Friday, January 30, 2009

You can't change the stripes....

That expression has always carried a negative connotation to me. It goes along with "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" or "once a cheater, always a cheater". But today I was having lunch with an old friend. Someone I had not seen in a long time; and not because we had a falling out-in fact, I am not even sure why we had lost touch. I am just glad we reconnected. And I found that this girl's stripes really hadn't changed-and it was a great thing. I enjoyed her sense of humor, her perspective, her sense of style, everything I had always enjoyed about this girl. Times have changed us-we have both been humbled in so many ways. In fact, the last 5 or so years have brought some unpleasant times for both of us. However, as with old friends, it made no difference, and it could have been a sunny day in 2001 that we were getting together. It seemed like time stood still. I love these types of friendships. It doesn't matter how life's fortunes have shifted, you can always just sit and gab with these people. They make you laugh, make you think, maybe you share a few tears, but it is so very geniune. And it was so very welcome.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stand By Me....Continued

I head this song working out today. It reminded me of a sermon I was listening to this weekend. My minister was talking about the world we live in and its inexplicable obsession with doom and gloom. The economy is the biggest one. My husband lives in that world of turmoil all the time. worrying and worrying-it's tiresome. And thanks to the internet, we can literally hear about any all terrible behaviors worldwide at any given time. Isn't that handy? Just in case our immediate surroundings don't offer us enough to be upset over, all we need to do is click on on MSN or CNN or whatever, and we can be shocked and amazed at the true horrors of the world we live in.

But this song's lyrics reminded me that the world isn't always this ugly and unpleasant. I wondered for a minute who "you" would be in this song to me. Would I feel better with my husband by my side? my parents? my kids? Well, I suspect that answer varys for everyone. For me, it is Jesus. I happen to feel comfort and strength knowing He is always by my side. I also feel like those important folks I just mentioned have Him by their side too. This also gives me great relief.

Stand By Me

(by Ben E. King)
When the night has come
And the land is dark,
And the moon is the only light we'll see.
No I won't be afraid,
Oh I won't be afraid,
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darlin' darlin' stand by me,
Oh stand by me,
Oh stand, stand by me, stand by me.

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall,
Or the mountain should crumble to the sea.
I won't cry, I won't cry,
No I won't shed a tear,
Just as long as you stand, stand by me.

And darlin' darlin' stand by me,
Oh stand by me,
Whoa stand now, stand by me, stand by me.
Darlin' darlin' stand by me,
Oh stand by me,
Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me.

Whenever you're in trouble just stand by me,
Oh stand by me,Whoa stand now, oh stand, stand by me.

25 Random Things

1. I was a DJ and an aerobics instructor in college-both are jobs I wish I would have kept up with.

2. I lived in Iran for 4 years, and barely speak a lick of Farsi-another thing I wish I would have kept up with.

3. I am a middle child, and I live right up to the billing. I am terribly close to my entire family-probably to a fault.

4. I love salt; and I have very low blood pressure so I don't plan on giving it up

5. I love exercising but I find as I get older, it is less and less effective for keeping off the extra 10-20 pounds I have been going to lose since I can remember.

6. I wish I could have had more kids. We stopped at 2.

7. I have only lost one person who I was close to-my grandma (nanny); and I miss her. I also lost my first dog, Casey. That was another very painful loss. However, reading Mindi's note makes me feel very lucky that my list is so small.

8. I love to cook; and hate to bake. I mostly hate anything that requires being artistic. I also cannot stand scrapbooking and crafts of any kind.

9. I hated being pregnant, but love being a mommy

10. I have been married for 16 years. Most of them were good-like Mindi, we were best friends until the kids came. Then my husband turned into his father; and I became a housewife and mother with a job. I ran out of time and room for him in my heart and it drove us apart. Though we have moved past those dark days, I will never forget the pain of my marriage falling apart.

11. I wish I lived in a small town. I wish I knew my neighbors and I wish the world I live in would slow down. I get so tired!

12. I love to ski. I used to like golfing but just as I started to learn, I entered the "child bearing years" where your interests just seem to take a back seat to everyone and everything. I love playing sports and being active. I probably will again someday. I think I would have been a good athlete if I had stuck with it as a kid.

13. I love to be barefoot; and wear no make up (I didn't even start wearing it until I was 35). I hate paperwork and planning. I am rarely on time. Shy people make me nervous.

14. I love drinking mostly but there are some whites out there I like too

15. Hawaii is one of my favorite vacation spots ever. Napa is a close second. I have always wanted to go on a cruise.

16. I love sleeping in the rain, cuddling with my little boys, ghost stories, playing cards, a good argument/debate, walking my dog, sending and getting Christmas cards, happy endings, the Onion, people who make me laugh, getting my nails done, reconnecting with old friends and family(thank you facebook!)and the endless sunshine of summertime.

