Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Letter to Lucy

You were funny this morning
You hopped out of bed while I was in the shower and padded into the bathroom

Where's Daddy you asked
Outside clearing off the cars honey
Will he do everyone's car Mumma 'cause they're our friends?
Well, he'll do his and Mummy's so we can go to work - I don't know if he'll have time to do all of them 
He'll probably do them all Mumma, he likes to help everyone!
Yes Lucy he does

He's so kind Mumma
He is Lucy
And you are so pretty Mumma
Thanks Lucy
You're welcome Mumma

Its little exchanges like this Lucy that make my heart swell with love and pride for you

Like a couple weekends ago - the Sunday we dressed the tree and decorated the house
You were so excited to finally have the tree up and the lights on outside the house
You danced around the living room and kept exclaiming how beautiful everything looked and how excited you were for Santa to come and what a good job Daddy did on the lights

That night, when we put you to bed, your Dad tucked you in, kissed you and as he walked out of your room you yelled out excitedly
Good night Daddy! I love you! Happy Christmas!

He melted on the spot

Then there was the movie Frozen - we took you to see it Thanksgiving Day
You loved it so much, you and Daddy saw it again Friday
And you love the music
You had the whole soundtrack memorized within a week and we listen to it non stop
Except for one song
You refuse to listen to one song
Not because it’s bad but because in the movie, when that particular song was being sung, Elsa was, as you say, shooing Anna way - sending her back to Arendelle
You don't like that song because the sisters were fighting and it upsets you

How empathetic and sensitive you are Lucy
Just like your Dad - it’s one of the many reason I adore and love you both like I do

And I adore you for this alone:

Last Monday, I arrived at school to pick you up
I checked your mailbox first, as I always do, and scanned your day sheet - your teachers always write a quick note about your day
On this particular day, the note moved me to tears
When I stepped into the classroom, Miss Julie saw me and I blurted out
Your note, it made me cry a bit
She responded Maria if you could have seen her with Ryan, you would have cried...we did
What happened I asked?
Miss Julie went on to explain to me that over the weekend, Ryan's cat Sprinkles was hit by a car and died
Poor Ryan was devastated
Well, when the sad news was shared, you Lucy made it your mission to cheer Ryan up - to make sure that when he got sad or started to miss Sprinkles, you were there to make him smile

Miss Julie went on to tell me that you hugged Ryan, you sat next to him and rubbed his back to comfort him
You tried to distract him by telling him about Herbie who no longer lives with us and you miss him but you think about him all the time and still talk about him which helps you not to miss him so much anymore
You also colorfully included the fact Herbie no longer lives with us because he was acting crazy and peeing everywhere so he went to live with Uncle Michael and now spends his days hunting chipmunks but not catching any
At one point, Ryan was sitting on the swings with his head down and you ran over to him and said I know Ryan! Let's talk about funny movies! That will make us laugh and smile!

Oh Lucy
How you love your friends, especially Ryan - he and Jake and Jack are your favorites
When it comes to those boys, you wear your heart on your sleeve for them

A couple days later, when I picked you up, I complimented you and your friends on the giving trees you were making
The giving trees were decorated with ornaments you and your friends made
On each ornament was written a wish you had - what you would give to someone as a gift if you could
Miss Julie directed me to yours
It said, quite simply and sweetly

Lucy would give Ryan a new Kitty

Oh my Little Lady Lucy

You've changed so much in the past few months

In July, I wondered if you and I would make it till the end of the year
You were a handful this summer
Your temper tantrums were epic
Your attitude was off the charts
And your ability to try my patience was as honed as any skill could ever be

But we made it

You moved into a new classroom and as scary and unnerving as it was for Daddy and Miss Barbara, you and I knew it was time
And it was the best thing that could have happened
Within a month or so of moving, you morphed into a new little person

Don't get me wrong, you are still the same Lucy to the core:

But now you are some much more in tune and in synch with the world around you
You see even more than you did before
You understand things that sometimes even I struggle to comprehend
You empathy and sensitivity at times paralyzes and worries me
You are so much more aware.....
Sometimes, I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing

I worry that you are growing up too fast
Not just because I can't seem to find shirts that are big enough or pants that are long enough
But because you are so much more self-aware and aware of the world we live in
Because sometimes, you say things like
Mumma, why did those people hurt that man?
Or Mumma why did those kids hit the other kids?
Mumma how come those people on TV don't have anywhere to live?
Mumma can a robber get in our house?
Mumma can our house catch on fire?

You notice things more and make comments and draw your own conclusions

But there is still an innocence about you
You won't leave the house without a stuffed animal, usually two
You talk to your animals in kooky voices reserved only for them...and they talk back to you
You marvel at how clouds move because, as you observed, they don't even have legs!
You love to sing - you sing everything and all the time - and you don't care where we are or who can hear you
I can't tell you the number of times we've been in a public restroom and I can hear people chucking as you belt out songs while taking care of business
You dance with wild abandon
You love your books and will read the same one over and over and over again
And if we ever miss page or a word, you are quick to correct us to protect the integrity of the story
You still wake up in the night for a snuggle
You love your friends and family with no reservation or regard for your own feelings or interests
And when you hurt someone's feelings, you feel worse than they do

I love you Lucy
I love you so much that sometimes I can't breathe
I love you so much that sometimes, I forget to relax and enjoy being your Mum

