So Long 2020!

To say that has been a year would be an understatement. I wonder how many other blogs and articles are starting with the same sentiment. In any event, it’s hard to summarize the year of 2020 into one blog post. … Continue reading

Let Me Explain…

Meet Clyde

So we got an Elf on the Shelf this weekend….but let me explain!

I’ve wanted to avoid this thing like the plague from the beginning. Such an odd tradition that I’ve always rolled my eyes at…then 2020 happened.

My oldest is eight and will be nine in March. He actually asked us about Santa last year and we told him the truth. He seemed okay with it, so no big deal right? We also made sure to tell him not to spoil it for other kids.

This pandemic has been rough for him. One day he’s in school and the next day it’s gone. March seems like a lifetime ago at this point. No teachers, no friends; it all just vanished one day. We definitely had our struggles in the beginning, especially with remote learning. His school did their best given the circumstances, but finishing out spring was turbulent to say the least.

Summer was a huge let down because plans were cancelled (birthday trip to Disneyland off the table) and not much to do but sit around while mom and dad work.

Remote school in fall has had its hiccups but overall, he’s been a champ. Getting his work done, reading, following instructions, staying motivated, organized, and staying positive. I think his school balances synchronous and asynchronous learning well and I can see the differences from Spring. They’ve made a lot of positive changes.

We’ve made time and space for socially distance playdates and lots of FaceTime with friends. Grandparents have been a life saver. My mom and dad are both retired and it has been such a blessing to have their support. Two people to give him dedicated attention while we work!

Lately he’s been asking if it is okay to still believe in Santa, even though he knows the truth. And then this past week, he asked for the Elf on the Shelf! No one was more shocked than I was.

While we all know the truth, how could I deny him this last bit of childhood wonder? We read the book, picked a name, and now he rushes to see where Clyde will be each morning. Such a small gift during a really hard year: something to look forward to in the morning.

Added bonus? He plays by the rules. Since Clyde will be reporting to Santa about who’s naughty and who’s nice, we’re benefiting from the perceived oversight. I’m going to take advantage by using Clyde’s reporting as incentive to help purge old toys and donate them to other kids that don’t have as many toys. Also, mom and dad could use some oversight for our language, according to Gabriel. Cheaper than a swear jar, I suppose.

I feel like parenting as a journey will take you to places you promised you’d never go: “my kid will never eat junk, will never watch screens, will never talk back, will never throw a tantrum in public, will never [insert your own nonsense here]” It’s all an illusion. You don’t know what it will be until you’re in the trenches, even then, some days you win (all veggies and cooperation) and some days you lose (hot dogs and 5+ hours of screens).

This year has taught me two things (at least two things that are relevant to this post, but I assure you much more): that it is okay to love what you love and indulge in “guilty” pleasures (are they really even guilty if the harm no one?!) and a lot of rules go out the window when you’re trying to survive a pandemic. You do your best. You make smart choices for you and your family (and think of others when you’re trying to be safe). Sometimes staying up late, eating junk food, doing nothing, and most of all, releasing the notion of the “ideal” is necessary for not just your sanity but your survival.

So, everyone, meet Clyde, the newest member of the family! Next adventure? Keeping up with moving this dang thing every night for 30 days!

Lost in Emotion

I have spent much of my life aware of my lack of emotional attachment. In reality, I was a terribly emotional and clingy child. But just like everyone else, there are events that change you in life. I can’t pinpoint what shut it down, or when it happened,¬†but my detachment really peaked in my mid-twenties.

Enter motherhood. Nothing could have prepared me for the “feelings” that motherhood would bring to the surface of my being. It started in a hormonal way¬†while I was pregnant, which is perfectly natural. But it is what happened post-pregnancy that has surprised me the most. The first six weeks postpartum are a grab-bag of emotions. Basically, on any day you will start crying at the drop of a hat for no apparent reason other than you become overwhelmed with the fact that you are a mother…I guess?? To this day, I couldn’t tell you why.

