They’re Baaaacckkk!!!

After 9 whole days with no Musto Chick’s to hang out with they are back! I missed those chickens, muy mucho. I missed our movie nights, so last night we snuggled for ‘Pay it Forward’ and another good one. While snuggling we saw a new and uninvited friend in our house full of pets and people; we have a mouse! He will not be joining our family or visiting for long… in fact I am hoping he loves peanut butter laced traps. We were rescued by the brave and kind Mr. Rick and his ability to set traps and not freak when his fingers get ‘trapped’. (Crisis averted).

Back to the movie and the snuggling… and the missing. This week was a good week, a quiet one. It wasn’t all crazy and full, but instead simple and quiet. I normally fill my days up with meetings, lunch, events and nights out with friends. I just wasn’t feeling it this week, I kind of stayed on the quiet side. I must have needed it, today was a welcome bit of crazy. I am ready for this week and next week to come at me… then comes September which is another story.

Snuggling with my girls I noticed some changes. Lucy’s little teeth aren’t as little anymore. Her front teeth have come in with a nice gap that I love. Amelia rocks cartwheels and is attempting bolder round offs. She is more confident and excited, she couldn’t wait to try on the school jeans that came while she was gone. She did a nice fashion show of skinny jeans and longer tees, cute leggings and a new cardigan. She loves fashion, she loves details. Lucy rocked her new jeans and little Gap tees in orange and blue and gray… she does not want ANY pink or purple in her wardrobe. She loved her new striped shorts for the beginning of school. I looked at my young girls and saw two kids who fit in sizes that used to look so freakin’ big.

I remember a time when their clothes were so small that one pair of jeans now would make 3 then. I remember the shoes being 3 inch long crocs in bright and bold colors… now we shop for boots and flats and Teva sandals. It’s crazy how fast it has all happened… I mean in 9 days Lucy’s whole smile changed. She is no longer the Lucy with the mostly toothless with a bit of vampire smile… but she is Lucy with her big girl teeth smile. Meme is not the lady with the Gymboree dresses and outfits I chose… she is her own little person with her own fashion sense. She loves to choose things and try them on and paint her nails. They can walk down the street and visit friends… life is fast.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was constantly on chase duty, breaking up food for little fingers, dropping kids off to preschool, nursing and cooking dinner, changing diapers and using Target as my favorite daily getaway. I remember how hard things were, the tantrums… trying to eat dinner out. I remember the 3 people who loved to burrow next to me and my Boppy. I remember in those days being impatient to see one of my girls lose a tooth or going to school or not needing me… I looked forward to the day when I would get that carefree break and I told myself back then I would not miss this. I looked at those mommas who could go to parties and not make 3 plates at one time, the ones that could sit in the park and read… the ones who are past chase duty. I was jealous of them…

I am now that momma. I am so not going to tell you to regret looking forward but let yourself be right there too. I love where we are now, but I miss where they were back then. I finally get that time, but I miss them. I finally get to sit on the bench at the park, but partly because they run so fast with their friends that I can’t keep up. I can enjoy a bonfire while my kids stay safe distances away but they eat their S’mores and run off. I make my own plate at parties, heaven forbid I put something healthy on Lucy’s plate. I don’t look back and wish I could change it, I don’t look forward and not want them to grow… I don’t look at right now and want to turn them back in time. I just like to reflect on how much faster it went than I meant it to. Things I thought would drive me to the edge, somehow got better… they grew.

I am very glad they enjoyed their 9 days, but I am so glad to have them back home. This place missed them. Sparky needed her girls to lick, the bedrooms felt empty and it was too quiet here. They are home now, and we prepare for the next round of adventures this weekend and school next week <3. I am sure I will look at these girls in 3 months and wonder why their jeans shrunk shorter… why their smile has changed- I will be reminded that it happens faster; faster than I meant it to.

Avoiding Avoidance.

Avoidance.

avoidance

Talking to a new friend recently about life and work and children and stress and expectations and money she confided that she just can’t find the energy to want to do or make herself do it. She felt like she just kept running from it all. She was avoiding it because of fear, exhaustion and disappointment. Life can look awesome and then become more than we can bare… avoidance is a way to not handle this stress. We are all guilty of this, well I am anyway. We use avoidance as a tool that really has no good use, it doesn’t help build anything.

