When I picked Princess up from Pre-K the other day she and some of her friends were lined up putting on a performance. They were pretending they were the Chipettes and were belting out songs from Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. Thankfully the little ladies were sticking to chorus of each song and they don’t know the lyrics to the verses. Luckily it is a little difficult to understand exactly what chipmunks are singing. I get a feeling when I think of Princess singing Beyonce’s Single Ladies or I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas – it’s just not a good feeling.
A little later we get in the car for the ride home and Princess pipes up. “Mommy, can I sing some songs for you?” “Sure”, I say as I begin to dread the next 15 minutes and make a mental note to play a video of those rodents singing something more my style like We Are Family. Variety is a good thing, right?
A few seconds after I turn the radio off I hear a sweet voice floating up from the back seat.
You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord
Who abide in his shadow for life
Say to the Lord, My refuge
My rock in whom I trust
My daughter was singing On Eagle’s Wings. This was followed by One Bread, One Body. Then Holy, Holy, Holy (from the Mass of Celebration). Finally she rounded off her performance with a silly version of Itsy, Bitsy Spider for her brother.
I know where her choices came from. A few weeks ago she joined the children’s choir at our church out of mercy. It looked like we were going to have only 2 girls for the last mass before summer break and they were very happy to have Princess as an extra body and to everyone’s amazement – even mine – another fairly capable voice. Those were 3 of the selections from that mass.
Part of me is so happy and a bit proud. My daughter likes singing church songs.
On the other hand I’m torn and a little tortured about how this will play out in the years to come. It figures that my daughter would be the one singing hymns instead of hip hop or pop songs with lyrics about “losing all control” and living it up. I was am a geek. I was teased mercilessly during the middle school years for being a goody-goody. Looks like she may be headed for the same thing. I want to save her from that pain. I want to save her from making the same stupid mistakes I made. Trying to prove everyone wrong. Thinking that they were right; what boy would ever be interested in me?!
I always dismissed the words of wisdom that my mother shared with me. What did she know? She was a goody-goody! Got married right after high school. Never really dated anyone other than my dad. Never participated in clubs, sports or really anything outside of taking care of her brothers and sisters.
I worry that I won’t be able to reach her, to help her when the peer pressure kicks into high gear.
But that’s a little ways off. For now she thinks I am one of the wisest women in the entire world. I’ll take it and enjoy those hymns for as long as her innocence lasts.
Yesterday I was cleaning up the attic and went through a box of stuff my mom had saved from the first 17 years of my life. One of those things was the project book from the Marian Medal I earned as a Cadet Girl Scout. At first I thought “Why would I want this?” but was surprised to get a look into the mind and faith of me at the ripe age of the tween-age me.
From what I can glean of my project book there was a chapter on exploring the virtue of Love. As I was reading a post by the mother of a girl about to receive her First Communion I was reminded of those words I wrote over 20 years ago:
I can understand mysteries and talk about God all I want but if I do not have love I will be like a person who likes to talk about everything and anything. Love goes to anyone freely and willingly. Hate, not love rejoices in what is evil. Love rejoices in what is good. There is no limit to love. It can go on forever.
Men are imperfect. Women are imperfect. Prophets and priests are imperfect. The people closest to perfection are children. They love everyone no matter what. There are 3 things that will last: Faith, Hope and Love. Of course, as pointed out by St. Paul the greatest of these is love.
I found it amazing that as I child I was more capable of understanding issues of faith than today. As an adult I struggle more with the mysteries of God and the Church. I wonder if my daughter gets anything out of mass or if she’s just there in hopes of getting a donut and playing with her friends after that final hymn is sung. As we talk about Heaven, the Resurrection, the Trinity I doubt my words. If I have doubts how can she possible understand?
Then this voice from my past shows up. “The people closest to perfection are children.” Today I get to see this, experience it in my own children. Squirt’s bright eyes and constant smile bringing joy to countless strangers. Princess’s unquestioning love and friendship helping a priest to find balance in protecting God’s children and being their pastor.
