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No More Hanky Panky EVER

            “Mom,” said my 10-year-old son from the backseat of our mini-van, “I heard really weird noises last night while I was trying to sleep.

            I was only half-listening if we’re being honest.  After all, I spend my days being informed of every bug bite, loose tooth, dream, and bodily function… it’s a miracle that I still listen at all, if you ask me.

            “Mmm hmmm…” I replied, absentmindedly.

            “It sounded like someone was having an asthma attack,” he continued.

            “Well… you’re the only one with asthma, so are you sure you weren’t just congested and hearing your own breathing?”

            “No, it wasn’t coming from my room.”

            “Maybe it was the baby monitor then.  It could’ve been echoing Wyatt’s sound machine or something.”  I was getting a little tired of guessing, but it didn’t seem we were going to stop with this game until we got to the bottom of things.

            “No… I don’t think it was that.  It was around 11 o’clock and I just couldn’t sleep.  It sounded like maybe it was coming from your room?”

            It was in the next moment that I had solved the mystery of the questionable asthma attack that occurred at 11pm the previous night.

            “Mom, it kinda sounded like this.”  With quick breaths, my son rehearsed the panting sounds he was referring to – they were the sounds of a husband and wife who had been ships passing in the night for too many weeks to count – the sound of allergy-congested people finding comfort in the arms of their significant other.

Photo by www.rawstory.com

Photo by www.rawstory.com

            As my son continued to ignorantly pant in the backseat, I contemplated driving the van into the river, because there was really no way for either of us to un-hear the sounds that we’d heard.

            My 8-year-old began to laugh.  “That’s weird, Cameron!  I wonder where the sound was coming from.”

            Flustered, I began to stumble over 1st grade words.  I mucked up the word “T.V.” as I tried to explain that perhaps the volume had been too loud.  I mispronounced “remote” as I suggested that their Dad had probably hit the increase volume button when he meant to hit the decrease volume button.  Overall, I felt dizzy and just a bit nauseous.

            But Cameron was not to be deterred.  “Well… I don’t think it was the T.V., Mom, because I heard that already before the sounds started.  It didn’t sound like T.V. noise.  It sounded like this…”  My 10-year-old proceeded to mimic the sounds for a second time.

            I quickly talked over him, saying that I had fallen asleep and who really knows what show came on once I was sleeping… it could’ve been a show where someone was crying, or perhaps someone who was afraid.  I reminded them that when people feel extreme fear, sometimes their breathing will come very quickly.  (Because obviously this was the best possible moment to review feelings and the effects they have on our bodies.  But chalk one up for Mom and finding a therapeutic moment, right?)

            For a minute, it seemed that my son was satisfied.  He looked out his window as the toddler continued to announce each car that passed with a resounding “Caaaar!”

            “But Mom, it started when Dad went upstairs, so wouldn’t he have turned off the T.V. if you were asleep?”

            Oh for crap’s sake!

            “Honey, I don’t know!  Maybe Dad changed the channel to something he wanted to watch, and there was someone crying or scared on that channel… how am I to answer all these absurd questions?  I’m supposed to be focusing on the road, here!”

            Cameron seemed deep in thought.  He quietly made the noises to himself once more in the backseat as he and his sister determined that it just couldn’t have been someone scared.  But sensing that he was on thin ice, he tried once more.  “Um, but Mom?  The noises ended when Dad went back downstairs…”

            And then I realized what I had to do.  I had no choice but to throw my husband under the bus.  “See, there you go.  The noises came from Dad.  Maybe you thought they were coming from our room, but Dad was probably just going to the bathroom.”  I felt like rejoicing, because obviously bearing down too hard doing one’s personal business can imitate deeds of an even more personal nature, can’t they?

            “Yeah… but I went to the bathroom to get a drink of water and Dad wasn’t in there.  It was definitely coming from your room,” my son replied thoughtfully.

            How exactly is my son in Special Education when his reasoning skills are this advanced?  Perhaps if he suspected his Math problems getting it on with one another, he’d pay closer attention in class!

            “Cameron. If Dad wasn’t in the bathroom, then he was obviously in our room.”

            “And he was probably crying, Cameron,” piped in the sister.  “He probably misses Isaac.”

