Thirty Three: A Post About Me

 

Lake Placid shortcut girl

Me at our hotel in Lake Placid, NY

Anyone who knows me (and pretty much everyone who reads this blog knows me), knows I am very into my birthday. I blame my semi-only child upbringing and two great parents. Parents who celebrated everything. Every. Single. Thing. Let’s put it this way. We went out to dinner to celebrate my cross over the threshold of womanhood. My Mom grew up poor and liked to celebrate and reward good behavior, good grades, milestones, awards. My father was proud as a peacock to have a daughter who did anything well and was never really known for his modesty. “That’s my girl!” he would say. I lost my Dad in 2009. And I think it’s at my birthday when I really, really miss him.

So the product of all this: me. A big girl with a desperate, little girl trapped inside who wants me, me, me and more me. (You do know that’s why I have a blog, don’t you?). God help my poor husband at Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas and, of course, the only day that is about me all day long: my birthday.

So yesterday I turned 33 and have to say I was very lucky to be so spoiled by my husband and children. Mike took me away for a night and it was Just What the Doctor Ordered. Couple time, me time, quiet time and relaxing time. Much needed and much appreciated. Nine years with me, Michael has learned my affinity for my birthday. And although he doesn’t go all out every year (to keep me guessing, I suppose), he really made this year top-notch.

While we were away, I played the “question game” with Mike. A chance for us to talk about things we never get to talk about. With questions like, what have you learned most about marriage? and what have you learned most about yourself as a parent?, we ended up talking about things we never get to talk about—how we are both feeling about this whole “marriage and family” thing that we have been a part of. A time for genuine reflection and analysis.

It made me think of a list I started in July. I was doing a writing prompt activity with a local author who I follow on Facebook. She challenged everyone to complete one writing prompt a day for August. In this prompt, she asked you to write down things you’ve learned over the years. As I wrote, it kind of took the shape of advice I would give my children, but more evidently my daughter. Once I started the list, I could not stop. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Forgive and forgive often.
  • When you have a negative thought, don’t feel compelled to share it.
  • “Knowing who you are” is not always an accomplishment. Keep finding out more about yourself. Never be content. Keep changing.
  • Don’t mistake your husband as a best girlfriend. He can be your best friend but only a girlfriend can be a girlfriend.
  • Say thank you. For everything.
  • Be careful with your words.
  • Listen. Don’t just hear what you want to hear.
  • Apologize for your moments of weakness in life. Recognize them.
  • Pay close attention to regret. It’s a powerful feeling. It tells you when to be more kind, more gentle, more adventurous, most dutiful, more direct, more loving, more loyal. It’s those regrets that help program your future behaviors.
  • Be available. Even when you are busy, don’t tell everyone how busy you are. People who are too busy all the time end up very, very lonely.
  • Your sibling is the only person in the world you have shared your parents with. Value this relationship and its ebb and flow. It’s a rich and powerful one.
  • Take care of your money. No one else will.
  • Always drive slow in your own neighborhood.
  • In the tough times, take a 15 walk or a 15 minute shower and see how things look afterwards.
  • Travel. At every age. Not just when you are young.
  • A friend is not someone you want to be like. They are someone you like because of how they bring out the things you like in yourself.
  • Trust your gut- always.
  • Bake cookies from scratch. It’s what your Nana would want you to do.

As I write these down, I can pinpoint which ones came from my mother, my father, my friends, my own unique experiences and even my own children. Even at 33, I feel young. I have learned a lot, seen a little but know that the best is still yet to come. So, I thank my Mom and Dad for instilling a sense of excitement and need for celebration for silly things like birthdays. Because, without them, there might not be a chance to reflect upon how far you have come and how much further you have yet to go.

At last year’s birthday, I never would have thought I would start a blog that would be my primary artistic outlet and recreation. At Shortcut Girl’s inception, I was skeptical, even of myself and wasn’t sure it I would keep it up. But here I am, about to publish post # 87, and feeling really, really excited to have a new frame for my life. I always wanted to be a writer. And look at that. Here I am. “That’s my girl!”

 

Mommy Monday: “Where’s Daddy?”

Celia’s first minutes in the world.

Cape Cod Flying a kite, 2011

Daddy and Parker at Gore Mountatin

Fireworks 2012

My husband left on July 7th for about a month. He’s teaching in California in two different colleges: San Diego State University and California Polytechnic State University. We miss him desperately. Face Time has been our lifeline, Parker gets to say good morning and good night to him. But, Parker is definitely affected. He asks for his Daddy ten times a day. When he wakes up, when he goes to sleep, when he gets hurt, when he’s had enough of me. All the time, really. We all miss him, but seeing the kids miss him hurts double:(

In looking for Mommy Monday inspiration, I stumbled upon this blog and fell in love. If Michael was a blogger, he would defintely blog these complaints/rants/jokes about me as a wife. I laughed at the couple of posts I read and thought about how laughing at ourselves is what keeps us:

a. sane

b. from killing each other

c. liking each other (Liking each other, I have learned, is not the same as loving each other)

d. being good parents

So, my shortcut for today is showing gratitude. Gratitude for my husband as a father and central person in my life. Don’t worry, this won’t be THAT gushy, it’s more jokes than mush.

Things My Husband Does to Make My Family’s Life Better:

1. Taught my son that I have a tattoo. Not my favorite thing at first, but when your pants hang down and reveal your lower back and your son says, “Mommy, you have a butt tattoooooooo!”— is there really anything funnier?

2. Taught my son to call his poop “Turd Birds”: With the semi-New Joisey accent that two year olds adopt, Parker actually says the word like, “tawd bawds.” A bonus is that my husband also started showing my son his poop in the hope that it would make him want to go on the potty. Not the case. Now my son asks to see his turd birds at every diaper change.

3. Takes the Kids for Loooooong Walks: He took my son recently on a two mile walk to the town where our camp is. For me, that would be a stressful event. For them, it’s a little QT.

4. Is Uber-Affectionate with his Son and Daughter: My family is full of huggers and kissers. Mike is not as much of a cuddler-kisser-hugger as I am. Imagine my delight to see that he gives the kids sometimes more hugs and kisses than I do. For Parker he has invented the “shaker hug”, “just one kiss” and “wompin” which have all been hits with our little redhead.

5. Is a Teacher, Always: He has taught my son his colors, animals, numbers and letters. A lot of it has been through the use of the Ipad. Parker is just as technological as his Daddy.

6. Makes My Kids Try Different Foods: Mike is relentless in getting the kids to try/like different foods. He likes Parker to put olives on his fingers and eat them and I am sure, with Celia (who appears to be our big eater) he will have her eating oysters, sushi and any ethnic food she can.

7. Daddy’s Eggs: Among many things Michael cooks well, his eggs are the best. You have never had eggs like them. Fluffy, slightly runny scrambled eggs, yum!

8. Makes up Songs for the Every Day: Along with everyone’s favorite, “My Mama Has a Butt Tattoo,” Michael has also made up the songs: “Milka Milka Please” and everyone’s favorite, “Butt Shaker Butt Shaker.” Also, Parker getting pumped up would probably fit in this category.

9. Dances See #8. There are dances that go with each of the above songs.

10. Daddy’s Ability to Document Our Lives: He was quick to bust the video camera out to take a video of Parker’s first steps or when we heard Parker’s first profanity.

We miss you Daddy!