Summer Break…Just a Day Away

I remember the first day I dropped him off. I was nervous, more so about whether I would remember everything I needed. Would I forget to pack his lunch and what about diapers? But then, I got us on the road and walked my little man into his first official “class” (more of a mother’s morning out, but he’s still in a classroom setting). I smiled as he proudly walked in with his backpack and Toy Story lunch box. He was excited and I was sad. I thought for sure he would cry or grab onto my legs and beg me to stay, but not Davey Doser. Instead, he pushed me away and said, “Mama go. Davey stay and play.” So, I kissed him goodbye and walked out the door before he saw the tear fall down my cheek.

I’d been looking forward to this day, just because being a stay-at-home mom can be tough. I longed for a day to have to myself, to clean the house, to read a book, to take a nap. I had anxiously counted down the days and had convinced myself that it would be a piece of cake to take him. Never did I imagine the feeling in the pit of my stomach. Never did I think he wouldn’t want me to stay.

Days went by and weeks became months. We developed our routine and Davey quickly learned that Tuesday meant he was going to see Mrs. Beth (his teacher). He was excited, always waking up and knowing when Tuesday had arrived. He came home with stories of friends, playground misfortunes, and even the blessing that he says now before every meal.

Every week, there was a new craft waiting in his cubby from the week before. Some days it was especially made for me and other days were just little paintings to go along with the Bible stories, shapes and colors of the week. He was learning so much and was proud to show it to me.

One of my favorite crafts from Davey.
One of my favorite crafts from Davey.

The days during Christmas break were hard. Davey had a new baby brother AND he was away from Mrs. Beth for almost four weeks! He cried for her a couple of times, but quickly told me that he loved me most. He woke up on Tuesday mornings with the anticipation of going to see her, only to be disappointed when I would tell him not today.

Finally, Christmas break was over, but the frigid temperatures and snowfall began. School was closed and Davey’s heart sank. When the snow melted and everything began to thaw, we were back on our routine once again. I was relieved and Davey was happy to have someplace to go where his little brother wasn’t.

And now we’ve come to the end of the year. I’ve explained to Davey that tomorrow is his last day with Mrs. Beth. He says he’ll see her again, which may be true. I don’t think he fully realizes that next Tuesday morning when he wakes up, it will just be the three of us (me, him, and Henry). I think he’ll be alright. I know he’ll be alright, but it still saddens me to know that this chapter of his life is now over. I almost want to cry. This wonderful woman has been a blessing not just to me, but also to my son. He loves her and tells her this every time he leaves her class. When we pass the church, Davey exclaims, “That’s Mrs. Beth’s house, let’s go see her.” Usually I answer with, “we’ll see her on Tuesday.” That won’t be the answer anymore.

So, to thank her and her assistant for taking such wonderful care of my precious cargo, Davey and I decided to make them a couple of teacher appreciation gifts.

Davey's gifts to his teachers.
Davey’s gifts to his teachers.

And as a side note, thank you to all of you teachers out there who sacrifice your time to take care of those that are precious to us.

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A Little Scissor Safety

I am a total wimp with anything related to the body. Well, anything related to cutting, stabbing, sewing, or basically showing blood oozing from a body. I don’t handle it very well. It’s very nauseating and makes me very squeemish. I know what you’re all thinking, “how the heck, Amy, are you going to take care of your boys when they have a laceration or broken bone?” Trust me, I’ve asked myself that very same question, most recently today.

This morning, I decided to skip out on the Y (bad move) and stay home to finish up some much needed yard work. My husband spent last night trimming up all of our bushes in the front yard so that I could get busy mulching today. It started out well. The morning was perfect, a little overcast with a cool breeze that was seeming to combat the humidity. I brought Henry outside and put him on his blanket so he could get some much needed Vitamin D. Davey joined us with his rake and shovel, which he drove handsomely around from the backyard in his jeep.

Shortly after cleaning up the clippings from last night, Davey decided that he really wanted to go inside and watch Frozen. Fine by me seeing as how it’s a lot easier to get work done when I’m not having to replace all the mulch he’s throwing out (having my little helper is really counter productive most days) or chasing him as he decides he wants to play in the next door neighbor’s flower garden. I took a short break to get Davey and Henry situated before heading back out to finish up my task at hand.