            “Yes!  Dad was probably sad over Isaac.  So let it go, we don’t want to embarrass him for crying.”  It was the best I could do in that moment.  Taylor sat in the backseat looking heartbroken for her father, whereas Cameron still looked like he couldn’t quite swallow what I was feeding him.

            “I’ll ask Dad if he’s OK when he gets home then,” he said with resolve.

            I made two mental notes as we arrived at our destination that evening:

1)      Inform Husband to admit to being a big crybaby if asked

2)      Have Cameron’s sleeping medication increased ASAP.

           But before we finished exiting the van, Taylor asked me this endearing question.  “Mom?  Should I make Dad a card, telling him I hope he feels better?”

           “No, honey.  I think Daddy probably got it all out and he feels much better now.”

           Mental Note #3: No more hanky panky.  EVER.

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"My Favorite Person"

Recently, Cameron has been getting into writing. Naturally, I encourage this as much as possible. I love to see him get excited about something that he and I can do together. Don’t get me wrong, his love for all things John Deere, constructing things out of random scraps, and building intricate Lego creations are wonderful in their own way. I know that his level of creativity has grown exponentially because of each of these hobbies.

Even with Cameron being on the swim team this season was something new for me. I had never did much with swimming and couldn’t have told you the name of any stroke other than the Doggy Paddle… (PS, they don’t actually use that stroke in swimming. Apparently that’s just used for toddlers to keep themselves afloat… Well, toddlers and people like me.) So, I did rather enjoy watching him compete and cheering for him (loudly) as he raced to be his previous times in each heat.

Taylor has always been so good at gymnastics. And whereas I never excelled past a certain level in that area, it was familiar to me and I found that I could help her with many of the skills. Taylor also has a love for music. She’s no Celine Dion or anything, but she has really worked hard to improve her singing, and I can truly get behind that!

But writing…. That’s my passion. And even though Cameron cannot verbally tell a story to save his life, his words come out so much more clear and concise when he writes. I love watching how his grammar skills are developing and seeing him practice new vocabulary words in ways that are “unique” at times.

So, when Cameron came home from school a couple of weeks ago, he was pumped to show me his most recent writing project. After reading the first paragraph, I could see why he was so excited for me to read his work. He entitled it “My Favorite Person”, and he specifically asked me if I thought it was good enough to put on my blog.

You guys… the look on his face when I told him that I would most definitely “publish” his work, well, it was priceless! The look of pride and satisfaction that he had done something well, something that I would put online for all to see – I would happily post anything he wrote if it would increase his self-esteem like that again!

So, without further delay, I give you a Cameron Costa original, “My Favorite Person”.

By Cameron Costa

 

The sweetness, am I right?!? I’m encouraging, I give advice, I have a “lovely personality” (someone’s gonna have to teach my kid that that’s code for “butt ugly”), I’m nice, and I’m generous because I allow him to eat and give him shelter. I mean, either his standards are ridiculously low, or this is the cutest writing from a 4th grade boy to his mother EVER.

  And can we just take a moment to love the last sentence?

“My mom is my role modle and personality Also, she is genaras.”

That one right there has ALL the loves written all over it! You know you’re doing something right when your kid puts it in print for the internet, right?

#GraceInParenting

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Five NON-New Year's Resolutions

I can hear the moans now. Ugh, we're not even through Christmas and this chick is talking about New Year's Resolutions already!! Ack!

Actually, I'm not... not really, anyway, so you can stop gagging.

Personally, I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of girl. I’ve never been one to make it past February, quite honestly. And I know I’m not the only one. That’s why every gym in America is full of newly motivated folks in the month of January but basically empty by March, and the self-help isle at Barnes and Noble has been made bare after the New Year, only to have these books be used as door stops or coffee table décor.

Yes, those first few years that I tried, I realized just how badly I sucked at keeping my resolutions, so I resolved, instead, to make daily resolutions, all year long, that were attainable – on-going – deliberate. In case you are a New Year’s Resolutioner, or even if you’re a daily work in progress like me, here are some goals you may want to consider making for yourself.