Flash forward to almost three years in. The things that get my emotions going are anything to do with parenthood. Today, I had one of those moments that I am certain pre-parenthood I wouldn’t have given much thought to after the fact. I was shopping at Lady Footlocker for a pair of running/exercise shoes because it has literally been like 10 years since I have bought a legit¬†pair. There was a good amount of time that I was somewhat oblivious to the scene but after trying on some shoes with my back to the store, I turn around to see it is almost empty. The two store employees¬†are standing there with a small family. An older woman is speaking Spanish to one of the employees and seems very distressed. Then a younger women comes in almost hysterical, speaking Spanish as well. They run out of the store. I get that something bad has happened but wonder if maybe her purse has gone missing, so I ask, “did they lose a purse or a person?”¬†Apparently they lost her two-year old son in the mall. After seeing their faces, my heart sinks. I think of my own son, around the same age, off in another part of the mall with my husband.

I run out of the store because I don’t know what to do. But continuing to shop feels wrong. I call my husband. He found a lost boy in a store once. We both are keenly aware when we see unattended children. We figure if we can get to them first, some other creeper can’t in the meantime. But I digress. He is only a few stores away. I tell him the story and that if he sees a little boy, lead him back this way. One of the highlights of this story is how the customers in the store and even nearby banded together to look for this boy. They consoled his distraught family and ultimately, some girls from the store found him at the other end of the mall. For some reason this overwhelmed me. I started crying. For even that short amount of time,¬†I couldn’t imagine how that¬†must have felt. I saw myself in that mother and I had to do something because that is what any parent would want. Honestly, I thought the worst, which is that someone took him. I suppose my relief overcame me, when not only was he found but he has just wondered a little too far. I hugged her and told her how lucky she was!

I don’t know what my younger, childless would have done in the scenario. With any tragedy or sad story that involves children and families though, I hug my little a bit tighter. It can all be gone in the blink of an eye. Everyday that he us with is a gift and I have to recognize the big and small moments alike. I sit here, still emotionally shaken up because, while I relate because of the age proximity of our children, I couldn’t place myself in her shoes for one second without getting upset thinking about it.

That boy and his family will have a story to tell for a long time. And luckily for them, the story will have a happy ending.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Tomorrow I fly off to North Carolina to celebrate/host the bridal shower and bachelorette part of one of my best girls, Miss Liz Louise. I cannot wait to party and celebrate with her.

I haven’t flown since my little was born and what’s more, I haven’t left him for more than two nights. That was a road trip up to the Nor Cal coast. This is flying to the other side of the country. I’m anxious but excited. I know that my husband is more than capable, but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry. What if he gets sick? What if he goes through a sleep regression or growth spurt? What if he forgets about me? I know the last one is completely irrational but, I’m a mom and a worrier: it’s a recipe for disaster.

I know that I am going to have fun and enjoy the break. I know I need the time off from work. I can feel the burn out coming. I could use the change of scenery and sometime to just be me; not an employee, a wife, or a mom. I will always be those things, but it will be nice to just be one of the girls for a few days, not just hours.

Wish me safe travels and maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll blog from the road!

 

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At my bachelorette, what seems like years ago (it was)…aren’t we cute?!

The Land of Misfit Toys

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As some of you may know, I did not grow up with Christmas. I was raised with my mother, who is a Jehovah’s Witness. We did not celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any other holidays. We also did not celebrate birthdays. So many of these occasions are new to me.¬†

Often times when I am celebrating these occasions with my little family, I feel the child-like wonderment that my son is experiencing too. This puts extra pressure on my husband to teach us his family traditions, as I don’t have any to call back on and G is just doing what we do.

This has and will continue to allow us to create some of our own traditions. This year, I made a beef stew on Christmas Eve. Granted it was just prep and throwing everything in the crockpot, it still feels like something I could make a family tradition. As G gets older, I am sure we will continue to add traditions. 

For me, it is exciting to share these things with him from my unique prospective. The holidays we celebrate don’t come from a sense of religion, but for me, it is more a sense of togetherness and family bonding. There is something special about celebrating with the three of us (five if you count that cats; for Christmas I do, since they have stockings too). I hope to continue to foster that feeling in my son. Not that the holidays are about obligation or just about gifts, but about time spent with the ones you love. Happy Holidays all!