Category Archives: musing

The Gooball Story

Recently I met a fellow busy mom (to clarify, ALL MOMS are busy moms,) for a much needed  coffee-and-catch up session.  The craziness of Jr’s 2nd grade school year has combined with an amazing year of challenging and fulfilling growth for me in my role at work, and all the other stuff-of-life that we all experience, creating a whirlwind that carried the whole family from late summer and into the holiday season in a blink.

I was glad to stop and take a breath and spend some time with my friend and a large sugar free hazelnut latte, and somehow our conversation turned to school fundraisers, which quickly led into fundraiser prizes, which brought us to the dreaded goo ball.

Do you know the goo ball?  My dear friend, who always seems to me to be the textbook example of composed super-mom, started into a story about her daughter bringing home this racquetball-sized squishy, sticky ball made of a material that allowed it to stick to whatever it was thrown at, and crawl down slowly.

“OH THE GOO BALL!! ”  I shouted, probably a little too loudly for the quiet of the coffee house we were in, “I know the damn goo ball…. I have A Story about the goo ball!!!”

“I HAVE A STORY ABOUT THE GOO BALL!!” she exclaimed (also loudly… I bet they don’t wish we could come in every day at that coffee shop.)

Both of our stories involved the aforementioned goo ball becoming stuck, seemingly permanently, to a very high ceiling, and the ensuing circus that unfolded in an effort to get the damn thing down.

Mine was a harrowing tale involving The Mr at the tippy top of an extension ladder trying to swat at the devil ball with various poking devices while I held the ladder up at the bottom.  Spoiler alert, I can’t hold The Mr up and the ladder slid all the way down, taking my legs out from underneath me as The Mr rode it the whole way down the wall until we were both in a heap trying to see if the other was ok.

Fun facts to know and share – goo balls stain.  Significantly.  Along with the dark goo smudge on my ceiling, I also have a front entry table with “goo ball marks” all over the bottom shelf…  a greesy reminder of hard-learned goo ball lessons.

As we told our stories and described the many and varied household items we used to try and dislodge the nightmare “prizes” from our respective ceilings, we howled with laughter and clutched on to each other, caught up in the camaraderie  created by the mutual understanding of such a ridiculous situation.

It was just what I needed. It was perfect.

Over the coming days as I told other moms in my world about the conversation and how hard we laughed and how perfect it was, I learned that having a goo ball story is actually FAR from a unique experience.  Turns out those suckers have haunted the homes of almost every mom I know.   Somehow knowing this gave me an even bigger sense of renewed connection within my mom village.

Momming (yep, it’s a verb,) can be isolating at times.  It can feel like no other person is going through just what you are going through as you guide and root for and love and prod and sometimes yell your offspring through their days… everyone else seems to have it together.   It can SEEM that way.

But really?

Really we are all just trying to figure out how to hide our goo ball stain.

 

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May Day vs Mayday!

I used to love May Day.  Bulbs blooming, grass getting green, days at least STARTING to try and get a little longer…..  the promise of summer relaxation looming, full of promise, on the horizon.  Oh yeah.

But when you are a parent, May Day becomes more like MAYDAY!!

There is so much to do – May is the moment that the insanely big wave of all the parental shit you are doing finally breaks, and washes over you… grab something and hold the f*ck on, or be sucked out into the sea of trying to wrap up a school year while simultaneously plotting an entire summer AND making sure you have everything you need in place for the coming school year.

MAYDAY MAYDAY, we have a mom down! Send coffee!! Send wine!!  Throw up some shameless bargaining prayer!!

Every time I open my email, I find a new deluge of invitations for end-of-year school year activities, and forms to fill out for summer day camp, and even more forms for the coming fall, and (the worst) an unending supply of notices regarding MORE fees for said summer and fall.

All of the flat surfaces in our house are covered in forms and notices and finished products, with a fresh new hell of paper added to the pile each evening when Jr’s backpack explodes in a crapstorm that leads me to believe nightly that “this must’ve been the big day for sending stuff home.”  But no…. no no…  Silly, silly Keri.   Tomorrow’s pile will make you long for the smaller size of today’s.

