Category Archives: musing

Hindsight

 

Well.

That was a year, wasn’t it?

It doesn’t feel great to look back at posts and pictures from this time last year – it’s devastating, actually. Smiling faces filled with hope and excitement – minds filled with the concept that they were somehow ready to take on whatever 2020 had in store.  We knew nothing. We were fools.  How could we have been anything more, though, I suppose.

I suppose also, that there is hope here too, as we move toward 2021 – less certain, more desperate, and completely void of the previous NYE’s bravado – but hope, still.

Last year I looked forward to stepping up into my coming promotion – and I have been fortunate to maintain that role.  Fired up and ready to continue climbing the corporate ladder, my thoughts were on maximizing bonus potential and growing my path.   As 2021 begins,  I am overwhelmed with the privilege of maintaining my employment, and consumed with thoughts as to how best to continue to lead my amazing team through this continuing unprecedented time.

I had such lofty goals for our family – expanding our activities and including my parents in more of our adventures near and far.  Nurturing Jr’s love of team sports, perhaps steering him away from his scooter obsession. It turns out that mastering new scooter tricks is a fabulous solo sporting activity, and my most fervent wish for my family is to get my medically high-risk father vaccinated as soon as possible, adding him to the list of people I love that are on the path into the light after so long in the dark and cold of this overwhelming fear, along with Dr Sissy and BIL who thankfully have received their first doses.  And then turning my attention to my mom – who is the sun and the moon to Jr, and hopefully someday myself and The Mr, and please oh please smarty-pants scientist people – my son and all of the other kiddos who seem so often to be counted last on the list of those we worry about in all of this.

I started 2020 in a battle to continue taking the medication I have relied on for over 20 years to keep Multiple Sclerosis from using my immune system to eat away at my nerves  – a battle I won, ironically, in late February.   Just in time to find out that the medication that tamps down that messed up immune response also made me a sitting duck for a novel virus we were just starting to learn about.

I hold no expectations for 2021.  I wonder, really, if the idea of understanding what the future should look like in any way is forever lost on a large number of us, at this point.  I hope that my inability to conceptualize that does not dampen my son’s ability to dream big.   We will need those dreams and the promise within them.

Before I spiral off into the abyss of sadness and anger and horror that has been a constant looming presence for these many months – those same months have brought clarity on all there is to be so thankful for. 

Big things like the amazing power of science and the determination of those who use that power to solve problems and those who combine it with their immense humanity to treat and care for those who are ill. 

The strength of the will of people to fight  the darkest depths of hate and shame and selfishness, and band together to elevate goodness and drive change.   The collective magnitude of thousands and thousands of teachers and educational professionals moving mountains to try and meet their students’ needs – far beyond just academic – wherever those students are (and getting up the next day and trying again, even when it feels like they are only one grain of sand getting constantly blown by a giant unending wind.)

And little things too-  for many it has been a new pet added to the family, for me it has been the opportunity to care for my aging doggie, and spending my days and nights concentrating on his needs and appreciating every moment and every snuggle with him.

The fun that the holidays bring, particularly for Jr – his willingness to believe in all the magic of the season may be growing short-lived, but this year when we needed it most, he was open and excited to see what Hopscotch the elf was up to each morning, or hold court in his usual competitive rounds of dreidel with his stuffed Grinch (and this year, the family’s newest member, his beloved plush rooster, who if you ask me, may be a bit of cheat.) A particularly perfect virtual visit with Santa after a day of cookie-decorating filled this mother’s heart with more thankfulness than I can find words for.

Time draws short, and in a few hours, 2020 will well and truly be hindsight.   Our understanding of all that has transpired will grow in the days (and months, and years) still to come.  

Even if I can’t envision it – I hold hope that the light has found us by this time next year.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under musing

On Main Street

Current rental sitch….

When I was in my junior year, I got in an accident right out in front of the High School.

A driver decided to run a stop sign and drove into the passenger side of my car without so much as slowing down. I jumped out, adrenaline racing, screaming at her “Why didn’t you stop!? My friend’s little sister is right in my passenger seat! You could have hurt us!!!” (I distinctly remember saying “my friend’s little sister, even though she was only a year younger than us, also very much my friend as well.)

Her answer was that she saw the stop sign, but didn’t stop. K

There we were, right as all the traffic was coming out of the school, blocking one of the busiest intersections on Main street while I sent someone to call the police.

It took a bit, but here came the officer up the street from the police station to sort things out, and the other motorist’s face went from a look of determination to disappointment when I burst into tears, called the officer by name and sobbed into his hug “she hit me and Sara in my jeep, Bart!!”

So off she went to get her ticket, and off I went to start the process of dealing with filing a claim with her insurance, etc. With a LOT of help from my dad.

And so it was… 20-something years later, on Halloween evening, that was sitting at a stoplight on that same Main Street, in my jeep, waiting for a red light to change.

When suddenly, the motorist behind me decided it was time to go. And so he did. Into the back of the Keri-mobile at the still very much red light.

