We left for Switzerland on Tuesday, expecting to arrive on Wednesday, but - because our last name is Braziel - we had a few hiccups and didn’t make it to the resort in Lucerne until Thursday.
Ok, guys - you have exactly six days to get the mommas taken care of and show them how appreciative you are of all the b.s. you’ve put them through.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking Mom wants a new coffee mug. Unless it’s funny, like this one.
And I promise she’s not been losing sleep wondering if this is the year she gets an engraved snow globe or any jewelry etched with “World’s Best Mom.”
You know that I try to be Supermom, right?
I want to bake cookies with my kids, but not just once - I want it to be a thing. I want to be at all the sports games. I want to be the Room Mom (and I am), but I want to actually be good at it. I want to make chores something that my kids feel fulfilled by doing. I want to make homework time fun and full of learning and reflection.
I want to be that mom.
I mean, really, nothing fills me up more than creating educational games to support what my son is learning in school. Spending an afternoon funneling all my creative energy into making fun flashcards and word puzzles or crafting writing prompts like my dad used to do when I was a kid fills this momma’s heart.
Hahahahahahaha, ohmygosh, that’s such bullshit.
Was that the most boring thing you’ve ever read? Because I actually fell asleep typing that last paragraph.
The truth is, I would rather eat a bag of human hair than use my “craft time” to make up educational games or crafts.
You probably remember that we moved into a new house last summer, and if you’re going to ask how we’re doing now that we’re “all settled in,” let me stop you to say that I have a stack of wall hangings shoved in the back of a closet that I’m still trying to gather enough emotional energy to deal with.
I’ll get to it, geez. I just have other projects that keep grabbing my attention.
Like this Barn Door DIY.
Welcome back for another installment in the series we’ll call, “Shit I Never Saw Coming As A Mom.”
When my oldest son was in kindergarten, there was this kid who would constantly lick my kid.
That’s right, you heard me: he licked him. Not once, not twice. He licked him daily for months.
My son would be sitting at his desk, minding his own business, and this yay-hoo would toodle on past, then swing around really fast, bend down, and lick my son’s hand.
He’d lick his face if he got close enough.
He’d lick my son’s desk if he couldn’t reach him for whatever reason.
You know how some things happen in our lives and they’ll sort-of define that era for you, in your memories?
Like you might say, “Oh that was in my saving-money-by-cutting-my-own-hair phase,” or, “That was during my vegetarian* period.”
In our family we refer to my son’s early elementary school years as, “when that kid would lick you.”
It was a period of time that went on way longer than it should have.
Quit with the hiding, quit with the playing devil's advocate, quit with the holding back, quit with the ever-present safety net thrown out, quit with the mamby-effing-pambying.
Let me back up a bit.
Last time we talked, I was in the depths of sleepless nights and feverish worry about our son, who’s away at college and has been going through some “stuff.”
After my drive down there to see him in person and grab him by the shoulders and shake him until he returned to himself, I spent the next few weeks texting him every morning to check in and make sure he knew we’re here for him.
To make sure he knows he’s not alone and to make sure he knows how very much he’s loved.
And to give him the nudges he needed to get out of his “comfort zone” and live life.
A couple of days ago I went on a rare non-rushed Target run - one of my very favorite pastimes.
To be clear, the “non-rushed” part is what was rare about it. The Target run itself isn’t rare for me at all.
In fact, the last time Mark joined me there he looked over and said, “Do you see the problem?” when we passed an employee who said to me, “Your haircut is so cute! I love your highlights this time,” which was just a few minutes after another employee asked as she straightened products on the shelf, “How did your IKEA built-ins* turn out?”
I had enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the store, having some delicious alone time before family came in for spring break.
If you’re set up to get my emails you got yourself a gander into the peculiar world of my fear-dreams earlier this week, you lucky devil, you.
(By the way, I’m currently accepting dream interpretations, AND if you aren’t subscribed, but you’re looking for something juicy to sit back with a bag of popcorn and watch play out like a kid at a carnie sideshow, click here and you’ll get the stuff I only share to people I trust with such oddities.)
You might have read this worried-mom post that I shared earlier this week about my son.
It’s a different post than what I usually share - the less-funny and more worrisome side of parenting than most of my posts - and I questioned whether I should share it for a few reasons:
Is the story too personal?
By sharing it, am I exploiting my son?
It’s been about a month since my oldest was home from college for the holidays, so I checked in on him last week with a phone call that went like this:
Me: Hey, baby, whatcha doing?
18: Walking over to get some food.
Me: Oh ok, so you can talk for a sec - how were your classes today?
18: I haven’t had them, yet. They’re later today - one’s at 1:50 and the other isn’t until 6.
Me: UMM, IT’S 1:54!!
I swear to Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, he’s learned nothing since Mark and I lost every ounce of our shit with him over the Christmas break.
Let me update you.
My 10-year-old has been fawning all over a girl in his class for the last month or so, and last week he told me he was going to ask her to be his valentine, which - ohmygod - could that be any cuter?
