Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"He's Perfect"

So, that's what the doctor said about my son today.  "He's perfect."  He says it almost every visit.  He's been saying it since Jake was an infant.  I never grow tired of hearing it.

I know my son is not perfect.  He never has been, and never will be.  I could list his faults, but I won't.  They are for me to know and no one to find out.  Jake turned 8 yesterday, and I'm still marveling at how this could be.  How could my little boy be so grown up?  Where have the years gone?  Jake is growing into a wonderful young man.  He is so smart.  He has a great sense of humor. He's polite (to others at least), and kind and courteous.  He is honest, painfully so, and cannot tell a lie.  He really should have been born on February 22, to share the day with George Washington.  Jake is such a good kid.  He is that kind of guy.

He was delighted with the ipod Pat and I gave him for his birthday.  I even pre-charged it and loaded up "his" music onto it.  Kids Bop, volumes 16-21, along with Queen's greatest hits and some selected music that I have for my ipod.

We are reading Harry Potter.  We're about 2/3 of the way through the first one.  He is so cute when he goes and gets the book and says, "Can we read now?"

Watching the relationship between Jake and Sophia evolve has been something that no one prepared me for.  They will be each other's biggest critics and fiercest defenders.  Sophia tries to take care of Jake.  I think she can sense that he needs that in his life.  Or maybe she's just bossy.  Either way, she looks out for him, and he looks out for her.

There are not even words to express how my life changed eight years ago when Jake was born.  For all of my complaining and whining, they have undoubtedly been the best years of my life.  I cannot imagine even one day without my Jakey.

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy.  ♥

Friday, February 17, 2012

Play Date

I'm going on a much needed play date.  In 22 minutes.  I have to get through the next 22 minutes.  My husband has to get home.  I have to tune out the kids yelling at each other, and pretend that I don't see them attempting to hit/kick/bite each other.  21 minutes to go.

The car is all packed.  I'm going to a friend's house, to scrapbook.  To sit with a bunch of women I don't know, and it will be great.  20 minutes.

The children are now attempting to fart on each other.  In addition to being really loud, juvenile and annoying, the room (my bedroom, mind you) is getting smelly.  19 minutes.

This week has been one of those overwhelming weeks where I'm just tired and running low on reserves.  I hope that my play date will help recharge the batteries.  18 minutes.

Sophia didn't nap, yet again.  But tonight, it's totally not my problem (or, TNMP as Jake likes to say).  It's gonna be a long week home with the kids.  17 minutes.

So, thank you Sue for inviting me over.  Thank you for NOT inviting my kids to come and play with your kids. I really need this play date.  I need it to be a good mom this week.  15 minutes until I can leave.

Pat, hurry and get home.  I'm leaving in 15 minutes, whether you're here or not.

Ok, not really, but it sounded good.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The hottest stars burn out the fastest...

I was so shocked to learn last night about the death of Whitney Houston.  Now, it's partly not really a surprise, given her on-going battle with drugs, but it was still shocking, seeming to come out of no where.  It is a terrible waste.  All that God-given talent, gone.  A 19 year old who now has to navigate the world without her mother.  

I often lament the fact that I have no great talent.  I have minimal to moderate talents in lots of areas, but no one area where I really stand out.  Jack of all trades, master of none.  But, after hearing about Whitney Houston's death, sometimes I wonder if having a great talent is more of a burden than a gift.  It seems over and over that these people who are so incredibly talented and gifted in one area and grossly lacking in other areas.  This leaves them essentially incapable of functioning in real life.  Most often, they rely on excesses (speed, alcohol, drugs) to attempt to balance themselves out.  Their great talents are then wasted, essentially flushed down the toilet.  James Dean, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Hank Williams, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Chris Farley, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse and now Whitney Houston.  There are many, many others I could name.  I often wonder if my brother-in-law, who was an aspiring artist, also fits in this category. 

It seems so unfair that so many so talented who can do so many great things can not figure out how to put one foot in front of the other and just live life.

