My Blue Skates
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
My Blue Skates
My mom found them in her basement crawl space, a place where secrets and memories collide in an explosion of cardboard boxes and dust. Mom was going to toss them out, and I begged her to keep them and give them to me. She laughed, and I could tell she remembered how much I loved them.
So she gave them to me last week, and it was like rolling through my childhood, literally. You see, they are royal blue roller skates with yellow stripes. You know the kind. They are not inline skates. They are the big, bulky, shoe-like roller skates with the huge stopper button on the front toe. Yes, I grew up in the eighties when junior high roller-skating parties were the fad. I grew up in a development where I could skate for miles and miles on the roads with no fear of cars. I grew up with those blue and yellow roller skates on my feet.
I remember when we moved into the Lynway house and we had a basement with a concrete floor that I could skate on. I was about ten years old, and would skate in circles around the steel support poles, forward and backward. I would create my own skating rink down there, blast some music from my huge boom box, and skate until my feet were so sore I had to peel the skates off.
In junior high, I wore those blue roller skates to every skating party, hoping that the cute hockey player might ask me to skate during the couples skate. He never did. But I did get to skate during the trio-skate with some friends, and we whipped around those turns like we were flying in the air.
So last week when mom gave me those blue skates, I did what any forty-four year old mom with arthritic knees would do. I put them on and skated in my kitchen.
First of all I was thrilled that they still fit. Guess my feet haven’t gotten bigger after all.
Then I was excited to actually skate in them.
Let me just say that my children were not happy with my walk down memory lane. The comments that came flying in from the family room were, “Mom, be careful,” “We really don’t want to end up in the ER tonight, mom,” and “Come on, mom, this is silly.”
I am not sure when it happened, but it seemed that suddenly I had become the child and my children were parenting me. I guess it’s a sign of things to come.
I can’t go back and relive my childhood, and I am not sure I would want to. And I did realize that I can’t skate like I used to; my wobbly, arthritic, forty-four year old knees just won’t let me. I might be young at heart, but I am old at knees.
So some things you find in a basement crawlspace should be thrown out. But not my blue roller skates. Those will be kept in my own basement, stored safely away in a place where secrets and memories collide in an explosion of cardboard boxes and dust.
Life sometimes goes full-circle and the path we walk may give us blisters and sore feet. But the point is to keep walking.
So I will just keep rolling through my life, even though it looks very different than it did three decades ago; even though I will have to roll on through skate-free.
And for the record, we did not end up in the ER that night, thank you very much.
A New Perspective
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
I have been thinking a lot about joy lately. Not the fleeting sort of happiness that comes and goes with the wind, but true joy that lasts. The kind of joy that makes you smile and walk with a skip in your step. This kind of joy can come from circumstances, yes. You get the job you applied for. You win the door prize or you get a sweet compliment from a co-worker.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
You are about to embark on the greatest adventure of your life- marriage. I wanted to write you a letter and share some wisdom and experience from my twenty plus years of wedded bliss. And I wanted to let you know how very much you are cherished and loved, by your parents, your sister, my family, and most of all, by God.
It seems like we have known you for a lifetime, and yet it has only been six years since you came in into our lives, or we came into yours. I am not sure how that went. But a lifetime has surely passed since you were but a child then, and you are a grown woman now, embarking on a new life with your husband. I would like to tell you that it will be easy. But it won’t always be simple. I would like to tell you that you won’t experience any problems, but you just might hit a bump or two in the journey.
I would love to tell you that you will always feel the way you will on your wedding day, but you won’t. Time has a way to changing things. So let me tell you this. Your wedding day is only the beginning of this amazing adventure God has you on. As much as you love Steve now, I can assure you that you will love him more in five years, even more in ten, and so much more in twenty.
Wedding-day love is perfect and pretty and covered in candles and flowers. Married love is even more beautiful because it is covered in commitment and faithfulness.
Oh married love can be romantic at times, and there are definitely moments of passion, but it is so much more than that. Married love survives the bruises that life can bring on; the sorrows of loss can grow your love deeper if you allow God to lead your love.
Married love can be joy-filled – but can also be strengthened by the steadfast commitment you make on your wedding day to stand together with the help of God against a world that wants to tear you apart.
Wedding day love is fleeting. Married love is decorated by a lifetime of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, and the assurance that you do not walk the path alone.
Wedding day love is exciting! Everyone is there to cheer you on and support your love.
