{A post} In which I rant about supper…

I cannot put two coherent thoughts together tonight.

C.A.N.N.O.T.

Tired, disillusioned. Exhausted. Teary.

So bear with me. I may be on a rant.

Youngest Daughter and Oldest Daughter, within thirty seconds of one another asked me these two questions:

“I wish I could have a baby sister to play with after school…?” (because living in a circus apparently just isn’t enough fun for her)

“Mom, where is the hydrogen peroxide?” (because blond is the new brown—and she already used up my lemon juice on Sunday)

Be still my weary soul. I think I might be experiencing the onset of heart palpitations.  And possibly a fever.

Tonight, I made the decision: I will no longer be cooking (supper) in this house. That is, cooking supper tomorrow. Well, that’s a start anyway. That decision made after producing hockey puck-like biscuits and stinky fish chowder which I decided I would not be eating about 2.5 minutes after I had added the last ingredient. Husband is now looking for recipes. No reasonable dish containing hamburger will be refused.

I found myself this evening reheating the following and calling it supper:

*Two leftover plates of pork chops (one of which Second Youngest refused to eat on the weekend when she thought she had the flu).
*A huge dish of rice (which we barely scraped the surface of yesterday at lunch)
*A dish with exactly four miniscule slices of bar-b-q sausage in it, along with millions of red onions and green peppers. Yummo.
*Two garlic chicken cutlets (which I incidentally pulled out of the freezer, so they really don’t count in this list)
*One bowl of corn, and a smaller bowl of green beans
*Along with one fresh bowl of fish chowder which Youngest thought she wanted but took one taste of and realized otherwise.
Oh. And all that served with a generous plateful of hockey pucks, and a side of butter and jam to wash it all down with. That lessened the blow.

Delish.

(Not so much.)

So, I have hung up the proverbial apron.
This Chicky’s done (like dinner).
Your turn, my Sweet Chefsky.
Cannot WAIT to smell the sweet aromas wafting to my nostrils as I await my meal, from where I fold and stack patiently: the laundry room.
Or maybe I will just be snoring on the couch under a pile of children. Who knows? Decisions, decisions…

Let the good times roll.

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Bring back the good ole’ days: Suppertime at the Gards

I believe we are in desperate times, people. And desperate times call for desperate measures. And so it is with great verve and energy that I issue a battle cry for action.

It is time we took back what is rightfully ours, families of the world. It is time we re-claimed our rights to that all-important evening hour- a time once known as supper, which held the power in its reach to gather together people from diverse activities and places and in so doing, press the pause button on whatever other all-important, pressing concerns might have been going on at the time.

It’s time we got our supper hour back, good families. We need to come home.

Now. I don’t know about you, but I am not issuing this campaign because I am a glutton for punishment. I am no fool. Supper hour is not fun. There are fights which break out. Children whine about food choices. I get indigestion. Yada yada yada. The list goes on. And yes. I realize that there are many, many other variables at play here, too. And to add further fuel to the fire, I also realize that supper hour is also known as witching hour in some households with children under the age of five.

To be certain, there are parents who would rather hold their head over a whirling toilet bowl full of ‘who-knows-what’ than try to make their sanity last through the first shout out to ‘gimme the ketchup…and NOW’. I know. I am that mom. But still. I feel deep inside the recesses of my stone, cold heart a calling back of sorts. And it is an ache, really, for a simpler world. One in which the family all gathers round the sprawling table for an evening spread. Easy banter. Smiling faces. The chink of silverware as it hits the plate. Gulps of milk to wash it all down.

Wheretofore did these sounds all but disappear, my dear Martha (Stewart)? Where did it all go, Good Housekeeping magazine? Have we lost them entirely, my own dear Mother?

Tonight. The girls and I arrived home to the smells of spicy sausages. Call me absolutely crazy ( I know), but the last couple of days I have forgone my lunch break so as to slip home and throw some meat into the slow-cooker. Yesterday, it was some steaks. Today, I smothered two different varieties of homemade sausages (okay, store-bought ‘homemade’) with Sweet and Spicy hot sauce and a little more of this and that. And I threw the cover on before heading back to work at my day job.

