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Posts Tagged ‘seasons’

Dear Future Family Member,

You don’t know me yet, or maybe you do, but we’ll meet in a different context in the next decade or two. I’ve been praying for you for a while now. You see, I have three sons and chances are pretty good that at least one of them will get married at some point. I look forward to that day when you will be a part of our family. I don’t have any daughters and it will be nice to have another woman (or two, or three) around. After living with four males over the years, the excess of testosterone wears on me once in a while. Of course, you may be the kind of woman who enjoys burp jokes and who doesn’t mind dirty socks and underwear on the floor, but a mother-in-law can dream, right?

There are some things that I can tell you about your future husband. He will know how to wash dishes, load and empty a dishwasher, sort his laundry, dust, vacuum, sweep and mop floors, perform all personal hygiene daily, and know to treat you with the highest respect. I cannot guarantee that he will do all of these things all the time, except the respect thing, but the knowledge is there. He will be able to cook at least basic things, although Youngest Child shows the greatest interest in learning more in the kitchen. I haven’t always been the greatest teacher there. I don’t have a lot of patience in the kitchen because I hate extra cleanup, especially in the kitchen, I hate cleaning in general and want it done it done my way, but I’m trying to be more tolerant, especially since I know they’ll be leaving me soon. Middle Child shows the greatest willingness to help with cleaning. You may be more willing to let him make a mess. He would enjoy that.

They were raised in church and taught that faith isn’t about visiting the building once a week, but living it by not being ashamed of God, believing that He is there, and doing things that Jesus commanded us to do: Love one another, no matter what their lifestyle, respect all colors, races, colors, sexual orientations, and help others who are less fortunate than you. Oldest Child, in particular, has a passion for social justice and giving back to the community. While I hope that you share those feelings of faith, in whatever form they take, or that you are open to it, I won’t hound you about it; your faith is personal and none of my business.

I know that you may be anxious about how we will accept you, I was anxious when I met my future in-laws, but don’t worry. We know that if one of our sons brings you home to meet us, he loves you and that says a lot. I don’t care what race you are, what color you are, what you’ve done in your past, or who your parents are. I don’t care if you have children already, if you went to college or not, or how many times you changed your mind about what you wanted to be. None of these things make any sort of difference to me at all.

What I do care about are things that matter in life: Do you love my son? Do you treat him well? Also very important is how my son treats you. We raised him to treat everyone with respect and dignity, especially his life partner.

Will you be a loving mother to any children that the two of you may have? You may choose not to have children and that’s okay, too. It’s your life and I won’t bug you about it, even though I adore babies. (I have a reputation as a baby-stealer, just ask my family.) If you already have children, they will become a part of our family, too. That’s how it works.

I hope that family is a priority for you. I’m not the kind of mother who is going to expect her children to always stay close by when they’re grown, nor do I expect to see them every day or two, but my door is always open to you and to my sons and I hope that we see each other often. I won’t fuss about seeing you right on a holiday or demand that you choose between our family and yours. Holidays are stressful enough, especially if you do have kids. That’s not fair to you or my son. We’ll work it out, don’t worry, and it will be relaxed. I will respect your boundaries and not just “pop over” uninvited, walk into your home without knocking, or expect you to drop everything for me. I’m a pretty independent person and I don’t expect to be catered to. I want us to have a good relationship, to be a family.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything, and that’s okay, too. Different perspectives are good and keeping an open mind is even better. We can always agree to disagree on things. I just ask that you respect my decisions as I will yours. I won’t be that stereotypical, horrible, mother-in-law to you.

With all that being said, I’m very excited, and a little nervous, about the occasion when we’ll meet someday. I wonder about you and what you will be like. Will we be instant friends? Will it take a little work? Will you just tolerate me and want me to stay far away, or will you want a mother figure? The possibilities are all there and only time will tell. In the meantime, I’ll keep raising these boys to be the best human beings that they can be and hope for the best.

A presto.

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I am the lone female in a house of four males. I decided that one of the snakes was a girl, just to try and even things out a bit. I really don’t know if it is or not, especially since I would need to take it to a herpetologist to check, but I thought it was fair. Not that “she’s” any help, especially in a Nerf gun war. Then, Oldest Child kept a snake that we rescued and Youngest Child bought a leopard gecko, both males (so they say), so now the odds are really bad. Friends of mine who have girls are always saying that I’m lucky, that girls are more work, and in some ways, they’re probably right, but having the only estrogen in a house full of testosterone does require a bit of teeth gritting at times.

Let me just say that I love my boys unconditionally, madly, and truly. I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything in this world or the next and I am so proud of the young men they are becoming. That being said, while growing up, I always pictured having kids, but somehow I always pictured my children as girls (Well, maybe one was a boy.), especially since I was the only girl in my family and had longed for a sister. That hasn’t happened, and now that we’re done having children, it isn’t going to happen. Having three boys took some getting used to at first, but I love (almost) every minute of it..