Married love is sometimes a path you must walk in the dark, alone, unsure of where you are heading in a world where others are not there to clap when you kiss, hug you and tell you how beautiful you look.
Wedding day love is special. It is beautiful and precious. You will have an album full of pictures to remember that day for the rest of your life.
Married love is even more unique and stunning because it comes from a beauty only God could have created between a union only He can bless.
On our family room wall hangs a framed picture of Mike and I from our wedding day, with me all in white lace and ruffles and Mike in a black tux. We were so young and naïve, and yet so very much in love.
When I think back on that day, I thought I loved Mike as much as I could ever love him. Over twenty later, I can honestly say that my love for Mike has grown deeper than I could have ever imagined.
So as you approach your wedding day, I pray it is beautiful and perfect in every way. But most of all, I pray that it is just the beginning of a lifetime of married love for you and Steve.
And it will be if you invite God to your marriage. Love- Trish
Was That on the Menu?
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
As I sat there at Applebee’s, I took a mental picture of the situation. Their menu had many yummy appetizers, scrumptious meals and sweet treat desserts. But who would have ever thought that buying a goat would be on the “menu” at Applebee’s. And yet, there we were, sitting at a table bidding on a market goat during an online breeder’s auction.
It was a fun memory I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams when dreaming about the “menu” of my life. Then again, there are many off-the-menu things that I have experienced in the last seventeen years of motherhood.
Let’s face it; motherhood is not as picture-perfect as I may have thought.
Earlier this week I attended my daughter’s first high school track meet to cheer her on as she ran the 300 hurdles for the first time. It was a little chilly, but I never expected it to rain. There I was in capris and canvas shoes, soaked head to toe, standing outside of the track cheering for Sydney as she ran her race. The down-poor was bitterly cold, and the runners all dripped with rain-water. The track was slick, and after watching two runners wipe out and skid on the track, I prayed that Sydney made it through the finish line with a major fall. She did. I cheered. We all went home to hot showers and warm tea.
But wet feet and soaking clothes were not on my motherhood-menu.
Every summer, I spend time with my children walking their 4H Heifers and market goats. I help wash them, blow them dry, and primp them for the fair. I then spend a week at the fair walking, talking, hanging out and cheering my kiddos on as they show their animals. Living in the beef barn at the Wayne County fairgrounds was not on my motherhood-menu.
I spend hours each day in my minivan driving my children to and from practices, and to their events to cheer them on. I am positive when I pictured motherhood it did not involve taking up a permanent residency in the driver’s seat of my minivan.
I know the best way to get rid of acne, how to scrape old gum off of the bottom of a sneaker and how to get spilled nail polish off of a leather couch without hurting the leather. I can pinpoint a lie the minute the words leave their lips, wash and fold a load of laundry while simultaneously cooking supper and help my son study the history of the Vikings without breaking a sweat.
I know where Waldo is, have sent Flat Stanley around the world and can even make an armadillo out of a milk carton in a pinch. I am the queen of the last-minute-school-poster-board-project, the master of shopping for lunch box treats and can whip supper together in less than fifteen minutes when necessary.
But none of those things were on the menu-of-motherhood when I dreamed of what it might be like to raise a family.
So my Applebee’s-goat-buying-adventure was a great success. We had the winning bid on the goat we wanted, and enjoyed supper and dessert with Sydney in the process. I know that twenty years from now, she will look back on that night with fondness.
And if she forgets, I will be there to remind her. I guess some of the best motherhood-adventures are the ones that are off-the-menu. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what makes motherhood so picture perfect in the first place.
You Know You Have Teenagers If...
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I used to think I understood motherhood, but after seventeen years, I am not sure I have a clue. Motherhood sometimes brings out the best or the worst in me, depending on the day. I used to think motherhood was about simply being here, changing diapers, giving baths, reading books and snuggling on the couch on rainy days under warm quilts. I used to think motherhood was refereeing fights between my kids, splitting cupcakes in half learning to master the scavenger hunt of back-to-school shopping.
Though all of those things are a part of motherhood, now I have teenagers, and the game has changed. You know you have teenagers if you sleep on your couch as much as you sleep in your bed because you are waiting up for someone to come home from a late night movie.
You know you have teenagers if you know you need to buy another car but aren’t sure how to afford another car.
You know you have teenage (girls) if you know what Pinterest is and are discouraged because she won’t “pin” anything you have worn, decorated or made.
