep or a missed word, I'm losing out and so are people and places I'm connected to.

I'm still resolute that language is powerful and should be handled with care....but I'm more resolute that it's essential to let go, give in, and hear the stream, feel the water, and remember that every moment is filled with imperfect opportunities to fill our soul, if we just let them.