Tag Archives: moms

This is 30!

Thirty. T-H-I-R-T-Y. 3-0! (Indulge me, I don’t do this very often anymore.)

How can that be? I was (almost) 30 when I had you! Which means you have been hanging around for almost half my life! From here on in I will have lived in a Janaworld longer than a Janaless one.

Thank goodness. For I could not imagine a day without you in my life. That smile. That laugh. That eye roll. The way you only have to give me a look across the room that says it all. You ground me. And parent me back. Tricky. And yet you still lean when you need to. And I love that just as much.

When I set out to start a family, I never thought about this part very much. Who does? You think babies and toddlers and teens. But the part about growing full humans who become the people you most want to be with? I doubt that crosses the mind of many young parents.

So here we are. And I marvel everyday at your courage. Your strength. Your persistence. Your sense … way more sense than I ever had at your age. (Or maybe even now, for that matter.) You know your mind and you hold fast to what you believe in. That is a gift. Don’t ever doubt your gut, we both know it is the wisest voice of all.

Mothers and daughters. That can be one crazy roller coaster. But for us, it is like we are the eye of the hurricane. We hold tight in the middle of all the chaos, and step out into it together when we want to have some fun. Hold tight to that feeling … the one where you take the risks but keep a cool head when the unexpected happens. That is where all the good stuff happens.

Here’s to the next decade. May you continue to know how to pivot with grace. May your dreams come true. And when they don’t, know I will always be right here to catch you when you fall.

LU2 Petunes. More than life itself. Happy Birthday.

 

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This is 29

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I’ve been writing these birthday posts for an awfully long time. This one is extra special as you are now the age I was when I became pregnant with you. No, this is not a hint. I am fully aware you are not even prepared to have a fish. And that is just fine with me. I am OK with you keeping your eye on your own yoga mat.

This has been quite a year for you. Getting married… in between four Nor’easters! Your grandmother would have said that was good luck. (Then again, she told your dad that when a bird pooped on him 2 days before our wedding). All those snowstorms were nothing compared to everything that we have navigated surrounding your wedding. But with all the life challenges we faced, you stood in the center of the hurricane and kept your cool.  Your grace and joy in the process was contagious.

I sit back on the other side of this year and think, sure the wedding was a blast. And it was everything you wanted it to be. But it was the moments planning it together that truly mattered. I got to watch how you move in the world. How you conduct yourself. How people both respect you and want to be around you. You make all those that love you the best version of themselves.

Me included. Big time. We have begun the shift of parenting where you teach me. And remind me what is most important in life (not to mention how you rock a google doc and always make the dinner reservations).

There are pivotal moments for a mom where she has to learn to let go, but still strike the balance of holding on for dear life. I thank you for being just the right amount of independent while still having the humility to ask for guidance.

I love us, Petunes. More than I can ever say. Thanks for being the daughter I know I can count on no matter what.

Oh, and Happy Birthday! May this year be as spectacular as the last.

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Mothers Day – Your kids will be fine

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And so will you.

(this post is dedicated to a colleague who knows who she is and is just learning this dance)

Having made it to the other side of parenting, now hanging with the 2 best adults I know, I wanted to say thank you to both of them for tolerating this lunatic and still turning out great. Someone wise once told me, “your kids will be fine”. In the throws of working full time (and then some), caring for pets and parents, and trying to be a good human, I sometimes wonder how they survived.

But they did. In spite of me.

I thought this would be a good time to do another famous list and look back on the ways I messed up and they still turned out fine. And loved me anyway.

  1. Anything involving the smoke alarm and our first dog who would shake from it.
  2. Ironing the graduation gown and almost melting it.
  3. Being the carpool mom that once in awhile forgot the other kid.
  4. Backing up full force out of the driveway and hitting my brother’s car broadside… with a car full of teenage girls. (sorry Keith)
  5. Singing in the morning when you just wanted to be left alone.
  6. Locking us out of the house in a black out.
  7. Losing the concert tickets in the jungle of my hard drive for a show I don’t remember but one that was REALLY important.
  8. Surprise back surgery into a slip and fall geezer-like incident at the worst moment ever. (really sorry about this one, guys, I know how hard that was for you)
  9. Initiating completely inappropriate family discussions that now that they look back are probably the best thing I ever did… nothing shocks them now.
  10. Taking a while to figure out you did not want me to solve it, you just wanted to bitch.

Goes to show, no matter what we do, if we love them unconditionally, they just might do the same thing back.

Happy Mothers Day, kids. Thanks for tolerating.

