Beach Baby


Barnacle Ball on the beach today. I touched it to see it was rubber. Didn't see any glass balls. It sure was windy! I was ready for anything!

Barnacle Ball on the beach today. It was rubber.

Took my girls to Sherwood Beach today in Waimanalo. It was quite deserted. The wind howled, squalls whipped in from the sea, and beautifully bubbly marine blue man-o-war were everywhere. The sun peeked through the clouds. I had to get some sand running in, my new favorite way to keep in touch with my inner whimpy runner.

We parked The Forever Van under the ironwoods and before I could shut the back hatch, Kid2 was up to her waist in waves, bobbing up and down, goggles holding down her curls and protecting her eyes from the salty sea spray. Kid1 followed with a boogie board that launched into the air like a kite while she tried to hold onto it in with the leash.

I loaded down the chair with our beach bag of towels and slid my arms into the cords of my mini backpack — a giveaway from one of my races. Inside were our three iPhones, two wallets, my reading glasses and a bandana. We don’t leave our valuables laying around. When I run I honestly don’t even feel the bag or its contents bouncing around on my back. The wind is so intense I do what I can to keep my visor on my head. I watch the sand for the spots of blue, I look around at the people, I watch the waves and take my turns running in the water, on the mud, or on the soft, dry sand.

Twice my legs got entwined in man-o-war tentacles. By the time I finished my second of three laps, the girls had decided there were too many man-o-war, it was too windy, and here comes the rain. Argh. Who are these sissies? My parents had to pry me off the beach when I was little. Heck, I could stay there all day, everyday, if I had my way!

This perplexes me. How are these girls my children? If it’s raining at the beach, you get wet, right? But you’re swimming in the ocean! It’s so cool to be in the ocean when it’s raining! The fresh water trickles down your face and it is a weird sensation to taste fresh water when you’re floating in the ocean. They were wearing long-sleeve jerseys to protect them from the sun and stings. Neither had been stung, but they still wanted to get out. I was really disappointed. I was ready to sit in my chair and enjoy being at the beach, just as I have done for as long as I can remember. When I got hot again, I’d run back into the water. It’s the way it’s done. Swim, drip dry, repeat.

It’s fall break for my girls who now have demanding social lives and obligations beyond hanging out with Mom. I’m OK with that. I will admit going to the beach alone is a lot easier than going with an entourage. But someday they’ll be gone for good and I’ll have plenty of solitary beach days. I know I’ll miss having their whiny sandy butts bickering in the back of The Forever Van, sweeping between their toes with the mini whisk brooms, burping their demanding iPhones, while I sit in the chauffer’s seat, with the wind blowing full throttle in the windows, taking whatever conversations they have out and far away.

I’ll collect shells and take pictures and send them emails signed:

Luv,

The Forever Mom.

 

Put a Child On a Plane


There’s this chasm growing between my 13-year-old daughter and me. It’s OK. I still remember being 13. My mother was much closer to me in age, so I am counting on this age difference between my first born and me to result in a smoother relationship.

Kid1 is better at this life game than I was when I was her age. She plays her cards close. I wear my heart on my sleeve, I allow people to use me, I trust until I am fooled. It’s kind of embarrassing, and I realize I must bury the bones of my past.

She’s in Rome with her high school orchestra and band classmates, her viola was part of her carry-on luggage, she’s got a less-than-iPhone in case she loses it, we tracked her flight from Hawaii to Dulles to Rome with the very cool FlightAware app. I hope I hear from her: a text, an Instagram, an email. I might not. So far I haven’t. She’s been in touch with her Dad and Kid2, and I’m relieved when they let me know she’s reached out. I sent her a text with little emoji hearts, an Italian flag, a violin, a jet plane, musical notes. Just me, trying to be playful and fun and loving.

Our first night without her was quite calm. No shower wars between the sisters about who has to go first, no bickering, no slights. Kid2 read a book after dinner and talked with me a lot. We will enjoy this time together, but we all miss Kid1.

