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Birthday Candles by J.G. McGlothern April 30, 2009

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Candles fill my home, if I won the lottery, there would be more.  Nothing brings more comfort on a winter night then a home filled with light and a sweet, waxy aroma. When friends call with bad news, I light the candle on my windowsill and send good wishes out into the universe, in their direction.

On this day 15 years ago my grandma died. I remember visiting her the night before in her nursing home.  She had been in a comma for awhile and I whispered to her that it was okay to go. Grandpa’s birthday was the next day and I mentioned it would be great if she could tell him in person “happy birthday” from all of us. 

Instead of going home that night, I stayed at my mom’s house. When I awoke the next morning I found a lit candle on the kitchen table. I knew. My mom greeted me with a silent hug. “When did she go?” I asked. “This morning at 5,” my mother told me. “In time for grandpa’s birthday,” we both said at the same time.

Today I lit a candle for a troubled friend in Austria, a sad cousin in Germany and that’s when I remembered it was the 30th of April, grandpa’s birthday, the anniversary of grandma’s death. So I will light another one for the sun shining outside, my husband coming home, that silly swine flu freak-out everyone is talking about and then maybe I’ll bake cookies and put a birthday candle in one and blow it out for the hell of it.  Just because.

 

To Multi-Task Or Not…That Is My Question by J.G. McGlothern April 29, 2009

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When my husband offers to make me a cup of tea, he simultaneously asks if he should just leave it on the windowsill. Our little joke stems from me regularly doing more than one thing at once and daily leaving cold cups of half drunk tea all around the house. I chide him for not being able to have a conversation with me while he washes the dishes. When it comes to multi-tasking it has already been scientifically proven that women do this more successfully than men. All though it drives me totally nuts when my husband can’t do more than one thing at a time – it does mean he’s very focused on the one thing he is doing.

A few weeks ago I took the challenge of my women’s faith sharing group to give up multi-tasking for one day. We had to really be in tune to that one task, be it a phone conversation, making a meal, dealing with an unruly child. I set out on a Wednesday to make a conscious effort to do one thing at a time and not think about the next thing I needed to do. Oui vey! My four year old son and his buddy kept needing a drink or a snack, a toy to be fixed or found, this or that. But I diligently went back to the task at hand after each interruption. I wrote in my journal, washed the dishes, sent an email, all while trying to think of nothing else but what I was doing that moment. Fully immersed for the few minutes I was doing that task before…”MOM!!”

Later in the day-moving in and out of each task, remembering to just do one thing at a time, I had to take a pee. In the bathroom I lifted the lid, noticing my son’s toothbrush out on the shelf above the toilet and not put away in the cupboard. I reached for the toothbrush to put it away simultaneously thinking, “one thing at a time” and “just this one multi-tasking thing won’t hurt.” That’s when the toothbrush went flying into the air and SPLASH into the toilet. Yep, no cold cup of tea on the windowsill that day, just a floating toothbrush.

Mothers multi-task out of necessity. It is an inborn skill to be able to butter the toast, answer the phone, wipe a runny nose. Then I have that thought, along with all the other thoughts, “what am I teaching my children?” Am I once again not setting the best example? All valid thoughts to consider, but this post would not have been written if it weren’t for my multi-tasking ability. For at the same time I wrote this, I made dinner, cut veggies for a snack, washed the dog, answered the phone, and most importantly paid homage to Mr. Walt Disney for making this all possible.

 

Sex Talk by J.G. McGlothern April 27, 2009

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Last week my daughter came home from first grade announcing, “___, just told me what sex is!”  My heart dropped to my toes, I wanted to scream…”WTF?”  She’s only seven.  As the story unfolded her classmate told her that “sex is when two people lie on top of each other either naked or wearing a bikini, and kiss.”  Heart left the toes, but only made it back up to my knees.  So on Saturday we had “the talk”.  It lasted 45 seconds (yes many jokes can be made from that).  My daughter responded like only a child should, “ EEEWWW….GROSS….that’s just weird…………..have you done that with dad?”  When I asked if she had any other questions she wanted to know what I was making for lunch.

I didn’t expect to have that conversation so soon and I didn’t expect to agree with her, ”Yeah honey, it is weird.”  Keep thinkin’ that girly for another decade or two.  We do everything we can to protect our children and then in a blink of an eye another kid comes along and throws reality into our faces.  Instead of calling the mother or being pissed at the kid I took the opportunity to share my love and knowledge with my child, instead of turning the other cheek like my mom did when the topic came up.  But for now I’ll keep letting her think sex is gross and weird, but on the same hand only done with someone you love.    That must have cleared it all up for her.

