Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Break out the Kleenex...

Have you seen this article and watched this video? Take a few minutes and check it out. You’ll be humbled by what this father/son duo have managed to accomplish with their lives. If there wasn't a book already published about them, I'd be knocking on their door asking for the opportunity to write it.

Truly amazing...and a great way to adjust a person's priorities for the new year ahead.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dinner for four, table for three

Do your kids take forever to get to the table when dinner's ready? Do you call them 10x before they finally show up? And by the time everyone does arrive (including your hubby, who's probably glued to his Blackberry like mine often is) has your mood taken a nose dive? As a wife/mother/author, I know your pain and I'm happy to offer a solution.

Here's my kitchen table, a little bistro-style that seats three. The dilemna, of course, is that I have a family of four, which means when dinner is announced each night all hell breaks loose.

Since buying this table 3 yrs ago (much to my husband's chagrin) dinner starts immediately after I announce it's ready, because seats are at a premium. If you're the last one to arrive, then you'll be sitting on phone books stacked on the black desk chair hidden away at the back of this picture. And since no one wants the-phone-book-chair my family runs for a spot at the table each night.

It's become a family joke, Mom's crazy table for three, and I have no plans to replace it. I grew up in a big family where dinner was never a quiet affair. There were seven of us and meals were loud, in a good way (voices rose and fell, cancelling each other out, there was lots of laughter and just as much arguing), but we always ate together and I'm determined my family will, too.

P.S. For those who think I'm crazy I do have a dining room with a teak table and seating for eight, which is where we eat when we have guests. I'd be happy to serve our nightly dinner here too, but whenever I suggest it my kids say they'd rather eat at the bistro-table. Go figure, huh?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

From upstanding citizen to delinquent parent

I might not be the best mother on earth (that I don't bake instantly comes to mind, as does my refusal to iron or sew) but I'm also certainly not the worst.

No matter how late it is, when my boys come home from school dances they kick their dad out of the room and take turns giving me whispered rundowns about their night, whether I want to hear it or not. If there's a problem or a secret, I usually know about it long before my husband does, and if one of them is sick I'm the parent they call. I don't mean to disparage my husband here. It's just that he's known as the 'fun guy' who takes them skating and swimming and snowboarding, whereas I'm more the 'workhorse parent' who gets the leftovers.

All that said, last Friday was not a stellar day for me.

My son, who's twelve, was sick with a cold/flu. It was Friday and we needed groceries but he didn't want to go with me only to get dragged from store to store because I won't leave him in a vehicle alone. So a compromise was reached. I would give him some Nyquil and he'd stay home in bed and watch TV. I'd have my cell phone on and he'd call if there was any kind of problem/emergency. I also alerted my neighbor, who lives 30 feet away and was at home, sick with her own kids.

Fast forward 30 minutes.

I'm in the dairy aisle when my cell phone rings, and when I answer my youngest is overly cheery in that way kids get when something has gone very very wrong. It doesn't last, though, because as soon as I say, "What happened?" he spews out the truth, and the false cheer and bravado disappear.

He fell asleep and when he woke up (slightly groggy) he tried to phone my cell, but instead of dialing 8+1+ the remaining numbers he dialed 9+1 and then hung up.

*Insert fun fact here* Did you know if you dial 9+1 and then hang up the aborted call is immediately routed to 911?

Back to my story... After hanging up, a 911 operator phones my child back and asks him a series of questions, including his name, age and where his mother is? While she does this my child is sniffling and coughing (from his cold) so the girl puts her supervisor on the phone who asks my son if he's being held against his will. (Which, by the way, I think is wonderful because that's exactly how these kind of calls need to be handled). My son assures the man that he's fine, hangs up, and then phones me.

Fast forward 20 minutes.

I park in the driveway and go inside to check on my son, who is hunkered down in bed with a snack and our 180 lb Newfoundland dog. As we're talking, the doorbell rings and (yes, you guessed it) the police have now arrived. Our dog gets to the door before I do and the officer is visibly taken aback by his size. He asks a few questions (keeping his eye on the dog, who is now circling him with an Eeyore doll in his mouth) then asks to speak to my son.

I call my son downstairs and when he finally arrives (taking his sweet time because he's somewhat overwhelmed/intimidated by the whole there's-a-police-officer-in-our-house concept) the officer asks him what happened earlier.

My son explains, then apologizes and says, "I think I probably got confused because I've been drinking too much Nyquil."

"You've been drinking Nyquil?" the officer says.

"No, he hasn't!" I say, and the officer tells me he'd like to talk directly to my son, not me.

Once the Nyquil problem is cleared up (my son confirms it was me who gave him the Nyquil and that it was the correct dose) the officer asks my son if he lives here alone with me.

My son coughs and says, "No, my brother live with us too. Oh, and my dad (insert sniffle here) but he's never here."

"That's not true," I say, embarassed. "It's just that he travels a lot!"

Once again, the officer politely reminds me that he wants to speak to my son, not me, and by then I'm ready to chug a little Nyquil myself.

Minutes later, after he runs out of questions, the officer finally leaves. I shut the door behind him and the phone rings. It's my husband, calling from some airport where he's had an hour-long wait at security, and he says, "You are not going to believe my day."

And I'm thinking...Try me.