 

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Graduation Time

grad capNope, no one in my house is graduating. But for some reason I found myself going back and reading all of the graduation posts that I had written for my kids. I guess it is that time of year. It all seems so long ago, and like yesterday at the same time.

I will tell you that here on the other side, we are all doing great and happy to have made it.

Here is a little roundup for those who are going through the graduation dance. Don’t worry, I promise, you will all be just fine.

Jana’s High School Graduation

Danny’s High School Graduation

Jana’s College Graduation

Danny’s College Graduation

Iko’s Obedience School Graduation (JK, if you have ever met her you would know she would definitely be a dropout!)

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Filed under childhood, college, danny, daughters, education, family, gary, humor, Iko, Jana, moms, parenting, pets, school, wisconsin

And then she turned 27

You wake up one morning, a good 30 lbs over your normal weight (don’t judge), wash your hair, take off your jewelry and nail polish (your version of natural childbirth) and you walk into the hospital to have a baby.

That is pretty much how it went. A stubborn breech baby, Miss Jana preferred the less violent (for her, anyway) exit of a c-section.

You planned for just about everything… and nothing at all.

You did not plan for how amazing your life would become because she was in it. Or how your heart would both fill and break at a moment’s notice when her life took its swings. You counted fingers and toes and thought you were good to go.

jana27And then one day you turn around and she turns 27! Today! And you look at the woman she has become and think, damn if I did anything right in this world it was her (and you too, Dan, but it’s not your birthday). Sure, we all gush about our kids, and love them unconditionally. But, as they age up the parenting piece is so very different. It’s a sidelines thing. A bite your tongue and hope and pray endeavor. And then they start to impart THEIR wisdom to YOU!

So, for your birthday, my sweet Petunia Blossom, I will share some of your wisdom:

  1. In the history of mankind, no one has ever calmed down when you say ‘calm down’.
  2. They now take credit cards in taxis, it’s not 1985. (in my defense I was pretty sick that day)
  3. Sometimes you just have to smile and nod – and shut the hell up.
  4. Repost is the best instagram regram app.
  5. You don’t need to solve it, you just need to listen to me complain. I will solve it myself.
  6. When you take pictures on your phone, you should always shut the sound off.
  7. Don’t eat this [fill in the blank], it has too much salt.
  8. Madewell has great gift items.
  9. This is how you do a face swap video.
  10. Laughter.

But most of all you taught me how to be silly and love life, even when it can be ‘annoying’. It seems you have been doing this your entire life.

3 janas

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Time to Cry Tuesday… Mom

Thanksgiving, like every holiday, starts off with the business of lists and recipes, shopping and cleaning and ends up where everything seems to, with the bittersweet memories of those we have lost.

“Umm… Ame, what is up with the ancient can of mandarin oranges and what do they have to do with your mom?”, you ask. Read on my friends. This one is just plain old freakish.

I spent a big chunk of the weekend reading expiration dates and tossing ancient items out of my pantry and fridge. It is really quite embarrassing, but frankly I suck at this piece of domesticity. I usually do it before the holiday visit from my nephew, the expiration date nazi, but sadly he will not be joining this year.

I digress. I had just finished making (not enough) cranberry sauce and was on the phone asking a friend about whether to use canned mandarin oranges in my fresh sauce. My argument in favor of this slimy little canned citrus was nostalgia. You guessed it, my mom always used them. I reached into the pantry and saw the condition of the can, realizing it had slipped through Saturday’s expiration sweep.

But then I saw something so startling that even the most stubborn skeptic could not deny.

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As the word ‘Mom’ left my lips, this is what I saw.

Yeh, I know, crazy, right? (and yes I am aware that this can expired over 5 years ago)

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So here’s the thing. This is no coincidence. Why the hell would DelMonte stamp MOM on the bottom of a can of (5+ year old) mandarin oranges?

Because, my friends, I really do believe they did not.

Here’s to you, Elaine, you cagey devil. And yes, I get it, I can’t possibly leave out the mandarin oranges.

“She lives on beneath everything I do. Her presence influenced who I was, and her absence influences who I am. Our lives are shaped as much by those who leave us as they are by those who stay.”

– Hope Edelman from Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss

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What Moms Wish For

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This is my girl.

Many of you have watched her grow up here; at least the parts of her we like to share. Jana not only made me a mom for the first time, she made me a mom blogger with my very first post about her High School graduation. Then on to her college graduation where I visited a different kind of change… getting her back.

ish.

