Archive of ‘Children’ category

Dear Darling, I Need a Big Favor

Dear Darling,

You are my only girl and it is my responsibility as your mother to talk to you about important things. From the time I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of being a mom and having these conversations. One day we’ll pine over Pinterest Boards as we plan your dream wedding. I look forward to seeing your face when you find the perfect prom dress. I’m even training myself to be prepared when you have your first period, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, here. I have big dreams for you, my beautiful girl. I want you to be strong and smart and happy. I want you to fight for what you believe in and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. I want you to wear the brightest red lipstick you can find and blow kisses at the haters. But right now more than anything, my darling, I need you to fall in love with a boy band. And I need you to do it quickly so that I can start stashing away memorabilia for your midlife crisis.

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to have all kinds of cockamamie ideas throughout your adolescence. You’ll have an invention idea that you’ll want to send to Shark Tank. You’ll probably have a self-image crisis and decide to have a throw back fashion identity and will hope I saved something from the 90s. You are going to think that I am crazy and embarrassing and the most uncool mom in the world. These things, I will probably not love, but boy band obsession, this is one phase that I will get behind. You see, my dear, it is inevitable that you will fall down this particular rabbit hole. You come from a long lineage of women who have fallen in love with a musician. I had my boy band, your grandmother had The Beatles and your great grandmother had her everlasting love, Liberace. Perhaps that last pick was a bit misguided, but I digress. I promise, to give you my whole heart, and bank account, when you decide on the one that will be yours forever.

I solemnly swear to emotionally and financially support this habit. I will donate my 401k for shirts, pins, buttons and a Fat Head for your wall. I will buy all of the iTunes gift cards so that you can pre-order albums and instantly download singles. I will even subscribe to the YouTube channel so that you can watch the same videos over and over and over again. I commit to buying magazines, I’m not sure if they still make magazines, but if they do, they’re yours. As time goes on you will begin planning your wedding, coming up with baby names and decide whose family to spend Christmas with. The devastation that will come when you see him on TMZ with his new gal pal will be palpable. That day, we will cry together and eat crappy food and talk about how much better you would be for him. Once our sob session is over, I will help you to eradicate any memory of that low life from your mind. Together we will pack up your collection and ready it for trash day. But here’s where I am going to go rogue. I’m not really going to throw away anything. Nope, I’m going to pack it in a box in the basement and hide it among Christmas decorations and baby clothes that no else even know exist. Trust me, one day when you are yearning for your youth and an escape from the pressures of adulthood, you are going to want these things.

You see, my own life has recently come full circle and I’ve realized how important my mother’s support of my fan girl dreams was. In 1989 I fell in love with five boys from Boston. It was more than just a crush, it was an obsession. The New Kids on the Block posters covered my walls. My boom box constantly played their tapes-I’ll take you to the Smithsonian someday and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I wore t-shirts and giant buttons and I was sure that one day I would marry Donnie Wahlberg and live happily ever after. Well, your father’s name isn’t Donnie, your uncle isn’t Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch are nowhere to be found. I am not; however, disappointed. The fact that I never married a boy bander means that I can still hang on to a bit of my childhood fantasy.

This past summer, I pulled out my Hangin’ Tough t-shirt, it still fits which says a whole lot about how we were wearing our clothes in the 80’s, and headed out to see NKOTB, their more mature moniker, in concert. I walked into a venue that seats 20,000 and saw that many women who are exactly like me. These woman are the ones who are suddenly finding chin hairs that pop up two inches long overnight. These same women have given birth to babies and are wondering how did we all get here and why is time moving so fast? Long ago these women had crimped hair and frosted eye shadow and sobbed uncontrollably when five boys hit the stage. These women are my people. We are all the same. We’ve hidden our seventh-grade yearbook in hopes that our husbands will never discover the old us. We have worn breast pads that slipped and sprung a leak in the middle of the grocery store. We have had bad job interviews and terrible relationships. We have lived parallel lives and grown up together, although most of us have never met.

We gathered together, almost 30 years later, and soaked up every minute. We didn’t want to hear new songs. We didn’t want to see new dances. We wanted Step by Step with all five steps, all five boys and seamless choreography accompanied by pyrotechnic magic. And that’s just what we received. These guys know exactly what they are doing. Being able to watch 40-something men sing the same songs and perform the same moves three decades later is nothing short of magic. They came back just as their fans are coming of age. We are getting married and having kids and starting to feel old. We are disconnected from our youth and this has brought us back. If only for one night, we were those same crying girls with black hats and overalls that could take on the world.

