Living Stories

The sun slips through a crack in my bedroom drapes and I roll over to put an arm around my snoring Jamie. I should really do some writing today. However the musing quickly slides away as a mounting to-do list takes precedence. There are always so many important things to worry about these days.

I hear the kids perusing the kitchen, likely on the hunt for Lucky Charms—their special weekend cereal. Rolling over and pulling the pillow over my head seems like the best option but the to-do list stops me. That damn to-do list, it gets me every time.

My legs feel heavy as I pull on my burgundy hole ridden sweats. I take a fleeting glance in the mirror but I don’t stay long because this early in the morning I don’t have the self-esteem to deal with un-showered, un-shaven, desperately tired with a side of bedhead Lindsay. Don’t cry for me blogoshpere, the truth is it just takes a bit of time for my girl power to kick into high gear on these lazy Sunday mornings—‘aight.

After an impromptu trip to the grocery store for milk, a quick clean of the kitchen, a shower and some coffee slurping I am off to work. The shop isn’t open today but there are some bakery orders that need filling and a bit of prep that is better not left for the last minute Monday morning madness.

I crank my go-to 90’s tunes and get to baking. I’m dancing and singing and sifting and mixing and I’m feeling pretty fucking good about it too. That is until an old friend creeps gently into the forefront of my thoughts.

God you should write today Lindsay. How long has it been? 3 maybe 4 weeks now. Cobwebs. Oh how we hate going back to the cobwebs.

Often, by this point, it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore. You know, too thick with dust to bother.

The feeling moves down to my lungs and palpitates in a rhythm that cries; it’s over, you’re done, give up, writing isn’t in the cards, everything else is too important.

I wonder if writing will ever near the top of the to-do list again. Or if it really is just, over.

All of the greats say that if you are a “real writer” you will make time for writing. You will allow writing to be your first priority. YOU will live, breathe, eat and shit writing,

I don’t know how they do this.

It honestly baffles me. I am barely, just BARLEY, hanging in there with what I’ve got going on. Owning a business and raising two children, who by the way I’d like to be active members of society, takes all of the energy I’ve got. How could I possibly put writing in front my family’s well-being or my children’s upbringing into awesomeness? Obviously it isn’t an option.

But this angst that has now encompassed the entirety of my body does not let me forget. It tells me that it is my nature. It is who I am. It does not brush easily to the wayside for long. I’m in too deep now. Just a few words would suffice, several sentences, perhaps a paragraph if I’m lucky. However any bit will do for now.

After the bread has baked and the cupcakes have been frosted I sit down at a keyboard. I don’t know what I will write until my fingers stroke the keys and sometimes it is garbage that only its creator can appreciate. Occasionally by some vast miracle of the universe another person can find some sort of weird and unruly truth in it. Sometimes when that happens I smile and remember why it feels good to write for other human beings enjoyment.

But every time, every single time, I put words to paper I feel as though this clutching presence has been lifted and once again I can breathe easy.

I suppose that at this point in life, I am meant to be building businesses and bringing up babies, slinging sentences whenever I can and going a little crazy while juggling it all. I should feel lucky that I am one of the few that know, like really know, what they were meant to do.

And in time the writing will come. One day there will a desk that looks out onto something beautiful, a keyboard waiting to be pounded on and a brain overflowing with tales to tell.

I look forward to that day. But first, we must live the life to tell the stories.

They Are The Reason

As my word processing program boots up and blinks back into existence it scowls at me. It’s been a while old friend, I quietly say, as I am hesitant to let people know that I talk to inanimate objects.

It’s been over a month to be precise. But when I say things have been busy, I mean it literally.

The shop is getting busier and busier as the days go by. I’m not complaining because just between you and me I like money. I like it a lot. What I am complaining about is the achy feet, the stiff joints (because apparently I’m 279 years old these days) and the reeling to-do list which accosts the tiny bits of relief that momentarily surface in my brain. Oh the joys of being alive!

This last week however Jamie and I have got a bit of reprieve from the daily grind.  We shipped the small humans up to my parents house to stay with them for the week and by the looks of the photos I’ve been getting they are in their glory. And James and I have gotten a small taste of what it’s like to run a business without having tiny people in tow.

So, I’m just going to throw this out there guys…All of you humans that have no kids, um, what are you doing? Why aren’t you ruling the world right now? How are we, the exhausted parents, not your underlings yet? You are clearly the dominant species and should be prevailing over all civilisation. You surely have the energy for it!