17. I hate pop of any kind, I also do not like glazed donuts, doritos, olives, dark meat-which includes wings, chinese food, cajun food, tapioca, nuts, curry, lamb and ethiopian food.

18. I am the commissioner of my fantasy football league, and I love it! It has been a ton of fun. I love watching football. I just love watching sports. I love March madness too. Guys have figured out something we women have not. You can rattle on endlessly about sporting events and totally bond without ever going into mushy stuff or feelings. It's very liberating. They are on to something. Either that or it's my way of rationalizing "can't beat'em, join'em"

19. I have been published

20. I am addicted to my Ipod

21. I have a lot of very good friends-that I miss a great deal. I miss having girlfriends in my life. It is probably a combination of kids, work, life's paths. We are all so busy-including myself. But my heart still aches for a good girlfriend's company once in a while.

22. I like to read-I have never been like my mom, sis and brother when it comes to reading but I like a good book once in a while. It seems if I have time to actually read and be left alone, I prefer to just sleep-or screw around on facebook or my Ipod. But I do love a good read.

23. My worst fear is to outlive my children.

24. My favorite Bible verse is 1 Cornithians 13:1And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. My faith has been knocked many times, my hopes have been dashed, but it has never changed the way I love and the way I am loved. I don't go to church enough, but I am a good Christian, and I love God. I am very thankful for Him, and all the blessings He has bestowed on me. I thank Him daily for the miracles I call Tyler and Jackson.

25. I will be 39 in a couple of months. I am trying to deal with the fact that even though I remember being young, it is still pretty far behind me. I do believe the best is yet to come.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My mom

This is such a great thing to blog about-being a mom, having a mom, knowing a mom. I never knew about this club until I had kids. Most profoundly, I never know how much my mom loved me, I just knew how much I loved and needed her. Much has been said, written, painted, sung, argued over, laughed about, cried over, thought about and blogged about when it comes to this subject.

So, here is my little entrant. My mom is one of those people that is hard to forget, she just leaves a mark on you. Growing up she was always everyone's favorite mom. She has a smile that just lights up a room, and she reminds me of everything kind and good about my childhood. She is never mean spirited or critical-she sees the good in people and most circumstances. She has a great sense of compassion. She embodies unconditional love-most likely to a fault. She has a selfless nature, and a fiercly loyal and protective quality that I so appreciated as her child. She was always on my side.

As an adult, I have gotten to see so many of her great qualitites through my children's eyes. She loves to color, and knows the words to every nursery rhyme. She always knows the shows, the names of all the characters, pretty much everything they are into at that moment. She talks to and listens to them. She is a walking Disney encyclopedia. She loves peanut butter jelly sandwiches, hot dogs and fritos and going to the zoo. She will do puzzles on the floor and read books all day long. She will play their video games, and play with their friends and classmates. She gets to know all their names. She loves to go swimming, and will brave a water park on a busy day just to see their sweet smiles and hear their laughter. She bakes cakes with them, and she makes the world's best milkshakes, rice and eggs and pancakes. She doesn't worry herself with coloring in the lines, tedious details, clean up, rules, and other such things. She is just a free spirit who is like a breath of fresh air. She has a very special quality when it comes to children. Recently, she was working in Tyler's room with me at school. In about 10 minutes time, I look over, and nearly every kid in the class has flocked to her while she is on the floor building elaborate train stations with them. She is 60 years old. Unbelievable.

I like to think I got some of her attributes, though I am a slighter more uptight version of her. I know she is not perfect, but she sure is to me. I hope someday my kids will look at me the way I view her. I have come to learn that not everyone gets so lucky to have a relationship like this with his/her mother; and for that I am even more overwhelmed. It is a timeless thing, this motherhood. And I am so happy for mine!

Why does it bother me so much?

My oldest son is small-like REALLY SMALL. It has been noticeable since he was about 9 months old. He really almost stopped growing at that point. He has never had a growth spurt. He was born at 6.4 pounds, and he is going to be 7 in April; and he weighs about 37 pounds. He weighed 17 pounds at 1-that means he has put on 20 pounds in 6 years. I mean it when I say he has never had a growth spurt. He is in the zero% for weight-that means out of 100 kids, 100 of them are heavier. However, he is not the shortest kid-he is in about the 10-15% range there. This actually compounds his slight skeletal appearance. He looks even skinnier-as if that's possible. Last summer, he grew an inch in height and gained zero pounds. Not realizing this, we thought he was dying. We took him to the doctor-after pointing out that he had grown an inch-he gave us the same diagnosis we have had since he was a baby. Yes, he has had every test imagineable-and always comes up perfectly healthy. For that I am so thankful-seriously. He has amazing eye hand coordination-just a great little athlete, he is very bright; he does great in school. He is reading and writing just like any of the kids in his class-all of which outweigh him by 20 pounds. He is rarely ever sick-and even when he is, he shakes it quicker than any of us in this house. He has the best immune system! I am constantly surprised by this small person, and what a big boy he is so many ways.