I pick up bag after bag, lifting them with my legs and throwing them over my shoulders. I was going to make the best of the fact that I had skipped the Y. This was going to be my weight-lifting/cardio class, plus it had an added bonus…a freshly mulched yard and another item marked off of my To Do List hanging on the fridge. After hauling about 20 bags, I took another quick breather and broke into the bags and spreading mulch, and here’s where things started going down hill.

I was periodically taking breaks to come back inside to check on the boys. Davey is notorious for getting into things he shouldn’t be in and well I didn’t want Henry to be wailing the entire time. So, in my effort to try to speed things along, I took a short cut with cutting open the bags. I took my pair of scissors, opened them up so the blades were forming a “V” and started to use one of the blades as a razor. I was moving right along, holding the bags up against my leg and then slicing into them. It went so fast. Before I knew it, I was 3/4th of the way done with the mulch! And this is when it happened.

I held up one of the bags against my left leg, opened up the scissors, slashed the blade across and through the bag and right into my left thigh. Hold on, I’m getting nauseous as I type this and may need to take a break. (Cue Vivaldi’s Four Seasons). Ok, I’m back now.

For a moment, I didn’t dare look at my leg. Maybe it was just a little knick, but then I started feeling a warm liquid rolling down and that’s when I looked and when I started to get a little faint. I’d sliced far enough into my leg that I could see the interior of the skin and it looked like chicken that had been sitting, thawed out, uncooked on the counter for days. Great! Now I’m not going to be able to eat chicken for a while.

After a quick trip across the street to my retired doctor and nurse neighbor to verify if I should try to have it stitched up (they looked at my like I’d gone crazy for asking such a stupid question), I called my aunt to stay with the boys and drove myself to the emergency room where I found out that I didn’t hit the muscle, but the laceration was 2 cm deep. Of course, I had to tell the story to the nurses and doctors as to how I did this. And of course they all asked me if I knew how to appropriately use scissors. Yes! I’m not an idiot (well only slightly).

I did make it back home to finish up the rest of the mulch before taking the rest of the afternoon off. I do blame this injury on being a mother. How could I, you ask. Well, easy. I seem to have left my brain at the turn off to Motherhood Lane years ago when I decided to become a mother. AND…if I hadn’t been rushing back and forth to check on the boys, then perhaps I wouldn’t have done this. It is what it is and the past is the past.

On a more positive note…Davey thinks the stitches on my leg are the coolest thing he’s ever seen and it gave me an excellent opportunity to discuss scissor safety with him.

For the average person I run into on the street, I will no longer go by this story. The new story is that I got into a knife fight with some baddies who were looking to hurt my babies. I will deny the true story moving forward.

The casualty of today's yard work and my stupidity.
The casualty of today’s yard work and my stupidity.

Happy Mother’s Day

High-waisted blue jean mom shorts, with a paisley print halter top and a kerchief around her head, that’s my first memory of my mom. She used to sing Eric Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally” to me. She actually called me her “Sally”, she once told me because I was sassy and she equated that with the name “Sally”.

Those were the days of 1977, with marigold shag carpets, disco was queen, summertime in the South was a water sprinkler with polka-dotted bikinis. When I hear Seals and Croft’s “Summer Breeze”, it immediately takes me back to that first memory of my mother as she painted the living room. The windows were open and the humid breeze played a game of tag with the sheer curtains.

As I sit here today, I’ve tried to go back and recall as many memories as possible of my mom. When she got married, she had this long jet black hair. She was thin (5’11”, 105 pounds) and looked like Cher (from the old Sonny and Cher days). She was glamorous (still is, but in a more classy and sophisticated way). She used to paint my toe nails, curl my hair on soft rollers at night, let me wear her glasses and heels. We used to color princesses (Snow White was my favorite) and read books. She’s always had a poker face, and when you crossed or defied her, be prepared to pay. She’s fiercely loyal and protective of those she holds dear. She’s my hero, my mentor, and the mother I hope I have the ability to be one once as good as.

My mother taught me a lot growing up. She taught me the value of feminism without being liberal and losing her conservative roots. She taught me to fight for what I believe it, but to pick my battles. She taught me that not all opinions deserve to be heard and that I should turn a deaf ear to those who disagree. She told me the importance of my Southern roots, the necessity of acting like a lady. She encouraged me to grow and to follow my dreams.

