Jill from Diaper Diaries retweeted a link to a Hallmark contest from Mary at Giving Up on Perfect yesterday and I thought, sure, I’ll leave a comment and then I thought, why not write a blog post? The prompt was to say what you need or want to tell someone. Get ready for a genuine post, not one that is snarky and addressed to the people at the gym next door or judgmental shoppers at the grocery store – I’ve thought and said plenty to them (pretty much entirely thought, aside from that one time I told off a rude old lady at the post office).
One of my resolutions in 2011 was to send real mail to people which I opted to do for my friends and family at holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It felt so good to send those little treats to people and I’d like to continue to send real mail or notes of encouragement over email so people know I’m thinking about them or have them on my minds. But while I get my act together on that, here are a few things that should be said.
- Thank you to my parents for raising me right and never once making me feel like I was an accident (because hello, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t planned when I came along 19 years later)
- I want my brothers to know that despite the big gap, I so love them and appreciate their roles in my life. This also goes for my sister-in-laws because I’ve known both of them nearly as long as I’ve known my brothers.
- I want my sister-in-law in Australia to know how thankful I am that she played such an important role in Simon’s life and that we appreciate beyond words everything she does; also, take it easy because she pushes herself too hard.
- I want to tell my high school youth group leaders that without them I would not be the person I am today. It’s because of their love and Christian example that I ended up going to the college I did and that set the path for where my life is today.
- I want to say thank you to my high school yearbook teacher for encouraging the creative side of me and introducing me to graphic design, without him I might have ended up pursuing my teenage aspirations of being a pediatrician for far longer than I should have.
- I want to say to Julie that I miss you and your friendship but I understand the distance.
- I want to tell my First Rooks Girls (so named because we all met living on that floor in college) that you are my heart and without your friendships I would be lost.
- I want to tell my MOPS ladies that you have given me so much more than I could ever give you, making new friends as an adult is hard but you guys make it easy.
- I want to tell Simon that I know our current work/life/house situation isn’t ideal but there isn’t anyone else I’d rather go through this with and in another couple of years this will all be behind us and we’ll be stronger than ever. And I still love your accent and you.
- I want to tell Liam and Jack that they have made me a better person because I am their mother and that they have taught me how to love selflessly, endlessly and fiercely.
- I want the future wives of my boys to know that I am praying for them and hope we have a good relationship but that they can feel free to tell me if they feel like I’ve ever over-stepped my bounds and also to please not take my sons from me (dramatic, but you know what I mean).
What would you like to say to someone?
Well, no mushy Valentine’s posts from me… I’m really ambivalent about Valentine’s, I love it for the sake of the kids, but I don’t really need to go above and beyond on a particular (slightly manufactured) day for my husband – though I did get him some of his favorite beer (Dirty Bastard – the name of the beer, not at all a description of my hubs) and he got me roses because I do appreciate flowers (ANY time).
But I’m going to take a page from Sandy (who took a page from the PW) and list the things I love, in no particular order (except the first five, because, duh).