At about 4:45, the two youngest and I arrived home to the smells of supper. And I felt this internal release as if I was a wind-up toy and the key had finally been released. I was home. It was supper. Let the games begin.

Now. You might be asking. Where was the other half of the good ole’ fam-damily. Well, one child was at gymnastics. And two others were at hockey. And what time was this, pray tell? Um…, you got it: 5:00 until 6:00. Supper hour.

So, I know. This is our life. We are on the road. In a rink. At a meeting. In a club. At school. Anywhere but home. Guilty as charged. I am writing this one for ME.

I need me some old-fashioned suppertime charm.

So here’s what really happened. While we waited for the other half of the family to return home, the girls and I ate our supper. And the plan was that the other three would eat when they arrived home at 6:00. But again, there was this knowing feeling inside me that I just couldn’t shake: is this what I want to do with my life? Is this the way supper was meant to be? Is there any chance that supper hour can be taken back and reclaimed as lost territory?

So here’s what happened next. I had to leave at 5:45 p.m. to pick up the one who was at gymnastics, and when I got home Husband mistakenly thought we all hadn’t eaten and had the table set for 6 (“Dreamer, nothin’ but a dreamer…”).

And that’s when the thought crossed my mind: we can do this. We can have ‘something’ together. It doesn’t have to be supper to make this work. So I thought fast and came up with the perfect plan. Hot chocolate. We could all have hot chocolate together. And isn’t that just the perfect replacement anyway for the evening meal?

Let.them.eat.chocolate.

Works like a charm.

And while there really is no substitute for that all-important evening meal, hot chocolate works in a pinch. And it’s really all about the gathering anyway, is it not?

At least that’s the view from here.

Joy in letting it all ‘hang out’…

Bedtime rituals bring out my inner grizzly bear.  There are always impulsive exceptions to the rule introduced by the Fearless Foursome.  Exceptions that just about tilt my boat enough to sink it entirely.  Nothing ever goes exactly as per routine.  I roar for the majority of this most miserable of nightly moments, and then I am silent.  Because what good does it really do?  To roar and rage.   I am cranky, they are cranky; all are spent.  The two oldest have a near brawl over a money-making scheme that both have laid claim to patent the idea.  They want to open up a dog-walking venture here on the campground, and the business partners have been in start-up mode for all of one hour and are already at odds.  One has gone to bed fuming, the other crying.  Must it really be this wretched at bedtime or am I a glutton for punishment?

Prayers are forced tonight.  No one is really in the mood.

This was not really my day, this moment I am in right now.  I can adjust the gauge and turn back the dial.  Earlier, things were actually peaceful.  There was that moment.  That moment at the park, that moment of tranquility.  I go there.  That moment when I was transported back in time.

I am ten years old.  My feet pump beneath me as I stretch toward the tree line.  I try to beat each rhythmic swing of the pendulum created by my body’s weight.  Every time, I push my feet higher.  From my vantage point, my feet clear the evergreens off in the distance.  Ah!  I am just a little girl, no holds barred, ponytail swinging in the wind.  Every upward swing-return I make takes me back again to another place, another time.  To sweet, sweet childhood.  Simply free to enjoy all that life has to offer, its sweet, innocent goodness.

My girls and I play ‘Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown’ on the seesaw.  I am the dead weight on one end, while my two daughters take turns tottering up and down.  They laugh and giggle with joy.  “Come down the slide with us,” they call, but I have already made enough of a spectacle of myself.  Other campers more dignified, more refined than I, sit watching the crazy woman playing her heart out like a middle-schooler.  They poke sticks in their metal grates from which burn red-hot coals bursting flames.  They yawn with boredom and check their Facebook.  They call out to their children to stay clear of the road.  They look at me with detached amusement, for I am the anti-thesis of all this.  I am woman-child.