I worry, as any parent does, every minute of every day about you
I worry if you are dressed warmly enough
Will you eat the lunch I packed 
Are you safe
Are you healthy
Are you happy
Are you minding your manners
Are you and your friends being kind to one another
Am I giving you the guidance you need
Are you behaving at school
Am I too hard on you
Too soft
Do I know what I'm doing 
Am I doing the Mum thing the way I am supposed
Am I doing you a grave injustice because I don't take you to get your picture done with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus
How in God's name do I teach you how to tie your shoe
And when am I supposed to do that
What if you don't like baseball
What if you become a Yankees fan
What if you want to play hockey or football - they are both so dangerous and I am way too lazy to get up for hockey
What if I give you bad advice or a bum steer on stocks....which I know nothing about stocks so do not even listen to me if I make a suggestion

All I can do Lucy is love you with my whole heart and my entire being
Which I do
And I can give you some more practical advice because that's what Mums are supposed to do

So though I may not be able to give you stock tips ad won't encourage you to play football or hockey (but I promise I won't discourage you either) I can give you some practical advice that will one day serve you well:

Don’t chew with your mouth open
Don’t talk with your mouth full
Don’t touch the radio in someone else’s car – their car, their music
Don’t confuse the Jackson Five with the Fab Four
And never compare The Osmond’s to the Jacksons – there is no competition or comparison believe you me
And just so you know, Rick Astley is in fact white
Don’t ever leave without kissing your Dad and I goodbye
Same goes for all your grandparents, all your aunts and uncles, all your cousins and anyone else you love
Don’t ever forget that no matter what, Daddy and I will forever and always be here for you – even if it is 2am, you are underage and you've been drinking – we will always be here for you no matter what
Bear in mind that though we will always be here for you no matter what, no questions asked, you will still be disciplined and/or punished in some way shape or form
I does not always come before E even after C
And U does not always come after Q – but mostly it does
Don’t spit into the wind
Don’t play cards with someone named after a city
Don’t tug on Superman’s Cape
Don’t touch the mask of the Lone Ranger
And don't mess around with Jim
Honesty is the best policy – but sometimes, every now and then, it might not be
Never be afraid to speak up for yourself - or someone else if they can't do it themselves
Be kind
Ernest Hemingway, though a great character, is slightly overrated as an was Salinger
Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary however are awesome
The Apostles were pretty good writers too
When you grow up and are in a relationship with someone you love, married or not, never speak ill of your partner in mixed company
Though this is hard, when someone else is talking, try not to interrupt or speak over them
You don't always have to be’s not as much fun as you think it is
It is ok to admit to being wrong; as a matter of fact, it’s better to admit to it before someone else points it out to you
Your teachers, especially your early teachers, will have a bigger impact on your life than you realize - remember to appreciate them later in life
When you are 14/15/16 and you think you hate me and/or your Dad, just remember we love you

And finally, in the words of the great Erma Bombeck, who I totally want to be,
When your mother asks, 'Do you want a piece of advice?' it is a mere formality.
It doesn't matter if you answer yes or no.
You're going to get it anyway

I love you Lucy
Daddy loves you Lucy
Happy Christmas little girl, Happy Christmas

Maria the Mum

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lucy being Lucy

Lucy is, without a doubt, one of the funniest kids I have ever met

She has a wicked sense of humor
And her facial expressions are, by far, the most emotive I have ever seen
And her wit, oh her is formidable

The thing is, she's not even trying to be witty or funny
She's not trying to illicit a reaction from anyone
She's just being Lucy

And how lucky I am that I am along for the ride with stops along the way like this:

 Lucy was sitting at the table Sunday afternoon having a snack
As she was finishing up, she went to wipe her hands on a napkin when she felt something on her wrist (it was dried glue)
Rubbing over it with her hand she asked loudly in a somewhat exasperated tone
What in tarnation is on my arm?!?!?!

We were at Target poking through the Christmas decorations when Lucy holds one up and while shaking it back and forth, in a somewhat accusatory tone says
What the what?!?! I'm not even sure what this is! Why, why on earth would anyone buy this? I don't even know what it is!
It is at this moment I notice the woman beside us grabbing as many of said ornament as she can find
Lucy realizes it at the same time and sort of tosses the one she has into our cart so no one can see it and motions for me to get out of there
We have a giggle about it as we're walking away when Lucy says with a worried inflection in her tone
Seriously Mumma, we really should tell her to think about her decision, I'm not so sure its a good one

When Lucy and I got home the other night, there was a package in the front door
I scooped it up but not before she was able to make out her name on the label
Its for me Mumma!
It is Lucy
Who sent me something?
Well, it looks like its from Nanny Larraine and Papa Graham
Oh Mumma! How nice! Who are they again
I explain, while we're opening the package, that Larraine and Graham are Uncle John Bennett's Mum and Dad - Hannah and Lauren's Granny and Grandpa
That's so nice of them Mumma
Yes honey, it is
As I am peeling back the layers of brown paper and opening the box, Lucy is getting  more and more excited
Oh, we're almost there Mumma!
Now Lucy you know this is for Christmas so its going right under the tree
How do you know Mumma?
How do I know what?
That its for Christmas
Well honey, what else did you think it would be for?
Oh I don't know - maybe they just wanted me to know they like me

We were playing one day when Lucy directed me to do something
She corrected my execution and form a couple times and told me to keep practicing
A few minutes later, convinced I had mastered the task, I sought her approval
Lucy - how am I doing now?
Lucy looked over, inspected my work and announced with a thumbs up, a wink and a nod of her head
You got it girl!