You know you have teenage (boys) if you buy more groceries than Duggers and still come home to an empty pantry and fridge.
You know you have teenage (girls) if you now know how to remove spilled nail polish from your leather sofa.
You know you have teenage (boys) if you spend more on athletic equipment and apparel than Canada spends on hockey.
You know you have teenage (girls) if you own a curling iron, a straightener, four blow dryers, a curling wand, and more hair gel, mousse and spray than Sally Beauty Supply.
You know you have teenage (boys) if you consider Captain Crunch and Frosted Flakes to be in one of the four main food groups.
You know you have teenagers if what you are wearing is most certainly out of style….and someone in your house will most certainly tell you this as you walk out the door.
You know you have teenagers if you have to box out a position in order to get five minutes in front of the bathroom mirror.
You know you have teenagers if they say they hate you until they realize they need you and then say they love you.
You know you have teenagers if you can’t get your kids to bed at night and can’t get them to wake up in the mornings.
You know you have teenagers if you have become a master negotiator and you are now negotiating drive time and curfew instead of chocolate and candy bars.
You know you have teenagers if you need a hook and pulley system to climb over the mountain of clothes lying on your child’s bedroom floor.
So I guess motherhood has changed. It still brings out the best or the worst in me, depending on the day.
And though my teenagers can drive me up a wall and cause me to worry until I am gray, I am blessed to be able to snag just a few more moments to snuggled on the couch with them under a warm quilt. And someday when they are grown and gone,
I know I will enjoy going to bed when I want to go to bed, getting up when I want to get up and will gladly give up my referee whistle. Until I miss them, chaotic clutter and all.
So today, I will enjoy the day I have, whatever it brings.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
In 1920, Robert Frost wrote about The Road Not Taken:
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth..."
Frost’s words ring like harmony in my heart and I have spent many hours wondering about the roads in my own life that I have not taken. If I could go back and make those decisions again, would I choose the other path?
When I was a sophomore in high school, I quit the volleyball team. I had played as a freshman and loved the sport, but we lost every single game. So I decided to cut my losses and run. If I could go back, maybe I would choose to stick with it, show some fortitude and maybe I could have been a part of turning the team around.
As a freshman in college, I decided to drop out of school at Allegheny College and transfer near my home to Baldwin-Wallace University. If I could go back, maybe I might choose to stay at Allegheny and finish my education there. I had planned to spend a semester in Europe, and then after graduation, I was hoping to move to Boston and go to graduate school there while I worked at what surely would have been a great job (never mind I had no idea what that would be).
If I could go back, would I travel to Europe? Move to Boston? When I graduated from BW, I interviewed for several jobs, and when nothing came through, I decided to go to graduate school for my MBA. Maybe I gave up job hunting too soon?
If I could go back, would I get a job in marketing? Skip grad school? I have made so many path-changing decisions it is mind-boggling to begin to imagine what my life may have looked like had I chosen other roads.
If I never transferred from Allegheny to BW, I would never have met Mike. That would have made spending a semester in Europe and moving to Boston more feasible. I may have even taken that job with BP America management training and traveled the globe for them. I may have made a lot of money marketing for BP. I might have even lived in Europe rather just spent a semester there.
But if I never transferred to BW, I would have never met Mike, never married him and had four amazing children. I would not have written for the school paper, never become an author and columnist. I would not live on a farm, and most importantly, I may have never accepted Jesus as my Savior. It’s all so confusing and complicated.
Each decision we make impacts all the other decisions we make, and the road not taken then becomes the blessing that makes us who we are today. Frost said this: I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. I am not sure if I have always taken the road less traveled by, but I do know that all the roads I have not taken have made all the difference in my life….
….and maybe that’s all I need to know.
The Tuxedo Room
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
As the gray-haired lady with the clipboard shouted our school name – “LAST CALL FOR DALTON” – I knew something was amiss.
I followed the shouting to discover the gray-haired lady with the clipboard, and I feigned a smile as the armload of prom dresses I was carrying began to weigh heavy on me as the prices weighed heavy on my financial peace.
“I am going to take you ladies to the Tuxedo Room,” she said. Well, after waiting for over thirty minutes to even get a dressing room, the Tuxedo Room sounded quite elegant and relaxing to me.
Boy, was I ever wrong!
As we walked to the back of the store, through the jungle of excited teen-girls and stress-out moms, I began to wonder if I had remembered to pack my Advil or if I was simply doomed for the headache I felt looming.
