When What’s Before Us Is a Bit Over-Much

Today the littles spent a bit of this cold afternoon watching videos about life in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.  We found these cool, very age appropriate videos that show everyday life in each of these countries.  They loved seeing that these children in other countries were just as fascinated with Legos as they are.

To wrap up our school day, I asked each of them to write a story that had to do with something they had learned.  Our Princess got all excited and proudly read hers, complete with prompting her brother Cooter to “drumroll please” at different points in the story.  She is getting more comfortable with writing her stories, and that absolutely tickles my fancy.

Cooter, on the other hand, is working on finding his voice.  His story was much shorter, and after he read it (and spent more time explaining the back story than actually reading what he had written), I looked it over and found three words he had misspelled.  Whether it was the best thing to do or not, I asked him to write the words a few times each to get to know each one and hopefully learn the correct spelling.

He was less than thrilled.

He put off the task, first practicing the piano (we started lessons yesterday–so exciting!) and then building with Legos and talking with his Daddy when he got home.  I let him do all of this, having told him no electronics until the rewriting the words was done.

Our Princess, who had done all of her assignments, came and got the device she plays on, I punched in the password, and she was off building and creating on that game they love.

Cooter was not happy.  He whined.  He wasn’t feeling good.  He was miserable.  Life is hard.  And so on.

Poor guy.  Ahem.

After sitting in the other room watching his sister play and build for a bit, he came running back in the room where I was.  He grabbed up his paper and said, “She told me how to do this!”

“Really?” I asked, as he headed, pencil in hand, back to where his sister was.

“Yes!  Start with one.”

Start with one.

Well.  How about that?

Princess does know about this firsthand.  She committed a kindness violation the other day and had to write sentences as part of a contract that she would think before she did that again.  Twenty-five to be exact.  I don’t remember hearing her complain.

I guess it’s because she started with one.

Tonight I’m thankful for the reminder from my littles that when life is overwhelming and seems too much to handle, it’s okay.  Just start with one.

And then another one.

And eventually, we will get done what needs to be done.

The excitement and joy and pride on my little guy’s face when he finished was precious.  I don’t know that he will remember that feeling the next time he has an overwhelming assignment in front of him, but here’s hoping.

Here’s hoping we all remember to breathe.

And start with one.

Love to all.

 

Slow Down

Today is brought to you by the word “Slow” and the word “Down.”

That’s right, slow down.  My children, my family, myself, just everyone.  Slow it all down.

 

When you get your beverage way before your food when we are eating out, slow down girl.  That tea needs to last you a while.

When you are writing your spelling words, for the love of everyone who needs to read what you are writing (me), slow down.  I need for what you write to be legible.

When you are doing your math problems, slow down.  Take your time.  I’m not timing this.  The only way to get it right is to make sure you are doing each step correctly.

When you are telling me a story, slow down.  I know you are excited and I can’t wait to hear it and be excited with you, but breathe.  Speak where I can understand you.  I’m not going anywhere, I’m right here listening.

When you are on your bicycle and ride out of my sight when we are on our walks, slow down.  (Or just stop.)  My nerves cannot handle you being that far ahead of me.  This helicopter Mama needs to see that you are okay when you are riding up ahead.

As for all of this growing up thing, y’all slow down.  Just please.  Yes.

The makeup that gets pulled out twice a year for dance recitals that you are so wanting to wear more often, slow down.  The day will come when you will dread getting up to put on makeup and begrudge the time it takes to put it on.  Slow down.  Be young for just a little longer.

The wanting to grow up fast to be a race car driver or a spy or a Jedi knight, slow down.  Let’s get our reading, writing, and ‘arithmetic in order first.  The rest will come.  Far too soon.

And all of this dreaming and talking about what kind of houses y’all will live in when you are grown and how many children you will have and how you will have a place for your nieces and nephews to come visit…..for the sake of your Mama who weeps at the idea of an empty nest, slow.  Down.

The talking about graduate school and dreaming about your life ahead and thinking about weddings one day and naming future children, slow down.  It’s a wonder I can walk around unassisted and still have my own teeth, as old as y’all make me feel sometimes.  I love y’all but can we just be where we are…..for just a little longer?

For the guy in the truck and the woman in the car and all of the others who passed me and Miss Sophie and my two small children out on a walk this afternoon, slow down.  I’m not even playing about this.  Put my children or my dog at risk with your fast driving in this “residential area” and I will have your license plate number copied down and turned in so fast, it will make your head spin.  Not even joking.  There are signs.  Obey them.

For folks so ready to pass judgment on a person or a situation and share said opinions with one and all and anyone who will listen, slow down.  You don’t know the situation completely.  None of us really do who aren’t directly involved.  Cooter and our Princess were watching a show one day that asked a question, “Who can decide if someone is guilty or not?”  to which our Princess said, “The folks who were there when it happened.”  Amen.  Though I’m sure they were looking for “the jury” as the answer, my girl is absolutely right.  If you weren’t there, you don’t know the whole story.  Slow down–or hey, maybe even stop–with the judging.