Yes Lucy
Did you ever wonder why you got me?
What do you mean Lucy?
Like why did you get me and not someone else.... how come you didn't get Jake or Justin or Jake or Katie?
Well, I got you because it was my turn and your turn at the same time and God looked at us and thought well, there's a good match
Oh, ok......
She tilts her face upward deep in thought for a few seconds and says
I wonder what God was thinking when he gave you white and black hair....

Yes Mumma
I've asked you four times now to please get in the bathroom and brush your teeth
I know Mumma
Well, could you do so; I don't want to have to ask you again
Well, maybe you should try saying please - manners Mumma!

On the way home the other night, Lucy and I stopped at the craft store
She found a little black cat Christmas ornament and asked if she could get it
No honey, we have plenty of ornaments
She holds the cat up next to her face and says
But Mumma, look how cute he is! And he is so sad being here all alone (it was they last decoration of its kind)
Lucy, honey, please put it back
She stretches out her arms pushing the cat towards me and in a high pitched goofy voice says 
Meow, meow.... Mumma, please take me home! I am a little kitty who wants to go home with Lucy...meow...please don't leave me here all alone...meow meow
The two women in the aisle looked over and sort of know that obligatory Oh, your kid is so cute smile you get in public
Lucy, come on, please put it back
Meow Meow....please take me home...meow meow...I want to live with Lucy
Lucy Ellen
Meow...please Mumma, let me live with Lucy
Lucy pulls the kitty back and says to me in her normal voice
Mumma! Look how cute he is? How can you say no to that face? And mine?
Lucy please put the decoration back and lets get going
But Mumma
OK fine but how do you think you are making the kitty feel?
By now, the two women in the aisle are sort of watching and chuckling as this exchange occurs
Lucy hangs the ornament back on the hook and says
Sorry kitty, I guess my Mumma's heart is just too small.....she'll probably make me and Daddy take down the tree when we get home....
One lady laughs aloud
Lucy continues to carry on a one sided conversation with said ornament
What's that kitty? You'll pray for my Mumma? That is really kind of you....maybe if you keep praying, we'll come get you tomorrow.....I know you are sad, so am I....and you're scared? Don't be scared...I know you are the last one left but maybe someone else will come along...
Oh my word Lucy....
Head tilted, eyes fluttering and a sad and pathetic Meow meow escapes from her lips
She reaches over and pets the ornament
Meow....Meow Mumma?
Both women are now laughing
Oh Mumma, so sad is the kitty all by himself.....
Deep sigh
Lucy........I love you so much
Put the cat in the cart......
An excited Meow Meow!
Oh Mumma, I knew you'd crack.....and I think your heart just grew!

This evening, I was snuggling with Lucy as she lay in bed
She was sort of half asleep when she says
Mumma, we didn't say prayers
Oh, ok well, go ahead honey
She takes a deep breath and says
In the name of the father, the son, and Casper the Ghost

Maria the Mum

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hey, unto you a baby is born

Last night, we were reading the Christmas Story - the little Golden Book version so some details are changed for the target audience

As the story went along, we got to the part that read Mary, pregnant with Jesus, was headed to Bethlehem with her husband Joseph
Lucy stops me
Uhh Mumma
Yes Lucy
Joseph and Mary are married?
Yes honey
So if Mary is Jesus's Mum, is Joseph his Dad 'casue I thought God was Jesus's Dad
He is honey
And Joseph is too?
Well yes, Jesus had two Dads
Well then whose last name does he use?

At another point in the story, the Angles appear to tell the Shepherds the Saviour has been born
In the story, the Shepherds are scared of the Angels
Mumma, why are the Shepherds scared of the Angels? Aren't they good guys?
They are honey but I think they may have been scared as they had never seen Angels before
Oh, so like I might be scared of something I've never seen before?
That's right - sometimes, people are scared of things when they don't know who or what they are
Can you be scared of something you have seen before Mumma?
Like what?
Well, I've seen snakes before but they still scare me a bit
Oh yeah! I'm scared of warts and pimples and I've been covered in them!

When the three Wise Men appeared, she wanted to know if they were good guys or bad guys
Good guys Lucy
Oh, well if they're such good guys, why did it take them so long to get to Baby Jesus?
Well, they had to travel along way
What, they couldn't just hop on the camels and ride them to Baby Jesus?
And what did they bring him?
Gold, frankincense and myrrh
I don't even know what that is Mumma but it  does not sound to me like anyone brought Baby Jesus cake! Not cool Wise Men, not cool

The last page of the story shows a picture of Baby Jesus as a toddler - who knows why, its a Golden Book
But when we got to that page, Lucy studied it for a minute and asked
How old is Jesus in that picture?
Maybe three or four
And he's dead now?
Yes, he is
How old was he when he died
And why did he die
Well, some people were very upset with him so they hung him on a cross and left him there
What's a cross?
I point to the cross she has hanging on her wall and to the crystal cross on her shelf
Those are crosses I say
And some people hung him on a cross?
Were they bad people?
Well, they were confused people, and a bit scared
Were they scared 'cause they had never seen a Jesus before?
Umm, they were more were scared because of what Jesus was teaching
She processes this for a moment and then asks
Like sometimes how I get scared when Miss Julie teaches us new letters and numbers?
Well, sort of
But Mumma, I would never hang Miss Julie on a cross for what she's teaching....!
I'm sure she'll be relived to hear that Lucy

We talked for a few more minutes about how and why Jesus died when Lucy asks
So Jesus is with God now?
And he's God's son
So when God dies, does Jesus become God?
Well God won't ever die Lucy
What? God won't ever die?
That's right
Because he's already in heaven?
Uhh, yes, partly.....
But if I want to get to heaven I have to die
So when Jesus died, he went to heaven
But God was already there so he does not have to die
That's right
Lucy ponders this for a moment and then declares with a wink of her eye and a double click of her tongue
Huh, so I guess God wins...well played God

Maria the Mum

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I just make it look easy......