When we were driving to the airport, it reminded me of the ride to the hospital to give birth. I cried because I was happy, but I cried because there was no going back and that the changes that would occur when this new person comes into our lives would be irreversible. Dynamics shift. Our personalities make room for another. Our hearts expand immeasurably.

The experience will be amazing for her. We’re curious, we wish we could watch as she enjoys a true Italian cappuccino, plays her viola with her orchestra, takes in the wonders of the Vatican and the ruins of Rome. Will she share all this, or will she keep these memories locked?

I fumble about for the right key.

 

A Daily Top 10 List of Gratitude

Featured


Happy Valentine’s Day, Luvs! Each morning I’m to write down 10 things I’m grateful for as part of my personal self-improvement program to adjust my outlook on life. I’m to say thank you for each of them three times. It’s supposed to set the tone for my day. Wake with gratitude, appreciate what you have, and keep that attitude going throughout the day. I won’t always post it here, but today I feel like it. Plus, well, you know, it’s my blog. I’ve read The Secret, so that’s what this is all about.

By Kid2: A mountain, a feather, a heart in an ocean, which is in a bigger ocean. Luv it!

By Kid2: A mountain, a feather, a heart in an ocean, which is in a bigger ocean. Luv it!

I do not wake up grateful every day. I do not go to bed thankful for all that happened throughout my day. Some days I feel like driving straight through the guard rail between Hanauma Bay and Lanai Lookout instead of taking that awesome curve with finesse. But you know what? I take the curve, and I do love driving along there. I love seeing the ocean, the deep blue sea kissing the light blue sky with Molokai, Maui, and sometimes Lanai in sight. I have a lot to live for, three people who endlessly love me, and many friends with whom I wish to discover more about. I also have a lot to give. A lot to give.

Today, February 14, 2013: Thank you times 30.

  • I’m grateful the best guy ever realized we were supposed to be a team, and gave me a huge bouquet of roses, popped open the bubbly, made Salad Niçoise ala Julia Child, and got down on one knee to propose way back in 1991. He could have handed me an Almond Joy.
  • I’m grateful I have two beautiful and brilliant daughters. What a hard road it was to become a mom.
  • I’m grateful for my home, garden, and kitties. It is the place where I can fully relax.
  • I’m grateful for this job. I love to write, I enjoy my colleagues, I struggle with some aspects, but I have the support of my management who are helping me obtain my goals.
  • I’m grateful for my health and the sense to realize that working out should be fun and enjoyed.
  • I’m grateful for my friends with whom I work and work out. I’m grateful for my friends on Facebook and Twitter. Some are old from small-kid time days, and others are new, many of whom I’ve never met. It is always, always, always a joy to connect with them (you!).
  • I’m grateful for the Internet and my iPhone with a camera that lets me capture moments to share with the universe. I love that I can frame something beautifully within a few bytes.
  • I’m grateful for my bicycles because every time I get on one (almost daily now that one is set up on a trainer at home), my body and mind are transported to that girl who rode her Schwinn Varsity 10-speed everywhere, all over Burlington County, New Jersey, exploring back roads and always returning home safely.
  • I’m grateful for the tough moments that mark my day and my life because of the introspection and growth they generate within. The life’s lessons shape us.
  • I’m grateful for having realized at this half-way point of my life that it’s important to be quiet, to hold back when I feel the need to shield someone, to instead write the things I have learned and hope that my words seep into hearts unknown forever.

Me and MiniMe

Gallery

This gallery contains 3 photos.


Do you ever wish you could step back in time and let your younger you in on a few things? I feel like I have that chance, sort of, with my Kid2, aka MiniMe. Yesterday, she and I had another … Continue reading

Of Angels and Science

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.


#postaday. My most important job is being a mom, and to tell you the truth, I’m just winging it. My daughters are perfect for me. They keep me balanced. They surprise me, they overwhelm me, they sometimes disappoint me, and … Continue reading

Motherhood is not for the meek.