His little brother weighs about the same thing as he does, and he will be turning 4 next week. And by the way, at 4, he is about in the 15% in weight. I am okay with that, in fact, I am ecstatic. He actually told me his pants were a little tight last week. They were size 3's, and he is 4 years old, but I am so used to my older son who is 2 or 3 years below his age in sizes, that I forget to ever move the younger one up to larger sizes. I am just not used to a child that grows. I was in his preschool room last week ( I LOVE volunteering in their rooms). I noticed that he was actually bigger than several of the kids in his class, something I always strained to see but never did with his older brother. I hate to admit that I even notice that. I am thankful no one reads this blog (see the title) because I know the comments should get over yourself. And it's true, I should.

So, why does this size thing bother me so much? I know it shouldn't. I mean, he is healthy and happy! However, just this year-1st grade, he is starting to mention that he gets teased for being so small. He has been doing things kind of out of character like talking back to his dad and me, wanting to wear clothes like shorts and Tshirts in the dead of winter, just to be rebellious. I think that is normal for this age. The part about kids teasing, and the part about a 6-7 year old wanting some autonomy (even if it is just the choice of clothes he wears). I try not to get too caught up in that. I don't think any kids at this age escape the vulnerability of vanity, pride, shame, and humility. These are the years after all, where they start noticing and caring about the differences they see in each other and themselves. And from all accounts, it is going to get much worse before it gets better.

Maybe that's what I am so afraid of. Right now, it's just little kids being little kids. But soon enough, it will be bigger kids. I guess I just worry about my son-who has a huge heart, and twinkling eyes, an engaging smile, and just the tiniest hint of a belly laugh left-I worry people will look past all that and see a runt, a shrimp, a small fry, etc.... All of us moms have that pain-we all think we can keep our kids from enduring the cruelty of life. And we cannot. Any more than our moms could for us.

I do this mental inventory of all the boys I knew growing up-many of them very small. They turned out just fine-most of them even grew, and became normal or some even slightly larger than normal. Again, I am just trying to talk myself out of worrying about it. But does anyone not worry? I am just resigned to try and keep it from him as best I can (and I don't think I have mastered that yet). Why is it cute for a girl to be that tiny-but not so much for a boy? And why is it so much more desirable to be an over-sized boy than an over-sized girl. These kids have about as much control over this as they do the color of their skin, their hair, their eyes, etc. It is the same thing as making fun of a kid for being poor or Mexican or one with a stutter or who wears glasses-as if a 6 year old has any control of such things. This brings me the real core of my fears. I, too, was a tortured child in school. I got picked on for being American in Iran, and then Iranian in America (and not just any place in the US-but the lovely deep South). I remember the pain and fear that accompanied being that kid. I remember having no idea why people didn't like me-they didn't even know me. I knew nothing of my parent's home country's politics. I was that kid who sat alone in the cafeteria and who never went to birthday parties, and whose name was mispronounced every day. I just hated it. I don't think it's the same thing as my son being so small, but it does strike a sensitive cord. I was about his age when I realized the world didn't like things that were different.

This is an age old issue-one that parents before me and parents after me will battle. I suppose I just need to take my place in line, and try not to let things like this that I cannot control run my life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I like being a girl

I never thought of myself as a girly girl. And I have to admit, I love the fact that I have two boys. If I was going to have two of the same sex, I am so glad it was boys. However, now that I am living in a house with my husband and 2 boys-and a dog that's male, I am getting in touch with my more feminine side . For one, the toilets! I don't need to say more. Also, I don't find flatulence or going no. 2 to be the funniest thing on earth, I don't think with my stomach, I love the color pink, and things that smell nice. I don't think laundry puts itself away, I think multi tasking is not only possible, it is imperative. I cry in movies, I prefer cuddling to wrestling and tickling. I am perfectly happy to be left alone-I can find things without assistance, I like to eat cereal for dinner and use paper plates. I can use the same cup all day long. Shopping used to be something I enjoyed. I think a trip to the grocery store alone is paradise. I am thinking most boys/men can not understand these things. Honestly, I can't see my boys growing up to be all that different from their dad. I don't really plan on breaking the mold. The good news is-they won't be my husbands!