I was chatting with some mothers not too long ago and one of them commented to me that I had it easy

What do you mean? I asked

Well, you know, she said, it’s just so much easier for you

I tilted my head to the left, No, I don’t know what you mean I replied

Well you know, she said, it’s just easier for you because “you only have one….you’re barely a Mom”

Two of the other women who know me well enough to know me shifted uncomfortably unsure of what was about to fall out of my mouth

Who are we kidding…..I shifted uncomfortably unsure of what was about to come out of my mouth

The woman, unaware of the disturbance, in the force kept talking

You just have it so much easier…..and she started ticking off a list of things that make it so much easier for me:

You have less laundry to do and fewer toys to pick up
You’ll have less homework to do than the rest of us once Lucy is in school
You don’t have to make as many meals (what because only children don’t eat three meals a day?)
And, you only have to make one lunch every day
You only have to throw one birthday party every year and when you travel, it is so much easier for you to pack
You only have to school shop and Christmas shop for one
You only had to be pregnant once…so you only had to lose baby weight once
You are so lucky, you only have to pay attention to one kid; that is so much easier than paying attention to more than one

Her grand finale was the following statement:

You just don’t have to be as much of a Mom as the rest of us because you only have one…seriously, you’re like barely a Mom!

Up to that point, my blood had been slowly reaching its boiling point

In my head, I was articulating my response back to her…and I’m not going to lie, I also had visions, a fantasy, of bitch slapping her really hard across the face – once to the left and once to the right

But when she made that last statement, my heart stopped beating for a split second

I felt my blood go cold, my stomach felt like it was being twisted inside out and my heart…my heart hurt
My eyes started to sting and my legs, which felt wobbly, started to buckle a bit

Her last statement echoed in my head

You just don’t have to be as much of a Mom as the rest of us because you only have one…seriously, you’re like barely a Mom!

The other two women stood by waiting for me to respond
The talker just kept watching the kids completely unaware of the impact of her words

I never responded
Not because I didn’t know what to say, I actually had quite an ass kicking statement ready for her
But I didn’t respond

Shortly after that, I was chatting with a friend and a friend of hers

Conversation shifted and they were talking about some people they both know
I don’t know the people except for having met them a couple time in passing and frankly, I did not find them to be all that endearing

My friend’s friend alluded to this very thing and my friend defended the group of people and turns to me and says

You’ve met them, what do you think?
Well, I say, they were….
What she says?
Well, they weren’t quite what I expected….
What do you mean she says?
Well, they….I mean the couple was very nice as was that one other guy but…
But what?
Well, they really weren’t that nice…to be honest, two of them were just straight up rude
See, says her friend, I told you they weren’t nice!

My friend looks at me and says that’s really what you think?
Yes, I say, I mean when I spoke directly to two of them, they blanked me….Did not even acknowledge I had said anything and I was addressing them

My friend was clearly getting frustrated as her friend continued to speak ill of the group
I did not add anything more; really didn’t have anything to add as I knew these people in a very passing manner

Then, my friend looks at me and says, you just don’t like my friends because they’re gay! 

I was in the middle of swallowing a gulp of coffee and did not respond straight away
And when I did, I probably should have been more offended
Her friend definitely was because the friend’s mouth dropped open so far and fast I thought it would bounce off the table

I’m sorry what did you say?
You don’t like my friends because they are gay

I inhaled sharply, took another sip of coffee and asked

Why do you assume I don’t like them because they are gay? And were they all gay? Because I’m pretty sure at least three of them were as straight as an arrow….

Yeah but some of them were gay and you just don’t like them because they’re gay

I pointed out that the two people I was specifically referring to were the two straight women at the table (obviously intimidated by my beauty) and that it was in fact her gay friends I ended up talking to because they were the only ones who would make eye contact with and by the way, I resent your implication

We’ll its true she responds
What’s true?
You just don’t like my friends because you’re conservative and Catholic and they're gay

I never responded
Not because I didn’t know what to say, I actually had quite an ass kicking statement ready for her
But I didn’t respond

I’ve been steadily losing weight since February of this year
By August, I had lost 43lbs
And then I gained 3.2lbs
And then I lost it
And then I stopped losing or gaining weight
I’ve been stuck on the same number since mid-August

In the meantime, a woman I know, also began a weight loss regime
I did Weight Watchers
She did a fast and then followed some sort of strict “phase” diet
And she goes to the gym on a regular basis
I’ve yet to set foot in a gym

She lost her weight pretty quickly – and bought the clothes to show it off
And every chance she gets, she makes sure that whomever is in earshot knows she has lost weight
She's also made sure to point out how quickly she has lost her weight compared to my slow loss
And on more than one occasion has commented to me that she noticed I had stopped losing weight

Did you give up? she’d ask
No I’d say, just stuck
Oh well, I’m not, she’d say with a flounce
As a matter of fact, I was at the gym today and even one of the trainers told me I need to stop losing before I disappeared!
That’s great, you do look well I’d say
I know she’d respond

Not once has she ever commented, positively, on my weight loss

When I initially started on my weight loss journey (I normally would not say something like that but if you’ve ever been to Weight Watchers, that’s how we all talk…we’re all on a journey….and none of us are fat…we just struggle….and track and count points), I never really said much about it