Joy.  Today, I follow my heart.  My heart tells me this.  Enjoy this moment.  And this moment.  And all the rest that follow.  For they are fleeting.  Forgive and forget.  Life is short.  Life is fragile.  Live, love, laugh.  Be all the clichés.  Don’t, but even for a moment, regret a thing.  Yesterday is what it is. Tonight might be a nightmare: stress-filled stomach-clencher of a nightly  moment, when all are locked up tight inside twenty-four feet of wall-to-wall mattress-filled confusion. What do I care? I need not fret about that.  And to be sure, tomorrow will take care of itself.  Even if there is that rain shower they have been predicting.  Bring it on.   I am what I am right now, and that is all that matters.  The present.  The here and now. The moment.

I let things ‘hang out’ today.   I never put a stitch of make-up on to cover up my imperfections.  I normally cannot see the light of day without my cover-up.  I hide behind my mask. And most days, I hide behind my clothing.  And so. Today I did not. I spent the entire day in my two-piece bathing suit.  I bared my arms and legs, those white extensions befitting of a stick figure.  Or rather.  Those pillars of strength that propel me to motion covered in varicose veins, bruises, marks, blemishes and a swath of deathly white skin.  White skin, splotched with red patches, now that I have tried my hand at sunbathing the last day or two.  But these are hard-earned battle scars.  The result of birthing four babies.  I wear the marks of motherhood proudly. Even if but for the day.

I did.   I let it all ‘hang out’ today.  I stood on the end of the diving board, looking down at my bathing suit, containing the slight protrusion of my belly in its bottom half with a good, solid piece of elastic; this two-piece wonder of a garment I am wearing has given me no promises to hold things together if I take the plunge.  I vowed to myself that I would do the necessary checks before emerging in plain view of all those other onlookers.  None of them, needing the shock of a lifetime.  I stood.  Inhaled.  Exhaled.  Had not a second thought.  A slight jump, then I soared.  Like a dove, in my mind’s eye.  Probably more like a spread-eagle bullfrog, to all those looking on.  No matter.  It felt great.  To let it all ‘hang out’.  I’d do it all again right now, just for the thrill.

I talked to strangers at the dog park.  I wanted to leave and carry on with my plans for the afternoon, we did have company coming for supper, but instead: I allowed myself the moments necessary to meet someone new, hear their story and learn a little more what it is to be human.  It is so freeing.  To let go of my plans, and embrace the freedom to be ‘in the moment’.

I put a full pot of coffee on tonight and only had one cup.  Because it is better when you make the full pot.  I dug out the s’mores, the licorice, the chocolate bars.  We strung the patio lanterns.  I read a book that will never increase my brain cells, even one iota.  I had that extra chicken sandwich at supper, just because.  The second tasted even better than the first.  And tonight, I write for the pleasure of it.  Because to write for me is to understand.  And now I know.

I do this, and all that of which I write just because.  These are for me moments of freedom.  And I know that tomorrow will be that much easier because I let it all hang out today.

The joy of summer vacations….or better titled…

How Not to Have the Vacay of your Dreams…

I have had this recurring dreaming for the past couple of weeks .  The dream goes mostly like this:  I am finished work and school is out for the summer.  In the shade a brightly colored beach umbrella, I am relaxing poolside with my favorite book of the hour and a cold refreshing drink.  The mid-day sky is a brilliant blue, and there are white, fluffy clouds that look like exploding marshmallows dotting the picturesque backdrop.  The summer sun is shining brightly, and song birds can be heard in the distance faintly chirping a tune.  I tilt my head back and allow my drooping eyes to gently close, as my weary bones and muscles ease into an afternoon siesta.

Ah, this is the life…

Through the haze of my dream, something jars me awake.  Far, far away, I can hear this sound.  Piercing the calm of moments ago.  It is an irritating, fingers-on-chalkboard kind of scratching sound.  I try to ignore it, but it won’t go away.  What could be possibly making such a commotion?

