Thursday, December 20, 2007

Closing in on Christmas

Christmas time on The Planet is overwhelming at best.  Since having children, it's been really important to me to develop some traditions that we do every year.  As a child myself, my parents never set out to begin traditions, but I suppose a few emerged naturally.  Every year we would travel several hundred miles north to visit my grandparents.  Those trips hold tons of fond memories for me.  As an only child, I always looked forward to being with my mom's family and surrounded by my 10 cousins.  We used to take over my grandparents' basement which always smelled musty and was usually covered in cobwebs.  It was unfinished, cold concrete floors and luxury meant one meager toilet with no sink.  But there was a ping pong table, and that's ALL that mattered.  My cousins and I would spend HOURS down there challenging each other to matches and listening to Led Zeppelin on my eldest cousin's boom box.  Besides sledding on the hill across the street, it was our only form of entertainment during that long week of Christmas.

Usually after a long day of ping pong we would all stumble upstairs, loud and famished.  We'd usually get in trouble for being too loud and possibly waking up the infant members of the family.  We'd crowd in the kitchen and dig through the fridge and freezer, usually ending up with vanilla ice cream cones and chocolate syrup.  But these just weren't your standard ice cream cones.  Oh no.  They were the cake cones with the flat bottom.  We'd pile scoops of ice cream on top and then poke a finger through the middle.  In that hole made by the finger, we'd pour in chocolate syrup.  And then the magic would happen.  As the ice cream is eaten, the chocolate syrup with pool down in the bottom of the cone.  Ah yes, good messy times.

And then we'd all lay out sleeping bags in the living room.  Since there were about 10 of us, it was sorta a tight squeeze.  My two elder female cousins would always claim the couches leaving the rest of us to tough it out on the hard floor.  And there we'd lay, by the light of the Christmas tree and share ghost stories and jokes and try our hardest to not be the first one to fall asleep.

The gifts under the tree at my grandparents' house never amounted to much.  My mom was one of 6 children and ultimately there were 17 grandchildren.  My grandparents were not wealthy people by any stretch of the imagination.  I don't think that I can recall even one gift that I ever received from them on Christmas morning.  But I do remember those moments.  And so many others.  And that's what I hope to give my children on this Christmas morning, and the Christmas mornings in the future.  Moments, memories.  Despite painstakingly picking out gifts and obsessing over them, in the end I won't care if they don't remember them 20 years from now.  But I DO care about them remembering being together, baking cookies, watching Christmas movies, staying up late to play with new toys, having trouble falling asleep the night before Christmas, going to the Christmas Eve service at church and coming home to pizza and unwrapping stocking stuffers, reading the Christmas Story from the Bible, dressing up like Mary, eating more sweets than should be allowed, and so much more.  If they remember those moments, then it will be a very Merry Christmas indeed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My soulmate on the Planet

8 years ago today I embarked on a journey with my soulmate that's held many twists and turns, ups and downs.  He's really the only person in the world I know that would be willing to live with me, Your Majesty.  And he's dang awesome at living on the Planet Pink.  Not too many guys would be.  It doesn't bother him in the least that we have more red/pink laundry than all the other colors and whites combined.  It doesn't bother him that My Little Pony and Barbie often end up under foot, especially when walking barefoot through the house (a practice I would NOT recommend!).  It doesn't bother him that around here Star Wars is deemed "SCARY!" and the only Princess approved programs on a family movie night usually include sappy love songs and "true love" (sigh).  It doesn't bother him that he is often called upon to play the role of the 4th Princess and tap into his feminine side.  He does it all with gusto and enthusiasm, the way a dad on Planet Pink should.

Of course he's doing all he can to infuse a little blue here and there.  We have a computer and keyboard as permanent fixtures in my bedroom.  Not exactly the "retreat" environment I was going for, but you know.  We have an XBOX where he can work out aggression on Halo or 007 or whatever else the heck he plays.  I let him stay up late to watch his "SCARY" movies while I get some much needed sleep.  I figure all of that is such a small price to pay for having the Greatest Guy On The Planet.

The thing I love the most is that he's teaching the 3 Princesses such an incredible lesson.  What a man should be.  What a man should do.  How a man can love.  What an important lesson in this day and age.  I can only hope and pray that someday the 3 Princesses grow up to find a Prince like mine.

Happy Anniversary love.  

PS:  Despite Princess #2's declaration of undying love for her diapers, my soulmate got her to do the impossible today!   Pee pee in the potty x4!!  I told ya he's the man!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Left Behind

You ever feel like your life has just left you behind?  Like you have all these plans, all these dreams.  And somewhere they must be happening, to someone.  But not to you.  I never seem to have the knack of dreaming up my life the way it actually turns out.  In Jr. High I was going to marry Doug, the boy of my dreams.  We were going to have 2 kids and live where I grew up.  Later, in highschool, I was going to be on Broadway.  I was going to star in Les Miserables as Eponine and sing for a living.  Obviously, neither of those happened.  Later, in college more dreams and aspirations arose and fell and thus has my life continued, never quite playing out the way it had in my mind.  It hasn't all been bad.  I can definitely see purposes for certain seasons in my life, even though if I had a choice I probably wouldn't have gone through them in the first place.

