Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Cried In Target

(Yes, today is Tuesday, and I should be posting a picture for Time Warp Tuesday, but last night my computer informed me I have reached my quota for photos and I'm not sure what to do about that).

Did you ever cry in a Target?  I did today.  This past weekend, my husband bought my six year old some Angry Bird decals to put on his bedroom walls.  He already had a sports themed bedroom, with footballs, soccer balls, baseballs, and basketball decals on his walls, so now the room is a bit confusing... and overwhelming, but that's another story.  This morning he asked if he could "Please, please go to Target after school, so I can get some more Angry Bird stickers with my birthday money?"  I explained that there probably wasn't any more room on his walls for more stickers, and he said he would like to put them on paper and make a book.  "Hey, it's your money!", I answered.

Now, this is the flashback part of the story, and when I say flashback, I mean WAY BACK.  Like, me in elementary school back.  There's cute little me, standing there awkwardly, looking like I wish I could shrivel up and disappear.  I'm standing in line, waiting to be picked to play kickball.  Gym class - I'm sure some kids enjoyed it, but I was never one of them.  I would stand there, praying in my head, "Please don't let them pick me last... Please don't let them pick me last...", looking down, so they wouldn't see the desperation in my eyes.  I was awful at kickball.  Really awful.  I kicked it up every single time, and I got out almost every single time.  I can still hear the taunts of "Easy out!"  Also, I certainly wasn't popular.  I always had friends, but never in the popular crowd.  From my memory, we played kickball A LOT, and the popular kids were always chosen to be the "pickers".  Maybe gym teachers were popular kids, because they certainly never seem to understand the plight of the unpopular.

Back to the present.  I picked up my son, and started asking him the same ridiculous questions and getting the same ridiculous answers.

"How was school?"
"What did you do?"
"I don't remember".

Today, though, was a conversation that completely shook me, and one I don't want to ever forget.

"How was gym class?"
"Good... We played hockey again... I got two goals!"
"Two goals huh?  Good job!"
"I was finally on the blue team today!"
"Oh yea?  How did you get on the blue team today?"
"Alyssa picked me.  She was the captain on the blue team".
"Cool!  I'm glad she picked you.  Did she pick you first?"
"No, I think I was picked last".
"She picked you last?!  That stinks!" (my brain flashing back to cute little me again)
"It's okay.  I usually get picked last".
"You do?!"  (trying to keep the hysteria out of my voice and not punch my hand through the dashboard)
"Does that bother you?"
"What do you mean, bother me?"
"Does it make you sad when you get picked last?"
"It makes ME sad that you get picked last"!
"It's not my fault, Mom".
(Instant tears welling up in my eyes) "Oh honey, I know that!  Of course it's not your fault!  I'm not mad at you.  It just makes me sad because I used to be picked last in gym class and I didn't like it".

I was going to let it end there.  I really was, but I just kept thinking about my sweet boy standing there waiting and waiting to be picked.

"Dylan?  Who do you like the most in school?"
"I don't know.  Maybe Alyssa?"
"Who do you think likes you the most?"
"I don't know".
"Do you think Alyssa likes you the most?"
"I don't know.  I think she likes me, but maybe not the most".
"Who does she play with the most?"
"I don't know".
"Who does Arjun play with the most?"
"I don't know".
"Dylan!  Don't you pay attention to the other kids?  Maybe if you paid attention more, they would play with you more!"
"I like to play by myself sometimes, Mom".
"I know... but..."
(He already knew what I was thinking and what I was going to say).  "That's just how YOU feel. I'm sorry, Mom.  That's just how I am".

I felt like someone was squeezing my heart.  I couldn't breathe for a minute.  As I fought back a full on sob fest, I grabbed Dylan in my arms and hugged him.
"Dylan, you don't have to apologize for who you are.  I love you just the way you are.  I am SO sorry.  I guess I just worry about you having friends so much, because I just want you to be happy".
When his little eyes looked up at me and he said "I AM happy", I couldn't hold back the tears any longer.

I cried in Target.  I would like to think that crying in Target would be so memorable that I will be changed from this moment on.  I like to think I will stop trying to force my child to be the person I want him to be, but if I'm being honest, I'm not sure that is the case.  Why do we do that?  Why do we try to change our children, instead of accepting that they are perfect exactly the way they are?  Why do we project our fears, goals, and dreams onto them?  It's a heavy weight for their little shoulders to carry.  We tell ourselves we just want them to be happy, but they already are.  They are happy, just the way they are.  I'm going to read this post every time I need to remember that.

Monday, November 19, 2012

To Dylan On His 6th Birthday

Dear Dylan,

Today you are six!  This fact seems bizarre to me, and yet at the same time... completely right.  Something started happening back in September.  You suddenly seemed so much taller, leaner, and more mature.  Maybe it has something to do with school?  You are in kindergarten now, and it seems to be going very well.  You don't complain about going, like you used to do with preschool.  You tell me more about your day, although I usually have to ask a lot of questions to get the information out of you.  You don't want to get up in the morning, though!  You are "SO tired" that Daddy usually drags you out of bed.  You don't seem to mind wearing the uniform, even on chapel days, when you have to wear a tie.  One of the things you hate to do, though, is change your clothes when you get home.  To you, this is a huge chore, and a waste of valuable play time.

Play time has become very sacred to you since you have less of it now.  There are times that you are content to play on your own, busily carrying out one of your plans.  Your play often involves recreating things you've done or seen.

