Now What?

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I find I am clutching my mug of steaming hot coffee a bit tighter lately, grabbing for the throw blanket to burrito myself in more often than usual, and procrastinating a little longer before rolling out of bed or stepping out of the scorching shower. Winter has officially set in for Long Island. BRRR!

The garbage is filled with empty cardboard hearts, yes plural, and a new blemish has erupted on my chin (which for me, is unusual). We have gone through several sketch pads, glue sticks and packages of construction paper in this house. The DVR is empty, every book has been read, the toys have been played with and Logos have been built. We have beaded necklaces and bracelets, molded Play-Doh into mini animal shapes and even practiced some school work.

Its only Monday! SIX MORE DAYS! Six more days the kids are home from school and the snacks are depleting at an astounding rate! Its too cold to go outside and after an unexpected vet bill, my budget is a bit tight.  (Doggie is doing fine now 🙂  )

Its only Monday! Now what?

If it was up to me, I’d remain a burrito all week long reading, writing and editing. Sigh . . but that will not satisfy four energetic children. So does anyone have any great suggestions?


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Following Mother Nature’s Orders

Snowy-Night

It’s a whirlwind outside, the specs of freezing white snow, aggressively thrusting against one another, swirling in mid-air. The bare branches crack and whine when the harsh wind barrels down its force upon the trees. The streets are desolate, no pedestrians in sight. The dense snow collecting on the ground is glowing in contrast to the saturated night sky. For a few hours the earth seems still. Perhaps, nature’s way of demanding us to pause a moment, and slow things down. We all seem to have obliged. Although, not without first frantically rushing through the sliding glass doors of the store to stock up on various ingredients for a home style meal or two, and some sweet treats. Similar in our preparations for a holiday, the children will surely rush to their windows in the morning, hoping to be amazed.

The anticipation of what to expect has been buzzing through every radio and television station, every social media news feed page and every person in line at your local gas station and grocery store. Words like, “Record Breaking,” “Historic,” and “Accumulations” have warned us to gather with loved ones and hunker down for shelter.

While sitting in the silence of the vicious snowy downfall, the occasional yellow siren flickers through the windows, a reminder of the people who are there for us, always prepared to dig us out. Through our community and within our families we unite to bear the frost and bitter cold of Mother Nature on this winter’s night, just as she intended.

Photo Credit : http://piktiva.com/snowy-night-cieszyn-poland/

Absent Minded Professor Syndrome

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Despite the daily rituals and routines, my son is a driving force, rebelling against regularity. At his tender age of eight years old, he pretty much lives the same day on repeat, as most children do. Routine, routine routine! He has the same homework every day, reading, math and spelling. It is all logged into his agenda book daily, which needs to be signed by a parent. We have the same morning and nightly routines that one would expect in any household with children. Pretty standard stuff right?  One would think so.

It could be viciously snowing out, freezing cold temperatures in the dead of winter, when my son charges off of the bus after full day at school. There is only one problem. “Where’s your coat?”

We sit down to do homework, part of the aforementioned routine, and sort through the contents of his backpack. There is just one problem. “Where are your books?”

We are getting ready to leave the house, all six of our family members waiting by the door to leave. There is just one problem. “Where are your shoes?”

I suppose its more than just “one” problem, but every time I am always sincerely surprised. I honestly just cannot believe that he hasn’t mastered the routine of his life by now. I should mention that he receives great grades in school and his reading is well above his grade level. He is no doubt a very intelligent boy. Intelligent but dumb!

I am at my wits end and losing patients . . .

TGIF – Hectic Morning?

I woke up late today! You know the feeling. Your laying in your warm bed, the weight of the comforters securely resting upon you, the room is dark, leaving you guessing what time it is. When you finally give in to fluttering your eyes open and stretching your legs out, that wonderful feeling of blood rushing from your pinky toes to your fingertips, while you curve your back off the mattress, immediately followed by the relaxing release. You contemplate rolling over for just a few minutes more, it must be so early, you think to yourself.  That’s exactly when my responsible six year old daughter came in my room, with her new fuzzy robe tied tightly over her pajamas, “Mom, I think its late. Don’t we have to get ready for school?”

