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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Where Has The Time Gone?

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Eleven years ago, right at this very moment, I was sitting in my OB’s office VERY pregnant with Monkey #2.  The next day was his due date – and he was getting BIG – and I wasn’t progressing very far.  So, I was sitting still (which is very hard for me to do), for an hour, pressing a button every time he moved.  Of course, my silly little laid back Middle Monkey moved hardly at all.  Must have been asleep, thumb in his mouth.

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And now – 11 years later, to the minute…I have a My Sweet Huggy Monster.

Where has the time gone?

My Little Bronies: Brothers Can Be Magic

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Urbandictionary.com defines a brony as – Brony – n – Bronies are the teenage and adult fans (mostly male) of the television show, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”  Though the term “brony” is gender-neutral, some female fans instead refer to themselves as “Pegasisters.”  Bronies are generally people who decide to judge something on its quality, instead of whether it’s “cool” or “manly” enough. 

As I mentioned earlier this week, The Boy Monkeys have both been very sick.  Coughing every ten seconds.  Feeling crummy.  They have missed days of school.

And apparently, they have spent the entire week watching every single episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Can Be Magic – thanks to Netflix streaming.

Yes, Monkeys #1 and #2 have become proud members of the Brony Nation.

At first, I thought they were just watching with their little sister.  She has recently re-discovered the joy that is My Little Pony.   She really enjoys watching the shows.  And they boys would “let” her watch – occasionally allowing her to turn the TV away from anything Pokemon related.

Then I heard them starting to talk about it.

And now – they are watching it on their own.

And I find it absolutely hysterical.  Don’t ask me why.  But I do.

Not that I am “disturbed” about my BOYS watching a show that is traditionally associated with female viewers.  I have NEVER been one of those parents who insist on gender specific roles.  That’s not it.  That’s not it AT ALL!

But, I think what I find so damn funny is that they discuss it with the same intensity that they have talked about Pokemon, Legos and Star Wars.  They will debate the merits of the different Ponies.  They have formed intelligent opinions as to their favorite Ponies (Monkey #1 prefers Rainbow Dash because she is adventurous – Middle Monkey prefers Pinkie Pie for her eternal optimism).  They quote lines from the shows and will break into song.

Tonight, I picked them up from their father’s.  As soon as they got into the car, they started talking about it.  Quite animatedly.  I couldn’t help but start to laugh.  And laugh hard.  It was hard to drive I was laughing so hard.

Needless to say, the Boy Monkeys started to get a little perturbed with me.

Monkey #1 says, “What’s the problem?  We are proud Bronies.”

More hysterical laughter.

I could tell they were getting REALLY perturbed with my laughter.

So, in his very sardonic way, Monkey #1 says, “Mom.  You just don’t understand the Brony culture.”

I laughed so hard I actually snorted.

The whole time, The Middle Monkey and the Girl Child were arguing about who liked Pinkie Pie more.

It was almost too much!

At this point, Monkey #1 mutters under his breath, “If you post this on Facebook, I will come into your room and kill you in your sleep.”

Notice, he said nothing about my blog!  😀

Anyway.  I can say, I am proud of My Little Bronies.  I am proud of how they don’t really care what is popular or cool.  I am proud that they understand that liking something typically female oriented does not “make you gay.”  I am proud that they can see through the silly little pastel ponies and see the underlying theme of the show – Friendship is Magic.

Now, I wonder if they’ll ever admit it to their friends?  😉

I’ve Got a Bad Case of Mommy Guilt

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I have been a working mother the whole time I have been a mother.  My ex-husband is an actor (incredibly talented – and finally getting some long-awaited recognition), so our family needed the steady income…not to mention the health insurance.  He did (and still does) a great job of caring for them.  And now that my mother is retired, she certainly picks up a lot of the slack.  But they aren’t ME.  They aren’t the MOMMY.  So, I am used to having a small amount of Mommy Guilt  – not too bad since I have been fortunate enough to have The Monkeys attend the elementary school where I teach.

Today, though, I have really felt it.

The Boy Monkeys are both sick.  Really sick.  It started with Monkey #1.  He missed school Monday (and Tuesday).  Bad cough and fever.  Poor thing had to miss an overnight field trip with his middle school “team.”  But, luckily his father didn’t have a job yesterday and took good care of him.  I felt some guilt at not being able to be with him – but it was manageable.  Today, it was Monkey #2 to get sick.  Another bad cough.  And whenever he gets sick, it flips into his lungs.  Again, their father was able to care for them…but it wasn’t ME.

