Texts to the Office

Mama at workI am going to be in a little late this morning. I locked my kids and my keys in the car.

I am running a little behind today. One of my kids pooped her pants and my husband left me with an empty gas tank.

I know this is going to sound crazy but I am going to be late because the chicken coop caught fire and I was chasing chickens around my yard.

Gonna be a little late. Both kids pooped their pants on the way out the door. I have changed four diapers and four pairs of pants.

Can you turn on my office light. I am soooooo late!

I have reached my pinnacle of stupidity. My sitter left a half hour ago with my car keys and my purse in the van. So whenever I figure out how the f*^% I am going to get to work I will be there.

By Erika: Sleepovers

My older son just turned 7. Last night, he had a sleepover at the next-door neighbor’s house, which is occupied by another 7 year old boy. I can’t believe that he actually did it, and he had fun. Why?

I did not successfully have a sleepover at someone else’s house until I was at least 10. There were many failed attempts resulting in me having an emotional breakdown, trying to decide at 10pm whether it was worse to stay there all night or suffer the humiliation of waking up my friend’s parents to call my mom to have her come get me. I always chose the latter. And for whatever reason my mother never said anything discouraging or scolding — we just tried again another time. For me, the worst part was the fear that I might actually be there all night and not be able to sleep in that strange place. In my young mind, I just felt that if I were to have a sleepless night that something horrible would happen. I was terrified.

The irony is pretty deep in that by the time I was 10, slumber parties became precisely about staying up all night, which is what cured my sleepover problem. Once I didn’t HAVE to sleep, the anxiety went away and then I was actually able to sleep if I chose to risk my bra being placed in the freezer by a nonsleeper. Moreover, who knew I would grow up and have babies and spend night after sleepless night with no free time to sleep during the day to compensate?! Ironic, indeed.

I have wished my kids older since the day they were born. I know you aren’t supposed to do that because it goes by so fast, but I can’t help it. Now that they are 7 and almost 5, however, I think I am ready to press pause and have them stay this age for a long time. On weekend evenings I can put out cereal and cups of juice, and in the morning the kids just grab them and go watch TV on their own while Mommy and Daddy sleep until 9am. They are the perfect balance right now. Self-sufficient, but they still need me. Smart, but they still have a lot to learn. Big, but not too big to fit on my lap for bedtime stories.

This morning I realized that someday soon (maybe this summer!) I will find myself at home while my kids are sleeping at the neighbors’ house, and my husband is at the fire station, and I will be totally alone. I think it will bother me. I presently enjoy my “alone time” every third night when my husband is gone, but that is with my boys sleeping soundly in their rooms. Somehow that makes all the difference. Maybe I wanted my son to fail at a sleepover, just to keep him closer a tiny bit longer…

Fast forward a dozen years when my boys are in college, and being totally alone every third night will be my new “normal.” I guess when that happens I will have to start a new trend of ladies in their 50’s having slumber parties. We will drink wine, eat chocolate, and talk about how great our kids are. Any takers?

Leap of Faith

I have always been a person who has preferred to ease into the water rather than hold my breath and jump. When I was a kid I would always convince my little sister to go in first and test the waters before I would tentatively dip my toes in. That being said, I have been known to take a few risks in my time.

As I got older and especially after I had kids I started to take risks less and less. Until it got to the point where I wasn’t even bothering to ease into the water anymore. I was just sitting back on the shore watching everyone else.

Parenthood is an incredibly rugged and scenic journey. It is not for the faint of heart. There are so many joyous moments and so many…. Not so joyous moments. It is a constant up and down. I have spent my time as a fledgling parent focused on memories of my children, their milestones and their stages of development. All those little things I treasure and don’t want to forget as they grow and get older. What is easy to forget is that parenthood is also a stage in my development and that I took a big risk in becoming a parent. I imagine the day when I will look over baby books with my grown children and I will tell them about their first tooth and their first words. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could also tell them “This is what it was like for me to become your mom. It was a time of learning and growth for me too.”

The idea to start writing about my experience as a parent came to me quite a while ago. But it was hard to take the time out of my chaotic schedule to find an outlet for the stories I had floating around in my head. Then actually letting these stories out into the world was a really big leap, one I was not entirely sure I could take.

So this idea sprouted in my mind and its potential grew. I wrote when I had the time while babies napped or slept in the next room and I collected my thoughts. Every couple of months I would shimmy out and put my toes over edge. I would look down at the water, dizzyingly far below. Then I would shuffle back away with a sinking feeling in my stomach.

So here I am, once again, standing on that familiar ledge trying to decide whether or not to jump. I guess sometimes you just have to close your eyes, hold your breath and take that leap.