Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Finding the Joy

This one's for Gros Papa Phil.

And for my older, more mature self that will look back and cherish memories like these. Because I know I will.

Lucy (3) and Jackson (2) decided to take Christmas into their own hands this year. I don't know... maybe it was just taking too long to get here or they thought we were doing it all wrong. I guess I'll ask them what the heck when they get old enough to put reasoning behind their actions.

I'm pretty sure the morning went something like this:

J: Hey, Lucy. Are you awake? Because I've been awake for three hours and tried going back to sleep by singing Dora's version of Twinkle Little Star but it just isn't working out for me.  You know, "Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder... what you ate for breakfast." "Is that the right song?" "No Way!"
(Only parents with kids who watch Dora will understand what is going on here.)
L: Yeah, I'm familiar with that song. I am now awake. Which is bad because I'm generally pretty grumpy when I don't wake up naturally, on my own.
J: Right, well, I was thinking... we could really help mom and dad out by unwrapping all the gifts under the tree for them.
L: I'm listening. 
J: They've seemed a little stressed lately what with dad quitting tobacco and mom taking that test that determines the future of her professional career. I'm sure they'll really, really appreciate it. Let's go do that - for them.  
They proceed to plop down out of their beds and sneak downstairs in their cute, innocent, footed, penguin pajamas. I don't know how the mayhem begins, but someone had to start it and I'm guessing it was Jackson. The first, lonely tear of wrapping paper is the starting gun to a scene more commonly observed on CHRISTMAS MORNING.
It is 6:30am on December 24th, 2011.

After what was probably way too much time for a 2 and 3-year old to be sans the parental units on a separate level of the house, I wake up - probably from the innate sense that our children are having way too much fun doing something they weren't supposed to be doing. To be fair, things you're not supposed to be doing, as a rule, are more fun.

I walk slowly down the stairs fearing what I might see. About halfway down all movement from the first floor ceases and I hear Jackson whisper, "We need to hide!" Little footsteps scamper across the floor and I arrive at the bottom of the stairs to find an undisturbed first living room (we have two, don't question it). As I round the corner toward the second living room I see my sweet little angels hiding in opposite corners of the room. My eyes then scan quickly toward where the tree resides.

To be honest, my first reaction to what lies before me is excitement. After over-analyzing this event I later determine the reaction was Pavlovian. (It was Pavlov who had the dogs, right? A little help, mom?) Every time I have ever seen a room filled to the brim with torn wrapping paper prior to this it has been the result of me tearing the wrapping paper and therefore having new possessions.

That feeling lasts a whole two seconds until reality sinks in. And then I am shocked. And then I am angry. And then I don't know what the heck to do.

So, without looking my children in the eye, I turn around and walk in a zombie fashion back upstairs to our room where my husband is blissfully snoring. (At this point I consider just going back to bed, but then I remember the Christmas cookies sitting on the counter and there is no way I'm re-decorating two dozen cookies)
 Chris. I need your help. Chris. Chris. CHRISTOPHER! A LITTLE HELP HERE! 
We both snap out of it- he out of his sleep and I out of my state of PTSD- and we immediately engage the 4-Wheel-Drive of Parenting.

You will have to tilt your head to the right to properly view the following pictures since Blogger can't seem to get it right despite the files actually facing the correct direction. 
Suspect #1

Suspect #2
This is what we did (and we're not really looking for your approval or constructive criticism of our parenting style at this point. I'd venture to say that any decisions made during this time were made under duress): We took all the toys away. (To clarify; we had a minor incident similar to this a few weeks prior [this is what I get for finishing my shopping early] and both kids had been well-warned of the consequences. But, alas, they are 2 and 3-years-old.) We re-wrapped a few of them for the predetermined and approved Christmas present unwrapping times. They both had to do hard, manual labor for the rest of the day. Chris and I opened our gifts from each other.

I'm kidding about the manual labor part, but if they made snow shovels that fit a 3ft tall person I would have been all over that.

It wasn't until later that I was able to see the joy in this story. Instead of receiving looks of sympathy and dismay from the Grandparents after recounting the horrific details of that morning, we were met with that Santa-like glimmer in the eye. The one that approves of harmless mischief. Their bellies practically shook like a bowl full of jelly from their amusement.

This is a story that will go down in history.
They look so cute and innocent.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The evolution of Friendship.

Bekah Joy Hornor Kooy (your new married name means I consider you a poem), you can skip over the first half of this post because you've heard it all already.

Last night I got to spend 2 hours talking to one of my Best Friends, Bekah.
Saying "Best Friend" sounds weird and juvenile, but there are definite levels of friendship and she qualifies as a "Best".
I'd say there are three levels of friendship: Friend, Good Friend and Best Friend.
Best Friends, like Bekah, are those people who you can talk to about anything and you no longer care what they think about you. You're comfortable around each other and if a little fart slips out, then, so what?
Good Friends are those people you can hang out with and enjoy, but you still care (and wonder) about what they are thinking you might be thinking about what they are thinking about your parenting choices. And you are judging their parenting choices. And mostly you just gossip about other Good Friends with Good Friends.
Friends are more what Facebook would qualify as "Acquaintances".

Bekah is a Best Friend because I can fart in front of her (although I rarely do) and she will laugh and think it's funny and not start scrolling through her phone to discretely delete my contact information like a Good Friend or Friend would do.

Okay, Bek... you better go back and read that part because we did not cover that in our conversation last night.

I had an entire post dedicated to explaining to my Best Friends why I am now different from them because I have kids and they don't. After typing out the last sentence - "...and that's why I've become a complete drag after 9pm and usually have stains on my clothing." - I decided it was waaaaay too personal to have the entire world Singapore read. I highlighted and hit Backspace. I'm truthful and personal here, but it's pretty distasteful to be calling out your friends on Blogger. And after talking with Bekah, I've discovered that my emotions were headed in the wrong direction. When I thought I was justified in complaining that my Best Friends no longer understand me, what I was really feeling was their absence. I miss them. And I want to all be living in the same city again. We're all having life experiences that make us different from each other. I love that and I hate that.

It's going to take some getting used to, at least.

Last night Bekah and I were talking about our stress triggers and how they are different for each person, but carry just as much weight. My stress-triggers include having an office directly across from the bathroom so I can smell when people poop and kids (mine) who make Ewok noises during church. Bekah's include, understandably, almost all aspects of being a PA-C at the Cardiac ICU at UW.
So, let's recap: Poop and Ewok noises drive me to drink gallons of diet Coke and waste time blogging when I should be studying for the MAT's while Bekah might eat something that has Gluten in it if she's spent the day around people who are nearly dead whose lives she probably saved and sometimes wasn't able to. (No disrespect intended.)
It certainly puts it all into perspective, but we concluded that everyone is justified in their stresses because no matter what they are the level of intensity is the same. Or maybe she was just trying to make me feel better.

I think it's this disconnect or misunderstanding that left me feeling distant.
I'm over it now and I plan to start writing letters with pen and paper to bridge the gap. I'll even spritz them with a little perfume to make it more personal. Or I'll let my kids run around with them for awhile.

I love you guys. And that's personal.