So recently I have found myself in one of those such seasons.  Just waiting, waiting, waiting.  To see how things play out, to see where they lead, to see what's next.  And yet at the same time, I'm tired of waiting for the next thing.  I'm really struggling with finding the balance between finding joy in the present and finding hope in the future.  My 3 princesses obviously bring extreme joy (and at times frustration!).  My husband brings extreme joy (and again, frustration!).  Our current situation is a HUGE answer to prayer on one hand and yet at the same time is still not quite exactly what I was dreaming of.  I wonder if I just dream too big?  What am I looking for exactly?  No answers really I guess.  In my head I know that sometimes God just asks us to wait.  It's getting my heart to embrace that that's hard.

So yeah, this is a downer, totally not related post.  :)  So I'll perk things up at the end here by sharing that Princess 2 has informed me that 3 year olds do NOT wear panties (She turns 3 Christmas Day and I think she has a sneaking suspicion that Your Majesty is plotting to get rid of her beloved diapers, which she would be right.).  I'm formulating my attack as we speak.  I have a feeling it's not going to be pretty.  The Planet is about to be rocked.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Young love

Do you know how early kids start playing "boyfriend/girlfriend"?  Apparently Kindergarten.  KINDERGARTEN!?!  Am I the only one shocked by this?  I mean seriously, I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was in 7th grade and even that was limited to holding hands, talking on the phone and giggling at each other across the room.  My first kiss didn't come until my freshman year in college.  I guess I was living in denial to think that the 3 Princesses would follow in my royal footsteps.

So my big jolt back to reality came last night as the 3 Princesses were at a birthday party for some close friends.  N. just turned 6 a couple of days ago and his sister C. turns 4 just before Christmas.  The party was at one of those party places filled with ball pits, bounce houses and activity areas that rival McDonald's biggest playground.  Those places give me so much anxiety.  I'm not sure why, I guess I fear one of the Princesses will get stuck way up high in a tube and since Your Majesty is all of 5 ft. tall and about the size of some of the kids, I'd get the lucky job of going in after them.  Or maybe I'm worried one of them will fall and get hurt while bouncing around a bounce house.  (Although true to her klutzy self, Princess 1 got a nice goose egg on her forehead simply by running into a table in the eating area, which obviously could have happened in our own home.  So maybe my fears about those places should be redirected to fears about Princess 1 just not watching where she is going.  But anyway, I digress.)  

Many of the party guests were friends of N.'s from Kindergarten.  Although Princess 1 has not started school yet, we were familiar with a few of them.  As the party was progressing, the kids were gathered in the eating area to watch N. and C. open gifts.  Princesses 1 and 2 were only mildly interested as the majority of gifts were Transformers, Star Wars, Spiderman, etc  (Yes, even for C.  who is a self proclaimed NOT Princess!  God love her.  That girl knows what she likes!  You should have seen Princess 1 eye the discarded My Little Pony gift that was tossed to the side the second it was unwrapped!).  

As amusing as the whirlwind of wrapping paper flying was, what really caught my eye was the interactions between a little boy and girl that were standing in the crowd around N.  Both are in Kindergarten and are "friends".  They were attached at the hip from the moment they entered the party.  They sat next to each other for pizza and cake.  They are, as the girl's mom later informed me, are in a band together.  Although they've never played together, he's the drummer and she's the singer.  She even wrote a song for him which she debuted at the party.  Anyway, as they were standing side by side while N. was opening his gifts, the little girl kept trying to hold the boy's hand.  Over and over she kept reaching for it.  Sometimes she'd actually get a hold of it and hold it for a second, sometimes he'd pull away.  As I watched in amazement at this miniature version of love playing out before me, I could not believe the intimacy I was seeing between them.  At the age of SIX! Whispering to each other, having intense conversations that made them look like they should be about 28 and involved in a dramatic relationship.  I was just about to start really worrying about these two having such a close friendship at such a young age when I saw the girl again reach for her boy's hand.  In extreme annoyance and desperation he reproved her: "I need to pull my pants up!  I can't hold your hand!"  I stifled laughter as he did indeed hitch up his falling jeans that were a size too big in the waist.  And as they ran off to play once again I was relieved to see that they were in fact NOT 28 and that things like falling down pants usurped displays of affection.  I know I am SO in for it with 3 Princesses, but I DO hope that we can get through Kindergarten without hand holding.  Your Majesty is SO not ready for that.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Welcome to my planet

I live on Planet Pink.  It is a land of tutu trees, princess crown mountains and more hair ribbon rivers than any planet should have.  My next door neighbor is Strawberry Shortcake (who is sweet as sugar, by the way) and Barbie lives down the street.  On this planet it is acceptable to wear pants ONLY in extreme emergencies, or when your mom and dad decide that it's time to broaden your style horizons and insist that you wear pants at least 3 days a week.

I didn't set out to live on Planet Pink.  Although I fully admit that I secretly hoped my first foray into motherhood would land me there, I also envisioned a pit stop or two on another planet, blue in color.  And yet here I find myself.  Up to my neck in pink.  I'm not totally sure I know exactly how to navigate this planet just yet.  There are many, many mysteries.  All of them wrapped up in the Three Princesses who rule this planet.  They have given me a title: Your Majesty.  I wear that crown proudly, however I'm beginning to suspect that this title hold very little power.  Some days I think I'm in charge, but other days it is painfully obvious that the ones running this planet are under the age of 5 and still take naps (some days).

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