Then shock hit. The Tuxedo Room was not quite as glamorous as it sounded by name. Nope. It was, in fact, a utility closet without a door, filled with an air conditioning unit, a heating unit, a mop, bucket, and cleaning supplies. I looked at the gray-haired lady with doe-eyed innocence as she said, “Just open this tri-fold board and step behind it to try on your dresses.”
“Um, excuse me,” I said quietly, “This is not a dressing room.” It was a fact that I thought seemed abundantly clear but one that seemed to surprise the gray-haired lady with the clipboard.
“Well, we use it as a dressing room when we are busy,” she said with a not-so-subtle-hint of disdain in her voice.
“I think we will wait until we can get into a real dressing room,” I said. The gray-haired lady sighed a loud sigh, looked at me as if I thought I were the Queen of England, and promptly showed us to a normal dressing room.
Let me just say that although it was s step up, the “normal” dressing rooms were the size of a port-a-john and were all crammed together with all the stressed-out-moms shoulder to shoulder with nowhere to stand outside the curtains. But, there was no mop or bucket, so we made do.
After watching my daughter try on several prom dresses, we found one we sort of liked. We then went in search of a mirror. We walked around and completely by chance, entered an unknown realm of the store.
The bridal area, but girls were using it for prom dresses. Ahhhh, there were only 4 very large dressing rooms, large comfy chairs for the moms, and peace and quiet. It was like leaving the jungle and entering nirvana.
There was one empty dressing room, and after two seconds of mental debating, I told my daughter to snag it. I am not proud, but yes, I “stole” a better dressing room with no concern for the girl I was taking it from. I relaxed in a comfy chair, visited with the mom next to me from Columbus, and enjoyed watching my daughter find the perfect prom dress.
I am not sure there is a moral to this story. It can’t be take what you think you deserve. Nor could it be ok to sass at sales clerks. There may not even be a moral here as it just made me feel better to share my promo dress shopping story with all of you.
Maybe the moral is to stand up for yourself, or make the day fun, or life is always better with a comfy chair.
Whatever the life lesson, I have decided to open a prom dress store made for the moms. I will provide appointments, comfy chairs, caramel lattes and soft slippers for their feet. We will play soft music, have soft lighting and might even give them an on the spot manicure while they wait for their teenagers to find that perfect dress for the prom.
Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?
The Joy of Job Hunting
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I hate job hunting. There, I said it out loud for all to hear. It is the most ego-busting experience you could have. And I should know. I have been actively job hunting for a full-time job for the last three years.
In fact, I have more rejection letters than I can count. Hmmm, maybe I should contact the Guiness folks and see if I have beat their world record. And today, the rejection letters tend to come via email. It used to be you got an actual letter in the mail signed by the person rejecting you. At least then I believed they knew my name!
When Riley went to first grade, I decided it was time to leave the part-time-low-paying-never-feel-respected world of part-time work. Or should I say, indentured servitude. Don’t get me wrong. I was forever thankful for part-time work I was blessed to have over all those mommy years when my children were at home and young and needed me to wipe their mouths and their rear ends. Now I feel like the rear end.
I started out looking for a job in industry. I used to work in marketing long before anyone called me mommy. But I guess being home for seventeen years didn’t do me any favors. After applying for a dozen marketing jobs and not receiving a single interview, I gave up.
Then I decided to try to become a full-time professor, since I had been teaching college part-time for seventeen years. Well, they want you to have a doctorate for that, and I only had an MBA. I did back-door myself into a full-time instructor job at one school but that position only lasted two years. When enrollment declined, I was clearly the lowest man on the totem pole. Last in – first out, as they say.
Since I am a get it done sort of person, I began to work on my doctorate in management, and I went back to teaching college part-time. Let me just say that I am the queen of part-time work. I can get part-time jobs, in fact I now have 3 part-time jobs concurrently. But the pay is so low I might as well flip burgers at McDonald’s (no offense to McDonald’s).
Over the last three years I have applied for a teaching position at any university within a fifty mile radius form my home. In fact, I have applied to many of them multiple times and been rejected multiple times. They probably see my name and think, “Oh no, her again? Why won’t she just leave us alone?” But like the train chugging up the steep hill, I continue to mumble to myself, “I think I can…I think I can…I think I can…” and I keep job hunting.
After the latest round of rejections, I began to wonder if maybe there was some sort of typo on my resume that offended people. Maybe my qualifications are so intense that they intimidate people? Or maybe they just don’t like me.
