These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blither Blather


I work at a company that many may recognize the name of but a division that is such a teeny tiny part of that company that the explanation accompanying what I do is just too long and complicated to bore people with.

But it’s a business and that’s the start of where I plan on taking this.

Our company is trying to stay competitive, trying to maintain and grow market-share which becomes increasingly more difficult as customers have become WAY more saavy than they used to be. What I mean by this is not only drawn from my corporate experiences but as a customer myself – I want:

the best possible price I can get for the service or product I’m purchasing
the best customer service in purchasing and maintaining that service/item
I want it to be clear what I expect to get from the product or service and then I want that to meet or exceed my expectations.

Basically, I want to pay my money and feel that it was well spent. Because life is expensive! Who wants to pay too much and walk away feeling like you didn’t get what you paid for? No one!

Anyway – the business world seems to have grasped this concept and are tightening the way their businesses are running. Customers expect more of them so they are examining inefficiencies and correcting them, expecting more from their vendors, putting mechanisms in place to measure productivity so they can get the most out of their employees for their corporate dollar and be able to give more to the customer in turn.

I was thinking today that government really should be run more like a business. Can you imagine the improvements that we could make if we did?

For example – I’m thinking about the challenges in our current education system. What if the government allowed companies to sponsor our children’s schools? Businesses already are driven to improve consumer loyalty by showing social consciousness. Mostly this applies currently to being more environmentally friendly, etc, but why not expand on this further?

Already our children are bombarded with advertising in their everyday lives and as parents we help them interpret and control that desire to have everything. It’s part of life. Would it really be so horrible if John F. Kennedy school became John Deere’s Middle School with Green Lunchrooms and Agriculture auditoriums if the trade off for this was being able to pay teachers what they deserve to be paid in order to remain motivated in the learning environment or for the children to have an abundance of up to date text books and facilities that weren’t horribly dated. So what if the computers were all in the shape of tractors – if they were good computers that children could use to prepare them for the world, I could weigh the rest of the factors and help you put it in perspective, I think.

Some might think of this as selling our soul to the devil, but I think we attach way too much morality to business.

What makes it so horribly terrible if a company wants to make money? Where would any of us be without that? As companies strive to remain competitive in today’s economy with customers that are aware of the decisions that they make – their level of social responsibility, etc – this is driving corporate behavior towards being more responsible. A company that is allowed to sponsor a school will feel a responsibility to do a good job of educating and providing the children with what they need because there is so much at stake there. If a company were to abuse a situation like that and teach only about the products that company manufactured – this would be horrible to the organization as a whole. Word would spread and the company would be abandoned by their customers. So, it’s not conceivable that a company would make such a horrible decision because it would mean the end of their business. Thus, self policing by the organization would take place to make sure that everything was done to the best possible degree.

Anyway – I’m thinking of improvements that are unfolding before my eyes here and transferring it in other ways to the outside world and I think it would be a very exciting concept.

Too bad I don’t have a bigger voice. :)



Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More Firsts


So, your little cousin Charlie turned one recently and we went to his party.It was a fun time with your mostly younger cousins with the sole exception of your second cousin Rowan (I’m probably even spelling it wrong….)This was the first time that you met Rowan which is notable because Rowan kind of convinced me that I was ready to have a baby. Thus, you were born.Rowan and his younger sister, Bridget, were at the party and after much fun splashing in a kiddie pool and playing with the toys that Charlie received as his first birthday presents, you spent much of your time with Rowan and Bridget.You could certainly prove me wrong, but looking at these pictures, I think you would do well with a little sister.Here is a cute video of your first interaction with your second cousins!



Monday, June 16, 2008

Middle Ground


Father’s Day weekend was nice. We had two Father’s Day celebrations – one for your Daddy and one for my Dad (Poppa Dough). Grandpa Rose’s father’s day tradition since he has all sons usually consists of all the son’s that are available and in town heading to the casinos with Grandpa Rose for Father’s Day which is nice for all of them so that’s what they did yesterday and then yesterday evening we ended up at my Dad’s for dinner and hanging out with the extended family. During the morning yesterday, we opened Clay’s gifts and told him how much we love him!

Saturday was my favorite part of the Father’s Day weekend, though, because we went to a carnival for Shrewsbury Days and I took you on the Ferris Wheel. I was all excited for you to go up and down in the slow comfort of the Ferris Wheel and you were happy, but wondering about the other rides you were seeing.

After the ferris wheel you jumped in the bouncy house and after that - somehow you and Clay ended up on an upside down carnival ride together and I almost hurled through the entire occurrence. In fairness, your Daddy DID ask me if I thought it would be okay for him to take you on the ride. They had been loading people at the time and it looked like it was moving slowly and UPRIGHT and I was busy trying to put your shoes on your feet while keeping hold of your wiggly body, so I said “SURE!” You guys were in line and loaded onto the ride before I knew it. And then it started.

The ride basically was like taking a full bucket of water and twirling it around so fast that there is no chance of the water being able to fall out of the bucket, but you can’t convince your mind of that – it was that fast and UPSIDE DOWN! I felt weak and sick as I saw your excited little face rush past me every 1.5 seconds.

I just knew I was going to witness my son being rocketed off into space and coming to a horrible bloody end against the side of some other monster ride. I was disturbed and shaken and ready to die when you climbed off the ride very excited and happy and saying “I have FUN! Dat was FUN! COME ON, MOMMY! Go AGAIN!”