Boys, especially for a first-time mom, require some instructions. If you have a new, blue, bundle of joy or are expecting one soon, here are some things that you can expect:

1. Really fast diaper changes: There’s something about cold air that make baby boys decide to spray, and spray they do. They can really get some distance, too. Keep that in mind when you change that newborn diaper. You’ll learn fast.

2. Boys are active. All kids can be active, no doubt, but boys seem to have boundless energy. They’ll fool you. They’ll come to you after a round of light saber attacks, breathing heavily and wanting a snuggle, but it’s short-lived. In no time at all, they’re up and around, knocking the daylights out of each other or jumping all over one another like a bunch of puppies. Of course, there are girls who are also extremely active, a friend of mine has a daughter who is constantly moving, but I know that compared to what I was like as a child. the physical activity level of boys is tiring.

3. You will probably, at some point, wind up in a sports league. I always kind of hoped that one of them would really want to take ballet or something that I could relate to once they got into activities, but I had to wait until they all started band in the 5th grade. Until then, it was baseball. Then, cross country. I’m not a very good sports mom. Actually, I’m not a good sports mom at all. Some moms are gung-ho right from the start. They know all the team stats, have the snack schedule memorized, and could tell you the batting order from the month before, as well as the rules to whatever league level your son is in. I’m lucky if I know the other kids’ names. I’m pretty introverted, so small talk at games with other parents is absolute torture, although it would probably be the same at a dance class. I tried talking Youngest Child into Irish dancing a while back, but he was having none of it. Now they all have some involvement in theatre, which is very cool. And watchable. In the meantime, buy yourself a mitt and go play outside with them. You won’t regret it.

4. Get used to thinking/saying, “What the hell is that?” You will say this as you scrutinize what might be a black fuzzy on the bathroom floor or something else. You will say this as you take clothes out of the washer and dryer. You will say this when you clean the petrified banana out from under the bed. You will say this as you look at something that has been wiped across the shower wall. You will say this so many times while your boys are growing up that you will lose all fear at finding out what it is, but not your disgust at what you find. (Chances are, it’s not a fuzzy. Or a raisin.) Invest in Clorox wipes.

5. There will be weapons. Yes, there will. Even if you don’t purchase weapon toys, anything can be turned into a weapon and it will be. Paper towel tubes, fingers, crayons, chalk, basically anything that resembles the desired weapon of mass destruction will be imagined into one. I don’t allow first-person shoot-to-kill video games in my house, but we are fully stocked with Nerf guns. My hoodie pockets are stuffed with Nerf darts for self defense. There’s something very basic about the need to play-fight and as long as it doesn’t go overboard, I say go with it. At least until it drives you crazy enough to grumpily yell, “Enough! I just want to relax!” up the stairs, as I did last night.

6. There will be hair in the sink. And lots of toothpaste splatters. Again, invest in Clorox wipes. Enough said.

7. They will have noisy friends. You may have a quiet son or even two, but the day will come when they bring that kid home, the one who runs through your house with his shoes one, hollering and yelling like he’s outside, wanting to watch shows or movies that you don’t allow and begging to spend the night. Chances are, your son will be enamored of him, at least for a while. Until, you must be a nice, but firm, mommy and deal with him. After a couple of visits, you can conveniently schedule outings for you and our darling when the small terror wants to come over and hope that the novelty wears off. It sounds harsh, but your nerves can really take a frazzling and you will breathe a sigh of relief when he brings home a really nice kid to play with.

8. They will want to go to Chuck E. Cheese, or someplace similar, for many birthday parties. If you are not aware, these pizza places/indoor amusement parks are actually, I believe, part of Dante’s vision of Hell. Screaming children running about untethered, clanging, buzzing, and ringing machines blaring at full volumes, inattentive parents sitting with pitchers of beer and pathetic pizza at neon-colored tables, and creepy, demonic-looking animatronic characters dancing an singing at full volume. It’s wonderful for small boys who are not afraid of the creepy animatronic characters. They have an absolute blast. Curling up in a ball and rocking on the couch is an option for at least two hours when you arrive home. With a glass of wine.

9. Bodily functions will be a hilarious common topic. I hate talking about less-than-pleasant bodily functions and my boys are usually pretty good about leaving me out of it, but occasionally the dinner table is interrupted by “accidental” noise, followed by smothered giggles that quickly erupt into all out laughter, including Mr. Marty Man. I don’t get it. I never have, I never will. If that’s your thing, enjoy. If not, get ready for the ride.

10. Little boy snuggles are so awesome. Boys love their mamas. There’s just something so special about that relationship. Words can’t describe it. When they still want to be tucked into bed at eleven years old or fight over who gets to sit next to you as teenagers, your heart will just melt into a puddle. There’s no better feeling in the world.

11. Boys have a tender side. Stuffed animals, blankies, even baby dolls can also have a special place in a boy’s heart, right next to the noisy army helicopter and Boba Fett mask. It’s adorable and I don’t care what anyone thinks. They’ll give it up if and when they want to. I encouraged it as long as I could, never teased them for it, and never let anyone else say a word about it. Boys need to know that having loving feelings is perfectly fine.

