Tag Archive | hold me

The Diaper Genie I Can’t Let Go Of: More Life Transitions

If you came over to my house and wanted to use the powder room, I would point you to the one upstairs (it’s the cleanest).   At the top of the stairs, you would have to navigate a three-foot tall, white plastic obstacle that’s sitting in the middle of the hallway. It’s been there for over a week now. And if you had told me three months ago that I’d have a hard time parting with my son’s diaper genie, I would have called Dr. Phil, because honey, you must be smoking crack.

 

But here I am. My “baby” has potty-trained, which means no more diapers, wipes, and disgusting bags of human waste housed in their bedrooms.  All these accessories have been part of my life for almost five years straight. And now, POOF! Suddenly, we are no longer a family who gets a regular delivery of diapers and pull-ups from Amazon Prime.

 

We are something else.

 

I guess we’re underwear people now. We bought Simon 36 pairs of licensed underwear at Costco the other day, and now he changes his underpants three times and day and likes to show everyone what he’s wearing: Look! It’s Yoda!   It’s Ninja Turtles!

 

Ninety percent of me is thrilled to see my big boy doing things for himself that weren’t that pleasant to do for him. But that ten percent. That stubborn, heels-dug-in ten percent that handles all of my mourning is quietly keening. My baby is growing up.

 

It’s another transition. Motherhood is full of them. Actually, motherhood is really just a series of transitions, and it’s my job as my children’s mother to remain a solid, loving center pole from which they will move away little by little, year by year.   In a few months, Mr. Yoda Pants will start going to school every single day.  There he will eat lunch and have a whole social life that has nothing to do with me. I will rejoice and mourn; both at the same time.  I’m started to get good at that.

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Speaking of transitions and the women who undertake them, May 3rd is the launch date for an exciting collection of essays by women about the transitions in their lives, Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God: 73 Women on Life’s Transitions. From overcoming addiction to starting a business or taking care of elderly parents—these women invite us into their transitions, putting to words the confusing mix of emotions and reactions to the immutable fact that we change. Life changes. Our children change. Our parents change. I am honored to have an essay in the collection, which I hope you’ll check out.

 

It’s time to gather the summer reads—consider including this collection that will feed your heart, your mind, and your spirit. (Channeling Oprah right about now.)  I’m also told that anyone who buys the Transitions anthology before midnight on May 4 will receive a free ebook of our first anthology on Connections and will be entered to win a $500 gift certificate to the Apple store! Simply forward the Amazon confirmation email from your purchase of Transitions to receipts@abandofwives.com to receive your free ebook and to automatically enter the raffle.

Now, please excuse me.  I’ve got a diaper genie to haul to the trash.  *sniff sniff*

 

 

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My Four Year Old Wants To Chop Her Hair Off

Mama can't let go!

Mama can’t let go!

The plan was simple. I was going to be a mom who knew which battles to pick.  That is, I wasn’t going to sweat it when my kids wanted to plaster the walls of their room with obscure German punk bands or vintage Ralph Macchio posters.  I also wasn’t going to power struggle over their clothing choices so long as their private parts were covered.  When it came to their bodies, my guiding principle was to let them be.  I was prepared to honor just about anything they did in the name of creativity and self-expression.

Then, my actual child started asking me for a hair cut.  My daughter, she of the lovely curls around which I had woven a bit of an identity, wanted a short, short hair cut. Like any good mother committed to honoring her daughter’s process, I ignored her.  I literally refused to engage in a conversation about her cutting off all of her curls.  I think the technical term is DENIAL.

Because she’s smarter than I am, she started pointing out people who had hair she wanted.  She held up a Harry Potter book and said, “This, Mama.”  In public, she voiced her desires, knowing I couldn’t very well ignore her all the way through Target.  And I couldn’t.

But I also couldn’t very well say to her, “No, honey, that’s not what you want.”  Rule numero uno in my parenting manifesto was (and is) Don’t invalidate children’s reality.  She wants what she wants.