This time no one was in the car with me. This time when I jumped out there wasn’t any screaming – I just said “are you ok? Do you have your insurance info?” And dialed the police non-emergency number.

But it was not-at-all lost on me, the eerie feeling of déjà vu, as I stood there waiting next to my injured Jeep, in the intersection on Main, for a hometown police officer to arrive, thanking the people who stopped to make sure we were ok. Even car crashes in your hometown spark memories.

Information exchanged and reports complete, off I went to take Jr trick-or-treating before starting the claim process (I did refrain from calling my dad for an assist this time, although I had to stop myself a few times – insurance stuff sucks!)

All involved with both of those accidents were fortunate to walk away with damage to vehicles, and not the people inside them, and as so-very-often happens to me now, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratefulness at the sense of community that has lasted all of these years as my little town has grown (and grown, and GROWN.)

We bundled up and walked the neighborhood in the cold Colorado twilight of Halloween, and of course I got misty eyed watching my son with his friends, and laughing and shivering along with our neighbors.

We are so lucky to be here in this wonderful place with these wonderful people.

(So neighbors – go easy on the Colorado native driving the economy rental with Kansas plates, it’s all the insurance company would spring for!)

Leave a comment

Filed under musing

Mother of a day

Mothers’ Day is interesting as a concept…. And even more interesting as a reality. (Amirite, Moms? Where my sisters at?)

I always talk big about it in the lead up – “Mothers’ Day is coming, so maybe you can get your own stuff together in your Lacrosse backpack and give mom a break this weekend, eh?” “Mothers’ Day is tomorrow, so how about if you wake up in the middle of the night, you head straight to Daddy’s side of the bed and let Mommy sleep this once, maybe?” It’s Mothers’ Day, so how about when you see NeNe and Pop pull into the neighborhood, you come right back in from playing with the neighborhood gang and wash up so we can have brunch without me having to belllow down the street like a loon?”

This is all pointless. This will not happen. This is just not how things will ever be…..

Bright and early last Saturday morning, Jr trotted off to walk Binky-the-wonder-dog with The Mr, and when the Mr. and Binky returned, Jr did not. He was off on his scooter or skateboard or bike, playing with his friends. No Lacrosse prep made for his practice and game later that morning. No no no.

But later that day, when him and I were having our typcial mother/son Saturday lunch date, his little freckles were blinging away as he gazed up at me and I kinda forgot that we had a total smackdown about getting all his crap to the field earlier…

And much later, in the wee small hours of a newly-begun Mothers’ Day, at 1-something a.m., Jr did NOT direct his attention to his father’s side of the bed… instead he trolled around until he found me – not on my side of the bed, but where I had decided to stay after falling asleep on the sofa in front of the TV in the family room. He woke me out of a dead sleep by sticking his pale, wide-eyed face as close as he could, and tapping me ON MY FACE and then I demonstrated to him just how high an aging woman can jump when provoked. I confess I started my statement to him with “oh buddy no no nope, it is dad’s turn, bro!” Then we went and he made me wake The Mr to lay with him, because getting me up = good, getting dad up = not. (Side note, I still did it, and I slept the sleep of a woman who made a good damn choice, yo.)

At the exact crack of dawn (ok, it may have been 6:30 am, BUT STILL,) Jr was up and asking when Nene and Pop would arrive for brunch. Hint – NOT at 6:30 in the dang a.m… Just sayin’.

I swore this year I would keep brunch simple since, while I love to treat my mom on Mothers’ Day, I also love to not have a lot to worry about on Mothers’ Day so this was the spread:

Lox, roast beef, bagels, fruit, and a steady supply of coffee, juice, mimosas, and morning mules.

It was perfect – especially since it did INDEED take much convincing to get Jr to come in from playing outside and sit and eat with us.

Sigh.

I would LOVE to say that when it came time to take mom (dat’s me) out for her early bird Sunday dinner at her favorite fried chicken joint, he came willingly running home ready to spend some quality time.

But lying is wrong, and he was a total pill about it because even HOURS AND HOURS of playing outside isn’t enough at this point. (Don’t get me wrong – playing is good. So is family time….and eating. And not making mom hangry on Mothers’ Day.)

So midway to the restaurant we had to have a “pull the car over and get serious about it” talk from Dad about how the rest of the day was going to go down – and dinner was yummy, though a little bit pouty at times from one side of the table.

BUT THEN – bedtime rolled around and we started reading my favorite book from when I was in 3rd grade (which he will be in fall,) Superfudge.

#judyblume4eva

He was howling with laughter along with me, which was kind of really totally awesome.

And when we had read our chapter of that book, and moved on to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (our current “fall asleep to it book”,) he rolled over, sighed, and fell asleep like this.

And much like the Grinch that is still his bedtime buddy, my heart grew three sizes that day…

Another ride on the Mothers’ Day emotional roller coaster completed without running off the rails, and just like all the best rides it was a total hair raiser that scares the heck out of you, and leaves you grinning from ear to ear at the end.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, 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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, musing

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!!!!

1 Comment

Filed under Mom life, musing