Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hang On Tight

There has been a lot of talk of friendship around our house lately.

Brother is always extremely interested in whether or not Sister considers him her friend. More times than not, the answer is yes but that can change quickly depending on his willingness to follow her every command.

When they are being friendly with one another, they are always eager to point it out to me. So, it came as no surprise a few days ago when we were driving down the road and Brother said, "Look, Mom! We're being friends!"

I looked in the rear view mirror and sure enough, they were holding hands and the grin on Brother's face was unmistakable.

Before I could comment, Sister piped up.

"Actually, it's not so much that we're friends, Brother. It's just that you won't let go of me."

It's all about perspective, baby.

It occurred to me that really, isn't that what makes a friendship solid? You hang on tight and you refuse to let go. You hold on to your beloved friends when life gets so busy that you forget to call each other for weeks. When one of you is grieving the loss of a child or a parent, you hold on for dear life and no matter how long this journey through immense pain takes, you never let go. When PMS is running rampant and she snaps at you for being late to lunch, you hold on because you know what it's like to be emotional and crampy. When she calls and tells you that her marriage is over, you cry with her and intertwine your fingers tightly with hers, assuring her that she will make it through this.

The bond that holds real friends together is often shared, two people putting in effort to grow a solid relationship. But sometimes, that bond becomes the strongest when one person loosens their grasp and the other holds on even tighter, refusing to let go.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Man PR Team

I've had this blog for just under two years now. I told you several months back that I was just coming out of the blogging closet to a group of my closest girlfriends. Other than those ladies, most people in my real life don't know that I blog. I'm slowly coming around to telling people but it's really difficult for me to do for some reason.

Enter my husband. Since day one, he's been my biggest fan. He has been encouraging me to tell people about it and invite them to read. He's been telling the ladies at his office about my blog recently and handing them my card (with my blog address), inviting them to read. That's actually fine with me since I know those ladies and love them. (As an aside: Hi, ladies! Love ya!)

Last night he went a step further. We were at a birthday party and I was chatting with one of the other moms that I don't know very well. We had a nice chat and then she had to leave while I had to follow my kids through the maze that is Chuck E Cheese. Once we were in the car, J. proudly announced that he had given out his fifth of my cards for the day.

WHAT? To whom? Chuck E himself?

No. He gave it to the sweet lady I was chatting with. He thought she might enjoy reading here. Whew, boy. I love that man. I was a little embarrassed, though. I don't know why I was embarrassed but even now, I get all weird thinking about it. I'm so glad he's proud of me, really I am. I just have such a hard time self promoting.

In a little more than a week, I'm heading to Nashville for my very first blogging conference, Blissdom. I'm nervously excited to attend. I mean, seriously. Have you seen the lineup of speakers? Those are ladies that I was reading back in the days that I was still trying to dream up a clever name for my blog. If I can find sponsorship, I will head to Blogher this summer. I have so much to learn from these women who write these amazing words that speak directly to my heart each day. First, I have to get over this anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I tell someone that I write and that I actually like to do it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Preschool Playa

Brother talks about a particular little girl in his class often. He tells us that she's his best friend. Recently, he told us that she loves him but that she doesn't like kisses. He discovered this when he slid too close to her on the carpet and she told him not to get too close because she didn't like kisses.

Being a little gentleman, he assured her that he wouldn't try such a thing. Being his mother, I was glad to hear it.

A few days later, as I was buckling him into the car, he said, "Mom! Today at school, I got the hook-ups!"

Oh boy.

My mind starts racing. I mean, he's only four and he got the hook-up at preschool?

"What do you mean, buddy?"

"You know, I kept going HIC! HIC! and needed to get a drink of water."

Ahhh, the hiccups. Whew.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Flawed

I am my own worst critic.

I have a habit of pointing out my flaws to others before they have the chance to realize that they exist.

Often, I can't see who I really am because I'm studying my shortcomings so closely. It's nearsightedness of the worst kind.

I'm so much harder on myself than I am on others. In fact, I have criticised things about myself that I would admire about others.

It occurred to me almost a year ago this type of behavior is not only bad for me, it is horrible for my daughter. She is watching everything I do and taking notes. Some of the things that she sees in me will form the woman she will become. If I'm constantly critical of my weight, my hair, my loud voice or my undying love of musicals, what does that teach her? I want her to respect me and to love my quirks but more importantly, I want her to respect herself and love her own quirks.

I'm learning to embrace my flaws. I'm learning that maybe, just maybe, the things that I think are flaws aren't. Instead, they are little parts of what makes me who I am. They are things that the rest of the world probably wouldn't notice if I'd stop asking them to. Best of all, I'm learning that if my daughter grows up to be like me, she will be a woman who is tremendously blessed, loved and unapologetically herself.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Four

Yesterday was Brother's birthday. If you have been within a one hundred mile radius of him in the last two weeks, you were already aware of that because he hasn't forgotten to tell a single person.

I've decided that four is my favorite age of his ages so far. I probably said that about the ages of one, two and three, also.

At four, he still gets excited when he first sees me in the morning. He snuggles with me endlessly and isn't ashamed to kiss me in front of his friends at school. In fact, it's at preschool drop-off and pick-up that he gives me the biggest smooches of all.

Brother hands out hugs and kisses freely to those he loves. He hasn't yet been tainted by the "man hug" that only allows boys to hug with one arm before they quickly move away. No, sir. When he hugs, he puts his whole heart into it and you are more likely to let go first.

At four, Brother still has so many questions about the way things work. Many of the questions he comes up with leave me thinking and searching for correct answers. So many of the things that occur to him, never occur to me. This past weekend while visiting family, we got to see snow for the first time in a long time. This led him to ask, when God was thinking up all of the things to put in the weather, how did he come up with snow?

Around our house, things are often on Brother time. He moves at his own pace. When we are all in a rush, he is the one strolling along slowly, picking up rocks or studying the clouds. When we are all ready to sit and rest, he's testing out his shoes to see how fast they will let him run.

There are kids who are rule followers. Being a first born, I was one of those kids. It's not that Brother is a rule breaker, it's just that he chooses to believe that there are no rules.

I always say that Brother has a running soundtrack in his head. He's always singing, humming and dancing. He's often unaware that he's even doing it when I stop to ask him what it is he's singing. Confused, he will look up at me and then it dawns on him that he was actually just rocking out to whatever music was on his mind.

So often, at four, Brother will stop and compliment me on something or tell me that he loves me. He will stop what he's doing and say, "Mom? You're my favorite girl."

This type of affection isn't reserved for only me, however. Just this past week, he was snuggling with Sister on my bed as we were all taking our time waking up. Reaching up to pat her on the cheek, he said, "Sister, your skin is so soft."

I started to melt into a puddle on the spot.

Until he followed up with, "Not like Mom's. Hers is all cracky."

I'm hoping that was just his four year old sense of humor.

I've often thought that God gave us children so that we may teach them, hoping one day that they will turn into responsible adults. More recently, I've decided that He gave us children to teach us. I've learned so much from both of my children but from Brother, to live by my own rules, to move at my own pace and to have a soundtrack of my own.

I love you, Brother. You're my favorite boy.