The entire last 3 weeks leading up to the final day of the school year is an m-f-ing blur.  It is like I KNOW the days must actually be passing, but I can’t remember where they go.

A great example of this is that I actually started writing this the week BEFORE May Day.  As in, May 1st.  But then I blinked, got buried in a backpack paper explosion, and OH LOOK, it is May 15th.

This past weekend I cooked brunch for my parents to celebrate Mothers’ Day – and part of that “celebration” included 20 minutes where we all poured over our summer calendars, marking out all of the things we already KNOW are happening – followed by scrutinizing the leftover dates to see where we can wedge in other things that we all need or want to happen.

When did summer turn into something I need project management software for!?

Not to mention the last week of school that is roaring up on us – otherwise known as “the week Keri is going to office in her car in the school parking lot,” evidently.  I think there is at least one family participation activity a day for us in Jr’s class from now until the end of school.   There needs to be some sort of “emergency May mom clone” that we can all keep in the basement storage closet and just charge her up to trade off conference calls and field days…  family picnics and reconciliation reports….  appreciation teas and power points… and play performances and making meals and permission slip completion and new hire intros and sports physicals and laundry and bank file approval and swimming lessons and magazine submissions and carpool and HVAC tune ups and bedtime story books and ……

MAYDAY MAYDAY!!!!

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overwhelmed.

I can’t remember the last time all the flags weren’t at half-staff.

This is not at all what I wanted to write today – not at all anything I want to have to say.

But it is true.  It struck me, ironically, on the MORNING of February 14th as I drove past our area’s city and county government buildings, and then also by 2 schools.   The flags were half-raised, and I thought to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a flag raised to the top of a pole.

We are a nation always in mourning, it seems.  And within a few hours of my trip through town, our mourning would be renewed.

Maybe “compounded” would be a better word than “renewed,” as it seems now to come not in waves that ebb and flow, but instead in quick hailing succession that floods our collective soul in an endless, bottomless ocean.

The deluge is crushing.  It overwhelms.

That is the truest word I have.  It overwhelms me.

Hearing and speaking the truth that in 2018 there have been so many shootings AT SCHOOLS in our country overwhelms me. (Evidently we have reached a place where we also have to split hairs over WHAT TYPE of gun use on a school campus actually qualifies as a “school shooting,” which overwhelms me.)

Seeing my 6 year old not-so-much scared anymore as angry and indignant – hearing him tell me that someone should fix it because “Spiderman says that with great power comes great responsibility” and even he, AT fucking SIX YEARS OLD knows we are falling down on the damn job as country overwhelms me.

Coming to grips every second of every school day from the time  I pull into the tuck and roll hug and go circle and watch him walk toward the school – a little life I have the sworn universal directive to protect with every fiber of my being – that in spite of all his amazing teachers and administrators do, something beyond horrific may happen to him because that is now-more-than-EVER-before a possible truth cripplingly, awfully, and completely overwhelms me.

It makes it hard to leave his sweet, sleeping self in bed each night after our chapter of Harry Potter, so I lay in the half-dark of his superhero night light, watching him so quiet and calm and begging every power in the universe to protect him.

It steals my thoughts during business calls – leaving me wondering what he and his sweet little classmates are thinking and feeling and doing during their days –if they are safe physically, but also if any hearts are hurting, or feelings are ignored….

Or if any of the multitudes of intricacies that make up the growing little people in his class and his school are maybe going quietly unnoticed or being harmed  – and what can I do, and what can we as community do, and a country, and why are we not talking about it, and WHY THE FUCK ARE WE NOT ALL SHOUTING ABOUT IT EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL OUR KIDS DAMNIT WHY WHY WHY!?

So yeah.  I am overwhelmed.

Scared, and angry, and sad, and confused, and desperate, and mortified, and tired, and brokenhearted, and in pain, and incensed, grieving, and raging, and lost…

Overwhelmed.

But fighting.  For him, and for always…Fighting like hell.