I feel as if I chose school over my Monkeys.

Now, I am not one of those women who feels like I am the only one who can take care of my children.  I know that their father can be a very nurturing parent – and he will cater to their every while-they-are-sick whims.  But, I can’t help but feel like I chose to take care of 31 other parents’ children instead of my own.

I know the Monkeys don’t feel that way.  I know they know I am always there for them – and if not physically, definitely emotionally.  I know The Boy Monkeys are probably not sitting at their father’s saying, “I want my mommy.”

Maybe the problem is that I wish they WERE.  Maybe I wish they were saying, “Hey, Mom, please come take care of us like only you can.”

So, this Mommy Guilt I am feeling is the WORST kind… self-imposed.  No one else is making me feel guilty.  I am.  If it were coming from someone else, I would get angry.  But, from inside, it becomes all I can think about.  It becomes hard to do everything else I need to do when all I really want to do is go take care of my Sick Little Monkeys.  I worry about them, because I can’t see for myself how they are doing.

This is when reality and my own mind have an epic battle and I have to just let reality win.  But, that is really hard for me.  REALLY hard.

Poor Little Monkeys.  Poor Mommy Monkey.

Daily Prompt: Deja Vu.

 

Sender’s Remorse

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We’ve all done it.  Come on…you know you have…

Written an email or a text – feeling ever so brave – and hit send… shooting your message into space.

Only to then think, “Oh my God – what have I done?!?!”

But there is no way to reach into thin air and pull it back.  Unfortunately.

The internal email system at my school has an unsend function.  However, it only works BEFORE the person reads it.  Once that happens – it is toooo late.

Of course, an unsend feature works GREAT if your sender’s remorse happens moments after hitting send.  But what happens when you rethink things hours later?  AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!  Makes you wish you could hop in the ol’ DeLorean, charge up the flux capacitor, speed up to 88, go back in time – and tell your past self to hold those typing fingers still!

Where are Doc Brown and Marty McFly when you need them?

Probably off somewhere trying to stop one of Biff’s zany schemes.

So, until they create an unsend button that also erases the memory of the reader – think before you type, boys and girls!   And make sure you are really ready to deal with what happens when you don’t.

This public service announcement brought to you by the friendly folks at here in Happy Monkey Land.

 

Do you like me? Check Yes. Check No.

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What is it about telling someone how you feel about them that makes it so damn terrifying?

It goes back to those early crushes in elementary school, doesn’t it?  The ones you would whisper to a friend and then say, “Don’t tell him I like him!  I would just DIE!

I guess it is a fear of rejection or something.  Fear that the person will laugh at you.  Fear that the person won’t feel the same way.

But, on the other hand, what if they did?  What if they too were whispering to THEIR friends the same thing about you?

Of course, if I had ended up with my childhood crush, then a friend of mine would not have her two glorious children – because she ended up marrying him.  But, I digress.

We do the same exact thing as adults.  We go right back to that fourth grade feeling of “he can’t know!  I will just DIE!”  So, instead we keep it inside, WONDERING if they feel the same way.  No one wants to be the one to say “I love you” first.  What if they don’t say it back?!?  Now the feeling is out there, like the proverbial elephant in the room.  Or those men who fret over whether or not their intended will say yes to a proposal of marriage.  Seems to me though, that if you have gotten to that point in your relationship you have a PRETTY good idea what the answer will be.  If you don’t then the time might not be right.

We want to know all the answers up front.  BEFORE taking the risk of speaking up.  But, then it becomes a vicious circle – and no one wants to be the one who breaks out.  We will act distant and awkward.  Give ourselves ulcers worrying about it.  Headaches.   Drink liters of alcohol.   All in the attempt to keep it inside (ironically though, too much liquid courage will cause EVERYTHING to spill out).

And then there are our poor friends.  The ones we dissect every conversation we have had with the other person and then ask, “Well?  What does that mean?”  It gets to the point where friends will start to avoid us, just so they don’t have to hear another word!  Of course, how would they know?  They aren’t the other person!

