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Just let it go.

Last night, we took the boys and some friends to a professional soccer game.  There was lots of traffic trying to park, so Dave dropped me with all the boys by the stadium  and went to park the car (MY car, incidentally, which is larger than his, and takes some getting used to).  We went into the game, and shortly after that, Dave called to tell me he’d backed into a spot in the garage, and in the process, hit a concrete panel that was sticking out, and shattered the back windshield.

It was an accident.  I get it – accidents happen, and as long as I knew Dave was okay, and he’d had a garage employee help him put some plastic over the back and fill out some paperwork, it wasn’t that big a deal.

To me, anyway.

Dave met us in the stadium.  We looked on our phones and made an appointment to have someone meet me with the car and fix the windshield this week.  So, the broken windshield was covered, and we’d made arrangements to have it fixed.  Problem solved.

To me, anyway.

I’m going to chalk up what happened next to the difference in our gender.  Or the fact that Dave is the one who shattered the windshield and felt like he needed to do something about it.

He continued to hem and haw to figure out what we should do, which to me seemed silly to me, because as far as I was concerned, we HAD done what we should do.   Dave tried to figure out how we could cover up the windshield better (which, okay, is probably a good idea, since it might rain later).  Made sure I’d gotten the model year of my car correct (um, yup).  Called the windshield repair company back to confirm.  Thinks that maybe we should back my car into our garage tonight, in case it rains.  Which could be a good idea, except that we have a one-car garage that its overrun with about a thousand basketballs, bikes, and other miscellaneous outside crap.  So we’d have to leave the garage open, and I think there’s a fair chance we could do some more damage to the car trying to back it into a 1950s garage that wasn’t really designed for a 2000s SUV.  And this morning, I awoke to a plethora of notes about what we need to do.

Automobile windshield displaying "spiderw...

Automobile windshield displaying “spiderweb” cracking typical of laminated safety glass. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess what I’m really trying to do here is to get Dave to just put this aside and enjoy the rest of what this summer, seems like one in a series of very short weekends.  I’m ready to move on, knowing that we’ve taken steps to fix the problem.  So, I’ll get back to you, friends …. not sure if today will be a relaxing summer Sunday, or a day to fix a problem that in my mind is on its way to being fixed.  But at the end of the day, I’ll still be glad to have spent the day with my problem-fixing husband.

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It’s our little secret.

I just mowed the lawn.  Don’t tell anyone.

Not only do I not mind mowing the lawn, but I kind of like it.  Our lawn takes about 45 minutes, so it’s kind of a workout.  I work up a little sweat, get to be outside, and when I’m done, I am pretty pleased with myself.  I find the neat green rows to be very satisfying.

I don’t usually mow our lawn.  Dave does, but he’s out of town.  He tells me it’s for work, but he’s in Lake Tahoe over a weekend, so I’m just a little skeptical.

Lawn

Lawn (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

And today, the lawn mower ran out of gas, and we didn’t have any left in the gas can.  I did play the girl card a little bit at the gas station when I asked for help filling it up (but keep in mind, we live in New Jersey, where we have good pizza but the law says we can’t touch the gas pump).

There was something empowering about doing something I don’t usually do and that’s often stereotypically reserved for men to handle.

But on the other hand, I feel a little weird about it, because we live in a town where a good percentage of the residents hire a landscaper to mow their lawns.  We don’t, because it’s a task Dave kind of enjoys.  But sadly, I often wonder if people judge us for mowing our own lawn.

I realize how ridiculous that sounds. I wish I didn’t feel that way, and I like to chalk it up to whatever small scraps of adolescent insecurity remain in my more or less fully-developed adult self.  I think that most of us have certain things that we still worry that people are judging us for, whether that be our intelligence, our looks, or the choices we make.

As we get older, I think a lot of that stuff fades, and we realize that if who we are is okay with us, then it’ll be okay for the people who matter, and anyone who doesn’t like us this way shouldn’t be someone who matters to us.

So there, I said it.  I mowed the lawn this morning.  Judge away.

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We’ll stay put, thanks.

My husband Dave and I have an expression that we use – “we are not a nomadic people.”  It basically means this – with the exception of college (and for Dave, a one-year post-college internship in a city several hours away), both of us have always lived within a 50-mile radius of the towns where we grew up.

I’m not saying that’s a good thing.  Or a bad thing.  But for us, the thought of moving somewhere that’s really different from our suburban New York reality, is for now, something that just doesn’t appeal to us, and thankfully, we’re both on the same page.

That’s not to say we don’t want to experience other things.  We’re not exactly world travelers, but we’ve both traveled to most of the states in our own country, and to a handful of other countries.

United States

United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my friends moves every few years – usually to a different country.  Since her parents have moved from where she grew up, and many of her friends are in the same line of work and move just as frequently, she’s said that our family is the one constant in her life – that she can always come visit us when she’s in the country, and know how to find our house, and where everything is in it.

I’m sure that some people would find that pretty boring, but there’s something about the fact that this friend can come here once every few years and still find her way to make her own coffee in the morning, that makes me happy.

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Remember that?

I was telling Michael tonight at bedtime how much he loved being swaddled when he was a baby. In fact, it was the only way he could sleep, and over the seven months he slept that way (yes, I know that’s a long time to swaddle a baby, but nobody asked you. And besides, if I thought it would keep him asleep past 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning these days, I’d swaddle him in a heartbeat), Dave and I perfected what, at the time, we referred to as the “baby burrito.”