“Moooommmmmmm, so-and so won’t let me get on the computer and it’s my tuuuurrrnnn.”

“No, it isn’t!”

“Yes, it is…you were already on for, like, an hour!”

“Gimme the mouse….”

(scuffle, scuffle, scuffle….)

“OWWWWWWWWWWWW!”

MOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!

Reality check.  I am no longer sleeping, although I still find myself drooling on the couch while the right side of my face has permanent pillow marks implanted along my jawbone.  I have fallen asleep in the fetal position on the sofa while all heck breaks loose around me.  I can hardly move from the dreadful pain shooting up from my legs through to my neck and shoulders.

Someone please tell me that it is not really summer vacation already?

Alas, summer dream vacations are not all they are cracked up to be.  But, if there were such a thing as an ideal summer vacation or fantasy trip to an exotic location in the works for me, here is what I would deem essential to making that vacay the stuff dreams are made of.

If you were going on a dream vacation, you probably will not be bringing along four cranky, over-tired  children.  Unfortunately, I cannot make the same claim.  What can I say?  You are smrtR than I am.  Can it really be considered a vacation, dream or otherwise, when you take children along?  After all, nothing really changes.  Reality still follows you to the ends of the earth.  You still have to clothe, feed, groom, discipline, console, growl, cuddle, bathe, snuggle, growl some more and potentially sleep with your children when you are on vacation.

My hubby and I took a vacation with our four children to Dominican Republic, and my youngest daughter threw up five times on the plane before we even touched down on tropical soil.  The plane we were on was a party-plane, and the Spring-Breakers that shared our aisle were understandably less than thrilled to be sitting in a section with our sickly clan as we made trip after trip to the postage stamp-sized washroom at the rear of the plane.  Not to mention the smells.  As this all happened right in the middle of the evening meal.

As if this was not enough to dampen our spirits and discourage us from vacationing with kiddos, another daughter decided to follow suit mid-week, just when we were all starting to unwind.  This time around, she had three days of all-you-can-eat buffets to enhance the senses.  Thank goodness for daily room service and balconies with railings (and that little spot at the bottom of the stairs just the right size for storing dirty, stinky bed sheets.)

Let’s be serious.  If you are really going to consider a dream vacation, take a little advice from me.  Leave the kiddos with Gramps and Grandma. ‘Nuff said.

As well, try not to sandwich your dream vacation in between back-to-back work/extra-curricular commitments, as I have made the mistake of doing in the past. I have literally worked up to the minute before I have left on a trip and found myself collapsed on a seat somewhere in a vehicle or on a plane, of absolutely no good value to anyone including myself for about 24 hours into the trip.  And likewise, I would suggest avoiding at all costs the red-eye flight home, particularly when you have an 8:00 a.m. appointment the following morning followed by your first day of a new job.  Can anyone say, ‘pass me the java and prop my eyes open with a two-by-four?’

Finally, as this list could go on ad nauseum, I will end with this.   Try not to make the dream vacation too much fun.  When you plan on having fun, nine times out of ten, something goes wrong and you end up feeling gyped and bummed about your dream vacay.  Set the bar really low, and then everything you do and see will look and seem stellar.  There is nothing quite like low expectations to brighten up a trip.  Dream or not.

Happy Summer, everyone!

The Joy of Being Mean (seriously….)

Not long ago, a friend mailed me a letter that contained two sheets of paper.    On one sheet, was an article titled The Meanest Mother in the World, and on the other was the letter writer’s note to me which can be summarized with this one sentence: “Nice to know that being ‘mean’ is not all bad.”  As I read through the words of the article, originally written by Bobbie Pingaro (http://mrmom.amaonline.com/poems/meanestmother.htm)  in 1967, I thought to myself that mean mothers have been in existence for a long time.  In honor of all the mean mothers that are still around in the year 2012, perhaps we should revive this little mantra for the 21st century, complete with re-vamped demands that all mean mothers are prone to request in our present day world.  Here are a few thoughts that I came up with.