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Gold Status Achived

Oh Hai cuties.

peg and steve

So, 50 years ago today , these two adorable, amazing, fabulous, fantastic folks tied the knot.

At an age when most people are still at the HEIGHT of teenaged dumbassery -that is totally a word-  they were looking at each other over a wedding license and seeing the future of a family.

I know that “times were different” then, and it would be easy to use that reasoning when thinking about them getting married at 18 and just chalk it up to “different times.”  I think that through the years, growing up, my sister and I have done that in our minds – painting a bit of a simplified, if not idealized, version of our parents’ love story in our heads.

But that’s not really it.   Before they were Mom and Dad, or Grandma and Grandpa, they were Peg and Steve….  There was first dates and butterflies and going steady and parental opinions and all the ups and downs of high school dating.

And also, there were two kids from two families, each with a history that would help shape their decisions regarding the future.   They may have been young, but their marriage was not something either of them entered into naively.   Not one bit.

I watch them together now – and I marvel at the connection.  They are two complete and separate people, but for the past 50 years they have shared the timeline of one life.  We have watched them cheer each other on, defend each other, sacrifice for each other, draw close to each other in times of sadness, or fright, or pain…   Their relationship formed the foundation of how our family would treat each other, and those we found connection with, in this world.   Has it been tested?  Well –  they had twin daughters… who were teenagers for a time… AND ONE OF THEM WAS ME.  Sooooo, yeah.

It has been tested.

But that foundation of our family – that always has been, and is now, and ever will be long after all of us have come and gone and generations have come to take our places – remains.  Somehow, under the weight of each new generation it supports, it only gets stronger.

So today I want to say thank you to my mom and dad.  50 years ago you made a brave choice to start a life together – and set in motion the story of all of us.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY – Maude and Daddy (Mom and Daddy, Nene/Nana and Pop, Steve and Peg)

We all love you so.

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One. Last. Night.

All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again…

The end of the holiday season always turns me all “Disney Peter Pan’y” about things.

The sad truth is I totes have to give myself a pep talk before I say goodbye to all things holiday for another year.  Convincing myself that it will be November again before I know it, so it is ok to let it go now.

I start searching for reasons to leave the decorations up…

“No one will take anything down in this cold weather!”   :::: promptly heats up to the 50s:::  (crap)

“Oh, the tree stays up until Epiphany,”  (according to a meme posted on FB by an author I know and love, of a quote I had forgotten from Downton Abbey, so DUH, MANDITORY.)

“On the front range we leave our exterior lights up through the end of the National Western Stock Show”  – The Mr is NOT from CO, and NOT having any of this…. Those lights are down already, leaving my wreath looking oh-so-very lonely (rude.)

“This is not a holiday decoration, it’s WINTER DÉCOR!”  Said while snuggling under a snowflake quilt (which I was using to hide my santa socks that you can pry off me IF YOU EFFING DARE.)

“But Jr loves his holiday toys/ coloring books/TV Shows/etc”    Queue heavy sigh from the kiddo while his crazy mom spreads out Santa coloring sheets and starts the Nina’s World Hanukkah special on the DVR. AGAIN.

I get it.  I am out of excuses…  it. Is time.

And so tomorrow, (Epiphany, for those subscribe to that theory, btw,) I will give in.   The Mr will drag up the storage bins out of the basement storage area, and I will wrap and cushion and pack…  Un-decking the halls and un-trimming the trees.  I promise, I really will.

But tonight…  January 5th, 2018?  Tonight, the tree will glow, the fire will crackle under the bough-covered mantle, flannel Christmas jammies will be worn as we color pictures of trees and dreidels and  elves building snowmen while watching Merry Christmas Charlie Brown ONE LAST TIME.  Tonight I will settle in, after everyone else is asleep, to listen to carols and drink a Candy Cane Lane hot toddy in the glow of the tree lights and get all wishy-washy and misty-eyed… and maybe fall asleep with Binky the wonder dog laying on my lap nuzzling my Rudolph slipper.

Tonight still belongs to Christmas, in all the amazing ways my family celebrates the season.

Tomorrow will come soon enough.

 

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