I’d have a passing entry in a blog, and when I hit 30lbs I will admit to posting it as my Facebook status

But other than that, not said much about it…nor had I purchased any new clothes
Every piece of clothing I owned hung off me and it was actually hard to tell I had lost weight

In November, I had a day off
Sean begged me to please spend part of the day shopping and investing in some new clothes as everything was hanging off me
So I did

Now, for the record, I hate shopping for myself.....and I shop like a guy
So my trip went like this:

I found a shirt I liked, I bought it in 3 colors (cream, black and a sort of pink rose color)
I found a sweater I liked, bought it in 3 colors (black, green and cream)
And found two pairs of pants I liked; bought them both in black and gray

And then I was done
All solid colors, all the same style….takes me like no time to pick out my outfit in the morning

The next day, I wore some of the said new clothes
One woman I know, who met after I lost all my initial weight and while I was stuck on my 43lbs loss, commented to me that I looked like I had lost 20lbs

You must feel so much better having new clothes
I do I say
Well, you look way better than you did last week she responds
Oh, well, thanks
Yeah, maybe now you can think about buying clothes with a bit more…you know, color and character
Maybe I say, not really my style though

Oh, pipes up the other woman (who has lost all kinds of weight) and happened to be standing there, you have a style?!?

They make eye contact and laugh

I never responded
Not because I didn’t know what to say, I actually had quite an ass kicking statement ready for them both
But I didn’t respond

So within a month, I was cited for being barely a mother, accused of not liking people based on my politics and religion and criticized for my clothing choices (or lack thereof) and borderline mocked for my weight

Sometimes it is amazing to me I am not in therapy

So my struggle right now….my need for getting this all down?
Well, most likely because I am not in therapy so this my outlet
But I guess I am just intrigued by these behaviors – by what people will say

Why do we think it is okay for us to behave like this? To say things like this to one another?
People wonder why there is so much hatred? Animosity? Jealousy?
People wonder why we retreat from one another?
We wonder why our kids behave the way they do?
Look at the examples they have to learn from
We breed them to be jealous, competitive and contemptuous

And I’m not innocent
I can be insanely jealous

It makes me crazy that woman lost weight as fast as she did in a shorter period of time I did
I am envious of those families with multiple kids
I long for the house and homes some of our friends have
I’m jealous of those people who have family close by to help them out
I can be jealous of my own sisters and the attention they get from my parents

And I can be critical
And judgmental
I’m not as competitive as I used to be – I’m far too old and tired for that
But sometimes I can be downright mean and cranky and impatient

And I know Lucy hears me say things and sees my behavior….and then I have to focus on undoing what I may have inadvertently done

But see what I said there?

I focus on undoing what I may have done

Wen Lucy hears or sees me doing or saying something that is a bit suspect, I talk to her about it
I let her know not only why I did it but why I should not have done it
And what I’m going to do to fix it
Now listen, do not misunderstand me and think I talk to my 4 year old about ALL my actions and emotions

I don’t

But when I royally fuck up, and I know I have, I talk to her about it

Like the Sunday night after our basement flooded
We had no hot water, a wet basement and we were exhausted from cleaning up
We were trying to get showers taken but Lucy was being a tad difficult and on the verge of tears and next thing I know, Sean and I are snapping at each other

Sean yelled at Lucy, I yelled at Sean, he yelled at me, I yelled at him but good and he stormed out of the house

Lucy stood by a bit unsure of what had just happened and then did everything I asked with no resistance

A bit later, Sean was still out cooling his heels and Lucy wanted to know why Daddy left

Because I yelled at him I said, because I said something I should not of
Yeah Mumma, you did yell!
I did honey
Was it because I was not listening?
No honey, it was because Mummy and Daddy are tired, a bit overwhelmed with what happened in the basement and we just….
You lost it Mumma!
Yes honey, we did

And the conversation continued….with me telling Lucy that though none of us were right in yelling at each other, it was OK, it happened but now we all needed to apologize

And Mummy will apologize first because I yelled the loudest
You sure did Mumma! You scared Daddy away….

I want Lucy to know that emotions and feelings are OK to have, we’re human….even if we did not want to have them, we will

And I am a big fan of letting your emotions play out
I won’t tell you not to cry, laugh or scream
I want you to do what you have to do to get those feelings out
I want Lucy to know its okay to do that

But I also want her to know it has to be the right time and place
That her emotions will sometimes have to be kept in check until she is in that safe place to explode…to laugh, cry and scream

I go to work every day unsure of what roller coaster I’ll be on
Sometimes, it’s like the inmates are running the asylum
But I’ve gotten really good about keeping my emotions in check…..until I get home and then rant and rave at Sean (about work, let’s keep it in perspective)
I tell him what I wanted to say, what was running through my head...... those things that would have been socially unacceptable to express at work……I’m lucky I have such a sounding board

Everyone should have such a sounding board

Not too long ago, ok, October, I had a….fight…difference of opinion…with my mother

And I’ve not spoken to her since

That is to say I used to call my mother every day on my way to get Lucy; I haven’t called her for ages

I think I have dialed her number three times since then: once to let Lucy say Thank You for something she was sent, once because she accidentally called my mobile phone at 10:30 at night and I thought something was wrong…ok so only twice

And I have seen her twice – once at my sisters for my niece’s baptism and then the Friday after Thanksgiving; they came over for dinner

Lucy asked me Saturday if I was mad at Noni

Why honey?
Well, you used to talk to Noni all the time and now you don’t…..and when she came over, you didn’t even really talk to her
Well, I don’t if I am mad Lucy….I’m more……well, it’s complicated

Lucy tilted her head to the side as if to say go on….so I kept talking

I don’t know if mad or angry is the right thing to say….it’s more that my feelings are hurt….and I want someone to say Hey, Maria, sorry we hurt your feelings
Did Noni hurt your feelings?
She did
Did you tell her?
How can she say sorry if she does not even know she hurt your feelings?
Well, you should probably fix it Mumma; I heard you tell Daddy you miss talking to Noni

Lucy, sometimes mummy and daughters need a break from each other….
I won’t need a break from you Mumma
You might someday Luce
No, it’s just me you and Daddy, if we take a break from each other, who would we talk too?
Well, uhh….

