Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Way

Lately, I’ve been thinking beyond that point when I’ll sit down. I’ve been contemplating What I Will Do When I Grow Up and Who I Will Be. Deep stuff.

I find I’m seriously out of practice with such things. For various reasons, my life has never much cared what I wanted. And motherhood is, in many ways, a graduate course in the art of surrender. Of course, there’s freedom and power and love to be found in the surrender and all that good stuff, but that’s not for this post.

In this post, I want to start by reviewing all the things that necessity dictates in parenthood—clothes (maternity, nursing, easy wash), how you eat your food (fast, cold), where we sit relative to kids (between them), what we buy for ourselves (nothing—there’s no money), and how much leisure time we have (um, what’s that again?). And then I want to say that…

It gets better.

After an eternity of practicing self-denial and delayed gratification, I got to choose something I wanted. I’m grateful that the universe let me start small, as I might have been overwhelmed otherwise. Sure, I’ve gradually been adding a nice, delicate wash item to my wardrobe here and there. Big A. and I have, on occasion, sat together in a booth and let the munchkins sit across from us. We’ve started to take a date night or two. So what’s this big watershed I’ve just experienced?

After years—the college, post-college, newlywed, and new parenting years—of using found, inherited, or repurposed containers for storage, I picked out new baskets for my desk.

Like I said, the universe let me start small, but, wow, was it fun! I didn’t consider anything but what I liked and what would suit my things. I didn’t even think of the budget (although they were fifty percent off). It was…intoxicating.

Looking at my new baskets makes me happy. And it gives me hope. Hope that, when the time comes and necessity backs off, I’ll be able to pick a vocation that makes me happy. After years of doing it the “right way” or, more often, “the hard way,” I will be able to say that I’m doing it my way.

Yes, I'm a basket case. See? I beat you to it.

Pretty. Pretty baskets.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The In/Edible Egg

My relationship with the incredible (which literally means “unbelievable”—as in, “I don’t believe it’s…”) edible egg began in those hazy days of toddlerhood, the ones that leave impressions more than memories. I DO remember the eggs, though—soft-boiled eggs in a little glass bowl. I guess the bowl had to be glass so I wouldn’t miss a single disgusting angle of the stomach-churning view. Hated them!

Really, World—soft-boiled eggs were, like the lung fish, an evolutionary phase. When the cave people discovered fire and accidentally dropped that nasty raw egg in the soup, fished it out, and realized it was better half-cooked—well, they went on to cook it longer and realize that it was MUCH better thoroughly cooked. Our cuisine has evolved! Leave that culinary lung fish behind, develop opposable thumbs, and actually cook your food already!

Besides, the English like soft-boiled eggs. I know we shouldn’t generalize, but WHAT kind of food are the English known for again? Not the good kind, am I right?

Anyway, when I was growing up, we had cereal Monday, Wednesday, Friday and eggs on Tuesday and Thursday. We were a little regimented, I admit. Anyway, after a couple of incidents where I made myself or nearly made myself throw up the soft-boiled eggs, my mom started frying them. Still hated them!

I thought one part was okay—the lacy part at the edge where the egg white was cooked past recognition and tasted more of bacon grease than anything else….

How do I know that? I know that because I HAD to eat them. At least twice a week, until I left home. Even on the mornings when I barely had time to shovel breakfast down before going to a two-hour swim team practice. Can you even wrap your mind around what it was like to burp up greasy egg taste while power swimming the length of a lovely, chlorine-scented pool?

Needless to say, when I left home I went through a long, joyful, egg-free phase. I evolved.

Then it happened. Well, I was broke after college and not eating much protein—I wanted the taste of home…. It’s not my fault! I bought eggs. I mean, c’mon—a dozen for a dollar? That was, like, six meals for me. THAT fit my budget.

Okay, so I, being evolved, made them the least egg-like eggs in history. I dry scrambled them in itty-bitty, well-cooked pieces with kielbasa in the pan. (I never eat a mouthful of eggs alone—always with breakfast meat to take away the texture and taste. Yes, I know—WHY am I eating them again?)

But it was the taste of home. And it was protein. And I’m okay with that.

I didn’t eat many eggs in our early marriage, either. You see, I had the wisdom to marry a man with good taste, a lifelong egg-hater. Then we decide to have kids. My siblings came out fifty-fifty: I hate eggs, the next two fully belong to the Dark Egg Side, then my youngest sister hasn’t had one of those culinary Death Stars since the age of ten. So I figured we had a fifty-fifty chance with each kid.

And, yes, we two egg-haters birthed an egg-hater and…an egg-lover.

