Thursday, December 19, 2013

Candy Houses 2013

We were lucky enough to be invited back to the Candy House party at the Gee's.  Last year we had quite an evening of sugar and spice and everything nice.  This year the girls were both more prepared and more distracted.  You see, there was a promised surprise midway through the evening that put everyone on a shorter time table for construction and design.

So some of the designs suffered a bit...

Others did not.

The usual suspects were there with a few new faces.

We really destroy John's house in the process of creating these houses.  The floor is covered in sugar and ground up candy with the occasional sticky gummy bear residue.  Most of the time I can tamp down the overwhelming need to start sweeping up and just enjoy the festivities.  (It is really very good immersion therapy for me.)

Daddy and daughter building together.  One oreo for the house, one for oreo for the house, one for me...

I like the modern design of this house.  Although I worry that the roof will collect water if it rains.

Here is the candy house development.  Obviously we need to work on the neighborhood covenants for next year.

Some of the property values will suffer because of the poor choices next door.

But do they look like they really care?  Nope.

The big surprise was a limo ride to look at Christmas lights.

Everyone had a great time, except Lucy.  She didn't like the loud noises or the bright flashing lights or the loud music.  So we asked if we could sit up front with the driver.  After that, she was extremely pleased.  It was quiet and calm and all was right with her world.  She perked right up and talked the driver's ears off.

Thanks John for another memorable evening!

Friday, December 13, 2013


What would you do?
I'm really asking here.  What would you do if you witnessed disgusting behavior from an adult?

Today I went to watch the four and five year old kids sing at a senior living center.  I witnessed reprehensible behavior, not from our students, but from parents.  There were two particular mothers who stood, not around the perimeter of the room, so that the seniors could see the children.  They stood in the center of the room blocking two different tables of seniors with limited mobility so that they could get the best possible photos of their children.  WE WERE NOT THE AUDIENCE!  The senior citizens were the audience.  But it didn't occur to these two women.  They had to be close enough to see their kids, no matter the cost to the little people.

Then during a ballad these two mothers burst out in laughter and started pointing at a woman who was obviously altered.  She was asleep sitting up and the sleeping position was unflattering.  Her mouth was open and it was not her best and most flattering look.  One woman began to take pictures using her flash.  She made it look like she was taking photos of the kids but from my vantage point, I could see that she was taking photos that included this woman.  Never mind that the flash was going off in this poor woman's face each time.  It made my stomach boil.

I tried to refocus on the reason I was there.  Lucy was watching me and I tried to focus on her.  This woman was directly in my line of sight and each time I tried to take a picture of my girl, she was leaning in to take a picture of her son and was in my shot because she was in the middle of the room.

Later as we were assembling the kids to leave, I watched from nearby while she assembled a photo collage.  In the photo collage were Mayo kids, clearly identified by their patches, a close up of her son, and a photo that clearly shows the woman with her mouth agape that she could have easily cropped out but instead zoomed in on.  She saved it into a square format and I can't be 100% sure if she was saving it or uploading it but I saw the circle going round of the photo rendering in someway.  It was either being uploaded or saved for future use.  (why on earth would you collage and edit if you weren't going to post)  I don't know on the type of phone she was on what the icons mean but it sure looked like she was uploading. 

I hate myself for not taking her phone away from her.  I will never forgive myself.  I thought through what that would look like with all the children around us and what an impression that would make inside the nursing home.  Another mom approached the two mothers and the one who did not take the pictures said "Show her that picture of that lady!"  And then they all three had a good laugh.  At that point I walked out with tears in my eyes and waited.  I waited by the door for her to exit but she must have gone out a different door, because she never came out.  I waited for 15 minutes and then went back inside and she was gone.

I drove to the school and told the principal.  The district is looking into how they can handle this.  What, if any, recourse they have against a parent with no moral compass and poor judgement who has made the school look bad.

I personally want to humiliate her by naming her publicly.  I want her to be ostracized by the community at large.  I want her and her friend who laughed at the defenseless woman to be so ashamed that they decide to leave Mayo. 

I carry my own shame for not stopping her and I will have to live with that.  May she live a long life at the end of which she finds herself in a center, defenseless, wishing for the respect that she did not give this woman today.  Karma is a bitch.

What would you do if you were me?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Eleven Years Ago

Dear Emma Jane,
As you sleep in your bed on the last night you will be ten years old, I am restless thinking back to the long night we spent bringing you into the world.  And since the calendar repeats itself every eleven years, this Thanksgiving weekend has been spent reliving each day that led up to your birth.  From the ridiculous black Friday shopping, to the tree trimming and wrapping marathon, and ending with the cleaning frenzy of Sunday, I have been thinking back to the days of the weekend before you were born. 

You were not due for four more weeks, so I could not know that you were coming so early.  But my body somehow knew you were imminent.  The classic nesting signs that are now part of the family lore were just me being OCD that weekend.  How convenient that I got the tree up and decorated, presents purchased, wrapped and under the tree, the entire house cleaned, and a grocery store trip that involved me purchasing a deli tray for 20 people, all before my water broke on Sunday evening.

Just as everyone was returning to their hometown after the Thanksgiving weekend, they started to get the phone calls, Emily is having a baby tonight...well tomorrow anyway.  I was in denial all the way up until they told me I wasn't going to be back home in time to watch Bobby Donnel in The Practice.  "What?"  I said, "Why?"   The nurse just looked at me and said "You are having a baby."

It was a tough night.  I am not going to lie.  You were a difficult child to birth.  A breeze to raise to eleven, but a tough one to gestate and birth.  But you were finally born at 10:19 a.m. on Monday, December 2, 2002.  There are a lot of things I don't remember about that morning and I blame the stadol for that.  But I do remember the look on your dad's face when he saw you.  I couldn't see you, but I could see him.  The best word I can use to describe it is awestruck.  He was in awe of you.  Then suddenly, we both were.

As I sit next to the Christmas tree decorated with ornaments you and your sister have made over the years, I can't imagine not being your mom.  You have changed me.  You have made me into the person I am today.  You see, before you, I was...selfish.  And kind of a boy, really.  I had no maternal instincts.  None.  I had no desire to ever be a mom, or do mom things.  I was a scientist!  And I was really pretty happy doing non-mom things.  I was 32 when you were born.  All my friends had children and that was fine for them, but I had things to do!  I had boats to race and rocks to climb and miles to run!  I knew that I should feel something when people would hand me a baby, but I never did.  I never felt that yearning to start a family...or bake...or sew. 

You must find this odd to learn that your mother who bakes and sews and crafts all the time, didn't learn to do any of this until you came along.  When you were born a hormone was released that caused me to become domestic and crafty and maternal...I turned into a girl.

Thank you for changing my life.  Thank you for giving me focus and meaning and joy.  I love every part of being your mom.  Watching you grow and mature these last eleven years has been the best time of my life.  I am so lucky to have been here for it.  I can't wait to see what the next eleven holds.

Your father and I could not be more proud of you.  You are loved to the moon and back.  For the sister that you are to Lucy, for the daughter you are to us, for the person you are when we aren't watching, and even for the times when you feel you've let us down, you are loved unconditionally.

Go back and read the letter I wrote you this past March. It says everything I want to say today.  Because as I have been typing, the day has now changed over to your birthday. 

Happy Birthday Emma Jane