Are you being stubborn Mumma? Stubborn is when you don’t want to do what you’re supposed to do right? Like when I don’t want to brush my teeth so I lollygag?
Yeah Lucy, that’s being stubborn
So are you being stubborn?
Maybe a bit
Do you like it when I’m stubborn Mumma?
Not always….
Think Noni likes it when you’re being stubborn?

And the grasshopper becomes the master

I don’t know what the point of this post is

I’m not sure there is anything funny or poignant or a life lesson to be learned

I just needed someone to know that no matter how many kids you have, or don’t have, there is a bit of a Mum in all of us
It’s when you nurture and care and love unconditionally
I may only have one little person to call my own, one person to call me Mum.....but I’ll tell you what, I am a Mum with every ounce and fiber of my being

I just needed someone to know that my politics and religion have nothing to do with me liking you as a person
You have everything to do with me liking you as a person
And I like you (or don’t like you) as a person for who you are
Not for what label you or society has put on yourself

I just needed someone to know that though my clothes may be boring, I still have a bit of style and grace about me….just open your eyes and you’ll see it’s there…I swear

I just needed someone to know that I’m doing my best, I really am
And I’m still going to make mistakes but I’ll try to fix them as I go along

I just needed someone to know I’m sorry – for the hurt I may have caused when I yelled or snapped
For the stupid and thoughtless things I've done and said
I’ll make up for it by making my daughter a better person than I am

I just needed someone to know that Lucy is this incredible, insightful, empathetic being who is wise beyond her years…..and I am so proud and thankful to be her Mum

And I needed someone to know I’ll call my Mum..….soon…..I miss her

Maria the Mum

Monday, October 14, 2013

Between Lucy and I

Hey Mumma
Yeah Lucy
Do I like Chinese Food
Hmm, I'm not sure honey, you've never had it
Well, I've been thinking....I might be ready to give it a try....I've been feeling pretty brave lately

Hey Lucy
Yeah Mumma
How would you like Ben and Chase to come over to play Sunday
Why I'd be delighted Mumma

Hey Mumma
Yeah Lucy
What do you think about alligators...for a pet
Uhh, I don't
You should Mumma

Hey Lucy
Yeah Mumma
Could you please pick up your dirty clothes and put them in the hamper
Where's the fun in that Mumma

Hey Mumma
Yeah Lucy
Can I get a wolf dog
No Lucy
Can I get a St Bernard or a German Shepard
No Lucy
Fine, then I'll settle for an Oreo

Hey Lucy
Yeah Mumma
I love you
Of course you do Mumma, that's your job

Maria the Mum

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Not even in my dreams

We were out all day today
Lucy fell asleep in the car

We drove around for a bit killing time
When we pulled up to the house, she was still sound asleep
We had promised Lucy we'd go to the library and sat in the car trying to decide what to do

Maybe we should just head there, she'll be awake pretty soon suggests Sean
Or, we could just go inside, I'll snuggle with Lucy I say
Ok well, have a think about it, I need to go inside for a minute

Sean got out of the car and headed toward the house
I opened my door and call out to him

Your car smells like farts....Did you fart? 'Cause your car smells like farts...

He stops mid stride and turns back around

You car smells like farts....did you fart?
Seriously honey? No, no I did not fart
Are you sure? Smells like farts in here......
Yes Maria, I'm sure, I was not farting
Hmm, smells like farts.....maybe Lucy's farting

From behind me, in a crisp clear voice that melts my heart,  a staunch declaration is made:

No I'm not, I'm fast asleep!

Maria the Mum

Monday, September 9, 2013

No more face wash...ever

Yeah Mumma?
Can you just be a little girl?
I am a little girl Mumma!
No, I mean can you be a little girl forever?
No Mumma!
You can't?
No Mumma! I can't......
I have to turn 5!
Well, can you turn 5 and just be a little girl?
No Mumma! I have to grow
'cause I have to go to kindergarten!
Ok well, can you just stay in Kindergarten forever?
No! Mumma you so silly! I can't be a little girl forever.....
Why Lucy?
'cause my body says I have to grow and grow and grow!
Are you sure Lucy?
Yeah Mumma.....
Lucy are you sure you can't be my little girl forever?
No Mumma, really, I can't, I'm sorry but I can't...really Mumma, I can't.....I'm sorry Mumma (said with a shrug of her shoulders)
Why Lucy?
I just can't Mumma
But you'll be my little girl forever?
Yes Mumma, of course I'm gonna be, of course......
Are you sure Lucy?
Mumma remember when you were a little child and you had to grow up? Well that's what I have to do too....'member Mumma?  'member you were a little person and you had to grow up....that's what I have to do, grow up and be 13 and be a big girl like you and wash my face with face wash...
So when you get to use face wash, that means you're all grown up?
Yeah Mumma, how else do you know?
I don't know Luce...I don't know....