Our children are the most virtuous among us. Their limited time on Earth means they have had less exposure to sin and corruption. I will try to remember this re-learned lesson as I continue my journey as their mother and primary teacher in faith. And hopefully they will learn as much from me as I learn from them.
For the 10 of you still checking in on my blog…
Forgive me, blogosphere, for I have forsaken you. It has been over a month since my last post.
Why has it been so long since I posted something on T with Honey?
Why haven’t I been more active on twitter?
The good news is that it’s not because anyone is sick or that we’re going through hard times. Everyone is healthy (knock on wooden window sill) and fairly happy.
Granted I got laid off a little before that last blog post down there but I’ve already gotten a few leads and went through the rigors of a phone interview. If I really want a new job I’ll find one. Plus we crunched the numbers and if we take the kids out of day care and send Princess to public school when she starts 1st Grade we’ll be just fine living on Honey’s income.
What it boils down to is that I am an introvert. I am an only child. I’m married to an only child. I can take only so much interacting with other people before I need to retreat. The current trend to be constantly “connected” and in contact with everyone through various forms of social media is just to much for a girl like me. And because I’ve been smart enough to keep all the different platforms/mediums/accounts separate for the different aspects of my life I’ve created an overhead nightmare just to stay in touch with everyone. It wouldn’t surprise me to wake up one day and find myself in a white padded room with an official diagnosis of multiple personalities if I keep it up for another year or so.
I’m constantly logging in and out of various email and web accounts. At one point I had 8 different email accounts. Why so many? Well, I have one for every aspect of my life. Some of these include the blog, one for work, one for web accounts I have to create for online purchases and e-newsletters from places like restaurants so I can get printable coupons from them (I did this to take care of the Spam – none of my other accounts get anywhere near as much Spam as this one.) Another email for personal messages. One account comes with our Internet service. Another is for joint messages to/from Honey and I.
Then comes the rest of the social media phenomenon.
Facebook. I had avoided going there for a long, long time. It finally got to the point where so many people in my life were using Facebook to share pictures, discuss life and plan events that if I wanted to have a chance at staying a part of their lives I had to get my own account. My Facebook friends list currently includes people from high school, people from college, cousins, aunts, uncles, my mom’s cousins, my cousins’ kids, parents of Princess’s friends. I constantly have to check privacy settings and manage lists of ‘friends’ to make sure that I don’t accidentally start a family feud because I agreed the sentiments in my college friend’s status and it ticks off my cousin.
Next comes my T with Honey persona. Here on my blog everyone has a different name, an alias. I do it primarily to protect us from the trolls and creeps in the world. Plus it gives me the freedom to talk about the rough and ugly parts of life without having to worry about those things popping up when someone Googles my name. I wouldn’t have been able to share the news that I was pregnant with Squirt as early as I did on the blog if my boss could stumble across that post and know that I am T with Honey.
Which ties right into the accounts dealing with my professional life. For that I use one of my personal email addresses and Linked In. I try very hard not to let my personal life mix into Linked In. When I logged in last week to update my profile with the summary I had just crafted for my resume I almost had a heart attack upon seeing a suggestion to link WordPress to Linked In so my blog posts would be automatically sent out to my Linked In connections! And Twitter! Eek!!
Logging in and out of all these accounts, dealing with privacy settings, posting status updates, networking for new jobs, arranging play dates – it all takes a lot of time and compartmentalizing. At first I was happy for these new and easier ways to keep in touch with the people I love and care about but it is getting to be too much. Everyone doesn’t need to know everything about my life. I don’t want everyone knowing about everything in my life either.
So I’ve been scaling back. More time networking and pouring creative writing efforts into my resume (not in writing fiction or stating anything misleading about my experience! I’m being creative in the wording, finding just the right turn of phrase to make my accomplishments stand out.) Where was I? Oh, more time spent in the job search process means less time and energy for blogging. Checking in with Facebook replaces keeping up with Twitter.
