Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Dog Ate It

And so it goes. 

The end of summer...the laid back schedule...the lazy days at the pool...the beach...long days and short nights...

...and the beginning of fall...and with it...insanity.

Yes, it's always nice when the kids go back to school.  The flurry of copious activities that follow suit. It's nice to get back into the routine of soccer practice and dance practice and a purpose for rising each morning (even if it's met with grumbles).  But lately, the bane of my existence has been homework.

Trying to get my girls to do their homework withOUT issue has been like trying to put a squid into a mesh bag.  Or trying to nail Jello to a wall.  Or like trying to fully understand the movie 'Inception' without watching it more than once or having intellectual debate for days post film (it is, by the way, is one of my favorite movies of all time). 

I don't know what happened.  Last year, homework seemed less taxing.  It seemed more interesting to them.  Something that 'sparked'. This year...meh.  I am hoping it's a phase, and that within the next few weeks, we'll all be on the same page. 

Or before my liver bursts, one or the other.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What a "Gram" is Worth...

We recently lost my grandmother.  An 85 year old spitfire, she was the Energizer Bunny.  A force.  A character. She went out with what I call 'the Trifecta'...she was able to say 'see you later' to each one of us, she had planned everything (including the lipstick and nail color she was to be 'displayed' may wonder how I became such a 'control freak', and to that I present this as 'Exhibit A') and she left this Earth in her sleep.

As I was fortunate enough to have shared 39 years with her, my children were also fortunate enough to know her, and know her well enough to truly experience the loss.  Once I got the news and went through that which we all do when we lose someone dear, I quickly began to be concerned with how to tell my girls.  My Gram was a very visible part of our family existence.  From birthday parties, to holidays,...even drop in visits for lunch when she could fit us into her amazingly busy schedule :)...she was always there.  So the presentation of this information was important.

One of my best friends had said to make it a 'learning experience', which was my objective.  It was just finding the 'right' time.  My Gram passed on a Thursday.  I decided I would tell the girls after school on Friday. I would walk and pick them up, and discuss things on the walk home, under a crisp fall sky.  Certainly not sitting them down, making some Cecil B DeMille, maudlin production out of it.

The weather didn't cooperate with the 'walk' idea, so I drove to get them.  Once we were in the car, I said I needed to tell them something, and it was sad news.  Number One Daughter had already asked a question about "GiGi", as we were back and forth from the hospital earlier in the week, so she quickly asked if it was about that.  I quietly told them that GiGi had passed away.

Both girls cried.  The youngest was more of a siren wail, whereas the oldest was more of a silent sob.  Then of course I cried.  I jumped from the driver's seat and sat between the girls and just hugged them.  Then I told them this:

When we are born, and all through our lives, we're not only biology.  What truly makes us who we are is the spirit within us.  That spirit is born of our experiences...the people we meet and love, heartaches, joys, happies and sads, places we go and things we learn...and that energy is real.  How can it not be, right? So much like flowers and trees, when our simple biology can't keep us on this planet anymore, that not-so-simple energy has to go somewhere.  We believe that the spirits of all the people we love...all that awesome energy...goes somewhere where we will be together again.

The girls seemed to grasp this well.  Although we do bring them to church, I don't necessarily believe there is one 'right answer' where a higher power is concerned.  I've gauged this from my own upbringing, from a family that went to church pretty much every Sunday, and I don't cast dispersions on anyone's beliefs.  The most elemental thing is that I do firmly believe that there is a power greater than us.  My girls definitely understood this, which was all I could hope for.

After some smiles and tears (my Gram passed 2 weeks before her 86th birthday, which my oldest remembered), my oldest asked if she could come to the funeral.  In her painstakingly specific instructions, my Gram EXPLICITLY said 'no great-grandchildren at the services'.  So I shared this with Number One.  She got upset, until I said, "Listen. You knew GiGi.  If I let you go to the services, after she SPECIFICALLY said not to, she would haunt me for the rest of my life, finding me in quiet places and yelling (as said in near perfect "Gram" voice), "I can't BELIEVE you let those kids come to my services...after I TOLD your father I didn't want them at something sad to remember me by.  Have you lost your mind!?!?".  A sense of humor definitely comes in handy, and fortunately in my household, we seem to have that in spades.