It does feel personal, I have to admit. So I have become the queen of job hunting. And if only I could find someone who would be willing to pay me to job hunt for myself, I could make a decent living at it. Until then, I will just keep on keepin’ on. And I will try to find the joy in job hunting. And not let the rejection get me down.
Arguing with Myself
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Struggling with loads of laundry, clutter in the kitchen and chaos in your life? Stress can easily steal our joy. Trish Berg reminds us to simplify the small stuff and find Joy in the Journey.
Maybe I should just stay in bed. But the alarm went off, and if I don’t get up, I will miss my opportunity to exercise for the day. If I stay in bed, I will get an hour and half of sleep more than if I get up now. Oh that would feel great! But then, when I get up, I will feel rested, but very guilty for not getting up to exercise. But my pillow feels so soft on my head.
Was that actually the alarm that went off? Maybe I am just dreaming. Maybe I dreamt that the alarm went off. Maybe it’s only two in the morning and I can sleep for a few more hours. Yeah, that must be it. It’s only a dream.
I probably should roll over and take a look at the alarm clock to be sure, you know, just in case. I wouldn’t want to be thinking I am dreaming when in reality it is time to get up…..(pause as I roll over and take a look, hold on….)
Oh shucks, it is time to get up. Why does five o’clock have to come so early in the morning? Why do I always stay up too late at night and then regret my late night lifestyle once morning dawns?
Ok, so now I need to get up. But maybe, I could just close my eyes for ten more minutes. I can still get up and exercise on time if I just sleep for ten more minutes. Ok, that’s what I will do.
But wait, I have been deciding all of this and taking too long to think about it so I actually only have eight more minutes. Is it worth it to close my eyes for only eight more minutes?
Yeah, I think it is worth it.
(Ignore subsequent snoring that may be taking place at this time as I sleep for eight more minutes.)
Ok, now I should probably get up. I’ll look at the alarm clock first. Oh, it’s only been six minutes, and I have two more minutes of sleep. Ok, go back to sleep quickly. Hurry up.
You only have two more minutes of heavenly sleep.
(Again, I apologize for the snoring.)
Time to get up now. What? Oh doggonit I have overslept and now I have to get out the door in three minutes! How did I do that?
Where are my tennis shoes? Where are my yoga pants? Did I remember to charge my cell phone last night so that I can use it for my music while on the elliptical?
Is the sun even up yet?
And how does my husband do it. How does he get up to exercise each and every day before the sun rises without hesitation? How does he run three to four miles without feeling it? And why is it that he has lost all this weight why I am struggling to lose a few pounds? Grrrr…..it’s not fair!
Ok, focus, Trish. Stop complaining, just get exercising.
Ok, I’m up, I’m up, I’m really up this time. And I’m out the door. Brrr, why does March have to be so cold? What happened to spring anyway?
Maybe I should have just stayed in bed this morning, under my thick, fuzzy warm comforter. I could be snuggling down getting more sleep, and I did hear that getting more sleep does help you lose weight. Oh yeah, the guilt would ruin my day.
BLING RING – BLING RING – BLING RING! (That’s my alarm clock ringing in case you were wondering.)
What? Oh, no. I was just dreaming. It was all a dream!
Ahhhh, it’s Saturday! I get to sleep in!
(Again, I apologize for the snoring.)
Rooting for Spring
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I woke up this morning to a slushy, melty, snowy mess. We were supposed to be getting three to five inches. Blowing and drifting, and possible a school delay or cancellation. Well, none of that happened. We got maybe an inch, and it is wet and slushy due to the warmer temperatures. And though part of me is ready for spring, I was sort of rooting for the March blizzard. It would have been nice to be snowed in.
I realize that sounds sort of odd, but since I have a pantry full of groceries and plenty of hot cocoa, I was looking forward to having to stay home and hunkered down.
Now I am just rooting for spring.
Here in northern Ohio, the weather can change on a dime. But now that the snow has let me down – again - it is time for the flower to bloom, the grass to green up and sixty degree temperatures.
With spring comes color – the colors of flowers reflecting off the sunshine. As the flowers begin to bud, the colors begin to appear. Leaves sprout on trees, daffodils bloom white and yellow, and tulips start to grow. All of the brown mud is replaced by green grass and the warm sun is shaded by large oaks and leafy maples.