He’s very different than my older son, who never shared this kind of stuff with me, and even to this very day he only hits me with the very vaguest of information, making me wonder if one day I’ll be sporting an “I ♥ My Grandcat” bumper sticker, which you might think I just made up, but I saw one on a car last week and couldn’t grab my phone fast enough to snap a picture to prove it to you.
My youngest asks me relationship advice all the time, because I guess he thinks I’m qualified to give counsel to fourth graders seeking matchmaking tips.
You know how you look back on your life as a, say middle schooler or high schooler, and you think about how serious you thought things were, and you shake your head a little at how absurd those “serious” things were?
Like standing in a bikini in front of a full-length mirror, turned to the side, and squishing your face up at the sight of the soft pooch in the belly area?
Or throwing yourself across your gingham bedspread-covered bed, in a fit of tears because the boy you liked found out you liked him, but didn’t like you back, because he liked your best friend, and the three of you lived in the same neighborhood and rode the same school bus, so you’d have to look them both in the eye the next day, and you just wanted to disappear?
Don’t you ever want to sneak back to those days and whisper a little something to that person?
Yes, you. You with the crispy hair from too many days of dry shampoo.
You with the stack of mail you’ve promised to sort through for at least two weeks.
You over there saying a little prayer that your kid doesn’t get salmonella from the slightly expired eggs you fed him this morning (cooked in the microwave, of course, and eaten on the way to school, as if that needed to be said).
You with the screaming toddler in the checkout line at Target, beads of sweat dripping down the back of your neck, while people give you their judgy side-glances for not controlling your child better.
You with the soft bags under your eyes from staying up too late last night, just so you could savor a few delicious minutes of alone time.
A few years ago I wrote a post titled, “Back to School: How the 504 Is Keeping Your Kid From Adulting.”
In case you don’t know what the 504 is, it's part of a civil rights law that prevents discrimination based on a disability.
In layman’s terms, it’s a list of accommodations that level the playing field for students with disabilities or health issues that put them at risk of not having the same opportunities at learning as all the other students.
I knew it was a provocative title I’d chosen for my post. That was the point. I wanted it to catch your attention so you’d read it.
It worked. It got lots of comments.
As my son came off the ice yesterday following his hockey game, he looked at Mark and me, shrugged up one shoulder a bit and gave a, “meh, what are you gonna do?” expression.
They’d lost another game - they've had plenty of experience losing this season, which has been hard on the team’s morale.
Except for my child’s.
He still comes off the ice with a smile.
It drives Mark insane.
“It would be nice if he was just a little more competitive,” he’ll say.
We put quotes around "book club" around here because my family insists that calling it that is just a cover for what it really is: gossiping and drinking.
Like the clever owners of a bar near the University of Texas, who named their bar The Library, helping students tell the truth to their parents when they say they went to The Library six days a week all semester.
Yes, we drink when we have our book club meetings. But we never gossip, not ever.
We do discuss the book of the month, but it always somehow turns into a discussion about lady parts or dogs' anal glands.
Have I ever told you how we decided to have another kid?
The truth is, I always wanted a house full of children until my youngest was born and I realized I could barely manage keeping two children alive, much less a throng of them.
Mark was perfectly fine just having one kid.
I tried for years to get him on board, but our first-born wasn’t an easy infant. He had colic, but not the kind that people claim to have when their baby is just an asshole and cries a lot.
Last week my old friends, Ami and Jackie, who started out as work colleagues nearly 18 years ago, but became so much more than that over time, came down to Austin from Dallas for a work visit and squeezed me in for dinner.
They asked me why I don’t email anymore, and I told them it’s because I don’t want to bug people, to which Jackie responded, “Would you rather be forgotten? If people don’t want to read your emails, they can hit the delete button.”
The thought of being forgotten is what got me.
Remember a few weeks ago when I told you how to win the Room Mom of the Year Award? I didn’t want to just write about the craft that would help you win the award, I also did the craft myself, because what kind of person would I be if I just claimed I was sharing the magic recipe for Room Mom success, without even trying it for myself to make sure?
I want to take this moment to update you on the craft, the party, and about that day in general, so you’ll know how it all went down.
Let me start by saying that a few days prior to the party, things were right on schedule and everything was coming together as planned.
There’s not really a Room Mom of the Year award. At least, there isn’t at my kid’s school. And if there were, I promise you I wouldn’t win it.
The only thing I’m going to win is a shiny trophy for cutting corners.
Because that’s what I’m best at. People don’t know that, though.
Every year (except last year, because I was overwhelmed and shirked most of my duties as co-room-parent, but thankfully my counterpart was kind enough to let me off the hook, and my son is oblivious, so he still thought I was doing everything for his class, making it a double-win for me) I come up with a craft for the class Christmas party, and every year people think the craft is soooo cute and so hard and complicated.
Y’all. I don’t do things if they’re hard.
It’s a bad time to be non-political, y’all (wait - apolitical? Pan-political? Anti-political? Non-politics-specific? I’m not sure which term is accurate, and with all the labels we throw out nowadays, I can’t keep up with all their meanings. I just know that I’m not interested in any of it and I know that sounds naive and immature, but this isn’t about maturity. It’s about politics. And divorce.)