Archive for the ‘ Memory ’ Category

Another Mother Taken for Granted (and Loving It)

Hello, dear readers. I invite you to read the following guest post written by my step-mother. Enjoy! – MD

I just returned from another whirlwind 500 mile round trip in three days to see my parents. They are getting older – late 70’s/early 80’s kind of older – and I like to see them often, every 4-6 weeks. It’s not easy. I always take my son with me. He is three now and a somewhat better car traveler than he was. Though this is not saying much. He does not sleep in the car. We do not have a DVD player for him. He talks. He eats. He asks for things by genre. He wants something to play with. He wants something to read. He wants something to eat. He wants something to draw with. He wants water. Miraculously all of these desires are fulfilled by the pop-up laundry hamper, the cooler, the narrow cardboard box that once held a digital projector and an odd assortment of bags all within my arm’s reach.

I am an old mom. Not older. Old. I was 43 when Henry was born. I tell you this so that you can understand how thankful I am to have the chance to be Henry’s mom.

I grew up in a charmed family situation. My grandparents lived near enough to babysit and visit multiple times during the week. My paternal grandmother actually baked bread and knit mittens for me. I didn’t think about it much when I was younger. Seeing my parents parents so often, I expected them to be there and ready to share the fun. Singing songs with them. Planting flowers. Going for walks. Talking to squirrels. Baking pies. Though I know not everyone saw their grandparents with the frequency I did, it didn’t seem special. It just was. I took it for granted.

Here is where you, the reader, expect me to lament my youthful ways and regret my lack of gratefulness. But I am not regretful. In fact, I want Henry to have the opportunity to take my parents and me for granted. I want him to expect me to be there. To anticipate the drive to my folks’ house. To expect them to dote on him and to play with him and make time for him. I don’t want him to have to be thankful for a parent or a grandparent who is patient and thoughtful. I want him to believe that he deserves these kind of relationships. In fact, my desire for him to take my parents for granted is the reason I make the trek through Chicago more than 20 times a year with a passenger seat filled with 50 cent toys and books from the thrift store.

– NK

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Rehearsal

This afternoon I sat in on my first rehearsal for Listen to Your Mother. It was held at the lovely Century House, and while waiting for people to arrive and during our break I eye-drooled over the gorgeous furniture.

But enough furniture talk. Can I say that attending rehearsal, sitting with the other cast members, and reading my words, is one of the most empowering things I’ve done for myself lately? The fellow cast members are so. cool. Sometimes I get my Madison goggles on and can think that I know almost everyone in this town, but I sat around the table with 10 other people I have never met, heard their amazing stories and cried with them. Yes, we all cried. And we all laughed. Together.

I can’t tell you how great the afternoon was. Well, I’m trying to, and failing. Take my word for it, grab a ticket, and come see for yourself in May.

– MD

Indoctrination

My husband and I were raised by very politically progressive parents. You know, liberals. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree for both of us, and while I consider us to be open-minded and left-leaning, there are some areas where our parents might out-leftie us. I consider this an advantage, and yet I am always so curious when I meet people who are now socially progressive, yet grew up in conservative homes. What made the change? What do their parents think? How awkward are family holidays? Then again, I like to pepper people with a lot of questions.

So, as someone who has worked at non-profits and now works for a union, my family remains committed to various causes. And we talk about them with Miss Red. Some might call it indoctrination. Whatever you call it – family conversations, belief structures, family plans, goals – I hope she grows up knowing that she can make a difference. I mean, with more than a year of Capitol protests under her belt, how can she not?

My favorite protestors.

What about you? How do you discuss and navigate the waters of social causes and issues in your family?

– MD

That Time I Auditioned for Listen to Your Mother…

And other parts of my weekend…

On Saturday afternoon I auditioned for the Madison show of Listen to Your Mother. It was held at the lovely Happy Bambino.

I was nervous, not because I’m afraid of public speaking. I’m actually not. Not too much at least, but because I was reading something completely new and something I haven’t talked about on the ‘ol blog. I promise to share the piece whether or not I read it on stage. But the experience was powerful, and Ann and the stage manager were so kind and complimentary, I told them that they needed to open a drive-through compliment business. I left buoyed and hopeful.

I will find out this week if I made it or not. Last I heard there were 40 women auditioning for 12 spots. I’ll feel OK if I don’t make it, because it made me put some feelings down on actual paper. Yes, I wrote one draft that I ended up using, on actual paper. Using a pen and all. I will report back!

But the night before I got to work on a really satisfying craft project, thanks to NVC. She bought supplies to make fabric-covered buttons, and I cranked out a number of rubber bands, bobbie pins and barrettes for Miss Red.

fabric-covered buttons

Sorry for the poor photos. Taken with my phone.

When I showed her the “3” rubber band, she said “But I am three and a HALF, not three.” Point taken.

And here she is, actually wearing her barrettes:

Miss Red, barretted.

Sunday we went to a Stellar 3rd birthday party, hosted by Megan of Accidents Will Happen. I love how, when people ask us how we know one another and I tell them that we met on Twitter, they look somewhat shocked. It’s true. We followed each other on Twitter, and then one day took a giant leap and had a play date. And we lived to tell the tale!

Have you done anything lately that got you out of your comfort zone? Made any buttons? Went to any kid birthday parties?

– MD

A to Z

Similar to Ginger, I’ve seen these floating around a few blogs. They remind me of email forwards. Remember those, people?! Email FORWARDS, where you had to delete all of the random junk at the beginning to “clean up” your email. Play along!