@postaday 128; #postaday2011

A quiet Mother’s Day at home. An opportunity to relax, call my own mother, work through piles of paperwork. I’m not complaining. I cannot stand going out to eat on Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Restaurants make big money and it’s not because you’re sitting at a table for hours nursing a bottle of bubbly and delightfully savoring appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, desserts and aperitifs! Nope. Shuttle in, shuttle out. Take the order, one iced tea refill, pop out the check, bus the table. Honestly, the best way to make money in a restaurant is to turn over tables. I prefer not to be rolled in and out like that.

I am disappointed that the weather didn’t cooperate and I didn’t get to roll on my bicycle for miles and up lung-busting hills. As a result, while it poured outside, I took care of paperwork that had been collecting dust far too long. How relentless is the river of credit card solicitations and junk mail? I gleaned through stacks and stacks and then discovered some bon appetit magazines I had yet to drool over. So as soon as I’m through with this blog entry, I’ll thumb through those in search of inspiration for what to make for dinner tonight.

There’s something about motherhood, about parenting, that keeps me on the edge of my seat. There is nothing a kid of mine would do that I haven’t done already. NOTHING. I dare say neither of my two daughters will even approach the evil achievements of my youth. I wasn’t really evil, but when you spend most of your childhood herded by nuns, you start believing purgatory is the best afterlife you’ll get.

This morning I made Belgian waffles and bacon for the girls, drizzled in maple syrup. The promise of whipped cream was dashed when I retrieved the can from the garage refrigerator and found it empty. One of my littles had been hitting the sweet cream. When I was a teenager I used to hit up my dad’s cigarettes and stash of sweet vermouth. So when he wanted Manhattans… See? My kids cannot even begin to approach my lows. I knew instantly which child was guilty.  I talked to her about it, and she was appropriately repentant. But there’s sure to be something else I’ll discover. There always is, my heart will sink, and we’ll have a talk. I would have appreciated talks when I was a kid. Instead I got beaten a lot.

I shared with a friend of mine some good news about Kid2. I sometimes wonder if other people go through what we do when it comes to raising kids. He advised me to find humor in situations as I guide my children through the world. “…Love and humor, trust and optimism. Even when we get it wrong, we get it right.” No one raises children because they know how. The whole distance, from the time we conceive our children to the time we close our eyes one last time, is a dynamic, pulsating, living laboratory. I’m constantly looking for the best results possible. It is really, really nice when I get positive feedback from people who encounter my kids in the wild. Apparently, I’m doing alright. It happens more often than not. So I think it’s safe to say that I’ve earned this year’s Mother’s Day badge.

And the gang just stepped out to see “Thor.” I get a pass, FTW!

Why blog?


Writing has always been a way for me to put my cards on the table without anyone having to see my face or my hair or the quirky clothes I’m wearing. It’s that “on the Internet no one knows your a dog” cartoon existence. When  you are a print journalist, or a blog writer, or a corporate writer, or a speech writer, appearances don’t matter. What you hope matters and resonates with someone who falls upon your words is that they are worth revisiting and that there’s some there there. Back to that sense of muchness, too.

My favorite definition of muchness is from the Urban Dictionary.

Part of me clings to that vulnerability of bravery and daring only a kid should own. The added benefit of being north of 50 means that I have my wits about me when I release the inner child and bare my soul in my daily blog post, or come up with a response on a corporate blog. But when I write and edit articles for a newsletter that is all about the back-of-the-house business of running a doctor’s office, the kid stuff gets a time out. The same goes for being a wife and a mother. There’s the business of running a family, making sure the kids’ homework is done correctly, signed off, that lunch track cards are loaded, the tires are inflated, the laundry is done. They know and love the wildly wacky woman I can be when we’re at home cutting loose with some fun music, talking to the cats, or singing solos in the shower. Of course. Home is where your expected to be exactly who you are.

I blog because no matter how dry the work might be, there’s this longing to show my humanity and to connect with yours.

 

@postaday #postaday2011