I Believe.

Posted on | December 12, 2014 | No Comments

It hasn’t felt much like Christmas this year. Until lately, we’ve had a rush of warm weather in Georgia that just seemed to suck the joy right out of the season.

I’ve been cranky and J hasn’t been sleeping great because of all the excitement (and sugar), so he’s been cranky, too. We’ve both been at each other, pushing buttons and yelling and snipping like families do around the holidays when things aren’t perfect… even though nothing is ever perfect. I’ve been struggling through making “magic”  for J and wondering when it is that I get to stop and sit, and drink in what used to be my favorite time of the year… back before it meant cooking and cleaning and shopping and decorating until my fingers bleed Christmas red.

In short, I’ve been longing for someone or something to remind me what this is all about… why we do this… who we do this for. This morning, from the back seat of the car, a tender five year old voice sang along to Josh Groban’s “Believe” from the Polar Express and like an avalanche of snow it hit me… what I needed, what I STILL need… is to believe.

When I was a girl, I believed in Santa Claus for an extraordinarily long time. Part of that was due to the magic my parents sprinkled around at the holidays but a lot more of it was because I needed to believe in something bigger than just me and my family. I needed to believe there was a magical man who lived at the North Pole and loved children so much that he spent his life making toys and delivering them around the world. I needed to believe that someone I didn’t even know loved me THAT much.

Because that’s love, right? To spend your life caring for someone who never really sees you? To invest all of your love and time into people who will just grow up and stop believing in you at all. For a moment, this morning, I felt sorry for Santa. I thought about what a sad existence it might be, to love children so ferociously only to have them turn away from you as they grow.

What’s magical about Christmas isn’t Santa Claus; it’s the belief in Santa Claus. It’s the understanding that some things exist outside of what we see in that half-asleep and fuzzy world of what we knew as children and what we feel even now, when we stop to let ourselves breathe in the candy cane scented world around us. What’s been missing in my Christmas is the belief in magic, in mystery, in a love that created a son where no baby could have been. It’s belief that the stars in the sky moved and molded into something amazing over a small hotel in a small town a very long time ago. It’s the belief that someone so much bigger than me, so much grander and more perfect than I could ever hope to be, loves me so much that he spends every moment of his eternal life caring for me, investing his love and time into someone who just turns away. And yes, it’s even about the belief that a man lives in a world of elves and makes toys… and then delivers them around the world in one night.

What I’ve been missing is that childlike belief in something bigger than me; someone bigger than me.

Christmas isn’t about how much money I spend. It’s not about having the perfect tree or finding the perfect gift. It isn’t about who sings the loudest or bakes the most cookies or wraps the prettiest packages. It’s about believing in the magic that brought us here, to a place where we celebrate the birth of a baby, the miraculous and wonderful birth of a baby… who grew up to be so much to so many. It’s about believing in the magic that brings us Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, and all other things that make childhood so vibrant and technicolor. It’s about squinting your eyes and knowing that shadow in the corner is a reindeer, or hearing the tinkling of bells and believing that just around that building is a jolly old man in a soft red suit.

So I guess it’s time I stop wondering what I’m missing. It’s time to stop wishing for someone to come and create magic for me.

It’s time to remember and worship and love and yes… so much so… it is time for me to believe.

Grown Up, Party of Me

Posted on | December 4, 2014 | 1 Comment

When I was a kid, I wasn’t one of those who desperately wanted to grow up. In fact, if anything, I was a little too Peter Pan-ish. I worried a lot about getting older and having to be a grown up… you know, until I was about 13 and decided I basically WAS a grown up and that being an adult was the coolest thing around.

Since that time, I haven’t been too terribly disappointed about being a grown up. At least not most of the time. I mean, sure there are jobs and bills and things, but there’s no one telling me where to go or what to do or how to eat or what to drink and that’s pretty cool since my parents NEVER let me drink beer growing up. ;) But there are some times when I get this ache in the pit of my stomach and I just want to double over and cry from the sheer unfairness of growing up.

