Friday, July 22, 2011

MI Vacation Recap

Over the fourth of July I took the girls up to MI to visit friends and family. This is the third year we've had the priviledge of doing this trip...I'm not sure it will be possible next year once we move so I was soaking in every moment and enjoying it in spite of Brad's absence.

We took the scenic way to MI and made a visit to Taylor University. The girls have heard stories of my college years and it was really fun to spend time with them on campus.

We enjoyed the fourth in my friend Tricia's new pool while watching the Blue Angels flying over...

The girls continue to love tubing and seem to never grow tired of it...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I was a monster tonight!

So much so that just moments ago I finished the "good nights" and felt the need to come straight to this keyboard to confess.

My girls spent the final hour of the evening up in one of their bedrooms having a dance party. I made the decision at the time to let them carry on in exchange for some alone time. I can't say "quiet time" because all I could hear was the pounding bass of their music and so much stomping and pounding that I seriously thought my four young daughters must have somehow managed to sneak in dozens of Irish dancers through their bedroom window.

When it was time for bed I discovered they had decorated for their dance party. I feel in part that I am partially to blame for their obsessive need to party prep, but despite both that strength and character flaw I was frustrated to discover much of my earlier efforts towards cleanliness had been destroyed. I confess it wasn't something that would take more than 10 minutes to rectify, but based upon my dramatic reaction you would have thought that an exterior wall of the house was missing.

My girls quickly scattered to escape the wrath of monster mama...I continued to rant and rave while tossing baby dolls in the air and kicking cute little party conversation areas apart like I was a big bad giant. While the creativity of the snack station that included tea cups filled with water and small saucers with crumbled up granola bars wasn't lost on me, all I could see was the bits and pieces of granola stuck in the carpet on the house we previously owned and now rent! For several minutes I continued my tirade. The girls all miraculously found their pj's and brushed their teeth and hid beneath their covers in record setting pace.

During my outburst I found myself having one of those out of body type experiences you hear about. Maybe a better way to explain it was the visual of the good angel and devil on each shoulder. Part of me felt justified with my response and wanted to continue to unleash on my girls in a manner unfitting for the crime...the other part of me was being reminded of what a wise woman said to me over our recent vacation.

While in MI for the 4th of July holiday we spent a little time with Nana II. Nana II was Mrs. Hovis to me growing up...or even better known as Tricia's mom, one of my dearest friends. Last year my girls asked her what they should call her...she sweetly said, "you can call me Nana, too" since that is how her own two grandchildren refer to her. My girls interpreted that as Nana II since my own mom is now we have Nana and Nana II.

Nana II has always made her home feel like my home. And since I have almost 30 years of memories in her house it truly feels like home and holds more history for me than any other house in MI where I now visit. This was the first opportunity we've had to stay with her and as I crawled into bed in my friend's old childhood room I recalled several of our sleepovers in that very spot. I thought about how long ago that was and how it seemed like yesterday. I thought about the 6 months I've been a single parent in theory and how in 6 years I'm sure this period will seem so long ago and yet it will seem like yesterday.

My mind went back to a moment earlier that day at lunch when I told one of my girls to keep her dirty hands of the window. Nana II quickly piped up and said not to worry about it at all...she said how she misses fingerprints on the windows. I've heard similar phraseology before...but at that moment I was suddenly silenced. A true feat if you know me.

I thought about my reaction to fingerprints all over the window. Usually frustration or exasperation. Not appreciation.

Tonight as the mamma monster was unleashed a small voice inside my head was telling me to appreciate the fingerprints. To shrug off the sticky granola on the carpet. To smile at the decorations. To realize the fingerprints will be gone before I know it. A memory. Like this deployment. Perhaps not always a chapter I want to repeat, but at least the wisdom and acknowledgment that each phase has its beauty in its own way if I can just learn to look beyond the ugly.

The good angel won tonight, after momma monster had a private melt down and was dismissed in the confines of the laundry room. I went back to each daughter and laid on her bed and apologized. I explained that I have a lot of reasons for my frustrations but truly no excuses and I was wrong. If there is anything I want my kids to be able to say about me when they grow up is that I was able to admit when I'm wrong and say I'm sorry. I think its pretty empowering for a kid to hear their parents confess their own weaknesses. Each girl forgave me and also apologized. Of course these sweet tender moments at a time of shear emotional and physical exhaustion means lots of tears. And of course they are still kids ages 9, 7, 5 and 2 so the tender moments were interrupted by giggles about gas, comments about stinky breath, sheer random thoughts on how your body knows when to sneeze and complimentary boogers thoughtfully picked and offered to me by my two year old.

While bedtime is usually my downfall in daddy's absence and a part of a routine I know the girls look forward to when he returns, I tried to step up my game to compensate for my earlier downfall and try to reassure my girls that they are loved. That they are cherished. That I appreciate their fingerprints.