Thursday, May 28, 2015

Arcade loot

Freddy and I are total S-U-C-K-E-R-S for arcades and carnivals. I don't think I ever passed up a game of skee ball in my life. This morning was over cast, making it the perfect day for the boardwalk. ALL of us went downtown and grabbed pizza for lunch then amused ourselves with sand sculptures and colorful kites flying up and down the beach. The real fun was the arcade loot though. For just 20 dollars worth of quarters, we managed to win about 4500 tickets which were then redeemed into various toys. We're  pretty excited about our selection as are the kids.
Prizes included (but we're not limited to) the following:
1 rubber band gun (thomas)

1 tongue tatoo

1 52 in kite (matt)
1 mermaid doll (lolo)
1green irridescent fiber optic nightlight(fred)
1 oikin pig (Mary and Sarah pooled their tickets- but Mary insists 'it's still a little more' hers)
1 blue stuffed elephant (Pete)
1 duck dynasty beard (Ellie)
Way too many tootsie rolls and gum balls

Monday, May 25, 2015


So, we've been having a ridiculous amount of fun.  Way, way more than we deserve. My sister is such a hoot to  hang out with that my kids haven't stopped laughing and giggling since she arrived. 

Then something sort of went wrong.  Fred noticed the hvac wasn't working properly. It kept humming,  so to be polite he called and let the front desk know (cause-he-notices-how-everything-works-and-when-its-not-up-to-speed #carpenter).

So, Peter calls us while we are at the boardwalk and says our room keys don't work,  and the guy at the front desk had been looking for us cause they're going to make us switch rooms. I tell Peter I don't believe him and say he should quit joking. #hesnotjoking.
Next thing we know, they have moved us to the penthouse,  cause.... why? 

Because this vacation is awesome!  Every room has a view of the ocean.  Since it took them a few hours longer than they anticipated to clean it,  they gave us a dozen free passes to the in house skating rink. 
Life is good.
Real good.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Anniversary fun

We are celebrating 22 years of marriage, at the beach. My wonderful sister Celine, my Uncle Bud, and my gorgeous nephew Braxton have come along with the crew. Pictures will be better than words for this post- particularly since it's from my phone!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Unnoticed Mothering

 All week long there have been murmurings in my household about Mother's day. Whispers of what to buy, how to celebrate, what to plan,  have been taking place in some-what secret fashion. Like most Mothers I know and have known, when asked  I told the kids I don't really 'want' anything. I don't think it is a lie when Moms say this, they are talking from a deeper place inside that doesn't need or desire recognition for a job that is both privilege and sacrifice.

So as I sat in mass last night I was turning these things over in my mind, wondering how to allow my kids to celebrate without drawing a whole lot of unwanted attention to myself. My thoughts kept going back to one of C.S. Lewis' reflections entitled "The Perfect church service".

“Every church service is a structure of acts and words through which we receive a sacrament, or repent, or supplicate, or adore. And it enables us to do these things best– if you like, it ‘works’ best– when, through long familiarity, we don’t have to think about it." C.S.Lewis

It really struck me that this applies also to Motherhood.  Good mothering is the 'long familiarity' process in the life of your child. Good mothering brings a sense of safety, security, happiness, stability, order, and love to a family. It is the force that allows children to grow up and get on with their own lives without having to worry and struggle daily over food, drink and the grown -up anxieties of life. Good mothering fades to the background so the life or lives it supports can get on with it and learn to fly. It makes itself unnoticed. 

As long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance.A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling." C.S. Lewis

As a consequence most Mom's who are getting things right  are likely to ask themselves questions like  "Do they really know how much I have given up for them? Do they have any idea of how much I care? Will they ever understand How much of my life I have poured into them each day in the countless unnoticed acts of mothering like cooking, cleaning, washing, teaching, nursing, loving, and praying?" Be careful with how you answer this one- it's liable to make you feel neglected, and under-appreciated if you dwell on it too long. The answer isn't as simple as it seems, at least it isn't for me.

The truth is I don't think I ever really appreciated my own Mom while she was with me. I called her regularly, had a great relationship, shared the same values she did, and was overall very close to her. Yet the moment she was gone,and many times since then,  I wanted most of all to be able to go back and simply thank her again for the endless love she showered on me and my siblings. Her love was so strong and steady and powerful that I grew accustomed to it, and took it for granted. But here's the catch- I think she meant for  me to.  I think she wanted me to know that I didn't have to wonder if she would be there, or if she cared, she wanted her love to be so certain and stable so that I didn't have to worry or fret about it, but could simply move forward secure in it.  I say this because it is what I want for my own kids and what most moms that I talk to desire for their children as well.

Last night Freddy took four of the boys out and I put the little girls down early. Peter and JP were at home with me on a Saturday night while I graded tests for my sixth grade class, and did some planning. Peter asked me what I wanted for Mother's day, and I told him nothing. Then he stopped and asked "Mom, what do you get out of being a Mom?" and I could feel a serious conversation spring up in the room for the three of us. You all know that is an impossible question to answer. Telling him he gives my world form and meaning and that I have learned to love  by being a mother and  to be human, sounds so silly even when its true. The chance to take a little soul and shape that person for eternity is pretty heady stuff and not easy to translate into words. Sort of like the dandelions that get pressed into my hand as a sign of affection from my little ones. On their own they are weeds, but when given to me by my sweet child they are transformed into heavenly treasures only a fool couldn't see. 

The conversation died down and I went back to my work. Next thing I knew, and without warning,  I was being scooped up by  the big strong arms of my second eldest son. He didn't want to look at me when he spoke because, just like when he was little, he is still a bit shy even of his own feelings. So he picked me up instead and hugged me and whispered in my ear "I never know what to do for you for mothers day, because the truth is I never thought I deserved a Mom like you. And I wish there was a way to say thank you for always making dinner, and cleaning, and teaching us,  and  giving us a good life, but I still don't know how to do it.  But I really do love you even if I don't deserve you." and then he let go and left me in a puddle of my own tears and it took me five whole minutes to pull it all back together. 

The truth is, we all deserve that kind of love. That unconditional steady support. The kind of love that is so strong and certain  it goes unnoticed like the air we breathe, or the heart that beats in our chest. The less attention it draws to itself the better it is. It creates a place for people to become human.  It is all worth it. Being a mother is the stuff of life.