Maybe that’s going a little far but after experiencing this last week, I have a newfound appreciation for ‘the working parent’ that’s for damn sure!

After dropping the babes off and heading back to Lethbridge we were solemn and sad, wondering how we could possibly stand this week without our darling littles.

After day one back to The Hot Wire there we were counting our float with huge grins on our faces, signing;

 

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For the next week we got up early to prep and stayed open late when the customers just kept on rolling in. We seemed to have endless energy! The work we got accomplished was unprecedented. We felt like we had the world by the small and curlies and there wasn’t anything or anyone holding us back.

Now as I am writing all of this there is a tiny screaming voice in the back of my thoughts saying, “there is a special place in hell for people like you Lindsay!” Because really, who actually talks about how much easier and more productive life is without children? It’s fucking blasphemy. It’s despicable. Its ludicrous!

But it is also the truth.

This morning I was in the shower, enjoying the uninterrupted cleansing time thinking about all of this. I thought about how productive life has been these last six days and how thankful I felt that our business was doing well.

And then just like that, discreet images of my two favourite people started nonchalantly dancing around in my memories.  Sophie mopping the floor at the shop while giving me her famous “Sophie look”. Lars, sitting at the table across from the till playing Uno like a pro. The hilarious things they say and the weirdo stuff they do flooded my brain and  it occurred to me that these two small humans ARE the shop.

They are the reason we started this thing up. They are the reason we work so hard to make it successful. Their smiles brighten the place on Saturdays and their presence gives us the drive to keep on going even when things seem impossible.

Yes a week here or there is nice to catch up on the little stuff. We all (including the kids) need a break from the routine now and then. But as I sit here typing my gaze continues to drift towards the clock and I find myself anxious to go pick them up.

Because as fancy-free as life was without them, the real adventure is experiencing the growth and evolution of our beautiful family together. They are the reason for everything we do and I don’t think I will ever be able to thank them enough for that.

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Buck the f*ck up.

 

Tragic was the first word that came to mind when I thought of my morning. Except is wasn’t tragic at all, it was pitiful with a side of wallowing. I slept in which meant I didn’t get my one and a half cups of ultra-strong coffee and Facebook trolling time. I also managed to misplace my keys so as I was pining over my lost caffeine fix I was also madly running around the house looking for something to start my car with.

The roads were awful from the snow storm that so lovingly triumphed over us these last few days so of course everyone was driving like assholes. Including me I’m sure. We all seem to lose our good driving sense when the snow begins to fly, who knows, must be one of those weird collective-thought thingies. You know, like the Berenstain Bears phenomenon. If you don’t know what that is, look it up right now. I won’t be offended if you leave to Google it, I swear. It’s worth it.

So I pull in to the shop and I can feel the inkling of a mental breakdown on the outer edge of my brain. As I nearly chop off my finger while cutting onions for the soup a tiny voice whispers bitter somethings at my inner ear. It asks me what business I have doing a job like this. As I pull my cakes out of the oven to find they have somehow burnt on the outside and are still batter on the inside the voice cackles and reminds me how worthless I am.

But I’m trying my hardest, I say to the voice. I tell it that I’ve done well so far considering I’ve never worked in this industry before. I rationalize that most things I attempt turn out half decent. My confidence begins to waiver however.

I burn myself for the third time and yell, “FOR FUCK SAKES!” and chuck the empty soup pot into the sink. It clanks loudly against the stainless-steel basin which irritates me even further. The voice pipes up again. Stop kidding yourself. You’re no cook and you’re certainly not a baker. Jamie is the only talented one when it comes to this stuff. You are just here for the grunt work. It’s what you do best. It’s the only thing you’ve ever been good for.

Tears dribble down my cheeks as I look around at the kitchen. I’ve accomplished nothing this morning except scorching myself and perhaps denting our sink with my temper tantrum. I hear the back door open. Jamie’s here. I try to wipe away the wet from my face. The voice chants at me persistently.

You’re never going to be good enough and Jamie will resent you for it.

I know that it’s ridiculous. I know that none of what this voice says is true and it is just insecurity wrapping its ugly talons around my feelings. I know I’m worth more than what this voice tells me. But for the moment I am defeated. My husband walks in to find a woman broken down and emotionally beaten by her own silly reservations. I sloppily relay what the voice reiterates in my brain every few minutes or so. I tell him I don’t know what I’m doing. I tell him I feel lost sometimes. I say that I don’t think I am good enough.