1)      For the Dieter – Please throw away your scale. Please, I beg of you. I don’t care if you’re 120 lbs soaking wet or 400 lbs completely dry… numbers are numbers and health is health. Dieting won’t change a mindset, and a healthy mindset will mean more than numbers any day of the week.

So this is what I suggest: Make a daily effort to replace one unhealthy product from your life with a healthy one. Whether it’s coffee, pop, late-night snacking, or fast food… take one out and replace it with a healthy option. Don’t lose your mind with some goal of how many pounds you want to shed or how many days a week you claim you’ll exercise. Choose to take one unhealthy thing out and replace it with an opposite. THIS is doable.

2)      For the Budgeter – Remember that life isn’t about saving EVERYTHING so that you’ve enjoyed nothing throughout the year. But there are times when our pocketbooks call for us to use a little thing called Wisdom, and this comes in the form of a budget. Make one and follow it. We all have at least ONE thing that we can live without. Something that we can cut out of our spending habits and put in a savings account or towards a looming bill.

But also do this. Allow yourself some wiggle room. There will always be something unexpected that will arise, whether it’s car trouble or just the fact that, due to goal #1, you lost some weight and need a new pair of jeans. Allow for wiggling without losing your head. THIS is attainable.

3)      For the Work-A-Holic – Seriously, you’re gonna have to chill out just a little bit. You’re making the rest of us look bad, and frankly, your heart is asking for you to bring the stress level down a bit and take a holiday! Work isn’t intended to be our all… it is intended to pay our bills. So, if your bills are paid and you’re satisfied that you’ve given it your best effort, then it’s time to take a step back and make it to your kids’ choir concert. Go catch a game with a buddy. Take your partner out for a night. Or do what I do… simply go to bed early and call it a day! THIS is sustainable.

4)      For the Spouse – There are days when that beautiful person you married suddenly grows three heads, two horns, and looks like an evil version of the one you vowed to spend forever with. You chose them, and now you’re stuck, right?

Well, kinda. You chose them, but you’re probably just stuck in a rut. The person you married is still in there, despite the new look and harried personality. So how can you commit each day to improve your marriage? Simple. Take one thing you would do for yourself that day and do it for your partner.

For example, you wanted 10 minutes to finish an article you’ve been waiting to read. But what if you offered your spouse those 10 minutes to take a shower, talk about their day, or put their feet up? What would that do you’re your marriage? Or maybe you go to the kitchen to make yourself a snack. But what if you made a snack for your spouse instead? Perhaps wrote a note telling them you love them to go with it? There are so many ways to give in life. Yet so often we take.

Marriage isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100… and someone has to get the ball rolling. One simple act of giving each day. THIS is possible.

5)      For the Parent – Let me tell you something. I love parents. I have a heart for those that are looking after young lives, molding and shaping them into mature, independent adults. But there has been a lot of fluffy articles out there telling people these dangerous words: You are enough.

Folks, let me be real here for a moment. When we are comparing ourselves to other parents and feeling worthless, we need to hear these words. When we are doing all that we can and it still seems like our children are crazy, we need to hear these words. But here’s the thing. Some of us… some of us are not enough. Some of us need to take an honest look at our lives and see where we’re missing the parenting mark.

Trust me, because this is a goal I have set for myself every single day. There are times when I’m simply not enough and it’s a danger to tell myself otherwise! My goal isn’t to be OK and settled somehow in my mediocrity. But my daily striving is always towards becoming better. Becoming healthier. Becoming more like Love.

So, if you’re a parent, my resolution suggestion for you is to find one thing each day to work on that will better be Love to your children than the day before. Whether it’s offering grace when it should be shouting, spending the extra few minutes to teach instead of rushing past a learning moment, or simply saying those magical words ‘I love you’ one extra time that day…. We are not always enough. But we can be works in progress, can’t we? THIS is achievable.

 

Side Note: Speaking of the New Year, if you're in need of a 2016 Calendar, let me make one final suggestion. Welcome Home 2016 celebrates Chosen Families - those brought together through adoption, fostering, guardianship, or any other way imaginable. To get your copy today, click here.

If you or a loved one are struggling with raising a difficult child, take a look at the membership page and see if it's something that would help you. If you're unsure, contact me to ask questions on the Contact page.

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