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When life hands you a whole set of activities and things to do, take a moment and slow down.  Busy isn’t always best.  Sometimes slowing down and just being is what your soul needs the most.

And to you Time and Life, please, please slow down.  Slow down these days that pass oh too quickly, carrying me away from the days when people I love were still here, still reminding me of who I am, and what we stand for, reminding me I am loved, and filling my heart with peace and joy.  Just slow down.  As time passes I worry that their memories will fade, and my heart cannot handle the thought of that ever happening.  Just slow down.

Wishing you all a slow-moving weekend, so we can catch up on things that are most important in this life–like good handwriting, math, and loving each other.

Love to all.

 

 

 

if you’re not feeling the whole new year party thing…..

Here it is.

December 31.

I’ve been asked so many times, “Big plans for New Year’s Eve?” or “What are y’all doing for the Big Night?”  (and they say it just like that, capital letters and all)

Ummmm, not so much.  Hope to be in bed before the ball drops.

Then there are the well-intentioned folks who ask about New Year’s Resolutions.

Yeah, I don’t do those either.

Sometimes, when I share that I don’t make resolutions, I am then asked the question, “Well, what are your plans and dreams for 2014?”

No.  I once did that, but not anymore.  It’s just too much.

This year I am having to treat today and tomorrow as just another day.  Because that’s how I have to take things to cope, to be able to keep breathing.  One day, sometimes one moment, at a time.  If I sit down and reflect over this year or wax poetic about the turning of the calendar, the ticking of the clock, Father Time and all his ways, then I will break down.  I just cannot go there.   Not and be able to get back up again.

I used to make a big fuss over New Year’s Eve.  One of the best ever was on NYE of 1999.  That’s right, ringing in the Y2K.  Quite exciting actually, not being sure if the power would still be on or our identities would be wiped clean at 12:01 a.m.  Just to be safe we’d stocked up with every snack imaginable–mostly in the beige food group so loved by people age five and under.  That’s right, it was me and my Joyful sisterfriend partying like it was 1999 with our three girls–two who were age four, and then there was Baby J, who had just turned two.  I’m talking serious partying, people.  So much so that at 10:00 p.m. we told them it was midnight, gave them some sparkling cider, rang in the New Year with whistles and cheers, and sent their precious little selves to bed.  Best night ever!  Me and my sisterfriend and our girls–just the way it was so often during that time of our life.  That is a memory I will always treasure. Another favorite NYE celebration was in 2005.  It was me, Mess Cat, and my two girls–one ten and one a year old– partying with the Disney Channel countdown.  We partied right that year too, y’all.  I miss those Disney countdowns.  During the Times Square one tonight I kept having to ask Aub who the artists were…..so I finally gave up.

Last year, I was hopeful.  Literally–filled with hope.  We had made it through a year without my Daddy.  It had been a hard year, but Mama was making plans.  Plans for the future.  And I felt strong enough to do some of that too.  I had my “word” for 2013 picked out, and I was ready, if not eager, to move on into the new year–2013.

So much for that.

2013 came at us, after us it seemed, with twists and turns and pains and heartbreaks that we could not have anticipated.  Yes, there was some joy too–a real, not very much fun roller coaster of a year.  And that’s all I’m going to say about that.  I’m not reflecting on the year tonight, remember?

So no resolutions.  No plans.  No dreams.  Just a day to day coping.  Some days that’s as good as it gets.  And I’m okay with that.  I will honor the traditions of New Year’s Day that I was raised with–I won’t do laundry AT ALL, I will eat blackeye peas and greens, and I will try and love on folks because whatever you do on New Year’s Day, you’ll do all year long…..y’all knew that, right?  But other than that.  Just.  Another.  Day.  It just has to be.

This and homemade guacamole--our attempts to make it a party.

This and homemade guacamole–my attempts to make it a party for my babies.

For the sake of my littles, I tipped my hat to today and its significance with a little party fun, and they decorated their ice cream cone trees tonight.  (Yes, we are a week behind, thank you for noticing.  It’s been that kind of Christmas season.)  They laughed, they decorated, they snuck candy, and they are STILL AWAKE.  I am thinking a replay of NYE 1999 might need to come into play.  *sigh*  This Mama is ready to call it a night.

Tonight I am thankful for sisterfriends and sisters who love for a lifetime, who remember, and who show up when you need them most.  I am thankful for the freedom to not celebrate tonight–the gift of another quiet night at home with my family, even though the homemade guacamole was worth a whoot whoot or two, if I do say so myself as shouldn’t.  Most of all, I am thankful for the good memories I have that I can wrap myself in like a blanket to keep me warm in the cold days of January.

As my Mama often said, “Happy Everyday!”

 

When I still lived at home, I would always point out on New Year’s Day that I hadn’t had a shower since last year, so I’d better go take one. *insert your uncontrollable laughter at my razor wit here* Since moving away from home, each year I would call Mama on New Year’s morning and say something cheesy like, “Mama, I haven’t talked to you since last year!  Hey, how’ve you been?”  I will miss doing that.  So if your phone rings and it’s me and my cheesiness on the other end, please don’t roll your eyes or sigh too loudly.  It’s a tradition, after all.