Twin Marathon

Posted by on Sep 24, 2014 in From My Perspective, Raising Great Kids, Twins | 0 comments

“Mommy!  It’s our birthday today!  If we hurry, can we please walk through the field of mist?”  Taylor begged this morning.

“Ya, Momma!  We’ll hurry!!  Pleeeaaasssseeee???” Sydney supported her identical twin’s desperate plea for adventure on the way to school.

I chuckled.  “Yes.  But we can’t make your brother late.  So get a move on!” I commanded with a smile.

They jumped for joy and hugged each other before running off to get ready for their special day.

***

Ten years ago I gave birth to identical twins.

They seemed to come out of nowhere – like a mystical force that can neither be fully explained nor understood.  An existence so intense that their presence was automatically accepted as a gift.  A blessing.  A miracle.

This morning before the sun even had a chance to rise, I watched my twin daughters frolick with wonder through the fuzzy blanket of fog that always settles a mile from our house.  I couldn’t help but marvel at their spirit.

I was struck by the metaphor of the occasion.

A moment that embodied everything I love and admire about their relationship, as well as everything that makes them so difficult to parent at times.

When Sydney and Taylor are together, they share a combined spirit.  They are always eager to create, explore and discover the beauty this world has to offer.  They never tire of adventure.  Together they are secure, confident and courageous.  They charge forward as a team without inhibition or fear.  Theirs is a relationship of total awareness and complete acceptance, relieving them from insecurities that might otherwise hold them back from trying new things.  Together they are bold, brave, and beautiful.

Together they are free.

But the morning mist – as mesmerizing as it is – stifles freedom with unforeseen obstacles.  Fog is not conducive for planning ahead.  It strikes when you least expect, offering no choice but to adapt to its present conditions with flexibilty.  When traveling through unknown territory, it’s impossible to predict any future bumps in the road.  As a result, you must resign to a slow journey.  One that must be navigated with careful patience and faith.  This is frustrating when you’d rather achieve your destination quickly.

Parenting our identical twin daughters is a marathon race in the fog.

It’s encouraging them to pace themselves, when it feels most natural to sprint.  It’s veering off course to take advantage of teachable moments as we stumble upon them.  It’s showing them how to get back up and run every time life knocks them down.  It’s learning to support them with quiet, blind faith as they build their own strategic visions of the future.  It’s accepting that a great team is composed of  strong individuals with different strengths and weaknesses.

It is a sport that requires rigorous training, great strength and perseverance.  In the end, it will be a hard fought victory for us all.

And great cause to celebrate alongside our little twin party animals.

 

 

 

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Deep Breaths

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in From My Perspective, Raising Great Kids | 0 comments

Parenting is deep breaths.  One right after the other.  From the time they wake up, until the time they go to sleep.  (Actually when they go to sleep it’s more like a sigh of relief, but a deep one nonetheless.)

“Mommy!  I can’t find my school shoes!”  Deep breath.

“But I don’t like eggs anymore!”  Deep breath.

“I didn’t mean to spill my milk!”  Deep breath.

“But I don’t want to sit in the back of the van!”  Deep breath.

“Turn the station please!”  Deep breath.

“Stop touching me!!”  Deep breath.

“I’m hungry.”  Deep breath.

“She hit me!”  Deep breath.

“I don’t know how to do this!”  Deep breath.

“But I have to use glitter for my homework.”  Deep breath.

“Mommy!  I cut the neighbors’ flowers for you!”  Deep breath.

“I didn’t know I had mud on my shoes!!”  Deep breath.

“Mommy, will you practice my hair style for tomorrow?”  Deep breath.

“Mommy, remember when you said I could paint your nails?”  Deep breath.

“Hey!  Let’s play a board game!”  Deep breath.

“Go to bed?  But we haven’t even had a chance to cuddle!”  Deep breath.

“Will you read us a story?”  Deep breath.

“Mommy, will you bring me water?”  Deep breath.

“Mommy!  I can’t remember your tuck-tuck!!  Just one more kiss?”  Deep breath.

“I can’t sleep, Mommy.”  Deep breath.

I could go on and on.  But it’s not necessary.  If you’re a parent, you don’t need to be convinced because you already know.  And if you’re not?  More than likely you’ve left a houseful of kids thinking, “Thank God I don’t have any of those!”