As I grew older, I asked my mother to tell me what some of her fears were for her children. Most mothers would say they feared death or kidnapping or injury, but not my mother. Perhaps she thought we would never have to worry about anything like that. What she did say sticks with me today. For me, her biggest fear was I would set my goals so high that I may never attain them and thereby tearing myself apart. I have a very self-deprecating personality and my mother feared that would be my downfall. For my brother, she worried that he was so eager to see the good in everyone that he would be taken or snookered (as he grew older).

During the years my younger brother fought leukemia, I watched my mother suffer. She never did it in front of Brian (my brother), nor did she do it much in front of me. It saddened me to watch her, but inspired me as well. I prayed (and continue to pray) that I’ll never have to experience the pain she had when my brother took his last breath. I worried that she would leave me and sink into a pit of despair, but I quickly realized that would never happen. She loved my brother fiercely, but her love for me was just as strong although different.

Today and every day, I’m thankful for the wonderful woman God has given me for a mother. In the nearly 39 years she’s been my mother, I couldn’t be more fortunate, more proud of her accomplishments, nor more loved by anyone. My mother is a Godly woman, raised a Christian and still strong within her Christian roots. She is my strength and my best friend.

I started thinking this morning about my Granny, my mother’s mom, and I put myself in my mother’s shoes. My granny died shortly before I turned seven and my mother 35. I can’t imagine not having this wonderful creature to talk to on the phone everyday. I can’t imagine Christmases or Sunday dinners without her. When my mother was my age, she’d been without a mom for almost four years. How sad!

My mother has helped mold me into the woman and mother I am today. She’s instilled in me a love that’s greater than anything I could have imagined. She continues to teach me and guide me, to love me and strengthen me. I just hope that one day, my boys will look back and at least think about me in this way. I hope that I’ll have done the job for them that my mother did for me. Thank you, Mom!

Be thankful for the moms in this world, for without them we would not be.

I Wish I May I Wish I Might

I can feel the sun as it warms my skin. I look up to see it dancing between tree branches as they sway with the warm summer breeze. The air is hot and tainted with a little humidity. There’s the smell of dirt and pine trees, grass and flowers. In the distance, I can hear the sound of the creek as it slowly rolls over the rocks and through the twists and turns. It’s only a quick little jaunt from the cabin. My stomach is beginning to turn with excitement as I stand out in the front yard and everyone else begins to drive in. It’s just me and my mom and dad, but soon it will be a much bigger party and soon it will be some of the greatest memories of my lifetime.

When I was a little girl, years before my younger brother was born, we used to drive up towards River Falls where my uncle had a cabin. It wasn’t an every Saturday affair, but we did get together a lot. It was always my dad’s side of the family, his brother and sister and their kids, his aunts and uncles and their kids, and my grandma. We’d get up early and start the drive to the cabin. Mama always made some sandwiches and sweet tea. We packed our swimsuits and an extra change of clothes.

I don’t remember a whole lot about our times at the cabin, just fleeting moments of a time long since passed. A time I’d love to have my children experience, but something that I fear they may never have. Those days shaped a lot of my life and who I’ve become today. They made me appreciate the smaller things and have served as a backdrop to way I’d like to raise my boys. You see, the cabin was where we all got together for some family time and me and my cousins would run through the woods and play, or splash around down in the creek. There was no television and only an old AM radio, but we still had a grand ole time. My dad’s side of the family is full of singers, gospel and bluegrass. I can still remember some of their harmonies as we trekked off to our adventures outside. What a wonderful time we had.

And what I really wish for my boys, is for them to have that same grand time. I wish they had cousins to play with and that their mom and dad came from huge families with tons of brothers and sisters. Back then it was all about family and what you could do together. One of my cousins was my age, just a few months younger, and she was my best friend. I looked forward to the weekends I got to play with her. My sons don’t have that and it makes me sad. It makes me sad that there’s not some huge family adventure to go on together on the weekends. It makes me sad that their memories of their childhood may not be as exciting as mine.