Michael was so curious about it and kept asking, so I took out a flat sheet, had him lay down on it, and proceeded to swaddle a four foot tall 8-year-old. It was actually pretty awesome, and he loved it. In fact, he said he was really comfy, and scooched his head up onto his pillow to figure out if it might be a good idea to try and sleep like that (thankfully, he decided it wouldn’t, because I was envisioning being called down to his room around midnight because he had to go to the bathroom and couldn’t un-swaddle himself out his burrito wrapping).

mattandmike2

I find it interesting that kids love so much to hear stories about themselves from when they were smaller. In fact, nobody appreciates stories about my kids (which, of course, I love to tell), than my kids.

There’s something really delightful for me when I reminisce about sweet or funny memories with the bigger versions of the people they happened with. And I love that they appreciate these memories. Almost as much as I do.

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Sometimes it really does take a village.

roasting a marshmallow

roasting a marshmallow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My younger son Michael got hurt at camp this evening.  Nothing serious, thankfully, and down the road, it’s probably going to be a funny story that involves a late stay at camp and a misdirected flaming marshmallow.

I work at this camp, but I’d left for a few hours at the end of the day with my older son and some friends to run some errands and have dinner.  When I returned at 8:00 to pick Michael up, I was quietly taken aside by the camp director, who began our conversation with “First thing – he’s fine.”

After getting the full story, I came to find out that a boy backed away from a campfire with a burning marshmallow that somehow ended up on Michael’s neck.  I totally get that accidents happen (ironically, as a child, I was burned at camp with a misdirected mess kit frying pan from over a campfire).  As soon as I saw Michael, I knew he was fine, and there was barely even a mark on his neck.

And I was fine, too, until I spoke to the people who took care of Michael and I think probably kept him from really being burned.  At which point, I started crying.  Michael’s counselor, barely even an adult himself, saw the incident as it was happening, scooped Michael up, carried him to the nurse’s office and (according to Michael, anyway) kicked the door open to bring Michael inside.  The nurse, who took no chances, lay Michael down on the floor and poured water on his neck, because she wasn’t sure what might be going on underneath what she saw, which was black char on a child’s neck.  The camp director and the assistant director, who both took a look at Michael to make sure he was okay.  And whoever made the poor kid with the marshmallow stick (who apparently felt pretty bad) apologize to Michael.

Every day, we send our kids off to places where we can’t watch them ourselves, and trust that the adults who are with them will keep them safe.  What I realized tonight is that there really are people who take care of other people’s kids as if they are their own.  Who don’t think twice about doing whatever it takes to make sure that a kid is really okay (and that even though he’s waiting for his mom with the nurse – and his favorite counselor, who happened to be the one who carried him to the nurse – that he still gets his s’more before he heads home for the night).

I’m grateful for those people tonight, and the others who quietly keep an eye on all of our kids when we aren’t there to watch them ourselves.

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I had no idea!

On the way to camp this morning, Matthew told me that he needs a white t-shirt for something his bunk is doing one day next week.  No problem, I cheerfully replied, because I always have a stash of plain white t-shirts in various sizes (purchased when they’re on sale at the craft store).

Now THIS is something that they don’t tell you in the parenting magazines.  Someone ought to publish a book with some more useful parenting tips than how to get a preschooler to eat more more than just pretzels and string cheese.  Here are a few pointers that I’ve had to figure out on my own over the years:

1. Your elementary schooler is going to come home with a request from his teacher for a shoebox, coffee can, plain white t-shirt, ziploc bag the size of a small SUV, or something more obscure like a goat heart.  And because this request has been sitting, crumpled in a damp ball in the bottom of your child’s backpack for several days, you will have approximately 12 hours to procure this item, label it nicely with your child’s name, and present it to the teacher.

2. At some point, your child is going to embarrass you with a tantrum or a swear word they learned from you.  Probably in a nice store or in front of your boss.  When it happens, here’s hoping you’re surrounded by people who have kids too, so they will pity, rather than judge you.

3. There’s always going to be some annoying mom somewhere, who has a kid who walks, talks, is potty trained, reads, lands a back handspring and does algebra before your kid.  Remember that every kid reaches milestones at their own pace.  And that this braggy mom just sucks.

4. It’s possible that your child is going to have some weird habit that perplexes you.  For a while, one of my kids insisted on stopping at every car in the supermarket parking lot so he could read me the license plate.  And for a solid two years, the other kid couldn’t fall asleep unless he brought some random item (which he referred to as his “sleeping things”) to bed with him.  card faceWe’d find him with an Uno card stuck to his sleeping face, his hand in a cardboard box, or his sweaty little preschooler fingers wrapped around a ladle when we’d kiss him goodnight.  The moral of the story: embrace the quirks, because if you don’t, you’ll question half of what they do.

Any more questions?

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Holy crap, I’m tired.

Ever have one of those days where you look longingly at your bed in the morning as you’re making the bed and fluffing the pillows, thinking, “Just a few more hours, my darling, and we shall meet again?”  And I’m not talking about those days when you just want to lay down for a few more minutes.  I mean those days when the thought of another full night’s sleep is appealing by 8 a.m.

I sometimes have days where for no apparent reason, I’m just tired for a lot of the day.  I don’t remember being this way in my 20s, and probably not in my 30s either.  And I know there are things I could be doing (aside from making coffee my immediate priority when I wake up in the morning) that would allegedly provide me with more energy.

English: A pile of pillows.

English: A pile of pillows. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hear that exercise can help.  But frankly, when I’m this tired, who has the energy to work out?  It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

And unfortunately, I’m just not a napper.  When I do nap, which is rare, I wake up in worse shape than I fell asleep in, and it takes hours for me to shake that groggy feeling.  And besides, I don’t know many people who have that much time on their hands where they can curl up with a blankie for a while in the middle of the day.  Maybe when I’m retired.  Or the next time I get the flu.

In the meantime, ugh.

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