I am the meanest mother in the whole wide world.  While some kids don’t get on the bus with breakfast in their bellies, my kids are forced to have a muffin, bowl of cereal or a piece of toast.  At the very least, an over-ripe banana.  And I have been known to pack up an unfinished waffle or bag up a bowl of dry cereal and send it along for the ride.  All because mean mothers know that kids hate eating breakfast and we live to bring torture to their lives.

I also force my children to fold their pajamas, neatly, and while I include them in making their bed, I insist they learn how to do it the right way, not just any old way they please.  Since I am a stickler for neatness, I assist them in learning how to smooth back the covers, and I show them how to make it actually look presentable rather than as if a dead man is lying underneath the covers.  Cruel, I know.

I force my kids to shower every second day whether they stink or not.  They have to use soap and shampoo, and I often stand there outside the shower until I know they have rinsed all the shampoo out of their silky locks.  They often cry because they hate getting water in their eyes, but since I am mean, I insist that they do it the right way.  They’ll thank me later when they don’t have dandruff to deal with.

They also always have to wear clean undies after bathing. Cruel and unusual punishment.

Mean mothers always overdress their children, and I am no exception.  My kids are usually a slight bit over the average internal temperature for a normal child.  They always have a hat, mittens, sweatshirt, coat and wind pants on their person until about June 15th when I officially break out the summer wear.  I have a history of being mean in this way that dates back to the moment I became a mother.  True story.  After my first child was born, I took him to the doctor because he was running a slight fever.  Come to find out he was overdressed.  Who knew that a knitted sweater set in August could do that to a child?

I am so hateful.  I insist on regular contact with my children’s classroom teachers.  If I hear that they have not done an assignment, I am mean enough to actually contact the teacher to get the assignment right from the horse’s mouth.  And I insist on respect and courteous behaviour from my kids toward their teachers and other responsible adults in their life.  I have been known to insist on my children apologizing to an adult that they have not acknowledged or spoken to in a courteous way when they have been politely addressed by that same adult in public.  The nerve of me, I know.  But you’ll have to excuse me for this poor behaviour.   I learned it honestly.  My own father once drove me to an elderly lady’s house to apologize for rudely not acknowledging her when she kindly spoke to me at church.  Some lessons are learned the hard way.

I insist on my children adhering to a code of conduct that includes an innate understanding of the word responsibility.  I have been known to torture my children by actually requesting that they read a book, do their homework, walk the dog and sometimes (gasp, I know!) even do a chore or two as a means of earning X-box, computer, ipod or television.  Furthermore, I insist that my children do some of those same forms of human torture (a.k.a. chores) on the weekend.  Meanie that I am, I force my children to get up at a half decent hour of the day and then play outside, using their God-given imaginations to create and generate storylines for their play time.  And since we bought them a dog for Christmas, they have now been shackled with the added torture of playing with and exercising the dog.

Mean mothers, like myself, actually brush our children’s teeth for them because we are so suspicious that they might have simply held the toothbrush under the water, sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and then  called it a night.  We also, on occasion, ask out children to wash their hands and face before heading to bed because as we all known, cleanliness is next to godliness.

Probably the meanest thing I currently do is insist that my children wait.  They have to wait until after they have eaten their healthy food before they eat dessert.  They have to wait until Christmas to open their presents.  They have to wait until summer to wear their shorts outside.  They seemingly have to wait for everything and they have to do so with such unreasonable time constraints.  For instance, if my husband and I are talking, we insist that our children not interrupt us while we are in mid-sentence. We then spitefully request that they wait until we are finished our thought until they interject.   As well, we ask them to wait until they have saved up their own money to buy desired toys and goodies that are outside the reasonable expenditure of our weekly allowance.  We even ask them to wait until they are 13 to get a Facebook account. 

We.are.horrible.

