Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lessons my mother never intended to teach me

There are days I reflect on my life and what I'm doing as a parent. Mother's Day was one of those days. A day to wonder where in the hell did I get the skills to be a mother. Most women might look to their mothers and see many lessons learned at the hands of awesome role models. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. I didn't have bad mothers they were just unique in the own right.

I won't vent about all the injustices or how crappy my childhood was because it wasn't always bad. It's just many of the lessons my mom taught me were never intended to be lessons. I learned by watching what NOT to do. I learned how to be a mom because I didn't want my children to feel the way I did growing up. The ironic part is that I had two moms, and they both taught me things they never intended to be lessons.
The worst part is that as I struggle with my 17 year old daughter, I really wonder if I am a good mom or if I am failing miserably.
Here are some of those lessons:

  • Thanks Mom for teaching me that affection is not a bad word. I hug and kiss my kids daily, and I am unapologetic about my displays of affection. I don't freak out when my son wants to run his hands through my freshly done hair or when my daughter purposefully licks my glasses. I am happy they want to be near me and want to hang and love on me. I want them to know that love is more than a word, or a gift. Love is a hug. Love is holding hands while walking out of the mall. Love is sitting so close to me on the couch that I can feel his little rhythmic breathing. I can't  begin to tell how little my ration card was utilized when it came to affection growing up. 
  • Thanks Mom for teaching me that dedicating time to your children isn't a terrible task. I run my kids around to all sorts of activities. I run to Boy Scouts and stand in line for three hours for the latest midnight release of a game. I pick up children from work at 9:30 pm when I want to be sleeping. I pick up children from late movies and friends' houses even if I have other plans. I let them be in 10,001 things because I want them to be well-rounded adults but I also want them to have fond memories of their childhood that include all sorts of childhood shenanigans. Running them everywhere may be tedious and tiring sometimes, but its part of being a parent.  
  • Thanks Mom for teaching me that telling your children you never wanted kids isn't a positive way to teach self-worth. I express to my kids almost daily how important they are to me, and how they are my greatest sources of pride and joy. They know that I would lay down my life for them and wouldn't even think twice. They know that I will miss them when they are gone and enjoying their own lives. They know that I will never really be far away from them. They also know that they are my greatest accomplishments in life. I tell them because I never want them to doubt that they are my blessings and not my curse. 
  • Thank you Mom for teaching me that fairness is not the same as equity. I have two children, and I am fair to both in how much time I devote to them and how I treat them. However, I do know that what works for one doesn't work for the other. I know that I have to be a special parent to each child, and be who they need me to be based on their needs, not my own.
  • Thank you Mom for teaching that a spotless house doesn't mean a perfect life. My house gets messy and sometimes the dishes are in the sink, and my kids aren't taking out the trash. However, we aren't obsessing about the chores, the floors or the nuances of house and home. 
I know as an adult that my Moms did the best they could with what they had. I understand that completely, and I am grateful that my childhood was what it was because it helped me be a better mom so that my children would have a wonderful childhood. 


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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Good Times Germany

Yesterday's weather was spectacular! It was warm, with clear skies, cool breezes and a BRIGHT sunny day. You couldn't have dialed in better weather if you had contacted Mother Nature herself. What does one do on awesome days like that? We went bike riding!

Yup, we loaded up and hit the trails with another couple. 

After the crisis of two low tires was averted we met with friends and rode our asses off. We went through the woods, over the rocks, around the bends and under the Autobahn. We finally stopped to rest our weary sore legs asses. We decided to have lunch at Salvatore's in Landstuhl, an authentic Italian restaurant. The restaurant is perfectly situated off the main road, in the woods and they have great food and service. Salad, pasta, bread and two weiƟwein schorle later we found ourselves being introduced to a game of bocce. We paired up, Girls vs. Boys and commenced to beating them down!

It's not a difficult game, and with competitors like ourselves it quickly became a battle of the wits and not of the balls. We had a great time! We had more wine. We also forget we had bikes. Oops! And you gotta be careful because you can get a DWI while on a bike. But I think it becomes BWI..or maybe that's an airport. I dunno. Either way my friend Jilly-Bean was feeling a little like this guy. :)

Yes, we had to ride those suckers home after food and libations. Did I mention we were still like 10-12 miles from the cars? Uh huh, let the suck begin.

Yup. We made it. Tired, sore and generally just worn out, but we made it. 

And it was a great day that turned into a great night of pubbing, dancing and more drinking. 

Today I am hung over, tired and MORE sore. Hubby says I danced for about 3 hours last night. I don't recall but then again Jameson was my go to guy last night, so anything is possible. Oh we took cabs this time! ;)

Yesterday is a perfect example of what our European life has become: bike riding the German trails, eating great Italian food, pubs, and good friends. 

I gotta say it's a good life, a damned good life. 

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