I love to sit back and think about the mischief my cousins and I would get into. Our grandma used to take a hickory after our legs when we’d go dig up her flowers, and try to climb under the house or go down too far into the woods and stumble across an old moonshine still. Those were the good ole days. When summer time rolls around, I’m immediately transported back to a simple time and, man, do I wish my boys could live it.

We live in a subdivision, with cars that drive too fast, and houses so close you can almost hear your neighbors inside their own homes. We don’t live in the country where you ride your bikes a mile or two down the road to see your friends and then you take off into the woods to build forts and climb trees. We’ve become a society much too concerned with parents who NEED to create ways to entertain their kids, or television shows with questionable morals. We’re a society of zero adventure and a society who doesn’t put as much emphasis on family.

I wrote a while back about having a time machine and how I’d love to go back and experience some of the firsts with my boys. Well, I’d take that time machine and load them up in it and let them see the world their mother grew up in. What a world it was.

I’m still a kid at heart and at night I love to show the first star of the night to Davey. I’ve tried to teach him to wish on the star, but he’s still learning that. Last night, I saw the first star and I fell back into the days when I was a little girl, when my daddy used to take a blanket outside and sit with me under the stars, and I made my wish, something I haven’t done in quite some time…

“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may I wish I might have this wish I wish tonight. I wish for a simpler life for my boys. I wish for them a family that’s as close knit as mine was and a lifetime of memories with that family.”

I Don’t Want To Be A Mom

Come on! I’m not the first mom to say that and I won’t be the last, and I know that at some point most, if not all of you, had this thought cross through your mind even if only for a fleeting second and even if you never voiced it. You don’t have to voice it to me, either, but I don’t have a problem sharing my feelings with all of you.

So, no, it’s not an everyday feeling and “yes” it usually goes away pretty quickly, but the feeling does pop up at least once a week. Wait! Who am I kidding? The thought crosses my mind multiple times a week!

I have to remind myself and even ask others to remind me that this was God’s plan for me…to be a mother. It was His intention all along. What I don’t have to remind myself of is that it is a gift. I know it’s a gift. I don’t regret being a mom, but it’s nice to daydream about not being one.

Lately, I have to listen to an intense whining from Davey. This child used to fall down and pick himself back up. Now he wants to whine at the least little scratch, and he doesn’t just stop with scratches. Nothing seems to be immune from Davey’s whining. He whines when he wakes up. He whines while watching t.v. He whines while taking a bath. He whines when he’s eating his favorite food! He just whines all the time, couple that with his new found independence and he really makes me want to start drinking.

Last week at Disney World, he told me on multiple occasions that he didn’t want to ride any rides with me. He had to ride with his daddy. He actually told me I wasn’t allowed to ride any rides at all. Then he told me he didn’t like me and that Daddy was his best friend. I couldn’t hug him, I couldn’t smile at him, I couldn’t even look at him!

He wakes up most mornings crying in disappoint when he sees it’s me at the door and not his daddy. Way to make a mom feel special! I’m only the one who carried you for more than 9 months and have a scar to prove it! What a pain in the tush he is! He’s prone to spitting these days, waking up his little brother, throwing things, kicking things, running over me with his tricycle (on purpose), hitting me, and telling me that he doesn’t love me. So, yeah, a lot of days I wake up with the thought of, “I don’t want to be a mom.”

It’s the highlight of my life to have a child who unbuckles himself from his highchair and runs his cheeseball covered fingers all over my walls. I love the fact that I have an on and off issue with ants because my child likes to hide food all over the house! I’m elated that as soon as the door is opened he runs away like a caged animal and I have to chase after him, sometimes while carrying my other son.

I’m ecstatic that he runs into my flower beds and stomps all over my flowers. I jump cartwheels at the fact that he takes red crayons to my just cleaned hardwood floors, or that he purposely dumps his sippy cup full of juice all over my carpet. Not only is it wet, but it’s also sticky and my dog starts licking the carpet then ends up getting a hairball and pukes up whatever she’s had during the day so not only am I cleaning up sticky juice, but not stinky dog vomit. I don’t want to be a mom this day.

I jump for joy when Davey decides that today is the day that he’ll put play dough in his pockets and I don’t catch it when I’m putting clothes into wash. That was by far my most favorite…NOT!