But here’s the thing.  All those deep breaths?  They add up over time.  They get built up in reserve, and that’s a good thing.  Because when you least expect it your child takes her first step, offers you an unsolicited hug, bursts in joyful song, dances as free as a bird, creates with infinite possibility, offers to help clean up the kitchen, hurries to the car ahead of you so he can get your door, opts to carry her big brother’s monogrammed backpack with pride even though the other kids think it’s weird, makes it a point to kiss you in front of his friends, etc.

And those moments?  Well…they take your breath away.  Just like that.  BOOM.  It’s gone.  Every last bit of it.  So the only thing you feel in your chest is your heart.  Your great big happy heart which feels as though it may just explode with love.

Then, when your breath returns – thanks to the reserve – you exhale pure gratitude.  Thankful that your children are happy, independent and full of so much loving spirit.  Lucky to have been blessed by the amazing little people they’re turning out to be.  Gracious for every  deep breath of patience you’ve ever taken, because right then you know one thing and one thing only:

They are so worth it.

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“But it’s true…” A tribute to my Grandma on her 84th Birthday

Posted by on Feb 15, 2014 in Family Life, From My Perspective, Musings from the Mayhem, Raising Great Kids | 0 comments

Today is my Grandma Barb’s 84th birthday.  I woke up smiling about the fun evening we spent celebrating with her last night.

She sat at the head of the table – as always.

She ate mostaciolli until her heart was content, and then asked for “just a little bit more” – as always.

She fired off her most honest opinions, which required me to interrupt and provide necessary clarification to my wide-eyed children, “Kids, you are not allowed to say that about other people.  Ever.”

My Grandma sighed with great reluctance.  She even went so far as to agree with me last night.  Then she added a firm, “But it’s true…”

As always.

My grandma has no filter.  She gets straight to the point, without wasting time on fluffy cushions to ease the blow.  I’m a lot like my Grandma, only I have a great appreciation for accent pillows.  Carefully placed cushions deliver the hard truth with soft love.  Too much fluff feels staged and fake.  But enough soft edges put in just the right places?  Well, then you feel safe enough to kick your feet up and stay awhile.

In light of my Grandma’s birthday, I’d like to share a blog that I’ve posted before.  I have learned so much from her, and I am very lucky to have her in my life.

Here’s to keeping it real, Grams.  I love you.  And I thank you.

 

The Naked Truth

Posted by  on Feb 12, 2013
 

Ten years into parenting, you would think I’d have it all figured out.  But every day presents a new challenge, unknown territory, and foreign hurdles.  Parenting is never as black and white as what you script it to be in your head, so it’s impossible to be fully prepared.

Like when you’re eating dinner with your kids – You never expect the next innocent question out of your son’s mouth will be, “Mommy, why is ‘pussy’ a bad word?”  Nor do you envision having to tackle a question like this in front of your eight-year-old twin daughters.  You also don’t picture your husband absent from this momentus occasion due to a late appointment.

The biggest parenting moments are always surrounded by gray area.  From household to household, not one situation is ever exactly the same.  Thus, the reason there is no handbook.  You are forced to think on your feet the best you can; knowing that whatever explanation you offer is going to be followed by at least fifty “Why’s?”.  So you’d better be prepared to back-up your answer.

In moments such as these, I always head straight for the truth.  As my children discover the harsh realities of life, I prefer the information come directly from me.  I want them to learn to trust that Mom is a good resource when it comes to talking about the big issues.

So after taking a deep breath, I explained that “pussy” is an inappropriate word used to describe a girl’s private parts.  The “Why’s?” came rolling in.  I explained the specific private part that the term applied to, followed by more questions.  We had more than covered the basics, so I brought the conversation to a close.

Gabe understood more quickly than his little sisters.  I could see their little minds spinning.  They love to be in the know.  But they’re too little to understand the need for a filter or censorship.

“Girls, the p-word is just as bad as the f-word.  You are not allowed to talk about this at school.  If you do, you could get suspended,”  I warned them.

Their eyes grew wide.  Their mouths fell open.  They got the seriousness of the situation.  The discussion was finally over, much to my relief.

I know there will be more conversations like this to follow, because now I have established my credibility.  Just like my grandma did with me when I was ten – I asked her what a blow-job was, and she told me.  I have never forgotten the conversation, or the gratitude I felt when she treated me like a person instead of a porcelain doll.  To this day, I can talk to her about anything because she thought on her feet, and went straight to the truth.