What?!! What time is it?!!!  Shit! Its late, my son has less than twenty minutes to catch a bus and the girls and I have only forty minutes to compromise on reasonable outfits! I glance out the window and it looks as if we have been inserted into someone’s snow globe.  A thin blanket of untouched snow covers the ground, while a whirlwind of tiny white flakes dance around in the sky. There is no way I want to have to drive kids to school today! They must catch the bus!!!

I practically throw a bowl of cereal at my son, while chanting at him to HURRY! While he consumes spoonfuls of flakes, I am kneeled under the table getting his socks and shoes on, there is no time to waste.  After swooping his bowl away, rush him through brushing his teeth and hair, getting on his coat, hat and gloves and running him out to the bus stop – WE MADE IT, just in the nick of time.  Returning back into the house, I have just under a half our to get the two girls ready, which would be ample time for any other child, I’m sure. However these girls will drive me crazy. I will have to give ultimatums before we “agree” on a suitable outfit for school. They would prefer to wear their white dress shoes from Easter, blue tights, red and green tutu with an orange sweater.  I insist that they look like Rainbow Brite. They inform me mismatching is cool! Duh! Have I mentioned its snowing out?   “Go put on leggings, boots and a sweater.” They look at me wide eyed. “Please” I add for good measure.  Nothing. They just stand there. “Go!” I snap sternly. We don’t have much time left before the bus comes. “NOW!” I need to holler out before they turn on their heals and change their ridiculous outfits.  My little one is in nursery school twice a week, which is not today! Thank the heavens. Although, she’s easier to comply.

We made the bus! Their teeth were brushed, hair was done, and dressed for school in adorable and practical outfits.  Its a Friday miracle!! These two are in Kindergarten and 1st grade! I know I’m in for it!  I have tried planning out clothes the night before and have rewarded them for being easygoing. I have removed all “crazy” clothes, not to temp  them and have given in to them, so they can just get it out of their system – Nothing works!

Am I alone here? Does anyone’s children believe they are attending a red carpet event, when they have to leave for school?  Has anyone else’s children have no rational thinking when considering the weather?  Anyway, I am going to sip my coffee and think about the moments of when I was in bed, blissfully unaware of the time.  TGIF!!!

A Post for Peace

My husband goes to work, as so many men do.  However, instead of picking up his dry cleaning and knotting his tie, he velcros on his steel plated vest, resting over his heart and loads his weapon, securing it on his hip.  Tonight, I squeeze him for a second longer before he walks out my door, acknowledging the potential danger which he may encounter, unlike most days when I push frightening thoughts out of my mind.  Tonight, we all face the reality of the sacrifice of his profession.  His shiny metal badge and patch on his arm are more than a uniform today, they are a target.  Before I lay my head down at night, I whisper a prayer into my pillow, asking for his safety, the safety of my two brothers and two cousins, who also share his occupation, along with the thousands of others who willingly go to work wearing armor, hoping it will keep them alive, if need be.

The other day my husband was asked to wear his vest and gun at all times.  As police officers were being followed home from work and beaten.  Yesterday, two officers were assassinated, execution style while sitting on post in their police car. It is very easy to have an opinion of someones actions, however if I injected a spectator in the same scenario they would be afraid, because being a police officer is a scary job.  They go to work hoping not to get into an altercation. They respond to a domestic call, walking in blindly into strangers homes.  They show up after the rape, after the kidnap and after the tragic car wreck.  The things these men and women see and deal with is enough to put any normal being into therapy for the rest of their days.  However the men and women who serve and protect, are brave, strong and intelligent individuals, which we rely on to right the wrong, show up when we are desperate and afraid and protect us as a society.