But like most everything in life, when something bad happens, there is usually something to counteract that. After Davey told me this morning to go away and let Daddy come get him out of bed, he did tell me he loved me and that I could be his best friend. So, maybe today I do want to be a mom.

He did climb up into my lap after nap time and wrap my hair around his finger while stroking my cheek with his other hand and telling me loved me. Yeah, I think I do want to be a mom.

Like I said the moments are fleeting, but they are there. Being a mom isn’t always the grandest job. Some days I want to tell Davey to NEVER call me mama, but instead just use my real name. I don’t want the mom moniker. Most days; however, it’s not this bad. Today just wasn’t one of them.

Just a Mild Heart Attack

When I close my eyes, I can still see it happening. Sometimes it’s fast, so fast that I can’t even comprehend what is happening. Other times, it’s in slow motion and I watch in happen but I’m completely paralyzed incapable of really doing anything to prevent it. And even though it’s been a few days, I’m still having dreams and even nightmares about it.

We sat there on Monday afternoon, waiting to order our lunch. It was Day Two of our Disney vacation and today’s special treat was eating in the Rainforest Café at the opening of the Animal Kingdom. It was an interesting place, a place with mechanically operated animals and vines hanging from the ceiling. There were fish tanks with live fish, and trees and shrubs, and periodically the rumble of thunder followed by what sounded like rain that would arouse the jungle animals. Davey was loving it already.

We put Davey in his high chair and placed him at the corner of the table alongside me. My husband sat in the booth across from Davey and we had Henry in his car seat carrier onto of an overturned high chair, something made specifically for those parents (like myself) who prefer to keep their young children in a carseat. I didn’t have him buckled in, which I know is a big fat “no-no”, but I never thought something would happen.

Henry was reclined all the way back and instead of being turned to the side, he was facing the table. He’s quite the mover, my second spawn, and loves to kick. So, we sat there perusing the menu, talking to Davey, and periodically looking over at Henry to get one of his infectious smiles and laughs. And then it happened.

It’s almost like I knew it was going to happen before it even happened. I can’t really explain it, but it’s like I saw a quick glimpse of the future. Henry’s feet were touching the edge of the table and I’d already watched as the carseat and high chair swayed once. Why didn’t I say something then? Why didn’t I get up and move him? I don’t know.

His toes were curling on the table ever so slightly and then he flattened out his feet before finally giving a swift shove and that’s when the carseat carrier fell off the back of the upside down highchair. I watched as the carrier flipped over and landed upside down on the floor before rolling to its side.

“Oh my God!” I shouted as I jumped and pulled my screaming 4 month old from the carrier and took off running out of the restaurant.

At first, I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. I don’t know if I was afraid of what I might see or if I just wanted to keep hugging him and hoping that my hugs would cure anything that was wrong with him. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law joined me out in the lobby along with the manager, while my husband sat with Davey to make sure he was alright. That’s when I finally pulled Henry away from me and started to inspect him.

My knees were weak, even shaking, and I could feel the gut-wrenching pull in my stomach that was almost making me vomit. I felt like my heart had skipped a few beats and it continued to flutter as I found that there wasn’t a single scratch on him. No broken skin, no cuts or lacerations, and he was crying with real tears.

The manager called the EMT and Henry was checked out. There were no broken bones, no dents in his head (which is what really had me scared), his pupils were not dilated and by the time the EMTs arrived, he was already laughing again. I panicked briefly about if we would have to take him to the emergency room and what that meant for Davey. We were only at Disney World for a short amount of time and he’d been looking forward to it for so long. Would he resent his brother if we had to leave and go to the ER? How would we explain it to him? Thankfully, Henry was given the all clear and we were able to enjoy the rest of our day, but not without periodically waking him up to make sure that he didn’t have a concussion.

And this is how he was treated for the remainder of the day.
And this is how he was treated for the remainder of the day.

Looking back, I should have known and should have been prepared. Henry has slid, feet first, off of our couch before. I was sitting alongside him and he was wedged in with a boppy, but still he kicked himself lose and slid down onto the floor. It was a short slide and there were no injuries then either.

This will not be the last time I’m scared to death as a mother. I just wish if these boys of mine were going to do acrobatics, that they’d wait until they’re older and can at least tell me when something is wrong.