Sunday in Paris

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No offense to you curling fans out there, but I find it very amusing to be in a hotel room in Paris watching the sport in German on TV while keeping my sick son company as my husband and other 2 sons venture out to a nice dinner. Aside from snacking on the amazing baguettes we picked up earlier, I plan to order the Japanese dinner from room service. And finish the bottle of wine Andrew & I started late this afternoon after my solo field trip to Marais. What an adventure.

This morning, I hung back with the sick one when the rest of the guys visited Versailles. They loved it. And afterward, I took them to find a pharmacy & to a really nice (and very French/not touristy) lunch.

Now, I’ll look for a pay-per-view movie to watch with the kid – assuming I can bring myself to switch the channel from the curling.

Life’s a beach.

Wendy & Amy Sanibel 1978
Today is my sister’s birthday. Yay!

My mom took this photo of us in 1978 in Sanibel, Florida. Years later, my sister (who is a photographer!) did something to it to make it look like this. She sent me a framed copy. These days, we see stuff like this all the time via Instagram, etc. But when she did this, it was really different. And awesome. I’ve had it on display ever since.

I love you, Amy. Happy Birthday.

xo

Take me out to the ballgame.

Camden Yards - Season 1
1992. First season of the Orioles playing at Camden Yards. And there we were, young (ish) and dating. I worked for an ad agency that just happened to have great corporate seats. And, evidently, I had weird Flashdance clothes.

As another year ends, I wistfully think about all the years Andrew and I have been together. So much has happened in 20+ years. The jobs. The moves. The babies. And of course, since the babies started coming in 1995, they’ve been our top priority. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work. I love where we are, but it’s easy to miss the cute little boys when I come across their early elementary school journals with daily (and incredibly cute) entries.

For example, here are 2 of the boys’ entries for October 24, 2005

{second grader} The Great Wolf Lodge was great! There was a arcade, a water park a wave pool, a splash pad and a water rock clime. When you got to the top of the rock clime it squirted out water. I almost finished Harry Potter 5. It is really good. (wgs note: really? He was a great reader but I really let him read that in second grade? oops. He seems okay, so maybe it wasn’t that big a deal. Remind me to ask him if he had nightmares from it.)

{third grader} This is what I did on the day off. I went to see my dad make a speech at the University of Maryland. After that, I went to Willamsburg, Virginia. It was a lot of fun! (wgs note: yes, he spelled a lot correctly! My boy!) The hotel had an indoor waterpark! It also had an arcade, a breakfast buffet and a hotel door decorating contest! The hotel was the size of a four story high mansion! That is what I did this weekend. (Okay, fine, he likes exclamation marks. I think it’s cute.)

{fifth grader didn’t have a journal that year. bet he’s happy about that right now.}

So what have we learned here? We have learned that I stop and read every piece of paper, every notebook, every everything when I clean my office. And, we’ve learned that I am way more sentimental than I often admit.

My boys are all in high school. AND they all spell and use punctuation pretty well. It’s so different being a mom of teenagers. So different. You – out there – yes, you with the little kids. It’s awesome; don’t be scared. But save all the reminders. You’ll be glad for it.

Like I am today.

Random thoughts on a snowy Christmas Eve afternoon.

I am having the best day.

The. Best. Day.

Let me recap for you. I slept late for a weekday. Until about 7:30. Andrew had (as usual) set the coffee to brew first thing. My first cup was extra good.

I was at the gym by 8:30 for a training session and worked really hard. I got a little sweaty, the music was good, and the hour flew by.

I started baking when I got home. Worked a little, baked a lot. Oh, and I made applesauce.

Sometime in the middle, I ran out to pick up my guys. They’d spent the long weekend at a convention. It seemed like they’d been gone so long and it was nice to see them. Though I didn’t hear about every detail, they told me some funny and interesting stories. And I heard about the community service project they’d participated in that included cleaning up a park in Southeast DC. Love that – except that they found lots of hypodermic needles. And no, they did not touch them. Yikes.

needle

Okay back to this most wonderful day.

Andrew is reading. Two boys are playing a Playstation game. The third is playing a computer game.

And I am sitting in my bed, with my iPad, iPhone, and laptop. I’m watching the snow fall in the woods outside my window. I’m watching Pawn Stars. And I’m blogging.

So about the television. I don’t think the tv in my bedroom has been turned on in over a year. The last time I remember is after my surgery in March 2011. And, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure how to turn it on. Good news is that it was easier than the one in our living room. That one is a total puzzler.

Andrew just came in. He had been looking for me, though it took him a long, long time to realize I wasn’t in the room with him. Hehe. He decided to sit down and join me. There goes the peaceful solitude.

But of course, it’s always nice to hang out with him, too.

1+1+1=3

Before I was a mother, it never occurred to me that I could have three sons that were so different. Truth be told, it never occurred to me that I could have three sons. But that’s not the point.

My guys. Each is pretty terrific, but boy, oh, boy, are they different from each other.

Sure, there are similarities. And yes, they have lots and lots and lots of traits that we call “Goldman” or “Scherer.” It’s funny to see my father’s mannerisms in my boys. Or my father-in-law’s. Because I promised them I wouldn’t embarrass them TOO much, I won’t go into too much detail here, but suffice it to say that the apples do not fall that far from the trees.

So here I am. With three big boys.

For those of you with little kids, let me tell you a few things that may frighten or surprise you.