Because when you get right down to it, there are some times when being a grown up sucks.

Like when you have to put your dog to sleep and your mom isn’t there to make it all better.

Like when you get a flat tire and you can’t call your dad to come fix it.

Like when your friends start losing their parents to illness and heart problems and cancer and you think “Dear God, that could happen to ME.”

Like when the unspeakable happens and you lose friends to those same illnesses and you wonder when it was that this became, you know, not national news. Because when it happens to a child, it’s awful. But it’s still awful when it happens to a grown up, you know? Especially an adult you know. Because people your own age aren’t supposed to die, no matter how old you are.

There are always two main times when grown up life feels wrong, and maybe it’s silly, but they are what they are. The first is any time I go to Disney World. Because I distinctly remember going to Disney World as a child. I remember the thrill of it all… the warm fuzzy feeling of magic that sort of coursed through my veins just from being there. Everything was magic and adventure and beautiful twinkly lights… and now when I go? Now it’s crowds and lines and expensive food and an overly tired, somewhat whiny child. Don’t get me wrong… it’s still magic, but it’s not the SAME magic that it was when I was little.

The other time? Well, I’m sure you’ve guessed… the other time is Christmas.

December makes me want to call in sick to work every day of the month and just watch White Christmas and Christmas in Connecticut on repeat while sipping hot chocolate with obscenely large marshmallows. I want two weeks of Christmas break… to bake and decorate cookies, to sing The Statler Brothers Christmas album at the top of my lungs and not start to bawl when it gets to the part about parents dying some day because OHMIGOD NO JUST NO.

When I was a kid, I didn’t have to worry about things like “last Christmas together” or when to find time to go see Santa at the mall. I wasn’t worried about making sure there would be dinner on the table and breakfast in the fridge. Someone else made sure all the gifts were bought and wrapped and when it was all said and done, someone else just made everything magic for me. When I was a kid, I had my parents to take care of everything, just as J now has me. And yes, Christmas with a child of your own is magical… but it’s a different sort of magic altogether.

It doesn’t feel quite as magical when you’re the one creating all the magic.

Just once, for old time’s sake, I’d like for someone to create a little magic for me.

 

Fa la la la … zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted on | December 3, 2014 | 1 Comment

One thing you should know about me is that I’m not a night owl. I’m an early to bed, early to rise kind of gal… which either makes me smart or lame depending on who you ask. (Parents say smart, others say lame). But last night, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t sleep.

I tossed and turned; I got up to check on J a few times. I even read a few chapters of a book. Finally around 1:15, I got up.

I’ve always wondered how so many moms seem to keep everything in their house looking amazingly sparkly clean and I think that last night I discovered the secret… you just … don’t sleep. I got a load of laundry washed, dried, and folded. I ran the dishwasher. I organized the shoes in my closet and I even dusted the furniture in my room, for Pete’s sake!

Finally, I fell back into bed and into a nice deep sleep around 3:30 and that carried me through to my 6:30 alarm.

So needless to say, I’m pretty tired today.

Yesterday, I spent some quality treadmill time with another single momma friend and we were commiserating on how tired we always are. Because honestly, there’s just not enough time in the days. I know it sounds cliche, and I’m not saying that single mommas have the market cornered on tiredness because it’s totally a PARENT thing, but still. This whole be everything to all the people all the time can get a little exhausting. Just yesterday, I spent most of the day in the office putting out fires for clients, raced home to make cheese tortellini dinner, made my kid cry because I wouldn’t let him eat the candy off the gingerbread house, fixed the peppermint fudge my son requested, and then just as I sank down on the sofa to watch a movie with J, realized that the trash still needed to go out, the dishwasher needed to be unloaded and reloaded, and the dog was still outside. So I got back up, swept the kitchen floor, let the dog in, took out the trash, handled the dishes, and THEN sat down.

