Thursday, May 21, 2015

3 a.m.. Really?

I've been waking up at 3 a.m. again. 

This morning it was because I fell asleep with my makeup on. 

I proceeded to feel anxious about everything. 

The good news this time, as opposed to years past, is that I quickly realized there were some things I was NOT feeling anxious about. 

So naturally I HAD to wake up Frank an hour or so later and force him to celebrate the list with me!

These are the things about which I am currently no longer anxious:

1. Paying for the kids' college (this deserves a hallelujah)
2. Texas' crazy-high property taxes
3. My relationship with my dad
4. Living in limbo and away from all 3 kids
5. The kids' future careers (okay, this one is partially true. I'm still a bit concerned about Nicole's!)
6. Making choices that lead me away from a strong family foundation in the future

I'm sure there are more, but those are the biggies. The things that would not only wake me at 3am but would sometimes put me in a catatonic state, especially during contract renewal time. 

Now for the list of things that ARE waking me up at 3 a.m.:

1. Screwing up my children by putting unbeknownst pressure, guilt, or anxiety on them because we left Texas and their childhood friends.

2. Not having enough fun at work

3. Not having a circle of couples friends or couples' activities or couples' volunteer/charity work--and therefore not having enough fun with my husband

My husband, Frank. Isn't he cute?!
Again, there are others, but I must keep some fears private.

Those are the biggies. 

I know I'm not alone in these worries, considering our sitcom BFF's on King of Queens, have entire episodes devoted to two of these three issues.

Our closest "couple friends" these days, Doug & Carrie

So here is what I will embrace today, or at least for the next 11 minutes while I finish my Stairmaster routine:

If love is a series of choices--and if I can just make my next choice out of love for my family, God, and therefore myself--I know I am walking in the Light. 

And I know that Light will keep shining on me and every anxiety lurking in the darkness, pointing the way to a bright and beautiful future.

And you must know, too, that joy will come in the morning.

No matter what time you wake up.

Friday, May 8, 2015

You did NOT Just Call Me That!

A few years ago the beloved captain of my daughter's basketball team called me a cool mom.

Ugh! Cool mom?

All I could picture was her.

Who can forget Amy Poehler's character passing out alcohol and condoms to her teen daughter's girlfriends, desperate to be liked.

I was mortified and offended.

My daughter thought it was hilarious.

It didn't spark a whole lot of soul-searching on my part, primarily because the thought has NEVER been on my radar. If anything, my family scoffs at my UNcoolness!

But in a quest for self-awareness, I had to at least think things through.

Yes, I am on the younger side when it comes to moms with kids in college.
I do love to laugh, go to concerts, and dance and sing like a fool when I get there.
And I do like my pop music loud.
Chicago airport antics

Dang. Does that make me a cool mom?

And why does it bother me so in the first place?

I guess I simply loathe how that label insinuates one is *trying* to be cool.  As though she could care less how her kids turn out, as long as they're all BFF's.

Listen, I may love hanging out with John, Nicole, and Luke, but I can be one tough cookie when it comes to things that REALLY matter, like working hard, being kind, having a positive attitude, believing in God who deeply loves us and commands us to love others. They still verbally flog me for making them take music lessons. And I'm a grammar nazi to boot!

John's high school graduation. Best speech ever!

I prefer to think I'm just a grown-up girl who has been INTENTIONAL about having a better mother-child relationship than the one I had.

My sweet mother's already passed away, but I think she'd be okay if I told you she was quite shy and that we didn't have too much in common when I was in high school.

I preferred to spend every spare second with my crazy friends and THEIR families.

So does it make me a cool mom to crave the opposite?

I don't think so.

I do know this: my number one goal is to raise caring human beings who know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, they are deeply loved.

I think that makes me a GOOD mom.

And you know what?

I think that's pretty cool.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Extraordinary Ordinary

We converged in Little Rock at my oldest son John's apartment. (Mind you, it's a one bedroom loft with a queen bed and a sectional couch.)
"You guys staying in a hotel, Nicole?"

"Heck no," she replied to her coaches & friends. "That's part of the fun!"

Limbs were everywhere. Copper came too.

Two days with these characters was as fun as some fancy schmancy European vacation, with John as the consummate tour guide and host. I am so proud of him. He was offered a gig with the top team in his firm on Friday. Way to go, Johnny!!! He broke the news during a 1 a.m. laundry folding session.

On Saturday morning John got us donuts--so we went straight to LA fitness to burn them off and lift.

This is how they have fun. Love how Nicole's always been a tomboy.

Everywhere we go people stare at our traveling forest.
We walked the world's largest pedestrian bridge together on an absolutely glorious day. We finally got some sun on our albino-white skin, stocked John's fridge and pantry, then proceeded it to eat it all while watching the Derby and Clippers-Spurs game.

Little Rock, Arkansas
Sunday we went to mass, followed by a Marshall's shopping spree, topped off by a good ole fashioned Texas Roadhouse last supper. 
And yes, a couple of us cried when it was time to say to say goodbye.
(Dad made sure of it by making us all watch "The Goldbergs." He swears I am just like the overly encouraging Beverly. I consider it a compliment.)

Luke and Nicole took off for Dallas during a RARE few weeks off of basketball. Dad, Copper, and I are now heading back to Nashville.

I appreciate this family time more than most people who read this will ever know. When you have kids young, your children become more than precious little people to care for; if you're lucky, they become some of your best friends. And they are each other's best friends too--positive influences on one other, playmates, and each other's biggest cheerleaders (although they would never say it that way).

So on this weekend before Mother's Day, I am reminded why some sacrifices are totally worth it.

And I can't wait till our next completely ordinary, extraordinary adventure together.

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