12. You will love your boy(s) with a fierceness that you didn’t know you had, and with every fiber of your being. When my first baby came home, I loved him so much that I could barely breathe. When he was three, he very enthusiastically went to introduce himself to some older kids, maybe six or seven years old, at the playground. “Hi!” he said. My name is…. What’s your name?” They just looked at him, mumbled something, and ran away. For the first time in my adult life, I wanted to slap a kid. (A six-year-old. I know.) How dare they say that to my sweet little guy??? Didn’t they know how amazing he was? Where were their parents? Swallowing my righteous anger, I tried to hug his disappointment away and attempted to forget my Sicilian roots. After all, shielding him from any pain would not have taught him how to deal with it in a good way. I used it as a teaching moment, but I remember the instant that Mama Bear instinct kicked in, as it has for my two other boys as well. You will realize, in an instant, that you would die for your boys without hesitation. It’s a beautiful thing.

There is, of course, much more to life with boys, but I have to leave you some surprises. There are many who will argue that girls are the same way, that I shouldn’t try to highlight differences between girls and boys. I have to disagree. As the oldest sister, oldest cousin, babysitter to dozens of children for eleven years before I had my own, and as a teacher, there are some key differences, especially the diaper changing part of it. Not every little boy is a Jedi and not every little girl is a princess, but those differences should be celebrated and enjoyed, for the most part. Living in an all-male household has been a good experience, although I do need a good aunt/niece day out now and then. I keep telling them that one of them owes me at least one granddaughter someday, someone for whom I can buy sparkly things and give makeovers to. In the meantime, I will enjoy my boys, my young men who will change the world someday. Now if I could just get them to stop leaving a trail of socks through the house and to clean their hair out of the sink…

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Those who know me know that I am definitely not a summer person. I can’t stand heat or extreme humidity. Anything above 82 degrees is pretty much miserable for me. This extreme winter isn’t much fun either, but for some reason, I tolerate it a lot better than I do the summer heat. Even the hassle of shoveling, white/numb fingers, and piling on layers seems like less of an ordeal than the crushing weight of the air under 90% humidity and not being able to breathe without sweating. I’m not a winter sports person, I get too cold, but while I don’t relish hibernation, I don’t hate winter.

That being said, the more this winter goes on, I do miss a lot of things. Here are some of them.

1. Color. When it snows, the tree limbs are breathtakingly beautiful. Dazzling white, fresh-fallen snow makes me pause and take it all in. On the other hand, dirty, nasty, slush on the sides of the roads gets very tiresome, as does a leaden sky. I can’t wait to see the first crocuses in my neighbors’ yards, green, not brown, grass, my dogwood tree in bloom, my yellow hyacinths poking up. Yep, I’m jonesing for a little color about now.

2. Dry ground. No matter where I’ve gone in the past two months, the ground has been covered in snow/ice/melted snow or ice. My work shoes are all ruined, but I’ve worn them for a few years, so it’s not a huge loss. I’d like to walk across a parking lot without getting wet, though. Andrew and I were soaked to our socks last weekend running in to English Gardens.

3. Open windows. I LOVE when the temperature is around 70-75 and there’s a light breeze outside. It’s even better when I can smell the flowers or freshly-cut grass. Our windows are old and drafty, so when it gets frigid like this, we keep the shades drawn to block as much of the cold as possible. It’s a bit isolating, especially on those days when the sun is shining. Like today.

4. Sandals. I love sandals, NOT flip flops. Flip flops are gross, dirty, and cheap-looking. Sandals, on the other hand, can be dressy, strappy, or casual, and they’re cool in the aforementioned temperatures from Hades.

5. Cute dresses. Dresses are fun. It’s too cold to wear them now. It has to be at least in the 40 degree range before I even consider wearing a dress in the winter. A cold blast of wind in just the right place is an unpleasant experience.

6. Ice cream. Marty and I have a standing “date” every Tuesday night after the kids go to bed where we have a bowl of ice cream, but we haven’t had it in several weeks now. Why? It’s too flipping cold! Maybe we will this week, as it’s going to a daytime high of 17. Heat wave.

7. Daylight. I enjoy taking a walk after dinner. For safety’s sake, it needs to be light. I don’t live in a bad neighborhood, but common sense tells me to be safe. I know bad things can happen in daylight, too, they’re just not as likely. I get really bored with just exercising and I enjoy my walks up to the corner store. I usually get a paper, say hi to the brothers that work there, and make my way back home using different routes to see new things in my neighborhood. Last winter, I took Zumba to help me get my exercise, this year I’m taking hula and tap dancing to keep me moving but I still miss my walks.

I’m really not complaining. I’d much rather deal with this weather that 90+ degrees. There are just some things that I miss and that I’m looking forward to, say, oh, June, at this rate. What things do you miss during this time of year? Post as a comment of FB or on my blog page. This has been a long winter for everyone, so let off some steam! (Besides, steam is warm. Maybe it will help.)

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