I know what his reaction will be. He will tell me I am wrong. He will say that I am amazing and that he couldn’t do this without me. This is what we do, we hold each other up when the other begins to back step.

Being married is difficult. Being an adult is difficult. Opening a business where you’ve put everything on the line is totally terrifying. So yeah in the last year there has been many a meltdown between the two of us. Our secret to not falling totally and utterly apart? One of us always finds the strength to tell the other one to buck the fuck up.

This morning my best friend held me together for the umpteenth time in our life together. I won’t go into details (because my mother reads this blog) about what exactly he did to pull me out of my funk, but I will tell you that it was fun and it worked.

We all have moments where we wonder if we are good enough. We wonder if we chose the right path. We wonder if there is room enough to grow into the position we find ourselves in. I think the answer is always yes, regardless of circumstance. As individuals we decide who to become in life. But what makes that journey less painful, less scary, is having the people you love ready to pick you up when you falter.

This morning, as I sobbed into Jamie’s shoulder, he grabbed my face and told me to shut up. He kissed me hard and said, “Maybe you aren’t the best cook or the greatest baker but I went to school for this and was trained by professionals and I still have cakes that fall and eclairs that go to shit. We’ve built this thing together and we will keep learning together. We are in this together.”

So it wasn’t a tragic morning after all. It was just another morning where a life lesson presented itself. And sometimes life lessons—despite all the emotions and junk—can end up making you feel pretty damn great.

 

Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down

 

Wow! Two posts in one week? What kind of bizarro land is this? Man alive how things have changed! I remember a time when I would write two posts in one day. Man I was egotistical and obnoxious. Thanks for hanging in there you guys. Because now, now my friends I am the most self-adjusted, well-rounded, down-to-earth person I know. I’m so awesome.

So I’m not even exaggerating here when I say that I had THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE yesterday. Sure nobody died. And yeah I went to bed with a roof over my head, warm socks on my feet (yes I’m the wierdo who sleep with socks on) and a belly full of a delicious dinner digesting ever so happily in my stomach. But either way, it was THE WORST DAY EVER.

It wasn’t the face that I had been painting the office at work all day that got me down. Even though that is a bitch of a job and nobody in their right mind should want to partake in such activities. And it wasn’t the raging customers that seemed to continue to stroll through the doors yesterday either. It wasn’t even that one guy who kept comparing us to Subway and asking why we didn’t have certain menu items that they did. Despite the annoying eye twitch in the corner of my right eye, this was just another day at the grind.

The real problem was the furious case of mom-guilt that had slowly been inching its way up the back of my spine and burrowing itself deep into the back of my brain.

I should have seen it coming. I should have known that it would be on the brink of my psyche any day now. The signs were all there. I had been so busy with work. My spirits had been way up. I was actually feeling pretty damn good. The mom-guilt is there to knock you back down to size.

All day long this skulking just under my skull was telling me that I could do better. That I must read more with Lars. That I must listen to his long and drawn out stories of Super Mario Brothers more intently than the mere nod of a head and smile I usually offer.

This thing that was wrapping its long, antiquated talons around all that is good in my memory was reminding me that I must spend more time with Sophie. I must get her into the singing lessons she so desperately wants to be in and what about those art lessons she was asking about last month?

The mom-guilt had broken me and by midday I was nothing but a withering urchin shirking my obligations as an operational human being of society. Where is that dark hole and how long can I hide there?

Perhaps it had had enough of telling me how terrible of a mother I was because soon after lunchtime it began in on the other aspects of my life. The mom-guilt never straight up tells you you’re doing a shitty job. It just gives you a little nudge in the right direction. Hints, if you will.

*Boy oh boy, Jamie sure does work a lot harder than you.

*Oh look, that mom can handle her kid having a temper tantrum in public without totally losing her cool, why can’t you?

*Just a reminder friend, you have guests coming to visit next week and you’re home is literally the most squalid habitat on the face of the planet.

That evening when I drearily trudged into the house, I told the kids to play quietly downstairs. Meanwhile the mom-guilt laughed excitedly at how easily I had dismissed the homework portion of our routine. I ran a bath and sobbed; desperately trying to drown away this teeming culpability that had been building up inside of me all day long.

