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On Motherhood, on Mother’s Day…

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Me and My Monkeys

I know it sounds a little trite, but I wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember.  I mean, most mothers I know say that.  Only a few say, “I soooooo didn’t want to be a mother – yet, here I am.”  Or at least they don’t say it out loud.  I am not sure if it is that we are genetically predisposed to desire to be mothers, or if we feel some sort of societal pressure to fulfill our “womanly duty of motherhood.”  Who knows.  All I know is that I felt the “call” to be a mother long before I was one.

When I was 19, I got engaged to my college “sweetheart.”  Why so young?  Because I felt I was on some kind of schedule.  Engaged at 19.  Married at 21.  First child at 23.  Second at 25.  Done.  I even had a name picked out for my first child – which of course would be a daughter.  And yes, The Girl Monkey does have part of the name.  She is named for my grandmothers…

Needless to say, I did not marry that fiancé.  Nor did the next engagement, at 22, end in marriage.  Still no Baby Daddy…

I was officially off my motherhood schedule.

But, I still wanted to be a mother.  More than anything.  It became obvious to me that being a mother was more important to me than the whole being married part.  In 1990, the ABC-TV news show, 20/20 broke the story of the atrocious conditions in Romanian orphanages.  Of the vast number of children.  Of children who were severely malnourished.  Of children who never received physical contact.  I cried as I watched it.  And then I thought, “That’s it!  I will go rescue myself a Romanian baby girl!” (Like it was going to be that easy.  How delusional was I?)  I started saving money and was even buying cute little girl dresses.  This was it!  The perfect plan!  Never mind I was in graduate school and only working part-time and was single and lived with my mother.  What in the hell was I thinking?!?!

You guessed it.  I do not have a 24 year-old Romanian daughter.  Sanity kicked in.

I did not become a mother for the first time until I was 33.  A full decade off my original “schedule.”  (The Middle Monkey was born when I was 35 and The Girl Child, 5 days after my 38th birthday) But, in retrospect that was ever so much better than having a child in my 20s.  I wasn’t ready.  Not one bit.

Not that being a mother is everything I thought it would be.  I really do think my naïve 20 year-old self thought it would be all hearts and flowers and cuddles and kisses and cute dresses and joy and laughter.  And the reality of motherhood – especially with mine – is that there are times when I want to lock them outside to be raised by the wolves.  Or the gypsies.  Or the mean guy who lives across the street.  Who cares who takes them just so long as it isn’t me.  The crew I was given is a difficult bunch.  Which really is an understatement.  For reals.  Screaming and yelling are far more frequent than hearts and flowers.  They say that God only gives you what you can handle.  Well, I firmly believe God has far more confidence in me than He should.  Seriously.  But I guess that is why God created alcohol.  (As I am typing this, I am hearing screeches wafting up the stairs.  Middle Monkey saw a bug.  *sigh*)

Yet, for all the screaming and stomping and slamming (oh, my!), I wouldn’t trade The Monkeys for another batch.  Not even the newest model.  Fresh off the factory floor.  I love them with all my heart and soul and mind and body and strength and weakness – in spite of their “faults.” (And yes, my children do have FAULTS.  I am not one of those deluded mothers that sees no fault in their children.  Mine have big ones.  Bless their little hearts.)

They are trying.

They are pains.

They are amazing.

And I am ever so happy they are mine.  All mine.

Jealous?  You should be.

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Where Has the Time Gone?: Part 2

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My goofy Monkey #1 - letting his freak flag fly

My goofy Monkey #1 – letting his freak flag fly

Monkey #1 will be 13 on the 25th of May.  *sigh* I will officially be the mother of a teenager.  And not just any teenager – one with Asperger’s.  Teenage hormonal issues are enough, without the addition of Asperger’s.  Puberty has just started to hit here in Happy Monkey Land – making things not so happy at times.  Of course, it is a little hard to figure out which is a hormone meltdown, and which is the general run of the mill Asperger meltdown.

Tomorrow is his “Rite 13” ceremony at church.  It is a time when the church welcomes all of these burgeoning teenagers in to the adult fold – and they transition into the youth groups.  Kinda like the Episcopal version of a Bar Mitzvah – without all the chanting.  😉  But it is a part of the service, where they figuratively move from their families to the youth.

