Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three years ago

Right now DD2 is in second grade, and working on her Amazon project. She has picked the Amazon River Dolphin (for very important reasons, like the fact that its pink). Her report packet is completed, her pictures are taped in place, and her diorama is done. She did 95% of the work herself, so it's safe to say it's not going to be the "prettiest" project out there, but it will be her own work. She will proudly turn it in tomorrow.

Back up three years. DD1 was in second grade when my mother died. Also working on her Amazon project. She had chosen the three toed sloth, and had worked a little on her report... but that year they HAD to have a diorama - because it was a science fair year. Their completed projects were due Friday, May 2nd that year. I remember it clearly - because my mother's funeral was Wednesday April 30th, and with all the visiting my mom in the hospital and then the ICU, not sleeping, losing our mom on April 27th, funeral arrangements, family flying in, and general chaos of that month I completely forgot about the diorama portion of the project until late in the day of mom's funeral. At which point I knew that my daughter would not be doing the work - I would. I looked over at my sister-in-law, an elementary school teacher, and said, "Oh Crap... what am I going to do?" She looked me in the eye and said, "Get a shoe box and some brown paint... and tomorrow let DD1 paint the inside of the box. Then, have her find a picture of a sloth on the internet. After she goes to bed, cut the sloth out, glue it to the back wall of the shoe box and hot glue all kinds of leaves and stuff from Michael's in front of it. Make sure its messy and they'll never suspect a thing."

May 1st 2008 was a day that I broke a big rule I had set for myself as a parent. I wasn't going to be the mom who's kid turned in the most beautiful projects - even if it killed me with it's awkwardness - because I was going to make my kids do their own work.

And then I got caught up in real life, and the rug got yanked out from beneath my feet, and I - without a second thought - did 95% of that diorama and lied to the teacher about it. And told my daughter to lie to the teacher about it as well. "Just tell her I had to help you a little with the hot glue because you're not allowed to use it by yourself." (as I am explaining the diorama to her that morning and pointing out where the sloth was in the back so she'd know.)

I'm not going to lie, when my dad fell last week and they took him to the very same hospital, and they put him in the ICU, and I knew the 2nd grade Amazon project was due this Friday it was the worst kind of deja-vu ever. But my dad is getting better, and is expected to complete re-hab on May 11th. He's planning on moving to an apartment in a retirement community, and I don't have to lie to the teacher about who really did the diorama.

Tonight is so much better than three years ago it's unbelievable... Thank you, God. And tell my mom hello for me. I still miss and think about her every day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

This can't be how it works...

In nine days it will be the 3rd anniversary of my mom's passing.

Tonight my dad is in the same hospital, the same intensive care unit (not the same room, thank God), hooked up to those same machines that we watched so carefully when mom was sick. It's too familiar, it's too scary... and this can't be how it goes.

It has to end differently this time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I put it out there, and there it is...

Husband has been wanting me to get a job since DD2 started 1st grade.

Sort of.

He makes enough for us to live on, but really feels like I should have something now that the kids are out of the house. When the discussions first began (ahem... 2 years ago), I explained to him that I really did not ever see myself returning to an office full time, and we discussed that with the kids outside commitments and his erratic travel schedule that a part time job would be all that I was capable of taking on. I've never been a working mom... I didn't want a job where I had to call in sick if he couldn't work from home if one of the kids was home sick... and I need to be available to pick then up from school and be flexible in the afternoons because of their after school activities and homework load. In short... it would have to be the perfect scenario or our lives would change drastically and neither of us really wanted that to happen.

An opportunity did come along when DD2 was in kindergarten - but it was more of a 3/4 position working at this woman's home office, and left the kids "uncovered" during the Summer. When we crunched the numbers we discovered that daycare or nanny cost for the kids over the Summer would eat up pretty much all the income... so it turned out to be a "no". As cool as the job was, it wasn't going to work.