  1. I hear the voices of men and then realize it’s my kids. Freaky.
  2. They still sometimes need me in the middle of the night. Case in point – huge nose bleed at 2am yesterday.
  3. It’s harder to kiss and hug a 6 foot, 150 pound kid than a preschooler. Sometimes, I end up kissing a neck or something and it’s weird.
  4. Huge kids still need to cuddle when their sick. They just make you a lot hotter and squishier.
  5. Even big kids thrive on a schedule and clear expectations.
  6. They eat a lot at this size. A lot.
  7. Dinner is never boring.
  8. They read and learn things that they can share with us. It’s fascinating and wonderful.
  9. When you lecture them, there’s a window of attention. Exceed it and you get the glaze. You know the glaze, right?
  10. With three, there’s always an odd man out. In our case, it shifts.. so it’s always a surprise.

I was with some young kids the other day and I got the twinge. You know the one. The I wish. The I remember. The wasn’t it special? 

But I wouldn’t go back.

No way.

So this summer? Overnight camp for two in the mountains. Leadership camp for one in Wisconsin. Driving lessons for another. College visits and essays and portfolios to review.

Keeps me on my toes.

I may have said this recently, but it’s worth repeating.

I love my life.

Our fathers. Before they were fathers.

My dad. 1959?
My father-in-law. 1945?

These men are the fabulous and handsome grandfathers in my children’s lives. Before they were grandfathers. Even before they were fathers.

I can’t help but wonder if they ever thought about what it’d be like all these years later.

I hope they know that we’re grateful for them and love them very, very much.

xo

So long. Farewell.

This was a big day for me. A big emotional day.

I don’t know why I’m weepy. Really, I don’t. Surely it’s not because of the sappy 8th grade slide show which ran for THIRTY SEVEN MINUTES and yes, I did time it.

This was my third 8th Grade Farewell. The first one was emotional, I admit. (Though the long slide show was not my thing then, either.) The second one? Our kid was in Jazz Band and they were rocking. Big time. So that was fun. But the slide show? Still way too long and sappy for my taste.

So tonight. Tonight, our next kid was in Jazz Band and they were rocking. (Sense a theme here?) And yes, the slide show was way too long and sappy for me. But this year was different.

First of all, this kid was the Bandmaster. He stood confidently and led the Jazz Band with Isabelle. They were incredible. I was kvelling. And then, he played his tenor sax and I was blown away. Not just because I’m him mom, but because I could hear the growth in his music. He stood there tall and proud. With his Fedora and his green shirt and yellow tie and he was just…

Big. Mature. Serious. Funny. Charming.

But me being proud of my baby is not the point of this post. So what is?

I’m a little emotional (okay, a lot but don’t judge me).

These sorts of milestones make me look back. To take stock. to remember. I know it’s super corny, but it seems like just yesterday that I’d take my 3 little boys to Target at 6:00 am so that Andrew could sleep in on Saturday after a long week of work (he’d do the same for me on Sunday). I’d get that cart with the 2 red seats attached to the cart for my toddler and preschooler and the seat in the cart for the baby and I’d walk up and down every – single – aisle – in Target. We walked through the shoes department. The women’s clothing. The workout clothes. The detergents. The toys. The hardware. Sheets. Appliances.

SLOWLY. Because, you know, I didn’t want to go home for at least 2 hours. That’s a long time in Target when there’s really nothing on the list except killing time.

And it was worth it. Because as I cruised the housewares, I daydreamed of the next morning. The morning when I got to sleep in the quiet, empty house and Andrew got to figure out how to occupy the 3 boys under 4 for a couple hours.

Ahhhh. Sleep. So delicious. The unattainable. Tomorrow. If I could just wait until tomorrow.

But now, as I look back with my boys at 17, 15, and 13, I just want to say one thing:

It was totally worth the lost sleep.

I’m grateful that I remember every minute of the road to now. And I’m grateful for such happy and loving sons.

I’m not saying there’s no fighting or (ahem) issues over here. But we have a pretty amazingly, awesome life. And I wouldn’t trade anything for my guys. They are the joy of Andrew’s and my life.

Though it’s emotional that they’ll all be in high school next year and that I can see the future where they’ll all be gone, I’m a happy and proud mom.

Just let me cry a little bit and I’ll be okay.

Something to remember me by.


Several years ago (and I have blocked out how many years ago it was), my dad was sick. He had cancer. Hodgkins.

We lived 1200 miles away and it was hard. Very hard. I hated knowing I wasn’t there to support him through chemo. I talked to my mom most days. And I knew he was getting through with a great attitude. But it wasn’t like being there. Not at all.

When I came east to see him, I was truly surprised by how rough it was on him. He is the toughest guy I know. Not kidding. But even he was getting beaten down.

Not that he’d let on.

So on one of the visits, he gave me some cash. He asked that I buy something to remember him by. In case.

In case.

Deep breath.

He said he’d have preferred to have gotten me something but he didn’t have the energy.

So when I saw these three delicate bands – complete with engraving and lovely details – I bought them. With the cash. And I wore them on my right hand as a reminder.

My dad recovered fully. I know! How lucky were we? But since then, he’s had another run-in with cancer and triple bypass surgery. But he’s doing great and is living life with a great attitude.

As always.

I don’t wear these rings every day anymore. But I do wear them. And when I do, I take a deep breath and feel great appreciation for having my father around.

We’ve lived close by since 1999. August. And I’m thankful for the time I get to spend with my parents. And my in-laws. And the rest of my family. Because you know what? Nothing matters more.

Nothing.

So today, when I put on the set of rings, I realized how grateful I am. Because you know what? It’s so easy to forget. So easy to get caught up in the daily grind. So easy to get busy. So easy to lose track.

But nothing matters more to me than my family.

I couldn’t be more thrilled that I didn’t need those rings to remember my father by for all these years because I get to see him all the time. And he’s healthy. But they’ll always be a reminder of how fragile life is.