I could go on about so many other mean things I do, like insisting that my children eat the food I have served up on the table, saying please when asking for something and thank you when they have been given something or the most detestable of all, apologizing for things that were just mere accidents (as in, “I am sorry I sideswiped you on the way through the door and knocked that huge pile of towels you were holding out of your arms.”)  If I was even half-ways nice, I am sure I would not care.

I realize that being a mean mother has a slew of secondary repercussions.  As a result, my children, although not perfect, have sometimes complained about the undue hardship their mean mother inflicts on them.  As a result of being mean, I have also had to deal with my children being singled out by other responsible adults in their life for being polite and respectful citizens of the groups in which they participate. 

But I can deal with it.  Because mean mothers have a tough skin.  And we come by our meanness honestly.  Our own mothers, bless their nasty little hearts, were mean too.  

 

Thoughts on a boy’s life… enough is enough

I am quickly gathering up things for a late supper (staff meetings always throw me off-schedule), whilst putting away groceries and gathering up odds and ends.  My son is talking to his father about the boy, formerly known as his best friend, who is still currently his “casual friend” in spite of their dwindling list of commonalities.  So, word has it that said “casual friend”, who not only won the provincial foul-shooting basketball championship title for 2012, has also scored himself a new pair of $120.00 sneakers.  Which his parents paid for.  With their hard-earned money.  And, to add injury to insult, he is also acquiring another new pair of sneakers in the near future for basketball which will cost a couple hundred more dollars.  And all this is burning my son up inside and turning him slightly green with envy.

Me thinks it is time for another mother-son letter…

Why is it so hard to put your finger on the right words?  And, why is raising kids such persistent, never-ending hard work?  You think you nail it (see yesterday’s post), and the next day, there is yet more work to be done.

Ah, such is life.

My son is discovering himself, and his place in the world.  He is learning that he cannot be the best at everything, and neither can he have the best of everything.  But, what he just doesn’t get is this: why can some people have the luxury of having their cake and eating it too?  Why does life work out so that some people get all the luck?  How come some people can have the best and also be the best?

Why is life so unfair?

Good question.  Most adults I know have a hard time answering this one.

My son is a very intelligent boy.  He does very well in school, he is a talented piano player and a skilled illustrator.  He can build with his hands in a way that causes me to marvel.  He has excellent comprehension.  And impeccably good grooming, remarkable for a boy of eleven years of age.

However, he is an average to (at times) below-average athlete.  And athletics is where it is at when you are eleven.  Especially with his group of athletically motivated friends and classmates.

He struggles with this.  A lot.

He is insecure about himself and he tends to be very self-conscious about his abilities, appearance and interests.  He so badly wants to fit in.  Fit in with the guys who are above-average, that is.  They are the power-holders, the movers and shakers.  They dictate who is “in” and who is “out”.  They pick the teams.

(sigh)

I want my son to believe that he is enough.  That his personality is enough, his interests are enough, his talents are enough, his character traits are enough and his abilities are enough. That his personal possessions are already enough to satisfy and meet his needs.  That the amount of money in one’s bank account cannot dictate what is enough.

Enough is enough.

I want him to own self-confidence. Yet, although I want him think that the sky is the limit, I want him to shoot for goals that are achievable. Possible.  Within reach.  And I want what he achieves to be fulfilling to him, a personal victory.  I don’t want him to feel he has to add up to anyone else’s standards of success.  I want him to measure himself against his own merit, and then to succeed at what he sets out to do.  And although I want him to be sincerely humble, I wish for him to be quietly proud of that success.

I don’t want him to go through what I have gone through most of my life: feeling “less than” others around me because of what I am not.  Rather, I want to instill in him and my other children that their cup is full and running over.  What they need is within reach; they have what it takes.

It has taken a long time for me to believe this little thought, as it applies to me personally: that I have what it takes and that I have what I need within my reach to achieve my dreams.  We all need to believe this about ourselves.  To do otherwise is to settle for less than we are capable of living.  To believe we are not enough is enough to disable us from living up to our full potential.  We are not gifted with the ability of seeing into the future,  and as such, we cannot ever give up hope.  We die trying, if need be.  To try is better than to sit and fade.

