Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Then and Now

My husband and I just celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary. We went out to dinner and celebrated, but we also renewed our vows. This time, we didn't have one hundred guests, we didn't rent a space, or have it catered. There were no floral arrangements, invitations, or DJ’s. We had a much smaller wedding this time and decided to invite only two guests: our children. 

All together, the four of us got dressed up. My husband wore the same suit he wore ten years ago on our wedding day — I wore my wedding dress. Our kids picked out their fanciest clothes, and we headed to the beach. I had hoped to do something like this, and mentioned it to my husband a few months ago. He decided he would plan it and kept the details from me. He kept it all light and said we were going to the beach and lets get dressed up. I love his surprises, and this time he knocked it out of the park. When we got to the beach, he opened up the trunk and pulled out two red balloons, and a big bag. We walked to the sand and opened up a blanket. The kids played while we enjoyed the beautiful horizon. At one point my husband had music playing and gathered us together at the blanket. 

Through laughter and tears, he read to all of us what he wrote about this day, ten years ago, and how everything he had ever wished for ten years ago had come true. We held hands and by the end of it we were both crying. Our kids were good sports but they definitely giggled at the sight of both their parents crying happy tears. I hadn't prepared anything to read, but I thanked him and agreed with what he said, and added that we are so very full, fortunate and blessed to have what we have. 

Ten years ago when we got married we knew we wanted a family. We only admitted to each other that we wanted a little girl first, and when she came out healthy and beautiful we screamed out as if we had won the lottery. I think the hospital thought we were crazy the way we were giving each other high fives. Not everything comes easy,  and having a baby did not come without a lot of hardship for us, so a few years later when friends had second babies we were a little scared to do it again. When we tried we were able to get pregnant right away, but lost the baby in the twelfth week.  It was a difficult sad time for us. A time that was healed only by the hope of trying again. Eventually we had our son. This time we held our breaths cautiously before we cheered, and when we heard his cry we cried tears of relief and joy that we were now complete: the four of us.

So now ten years later, there are hard days, and sad days, but they are out numbered by wonderful days. We are a strong crew the four of us, and we are not ignorant to life and the challenges it comes with. We know there is pain, loss, sadness and devastation ahead, but we have amazing parents who paved the road for us and we plan to do the best we can to keep paving it for our children. Looking forward to ten, twenty and fifty more years like these.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Partied Out!

This past weekend, I became that mom. The PTA mom, that hosts, plans, and puts on events. The mom that stays up way too late prepping for their son's birthday party. The mom that one of my close friends says she will never be, because she thinks some moms brag about how hard they work for their kids, as if it is a competition. So by day three of poster hanging, school dance purchases, and multiple batches of birthday cake baking, I took pause to reevaluate.

Perhaps, I could have thought out the timing of our school dance being before my son's birthday, but I knew it would be such a fun way to kick off the weekend. I also knew our school could use a fun dance, and wanted to be part of making that happen. My son really wanted ice cream cake for his birthday, and I also wanted to see that happen. Some might say that ice cream and cake can easily be purchased at the store, but I actually love baking. It gives me joy to do these things so it is not a sacrifice. For people who dislike baking, or party planning, well by all means don't do it. There are some of us who actually like putting on a party and there is zero competitiveness behind it. I am not out to impress other moms, I am only out to impress the birthday boy. 

During the school dance, the music was playing and the dance floor was full. Kids were having a great time and my friend and I who planned it all were happy. We both danced with the kids, there was a great turnout, and our candy choices were successful. It wasn't that hard to pull off, and in the middle of the night looking around, I actually said to her, "I really like doing this." There are plenty of school events I don't love to do, but this one wasn't one of them. This was fun for everyone. 

It's important to realize why we say yes to too much at times. I know I need to be more selective, and not make myself available to everything, just because something says "Volunteers Needed." Knowing my skill set, and also choosing to put my energy where I will be most effective is key. I don't have regrets about being spread too thin when its for things I am passionate about. I am proud of what the parents I know have accomplished this year at our school. Our kids are reaping the benefits of a lot of late night planning meetings. When you look at all of the faces, our tired eyes and their smiles say it all.

In the end I am happy to put in the time. I stay off of Pinterest as much as possible, since it seems to be where good intentions go to die, and I try to be creative as much as possible. Yes, I am guilty of staying up way too late icing cupcakes, an ice cream cake, and making a pinata ( my husband helped with that one, super easy but a bit time consuming) but I scored because the next day was Mother's Day. I got the best gift ever: ten hours of uninterrupted sleep. Win win!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Another One Almost Down

How is time moving so quickly? It is nearing the end of the school year. My daughter is finishing fourth grade and will soon be in her last year of elementary school. She reads books faster than I can choose what to start reading, she is taking more interest in style than every before, she loves spending time with her friends, and she can often be found listening to music with headphones. My son is nearing the end of Kindergarten, he learned to read, just mastered riding his two wheeler, and joins us in riding all the way to school. He loves his junk food, and anything skateboard-related. Since the school year began my husband opened up a restaurant with a friend, he continues his work in the music industry, signed a amazingly talented artist, and still managed to be an involved hands-on father. I started this year with a paying voice over job. It was short lived, but fun, I write, teach seniors a few times a week (they are actually teaching me) and participate more hours than I can count as a volunteer at my kid's school. This sounds a lot like an annual holiday card, but really I am writing this all to say that a lot happened this year. Mostly good, some difficult, but all in all it's life being lived to the fullest.

I am grateful for the accomplishments of this year. There have been some challenges with family health. While we go through another year of children growing, it also means our parents are getting another year older. Never before have I felt how precious life is — and how fleeting. We had the pleasure of having my parents stay with us for a few weeks recently. In all honesty, I was terrified at the thought of them staying with us for so long, but my husband encouraged it. We both know we won't always have the luxury of time with our parents, so we made it work. While my parents were here, my father got ill and ended up in hospital. Twice they had to extend their trip until he was well enough to get home to his own doctors. Dignity really goes out the window when you reach a certain age. He finally got to fly home, but had to do it with a catheter, er, attached. While they were here though, we enjoyed good food, countless games of mancala and Crazy Eights, piano playing, and laughing at James Cordon doing musicals in the crosswalk.

  As we enter these last few weeks of the year, I will continue to soak up every second, so that way maybe it won't seem to speed by. My little boy turns six next week. I took him to the store a few days ago and he saw the little coin operated ride at the exit, and said "I used to love that when I was a kid." It was only last year, but to him it was a long time ago. As long as they let me I am going to snuggle these two kiddos. I might hug them a little too close, and I will never be the one to let go first.