 

Relaxing Lesson From My Four Year Old by J.G. McGlothern April 25, 2009

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I have two speeds. On and Off. I so badly want to learn how to operate in neutral, first and second. More than anything I want to learn how to relax. My husband can watch an entire soccer game on T.V. and be in a state of bliss. During that time I can get two loads of laundry done, write a Blog, go grocery shopping and weed the garden all while the children are kept alive. Then I get pissed off and wonder when will I ever get time to relax?
Just yesterday morning my four year old son out of the blue says to me, “Mom, do you know what relax is?” Curious, I urged him to continue. “Relax is when you got to the beach, you sit down and you see the sun.”
Yep, all my efforts at yoga and meditation were just summed up by my four year old. Basically, he took the entire book sitting on my night stand, The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle and gave me the Reader’s Digest version. So right now as you glance away from the computer screen, lean back in your chair and just sit there, what do you see? Can you see the sun?

 

When Did Parenting Become So Public? by J.G. McGlothern April 24, 2009

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Drinking vodka not too long ago with two moms, this topic came up. Of course drinking vodka brought up other topics as well, but we will stick to raising children as being such a public activity. I had never thought of it like that, in those terms, but boy did that statement hit home for me. What is it that makes us so compelled to relate to friends and often strangers the honest truth about what we fed our kids for breakfast and how many times our children poop in a day? Does anyone really care?  You know, sad to say, they do care. They especially care if they need new food ideas to try on their kids or if they need a constipation solution.

I don’t know what comes over me when a parent comes to pick up their child from my house, but I often give the run-down of snacks and minutes if any, in front of the television.  Am I trying to prove that I am a good mom by serving strawberries for a snack and not letting them watch a video? Or am I proving I am a real mom by serving strawberries and Cheetoes and letting them watch an entire movie?

I doubt my mom even asked other parents, “Does Susie have any food allergies”, or “Is it okay if they watch a movie?” (We didn’t even know about food allergies then let alone have even a VCR or colored television.)

I find myself telling strange women at parks about the tricks I use to get my children to go to bed early, eat their vegetables and whether or not my children fight with each other, all without even knowing the woman’s name.

Are we struggling with trusting our own choices, worried we are screwing up our children or just seeking solace that we ARE NOT ALONE?  The neighbors in the movie Cheaper by the Dozen instantly makes a judgment of the Baker family when she sees soft drink cups and cheeseburger wrappers on the dashboard of their car, “OH”, she gasps, “they’re fast food people.”

We feel relieved when we discover the truths about other parents and their families.  “Oh, thank God she too swears like a sailor,” I say every time I discover a new ally in the cussing department.  “YES,” I am not alone I want to shout when I meet another mom who has been sending their kids to bed before 8 PM since day one.  “YES”, she too doesn’t make her kids eat their vegetables, says shit in front of her kids at least once a day (I actually haven’t met you, yet, please confess so I KNOW for
Sure I am not alone), makes her kids brush their teeth after eating candy and come on, I hope you are out there, gives their kids Benadryl on a Saturday afternoon so she can have sex with her husband without the kids waking up.  Anyone with me on this?

See what I mean? What compelled me to go public with that personal truth?

We want to be seen for who we are, how we mother and know we are good, not alone and not ruining anyone for it. 

The Benadryl was just once.  The vodka with girlfriends was not out of the bottle, over dinner, and in between five glasses of water with a double espresso chaser.

 

Priestess With A Pen and Princess Leia by J.G. McGlothern April 20, 2009

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I had the privilege of hearing author, Anne Lamott speak on Friday night and Carrie Fisher perform her one woman show last night. Two women…different voices….both writers…both writing like I intend….from the heart…deep down past the fluff….from where it counts.

I ferociously took notes, breathing in Anne’s advice, wisdom and realness.  I participated in Carrie’s banter with the audience.  I wanted to hang on every word, learn from women who have risked and survived.  For to share your heart is taking a chance and not something everyone wants a part of, but for these two women there was no other way than to speak from the deep part of their souls.

Both women are funnier than Hell and alcoholics. Suffering their own personal Hell and rising above it all with humor, grace, and integrity.

My voice is different from theirs but my prayer is to reach even  one person…make them laugh or shed a tear or two…guiding them to live from the deepest part of their soul.

 

 

Happy Birthday Dad by J.G. McGlothern April 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — heartwriter @ 9:16 pm
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My dad would have been 82 tomorrow. When he died nearly seven years ago I had no idea how much a part of my life he would become.  My entire life and most of his, dad fought depression. His mental illness was diagnosed so many different ways in the end I think we just labeled him as “chronically not a happy man.”  But to me, the youngest of four, he will always be “chronically my dad” not in need of changing. I didn’t feel that way when I was younger. I spent my entire youth trying to change him and feeling responsible when he didn’t.  It’s kind of a relief now in life to know, he was who he was and he is who he is.  My dad.

Dad, or the feeling of dad, I should say, shows up when I do the dishes, walk the dog, scream at the children, watch the rain fall outside.  Today he showed up while I was pushing Simon and his friend Andrew on the swings.  I desperately wanted to get inside and write my blog but they were having so much fun and simply wanted to swing higher than their little four year old legs could take them.  So I pushed. Breathed. And pushed some more.  Dad loved being outside.  He loved the air, the green grass, pinecones, the smell of the earth.  So on this day I will enjoy the cool air and clear skies because tomorrow it may rain. And if it does I will enjoy that too. Dad would want me to.