After I hugged and kissed my kids goodnight I too retired to my bed. I didn’t think about much. I literally zoned out on Gilmore Girls and wondered what it would be like to live in the magical hamlet of Stars Hollow. I needed sleep.

This morning I found the mom-guilt had disappeared, gone for now but certainly not forgotten.

Maybe it wasn’t the absolute “worst day of my life”. Probably not even in the top ten. But what I do know, is that the mom-guilt is real and when it takes holds it can be a hassle to break free from. For a long time I used to think it was just me, that I was just the worst mom ever, I was letting the mom-guilt win.

Now I look at it in a different way. I take what it so very subtly tells me, mull it over to see if any of it is viable information (mostly it’s not) and then quietly and matter-of-factly tell it to fuck right off.

And then I go back to being awesome.

So when I use this idiom, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” I mean the mom-guilt. Don’t let the mom-guilt grind you down friends. Because we all know how much of a raging bitch she can be sometimes.

Think Big. Act Accordingly. Stay Humble.

Jamie and I are officially on our Christmas break. We get an entire two days off and I don’t think I’ve felt this much Christmas glee in ages! It is the morning of December 24th and I am enjoying a warm cup of coffee at my computer. I’m not stressed out about getting to work on time to make bread or having to get the kids ready for school. I’m not thinking about upcoming Hot Wire orders or money or anything for that matter. I am just here in this moment and that feels great.

This last week has been a trial. We sort of snowballed when it came to making holiday trays. I put an add on Facebook that seemed to attract a lot of attention and long story short,  over the last three days Jamie and I have made around 500 eggnog flavoured cream puffs. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we, say, had two ovens to work with and, oh I don’t know, an employee or two. But really, what would a business be if it didn’t have some trials and tribulations to tell tales about in the years to come?! And you know what? We did it! It was probably a Hot Wire Christmas miracle but we did it none the less.

This time of year always gets me thinking about life and I am in awe at what we’ve accomplished since moving to this city. The friends and connections we’ve made have been irreplaceable and this experience; simply unbelievable.  Some days I come home and my back is killing me and feet feel as though they have lead pipes fastened to them. A better spouse would likely quiet this fact and ask how her partner was doing. Not me.

“Ugh, FUCK I’m so tired!” I will say in a bitter rage to my husband.

“It feels like I slept for an entire minute last night!” Jamie will rebut because if we are anything, it is on the same page about how close to zombies we’ve become since opening The Hot Wire up.

We persevere though because the shop means life and life is the shop. This is mantra as of late. ZOMBIES I TELL YOU — ZOMBIES!

A few days ago we had a couple of fellows stumble, and I literally mean stumble, through our doors. They approached our patrons asking each one if they would buy them lunch. Of course, once I caught on to their shenanigans I quietly asked them to leave.

“Well who the heck do you think you are little girl?” The one man slurred as the other fell to a nearby seat.

“Look guys, I’m not trying to be rude here but if you aren’t going to buy anything you’ll have to leave.” I repeated.

“Well what can I buy for two bucks?” He asked throwing a pile of change on the counter. I knew what he wanted but I find it difficult to give to those who barge into my life with unpleasant confrontations.

“Any of the baked goods.” I replied.

“What only these things?” he said smudging the display case`s glass with his oiled fingers.

“Yes sir…those things.” At this point he must have picked up on the condescension which was creeping into my tone of voice.

“Hey, so what, you work here or something?” He said as he swayed to imaginary music.

“Yeah, I own this place.” Screw Christmas kindness, I’m done being cordial to this jackass.

“Oooh whoopidity doo!” He replied rolling his eyes. “All of your food is too expensive anyways. You`re a joke.”

“Okay well you can leave then.” I reiterated for the tenth time.

I will spare you the gritty details, because in all honesty this conversation (if you can call it that) went on for another five minutes in loop-de-loops which resulted in nothing other than the man calling me a chubby cow and asking if I was smart enough to count change. All the while I kept a pretty decent cool if I do say so myself. Jamie managed to finally get them out of there by threatening to call the cops.

I could dwell on this. I could worry that I said the wrong things. I could waste so much of my precious time rolling it over in my mind thinking about what I could have done differently and how I can prevent this unpleasantness from happening again. But that would be pointless. The sad truth of it is, these things just happen. Rather than being angry about these two men coming into our shop, harassing us and frightening our customers, I am going to feel sorry for their lack of social interaction skills. I do however wish that if these guys were actually hungry and cold, that they would have approached us differently. We are happy to give what we can and provide a warm place from the cold to anyone in need. And I am so grateful that we have the ability to do so.