You love a challenge.  When we got you a hula hoop, and your friend next door, could do it better than you could, you practiced and practiced until you were a pro.  When you saw a show about Speed Stackers you wanted to buy them and learn to stack the cups yourself.  Then, we had to get a paddle ball (also on that show), so you could try that.  You love to try new things and go new places.  You are not afraid to take risks.  Not many things scare you.  In fact, I'm not sure I can think of anything!

Although you don't giggle as much as you used to, you still like to laugh, and you have a good sense of humor.  I love it when we share an inside joke, like "Chicken!", or "How Not To Feed Your Family Dinner".  "Chicken!" came about when Daddy and I were deep in conversation at the dinner table on evening, and you suddenly blurted out "Chicken!"  You wanted to say something about Chicken Little, but forgot what you wanted to say.  "How Not To Feed Your Family Dinner" came about when I forgot to turn on the crock pot one night and we came home to an uncooked meal.  You thought of a great name for a cookbook and made us laugh when you said "Yummies for Dummies".

You are really a good reader these days!  The books sent home from school (and the rest of the homework for that matter) are too easy for you, but that's how you like it.  That way, you can get it done quickly and get back to playing!

You still love math and sports.  You played t-ball in the spring, and soccer this fall.  You enjoyed t-ball, but soccer seems to be a better fit for you.  At this age, the coaches don't keep score, but of course, you do.

You are such a sweet boy, Dylan.  One day, Daddy told you the story about the time he sent me flowers at work and someone stole them.  You got up and drew me a picture of flowers saying that I should have flowers.  You are so sweet to Daddy, too.  When we are out, you often ask if we can buy him a Hershey bar, since he loves them, rather than asking for candy for yourself.

You have an innocence and a sweetness that I hope you keep for a while longer.  You still climb in my lap occasionally for a snuggle, and even though your long limbs are barely contained in the space, those moments are my favorite and I cherish them.  I love you so much and I am so proud of you.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Time Warp Tuesday - Birthdays

For Time Warp Tuesday this week, (over at Juggling Life), I wanted to look back at Dylan's birthdays. We'll be celebrating his 6th next week, so here is a blast from the past 5.


First Birthday Party - in a hotel party room - we learned that blue icing is a bad idea.

Second Birthday Party - At Steel City All Stars (gym)

We had the Third Birthday Party at our new house.

Fourth Birthday Party - at SeaBase (indoor play area)

The Fifth Birthday Party was at another gym! (Gymkhana)

We are looking forward to birthday number 6!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Lunch Notes

My mom used to pack my lunches for school.  Every day, she would pack a healthy lunch, and add a little note inside.  I'm not sure when she started doing it, or when she stopped doing it.  I don't even really remember what the notes said.  To my memory, I never commented on the notes, and I certainly never thanked her for them.  I bet she wondered sometimes, "Why am I even doing this?  She doesn't appreciate it.  She doesn't care".

Now, my little boy is going to kindergarten, and I am packing his lunches.  Yes, they are healthy, and yes, each lunch since the first day of school has had a little note inside.  There are days when I stand there for several minutes, trying to decide what to write,  thinking  "Why am I even doing this?  He doesn't appreciate it.  He doesn't care".

There are so many "little" things we do as parents that we might feel go unnoticed.  Pats on the back of encouragement, home cooked meals, bedtime rituals, countless car rides, birthday balloons, snuggling in bed on a Saturday morning, patiently answering question after question.  We don't often hear "Thank you".  We aren't always sure those "little" things are making an impact.

Sometimes, though, if we are lucky, we get a reminder.

Yesterday, my son wanted to play "school".  He said that I was going to go to school, but first he had to pack me a lunch.  When I saw my lunch, I knew...

All those "little" things?  They do matter.  A lot.

(Mom, thank you for the healthy lunches, the notes, and the countless other "little" ways you showed your love).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Time Warp Tuesday : Love at First Sight

It's Time Warp Tuesday time again, over at Juggling Life!  As I mentioned in my last post, after two very long years, two lines had finally appeared on the stick.  As I sat there staring at it, it hit me that I would never be the same.  It was a huge moment.  So was the moment I heard his little heart beat for the first time.  Truly, though, the moment I saw this little profile was when I realized I was in love...

When I was in elementary school, I wrote this poem..

My dream came true, almost 6 years ago...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Photo A Day Challenge : October 2012

I finished my newest challenge for myself - The Photo A Day Challenge over at "A Grande Life".
I am happy to report that for the most part I didn't cheat.  I kept to the daily theme, and only forgot to take a picture one day (the 25th, so that picture was taken the next day).  I found some prompts harder than others, but for the most part, I am really glad I decided to participate.  It made me realize that I've been missing taking pictures, and missing the creative part of myself.

(The big one is a close-up of my favorite of these - Black & White - It's the little girl I'm a nanny for).

October 1-Leaves / 2-In My Cup / 3-Shoes / 4-Up / 5-Light / 6-Orange / 7-Flower / 8-Shadow / 9-Me / 10-Up Close / 11-The Letter A / 12-Black & White / 13-Happiness / 14-Pumpkin / 15-Good Nt. Moon

October 16-Guilty Pleasure (I keep kissing my sweet boy's cheeks, even though at this point, he doesn't like it.  He usually gives me that tiny smile that says he'll let it slide this once.  But look at them!  How can I help myself?!) / 17-Comfy / 18-Hands / 19-Laugh / 20-Something Old / 21-Home / 22-Grass /
23-Busy / 24-Pretty / 25-Something You Made / 26-Dots / 27-Your Pick / 28-Simple / 29-9:15 am /
30-Pillow / 31-Boo!