 

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More Time

Posted by on Feb 4, 2014 in Family Life, From My Perspective, Musings from the Mayhem, Raising Great Kids | 0 comments

Last year when I learned the kids’ elementary school was moving, I was bummed.    Our quick and easy 10 minute commute doubled to 20, and the morning start time bumped from 8 o’clock to 7:45.  Ugh.

I dreaded the loss of time.  30 minutes less to sleep.  10 minutes less at home and instead on the road.  Bummed I tell you.

I’m not gonna lie…many mornings the new location feels just like that: Less.  Especially with the persistence of Snowmageddon, rush hour traffic, and driving in the dark because the sun has yet to rise.

But not today.  Today was more.  More that started with a mishap.

“Oh crap,” I heard Gabe say from the back seat as he let out a hiss of frustration.

“What?” I asked, knowing it wasn’t going to be good.

“Just forget it,” he said.  He exhaled another forceful breath of disgust.

“Gabriel.  Tell me what’s wrong!” I commanded.

“I forgot my iPad.  It’s my fault.  I know you won’t go back to get it because it’s not fair to make the girls late, so just go!” his regretful sentences all ran together.

Gabe forgetting his iPad was not good.  His whole academic day would suffer because of it.

Much to his surprise, I put on the brakes and made a u-turn in our sub.  I was proud of him for getting it.  For assuming responsibility.  For considering and valuing the time of his sisters.  For respecting the previous examples of ‘sink or swim’ I have enforced with him already this year.  Middle school is right around the corner – it’s time for him to step up.

“Oh thank you, Mommy!” he burst with relief.

“You’re welcome.  It won’t happen again.”  It was a promise.

“I know,” he said with great conviction.

“But thank you for admitting your mistake and thinking of someone other than yourself,” I praised him.

“You’re welcome,” he said.

I pulled into the garage.  He sprinted into the house and retrieved his iPad.  When he hopped back into the van, he said, “You know, Mommy?  I was just thinking.  There’s a lot of kids out there who could use a dose of Mickey Myers.  You’d whip ’em into shape real fast,” he declared with confidence.

I beamed.  It was the biggest compliment my son could pay me.  He recognized and appreciated my ongoing discipline, even while referencing me as Mickey Myers – a fun nickname bestowed upon me by the littlest Beaudoin girls who had yet to tackle the tongue-twisting alliteration of Mrs. Myers.

“You think I could handle ’em, huh?” I asked with a chuckle full of pride.

“Oh ya,” he said. “And I don’t care how tall they are.”

“Hey!” I pretended to be offended by the reference to my mini 5’1″ size.

“I’m just saying, Momma!” he giggled.  “You could handle ’em.”

The girls agreed.  We all laughed.  We continued to chat the whole way to school.

We talked about college – a conversation that comes up daily.  Which led to a conversation about being a grown up and having a job.

The girls were very impressed when they learned I worked as a dog groomer.  Gabe thought it was hysterical.  Even though I’ve told him this before, I suppose it’s the first time he’s been old enough to envision me wrestling with a mangled mutt.

“What?!  It was fun!  I made friends at the shop, we laughed a lot and I made money.  What’s wrong with that?” I defended my honorable trade.

“Nothin, Mommy, nothin!” Gabe smack talked.

“Hey…Mickey Myers can talk smack with the best of ’em, so watch out buddy!” I warned him.

He stopped laughing and looked at me like I was crazy.

“What?!” I probed sarcastically, recognizing the nerd alert look on his face in the rear-view mirror.

“Even if you could talk smack, Mommy…You gotta know the right time to do it.  And that was not it!”  My all-knowing 11 year-old made his best attempt to school me.  I couldn’t help but laugh.

From there it went to geography – a subject the kids know I’m horrible at, so they love to quiz me.  Luckily I was on fire this morning, and they were very impressed with my improvement.

We got out of the car laughing.  I followed them into school carrying four stuffed animals for a project of Gabe’s I know nothing about.  I have a feeling he asked me to carry them for a reason, because I felt pretty ridiculous as I walked down the hall.  I gave him a little shove.  He knew why and snickered back.

“Oh my gosh, Mommy!” the girls giggled dramatically.  I gave them dirty looks.  They giggled more.

We kissed.  We hugged.  We said our goodbyes.  I wished them all to have great days.

I got back in the van happy.

Today’s commute was more.  More time to talk.  More time to get to know each other.  More time too tease.  More time to laugh.  More time to share.

I was thankful.

 

 

 

 

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