At which time, I promptly had to check the fifteen thousand emails that came in from work with clients desperate to know where their money is or was or will be, or why their prescriptions weren’t authorized. It’s probably why I can’t sleep… this holiday season is just killing me. Between clients who are stressed about money to ME being stressed about money… I don’t know how to turn my brain off. It’s a rough way to be at Christmas, torn between doing all the things and saving all the money for presents. Who knows. I just know I need a way to shut the brain off so I can sleep.

Why is Christmas so much more exhausting as a grown up?! I think tonight may call for sandwiches, hot chocolate, and The Santa Clause.

 

25 Days of Christmas

Posted on | December 2, 2014 | 3 Comments

I love Christmas.

I love the magic and the candlelight and the love and the full on explosion of good moods across, well, everything. And because I love Christmas so much, last year I started this idea of doing 25 days of Christmas with J. Each day, we’d do something else Christmasy. I’d bake or we’d decorate, or maybe just watch a movie together… but every day would be a celebration of what I love about the season.

Sounds great, right? What could be better than making that magic real and special for my child?

Well… turns out… a lot of things could be better.

Yesterday, I picked J up from school and told him we’d be making a gingerbread house. He was thrilled to say the least. We rushed home where I pulled dinner out of the freezer and then got out the gingerbread kit… because obviously it’s from a kit… and got to work making the icing. J wanted to eat all the candy and the gingerbread but I finally convinced him not to eat THAT gingerbread by promising to make real gingerbread, which I then started making while the frame of the house dried a little. When we finally started putting the candy on the house, it was more of a one on, one in mouth, sort of deal for J, but who am I to judge? I got dinner out of the oven, slid the gingerbread in, and started mixing up a batch of Chex Mix because it’s the best thing since crack, and J finished putting all the candy on the little house.

The Christmas music was playing, the house smelled all cinnamon and ginger, and dammit there was a gingerbread house and it was glorious.

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But here’s the thing…. I was still cleaning up the mess while J ate his dinner. I was running a load of laundry and stirring the chex mix and cutting the gingerbread and in general doing ninety things a minute like I usually do… and my kid was sitting alone, eating his dinner. Sure, there was a gingerbread house. And yes, there was chex mix and hot gingerbread with whipped cream, and the house smelled and looked all Christmas-y. But was there magic?

Nope.

Not a bit.

When I finally sank down beside him on the sofa to watch a Christmas special, he looked at me with a side eye and announced:

“I liked building the gingerbread house. But tomorrow, can you finish all your stuff earlier so we can snuggle on the sofa?”

It was a total gut check. I was trying so hard to make everything perfect that I forgot the best thing about Christmas is spending time with my kid. It’s not about 25 days of Christmas activities. It’s not about the perfect gingerbread house or cookies or even decorations… the magic that was and is so much a part of my childhood Christmases was about believing in Santa, spending time with my sister and brother and mom and dad. It was about trying to stay up to hear sleigh bells, and watching Christmas movies with hot chocolate and marshmallows. It was about being together… not about doing all the things.

So I slid a little closer to my kid, tossed an arm around his shoulders and promised him that tonight? Tonight we will watch a Christmas movie. Just the two of us. With hot chocolate and marshmallows.

And I’ll try a little harder to stop chasing it all the time and just let Christmas magic come to us.

I Am Not Sorry For What I Am

Posted on | November 26, 2014 | 4 Comments

I’ve gone back and forth about posting this, but ultimately I decided to stop lurking in the shadows and trying not to piss people off and just say what I think. So this is me, climbing way out on an unpopular limb to announce that I am sick and tired of seeing articles that announce to the world something “White people” do or do not do or understand.

So. Sick. Of. It.

And before you sharpen your knives and raise your weapons, let me explain…. Saying that “white people don’t get something” is EXACTLY THE PROBLEM. It’s not a solution to say “Here’s why you as a global group don’t get me.” It’s not a solution to say “White people never understand.” It’s not a solution to racism to group a section of the population by their skin color and announce to the world that they are never going to understand another group of the population. Even if it’s true. No… Especially when it’s true.