With spring comes new hope - the hope of what lies ahead….summer. Oh the thought of warm days and sunshine. Long daylight hours. Lazy evenings filled with bon fires and smores. Cookouts and picnics, bike rides and barefoot sprinkler runs.
With spring comes the warmth of the sun – the glow of sunshine on your face. I love walking outside and feeling the sun warm the air around me. I love looking up in the sky and closing my eyes and soaking in the warmth on my cheeks.
With spring comes the welcome front porch – a place to relax and reflect on life. When the porch swing and rockers appear, life seems to relax a bit. We spend a lot of time on our front porch in the spring sipping iced tea, talking about our days and watching the sun set over the hillside.
With spring comes shooting hoops. We get to spend time on our mini basketball court playing h-o-r-s-e or around the world and maybe a little one on one. Let the competition begin!
With spring comes new life. Easter is a reminder of what has been given to us in Jesus and the gift of grace. It is a reminder that God loves us, leads us and renews us each and every day with His forgiveness and grace.
So maybe missing out on this latest blizzard isn’t so bad after all, even with the slushy mess outside.
No blowing. No drifting. No school delay. No being sowed in. And though I still need my winter coat (for now, anyway) I have decided to root for spring.
I may still enjoy some hot cocoa today and hunker down under a quilt just for old time’s sake. But I am looking forward to the colors, hope and warmth of spring. Those front-porch days filled with iced tea and sunshine and the blessings of Easter.
Now I just have to hope that the snow melts in a hurry so that spring blooms can bud.
Until then, they can just bloom in my heart.
Dawgs on 3...
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
So we started with the basics and worked from there, having no idea where the season would take us. Our team was made up of a variety of personalities and abilities and over the next month, their abilities grew by leaps and bounds.
We designed an offensive play and worked on our man-to-man defense. We developed a fast break, and learned how to see the open player and pass in the key for assists. Each game came and went, some we won, and some we lost. We started and ended each game with our team chant in the huddle: “Dawgs on 3 – 1-2-3-DAWGS!”
And before we knew what had happened, we were a team! Our girls always played hard and never gave up. They went after the ball and took the open shots with more and more confidence each week.
All-in-all, it was a very successful season, not because of our final record, nor because of any big wins. It was a successful season because of how these amazing young girls grew and matured.
In fact, I think I learned more from them than they could have ever learned from me. I learned about confidence and endurance from Elle, who faced some tight defenders at the point guard position and fought through being fouled and shoved, and became a true team leader. From Mia, I learned that the best things do come in small packages as she dribbled around bigger players and took some great outside shots right over their heads. From Lauren, I learned that a positive attitude makes all the difference in the world as she was like joy on feet.
From Grace, I learned hard work matters as she was the hardest working girl on the team giving 100% at every practice. Princess taught me to never underestimate anyone as she became an amazing forward snatching rebound after rebound, hitting the outlet pass with precision. From Amelia, I learned to keep on shooting and always go after the ball aggressively in every game, no matter what the scoreboard read. Rebecca taught me about perseverance because she never gave up, and scored a big basket in our last game.
And from Riley, my daughter, I learned that time spent together means more than time spent anywhere else. She also taught me about going after the ball as she went after every loose ball like a champion, and scored baskets that surprised even me.
We lost our last game, and the girls were in tears because of the loss and because of the season coming to an end. It made me sad until my very wise husband, Mike, pointed out that they cried because they truly cared about the sport, the team and each other.
And that was the most important lesson of all. So this rag-a-muffin team became a championship team by the end of the season, and it had nothing to do with the score of our games or our position in the brackets. And though I will miss each one of these girls, I know they will go on to do great things in basketball and in life. And just one more time for my sake….
Dawgs on 3 – 1-2-3-DAWGS!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
There are some things that simply surprise me about my children. Things that, no matter how much logic I try to infuse in the situation, just do not make sense. As a parent, I have to just let go and realize that kids are not adults, and that their brains must work differently than ours. (Either that, or I might run out of the house screaming at the top of my lungs.)
It surprises me that my children do not have a realistic concept of a clean room. I will ask, “Is your room cleaned up?” and they respond, “Yep.” Then I walk upstairs to find piles of clothes on the floor, dirty and clean intermingling. Books strewn about, and an unmade bed, When I question said child, the response tends to be, “Well, it is clean except for the clothes that I need to hang up.”