We could make it even more elementary school-ish if we ask a friend – who asks a friend – who asks a friend – who asks a friend – to ask him if he likes you.  And then have that big squealing moment when we hear “He likes you!”  Which of course means that both will say nothing to the other.  Another vicious circle.

Anything to avoid just looking at the person and saying, “I like you.  A lot.  Do you like me?”

Check yes.  Check no.

Little Monkey Love

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Two Little Monkeys

Two Little Monkeys

I haven’t posted in a few days.  My muse had left me, and I had nothing to say.  Very unusual for me.  I usually can write about SOMETHING.Then something happened in church today that made me say, “Well, there’s a blog post!”

Today at church, it was just me and the Little Monkeys, AKA The Middle Monkey and The Girl Child.  Monkey #1 was not feeling well, so he stayed home.

During the musical offertory (which the choir was not doing, so I was actually sitting WITH the kids), The Girl Child left to go to the restroom and when she came back to the pew, instead of letting her slide past me, I pulled her down on to my lap and started snuggling with her.  A very difficult feat these days – one that I know I won’t be able to do much longer – she is getting soooooo tall!  Not to be outdone, The Middle Monkey scooted over and put his head against my arm.  We were a tight little bundle of bliss, just letting the beautiful piano solo wash over us.

We stayed like that for a bit, when Middle whispers, “I love you, Mommy.” (in that sweet little lispy way)  I whispered it back to him.

He whispered, “I love you,” again.  So I said it back.  That is when he said, “Oh I know, that was for her.”  Meaning his little sister.

Everyone all together now… AAAAWWWWWWEEEEEE!!!!!

Ever since they were little little, they have been the most volatile mix to have out together.  They are either FIGHTING or getting insanely silly together.  Even when they were 2 and 4!  But, I don’t think I have EVER heard them say they love each other.  Well, maybe when she was a baby and he would kiss her and say it, but not since then.  She is usually busy bossing him around and he is blaming her for everything (even this moring getting out of the car at church when he yells, “What did you do with my book?!? Oh…there it is.  I put it under the arm rest.”)  They are so free with their I Love Yous to me, but not to each other, so this was particularly heartwarming.

I whispered into the Girl’s head, “Did you hear what your brother said?”

“Yes,” she replied.  “I love you, too.”  She was so quiet I was pretty sure he didn’t hear her, so I asked her to say it again.

And she did.  Very quietly.

“What did you say?” stage-whispered Middle Monkey.

“I said I love you, too,” she said – just a bit louder this time.

And then The Middle Monkey with a little twinkle in his eye, states, “I heard you the first time.  I just wanted to hear you say it two more times.”

I nearly busted out laughing!  I literally was shaking with silent laughter.  It was such a big brother move!  He says it once – and then has her say it three times.  Priceless!  Where do they get these things?!?!

They both asked me why I was laughing.  I didn’t know how to put it.  I just told them to always remember to say I love you.  And to mean it when you say it.

By this time, the music was over, and the congregation was about to stand up, so, the Bossy Girl just said, “We have to stand up now.  Get up,” and climbed off my lap.  The moment was over.  Not sure when we will have a spontaneous moment like that again.  But, it sure was one I know I will remember for a while.

Silly Little Monkeys.

Little Houses on my Bookshelf

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Daily Prompt: Bedtime Stories.

What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”  ―    Laura Ingalls Wilder

I have been reading for as long as I can remember.  Family legend is that I just began reading on my own when I was 4.  I don’t remember the first book I read by myself.  I just did.  When I ventured out of the safety of my Montessori school and into the wilds of my neighborhood elementary school in first grade, my teacher didn’t know what to do with an established reader, so she sent me to fourth grade every day for reading time.  Talk about awkward!

I do  remember Charlotte’s Web being the first book that I truly LOVED.  Even now, after probably 25 readings, I cry at Charlotte’s death – and again as her babies leave poor Wilbur.

I poured over the writings of Beverly Cleary.  I could relate to Ramona and her “spunky” attitude.  Poor misunderstood – ADHD Ramona, boinging the perfect curls of the ever so obnoxious Susan.  When I read her book Fifteen (terribly old-fashioned now, but still) I wanted nothing more than for my first date to be just like Jane’s.  I wanted the dress she wore for the date, a deep blue princess seamed dress with a white Peter Pan collar (out of style even then, but I did not care).

