daughter

Appreciating Time

As my birthday was approaching my kids were either, (a) very secretive about what they wanted to do or give me; or (b) flat out telling me what they are making me (my youngest can’t keep a secret to save her life).  As they are getting older they want to buy me things and, while I absolutely appreciate that they want to do that for me, I would rather they didn’t spend their money on me.

This is all my Papa’s fault.  😉

Growing up, I remember that my dad never wanted any gifts; not for Christmas, not his birthday and not for Father’s Day.  The way I saw it, I had a job and I wanted to get him a gift.  To me, it was almost showing appreciation for him being the best dad he could be.  A couple of times I even asked him what he wanted and he said “I don’t want anything.”  I’d still get him something but, being the man of few words that he is, it’s not like he got excited about it.  It was almost anticlimactic to watch him open the gift.  I got over it.

Eventually, as I matured into a “real” adult, my siblings and I would have parties and get everyone together whether it was for a special occasion or “just because” and he really enjoyed those.  If someone was missing, he’d ask where they were.  We realized that it truly made him happy to simply have us together; to BE together and enjoy our TIME together.  Today, that’s how I feel.

My oldest wants to take me to dinner and it will be very nice to spend more time with her, but a part of me doesn’t want to have a fancy dinner; I’d rather she didn’t spend her money that way.  We can have a nice dinner and enjoy each other’s company without the expensive bill at the end of the night.  I don’t want to crush her plans so I’ll make a light suggestion that we go somewhere else and see if she takes the bait.  I will appreciate whatever it is (like the manicure and PAINFUL eyebrow threading that I endured already as part of her gift to me).  Ultimately, my hope is that I instill the same appreciation for time that my dad did for me and my siblings.  We don’t “stress” about gifts like we used to because the most important part is that we all take the time out to spend together.  God blessed me with a wonderful family that I love to spend time with.  I can’t ask for anything more for my birthday.

Thank you, Papa.  🙂

Sharing my goals and receiving inspiration.

It’s February 5, 2016 already, and for a lot of people who make resolutions, they’re starting to fall apart, if not all but forgotten by now.  I, too, had a list of resolutions for the year.  I’ve started most of my resolutions: gain weight, spend more, keep a messy room, stop working out…you know, the usual.  I managed to add a few serious ones in there, too.

One in particular – learn sign language.

It’s not the first time but, over the busy holiday shopping season, there were more than a couple of situations where I wish I had known sign language so that I could help someone who was struggling with a store employee.  I can’t even begin to attempt to be helpful in that particular situation and that’s frustrating for me; imagine how they feel.  😦

So, I shared this particular “resolution” with my kids and my youngest princess was super excited.  So much so that she decided she wanted to do it, too.  Like most things, it was exciting at first; the thought was exciting.  Then came the part where I try and figure out where to begin.  There are so many resources online and, as we all know, everything on the internet can‘t be trusted so I really had to do some research.  Then life happened and the momentum was gone.

2 weeks later my princess had her dad send me a video.  The video was of her saying “good night” to me in sign language.  I absolutely loved it and it sparked a new excitement in me.  A few days later, she was at my house again.  I came home from work and when I walked in the door she didn’t speak like she normally would, she signed “Hi Mom.  Finally, you are home.”  #proudmamamoment  It was so sweet.  Of course I had to ask her what she said, but still, it was so encouraging to see that she was trying to learn.

It inspired me, but not enough.  Not yet.

The next morning she signed that she loved me.  That evening we were sitting at the dinner table and she has a piece of paper out with a long list of words on it and she said, “quiz me.”  After I was done quizzing her, she signed “thank you.”  I asked what that meant.  She told me.  Then she finally says, “Mommy, who’s resolution is this, anyway?”  That’s when I finally put aside my excitement about HER learning it and decided to do what I said I was going to do.  How embarrassing for me to have my daughter remind me that it was me who said I wanted to learn so that I could help others.

The rest of that evening was spent learning the alphabet alone – it’s hard to teach this old dog new tricks. 😉  The next morning, she comes into my bedroom, half awake, and says, “Come on Mommy, let’s go over the alphabet again.”  She curled up in bed with me and we went over the alphabet, again.  When it was time for me to leave, I ask if she knows how to say “have a good day,” but she doesn’t.  Lesson number 1.  I learn it during the day at work and when I come home I show her.  She, in turn, taught me some new phrases and that’s how it’s been all week.

She inspired me to start and keep the momentum going.  I am truly blessed to have received the gift of my children.  They keep me on my toes.  Where would I be without them?  🙂  I’m no ASL pro, but with their inspiration and motivation, what was once a simple new year’s resolution on a piece of paper will become my second (or third if you count broken Spanish) language.