I decided a few months ago that it was going to have to be retail - and only if I could make it work the hours I needed. It was going to have to be weekends and some weekly hours (perhaps evening), but I couldn't think of any other jobs that would present me with a perfect working environment... and I liked retail jobs I'd had in the past. The discounts were awesome! The time away from family? Not so much.

Then last Sunday I saw a guy that I hadn't seen in over a year and a half - he is a dad I met when DD2 was in preschool, and he's working remotely for a company in Scottsdale AZ. It is a fairly new company, in start-up phase, that is about simplifying your technology access with Cloud computing. So I said, off-handed, "Hey, if anyone in your company ever decides they need a virtual admin, I'd love to talk to them about a position. I was an admin in my previous life before children."

Three days later he called.

The job is Virtual Administrative Assistant, 4 hours (maybe 3 or 5 depending on the needs) per day, M-F... and I work from home. Actually, I can work from anywhere I can get an internet and phone signal. I can work from the dance studio or the pool in the Summertime if need be. The money is not huge - but it is a foot in the door of a start-up company that could potentially do great things, and for what I need right now it is as close to perfect as I could hope for. I work when my kids are at school, from home. If someone is sick, I'm not going to have to call in sick. The man I will be working for is himself a father of 4 kids - and totally gets that kind of schedule. Because it will be contract work I will have the freedom to take vacations with my family, or schedule lighter work load weeks with him during "recital week" at the dance studio. The absolute best part is that I am still here with my kids over Summer vacation and will be able to remain plugged in as a parent. Husband's travel schedule won't have any effect on my abilities to do this job - and I'm still in disbelief that it all happened so quickly.

It makes you wonder... when you send out a "list" of very specific needs to the universe and you get an answer so quickly - that so very closely meets the requirements you need for it all to work - how can you not at least give it your best shot and see where it takes you?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thank you 5th grade, I needed a good laugh today...

Today was the day in 5th grade that the girls stayed behind in the classroom for their movies, while the boys were taken to the gym by a male teacher for their movies.

Hilarity ensues. See, they not only see the movies that talk about their own puberty experiences, but the movie about the opposite sex as well.

And this, my friends, is how my daughter learned the word "erection." She can say it with a straight face... I can't right now. I was hoping against all hope that the topic would come up over dinner tonight, just to make my husband super uncomfortable... and it wasn't happening on its own (which surprised me, because she was so excited to talk all about the movies in the car on the way home)- so I had to help it along a little.

Over chicken and mashed potatoes I said, "So, DD1, what did you do at school today?" DD1, "The boys had to go to the gym and we got to see the movies about what happens when you change. And Dad, we learned about boys erections and wet dreams." (I am hiding my face at this point, my shoulders shaking with laughter.) I quickly compose myself and say (choking back the laughter), "DD1, I'll bet Daddy would be willing to tuck you in tonight if you have any questions you'd like to ask him." They both look at me like I'm insane and I can't hold the laughter in any longer.

I love it when he squirms! Wait until she shows him the "goodie bag" she got, and starts explaining all the uses of panty liners to him! He'll be thrilled!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Birds and the Bees visit my house

I honestly have NO idea why this topic is called "The Birds and The Bees"... as neither of those species have anything even remotely in common with the reproductive system of mammals unless you count that they procreate at all. They should call it "The Dogs and The Bears" or something a little closer to how it truly works.

I've known the sex talk was coming for some time now - I discussed puberty with DD1 before she started 4th grade, and it's been an onslaught ever since. Wanting to know WHEN things would start happening. Let me tell you something: my daughter is little. I think she weighs somewhere in the ballpark of 60 pounds, and (at age 11) is still in a girls size 8. (Sometimes 10S, but only if she needs the length.) She isn't anywhere near the 100lb tipping point for that pituitary gland to kick things off, with no "upper" development to help in that department either. She is going to be a later bloomer than many of her friends. BUT, the puberty talk is different from the sex talk. The puberty talk contains information like it's time to use deodorant, wash your face more often, up the time you spend in the shower on a weekly basis. Because when your daughter is really probably a couple of years away from "the big stuff" of puberty, this is all pretty easy to deal with. She knows about feminine hygiene and why her body is going to change, but that knowledge has yet to be put in to practice.