It surprises me that my children plug the toilet daily, and walk away. I have shown them were the plunger is and we have even had plunging lessons. Yet, it never fails that they seem to think that like magic, if they shut the lid, it will magically plunge itself.
It surprises me that my children believe that Nutrigrain and Frito chip bags magically vanish when stuffed underneath the couch cushion. Of course, when questioned, they all answer, “That wasn’t mine!”
It surprises me that my teenagers (girls, mind you) lose their make-up bags about three mornings each week and ask to use mine. I have nothing against sharing mine, but just wonder how they manage to lose something they use every day.
It surprises me that my son (a growing teenage boy) starts his day by eating three separate breakfasts. Then, after supper always asks, “Mom, can I have a snack?” Keep in mind that his snack is usually a deli sandwich and some chips. Where do those calories go, anyway?
It surprises me that my children leave their very expensive fashion boots and basketball shoes in a pile near the kitchen door, creating a challenging obstacle course for anyone wanting to go from the kitchen to the family room.
It surprises me that homework is forgotten at school, projects that need poster board are announced at nine in the evening the night before they are due, and under their beds are empty glasses and wrappers. Dirty clothes never make it to the hamper, and clean clothes are placed back in the hamper to be re-washed because they are too lazy to put them away. Socks are lost, lunches never packed on time and alarm clocks fail to wake them up in the morning.
It’s enough to drive any sane mom crazy. But, just when I start to give up hope of any sense of maturity and personal responsibility in my children, they really surprise me.
Like last night when Hannah and Sydney were asked to clean up the kitchen after supper, and instead of moaning at the unfair request, they turned up the music on their iPods, and made it fun.
And, later in the evening when I walked into the kitchen, I discovered not only had they hand-washed all of the dishes, they dried them, put them away and wiped every counter top down.
There are some things that simply surprise me about my children. Last night I realized they are growing up, and maybe they are listening to what we are trying to teach them.
And that, dear friend, is the biggest surprise any mom could ask for!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
There comes a time in every woman’s life when she ponders who she is in the scheme of the universe. I was reminded of my true position in life last week on Valentine’s Day when I celebrated the holiday with my one true love – my husband, Mike.
Mike can be a bit ornery on occasion. (Ok, a lot ornery all the time.) But he comes by these traits honestly.
His Grandfather was the same way, and used to tease waitresses every time we went out to dinner. But Pa Pa Hart always left a wake of smiles and laughter behind, and Mike does, too.
Mike still gives me that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. That familiar feeling, one I had experienced at other times in my life. Like when Mike stood next to me in the lunch line in the college cafeteria when we spoke for the first time; or when he smiled at me in stats class a week later. Those familiar butterflies that danced in my stomach when we had our first kiss on the dance floor at a local college hang out. (And for the record, he kissed me first, even though he swears I leaned in.)
Mike has blessed me with twenty-four years of laughter and joy, and on occasion, butterflies in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes I am reminded of his impact in the world, like when a former student or student-athlete calls to thank him for the difference he made in their life, or when we run into one of his former baseball players at Lowes and he reminds me of the difference-maker my husband is in this world.
Sometimes it catches me off guard because I tend to take him for granted. I was born Patricia Ellen, and was Patty all through high school and into college. Then I met Mike, he began calling me Trish, and my life changed forever.
We surely have our ups and downs, like any family does. Life with four children is busy, and some days I need a degree in transportation logistics just to get through the car-pooling. But I wouldn’t want to journey in this life with anyone by Mike. And God continues to surprise us. I never pictured myself living on a farm and I know Mike never pictured his life being discussed in the newspaper. So I guess we both have adapted fairly well to the journey we have together.
I am still not sure if I know who I am in the scheme of the universe, or where I fit into it all. But I do know that the Lord has blessed me with a husband who loves me, and who leaves a wake of joy and laughter in his path, just like his grandfather did. Together, we have the honor of raising four beautiful children, and that’s enough for me.
You might call me Trish, but I doubt that I could ever treasure any name more than being Mike’s wife.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetie.
Running Away to Nebraska
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Have you ever wanted to run away from home? When I was a little girl, there were several times when I did run away. I can’t remember why, but I do remember packing my little flowered suitcase, running out the French doors that led to our backyard and heading for the five acres of woods beyond our backyard. I would get ten feet into the woods and find a soft spot to sit down. I would sit there and wait for someone to come and find me.
They always did. And I was always glad.