You thought it was a giant robot ride which made it even better in your mind.

I was so out of it that I went on it with you vaguely thinking (‘I don’t want him to know how terrifying this death trap is or how horribly close he came to death so I’ll play this off as non-challant as possible). What actually happened, though, is I ended up clutching you the entire time with my eyes closed, screaming and hoping with all my might that we would simply survive the experience.

Now I’m scared that you may not have the right mix of fear or self preservation that you should have when it comes to certain things like insanely scary rides that make my heart want to explode.

I know that there’s got to be a happy middle ground somewhere between Scared-Of-One’s-Own-Shadow and thinking One-Is-Invincible and I fear that you may be walking too close to the line of invincible now for me to be comfortable.

After that, you wanted to go on one of the big kid swing rides where the swings swing out really wide and high up and I figured if you could go upside down, this would be an easy one for you, so we let you go on it. TWICE. You were so small on that ride surrounded by other children much bigger than you and some freaking out while you smiled and twisted around to see the ride from all directions.

We only got you to leave by telling you that carnivals are all about taking turns and it was someone else’s turn to go on the scary death ride. (okay – so I only called it that IN MY MIND).

We did play a fish game and ended up going home with a fish that you have named “Orange”. Guess what color he is?

You and Mr. Orange survived the carnival in all your glory and you can’t wait to go again!



Sunday, June 15, 2008

Couldn't Put it Better Myself


Sometimes other people put things in words that are so perfect, there is no way to improve, so here is a poem about what makes a good father:

"IF" For Dads
If you make time
to show a child
a wonder,
large or small,
If you believe
that family
is the greatest gift
of all....
If you can set aside
your needs
to put a child's first,
If you feel so much love
at times,
you think your heart
could burst,
If you accept
that parenting
is tougher than it looks,
And know that all
life's answers
aren't the kind
you find in books,
If you keep right on caring,
both in good times
and in bad,
You're more
than just a father -
you're a very
special dad.
Happy Father's Day, Clay/Daddy! We are the luckiest people we know!
Mommy (and Jack)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Silver Lining


You often hear as a parent talking and sharing with other parents - the frustrations and challenges that come with the territory. As kids grow and develop, their need to be their own person grows, too, and they become frustrated when they feel you holding them too close, or frustrated with their own slowly developing abilities to meet their own needs.

Growing up is frustrating for little ones.

It's lately that I've been noticing through these challenging moments a beautiful and pleasing silver lining. The silver lining being a glimpse at the wonderful adult you will become.


When you get frustrated with me because we can't go to the Rocket Ship park and eat a snowcone because we have to go home and eat dinner and let the dogs out, you might say: "I maaaaad at you, Mommy! I talk baaaaaad to you!"

The silver lining that I see so clearly shining through is that you recognize that you are talking "not nice" to Mommy and you know that this is not okay.

Seem small? Well, it's not. It means that you know what good behavior is and your frustration is causing you to act out, but you recognize it and that's amazing!

Another example:

When I make a mistake, you point it out to me. "Mommy! You wrong! You WRONG, Mommy!" with a big smile.

I get the opportunity to demonstrate grace and smile as I admit that "Yes, Mommy was wrong! :)" and show that it's okay to make mistakes.

I can see this coming through because you will now declare when you notice that you got something incorrect "I was wrong, Mommy!" and you will smile. I am so happy about this!

We all struggle with the ability to recognize and accept that we are wrong. We make mistakes and we will continue to make mistakes. Being able to recognize it and admit to it makes it easier to grow as a person. I have found in my own life that it's hard to admit mistakes and failures, but the growth that I'm most proud of as a person is growth that I've earned. Growth that comes right from mistakes and life lessons. It's very rewarding when I see you all poised to deal with this.

When I get upset with you, you tell me "don't be fwustwated wiff me, Mommy!" and sometimes will even wag a finger in a knowing way and lecture me that "Dis is your warning, Mommy" like I do with you when you are walking the path to time out. This gives me a unique look at what it's like to be on your end of the spectrum and, when I hear myself coming from you, I can evaluate my parenting techniques and tweak them as needed so I can raise you to be a good person who knows his own value because he's been shown it.

I guess what I'm learning lately is that you can learn a lot from back-talk and the daily battles of youth and growing independence and it can actually look a lot like a silver lining if you tilt your head a little and change your perspective.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

...The Darndest Things...


You know that phrase "Kids say the Darndest Things?" Well..... :)
Jack: "Mommy! Your tummy is wrinkled!"
"Mommy - there's hair on your back."

Feeling a little bit like BigFoot right about now...

"Don't be fwustwated wiff me, Mommy - BE HAPPY!"
This next one, picture it's three AM and you are tired of listening to yelling coming from the opposite room...

"Jack! Stop this right now! It's not wake up time and I can't sleep with you yelling. Now STOP!"


Then, out of the darkness:

"Now can I, Mommy?"

Or comments like this made under little breath after being corrected....:

".... I rip you, Mommy...."


********Another big thing is "Later" which I am fully embracing. If I say "no" to something, after arguing to the point where you have been able to deduce that you aren't going to be able to get what you want this time, you will declare "We do it LATER" with a conviction and finality that allows you to accept that it won't happen NOW and then you head off about your business.
Part of me worries that an avalanche of "Laters" will be my final cause of death if they all come to fruition at once.