Cue yesterday on the way to the dance studio from school: "We learned about the human reproductive system today. Boy, the women have a lot more work to do that the men do!" OK, like I said... I knew it was coming. My good friend, N.M., and I even discussed last year that I needed to open the topic up before the embarrassment window had closed and she wouldn't talk about it with me. Clearly I dodged a bullet in this department - she wants to talk. Plus? I signed the form that came home from school that said it was OK for her to learn about it. She's ready to learn. I, on the other hand, am not quite ready to discuss. But, just like the "Santa talk", moms don't really get to decide when this is going to happen. She made her announcement in the car, and I said, "Well, I'll bet you have some questions about all of that, right?" She said she did, but since her little sister was in the car (and hates all of these topics) I said, "How about when I tuck you in tonight we talk?"

(Keep in mind, I already know that little sister isn't going to come to me for information - she's going to go to DD1. I want to make sure all the facts are there, so I'm feeling a little pressure to lay a good foundation.)

So, after an evening of barely being able to contain herself on the topic (much to Husband's horror), it was finally time to tuck her in and chat. She did in fact have some very specific questions. Basic, but specific. Mostly along the lines of "how". They had discussed fertilization and what happens after that, but the logistics leading up to "how" things get to where they need to be was on her mind. I used simple language, very basic information, and then started breathing again when she said, "But why would someone ever want to do that?" Yes, I agreed, right now it seems to her a little bit like sticking your finger in someone else's nose... but when she got older and past puberty, and fell in love... then it would make more sense to her. I also made her laugh a little bit, which I think helped both of our comfort levels a lot.

So, we're talking. And I am reminding myself that this is a good thing. She is willing to talk to her mother about sex - we may end up having a fairly open relationship about this, and that is a good thing too. (Or we may not, it's too soon to tell.)

But... I'm not actually ready for her to figure out that this stuff is actually going on between her dad and myself. Which will occur to her within days of our conversation, trust me. She's going to figure out that sometimes when mom and dad have their door locked it isn't because we are having a private, adult conversation. And just like that, I'm back to being horrified again.

Friday, April 1, 2011


OK, so... this movie came out in 1995. I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan, and this movie is based on "Emma". (Loosely based... but all the major points are there.) My friend, Suz, and I LOVED this movie. It was one we would watch over and over together when it came out on VCR. So many great quotes, made us laugh each and every time we watched it. Always loved that Cher and Josh ended up together at the end of the movie - as it should be.

Yeah, watched it again last night for the first time in I can't remember how long. For the most part? Still so charming and well played. Clever idea, Cher Horowitz (the "Emma" of this movie) as darling as ever. Only now I know that I view this as a parent, and I'm a little bit not crazy that Cher ends up with Josh at the end of the movie. Sure, they're cute together... but she has just turned 16 at the end of this movie - and Josh is in COLLEGE. I get that Emma and Mr. Knightly had a large age difference. She was newly in her 20's and he was in his 30's... but all of the sudden the way it was written into Clueless just wasn't OK anymore for the mother of two girls (especially as one approaches puberty). All through the movie I wondered when I would show this movie to my daughters. It really is a cute movie in so many ways - but when it hit me at the end that a Sophomore in high school was dating a guy in College (and although they don't allude to it, I don't think he's in his Freshman year in college) - well it hit me in a completely different way. Because I don't think that is OK, and certainly would do everything in my power to keep my 16 year old daughter from dating a college boy.

OMG, giving birth and becoming a Mom ruined Clueless for me. If I ever wrote a parenting book I think I would feel compelled to include this little tidbit... because really? Who knew??