(note to self, only keep bars of Ivory soap in the more face wash ever....)

Maria the Mum

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

10 Things....

From Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop:

1.) 10 Things to Smile About (inspired by Things I Can’t Say)
2.) Tell us about a time you wanted to punch someone in the face.
3.) What were you blogging about last year at this time? What has changed?
4.) Share the story behind your current Facebook and/or Twitter profile photo.
5.) Bake something yummy and share the recipe!

5. I've been doing Weight Watchers since the first week of February; I'm down 42.2lbs
And I'm right now I'm afraid to bake (and anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE baking) as I am dangerously close to falling off the wagon
4. Deactivated Facebook account and don't Twitter (or Twerk or Plank or any of those crazy things you kids do nowadays)
3. Last year was all about me turning 40 and now I turned 41....and about Ziggy coming to live with us......he still lives with us
2. Hmm, this one would probably be therapeutic for me right about now but, I'd rather tell you about
1. 10 Things to Smile About (plus I love making lists and this is such a list prompt)


1. Lucy's new favorite thing to do is make up songs
They've been about the Ziggy and Herbie, about school, her teachers, her day
She's "written songs" about coloring, her friends and last week, she made up a song about being sad but then being happy
When I asked her what made her happy, what turned her being sad around she said quite simply Singing Mumma! As soon as I started singing, I got happy

So she'll be in the back seat and I can hear her humming and sort of singing quietly to herself
And then all of a sudden she'll yell
I finished it Mumma! I finished a new song
And she'll start singing

Sometimes, the words aren't even words; its just jibber jabber set to a melody
Sometimes, she sings a story about her day and what she did
Sometimes, she just takes a song she already knows and changes the words a bit to make it hers

But the best, what really makes me smile, is when Lucy teaches me the words to the song and we sing it together (though I am always getting the words wrong....)

That makes me smile

2. We recently (and by that I mean last weekend) did some redecorating and rearranging of rooms and furniture in our house
Since we moved in, the first floor, the living room, has been not only, well, a living room, but it has  also doubled as Lucy's playroom
All her toys, animals, trampoline, little table and easel have been on the first floor since we moved in almost 4 years ago
When you sat in our living room, you may or may not have actually felt like you were at Day Care and at any moment, someone was going to try to give you goldfish crackers and juice as a snack - and then let you finger paint
The TV was in the finished basement, along with, you guessed it, more of Lucy's stuff so we've never really had our own space in this house....and we've been fine with it
But we decided we needed a change
We decided Lucy needed her own space - and more of it
And we decided we needed our own space
So we moved the TV upstairs, got rid of two chairs (heavy old recliners that we loved at the time but were now  just too big for our small know what I  mean right?), replaced said chairs with smaller, lighter chairs and rearranged all the furniture
We moved all of Lucy's stuff to the basement....well, not quite everything, we've yet to move all her books down .... something she reminds me of every day because Mumma! How can it be my playroom with no books?!?!

I love that our living room now looks clean...airy...not cluttered
I love that Lucy now has a playroom
But what makes me smile?
What makes me really happy about this?
Lucy instituted a password to get into the playroom
And it is the password, the pass phrase, is the second thing that makes me smile (okay the password plus the fact I no longer have to go all the way upstairs to get a snack while watching TV):

The password that makes me smile?
The password I say every time I stand at the top of the stairs to go down (even when Lucy is not with me)?

The password is................

Bing Bong Blueberry Bop

That makes me smile

3. We are talking a vacation together as a family for the first time ever later this month

Let me qualify that: we are taking a vacation for a family as a first time which does not involve some one's wedding, shower, or visiting family
Not that I don't love visiting family, I do

But we have never gone away as a family that has not in some way shape or form involved my family or Sean's family

We have never gone away as just the three of us.....
And we are

Taking our first vacation as a family

That makes me smile

4. Sean quit his job
I know - in these economic times, why in the world would I be happy about that?
But I am happy
I'm happy and it makes me smile because Sean is happy

Because it has been an unbelievably challenging months few months for us

And when you have two people coming home every day with the stresses and strains of work....
It tests not only a marriage but takes a toll on your mental health and well being....
Not to mention the impact on anyone else in the house....
And yes, I mean our daughter and maybe even the cats
There's been a lot of yelling, crying and venting going on of late
But there is an end in sight

And that makes me smile

5. Sean has a new job
This makes me smile even bigger than number 4
Sean has a new job
And its two miles from the house
And if you live in the greater Boston area and have to commute more than 7 miles to work...well, right now you are smiling for Sean too
And you may also be a little jealous

Sean has a new job 2 miles from the house

That makes me smile

6. My youngest sister had her baby
Little Girl
8.7lbs, 19.5"
Born at 2:42pm, 8/18
Her name is Morgan Loretta

My youngest sister is a Mum

This makes me smile

When I received the call that the baby had arrived, I shared the news with Lucy:

Lucy! Auntie Mikel had the baby!
She did Mumma?! Oh my word!
Yep, you have a new cousin Lucy!
Mumma....what is it? What is the baby? WHAT IS IT?
It's a girl Lucy....

Silence....she screws her face up

Are they sure Mumma?
Yes honey
Did they check for a penis 'cause I asked God for a a boy cousin
Uhh, the baby is a girl Lucy
Whatever Mumma....what is its name?
They haven't given her a name yet
Oh....'cause they wanted a boy too?