I`ve come to realise that Jamie really is my best friend. Together, it seems, that we can accomplish anything. We`ve grown a family, moved to a new city, built a business from nothing and created a life together. We are the epitome of the definition of partners; in business but more so in life. At the end of every month when our numbers get tallied we can see our hard work paying off slowly but surely. Our children are growing up healthy and happy and cared for. Yes we are tired. Yes we`ve had to make huge sacrifices. Yes some days it is difficult to find the wherewithal to go forward. But we will go forward. We will keep moving on with our plans and dreams and hopes and aspirations because that is what those who live in happiness will forever do.

Merry Christmas Friends and Family! I hope this post finds you all in positive spirits and looking forward to a new and exciting year ahead.

Grab a ticket and hop on

I’m sitting at this computer, a coffee to my left and a pile of Hot Wire paperwork to my, er, further left. Don’t you know, coffee always takes precedence.  I am looking at this keyboard and thinking, “it’s been a while old friend.” I’m feeling a little dramatic because a life without embellishment would result in me withering away into an endless black hole of worthlessness. And that would be a bummer man.

It’s been weeks, month’s maybe since I last sat down and wrote. Sure, I spew a few lines here and there. When I do write, as I’m sure my long-time Mama readers will vouch, it’s a little on the fatalistic side. I swear, I’m not as angry and disgruntled as my latest writings would suggest. It’s just what seems to be spilling out at the moment, and as they say, you can’t argue with art.

Every week or so I horde a little time to scour through some of my old Me Plus Tree columns or pull out a few Blogging Mama bits and revel in all of the time I used to have for writing these long drawn out blurbs of hilarity. As you also know, I am horribly, dreadfully, without even a little bit of shame one of the vainest human beings I know when it comes to my writing. I literally laugh out loud at my own work. Perhaps I shall seek help one day about this.

The kids have done a 360 on their blogging position and now are loving the fact that I have a treasure trove of funny stories involving them. Some of the more appropriate tales have come to be their bedtime stories and they laugh and laugh as I recite these babblings to them in loud and outlandish voices. This arrangement works well in the fact that we can achieve our nighttime routine and my need to satisfy the teeming narcissism in my soul at one convenient time.

It’s pretty great and I must admit I love being able to make these stories what they were always intended to be; a journal for my kids. Rereading these moments helps remind us all where we’ve come from and how far we’ve journeyed. And that is a really cool thing.

Last night I spun a well-known tale for them about a wee girl hiding under the computer desk with shitty pants and a mischievous twinkle in her eye. They laughed and my heart swelled at the sounds of their giggles over a story I crafted so many years ago. That life seems like it is so far away now and I’m so thankful I have these writings to keep us connected with that time in my young family’s lives.

It got me to thinking. There are so many things happening right now. Amazing, tough, terrifying and thought provoking things and…I’M NOT DOCUMENTING ANY OF IT!!!

Of course there is the fact that we are running a business, working at that business full time, bringing up babes and trying to find a life somewhere in-between all of that too. Where do I find the time to write? I’m sure all of the great story tellers of our time found themselves asking the exact same question. And the answer? Well, I guess the answer is, I have to just find the time. Whether it be a break at work or early in the morning hours or long after the kids are snug in their beds at night.

I could probably just stop binge watching Gilmore Girls a few nights a week and all of my writing quandaries would be solved. Ah! But they are just so saucy, who couldn’t love that quirky mother/daughter duo?!

My coffee has stopped steaming and the pile of paperwork is still staring at me relentlessly so I suppose it is time to start the day. However today I will go about my work, with a contentedness I haven’t had in some time. I’ve wrote. Perhaps it wasn’t the start of a great novel or a short fiction story that really makes you think, but it was something. Something my children will one day rummage up and begin to read, reminding them of our adventures on this wild ride we call life.

“stop trying to do everything by yourself.”

I woke up last Friday to find that my seven year old’s cheek was the size of a golf ball. It was red, swollen and looking very very painful. I asked him if it hurt and he said, “No but it feels a little weird.” I swear to God if I’d never seen him react to a stubbed toe I would think his tolerance for pain was extraordinary.