Tonight I cringe as the loud clack of metal echos through the hallway.  He ever so cautiously lock and reloads then slings his weapon on his hip.  This post is a prayer for peace and an end to violence against the men and women going to work, doing their job.  My condolences go out the the families that lost a hero.

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Lock The Door

Some days my face is twisted with stress and my mind in spinning like a top. I am out of answers, dry of ideas and simply weak.  On those days your arms around me aren’t just a loving embrace, but my protection from all that I cannot fix.  I can hide my face in your chest and press the pause button, call a “time out” on life. You have an ability to sense when I cannot stand tall next to you as a partner. When I am fragile and run down, you don’t think twice or need to be asked, you instinctually know to carry me.  When I have a problem, you present a solution. When I am in trouble, I look for you to save me.  When we don’t have enough, you always get more.

When the chaos of the evening routine is in motion, you bring order. When tears swell up and slide down little cheeks, you can find laughter. You sharpen the pencils and break out the books to see them through their school work. You help dole out portions of a hearty meal to our little one’s hungry bellies and help pull their arms through their pajama shirts.  As bedtime draws near, you aid in scrubbing their little teeth clean and kiss them atop their head while pulling the blankets to their chin.

As nighttime arrives, our eyes are heavy and the day has ended, you are just starting to begin.  You collect your things and tie your laces, prepare your bag and get ready to leave.  One last kiss goodnight as you zipper your coat before it’s time to head out.  You walk down the stairs with your keys rattling in your hand and close the door behind you, for your day has just begun.  But before you start your car and travel to work and become  the person you need to be to do your job successfully, you always manage to take a second, even in the pouring rain or blistery snow, to turn around and lock the door. Of the many roles you play in our family, Dad, father, fixer, Santa, human toy, you always remember, without being asked, to be our protector.  You always lock the door.

My words will never be sufficient for the love and gratitude I have for you, so this will have to do.  With everything that I am and all that I stand for, please know that I love you deeply.

Now if you could just remember to take the garbage out with you!

A Letter To My Son

My son just recently turned eight!  I am in shock as I sort through photographs of him, tiny and chubby, but still ever so handsome.  Now when he hugs me his head rests just under my chin.  In his class, his teacher plans a week long celebration for the birthday child.  One of the ways to celebrate was to have me write him a letter.  So I did. Here it is.

Dear My Eight Year Old Boy,

In Paris, France there is a bridge called the Pont Marie. This bridge is known as the “Kissing Bridge” because it is believed if you kiss your true love and make a wish as you pass underneath, the wish will come true.  Some time ago, your father and I took a boat ride down the Seine in Paris. When we passed under this famous bridge, we kissed, and I made a wish.  Nine months later, my wish came true, it was you.

As my first child, you changed me from being just a woman to a mother. I will always be grateful to you, as I believe being a mother is one of my purposes in life.

You have grown into an amazing person. You are athletic, smart and funny.  You are extremely talented in your writing and drawings. I have seen you be a great friend to others and a role model to your sisters.  You are compassionate, caring and patient, you have to be with three younger sisters!

As you know, I always ask you to do your best.  The reason is because I know that your best will take you wherever you want to go in life.  Please always remember this. Oh, and good hair helps! 😉

To an awesome, extraordinary 8 year old, Happy Birthday! We are always here for you and will always support you.

Always know, all the love I have in my heart, I have for you!

Love,

Mommy

xoxoxoxoxoxox

Write letters to your children and save them! I am grateful to have been asked to do this and intend on continuing to write all of my children a letter every year.  What do you think?