A. Age: 34

B. Bed size: Queen.

C. Chore that you hate: Dishes. Save me from doing the dishes. I had to do them all growing up and hated it. Still hate them.

D. Dogs: 0. I adore dogs, but I refuse to pick up dog poop.

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee and a shower.

F. Favorite color: Purple.

G. Gold or Silver: Silver.

H. Height: 5’3″

I. Instruments you play: I played the clarinet for nine years and the saxophone (badly) for four. I loved it. I fantasize about joining a community band when I’m retired.

J. Job title: Communications Specialist.

K. Kids: One! Miss Red, y’all.

L. Live: Madison, WI. It’s home.

Madison, WI

M. Mother’s name: Ana María.

N. Nicknames: Birdie, Miss Pants, Mama, Mommy.

O. Overnight hospital stays: One, related to giving birth.

P. Pet peeves: People who don’t wash their hands after they use the bathroom; people who say “sorry” when they mean “excuse me,” people who don’t say “thank you” to service workers, i.e. bartenders, waiters, etc.

Q. Quote from a movie: *Blank.*

R. Right- or left-handed: Right.

S. Siblings: Sister from another mister and brother from another mother.

T. Tattoos & Piercings: One tattoo, three earring piercings, although I still want the extra one in my left ear to close up.

U. Underwear: Always. If you live in the Madison area, I also highly recommend a trip to see Katherine at La Lingerie. It’s life changing.

V. Vegetable(s) you hate: Brussels sprouts and beets.

Brussels sprouts. My sworn enemy.

W. What makes you run late: Oversleeping.

X. X-Rays you’ve had: Teeth.

Y. Yummy food that you make: Soups. I can make some mean soups.

Z. Zoo animal: I used to think tiger, but I have a new-found love of giraffes.

Listen

Hi. Hi! *Waves.*

I know, I’ve been pretty MIA. More than at any other time in this blog’s history. It has been a challenging few months. But I’ve figured out how to kind of work through it.

On Saturday, I will interview for Madison’s production of Listen to Your Mother,  a show that honors Mother’s Day. There’s no guarantee I’ll get a coveted spot, and frankly, I’m still working on my audition piece, but I’m feeling good about even auditioning. I’ll report back on how it goes.

Listen to Your Mother

I’m nervous. I haven’t been on stage since my college performance of The Vagina Monologues. Yeah, remember that? I remember having the driest mouth possible, but it was a great experience.

So, here I go again. I’m doing what I can to do stuff outside my comfort zone. To push myself to get out of my head. To make and create. Maybe you’ll get a chance to listen to me in person.

– MD

Resolutions and New Calendars

I love the new year. I love looking back on the year past, I love thinking about and making resolutions for a better me. I love the new, crisp calendar that hangs on my wall. I love the idea of starting fresh.

Looking back.

2011 was a hard year. I recently called it my hardest year, though it has some tough competition from 2008. Everything changed. I found out I was pregnant mere days after I decided I would never be pregnant again. I faced my worst fears. I lost control – of my body during my pregnancy and of my home during a remodel. I left a job and coworkers I loved to stay at home with my daughter, which threw everything I thought I knew about myself into a tailspin. I walked a hard path with my mom as she struggled with her health, visited countless doctors, and went through two painful and serious surgeries. I gave birth to a beautiful and sweet baby girl, who was literally taken out of my arms and rushed to the NICU. I spent five long, scary, painful days in the hospital with her while recovering from my own surgery. I saw my sweet little dog’s health fail and eventually make his life too much of a hardship to bear. I said a sad goodbye to him two weeks after my daughter was born, when my life was in that newborn chaos of sleeplessness, love, and disarray. I saw my grandpa’s health decline so far and so fast that I barely got a chance to say goodbye. I watched my sweet toddler struggle with her new sister, with being two, with growing up.

Resolutions for a better me.

2010 was a year about me. I focused on myself – mind, body and soul – and ended that year feeling the best I’ve ever felt. 2011, on the other hand, saw me giving my body over to pregnancy again. I feel lost inside this me.

I will find myself again. I will emerge healthier, happier, and in control.

I can be quick to judge. Being critical is easy. It can make you feel like part of the in-crowd, it can make you feel superior by casting others as inferior. If you’re gossiping, it’s easy to think that maybe no one is gossiping about you…but in reality, the opposite is true. Open the door of judgement, and you will be judged. On the other hand, kindness begets kindness.

I will keep an open mind. I will give people the benefit of the doubt. I will be kind. I will take the high road, even if it’s the harder road.

Leaving my job meant leaving work I was good at and skills that were valued. I’ve struggled with my identity since being home. Who am I now? What am I good at? What are my skills? Changing diapers, making lunch, reading books – it can be hard to feel important and skilled when your life is the minutiae of parenting. It’s a struggle to maintain independence when my job is to be someone’s mom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I love and cherish my children with my whole soul, but I still want and strive to be an autonomous person.

I will take time for myself. I will learn new things and continue to enrich my life outside of my children, while still working to be the best mom I can be.

Starting fresh.

I am ready and excited for the year ahead. I can’t wait to see every member of my little family grow and learn and laugh. I know I will stumble, and occasionally fall. But I will pick up, brush off, and keep going.

I am looking forward to a 2012 that is better, brighter, and happier than ever.

For me. For my family.

And for you, too.

– ALW