Because here’s the thing… just like everyone else on this planet, I was born to parents who had a pre-selected skin color. When I popped up in my mother’s womb, I’m pretty sure no one flashed a color wheel in front of me and asked me to select my skin tone, because if they had, I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn’t have selected this strange washed out peach color that shows every single vein through the back side of my arm. I’m pretty sure I didn’t look at God and say “Make me pasty, please.” It’s just what I look like… it’s not who I am. It’s what was given to me by my parents, just like your skin tone was a gift from yours.

Know what wasn’t a birth right? Compassion. Neither was honesty or love or kindness or any one of the other millions of things that make us all individual people… not skin tones.

So when I see an article pop up with the title “Why White People Will Never Understand Ferguson,” I want to slap the stupid off someone’s face NOT because what they say isn’t potentially true, but because just like everyone else on this planet, I want to be judged by the content of my character, not the color of my skin. Can I understand what it’s like to be a black man in Ferguson? Nope. Sure can’t. Not any more than a black man in Ferguson can understand what it’s like to be a white woman in the South. It doesn’t make either of us have opinions that are less important. It doesn’t make either one of us a less valued individual… we are both so very much more than JUST a black person or JUST a white person. We are people. Complex, individual, sometimes strange and almost always unpredictable people… no matter the color of our skin. Lately, it’s become hazardous for me to have an opinion about anything with even remote racial undertones. Somehow, my opinion on anything with even the slightest tinge of color is considered null and void and honestly? That makes me angry. Because I think my opinions matter; I think my opinions should be valued just as much as anyone else. But I get scared because Dear God, what if what I say is taken the wrong way? What if the people listening don’t know me, don’t realize who I am or what I’m about? What if they think I’m racist just because I have an opinion? WHAT IF THEY THINK I’M RACIST? Because honestly, being told I’m racist is one of my biggest fears.

But here’s the thing… I still don’t want to have to qualify my opinion on Ferguson by saying “I know I’m white, but I still think the grand jury got it wrong.” I don’t want to have to apologize for my opinion, nor do I want to feel forced to separate myself from being white just to HAVE my opinion. I want to be able to say “THIS WAS WRONG” without having to also say “I’m sorry I’m white.” Because the truth is, I’m not sorry that I’m white. Because you can’t be sorry for something you didn’t do.  Because I didn’t choose to be white any more than Michael Brown chose to be black. If there’s something I do, something I choose to be that bothers you, then let’s chat. But don’t make me apologize for being the color I was born. It wasn’t my choice.

And you know what? I’m more than the color of my skin. So was Michael Brown. So is the police officer who shot him.

So are ALL of us. Because if we aren’t? If we always just reduce ourselves and others to black and white? Then what’s the point of anything in this life.

Crappy Sundays lead to Crappy Mondays

Posted on | November 24, 2014 | 1 Comment

Sometimes Mondays just suck because they’re Monday and, you know, not Friday or Saturday or some other day that means you get to stay in your pajamas all day and act like you have nothing in the world to do. And sometimes Mondays suck because they follow a weekend that wasn’t quite what you had in mind when you raced out of your office at 5ish with the wind blowing your hair back like a freaking romantic comedy heroine.

This Monday sucks because my weekend was… just plain awful.

Well, that’s not entirely true. In fact, there were parts of my weekend that were pretty great. I got a lot of cleaning done around the house, and that’s good. I randomly decided to cook a ton of deliciousness, and that’s always fun. And Banks and I got to take J to an entertainment complex for a birthday party that just so happened to be the scene of our first date. So there were moments of awesome in an otherwise lackluster weekend.

It all started to go south when I made a quick run to The Fresh Market on Friday to pick up a bag of my all time favorite coffee. It’s only out around Christmas and every year, I stock up so that it lasts me through February. I wandered around the coffee aisle in circles, looking, only to find it wasn’t there. The produce clerk I spoke to said it was possible it just hadn’t arrived yet, so I went back on Saturday when the coffee manager would be working to ask again.

Oh the Peppermint Creme coffee that I live for? Yeah… it’s been discontinued.