I have been thinking about my tendencies to avoid, to not open or not fill out paperwork… to not put away piles of laundry… to put important phone calls and bills into a separate pile I don’t have to think about. It works for a bit, until that one night I wake at 3am thinking about this crazy to do list and things I forgot or put away. I am trying to not put those things into a pile I don’t have to see… to just handle them and take care of them.

I remember a counselling session that my amazing counsellor/superhero told me she had tried to leave me a voicemail but it was full. I told her that it has been full since the day that Madeline was diagnosed, within moments and I didn’t want to listen or leave space for people to leave me voicemails anymore. I just told her to leave me a message on my house phone, it transcribes to my text. She said Erin this is called avoidance. You are avoiding this and you need to take care of it. I may or may not have come up with a grand excuse for my lack of desire to hear people ask me how Madeline was and what we needed… but she would have nothing to do with an excuse. She is smart like that… she is helping me build better tools than blame, excuses and avoidance. She encourages boundaries and leaning on my support… and paying attention to those things I don’t want to or can’t make myself do. She helps remind me that wasting my time being all angry at people who have hurt me steals parts of me… good and beautiful parts of me. I hear her. I listen. She has been a rock for me. This particular day I heard that avoidance word, and I sat with a woman who doesn’t let me be weak. She knows I can do this, she didn’t tell me to listen to those messages and fall into a deep dark hole and wallow… but she knows who I am and what is safe and right for me. It is quite a special connection to have another (even with a copay) that truly knows my strengths and how to push me to be more me, to build me better.

Back to the avoidance thing…

Monday I woke up great… I had a concert night with friends and came home to a plate of chicken parm and cooking shows. We stayed up really late and I got moving a little late. I don’t have my girls this week they are away with their dad, so I don’t have to get moving. I would normally share how blissfully nice it was to wake up to no fighting or pokemon on TV. I didn’t feel that on Monday though. I felt funny that they were literally right around the block but I hadn’t seen them since Friday. I knew they were busy enjoying their other family, but I missed them. I gave Amelia a call and she was very down. She was bored and annoyed, she woke up with a case of the Mondays. Her dad had to do work before they went away and she was not into anything. I stopped her and told her to find some paper and draw, maybe write… go for a walk with Grammie. I told her to have fun with her dad when his work was done. She needs to be able to stay busy or be bored, I can not save her from that. I mean I could save her, I had no meetings and only had one thing to work on my laptop. I made a choice not to, to let her figure it out. I know it was the best choice for her, but it made me sad. I entered into that avoidance state… and didn’t do the work needed to. I left texts and emails unopened so I didn’t have to deal… and I got low. I read through old emails from very unkind people, I went through old pictures and I took a nap. Rick came to see me and I was in bed… he made the decision that the YMCA was on the agenda for the night. He told my excuse laden and avoiding butt to get moving… I said maybe tomorrow. I got up and get dressed, putting my socks on with a cranky face. He drove us to the Y and we sweat… a little while of hard work and heavy music… and I felt better. I had no avoidance in me, only readiness for Tuesday. We stopped at Hannaford and grabbed the makings of dinner- chicken parm again ❤ because I love it. The night ended with chicken parm and Chris Farley… BOOM.

I am not going to let myself avoid so long, to build up that pile of stress. I want to stand up and be more ready for life and days. I want to talk to my friend again after a week of reflecting and thinking of better tools. I want to share that memory of my counsellor and what it felt like to take that pile off my plate and my voicemail. I want to help her use better tools so she is more who she wants to be and really is. If we try not to use those useless tools- avoidance, blame, excuses and such we can be better and stronger and more alive- more ready.

 

Note.to.self… avoid avoidance, excuse excuses and quit blaming blame.

I love my exceptionally mediocre kids.

God, I love ‘um. I love them in the morning and in the afternoon, I love them in the evening underneath the moon. I love their guts, always and forever.   I sometimes sit and wonder how lucky we each are that we are together, I reflect on the awesomeness that their father and I created. I think about all the work my body did to grow them, to feed them, to keep that DNA moving and making this exact version of a Musto Chick. It is quite an extraordinary miracle, life.