You might have had to know my Gram to be able to appreciate this fully.  But regardless, her worth passes beyond that which can be tangibly comprehended or measured.  She will forever be remembered with love.  And her spirit will always be near.  As my youngest said, "whenever I look in the sky, I will say 'hi' to GiGi", to which my oldest replied as the 'all knowing older sister', "besides...she's always in your heart.  You can carry her with you".

I know I do.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A New Kind of 'Top 10'...

This summer has been mad fun.  I've had a lot of opportunity to spend quality time with my girls, which means plenty of time to observe them in their 'natural environment'...

WHICH brings me to the best part of my summer observations...the things my kids have said.  I present to you the 'Top 10' quotes of the season:

#10 (as said by Youngest, when Mommy said she wasn't wearing the right shoes to run in, and didn't want to fall down) "You're not clumsy!  You look beautiful when you run!"

#9 (Youngest) "What is this game called...nut throw?" (Don't ask...)

#8 (Youngest, post sneeze) "You have a smell, Mommy.  It's called 'beautiful'.  But do we have the same snot?"

#7 (Youngest) "When we walk up to the store, can we play army, Mommy?  I can be your minion".

#6 (Youngest) "I think I'm allergic to air, and stinky stuff".

#5 (Me, to my Oldest, after she came walking in from the backyard where the sprinkler was running), "What is your sister doing?" 
(Oldest's answer), "I don't know...she's catching water with a net". (I had to excuse myself and walk out of the room to laugh...)

#4 (Youngest, in response to Oldest saying something about the game she was playing), "Oh, you want me to be dumb?  Ok. I can be dumb...duh duh duh, duh duh duh...NOW I'm dumb".

#3 (Youngest) "What's that dinosaur called again?  Oh yeah. Hypothesis".

#2 (Youngest) "I got a bug bite here...and here...and here, which is bleeding...and this.  It's a freckle!"

And my favorite, which I will more accurately set the stage for...

Walking back from the pool the other day, with Number 1 Daughter leading the way, Number 2 Daughter and I are bringing up the rear, walking hand-in-hand, enjoying the moment.  Then, the following conversation ensues:

Youngest: "Mommy, was there grass 'back then'?"
Me: "Back 'when', love?"
Youngest: "Was there grass, or was it all dirt 'back then'?"
Me: "Back 'WHEN', dolly?"
Youngest: "Were there trees even?"
Me: "Honey...I don't know 'when' you mean."
Youngest: "You know, Mommy.  1988."
Me: "Um, 1988...Mommy was in high school then.  So it really wasn't that long ago..."
Youngest: "Ok then.  Back in the EIGHTIES, Mommy.  Was there grass anywhere, or was it all dirt?"

Um...yeah...there was grass, babe.  I'm pretty sure.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's In A Name

It's been 'sweet mixed with chaos' this past week, having some genuine quality time with my girls.  Since they are off from school for spring break (which takes on a whole new meaning in about 12-15 years ;)) and my work schedule is relatively flexible, I have been home with them sporadically.  As this results in equal parts 'good, bad and ugly', it's been interesting.  I spend a good deal of my time in their presence observing from a safe distance.  And perhaps from a combination of refereeing and fielding copious hugs, this girl is definitely getting punchy.

Case in point:  while driving in the car a few days ago, the girls begin a discussion in the backseat about names.  My 8 year old comments that the name 'Justin' is kind of funny because it also sounds like 'just in' 'just in time', 'just in case'.  "Right, Mom?", I hear repeatedly from my seat at the wheel.  Once we get off this kick, my 4 year old chimes in, "like Justin Beaver, right Mommy?".

While the oldest tries in vain to get the youngest to say the Pop Prince's name correctly, my 15-year-old-male-sense-of-humor starts to tick off the combo...'just in beaver'...'just in beaver'...

Neither girl understood why Mommy was laughing silently with tears rolling down her cheeks.  That's in another 12-15 years too, I hope.