Favorite lines

I love the line from the movie, Shawshank Redemption, "the world has gone and gotten itself in a big hurry" . I love it because Brooks, the character who says it, is an old man who has been imprisoned since the 1940's. When he is released into the1960's sometime, he finds the world to have changed so much-styles, cars, music, technology, etc. I think the same would be true of any person who took a leave for 20 years-regardless of the times. It totally encapsulates the parent/child generation gap. How I find myself doing that "when I was that age" crap I thought I would never do. I realize that we are all going to look upon our posterity with a certain lack of recognizability; and the cycle will go on and on. It helps me to take things less seriously. Why should I worry about hair styles (no brushes necessary today), fashion (what's with the plumber's crack on jeans these days?), music, technology; a sea of handheld devices that make the world go by in a nanosecond, how different the world is today than when I was a kid? When I heard my parents saying these things, I rolled my eyes and thought-it's called progress! I suppose the same is true today. It just makes you feel so insignificant. I hate to think these things I have so little control or understanding of will somehow shape my children's lives more than I will. But really, I don't think it will-anymore than it did when I was growing up. I still think of my life as having been shaped by feelings, people, beliefs and values. Things, devices, styles, all that crap was just details.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

To Win the Lottery

This is one of my favorite topics. I took it from my good friend Mindee's website. Mindee is one of my favorite people. She and I have reconnected recently, and I am happier about that than I could have ever imagined. But that's a whole other blog to itself.

I like this question because it is a great window into someone's personality. It reveals so much about our identity. Our biggest desires-both materially and emotionally. It describes what we would be doing in our lives if it wasn't what we are doing right now. I find it interesting how rarely the two line up-and a bit sad. It reminds me of those stupid questions you get in interviews-"where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?" No one ever knows the answers but it is usually not where we end up once we are there. I would have said being a mommy, but that's about it for how similar my life has been from what I would have envisioned 5 or 10 years ago.

I definately saw myself with a more succesful and meaningful career. I am so smart, so hard working and committed. I never would have thought I could lose a job, or be the kind of employee that just went through the motions.

I thought my marriage was rock solid, and my husband would never hurt me. I assumed loving someone was enough-that it really didn't require work; and that tough times would just pass.

I thought I could exercise and watch what a eat (minimally) and keep my weight the same. Ok, I don't do the best job of watching what I eat, but I really hate eating things that don't taste good!

I thought being a nice person and doing nice things for people meant people would be nice back. I thought loving your kids was enough. But I find that people let you down, and hurt your feelings. They may not even mean to. It's just one of those truths we discover as we grow up.

Would winning the lottery really change these things? A large sum of money could create a lot of comforts in my life where there are hardships. I would not worry about the cost of a private school so much. I would have more help around the house (the kind you pay for), I would have more pampering myself-manicures, pedicures, getting my hair done more often, etc. I would shop at places like Whole Foods, Tony's meats, Nordstrom, Coach, Gap for kids, etc. I would go to a fancy health club-the kind with a nicer bathroom than I have at home-where towels, hairdryers, salon quality products are plentiful. I would have a decorator and someone to help me stay more organized!

However, even with all these things, I don't think my career would make me proud, I doubt I would be thinner, I could not undo things in the past that still cause me a great deal of pain or make the world a nicer place. That's not to say I would turn these things away. I just don't think I could answer that question-"where do you picture yourself in x years?" any better with a lot of money.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I hate sorting socks

In addition to the mystery associated with the disappearing sock in the dryer that leaves me with one sock, I always manage to mismatch socks as well. I'll be honest, I did it before I had kids so I cannot even blame them. My husband and I have socks that are still missing. But now that I have 2 boys who wear almost the same size, they may never wear the right socks again. I try and buy the same ones I already have when I get new ones so that I can just put any two together, but it is still noticeable when I put a new white sock with a red stripe with an old white sock with a red stripe.

Why does this bother me anyway? Well, for one, I have visions of being a much more accomplished domestic princess than I really am. Though I have a fulltime job, I still feel it is necessary to have an orderly house, life, kitchen, etc. And naturally, I do not have any of those things. In fact, there is no order to anything in my life. I do things terribly last minute, I am late all the time, I am forgetful, I am unorganized and quite messy. So, at 38, one might think I would have just accepted these things. But it does bother me. I have some good qualities too-I am funny, witty, thoughtful, generous, congenial, kind, loving, loyal and pretty smart. If this were a word problem, we would achieve balance, and thus move on. But it's not. I live in that "trying to be perfect" world of womanhood. I think I need to be a good mom, wife, mother, daughter, sister, neighbor, friend, employee, Christian, and any other label I can think of.

It's just silly that I should aspire to be this accomplished. I got what I got. I will never be able to draw or ice a cake or decorate cookies or fold fitted sheets or sort socks.