That being said I know that my miracles are exceptionally mediocre humans, just like me. They are chock full of potential and cool talents (you should see Lucy cross her eyes). They are good and bad, cranky and kind, honest and fibbers, smart and lazy… you get the idea. My girls are made to be something very special, I fully believe that God is going to use their journey to do something profound. Profound meaning full of meaning in their own lives… who knows one might be the kindest garbage woman… one that rolls down the garbage of a 90 year old woman so she doesn’t have to. One may be a teacher, who impacts many children… one that builds a child stronger and confident. Who knows, maybe one will be a famous singer, who chooses songs that honor our spirit and use their fame to make life better for one or some…

My only job is to love those exceptionally mediocre humans, which call me mom and sometimes call me mean. My job is to build them to be the best adults I can, adults who are kind, honest, confident, bold and who understand the golden rule- love always and anyway (even when you don’t want to, even when it sucks).

Love.does.not.mean.giving.them.everything. Love is making choices for them, because I am mom. Love is giving them independence when the time is right, to allow them to succeed or fail on their own. Love is building boundaries, the kind that remind us that our children are.not.our.friends. I need to repeat this- my children are NOT my friends, I have enough friends. I am Mom. God did not choose me to be Amelia’s BFF or Lucy’s buddy. Love means being mom, even when it would be easier to be a friend. Moms should be safer than a friend. Love is punishing my kids, so they know wrong. Love is letting my child hurt, letting that nurse and doctor do their job even if my lovely is crying, letting my daughter fail. My hope in failure is knowing that at the most hurting and bottom place you can be… when you think it cannot get better… then comes the rebuilding.

My hope is that my girls grow to be exceptionally mediocre adults with purpose, a love of life and a desire to live well. That at their hardest they will know I am here, for the low low part and the rebuilding. I will do my best, but I will never be a friend- I am mom.

I snuck away to see Bad Moms this week, I loved it. It was less funny than I anticipated, but that is a good thing. I had no idea to expect such a strong and positive message- knockout entitlement. Build our kids better, build ourselves better and build our relationships stronger. It was not all about a bunch of moms who quit the crazy and perfect Pinterest world, who throw away the judgmental norms of parenting. It wasn’t about a bunch of moms who drank wine and gave up on their kids… it was the opposite (yes they drank wine). Those moms were brave enough to let go of caring what the perfect ones think. They were brave enough to love each other anyway- for the flawed and tired parents that they were. They were all doing their best, but in that they were doing EVERYTHING to make their exceptionally mediocre kiddos perfect. It is so freakin’ stressful to be perfect, I know this for a fact. Our kids feel it when we push it… perfect is silly and not real. Instead of honoring our children for who they are who they are made to be we try to fit them into this box of perfect. It is exhausting. It is no fun. It leaves no time for failure, for fun, for flexibility or life…

I love my exceptionally mediocre kids. I love how imperfect they are. I look back and see how imperfect I was (quite imperfect and mediocre) and I know they will be just fine. I just need to keep loving them, building them, standing right with them when they fall, laughing with them, crying together… growing together into the exceptionally mediocre humans God wants us to be.

Am I the only one who loves their exceptionally mediocre kiddos? Share please, I would love to know that I am not a crazy lady with whacky ideas… or maybe I am made to be a crazy lady with whacky ideas…

As we wait…

 

Today there is a miracle happening, well I think there are millions of miracles happening, but today is one little guy’s miracle. Life is a miracle, every bit of it. I sat last night under the stars with some of the most important people in my life and I thought about the miracle in it. I thought about the perfectness of the night, the weather, the company and the stars. It was a simple miracle, the kind we could just chalk up to normal. Why would I see a night as a miracle? Life is a miracle. There is so much to pull us from enjoying simple, from being happy, from living- we wait for miracles all.of.the.time. My miracle last night was an hour of giggling girls while I held hands with my most important gift in the past two years. Simple. Some might even say it was not a miracle, but I know the truth.

miracle

While we sit and wait, and wait… we put off happy and living, life is happening. Living is happening. The good stuff is always around us, mixed right in with the excruciating, ugly and hard. We wait to be grown up, we wait for a time when we can do what we love, we look back and regret things we did- only to wait for a time to do something else… all the while missing all.of.the.freakin.amazing right here in this spot. We wait to live…

Today’s miracle is a different kind of wait… a waiting for life in a way that gifts life and living. We have a little Best Day Ever Miracle waiting, well almost not waiting for his lifesaving liver, his chance to live. All of his waiting was done with fear and bleeds, trips to Boston, plans lost to hospital stays, siblings who are his biggest fans and miss a lot of life to be that fan for him. His waiting was hard, hard on his body, hard on his family… imagine a 4 year old who can’t do all that he should right now… spending time with whichever parent can bring him to Boston for extended stays. Today is his miracle. Today is the day the gift of a new liver will be delivered to his fighting body, giving him a chance to grow and really live. Today is his miracle.