Whitney Houston was the first concert I ever went to. My Aunt Cate took me, in August 1987, to see her at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.  I was 11. We had lawn seats.  It had rained during the day, and we were unsure if we were still going.  I remember being disappointed that she was not in some sophisticated ball gown, instead performing in jeans and a leather coat.  It was a great show, and Aunt Cate gave me her Whitney Houston cassette tape afterwards.  Another exciting aspect was that Whitney used her performance at SPAC for her video for "Didn't We Almost Have It All."   Looking back, the song title now seems sadly fitting.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I have a confession to make. It's going to make me seem like a horrible person.  Ok, here it is...I hate putting my kids to bed every night.

There, I said it.

I know most parents cherish these precious moments, snuggling, reviewing the day, exchanging "I love yous" and saying prayers.  All that stuff, I like.

But that's not what bedtime really is.  It is the kids getting wound up just as I say that it's time for bed (which is at 8 pm every night, and should come as no surprise).  It is trying to lie down with 2 kids in 2 separate rooms at the same time.  It is having to tell my daughter over and over that she needs to quiet down.  That she can't get up for another drink. That whatever she has to tell me can wait for the morning.  Listening to her yelling over and over, louder and louder through the monitor, "Is it midnight yet?" Bedtime is a battle, a power struggle.  It often takes Sophia over an hour to finally go to sleep.  Sleep she desperately needs so she is not miserable the next day.

In my mind, I need to make it until 8 pm and then I am done for the day.  It is a struggle to make it that long.  I am just wiped out.  I'm often in my pj's before the kids are.  So, once 8 pm hits, I want to tuck them in and be done.  But, it is never just that.  I often lose my patience, and end up being stern, which is not the way I want to send Sophia off for the night.  I don't want to lay down with her.  Frankly, for her, it is a stall tactic.  She wants to re-hash the day (which is nice), but it is clearly in an attempt to make you forget that she is supposed to be going to sleep.

Some nights, Jake just marches down the hall and goes to bed on his own. This makes me feel even worse than not enjoying bedtime.  Sometimes Jake wants to snuggle too.  More often than not, he just needs a few deep squeezes and is ready to go to sleep after about 30 seconds.  I think he is making up for the years of horrible sleeping when he was a baby/toddler and the night terrors as a preschooler.  He owes us.

So, tonight, is not unlike almost every other night in our house.  I am wiped out, still having to face one more day of work this week.  Sophia had dance, Jake had a math fair at school.  Pat and I are like ships passing in the night. We watched tv, and then I read to the kids for 15 minutes, letting them go to bed a few minutes late.  Still had to raise my voice to get them to actually leave my room to go to sleep.  Tucked Jake in, squished and hugged him while Sophia was in the bathroom.  Reminded her to get her drinks, that she was NOT getting up.  And then she said it,  "Can you stay with me?"

And, I really didn't want to.  I wanted to depressurize, play a few games on Facebook, read for a few minutes and go to sleep.  But then, I thought about another family, and another little blond girl.  There is a local family who received the terrible news that their 5 year old, Maddie, had an inoperable brain tumor and had 4-6 months to live.  She received her diagnosis on February 3, 2012.  Her parents, instead of falling apart, mobilized into action.  They had beautiful family photos done.  They had a family gathering.  Maddie made her first communion and was confirmed on Sunday.  They traveled to Lake Placid to see even more family.  This morning, 6 days after receiving her diagnosis, just 6 days, Maddie died.  If her mother had spent the weekend crying, they would not have those beautiful memories, those beautiful photos.  Six weeks ago was Christmas.  This family never could have imagined that it would be their little girl's last Christmas.  That she would not make it to 6.  That she would only have more 6 days.

So, as I stood in Sophia's room, wanting desperately for time for myself, I could not help but think about this family.  This family who would have much less to do, who would have more time for themselves.  Who would give anything for another chance to hold their beautiful blond daughter.  I laid down, said two prayers--one thanking God for my children, and another for Maddie and her family--and spent some time with Sophia.  It wasn't much, just about 6 minutes.