I want to spend time being a good wife, mother, daughter and friend. I’m going back to my roots, being true to who I am: an introvert.
Anyway, if there is one thing I learned by watching the Matrix it’s that a cyberlife is no replacement for the real one.
1. How old is the oldest pair of shoes in your closet?
I know that at least two pairs of 16 year old ankle boots from the college years are in there.
2. Did you buy Girl Scout cookies this year? If so, what variety?
Oh, yeah! Two boxes of Thanks-a-lots, two boxes of Caramel deLites and one box of the recalled Lemon Chalet Cremes.
3. Do you know how to ballroom dance? If not, would you like to?
Yes. I took it twice in college to fulfill part of my PE requirements.
4. Were you a responsible child/teenager?
Yeah. I’d say I was fairly responsible. We all have moments but I didn’t do the wild party scene. No illegal substance consumption. No skipping school or taking off in my car because we all knew that if I got caught my mom would kill me.
5. How many of this year’s Oscar-nominated movies did you see?
Hold on a sec. I gotta look up what was nominated…
from the best picture category – 1 (Up)
from ALL the categories – 2 (Up, The Princess and The Frog)
6. If you’re going to have a medical procedure done, such as having blood drawn, is it easier for you to watch someone else having the procedure done or have it done yourself?
I can’t watch anyone have blood drawn any more. I’d have to say it is easier for me to have the procedure done myself. I’m a tough cookie, been through a lot, can take the pain and know how to effectively nag the nursing staff to get the right kind of pain relief.
7. What is your favorite day of the week and why?
Any day where my family can be together and have fun would be my favorite so I’ll go with Sunday. That’s the day most businesses are closed and most families have the chance to spend time together.
8. Do you miss anyone right now?
Yes. Kids who are at day care. Mom who lives in another state. Just to name a few.
9. Do hospitals make you queasy?
No. They feel familiar.
10. At which store would you like to max-out your credit card. Not that you ever would, you responsible person, you.
Where can I buy a custom-built steam shower and the rest of the master bathroom remodeling I’d like to have done?
11. Are you true to the brand names of products/items?
Mostly I’m not but there are a few things… Stonyfield Yogurt, Huggies Diapers, Good Start formula, Goods Potato Chips, Growers’ Pride orange juice (I’m addicted to this specific OJ thanks to Squirt)
12. Which is more difficult: looking into someone’s eyes when you are telling someone how you feel, or looking into someone’s eyes when he/she is telling you how he/she feels?
looking into someone’s eyes when he/she is telling you how he/she feels
I didn’t realize just exactly how lazy my daughter can be until very recently.
Princess was laying on the floor watching the Olympics when Goofy Girl decided she wanted to eat her dinner. Princess happened to be laying right next to the dog food bowls so while the dog was eating Princess couldn’t see the TV. Did my child decide to move her lazy bones to another spot so she could continue watching speed skating?
Of course not.
Instead she started at the dog’s flanks and started yelling at her to “Move!”
After squelching the you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me tirade that had launched inside my head I calmly explained to Princess that the dog is trying to eat her dinner. The dog is standing where her food is located. The dog CAN’T move to another spot in the room. But she (read: Princess) can.
Then I started to tease the kid in a sweet sing-song voice, “Go on. Move your cute little tushie.”
Princess started nudging the dog with her feet.
“No, stop kicking the dog! Are you really THAT lazy?”
That’s when I started thinking (I know, dangerous thing) how could I get my lazy kid to move her butt and find a different spot to lay on the floor to watch TV?
Hmmm… bribery in the form of candy? Nope. We made that mistake during potty training.
Ask her to do it as a favor for mommy? Eh, guilt really isn’t my thing.
Threaten her? Ooooo! Now that’s more my style. But it has to be something playful, yet at the same time something she won’t put up with. Hmmm… (I know! More thinking. Sound the alarm. Alert! Alert!) I got it!