My mini-me

Alaina.  My princess who’s about to turn the big 1-0, is, in so many ways, my little mini-me.  Looking back at my life, I can see how all my kids do things like I did at their age, so that either makes them (and me) normal kids, or that just shows how my genes were spread out among all of them.  Anyway, Alaina has such spunk and can be so witty.  She’s a perfect little blend of tom boy and girlie girl.  Although I was mostly a tom boy, I’m sure deep in the recesses of my mind, there are girl moments that i’m trying to bury because I don’t associate with them like that.

Two years ago she got glasses because she inherited my horrible vision.  It was almost as if the glasses provided an instant, extra layer of wit to her already witty and funny personality.  Take those glasses off, and sometimes you wonder where it all went.  I love it!  So lately she’s been without glasses – she broke them and who knows where she discarded the broken pieces.  With school starting soon, we needed to get new spectacles for her.  I decided that she could go in for the eye exam by herself while I was just outside the door.  Ten minutes later she comes out, all smiles, and the doctor says, “Well, Alaina’s doing everything that she’s supposed to be doing.  There was only a slight change in her vision.” Which I was happy about, until the doctor continues and says, “We’ll hold on to the prescription since Alaina says she doesn’t need new glasses.”

……….wait, what?!……….I almost got whiplash when I turned to Alaina, who stood there with a bewildered look on her face that says, “Oh, is THAT what you meant when you asked if I needed new glasses?”  Good grief!

Then there are situations like yesterday that really make me laugh.  We go shopping, get out of the car, i’m holding Daniela’s hand, Dominique’s walking beside her and Alaina’s trying to wrap herself around me – the conversation goes like this:

Me: Alaina! What are you doing? Just hold my hand.
Alaina: I’m just trying to hug you while you walk.
Me: Honey, come on, please just hold my hand, that’s impossible.
Alaina: Mommy, haven’t you ever heard that NOTHING’S impossible?!
(Mind you, she’s still trying to wrap herself around me as we walk towards the store.)
Me: Yes, you’re right, but THIS?! THIS isn’t going to work out and i’m going to fall on you.
(She responds and it’s as if she isn’t really listening to me, go figure.)
Alaina: But I guess the person who started the saying that “nothing’s impossible” (yes, she did the finger quotes) didn’t ever try to slam a revolving door.  Now THAT’S impossible.
Me:  Not for Chuck Norris, it isn’t.
Alaina: Yeah, he can do everything.

This brief conversation ended in such a matter of fact kind of way.  Really, all I could do was smile and shake my head as we now enter TJMaxx and she’s ogling over the designer purses.  Yep, she can be girlie.

It's a small tree, but she's determined to climb it.

It’s a small tree, but she’s determined to climb it.

Alaina's getting her first kiddie pedicure.
Alaina’s getting her first kiddie pedicure.

Where’s the ON switch on my teen!?

Dominique, my first born.  After I’ve considered all the ways that i’m blessed to have such a good 17-year-old (ESPECIALLY compared to how I was at her age!) and how much she’s changed my life for the better, there’s almost always that record-scratching-to-a-halt sound that brings me back to reality and reminds me, “this is the same girl that watched me to go work very early this morning, watched me come home rushed from a long commute to take my son to football practice, and waited until I got home at 8 pm(ish) to say, ‘should I have made dinner or something?'”  What the frack?!

Then again, as everyone says, “she’s a teenager, what do you expect?”  What do I expect?  I expect that I raised my child to be more considerate than she lets on sometimes and can actually lend a hand JUST BECAUSE she wants to, instead of when she wants something in return.  (Yes, I live in La-la Land and totally believe that it’s possible for that to happen.)  There’s just something in that pretty little head of hers that doesn’t always switch on.  Another switch I can’t find is the one that makes her want to read instructions on the packages of things like ‘how to make soup’ or ‘how to use cleaning spray’.  Or the switch that turns on when it’s time for her to look for something because, we all know that if it isn’t already in her hand, she can’t find it.  Or how about the switch that reminds her that she’s tired of asking for things that she wants, but doesn’t need, and that she could purchase herself if she went out and got a job.

I can’t be the only one who can’t find these switches on our teens, but what I did [take forever to] realize is that she may actually need more than a mere mention of the idea.  She needs solid instruction.  She needs step-by-step directions.  She almost needs you to push her off that ‘ledge’ to force her to get stuff done.  She’s gone most of her high school life playing some sort of extra-curricular sport which, oddly enough, she will do almost all that she needs to do so that she can be on the team, but I digress.  She’s never had a job because sports and homework take so much time.  Well, not this year!  She’s getting a jay-oh-bee – job!  She’s going to go work for someone who’s not her mom or dad that will let her know that she can’t be lazy and expect to survive in the world.  She might hate it and quit, or not, but hopefully she will have received her dose of reality.

I love her to death and she’s truly a good girl who tries, considering her serious ADHD issues.  (More on that later.)  I’m going to give this one a go and pray that, in this last year of high school, I will have started to ignite the fire in her that I’ve always told her she had.  She can do whatever she wants in this world and I’ll always support her 100% in her mission to get there.

My Mission: Find that ON switch!! (help me!)

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