The People I Live With

I’m worn down. Underneath my nose is chapped and raw, as I take in a series of short breaths.  My eyes are watery, my bones are achy and worst of all, I can’t taste my coffee.  My symptoms come as no surprise, just proof of the affection I have received from the people I live with.  These same people have been screaming and whining throughout the house, like a sword slicing through my ear drums.  They have been arguing and fighting, tumbling down to the floor, vibrating the walls. I am forced to live with people that are slobs, leaving piles of their things everywhere, dishes in the sink and a trail of dirty laundry. Sharing a bathroom with them has become intolerable, toothpaste on the vanity, paper on the floor, and you can almost always count on a surprise waiting in the toilet.  I live with an inconsiderate bunch, just when I sit, they ask for a favor.  Just when I take my first bite, they beg for seconds.  I cohabitate with the most unorganized group of people you could imagine.  The moment they put anything down, its lost!  Better yet, they rely on my ability to see before they are able to use anything. These people have no consideration for boundaries and what belongs exclusively to me. They are constantly asking for help, always needing, always wanting.

Just when I decide, “I’ve had enough, I’m going to find a new place to live,” they widen their adorable little eyes, reach their tiny little arms around my neck and call me “mommy.”

Although they aren’t the ideal housemates, I do love them anyway!

It has just been a rough day!

I Blinked . . .

I blinked. . .

When I opened my eyes I was responsible for four precious human beings. As they sit all in a row, they look like an image of a life cycle you would find in a magazine, infant, baby, toddler and preschooler.  One charming little boy followed by the three beautiful, graceful little girls adorned in pink with large bows atop of their silky hair.  During this time I was on my feet all hours of the night and desperately trying to keep up throughout the day.  I grew weary, filled with exhaustion, until my eyes felt so heavy, I blinked . . .

When I opened my eyes the eldest two children were standing tall, with their sacks slung on their backs, waving their small hands bye bye as they lift their foot on the step of the long, yellow painted bus. The two smaller girls were now running through my legs wildly, refusing naps, unable to be tamed.  Feeling overwhelmed, I threw my hands up in the air, exhaled all of my frustrations and I blinked. . .

When I opened my eyes I was rushing through the morning routine, preparing lunches and snacks, tying shoelaces and packing library books.  Chauffeuring the children from football and dance, muscling through to get the homework done.  Some days its hard, feeling like a personal assistant to four people.  I can get lost in the minutes of life as the weeks and months roll by. I find myself pausing a moment when I see my son reading to his younger sister or my daughters eyes sparkle with excitement and belief as the holidays approach.  My eyes begin to sting a little and fill with tears of love, and as much I resist and refrain from wanting to, I hold out, taking in the wonderment of how special this life is, until I can’t fight the urge any longer, and I close my eyes.

I blink . . .

Real Mom

When I went grab the milk out of the refrigerator this morning, lying there next to last nights left overs, which no one will probably want to eat, was a Cinderella figurine.  And just as I lay down at night, there was a plastic toy cell phone hiding under my pillow.  These little surprises are the least of what goes on in this house.  The truth is they are taking over.  They, being our four children and taking over, meaning the house, the car, the food and ultimately our lives.  That’s not a bad thing, I can say that proudly.  I hum “Let It Go” as I take a shower.  Toys are in every corner of every room.  They are stored in bins under the entertainment unit in the living room and crafts fill my linen closet.  A large display of seasonal art hangs proudly in my kitchen. The beautiful Waterford Crystal statues and Tiffany Lamps are packed away, leaving my end tables bare in the living room.  I have fully surrendered.
Having four children doesn’t seem chaotic when you are standing next to a women with six, as I did not long ago. You can’t really complain much.  However, I believe that is life’s funny tricks.  “Oh, you think your overwhelmed? You think you have it hard?”  There is always someone that will outdo you and in this case, put your life in perspective.  We all are overwhelmed at some point.  Our houses are all a mess.  We all know the words to the Frozen soundtrack and we all have let our children zone out to YouTube to keep the peace. And if you meet someone that claims they don’t live this life, don’t worry, they’re lying!  And if they’re not, get new friends!!
I’m a Real Mom living on Long Island and I want to talk about what is REALLY going on.  So take a deep breath and just know, you are not alone. You are a real mom too!