“If you don’t move I’m gonna spit on you.”
She thought I was bluffing and stood, or should I say laid her ground.
Even as I hovered over her prone body and leaned my head so my mouth was directly over Princess’s face she STILL thought I was bluffing. As the spit gathered at my lips she continued to think that I was bluffing. Even as gravity started to do its thing and the spit began to stretch down from my mouth toward her naked face below she didn’t budge and thought I was bluffing.
Princess staid her ground and remained laying on the floor staring at the dog that was blocking the TV. Not until that spit landed on her face, at the corner of her mouth (gah! why, yes I was horrified!) did Princess learn that Mommy NEVER bluffs.
And, yeah, I spit on my kid. :(
The email was cryptic but I knew what it meant. A meeting scheduled to start in less than half an hour. No entries on the “To” line. All email recipients go the message via “Bcc”.
Thirty minutes later I had my suspicions confirmed. My position has been eliminated. I am joining the ranks of the unemployed.
On the flip side I no longer have to spend the weekdays wishing I could have more time with my kids. I’m about to become a Stay At Home Mom.
Yes, I plan to look for a new job but if I don’t find one it is no big deal. We’ll work something out with Squirt’s day care center. I’m getting a severance package so for a little while I will be a Stay At Home Mom and I’ll still be getting a paycheck.
The only thing that sucks (pun very much intended) is that today is the day that I officially stopped breastfeeding. As in I put the pump away last night when I got a total of 1 ounce of breastmilk in those little bottles. Squirt nursed for the last time when he woke up screaming in the middle of the night. It wasn’t a sweet “I’ll treasure this memory forever” nursing session either. He made it very obvious that he was not happy about the lack of Mama Milk.
As I got ready for bed last night I got the next sign that the season of breastfeeding is officially over. I got my period.
If I had gotten the pink slip one week sooner I may have been able to get my milk supply back to full capacity and convince Squirt to go back to the days of snuggling in my arms to fill his belly with milk.
But the figurative well has run dry. My milk ducts are empty and we have finally come though the pain of weaning onto a 100% formula diet. (It wasn’t easy. Two weeks ago he started having gas and constipation issues. I’m not messing with his digestive system like that again, so soon.)
I don’t know how much you’ll see me around online now that I’ll be home full time again. But I will most definitely be enjoying this once-in-our-lifetimes opportunity to be at home, playing with my babies and driving my Work At Home Husband nuts with the noise and laughter of our fun.
Tired of waking up to eyeballs staring at me or almost slapping my daughter because my sleep-addled brain turned her feather taps on my cheek into a dream about being attacked by flies at o’dark in the morning Honey and I laid down the law. Once you go to bed no getting up until it is light outside. Or if you have to go potty. Or if there is an emergency.
We covered the basics on what constitutes an emergency (fire or CO detectors going off) answered some light questions and then got hit with the worst case scenario she could think of.
“What if mommy is dead and daddy is dead and Squirt is dead?”
I quickly fired back “That would be an emergency” hoping it would end there but knowing that she is my daughter I knew what was coming next.
“Who will come get me if you, daddy and Squirt are dead?”
Yep. That’s my girl. I did the same thing to my mom and dad after my great aunt’s funeral when I was 4 years old. That is a post for another day but when my parents chose to be honest with me that day, to let me know that I would be cared for if they died helped immensely 5 years later when the unthinkable did happen and my father died in a car accident. My poor Godfather. I’ll never forget the look on his face when I matter-of-factly asked him when I’d be moving into his house.
So I told my daughter what is contained in our wills.
“Sweetie, I want you to know that if something were to happen, if daddy and I are both dead then you and Squirt are going to live with Uncle D (her Godfather).”
What happened next shocked me to my core leaving Honey and I completely stunned. Princess curled her hand into a fist, pumped her arm into the air and yelled…
Um, should I learn to sleep with my eyes open?