Tonight, there is a dinner for the Rite 13ers and their families.  As a part of it, their parents are to write a letter to their child.  Lovely little sentiments giving pithy wisdom about entering adulthood.  Reflecting on memories of their childhoods and the adults they will be.

And for a person who has so many words running through my head all the time – I am stumped as to what to say to him.  I am drawing a complete blank.  Nothing is coming easily to me – at all.

I could tell him about the challenges he will face as a teenager – but I don’t really know what they will be.  His challenges will be – make that are – so different from mine, simply because of his Asperger’s.

I could tell him about what his adulthood will be like – but, I don’t really know what it will be.  His experiences will be different from mine.

(Of course, my block isn’t helped by the fact that The Middle Monkey and The Girl Child are currently screaming at each other.  But, I digress.)

I guess I just don’t know how to take all the words I want to say to him as a mother and put them down on a piece of paper.

I want to tell him how proud I am of how he deals with his challenges.

How I love the fact that he isn’t afraid to let his “freak flag fly.”

How I love the way he will still crawl into bed with me and snuggle.  Or rub my feet.  Or scratch my back.  And how he will still hold my hand IN PUBLIC!

How through all the trials and tribulations of his life, I can’t imagine my life without him in it.

Huh…I think I just found my words.

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.

 

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.

Just Me and My Boys

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IMAG1302

My sweet little boy monkeys.

It seems that I am always doing special things with the Girl Child.  Their dad will take the boys off to go do something (like go to a retro monster movie), and Monkey #3 and I will have “Girls’ Day.”  We’ll shop, have lunch, get our nails done.  You know – girly things

It is rare when it is just me and the Boy Monkeys.  Today, however, it was just the three of us.  And it was really pretty great.

I have the Monkeys every Saturday during the day, whether it is my parenting time or not, while their father is at work.  Usually, we are just at home doing weekend things.  But, today the boys and I stepped out.

My mother decided to take The Girl Child to go see a local production of Swan Lake.  Monkey #1 had a short Boy Scout thing to do.  The Middle Monkey and I went to pick him up.  We were all hungry, so off to IHOP (Monkey #1’s request – he loves the red velvet pancakes).  It was a delightful little breakfast.  No arguing.  No meltdowns.  No irritations.  Fabulous.

Monkey #1 had seen that there was a neighborhood yard sale going on, and wanted to go picking.  I didn’t feel like wandering from house to house.  So, we made a compromise.  We went to this place that is like one giant yard sale crammed in a building.  There is stuff EVERYWHERE.  And you never know what you might find.  We even saw an electric butter churn!  The boys and I had so much fun scrounging around seeing what we could see.  We would make fun of silly things, wonder about unusual things, comment on the cost of overpriced things, laugh at how someone would put a price on an empty box, and marvel at a 5 foot tall hand-made model of a Dutch windmill.

I was able to get some books for a book drive we are having at school and some vintage necklaces to use the beads to make something new.The Middle Monkey picked out a pencil sharpener shaped like a die (the singular for dice) and a strategy game I loved playing when I was a kid.Monkey #1 found a National Geographic from July 1976 (yes, the Bicentennial Edition).  I had to talk him out of the bamboo cane he wanted to buy.  I could just see him deciding to cane one of the other two monkeys in a fit of frustration.  All for less than what we paid for breakfast at IHOP.

Then my mother called and said she was heading home with the Girl Child.  The boys and I were tempted to tell her just to keep the girl.  We were off having fun!  But, we headed out anyway, thus ending our little excursion.

What a great day.

VIM

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It’s hard to be humble when you have a kid as freakin’ awesome as this!

Pokemon, Pencils and People

Daily Prompt: VIP.

Who’s the most important person in your life — and how would your day-to-day existence be different without them?

She always helps me with my homework (though I never usually need it) at the drop of a hat. She holds me when I feel stressed. She is the only one understands me. She is my helper. She knows (most of the time) what I need. She gives up on work whenever I don’t feel good at school to pick me up. If it had not been for her, most of my projects would not have been completed. She is my savior. If I want something, she will (normally) get it. Life is a whole lot easier with her. If it had not been for her, I would not be writing this. She is my Mom.

My Mom’s Blog

Happy Monkey Land

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