Thursday, June 26, 2014

Deep Thoughts on a (Bizarre) Solo Car Trip

Long car trips by myself used to make me anxious.  I would do them, but I would dread them.  They were boring and monotonous and stressful and every once in a while I would have a really bad one, where I would get lost (Mapquest, anyone?) or run out of gas (just once, pre-cell phone), or have to pull over on the side of a highway during a blinding rain storm.  

In a former life, having a companion for a long car trip was definitely preferable.  

Then I had kids.  And my car trip companions tend to make the car journeys rather difficult.  There are vomiting incidents, multiple bathroom breaks, malfunctioning DVD players, thrown food, breastfeeding stops, tantrums, yelling, crying, and just generally noise.  Really, really loud noise.  

All of a sudden, the idea of a solo car trip became enticing.  And lucky for me, I took one such solo trip last weekend, to New York City for a bachelorette party.

I was really looking forward to this trip for a number of reasons.  I was able to see my sister.  I was able to celebrate my good friend (the bachelorette herself).  I was able to get my nails done. I was able to order a bloody mary at a bar at 1pm and then order another one after that.  I was able (by the grace of God) to stay out until 2am dancing.  At a real life bar!

But I also was able to get a little over of 7 hours to myself in the car.   SEVEN HOURS with no one to bother me!  SEVEN HOURS of me and my own thoughts!  

This rarely happens.  The thinking that is.  I am generally always doing.  Feeding, cleaning, carpooling, refereeing, cooking, talking, yelling, organizing, internet surfing, planning, going, going, going, and then when that's all done, I usually watch some crappy reality television just so I don't have to think.  And then I sleep.  For as long as I possibly can.  

But in a car, all you can do is think.  And I thought a lot.  For example, I decided that: 

Friday, June 13, 2014

I Am a Shadow of My First Time Mom Self

I remember being on maternity leave with my first child, Braden, and complaining to my husband that I never had time to eat lunch.  Or shower.  Or check email.  Or do laundry.  Or perform any kind of self care or household chore.

I am sure I was sincere in this sentiment, and I do remember a general feeling of exasperation.  I remember reaching the point where I gave in, and took a shower with the bouncy seat in the bathroom.  I remember rushing as quickly as I could to get the shampoo out of my hair.  Shaving was out of the question, of course, because the baby was crying, dear God, and I must get to him.

With all due respect to my former self....


Need to eat?  Need to shower?  Need a breather, for God's sake?  Put the baby down in a bouncy seat, a swing, the crib, on a dirty towel on the floor.  Anywhere.  It's okay if he/she cries, you know. For a little bit.  He/she can't go anywhere.  Everything will be a-okay.

Do you hear that, Shannon from 2008?  PUT THE BABY DOWN AND LET THE BABY CRY.  EAT A SANDWICH.  Because you know what, Shannon from 2008?  You are going to have two more babies and THIS IS AS EASY AS IT'S GOING TO GET.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The End of an Era

Tomorrow is Braden's last day of preschool.  Next year he'll be in kindergarten.

It seems to be a common question to ask a parent how they are handling this.  I've done this myself.  How are you coping?  I would ask.  Can you believe it?  I suppose it's because it is a rite of passage, albeit a manufactured one.  There's nothing innately transformative about the exact age a child graduates from preschool.  Braden will still be the same kid next week that he is this week.  He'll still love on his brothers, raid our snack cabinet, throw the odd tantrum here and there about absolutely nothing, and cry when we try to brush his hair.  He's still our same little boy.

I've tried not to get all emotional about it.  

But I can't deny it.  Between the "graduation" ceremony last week, the pictures sent home from school,  and the slideshow the teachers made of all the kids (which yes, did make me cry), I can't help but take it as an opportunity, or maybe a mandate, to reflect.  

Our little boy isn't so little anymore.  

It's subtle things that drive this home for me.  The size of his feet, for example.  Sometimes I'll look at his feet, and think, My God, what happened?  It's not that they are particularly big.  It's just that they look like kid feet.  The baby feet - that cute little padding on the bottom, and the chubby little toes - are gone.  

Our conversations have gotten progressively more complicated - moving from the simple, toddler concepts, to the difficult ones.  When I told him the other day that my grandmother is in her nineties his response was Oh man, she's going to die soon.  He has started asking not only about death, but about religion.  Illness.  Even race, but in the most amazingly innocent way.  (What color is that girl's skin, mommy?  It's not blonde like mine.).  About marriage and how most boys marry girls but some boys marry boys, and how that's okay.  About divorce (or "breaking up," as he calls it), and about how it must have been sad for mommy that when she was little that her mommy and daddy lived in different houses.  

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