Fast forward to today. Today is Jana’s last day at a job she has grown to love way beyond being a place of employment. God’s Love We Deliver has been a calling. The place where someone a little too young for the job proved she was not. Where, like everyone who works and volunteers there, she was embraced for who she is and appreciated way more than she could fathom. Until she made the tough decision to take the next step in her career.

The photo above is today’s GLWD Facebook post. She came into the office at 6AM (did I mention she starts work at 6AM?!) to find the walls covered with photos of her good times spent there. I awoke to a text with a video of the scene. We were both quite taken with this.

The emotions surrounding raising a child are often overwhelming. Equal parts pride and melancholy, the growing of a human is a roller coaster, indeed. (it’s all good, we both LOVE roller coasters). All a parent can hope for in the lives of their children is that they can find themselves, make a solid contribution and be valued. A huge thank you to the God’s Love We Deliver family, that has embraced, not only our girl, but our entire family. You have left a mark on all of us.

Good luck, my sweet Jana. As one door closes… blah blah blah. None of this makes today any easier. Love you to the moon and back. We could not be any prouder of you.

Now go out there and kick some ass.

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Confession: I was THAT mom

02987f44146962c00ea7c5e013d8a591These days I feel so far removed from the original I Could Cry Days of having no time. To breathe. To stop and think. To smell the peonies. Now life is more under control. The parenting that I do is more cerebral and my maternal obligations are pretty low stress.

Even after a long, crazy work day, I feel like I have time because I am not torturing myself with the things I think I should be doing. As a working mom, and a lover of crafts, I could not escape being ‘THAT mom’. The one that worked all day but still made party invitations to match my daughter’s dress. The one that made the halloween costumes. And HAD to iron the graduation gown. Who knew this was all way more important to me than it was to my kids?

I stumbled upon this post today. Aside from simply loving his voice, Scott Dannemiller, hit a nerve for me – many years later, but a nerve, just the same. A little excerpt that had me laughing outloud:

“As the man who is married to the person who reluctantly put googley eyes and a graduation cap on all the fruit cups, I feel I am qualified to offer this sage advice to the mothers of the world who do this kind of thing through gritted teeth out of a sense of obligation.

Stop it!

Oh, Scott, where were you when I was sitting at the kitchen table till 3AM icing upside down cupcakes to chocolate chip cookies and wrapping shoestring red licorice around them to make little cowboy hat desserts for the 4th grade class? (what the hell was the theme of that class party, anyway?) That photo above was not my cupcake… a little gumdrop and a potato chip on an Entenmanns could have saved me a hell of a lot of time, though. If only Pinterest existed back then!

The kicker of that episode was that I took the day off to attend the class party and no sooner had I put down the tray of treats, than my daughter looked at me with a green face and said, “I don’t feel so good.” We rushed to the office to see the nurse, only for her to puke across the office floor. (sorry to bring this one up, Jana)

Needless to say she was too busy being mortified to give two craps about my cowboy hat desserts.

If I had it to do over would I have done less of this? Probably not. The thing about being a working mom for me was to make sure I did all the stuff that I would have done if I didn’t work. Was it ridiculous? Of course.

But when have I ever claimed not to be ridiculous?

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To my kids on mother’s day

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This day is a tough one for me, and you guys too. But as a friend told me yesterday, ‘now we are ‘the moms’, so I am trying my very hardest to make today about what we have, not what we have lost. We all know that is what she would have wanted. And we all know she is here.

So, here goes.

I could write all the cliché things about motherhood and you could both roll your eyes about what a sap I am and laugh at how I cry at Applebee’s commercials. But I think after all these years you fully understand the way I feel about being your mom. Instead, please indulge me with ‘the list’ you have heard ad nauseam your entire lives:

Avoid drama.

Don’t be an asshole.

Misery gives happiness context.

The fork goes on the left!

Keep your eye on your own ball.

NEVER blow your nose at the table.

Put the seat down.

But we ARE rich.

No means no. Maybe usually means I am playing it out till it fizzles. Yes is always well thought out.

Bathroom humor is not only acceptable, it is encouraged.

You NEVER know what will come out of my mouth but it has hardened you to deal with any situation.

There is nothing like a good cry and an even better laugh.

Be all you can be (and be careful).

Singing Kung Fu Fighting is, in fact, the best way to start a morning.

Whatever it is, call me first. I am the most likely candidate for getting you out of it whole. (with the help of AlNel if necessary)

LU2.

I love you more…

and always will.

Thanks for growing up to be the amazing people you are, the ones I want to be with the most. Thanks for flipping the parenting roles when you see me driving myself off a cliff, for learning how to truly love with your whole hearts, and for tolerating this crazy woman with such grace.

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