I was fascinated by the quirkiness of Roald Dahl’s characters.  The way the poor, down-trodden child overcame his lot in life and TRIUMPHED!

The books of Judy Blume taught me about the challenges of childhood.  From divorce, to being over-weight, to your first period, and eventually about your first sexual experience.

However, when I think of the books of my childhood, the ones that I still hug to my chest, it is the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

I was given a boxed set of the series (yellow paperbacks in a lovely little yellow cardboard box) for Christmas in 1974.  I was eight years old.  I read each of them cover to cover – and then read them all again and again.  The Box of Books was given a place of honor on the top shelf of my bookshelf.  The shelf where I kept special little mementos, like the Chinese doll my parents brought me back from San Francisco, and the lion shaped candle given to me by my father’s hippy sister (because I am a Leo after all).  That shelf was the only neat spot in my entire room.

As far as I was concerned, Laura and I were kindred spirits.  Straight brown hair that never held a curl no matter how long she kept those rags in her hair.  Incapable of sitting still – no matter how hard she tried.   Wanting nothing more than to run around barefoot, like a wild Indian.  I loved her.  I loved Ma’s gentle spirit.  I loved the twinkle Pa always had in his eye – even when Laura had misbehaved.  I wanted nothing more than to slap Nelly Olsen.  And I wanted to marry Almanzo.

I didn’t just read the books.  I all but memorized them.  I was one of those obnoxious little girls who would sit in front of the TV every week, watching the show and pointing out the inaccuracies.  “THAT NEVER HAPPENED!!!!  DID THESE PEOPLE EVER READ THE BOOKS?!?!?”

The summer of 1975 – the summer I turned 9 – my parents, my brother and I (and our silly little dog) towed our Airstream trailer from West Palm Beach to Colorado and back.  Coming home, we drove through Missouri.  Missouri.  The state Laura and Almanzo moved to early in their marriage.  Missouri.  Where I could visit Rocky Ridge Farm , and the house that Almanzo had built with his own hands.  I just HAD TO GO TO THE HOUSE!  The only problem was, Mansfield was not on our way.  More like three and a half hours out-of-the-way.  But, I was not going to be THAT CLOSE without going!!!  NO WAY!

So, we went.  After spending the night in Independence, we set off on the three-hour drive.  I could hardly wait!   We pull up and I just about bounded out of the moving car. I could hardly breathe.  Before me stood the white clapboard house where my beloved Laura had written her books!

We walk up to the little gift shop – and find that the house is closed for renovations (including reroofing).  I thought I was going to die right on the spot.  The sweet little docents must have felt badly for this obviously CRUSHED little girl, and allowed us to walk around the house and look in the windows.  My dad lifted me up so I could see inside.  I saw Mary’s organ.  The desk where Laura wrote.  So close and so very far away.

We shopped in the little shop.  I bought a sunbonnet just like Laura’s (which of course I wore down my back just like she did),  a few recipe cards and post cards of the things in side the house we could not see.  And we left.  As we were walking back to the car, I happened to spy an old looking wooden shingle lying in the grass.  A shingle that had to have come off the house.  A shingle that in my overly romantic almost 9-year-old mind HAD TO HAVE BEEN MADE BY ALMANZO!  I bent over, carefully picked it up, and put it in my pocket.  I was terrified someone would see me and make me put it back.  But, DAMN IT!  They wouldn’t let me in the house, it was the least I could have!  I didn’t even tell my parents I had it.

When we returned home, I took my ill-gotten shingle and placed it on the shelf in front of the boxed set of books – where they all stayed until my mother sold the house when I was 25 and they were packed up.  I still have the set of books.  And I still have that shingle.

One day, I will take the Monkeys on a pilgrimage to see all the homestead sites.   Maybe not all at once.  But I will see each and every one.

I still love Laura Ingalls Wilder.

And I still wish I could slap Nelly Olsen.

Anger

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Filled with anger

Consumed with frustration

I look to make sense of the situation

You have created.

Your refusal to understand me

Your refusal to see me

For the person I am inside

You put the blame on me

You say it is what I have done

At no time acknowledging your role in this game

You see me for what you believe me to be

I will never win in your eyes

I will always be a pariah

I am tired of trying to please you

To make you like me

To make you see me for the wonder that is me

Never seeing the person that I am.

