Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I love watching my kids as they get older. I am constantly discovering more about their personalities. They are polar opposites. Bunny is calm and cautious. Lion is wild and reckless.

Bunny will study the situation. It is almost as if you can see the wheels turning inside her head. She weighs her options and decides on the best course. Lion pretty much just jumps first and asks questions later. Let's just say that it's a good thing he likes band aids.

Bunny has just blossomed in junior kindergarten. She loves school and being with her friends. We pick her up from school at 11 am and *if* it's nice out we stay and play on the playground. (I say *if* because it feels like it will never be nice again).

On the playground their are three high bars. It is the cool thing to flip yourself up on to the bar and sit on top. In order to do so, you have to reach above your head, pull your legs up and lift your body to a seated position. It's not the easiest thing to do.

Bunny's best friends could do it so she had to. I loved watching her figure out how to do it. She tried and tried. At first she could get one leg up, but not two. Then she got both up but couldn't pull herself up.

She tried for about a week to do it. And when I say tried, I mean she didn't do anything else on the playground. Her persistence paid off and she was finally able to sit atop the bar, like a queen surveying her domain. Every morning before school and after she would climb that bar and sit.

After a few weeks she grew tired of this and decided she wanted to learn the monkey bars. She couldn't quite figure out how to do it. She could hold onto the first bar and hang. She could swing her legs but she couldn't make it to the next bar.

She wanted my help but you really can't teach monkey bars (especially when your feet touch the ground). The one thing I made her do is practice dropping. I knew she needed the comfort of knowing that she could land on her feet if she fell. I would also hold her waist as she went across but she still couldn't do it on her own. But she kept practicing.

Then we took her friend M to the park with us. M is a lot like Lion, daring and fearless. The first thing M did at the park was swing across the monkey bars and back. Bunny just stared. She watched everything M did and then she tried to copy her.

Bunny let go of the bar for the first time and reached for the next one. She didn't make it but she kept doing it over and over again. I watched her from a distance as I pushed Lion on the swings. Bunny was determined. If M could do it, so could she. After all she was older than M. So again and again she tried.

And finally she did it. She made it halfway across the bars on her own. I was so happy for her. I thought I would burst into tears on the spot. My little girl had made up her mind to learn something and she did it.

I have no doubt that she can do anything she sets her determined little mind to.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Three Little Words

I still remember the first time I said those words to him. I was nervous. I thought I knew what his reaction would be but I could not be sure. But I had to say it. I felt it so deeply, I thought I would burst if I did not say those words out loud.

We were sitting on the couch in his apartment. I couldn't look at him. I just blurted it out. "I love you". My first instinct was to run away. But I didn't. I stayed to hear his response, "I love you too".

It at that moment that the life we have began. It was built on those three little words. Our love grew and our life did too.

Life began to get complicated, as life always does. There was happiness and joy. But it was tempered with pain and struggle. The struggle of building our family, the realities of being parents, the house, work, life, all of this changed us. We were no longer the boy and the girl on the couch. We had to work to find out who we were and who we wanted to be.

There were times when the words were not said out loud. There was always something else that got in the way. Kids, work, life weighed heavily on our shoulders. We each went to our separate corners to decompress. Or we would wearily tumble into bed, sleep coming as our heads hit the pillow. Another opportunity missed to say the words that mean so much.

There were other times that the words were said in such a way that they lost their meaning. Love You became synonymous with Bye or Have a Good Day. The words were thrown out as he is rushing off to work and I am wrangling the kids. "Love You" I say, my hand fluttering a good bye wave barely conscious of his exit as I try and impress on a two year old the importance of wearing pants or something. Another opportunity missed to mean the words that mean so much.

Those words do mean something now just as they did then. I need to think back to that ugly couch in that rundown apartment. I need to remember how he made me feel, how he still makes me feel. He is the one I have chosen. We have built a life together based on those three words. I love the life we have, the family we have created. I loved him then. I love him now.

Those words need to be said. Those words need to be meant. With a touch on the face, a look in to his eyes, I need to say "I love you". Then there is no mistake, he will know how I feel.

And so I say to him today, just as I did 13 years ago in front of God, our family and friends, "I love you. I love you. I love you."

Monday, May 16, 2011


What would you do if you had 24 hours away from your children?

The following is a chronicle of the 100% child-free hours between 1:00 p.m. Saturday May 14, 2011 and 1:00 p.m. Sunday May 15, 2011.

1:00 p.m. - Hooray! They are gone! Much joy and dancing ensue.

1:10 p.m. - Lets pack our bags and get the heck out of Dodge.

1:30 p.m. - The car backs out of the driveway. We are headed to Chicago.

1:30 - 2:15 p.m. - I 94 eastbound.

2:15 p.m. - We are hungry. Hey there's a Wendy's at the next exit. Spicy chicken and french fries.

2:45 p.m. - I 94 eastbound

3:00 p.m. - "Honey do you mind if I sleep for a while?"

3:20 p.m. - I 94 eastbound. Hey it's raining.

3:35 p.m. - I 94 eastbound. Man there's a ton of traffic. I don't think we'll make it in time to visit the Art Institute before it closes at 5.

4:15 p.m. - The Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago.

4:30 p.m. - It's still raining. "What do you want to do now?" "I guess we could walk on Michigan Ave. In the rain."

4:45 p.m. - Um it's really cold. And wet. Hey a Starbucks! Hot beverages for everyone.

5:00 p.m. - Nordstrom's shoe department. A heavenly choir sings in the back ground. I pick up shoe after shoe and cry a little bit when I see the price. "Honey I don't want to have a ton of money. I just want to be able to buy some pretty shoes regardless of the price." "Someday, honey. Someday."

5:30 p.m. - "What do you want to do now? Do you want to shop some more?" "Um no it's cold and raining and my ratty old shoes are wet. Let's go back to the hotel."

5:45 - 7:00 p.m. - Hanging out in the hotel room and getting ready to go out.

7:00 p.m. - Head to the car. In the rain. And the cold. "Uh oh!" "What uh oh?" "I forgot the parking ticket. It's in the room." "You go get it. I'm going to wait in the car. With the heat."

7:20 p.m. - Frink gets the ticket and we head out of the parking lot.

7:40 p.m. - "I'll drop you off and find a place to park."

7:45 p.m. - Happy Birthday Michelle!

7:55 p.m. - The phone rings. "I'm lost. Where is the bar again?" I hand the phone to Michelle and she gives him directions.

8:00 - 10:00 p.m. - Fun and friends. And birthday cake.

10:00 p.m. - "I'm kind of hungry. Are you hungry? It's been a long time since Wendy's." Get directions to a restaurant nearby. Walk in the rain.

10:45 p.m. - Dinner arrives. Yum.

11:20 p.m. - It's still raining. "You go get the car. I'll wait here where it's warm and dry."

11:40 p.m. - Back at the hotel.

Midnight - Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

8:45 a.m. - Wake up. Wonder when the last time you woke up this late. Decide it was probably 5 years ago.

10:00 a.m. - Breakfast. Decide to skip eating in the hotel in favor of a walk to West Egg cafe. In the rain.

10:45 a.m. - Walk back to the hotel. In the rain. Check out.

11:00 a.m. - Wheels up. Time to drive home. In the rain.

12:10 p.m. - Welcome to Wisconsin. "Hey it stopped raining."

1:00 p.m. - Moooooooooommmmmmmmyyyyyyyyy!