I seriously almost cried. I bought a little jar of peppermint extract and have been diligently pouring it into my morning coffee BUT IT IS NOT THE SAME. Yes, I realize this is a stupid problem to have in light of everything else in the world, but dammit… I love that coffee.

From that moment on, everything just deteriorated.

The dinner I cooked on Saturday  night (pasta with portabella cream sauce and sauteed shrimp) made Banks and I both feel awful. The Moravian Sugar Cake I tried to make was either made with bad yeast or I just suck at making them because the dough didn’t rise, leaving behind a sugar covered block of grossness. (Don’t think I didn’t eat the sugar off the top. Because I did. All of it.) And then on Sunday, I cleaned most of the morning, and baked a lot, and listened to Banks and J argue with each other about the world’s stupidest things. J never got out of his pajamas all day and cried three times. Banks did get out of his pjs, but spent the day being irritable at the sofa, or maybe the television, or maybe the football scores… or maybe J and I. No telling. But it wasn’t a good day for any of us. I think I yelled at J nine billion times.

And now it’s inexplicably Monday again, and I’m still just pissed off about my weekend.

First world problems, yes, but still… enough to make you want to call it a week already.  Because when I don’t get to relax on the weekend, the whole week just feels… long. Like all I do is work. From work at the office to work at home and then back again… an endless, spinning merry go round of too. much. work.

Maybe I should have spent yesterday in MY pajamas.

Train Station Friend

Posted on | November 21, 2014 | 1 Comment

I think a lot about the things that I’ve given up; the friendships that have slid away, the career choices that fell behind, the romances that didn’t last. Something about the weather turning colder seems to rewind time and play the memories up against the backs of my eye lids… first kisses, first heartbreak, first cars and first friendships. So many people and places and things that have danced in and through my life and so many of them have fallen by the wayside, never to be contacted again… never to be heard from again.

It’s silly really, because I have some wonderful friends and a wonderful life. Yet it never fails that on overcast days, I think about the things I’ve lost and not the things I’ve gained. I remember the friend who wrote me weekly from Caracas when we were in fourth grade… letters that, for the most part went unanswered. I think about the guy in college who took me home to meet his mother, but I still never realized he cared about me as anything other than a good friend. I think about the people who impacted my life, who molded me into the person I am today … and who never got a second glance not to mention a thank you.

I’m sure that there are old friends of mine who think it’s bizarre that randomly they receive emails that say “hello” or “thinking of you” because they wonder why they’re even a blip on my radar. I’m sure they think there’s something off or strange or ridiculous about me thinking of them… because they don’t know the impact their temporary friendship made on my life. People who don’t know that on overcast and cloudy days, I remember their temporary perch on the branches of my life and I cherish those moments even if I didn’t keep them wrapped in the cellophane of my world.

Who knows who I would be today if I’d done what so many of my old friends did, and kept close those friends who molded me into … well… me. Who knows if I’d be somewhere and someone else. Often I look with jealousy on the high school friends who maintained their bond, the college friends who still stay close, the law school partners in crime who have disappeared into the annals of a non-existent yearbook. Who would I be if I’d kept them all tied to me? Who would I have become if I’d stopped for a moment to think about anyone other than myself, anyone other than the next and better and best?

On overcast days, I remember those I should never have forgotten and  I whisper up long over due apologies for not realizing, at the time, how very much they meant to me. But maybe that’s just part of life… maybe it’s just that some people need to be temporary to make room in your heart for others. Who knows. All I know is that there are some times when I wonder if maybe I have fashioned myself into a dry erase board of friendship… penning them on and erasing them off with the same flourish of impermanence.  I am the temporary collector of hearts, of friends, of people… a boarding call away from packing up and leaving for the next station on my quest for a life more full or less friendly… and I am not so sure that I like that about myself.

Five

Posted on | November 20, 2014 | 1 Comment

So I have to admit that I lied to y’all. Because I’m pretty sure that at some point in the past I said something like “this is my favorite age” or something similar about some age that is not five. And I was a liar.

