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!



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…….