Today, life is stressing me out so I want to run away, far away, where no one can find me. Nebraska. I want to run away to Nebraska. Nebraska just sounds like a place where I can relax, breathe deeply and let go of it all. A place where life is simple, sweet and serene.
I thought about moving to California, since there are beaches there. But there is also smog and rush hour and way too many people.
Then I thought of moving to Florida, since they have beaches and no smog. But it seems that it might be too hot there in the summertime, and I do love a warm and cozy fireplace and mug of hot cocoa in the winter. I might miss the snow.
I thought of Wyoming and Wisconsin, South Carolina and even Maine. But I kept coming back to Nebraska. It’s smack dab in the middle of the country, cushioned by the states around it. In the middle of nowhere with nothing but peace and quiet to be found.
Yes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going…..to Nebraska.
Just saying the word is relaxing. Ahhhhh….Nebrask- Ahhhhhhh.
Nebraska is the 16th largest state, but the 38th most populated. So there is a lot of open land and very few people. That sounds good to me right about now. No stress. No chaos.
No kids. No work. No school. No people.
Once I move to Nebraska, don’t try to call me, because I will not be bringing my cell phone. I will not be doing laundry in Nebraska either. Nor cleaning the house. There will be no answering to the name “Mom,” no alarm clock going off at 5 am and no meals to cook. In fact, there will be demands on me whatsoever in Nebraska.
In Nebraska, I will relax and take time for myself, putting ME on the top of my priority list. Yep, it’s all about numero uno in Nebraska. Me, myself and I.
And don’t come looking for me. I do NOT want to be found.
So if you have ever wanted to run away, escape the chaos of your life, take a mental trip with me to Nebraska, where life is simple and sunny and serene. No need to book airline tickets or fill your gas tank. Just sit back, relax, and picture yourself there.
It’s better than running away into the woods, and you don’t even need to pack a flower suitcase.
Come on, just say the word with me….Nebrask-Ahhhhhh. Now don’t you feel better?
And it will be our little secret. We won’t even send out change of address cards.
Fifty is the New Thirty
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
Ok this may be totally selfish, but I believe in my heart of hearts that fifty is the new thirty. It may be that I am in my mid-forties, and have not achieved what I thought I would have achieved at this point in my life. It may be that I want to have things to look forward to instead of looking backwards at what once was. And it may be mental gymnastics just to make myself feel a little better about approaching the mid-century mark of my life.
In my twenties, I had plans to travel to Europe. I was going to spend months there hopping around from country to country, exploring other cultures, sipping wine and eating cheese on the boulevard. Never happened. I just ran out of time. I went to college, then got married, had four amazing children, and well, life happened so Europe did not.
I have had other plans that went bust, things I was planning to accomplish in my thirties. I was planning to finish my doctorate, get out of debt and get back into shape after four pregnancies all but destroyed my body. Now that I am in my mid-forties, I am working on my doctorate, still trying to get out of debt, and still fighting the battle of the bulge.
And the older I get, the harder it becomes. Studying is more and more difficult as I struggle to focus my mind and find the time to complete my school work. Assignment due dates keep looming, and I keep putting things off.
As for the debt, raising four kids is very expensive, and it seems to me that the older they get the more expensive they become. They need basketball shoes, American Eagle jeans, and they eat us out of house and home. Most experts say raising one child to age eighteen costs nearly $250,000, and I have four of them! That’s (hold on to your hats) a million dollars! It's no wonder we are still working our way out of debt and drive two older cars.
And finally, the battle of the bulge has become more difficult because my body keeps failing me. I have developed arthritis in both of my knees, so the step aerobics class that I love is out of the question. I had a dislocated shoulder which gives me fits from time to time. My daily routine involves Aleve for the pain and the elliptical for exercise. Even then, the weight does not come off as easily, my knees ache, my shoulder hurts and my feet tingle.
Why is it that my body is failing me on the outside right at the time when I feel most confident on the inside? In my thirties, I was insecure about many things; I tried too hard to be a people-pleaser, and needed the world to love me. Now in my forties, I have relaxed a lot, discovered that I sort of like myself just as I am, in my own skin. And people can take or leave me, and that is fine.
So I am changing the game. Let’s make fifty the new thirty. So that way, I still have time to accomplish what I want to accomplish in this life with room to spare.
And this new outlook is simply mental gymnastics designed to make myself feel a little better about approaching the mid-century mark, cartwheel here I come!
I just hope my shoulder and knees can take it!