Because this time of year with a five year old is. my. favorite. thing. ever.

Ever.

Better than Starbucks on a cold morning. Better than that moment just before someone you love kisses you. Better than anything.

J is so excited about all the things this year… excited about Santa, excited about the upcoming advent calendar, excited about s’mores and watching Home Alone. He is counting down the days until he can count down the days to Christmas and I am seriously loving every stinking minute. He’s even started washing the dishes after dinner because then “Santa will bring him even MORE presents,” in his own words.

There are still the moments… the minutes and hours and even days where or when he drives me to the brink of crazy and back again, drawing headaches on my brain in explosive red ink, in that way that only our loved ones can. There are still the days when my patience is fried from work  and I get home and the last, I mean the VERY last thing I want to do is listen to my kid tell me about how this or that child pushed him or this or that teacher told him “good job” on something small.  But I listen… because that’s what we do.

And in the midst of all that drama and crazy, there are also the moments when he wraps his ever-growing arms around me and announces that he loves me. In the midst of the tears and “DON’T MAKE ME TELL YOU AGAIN” there are also the moments when he’s lying on his stomach, lanky legs kicking in the air behind him as he squints and bites his tongue to sound out the words in his letter to Santa. (A letter that inexplicably includes a request for “an automatic water dispenser tub” which is a device of his own creation that involves me holding a large cylinder of water which fills up a bathtub in the living room… you know, so he can watch tv while he takes a bath.)

There are moments when I’m so in love with my kid that I feel like I could cry over the time that’s already behind us, and an equal number where I want to sigh in exasperation over the days to come.

But above all else, five is so much … fun. It’s full of creativity and expression, full of spontaneous explosions of love and quiet moments of witnessing his self-discovery. Five is drama and intensity and over-powering emotions as this little man in my life finds himself and his personality and plants himself into hopes and dreams outside of my own.

As Christmas hovers just over the horizon, I watch this little boy stitch together his world with his brand of humor and, yes, crazy, and I’m just blown away. Just full on blown away, by how far he and I have come from the broken down stagecoach of a twosome we were when we hobbled back from Savannah post-divorce. We’re happy, we’re thriving, we’re a family of two that could happily expand to three or even four and still be, well… perfect.  Five is the first time I’ve been able to see just how far we’ve come, just how well we’ve done in this crap shoot of a job called parenting. Five is the first time I’ve heard my own words come from his mouth, my own thoughts pour from his mind… and I’m just so proud of who he’s becoming. And dare I say that yes, I’m proud of who I’m helping him become, proud that we’ve managed to make this work for three plus years and that he’s turning out so wonderfully awesome because of or maybe in spite of it all.

Over all, it’s just that five is… awesome. And five at Christmas is my favorite… my all time favorite. Because it is perfectly eccentric and weird and awesome. Just like me and this crazy kid I’m raising.

And I fully expect for five to be my favorite all the way until next year. When maybe six will take over.

Sucker Punched

Posted on | November 14, 2014 | 1 Comment

I grew up with a mother who stayed at home. I think this is important to the rest of my story, but if we’re being honest I’m not sure. See, when I was sick as a kid, I got to stay home. Sometimes, “staying home” meant going to my grandmother’s house and lying on the sofa in her living room and listening to the loud click of the clock on her mantle, but most of the time it meant actually staying home. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t necessarily milk the concept… I just knew that if I didn’t feel well, odds were I had the option of staying home.

For my kid, that’s not really the case. I mean, if he’s not well, he has the option of coming to work with me, but not of staying home. (And yes, I realize how freaking fortunate I am to have an office where that’s even a possibility.) Mostly, going to the office with me sounds like torture to me, but somehow sounds awesome to my kid, so he will often beg to come to work with me instead of going to school. I like to think it’s because he misses me, but maybe he just doesn’t want to deal with school kid drama. Who knows.