Turns out the poor guy had an infected tooth. We got the medicine and I am happy to report that he is well on his way to healing.

The whole experience threw me for a loop. Hello, worst Mother of the year over here, what with allowing my kid’s cavity to get so bad it became infected. We have the appointment booked to get it fixed but not until early November.  Until then, I guess I just have to let this enveloping feeling of guilt peppered with a bit of failure consume me.

Uhh yes the dramatics, hop on board, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride.

But seriously, the anxiety as of late, is coming at me from every direction and I don’t know what else I can do to fend this bitch off.

I worry about Lars and his tooth, I worry about Sophie and this newfound teenage attitude she’s dowsing herself in. I worry about school and if I am doing enough to help them along in what is the most important endeavour of their young lives. I worry about the shop and how to bring more customers in. I worry about money. I worry about time, because there’s never enough of it. And each time I conquer a hurdle I am oh so fucking worried about another worry pops up from the shadows. It’s as though it was just waiting there, ready to pounce as soon as I let out the tiniest sigh of relief.

Yesterday I started crying, like, what else is new? I was crying because of this overwhelming quilt of stress that started asphyxiating me. I didn’t exactly know how to remedy it. So I figured after a good ole blubber sesh I’d be able to pull myself together and pretend to be a functioning adult.

Well, the plan would have worked if not for my meddling husband. He was all, “What’s wrong Hunny?” and, “How can I help you right now Lindsay?”  Which was totally sweet, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes a gal just needs to wallow for a little while to get her wits about her.

So with a wrinkled cry-face and on the verge of hyperventilating I told my husband what was wrong.

“I’m just so stressed out Jamie.” I said because I thought it may not be very clear at that point. “I feel like an awful mother. I’m always such a basket case of anxiety, I don’t think I’ve been spending enough time with the kids, I should be helping out more at the school and I just feel like I’m totally failing my family.” My words were barely comprehensible, but Jamie being the star he is, knew just what to say.

“Stop being so stupid.” Awe so sweet. “Stop trying to do everything by yourself. There are two of us you know.” He said grabbing my shoulders and looking into my soul as he does from time to time.

“But what about tomorrow?” I said, “Tomorrow I need to make a fruit platter for Sophie’s class, talk to the office about Lars’ medication, make Halloween treats for the shop, get the kids ready for the Halloween parade at school, AND OPEN THE STORE!” I’m not going to lie, I was hysterical by this time and unravelling more and more by the second.

He pulled me in close and hugged me hard, almost as though he knew that I may explode at any moment and he was merely trying to hold me together. It worked. Once again my brilliant husband held me together. Man, I love that guy.

“Lindsay, you do the things you need to do at the school tomorrow. I will open the store.” He said calmly – not to spook the monster that was retreating back into her hiding spot. “We are a team, we can do this.” He smiled at me, “I fucking love you.”

“I fucking love you too.” I said.

And with the help of my best friend I moved on to the next hurdle that needed slaying.

 

 

Night Time Rescues

My eyes spring open, they are hot. My eyeballs are actually hot. Or maybe burning, yeah, burning sounds about right. A quilt of darkness shadows the room and my hands instinctively go for the bedroom lamp.  Someone is screaming my name.

My heart begins pounding rapidly once that filmy layer of sleep slips off of my conscience. I listen to her shrieks as though they are the only sound I have or will ever hear. I fumble for some pants, a long shirt, something because my brain is telling me relentlessly that I must get to her immediately.

Jamie rolls over, “what’s wrong” he sees me struggling and I can see the panic and confusion setting in behind the sleepiness of his eyes.

“Sophie is screaming.” I say as I step out of the room. He is behind me within seconds.

We make it downstairs and our daughter is huddled under her blankets. She screams, “MOM!” and the urgency in her voice sends a shiver down my spine.

“Whats wrong baby?” I ask as I snug my body next to hers.

“I had a nightmare.” She says emerging from the protection of her blanket cocoon. She is sobbing and it makes even her words sound wet.

I glance at Jamie, go back to bed Hun, I say without saying anything at all. Everything is okay now. He leans over and kisses his daughter on the forehead.

I don’t ask what her dream was about, kid nightmares are typically the worst. Their imagination is still so unsullied and ripe, even their good dreams are scary as shit. Instead I wrap my arms around her and try to make her feel safe so sleep will come easy.

