Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pre-trip Trippin

My head is spinning. I am in full on crazy mode getting ready for our winter vacation and there is a lot that needs to happen to get this family of 4 off on a vacation. This is not about who does what, although, I think you could guess that I am dealing with most of the details of preparing and packing. But no matter who does it, is it worth it? Is one week away worth all of the work that is required to get away?

We've done some shorter trips this winter to ski and my husband and I have seen the other side now; we've seen vacations from the parent side. We were packing the car late one Friday night and both looked at each other with the same thought, "They have no idea". Our kids had gone to bed hours before excited to ski. In the morning, they woke up and off we went without a single detail of the day crossing their little minds; everything just fell into place for them. They had no idea the preparation that went into that one day-trip of skiing - remembering all of the gear, packing extra clothes, snacks, and lunch. Their job was just to get up, get dressed, and get into the car. Now I see all that went on behind the scenes of every trip I ever took as a child. Its a lot of work.

Its a lot of work and there's no vacation to prepare for your vacation; it all has to somehow occur during an otherwise normal week. For next week's trip my to-do list is very long. I've been been piecing together summer clothes that still fit my kids and buying needed shorts, bathing suits, and sunscreen. I've been doing what seems like a never ending pile of laundry preparing to finally pack. And amongst the swirling in my head is all of the notes and phone calls that need to be made this week reminding everyone that my children will be absent from school and activities. Not to mention recruiting friends and neighbors to pick up mail, water the plants, and feed the fish. Its just a lot to keep track of. Throw in there a trip to the kennel to drop off the dog and it just becomes a very stressful week. Is all of the stress of this week a fair exchange for a week of not dealing with any of it?

I'm not sure the prep work is always an even exchange for the week off. But for this vacation, if all goes as planned, I am sure. I do know that the minute we step off the plane onto the warm tarmac of that tiny island airport, I will be relaxed; I won't even care if there is a line at customs. I can say this with almost certainty because we do this every winter and every year it feels worth it once I get there. Despite being the one to organize this family to leave on vacation, I will truly be on vacation once we are there. I won't cook or clean for 9 whole days and for most of that time someone else will be entertaining my children. But every year, I do come dangerously close to losing my mind in the days leading up to the trip. Pre-trip "trippin" is the price you pay for the potential of a really great trip.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dear Child

Dear Child,

I am not a tree, but you keep climbing on me. I am not a rope, but you keep pulling, swinging, and hanging on me. I am not a tissue, but you keep rubbing your nose across my shirt. I am not a trash can, but you keep handing me your empty wrappers. I am not a pillow, but you keep laying on me. I am not a door mat, but you keep stepping on me.

I am none of these things, but all of these things to you because I am your mother. Today you told me that you weren't going to love me anymore. I know you were angry and you were trying to hurt my feelings because you were hurt. Its okay. But you don't know yet that these words don't hurt. I am your mother and I put up with all of these things because I love you. If I can withstand all of your climbing and pulling on me, I can withstand your words. I am your mother and will do all of these things and more. I am your mother and I will always be your tree.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Yes, I'm talking about practice. I'm talking about practice and how much of my life is spent, maybe wasted, watching practice. I'm not talking about a game, I'm just talking about practice. With two kids involved in probably too many activities, I find myself spending hours sitting and watching; sitting and waiting - for practice to be over. There's swimming on Mondays, Spanish and indoor soccer on Tuesdays, and choir on Wednesday. I could go on with the tennis, outdoor soccer, and t-ball, but I think you get the idea. There seems to be some portion of my day, everyday, that is spent sitting idly because I had to escort my children somewhere for practice.

I suppose some would say I'm fortunate that I'm able to take my kids to these activities and watch them. And, I guess if you've never had the opportunity to watch your kids in action you might wish you had my privilege. But, the novelty of this privilege has certainly worn off, a few hundred hours ago. And now I wonder what kinds of great things I could be doing instead of sitting in a folding chair somewhere in a dingy gym or pool.

Of course I don't just sit there. I read, I check email, and sometimes I even blog on my phone. But, I only do these things because I'm confined; I have lots of other things that actually need to get done, like dinner. I've become addicted to Facebook and Twitter and I blame practice. Extracurricular activities should keep you off of the web, but that would be if we were talking about practice for me. I'm still talking about practice for my kids. But, I'm just talking about practice. I love being home with my kids otherwise and it doesn't ever seem like a waste of time to spend my day with them. I don't even mind most of the sacrifices I make for them every day. Now, if only I could remotely make dinner while sitting at practice.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Division of Labor

I was taking the trash out last night and noticed that one of our carriage lights on the back garage is out. When I came back in the house I asked my husband if he could replace the bulb. His response was, "Its funny that women can't change light-bulbs". Huh. Maybe his response was fueled by the fact that I had just asked him the day before to change one of the lights that was out in the kitchen ceiling. I can change a light bulb, but since my husband is quite a bit taller, it just seems like this should fall under his responsibilities. I mean, shouldn't something fall into that category around here?

The holiday season is always a good reminder of how the labor in the household is really divided up. My husband will argue that he put up the Christmas trees and strung the lights. Yes, he did help with these two things, but I'm pretty sure my kids would not have been satisfied with just a tree and lights on Christmas morning. I spent hours decorating the trees and house, baking, shopping, and wrapping. Do men even know how to wrap presents? My husband didn't buy, know, or wrap any of the gifts my children opened on Christmas morning; and he didn't wrap any of the gifts he got for me either. If gift wrap wasn't offered where he shopped, I just received the item in the packing box. Since we weren't with any of my in-laws to see them open their gifts, I'm betting my husband still doesn't know what he got his family. And with all of the festivities and entertaining of the holiday season that I prepped for, there comes the clean-up, which also somehow falls into the category of my responsibilities.

So, maybe its funny that I "couldn't" change those light-bulbs. But, its also funny that men don't know how to clean anything. My husband's way of doing laundry is putting whatever clothing he spilled on into the utility sink in the laundry room. The laundry fairy takes it from there. There have also been many occasions where my husband has shown me where the cat or dog threw up in the house - so I would know where to clean up the mess. When my 3 year old peed on the bathroom floor, my husband who was standing next to him said to me, "You got this? I don't know how to clean this up". Yeah, I got it. And I also get that I'm not taking on any new skill sets - like changing out of reach light-bulbs.