And guess what? We did take on the world. We are moms and daughters and friends and doctors and lawyers and CEOs and teachers and waitresses and mechanics and whatever else we ever wanted to be. We all started as young girls and have grown into women stitched together by a common thread. And I wouldn’t change one bit of that. I want that same kind of happiness for you, my sweet girl. In 30 years, you will be living a grown up life filled with pressure and challenge and frustration and you will need an escape from reality, too. When the time comes, you will open the box that I have saved for all of those years and the memories will flood back. You will feel a pit in your stomach for what was, but flutters in your heart in anticipation of the reunion tour. You will belt out your favorite tunes, dance the familiar moves and swoon at their older, yet, sexier bodies. It will be worth every one of the hundreds of dollars you paid for the ticket. Trust me, if you allow yourself to get away from diapers and deadlines and sleep deprivation and you selfishly indulge in one night with 20,000 woman in your tribe, you’ve got the right stuff!

Love,

Mom

This is f*&@#%! Awesome…….

It is bedtime at the Thomas house. After reading a story, saying prayers and every other sweet Norman Rockwell photo detail, the boys are slumbering soundly teddy bear in the crook of their arm and dreaming about waking up tomorrow to a fresh stack of pancakes.I don’t know this group of Thomases, but being that the name is quite common, I am sure it is happening somewhere.

The people under the stairs have nothing on this guy.

We read stories and say prayers here too, but it isn’t all rainbows and flowers. Actually, it is none of those things because I have a house full of boys, so think more lizards and trucks, but it isn’t that either. The routine here is certainly consistent, but it always ends with at least one person being threatened, someone screaming and Scott and I playing rock, paper, scissors to determine who has to go up and wipe snot off of the weeper’s face. Sometimes, they even attempt to escape their horrible living conditions, but sadly, they can’t quite make it out.

I have been fighting a cold for a few days that has degenerated into a sweet case of laryngitis. My voice is not completely gone, much to my husband’s chagrin, but has taken on a more raspy, high-pitched tone, think Kathleen Turner with a side of Cyndi Lauper. Although I don’t really feel like talking, my boys don’t give one $h!+ about that and expect me to continue on with my daily responsibilities, on top of working a full-time job, that include, but are not limited to, answering 16,000 questions, making meals, answering a few more questions, doing laundry, telling stories and, of course, singing lullabies. I think it is sweet that my boys still let me sing to them while I rub their backs and I cherish every second because I know someday soon they will only want me to speak to them if it is to tell them how much money I will be handing over. Since Handsome #1 was an itty bitty baby, I have sung the same songs to him using his name sweetly, I then changed the tunes to have Handsome #2’s name included, and they are on their third incarnation with Handsome #3.

Tonight, as 7:30 approached, it was time to get the boys moving. They swiftly used the bathroom, put on their jammies and got into their bunk beds with very little difficulty. This is when I should have become suspicious. After we sang our evening prayer, the Casey Kasem request and dedication lines opened.

Handsome #1: Momma, will you sing me a song?
Me: Honey, my voice is really gone. How about tomorrow?
Handsome #1: Momma! You promised a song.

I never made any promise, but I knew that the tears were coming, so I might as well comply.

Me: Mommy loves her Finnegan. Oh she wonders what she did without him.
Handsome #1: Stop! That is not what we want.
Handsome #2: No, we want $20 in my pocket.
Handsome #1: Yep. That’s the one. Go!

Seriously?!?!?! They want me to get my Mackelmore on? The simplest of phrases coming from my mouth sound like the sacrificing of a small animal and they want an upbeat rap?  Under normal circumstances, it is a reasonable request. I have mad skills at the mic, but I didn’t have time for a cup of tea with lemon to coat my throat or even a Luden’s and they want rap?

Me: Guys, come on. Let’s sing our prayers again and go to sleep.
Handsome #2: WE WANT $20 IN MY POCKET!

His eyes were red and I swear I saw little fangs starting to grow. I was looking at a miniature Teen Wolf and thought for sure the next request would be for a keg of beer.

Would you mess with that?

Me: OK…..I’m gonna pop some tags
Handsome #1: You forgot the bada bada part
Me: Bada, bada, bada
I’m gonna pop some tags Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I, I, I’m hunting
Looking for a come up
This is awesome

Handsome #1: Um, that’s not right. It’s being awesome……
Handsome #2: No! It’s ing awesome.
Me: Guys, it’s just awesome.
Handsome #1: Nope it is being awesome.
Handsome #2: Handsome #1!!!! It is not! It is ing awesome. You mean head.
Handsome #1: Handsome #2 called me a mean head, so I am going to punch him.
Me: No body is punching anyone. (First punch is thrown, followed by a sharp kick to the kidney)
Handsome #1: Brennan kicked me!
Me: You punched him, what do you expect? I have had enough. It is time for bed.
Handsome #1: Nooooo! You aren’t finished.
Handsome #2: Momma. You haven’t done my favorite part yet about the moccasins.
Me: Oh, my God! Lay down and be quiet. I will finish it, but so help me God if anyone touches anyone we will never listen to this song again. Do you understand me?