Anything that comes in a box from Amazon
Sunshine, with no humidity
Honest to goodness rainbows
Family, near, far and everywhere
My First Rooks girls
My MOPS ladies
All other friends from everywhere else
Books and Kindles
Meijer Gold tomatillo salsa
My crazy long toes
Jack’s adorable little hand
Liam’s angry face
Laughing until I cry
Walking with Sandy (but of course)
Homemade chocolate chip scones
Coffee granita from Kava House
Pulled pork tacos (my own recipe)
The automatic sliding doors on my minivan
The Time Traveler’s Wife (the book, not the movie)
Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version, not the book)
Traveling (without kids, someday I might like it with them)
Going to camp at Camp Roger
Awesome praise music at the start of a church service
A handful of good-looking actors (not naming names, but here are a few)
Music on my iTunes
Blaring music in the car
Listening to either of my boys sing
Girl’s night out
Being the youngest
Pristine, untouched snow
Making a client happy
Making people laugh
Vanilla java stout
Seeing the sunset from a plane
Watching the sun rise in the mountains
Flower buds poking out of the ground
Living in the US (not that it’s better than anywhere else, I do just love it)
West Michigan and Dutch bingo
Chicago at Christmastime
How excited Liam is to see me when I’m at his school
How Jack throws anything in his hands to the ground when I get to daycare
Community, doing life with others
Simon and I play something I’ve started calling dishwasher roulette (at least in my head – in reality, I don’t think Simon knows we’re playing this game). Along with having an indicator light next to the word “clean” on the outside of our dishwasher, the other way you know the dishwasher has just run through a cleaning cycle is when you open it, you hear the door to the compartment that holds the cleaning tab audibly “pop” open. Because of our schedules, we’ve gotten into the habit of running the dishwasher at the end of our “parenting shift” leaving it so the other parent comes home to clean dishes in an unemptied dishwasher. It’s easy to ignore the clean dishes and avoid having to put them away until you have to open the dishwasher and hear that popping noise. Once it’s opened, it won’t “pop” again and then the other person knows you’ve open the dishwasher full of clean dishes but haven’t put them away. I personally feel guilty if I don’t put them away once I’ve heard that pop so I avoid opening the dishwasher unless I have to (ignorance is bliss) and thus avoid hearing the telltale pop (hense the dishwasher roulette – though not nearly so life-ending). Simon does not feel this same measure of guilt if his simply pulling the clean dishes out that he needs to use and shutting it again is any indication. Like a good little Dutch girl, I feel the guilt and curse that wretched popping sound when I hear it.
On a related note, has anyone else gone to put dishes in the dishwasher and found it full of clean dishes and after putting away the clean dishes realized that they accidentally put the aforementioned dirty dishes away with the clean ones? I thought that happened the last time I emptied the dishwasher and I sort of shrugged and thought, “Should I go through the cupboard and find those two dirty plates, they only had bread on them…” but then I saw the dirty dishes sitting on top of the coffee maker. [That sound you heard a couple seconds ago was my mother gasping – I assure you, she raised me better.]
And completely unrelated to the above… I heard a new Kid Rock song today (see below) called “Care” and I was reminded that I inexplicably like Kid Rock’s music (not to be confused with actually liking Kid Rock as a person).
When I was little, I imagined I’d be a lot of things when I grew up. An architect. An interior designer. A doctor. A novelist. A lawyer. All the usual things. I’m sure at some point I started considering the personal side of my life – what it would be like to be married and to be a mom. But all those thoughts were purely pie in the sky, because how could I possibly and accurately imagine what life would be like. All I knew was what I saw of the grown ups in my life from my own childlike perspective. I looked forward to being a grown up because I would be able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted (oh, that is laughable, to think that I would have control of my life just because I was adult). The things I would do and the places I would go.
Well guess what? Things don’t turn out how you imagine them when you are a kid. At least they didn’t for me. They turned out so much better and more fulfilling. Schlocky, I know, but still true. I don’t have some big fancy career that sounds impressive at cocktail parties (nor do I ever go to cocktail parties) but I also don’t work the crazy hours that go hand-in-hand with those jobs and I don’t have the thousands of dollars of debt from the necessary education. Instead I have flexible hours in an environment where I get to exercise my creative muscles and for the most part be my own boss. I have no need for the fancy, glitzy job because I have the one that’s just perfect for me. Which doesn’t mean that it’s without frustrations but that’s for another day.
I need to remind myself that while life doesn’t turn out like you imagine, it always turns out for the best and that’s better than anything I could imagine. Awww… someone’s all grown up. And now I’m off to puke at my cheesiness.
To the tiny, speed-walking pregnant woman who overtook me on the Reed’s Lake path and smiled ever-so knowingly, come talk to me in 5+ years when you are pushing 70+ pounds worth of two children in a non-aerodynamic stroller.* I do not think your non-touching, twig-like thighs will be able to hack it.
To the lovey-dovey high school-aged couple lounging around in the grass who didn’t even give my cute kids a smile when they ran past you at the park and shouted ‘hi,’ someday you will break up. And someday, a gorgeous afternoon spent at the park feeding ducks and eating cheese crackers will be the best part of your day and you (too) will feel old and wonder why those young people don’t bother to smile at your children (though, it should be noted, your kids won’t be nearly as cute as mine).
Tomorrow is the first day of kindergarten, wish us luck and say a little prayer. We’re ready.
*Liam rides on the handlebar/canopy of the Graco stroller when he can’t handle walking, today it was the entire walk.