The wait for his miracle is complicated… waiting for another parent to kiss their lovely goodbye. This miracle is a twofold one, the miracle that one moms child will die and live on and another child will grow and honor that donor with many more ‘one more days of living’. The beauty and miracle intertwined with the hard…

Last night I sat after seeing the news that this little guy was to receive this gift… wondering about what Madeline’s gift did for others. Her impact beyond her organ donation was HUGE, but what would it be like to hear Madeline’s valves or tissue in another’s heart. What would it be like to know the person who can SEE because of my lovely lady’s hazel peepers? Her miracle was twofold or 50-fold… I think her miracle is still unfolding. I sat under the stars with my miracles right here on earth, knowing that my missing miracle was right there. She always is, right on my shoulder as Lucy tells me.

I live my life knowing that everything is a miracle. I look at my daughters and see the fact that they are here, they grew in my womb and thrive out here… that’s a freakin’ miracle. How could such a complex process not be a miracle- to look at Amelia’s feet and see that they are an exact replica of mine, or to see this tiny pinch of skin on Lucy’s that is just like her Grammie’s ear pinch. God is in the code that write our DNA… He is in the gift is the ability to develop cures, treatments and the complex and dangerous duties of organ donation.

Today’s miracle is a big one. There are two families who need prayers, one who is grieving and one who is feeling blessed. There are surgeon’s and teams who need prayers for everything to go smoothly. There is a little boy who needs the power of prayer to lift him, for all he will endure. I know this little man will honor and love that liver and that donor… he will grow knowing his gift.

Send love and prayer… to that momma who said goodbye, to that momma who will see her son well… to all involved to see the miracle right next to the hard…

 

PS don’t live waiting. Live. Look back at this life and know you rocked your story, you lived the best you could. We don’t get to know much about life beyond this very second, make sure you honor your seconds and your miracles.

Sparky Smiles.

Yesterday was a rainy day… the kind you don’t mind but you can’t get the energy to do anything productive. The girls got dropped off and we watched a movie with breakfast… which I didn’t cook until about 1030. It was one of those days. I thought about going to the gym, but thought better of it and we Redboxed a couple movies and snuggled. In the hustle and bustle of summer it is nice to sit in a cooler and darker house and just veg. I am glad though today, I see little bits of sun starting to shine through the clouds.

Yesterday the girls rocked the creative play. They dressed up… and did makeup and hair. Lucy delivered me a platter of tea and cupcakes, and the girls used a cupcake game to do their own Cupcake Wars (note to self: it is hard to judge a cupcake competition with fake cupcakes and neither of my girls likes to be the one that is let go). Lucy donned a dress with hummingbirds that reminded her of our Aunt Jane and Meme wore high heels and a twirling dress. As I washed dishes I heard a little bit different play, I heard things get pulled into the living room and the dog was captured from her perch in the dining room. I figured no one was fighting and I didn’t hear Sparky upset so I just washed those dishes and did some meal prep. I got called in to see their lovely dog display and asked to take a picture. I mean honestly a black dachshund dressed in pink rain boots, is picture worthy. I was told to not peek for the next dress up and the next… and so the day went on with lots of Sparky dress ups. They pulled the old stroller from the garage and took her for walks up and down our street. Sparky looked a little embarrassed in build a bear undies and a stroller- but loved the attention. I believe Lucy even ‘snuck’ her 2 pieces of bologna for being a good model.

 

I don’t normally just post about our days, the normalness in them. I feel like we need a little bit of normal and positive in this world. I see the need for a few Facebook smiles. Maybe just maybe you need to see a post with a dressed up dachshund instead of politics or heavy news… who knows <3. I took Facebook off my cellphone to just BE more and not see all of the worry and stress and anger and negative. I quite like it…

So, along with a little bit of sunlight coming through the clouds, enjoy your day all of you Polka Dot Tree Climbers… chin up and be glad today that your work day doesn’t consist of many outfit changes, a couple pairs of build-a-bear undies (with tail holes) and American Girl rain boots- all for 2 pieces of bologna.

 

 

PS No animals were harmed in the making of this lovely rainy dark day.