Walk in the club like what up? I got a big sock
Nah, I’m just pumped up, bought some stuff from the thrift shop
Ice on the fringe is so dang frosty
People like dang, that’s a cold ash donkey
Handsome #1: Momma it’s cold ash honkey
Me: No, it’s donkey.
Handsome #1: Definitely, defintely honkey. What is a honkey?
Handsome #2: Handsome #1. It is a cold ash.
Me: OK. It is time to go to sleep.
Handsome #2: Oh yeah?!?! You are a cold honkey.
Me: It is time for bed…..good night…..I love you…..
When I am alone in my minivan enjoying my day, there is nothing I love more than a filthy rap track loaded with f bombs, dotted with sexism and layered with gang violence. But, when I am saying goodnight to my innocent toddlers, I have to bring things down to a G rating. It ruins the integrity of the tunes, and frankly, I would much rather keep rapping 8 mile style, but if they repeated the lyrics in the middle of music class, Sr. Mary Catholic Teacher would likely send home a note, so instead, I censor.
Right before tonight’s bedtime adventure, I decided that I had better run to Walgreen’s to the Healthcare Clinic to see what is going on with my voice. I left with a diagnosis of a virus and no prescription, but was told to drink plenty of fluids, including tea. I decided to head over to Target for a few things, but figured I had better let Scott know. Instead of texting and driving, I thought I would use Siri to help.

Because I’m Bad, I’m Bad…………really, really bad……

I should have seen it coming. I should have been prepared. All of the signs were there. How could I have been so stupid? There were both physical and behavioral changes, and yet I did nothing to protect myself or to be proactive.
He began to grow a majestic, yet angry mane
He danced on tables without fear
As his brother looked on in horror
This happens to novice parents, not experts like me. But this morning, as I gazed into those beautiful blue eyes, it was as if I could see the flames flickering. I really only have myself to blame.  I have gotten cocky. One good week at Mass, and all of a sudden my son is ready for canonization? Not quite, after this morning’s performance, I think that he may be closer to excommunication.
It started out innocent enough, really it did. We arrived at 10:30 Mass, my strapping lads and I, and made our way to the cry room. Brennan was getting a bit restless by the end of the first prayer, but with Thomas the train in one pocket and a bag of Kix in the other, I was golden. He began with the chorus of “Up, momma, down, momma, up momma, down, momma.” So, I plugged his mouth with a sippy cup of apple juice and went on about my business. Unbeknownst to me, Handsome #2 was winding up on the pitcher’s mound ready to beam an unsuspecting parishioner in the head. I watched in horror as the cup went flying through the air, missing a gentleman, by mere centimeters.  Humiliated, I sheepishly made my way to the front of the room, apologized and sat back down.
(Please note, this was taken after Mass, and is merely a reinactement, well sort of, he was really trying to get out)
As I made my way back to the pew, he stood on the bench, looked at me and cackled. He ran back and forth, taunting me with his eyes, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, you can’t get me.” It was like trying to catch a fish with my bare hands, I finally grabbed hold of him and he slipped right through my arms and made his way to the cry room door. “Help, help. Peasseeee help!” He screamed as if he was locked in a cage filled with live animals. I grabbed him again and attempted to sit him on my lap. But instead he made himself as stiff as a board and howled in agony.
At this point, poor Handsome #1 tried everything to get him to calm down. I think he was afraid that the child was either going to burst into flames right there, or that I was going to make good on my threat to leave someone behind. After handing over trains, cereal, cups and his own prized possessions Handsome #1took a leap of faith and lead his brother by the hand to the stained glass. At this point, my heart melted. He stood and patiently told his baby brother about the colors as Handsome #2 pointed and repeated. It was beautiful to see the love that my boys had for one another and I beamed. That was until Handsome #2 caught my stare and immediately began to scream. “House, Momma! House now! Now! Now!”
Imagine this without Maurmi and wax figures and insert stained glass and people trying to pray in silence

I soon realized that the rest of the cry room’s inhabitants had moved far to the left of the room, I think that they were afraid that the pea soup he was certain to spew was going to stain their Sunday best. For the next 15 minutes we fought, position after position for him to find comfort. We never found that magic spot, but it was time for Holy Communion and a nice walk. You would have thought that he was walking on to a stage, his demeanor changed immediately as we walked out of the door. As we made our way down the aisle, he sweetly waved bye-bye and said Amen! Making all of the old ladies smile.

As Mass came to an end, we walked out to the parking lot and I was stopped not once, not twice, but THREE times to tell me how darling and well behaved my children were. I smiled sweetly, said thank you, and inhaled deeply to be sure that I was not knowingly letting anyone who had clearly hit the Bloody Mary bar before church drive home and kill anyone.
I buckled Brennan in first and made my way to the other side of the car to get Finnegan settled. He is a big boy and buckles himself, so it is a fast effort. As I turned on the car, buckled my seatbelt and checked the review mirror, this is what I saw……….Perfect…….