Monday morning, as we were brushing our teeth, Lucy asked me if the baby had a name yet
No honey, no name yet
Mumma! If they haven't given the baby a name yet, maybe they can trade for a boy baby!
Umm, no Lucy, that's not how it works
It might Mumma, they could ask for a boy.....

My youngest sister is a Mum

This makes me smile

7. Lucy moved to a new classroom a couple months ago
She moved up a bit early
Initially, Sean was against it
I was all for it
Lucy needed a change
As much as she loves Miss Barbara (and who doesn't), it was time
For a number of reasons
Not the least of which was she was becoming a target for a couple of the girls in her class who were not impressed with Lucy's choice of clothes - and told Lucy every chance they got (you look like a boy, you can't play with us because you don't look like a Princess, we have play dates and you can't come)

But for me, the best thing about her moving up early has been that she had gotten some undivided attention

When I say that out loud, it seems terribly selfish
And I don't mean it to be selfish....but if I were being honest, yes, I am being selfish

I knew that if she moved up with all the other kids, she would get lost in the shuffle
Through no fault of the teachers mind you
I am certainly not implying that she has ever been ignored or not taken care of well by any of her teachers because believe me when I tell you, these teachers at her school are top notch

Lucy would get lost in the shuffle because she is that kid who people tend to look at and go
Oh, she'll be fine...she's smart, she's independent...she'll be fine
Because Lucy is big for her age and looks older than she really is
Because Lucy is a smart kid and has a vocabulary that is a bit more expansive than most kids her age
Because Lucy is an independent kid who likes to figure things out on her own
And she sort of gets forgotten as other kids and their needs (read their demanding parents) take precedent

Know how I know this?

Because Lucy is me
And I have to tell you, as you get older, that feeling really sucks
You would think it sucks as a kid but it doesn't because you don't really know its happening
But as you get older, and you realize you are being "ignored" because you always have your shit together, it sucks
It sucks because when you do actually need something or someone, no one knows what to do for you because you've never said anything before (which is not entirely true, its just that no one really listened)

So I smile because two wonderful women see in my daughter exactly what her Dad and I see
And these two women appreciate Lucy for who she is and for her potential
And these two women love Lucy enough to give her a bit of a head start

Lucy has Miss Barbara and Miss Julie in her life

This makes me smile

8. Last week, two different people implied I repel people
One actually used the words you repel people
And he was not trying to be mean
He was actually being sincere
I know it sounds like a stretch but its not
He really was trying to make me feel better
He was trying to say that though my intentions are always good, for whatever reason, people don't see that
Instead, they pull away from me and don't want my help or my outstretched hand

Seriously, he was trying to make me feel better
And he actually did (if I were to replay the entire conversation)

The other person was not
That person was simply saying to me there is something about you that turns people off
People just don't like you
And when they see you coming or you offer help, they just think you are bossy and mean and condescending
He went on to say it did not matter how nice I am because, in his opinion, I am typically always nice
Its not like you attack them he said to me
I think they just don't like you because sometimes you come off as smarter than they are
People don't like that

Sunday someday told me I was opinionated
That I had strong views
That what I felt was I felt and what I thought was what I thought and there was no changing that

Now I suppose under normal circumstance, and for normal people, this is not something that would make one smile

But it did make me smile
It actually made me smirk more so then smile
But let's call it a smile

And here's why

Because at least I am honest
At least I know where I stand with people

I smile because at night, when I put my head down on my pillow, I sleep just fine because I lived my day being true to myself
I am true to who I am and what I believe in
I'm not perfect
And I have no problem admitting any of my limits, faults, flaws

And I'm learning to embrace my strengths

I don't smile because I repel people
I don't like to think I repel people
And I don't smile because my very being turns people off
Both make me a bit sad
And I don't smile because someone thinks I have strong opinions and won't budge

I smile because I am who I am....I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it...
No, just kidding

I smile because I know exactly who I am, good, bad or indifferent
I smile because deep down inside, I know who I am...and it has taken me a long time to figure that out
I smile because I am proud of myself for figuring that out

I smile because sometimes I want to change
And I smile because I can change.....
And one can only change if they are comfortable enough with themselves to admit they may need to

I smile because of who I am

9. That last one was pretty heavy huh?
I am in the midst of some serious soul searching and clearly, as a reader, you are going with me

That makes me smile - both the fact that I am soul searching and you're going with me

But let's lighten it up shall we?

Know what else makes me smile?

Fresh flowers
Shamrock Shakes
Soft Serve ice cream in a cone
Wild Flowers along the side of the road
That week in autumn just before all the leaves start to fall off...when the tress look like they are in fire with reds, yellows and oranges so bright that even Crayola can't do it justice
Sean's Garden
Lucy's Deck Box of flowers she planted
Lucy's art work
Sitting on the back deck or the front stoop just after Lucy has gone to bed - house is quiet, lunches for the next day are made, no laundry needs to be done and I can just sit and watch the night sky or listen to the trees rustle as they settle in for the night
Uncle Ed makes me smile
So does Aunt Nell
And Uncle Michael
A good strong thunder storm
A perfectly balmy day
Sand in my toes...or my toes in sand
Blueberries for Sal
Make Way for Ducklings
Corduroy (the book not the material)
Yellow rain slickers
Rabbit Pie
Kid's laughter - even is if it is not my child...their laughs make me smile...and their squels of delight and wonder
Ice Tea
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Hearing Lucy say her prayers

All these things make me smile

10. Simply stated, I smile because I have Sean and Lucy
Sean and Lucy

Oh how they make me smile

Maria the Mum