We are worth more than we think we are worth.  We are precious and valuable in God’s eyes.  We as humans are created and designed with enough stuff to achieve our full potential.  By God’s grace, I am enough.  And in the same token, my children are also enough. I pray this belief hits home sooner with my kids than it has with me.  That their life is always lived out in quiet self-confidence, and that faith, hope and love are their guiding light.

My four children are loved, cared and provided for in ways that some children only dream about.  They are encouraged, corrected, disciplined and cheered on by two parents that are committed to their well-being.  They may falter, but we are there to help them get back on their feet again.

And, although that may not be enough for them to feel fully whole at the present, I pray that our love and dedication to their upbringing carries them until that time when it is enough.  When love conquers all.

My wish: that they see that life is what you make it, using the time God has given you here on this earth to be all that you can be and all that you were designed to be.  That good things come to those that wait.  Although waiting is never easy.   But then again, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Soundtrack For My Life

I am home after a busy day of work and running after-school errands, and I find my husband in the kitchen with his earphones plugged into his ears, speaking into his Smart phone in tones you would expect from a senior on Bingo day.  This is what he is yelling, “Twilight Zone, play Twilight Zone.”  I am only half listening to this monologue as I am busy doing more important things, like putting away all the stuff everyone has left lying around the kitchen.  Then, Brian gives the same command again, “Twilight Zone,” and I hear him laughing.  “That’s funny,” says he, “My phone told me to call Lori.”  If there were ever to be a soundtrack for my life, I guess that song by the Golden Earrings must be destined for me.

On days when I am not dancing to the beat of “The Twilight Zone,” there are a precious moments of sanity and joy to be found.  My version of a pretty good day is to come home with a random plan for supper, and find out that my husband has already put into the oven the .99 cent Turkey potpies I bought for such a day as this, and he did so without me even asking.  Adding to this imagery, consider me with a bag of groceries slung over my arm, inside which are two packages of French fries that would go perfect with the above, creating a delightful ensemble.  That wee little bonus, along with the dog already let out to pee before I get home, meaning no pee on the floor, make for two of the best things that could happen to a girl like me.

Sometimes, on my worst days, when I sit down to write, I just want to vent my frustration about everything I cannot stand about cleaning up mud off the entryway floor, picking up dirty socks and cleaning crumbs off the countertops.  Those grievances actually can consume my thoughts.  I can spend a great deal of time cranking about things that make my life less than ideal, and when I do, I am left feeling lonely, isolated, frustrated, purposeless, angry and annoyed.

So, when I sit down to write, there is great temptation to give in to that urge that nags at me, “VENT.”

But, when I choose to take those same frustrations, and turn them into something I can laugh at, the sting of anger loses its hold over me.  I feel such release in actually reading over my own words, knowing that I survived another day, and it was actually, dare I say it, hilarious in the end.  So, instead of choosing to focus on work and how tired I feel, I think instead about little D. who came into my Kindergarten classroom this morning wearing mascara or little A. who is now sporting a Mohawk, which little P. could hardly take his eyes off.  Or, I think of my own children, one of whom told the babysitter that “we never, ever fight anymore at our house now that we have a dog.”  You just never know what is going to come out of her mouth next.

Or, I just imagining what I look like when I leave the house in the morning with two different gloves on either hand, my Foodland bags hooked over my wrists, and half the accessories I hope to wear stuck in my pant pockets, is enough to make me titter a little at the end of the day.  I picture myself flying down the outside steps, using my Mom voice to herd the children into the vehicle, all the while balancing my breakfast and coffee in one hand, yet as soon as I arrive at school, switching it over to the professional persona of a pulled together, totally organized teacher.  It’s zero to 60, folks, in about thirty seconds.  It is a crazy life, there is no doubt about it.  But it is my life, and I going to hang on for the ride.