S. adores eggs. She’s never had a soft-boiled egg (we’ve evolved, people!), but she picked the next most horrible form of egg to like. Well, except for sunny-side up. Oh—or poached. Yeah, and hard-boiled would be worse. Whatever. She likes a gross form of egg. But I repeat myself.

S. likes her eggs delicately scrambled, yellow and tender, cooked in…butter.


Have you smelled that $%&@??? Big A. and I literally have “dirty diaper face” from the split second the eggs hit the buttered pan to the exact moment when the dishes are done and the disposal sanitized. S. doesn’t have any idea what we’re making faces about. No idea. None.

This is love, people. We love our daughter.

I keep telling myself that S. doesn’t like very many forms of protein. This week, she’s spending six hours a day working out at circus camp (a nut-free environment where she can’t bring her other favorite form of protein—pb&j). She loves to start her day with a couple of scrambled eggs. I cook them for her.

I love her. I hate them eggs.

For the record, Little A., our egg-hater, has eaten fewer than ten bites of egg in his life.

It’s like Robin William’s character said in Dead Again, “Someone is either an egg-lover or an egg-hater. There's no in-between. The trick is to find out which one you are, and be that. If you're an egg-hater, you'll know.”

My apologies to everyone involved in Dead Again. What can I say? Good artists borrow; great artists steal.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mom, Are You Okay?

Okay, I STILL don’t have time to blog, but sometimes funny stuff just happens and it would be a crime not to share.

So I’m on a never-ending deadline—sleep-deprived, cranky, and low on reserves. The kids are on day three of summer vacation. Big A. is out of town. ANNNDDDD…there’s a tropical storm.

Not that a storm’s a big deal, but we do get a wee bit housebound without the pool. A kid’s gotta burn the energy a kid’s gotta burn and all that. The good news is that, tropical systems notwithstanding, we had to make a foray out into the wet to feed the scrapbook habit, so that used up about 0.00009% of their energy…and about 90.99991% of mine.

So I was hiding from the kids in the bathroom for a minute. Totally hiding. Didn’t even have to go. Just checking Facebook.

Oh, look, funny dog video! I play the video.

Heeheehee! That reminds me of our production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. I should share it. I play the video again. [Do it--it's funny!]

I start to hear hushed voices. They gradually come closer.

“That was in the yard!” Little A. sounds nervous.

“I really think that was coming from Mommy’s bathroom. Mommy, are you okay?” S. calls out.

Um, not really. I’m laughing so hard that I can’t breathe, let alone answer you. That was NOT me, you goofballs!

“Mommy?” Little A. sounds really nervous. The gasping noises probably aren’t helping.

“Mommy, is that you?”

“Be right out!” I gasp, turning on the faucet to wash my hands.

As they walk away I hear, “Mommy sounded like an angry animal!”

Maybe I’m a bit punchy, but that was the best laugh ever!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Scales of Parenting

I’m still too busy to breathe, but I wanted to send out a report from the front lines of life in our house.

Every time I think I’ve performed every sleep-deprived, distracted-parent goof in the book, I manage to do a new one. Today I completely walked away from a faucet running full-bore into a plugged sink. For probably about twenty minutes.

What was the worst part? Was it that sinking feeling when I remembered I’d left the faucet on? Nope. It wasn’t that moment, because that moment never happened.

Instead, I walked by the kitchen door and thought, What’s that noise? Is water boiling on the stove? Are the sprinklers on outside? I didn’t realize what I’d actually done until I walked into the kitchen and saw it!

So, on the scales of parenting, I count that on the negative side.

In neutral territory—as in I’m not sure WHAT this means—Big A. found a way to work early ‘90s pop into helping S. with her composition homework. S.’s piano teacher asked her to compose a piece in C minor, three quarter time, using both staccato and legato. (This would be why only Big A. can help her. I can barely remember that, let alone wrap my mind around it!)

So, S. got stuck. Big A. sat down to help her organize her thoughts—you know, prioritize. Channeling Big Audio Dynamite II, he said, “The only important thing these days is rhythm and melody.”

Apparently, it was a good starting point, but I really don’t know what to make of that!

And, on the win side of the scale…well, sometimes I just can’t believe how lucky we get.

Thanks to scrapbooking night in Girl Scouts, S. fell in love with the whole process. On the first day of vacation, she wanted to buy paper and stickers with her own money so she could make some pages. As we shopped, Little A. fell in love with scrapbooking, too. And the end result?

Our kids are dying to stay busy this summer doing chores so they can earn money to buy scrapbook supplies, which will keep them even busier making scrapbooks. And that also means…they will do all the scrapbooking for us!

Is that not just a massive parenting hat trick? Holy cow, we’re lucky.

May the scales of parenting ever tip that far in your favor!