Plan B was to hope she changed her mind.

It’s not working.  The only reason I have any solid ground on which to stand for not marching her over to Snippets Hair Salon is that sometimes she changes her mind.  Like when she begs for strawberry ice cream and then cries because she really wanted chocolate.  Or when she desperately wants to go to the park only to reach hysterics when she leans she had to forego a chance to take a bike ride.

She’s four.  She’s fickle.  I can’t very well take her at her word about something as drastic as a haircut, can I?

But I never wanted to be a mom that treated my kids like dolls to dress up and force to conform to my vision.  I also never thought a four-year-old girl would want to chop all of her hair off.

It’s a dilemma.  Next time she brings it up, I swear I will make an appointment and take her at her word.  I’ll let fate decide what happens to her glorious curls.  And if the end up on the salon floor, I’ll sweep them up and make myself a wig, since I’m the one who loves the damn curls so much.

For more on my curl quandary, clickety click here.

We’re Moving. Please Hold Me.

 

What’s the big deal about moving was always my first thought when someone else talked about it. (Not you, I never minimized you. I swear.)  I mean, you put your stuff in boxes, go to your new address, unpack and get on with your life, and I can get along with mine as soon as you quit bitching about the boxes all over your house or how hard it is to move with children around.

However.

Now, I’m the one who’s moving and I suddenly understand it for the massively stressful and life-altering event that it is.

As I wade through the stages of moving, I’m seeing this for what it is: kind of like a death but with way more manual labor and zero chances to dress up and adorn myself with pearls.

On the first day after we signed a contract on a new place, I acted with great alacrity grabbing boxes from the top shelf of the office closet. I was going to start the Great Pre-Move Purge (“GPP”). Those three boxes? All children’s clothes.  I call them my “treasured clothing” stash and it’s basically every outfit my kids wore for the first eight months of their lives.  The boxes, they are huge.  They are overflowing with the matching hats and baby blankets that accompanied those long-gone days.  I buried my face into each little onsie and hoodie and knew I wouldn’t be able to part with a single one.  So that was two hours of not so much decluttering as refolding and crying into cotton outfits I hope my grandkids will wear.

Day two I hoped for more.  I emptied out my entire sock drawer and bra drawer onto my bed.  The plan was to go through all that crap– the nursing bras and the mismatched and holey woolen socks that cut off my circulation– but something happened (like I realized how boring it was to cull socks), and I walked away.  I have decluttered exactly one pair of socks out of that pile.  Every night I shove the pile on the floor so I can sleep, and in the morning I put it back on the bed so I can walk around the room.

I can report some success in the kitchen where I’ve ruthlessly purged rotting limes and old frosting tubes.  It’s hard to celebrate those victories because honestly? I should have done that weeks ago and not just because we are moving.

Now, if Jeff would let me touch his crap, I could really tally up some decluttering clout, pushing the GPP forward, but he’s asked me nicely not to so I’m coming up empty-handed.  (Jeff, I forgive you for holding me back, since you are usually so supportive.) Sure, there’ve been broken crayons and unidentifiable plastic toy pieces that I put into the trash without ever looking back, but that doesn’t count either.  Especially since Sadie is on to me and now goes through the trash hourly to see what precious article of hers I have callously discarded next to those limes that smell so less-than-citrusy-fresh.

I pawed through some old documents last night and relived some former glory days….like when I penned the famous footnote 5 to a big brief during my first year of practice.  (In later drafts, the footnote was removed, but for a span of about 36 hours, I was a pretty badass first year associate.)

In some ways moving from the house where my kids were conceived and lived their first few years feels like a funeral for a distant relative whose passing has caught me off guard and produced grief that feels way out of proportion for the actual loss.  But when you add up the loss of neighbors, all the familiars (the walk to the train, the regulars I wave to at the park, where the syringes are hidden in the alley), it all starts to feel like a loss worth grieving until our new landscape welcomes us in and gives us new familiars.

Til then, please hold me. Tight.