The bond is now broken

No adhesive will make it whole.

Filled with anger

Consumed with frustration

I will never let you beat me

No matter how hard you try.

Living With Joy

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I just finished reading one of the most amazingly beautiful books I have ever had the fortune to read.

Breathtakingly, soul-strentheningly beautiful.

I read it cover to cover in a day.

Yet, it will stay with me for quite sometime.

Buy it.  Today.  Read it.  Now.

Until I Say Goodbye: My Year of Living With Joy, by Susan Spencer-Wendel, chronicles her life after receiving a diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at the age of 44.  It is not a book of sadness, or pity, or anger.  It is a book of laughter and love and JOY.  In the book, Susan tells of spending a year making joyful memories for and with her loved ones.  With her husband, her best-friend since childhood, her sister, her children.  Separately and together.  Even as her muscles are failing more and more rapidly, she desires to infuse her life – her very spirit – with JOY.

Susan and I grew up in the same hometown (where she lives about a mile and a half from my brother).  She is my age.  We share the same name (I wonder if she wasn’t really in love with the name growing up as I wasn’t – I have never felt like a SUSAN).  We both have three children – one with Asperger’s (her last, my first).  Both two boys and a girl (hers in the opposite order as mine).  I went to high-school with her life-long best friend.  As I read the book, I could picture the landscape of South Florida.  I breathed it with every rich detail.  There where times when I would laugh out loud – back up – read it again – only to laugh even harder.

And there were times when I had to hold back the sobs.

As I was reading the book, I would occasionally stop and ask myself if I would still love it as much if I didn’t feel  a bit of a personal (albeit vicarious) connection.

And each time the answer was a resounding, “YES!”  And not just for the humorous well-written prose, but for the lesson she imparts.

As we are facing challenges in our lives, we have several choices.  We can fight it tooth and nail.  We can fall in to a deep depression.  Or we can accept it for what it – for what it will be  – and choose to be JOYFUL.

Not happy.

Joyful.

There is a big difference between the two words.  They are not synonymous.

We may not be HAPPY to be in the midst of the challenge.  But, in accepting it – or as Susan puts it, finding your Zen, we can open our minds and hearts to finding JOY in every situation.

It is such a hard choice.  And certainly, making the choice to be joyful is not the path of least resistance.  It is ever so much easier to feel anger.  Or to allow ourselves to slip into the caverns of despair.  Making the choice for acceptance is HARD.  You have to work at it.  And as humans, we don’t really like things we have to work at.

Oh, I am sure that there were times when Susan felt genuinely pissed off at her impending fate.  Yet, she made the conscious decision to accept that what will be will be.  There was nothing she could do to stop it.  There was nothing she could do to even slow it.  It was happening and there was absolutely nothing she could do to avoid it.  After all, isn’t life too short (and in her case, quite literally) to spend it pissed off or sad?

Such a very good question.

And one that makes me think that if she has been able to face her fate with such dignity and grace – surely I can learn to do the same thing.

Surely we all can.

Impossible Things are Happening Every Day

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Daily Prompt: Impossibility.

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” – the White Queen, Alice in Wonderland.

What are the six impossible things you believe in? (If you can only manage one or two, that’s also okay.)

Julie Andrews as Cinderella

Julie Andrews as Cinderella

In the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical version of Cinderella there is a delightful little song sung at the end of Act I called “Impossible.”  It is the scene where Cinderella first meets her Fairy Godmother and good ol’ FG works her magic to get that sooty little girl all gussied up to go to the ball.

Impossible, for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage.
Impossible, for a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage,
And four white mice will never be four white horses!
Such fol-der-ol and fid-dle-dy dee of course, is— Impossible!
But the world is full of zanies and fools
Who don’t believe in sensible rules
And won’t believe what sensible people say.
And because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes,
Impossible things are happening every day.

I really like to think I am one of those zany fools who doesn’t believe in sensible rules.  One of those daft dewey-eyed dopes who continue to believe in the impossible.

So, instead of list six things, I am going to say just one.

I believe in the impossibility of finding lasting love.  That remarkable love that holds you up, but allows you to still be you. That love that endures all.

I believe in the impossibility of that love being in my world.

After all, impossible things are happening every day…