Either way, this morning, J woke up coughing and sniffling and in general pretty puny. He cried because it was time to get up, cried because it was time for breakfast, cried because his pants were too big. Well, if we’re being technical, he marched into the kitchen, pulled up his shirt to show me his stomach and announced “Really mom? They come up to MY BELLY BUTTON.” He’s a bit of a fashionista, apparently.  Over all, he was a disaster. A runny nosed, coughing, pitiful disaster. And when those big alligator tears rolled down his cheeks and he begged me not to make him go to school?

Yeah.

I caved.

I honestly tried to be tough. I tried to say he was going to school and that was that and be all bad ass mom, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t look into those weepy little eyes and tell him he had to go to school. And I’m just not sure what that makes me. Does it make me a good mom? Or does it make me a softy? Maybe it just makes me a product of my own upbringing and my own mother who recognized that sometimes even kids need a day off.

But really? I’m thinking it makes me a total sucker.

sucker

A Lesson In Waiting

Posted on | November 3, 2014 | 7 Comments

This year, J and I were invited to a friends’ house for a Halloween party. We raced home from work and over to another neighborhood to get in a little trick or treating before the party, then raced over to the party. These weren’t new friends… J has known both the boys since they were little 8 week old newborns together in daycare. We’ve been fortunate to maintain a friendship with all the boys (and their parents) that he attended daycare with, even though pretty much all of them go to different schools at this point.

But I digress, the point is… J knows these kids. They’ve been friends for their whole lives. We walked into the house and immediately there were “boy” sounds: loud crashes, screams, fighting zombies… the usual. The parents congregated around the dining room table where our hostess had set a lovely Halloween table complete with the required Halloween pizza and candy. We talked about our worries over schooling, our thoughts on our boys, the troubles they may or may not be getting into on a daily basis. And it was good to just be around people who get what it’s like to have a 5 year old boy.

As we sat there and talked, I kept an ear out for trouble, as we do as parents. These boys had been playing together for years so I didn’t foresee any problems, yet suddenly every hair on my body stood at attention and I zeroed in on the scenario playing out across the room.

“NO J. This is our secret spot just for us. You have to go somewhere else.” Hands were on hips, fingers were pointing. My son was standing, head cocked sideways, listening to these two boys tell him to go away.

Dear God. Was this happening? Was my sweet, tender, fun-loving child being left out in a group of only three? In a group of boys that he’s known for years? Was. This. Happening?

I waited, on the edge of my seat. I just knew I was going to have to intervene. I was going to have to remind them to play nice… remind them to include my child.

And then I watched J shrug.

“Okay!” He happily announced, and walked away. He picked up another toy and went about his business until the other two boys grew tired of each other and raced to find him again. He just… dealt with it.

Suddenly it occurred to me that at some point, you just have to let go and let your child face hardship on his own. I realized that it was my heart that was broken by the exclusion… not my son’s. And I was so very glad I hadn’t intervened… so glad that I hadn’t  jumped up and made it into a big deal, made it into something J felt was wrong. Instead, I clenched my fists and waited and by doing so… I realized that  there will always be kids who don’t want to play with him. (To their own detriment, obviously because he is AWESOME.) But more than that, I realized that he can handle it. He can handle being excluded.

This parenting gig is so very tough. It’s difficult to trust our children to make the right choices… to stand up for themselves when they need to stand up… and to stand down when it’s time to stand down. On Halloween, J showed more strength of character than I did. While I wanted to rush in and scream “NOT FAIR” he knew that time would settle their differences and bring them all back together again.

So once again, I find that parenting J is just as much of a lesson for me as it is for my him.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
    Based on a work at http://www.law-momma.com.



  • I'm a divorced, single mom to a pre-schooler, a full-time attorney, and a semi-reluctant vegetarian. I work hard and when given the chance, I play hard... but I'm almost never given the chance.

    It's possible that I never outgrew 7th grade mentality, as I still laugh when anyone says anything that can be remotely construed as sexual. Let's face it, if you're not down with "That's what s/he said" at the end of almost any sentence, we're probably not going to get along all that well.

    I drink more than I should, I run more than I should, and I laugh as much as I can. So I'm pretty much winning at life.

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