I really don’t want to fall asleep in her bed because Sophie may very well be the worst person to share a bed with in the entire universe. She kicks and moves and sometimes merely crawls directly on top of you because your body seems to work as a better mattress than the actual mattress.

So I will myself not to sleep. As an alternative I think about motherhood. I think about how seconds ago when my daughter was calling for me it was the only thing that could have mattered in that moment. I think about how the label, “mom” has become synonymous with day to day life but also a sentiment of caring that is far too profound to even try to begin to explain to the layperson.

I think about how the stresses of money and work and all of that day to day hullabaloo doesn’t begin to compare to how I felt in that instant when I didn’t know why my daughter was screaming in the dead of night.

I squeeze her a little tighter and hear her flush breathing of sleep. I slowly get up to leave when she sleepily wraps her arms around my neck and says, “I love you so much Mom. Thanks for rescuing me.”

I want to tell her that her and Lars have saved me, time and time again. Their existence is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. I want to say that I love them beyond comprehensible logic. I want to tell her that our little family is mine and her Dad’s reason for fighting so hard in this life so of course I will rescue her.

However, I think that may be a bit overkill. Sleep is about to take her again soon so for now I reply with, “Any time my love, any time at all.”

A Bit of Quality Time

Sometimes our lives get busy. Lately there has been a bit of an upheaval in the Brown household and our routine and schedules have been thrown for loop.

Unfortunately at this time the disruption is something that cannot be avoided. So I’ve decided to embrace it. Sometimes when unexpected change comes upon us the best thing we can do for our family is to show them how to roll with the punches.

It occurred to me lately that I’ve been so wrapped up in the “big things” that I’ve let the truly important stuff fall to the wayside. The best thing for my babes (and me for that matter) right now would be to make up for some much needed quality moments together.

Sophie and I set out on an early Tuesday morning and ended up having more fun than I think either of us anticipated. Our first order of business on that brisk November morn was to visit the lake and go for a, “beautiful autumn walk” (Sophie’s exact words). Sophie gathered all sorts of nature-stuffs; from dried colorful leaves to funny looking rocks to pieces of bark with moss growing off of it. We placed all of her goodies into an airtight container in which she was to bring for show and tell the next day at school. With every treasure that we stumbled across a bigger smile grew on my daughters face, allowing my joy to surface too.

We then took some time for a little park play. Sophie sat me on the car shaped jungle gym and asked where I’d like her to drive.  I told her Mexico was nice this time of year. She agreed and we took a left then a right and then went down a very long and winding road and in virtually no time at all we found ourselves in sunny Mexico. I asked her where she got her superb drivers training from and in true Sophie fashion she answered with a reasonable and matter of fact reply.

“Well of course Mom, I got it from the dollar store. Don’t you know that you can get ANYTHING there!?” And once again I think my frequent perusing of our local dollar store may be rubbing off on my daughter.

Lars has entered into a different kind of age where nature walks and pretend car rides to Mexico just don’t seem to cut it anymore. Sometimes I wonder if he is growing up too fast. I worry that the allure of video games, tablets and technology has jaded our children in a way that we never were. Maybe this is true, or maybe we just need to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to raising our children.

I asked Lars what he would like to do while we spent some time together. To no surprise of mine he said he’d like it if I watched him play Angry Birds on the tablet. I met him halfway and offered to watch for half an hour if he’d do some reading with me afterwards. He seemed happy enough with this decision.

“You see Mom; if you just pull the slingshot back like this and aim right here…BOOM! OH YEAH! See that Mom I totally nailed it!” The kid’s pure enthusiasm over what he was doing gave way to most all of my reservations about the games. He is so confident when playing, I can see it is an outlet for him and that is most definitely okay in my books.

After a very in depth look into the world of Angry Birds we found a few books to read. He read to me and although we read daily I still am baffled at how far he has come.

Somehow we got on the topic of the Harry Potter books and how my mom (Granny Colleen) used to read the series to me and Uncle Dustin every night. I explained that it was a book about wizardry and a school of magic called Hogwarts. Immediately Lars was hooked, and just like that we found ourselves another “something special” to bond over in his growing years.

I think it is natural for our lives to sometimes become heavy with all of the “big stuff”. We are all human and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the daily grind. What’s important is taking the time to find the perhaps small, but extraordinary, moments that we can one day look back on and contentedly say, “what wonderful times we’ve had.”

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