Sunday, May 24, 2009


I had a really bad week. Not my usual "I've over scheduled again and wacky high jinks abound" kind of week. It's been the kind of week that leaves you completely drained.

I've been spending a great deal of time at school on the receiving of the justifiable fury of a small child. It's not due to me, but I'm here to catch it. I'm mentally and physically sore. I'm also furious. I've encountered so many children this year who've had to deal with situations they are too young to understand. I feel like the adults in their lives have let them down. If I were these kids, I'd be pissed too. And confused. And scared.

Adults, all of them, have a responsibility to take care of those who are helpless (children, animals, the elderly, the mentally impaired). We have that responsibility because we are members of the human race and residents of the planet Earth. It's really that simple.

All I can do is listen to these kids and hold them, dodge blows, and help them learn to calm down. I have to keep emotion out of it, until I can go to my car and cry.

Then I go home and I'm Mom. I make sandwiches for the preschool picnic, help make a Narnia dioramas, take long walks with Caroline to the honeysuckle bush, referee petty fights and tantrums, do laundry, make dinner and take long showers. At night when everyone is asleep I slip into bed and cry some more.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Dear Everybody,

I am writing to gently request that you stop filling my daughter's head with conflicting and confusing information. I haven't met you yet, but I am sure that you are a very nice young lady. Nonetheless, I would like you to please keep your opinions to yourself.

Your information is often incorrect. For example, the swine flu was not caused by "Some dude from California who ate rotten pig in Mexico." This false information lead to an entire evening of researching and reassuring on our part. I'm sure that you can see how frustrating this would be.

I understand that your mother feels that stilettos and highlights are perfect accessories for an 11 year old. I on the other hand would like my daughter to be able to walk when she is in her 30's and don't want her to fall and break her neck now. How in the world do you play kick ball in those things? As for highlights, well relax you have years of messing with hair dye. Just let the sun do it now. While we are talking about fashion, are those skinny jeans really comfortable? isn't your belly cold from hanging out of that shirt?

I am sure that you think that Twilight is the best book ever written, but would you please let my daughter make up her own mind. Watching a movie does not make you an expert on a book. I like the fact that Caroline choosing her books based on what she likes and not what everyone wants to read.

I am sure that you don't think that I am the "meanest mother ever" (contrary to popular opinion). I would like to wish you all the best.

Thank you,
Mrs. Simpson

Friday, May 8, 2009

Of Two Minds

I have always been a great fan of childhood. I love children's literature, movies, music. All of it. I look back on the entertainment of my childhood with great fondness. I think we children of the 70's feel that we had the last era of technology-free/light entertainment. We lived before videos games and VCR, DVDs, well you get my drift.

I remember loving my records and playing them for hours. My children's lives are too filled with buzz to appreciate records. I have thought of getting rid of the TV and computer, but I like having those things. There are advantages to what they have available as well. Anyway, I'm getting off topic. My point is that I am able to introduce my kids to my records through the car. My step father transferred my records to CD and we have been having a ball. Lily is now in love with Really Rosie. She has the Nutshell collection and follows along with the songs (I used to do that!). We have been dancing all over singing Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, Pierre, and One Was Johnny (boy can I relate to Johnny).

This led me to a computer search on Maurice Sendak (see, can't live without the computer). A great deal has been written about the gritty and violent themes in his books. Parents are horrified, but children love them. I often wonder if I shelter my girls too much. One time I heard Pete Seeger talking about the violence in some folk music. He explained that children are stronger than we think. They understand more and really don't need to be sheltered from things like death and sadness. Is letting my girls read Where The Wild Things worse than letting them play video games? Children seem to be drawn toward violence. They aren't always the sweet happy little things we think they are. They get mad, they think slightly evil thoughts ("I'll eat you up!") and they aren't wrong for that. Maybe if we acknowledge that and address it with them, they can learn to control it sooner.

Sometimes, when no one is watching I try out some of the odd things my kids and students do. Guess what? It feels pretty cool to spin in circle over and over. Shaking your head side to side really does seem to focus you (stop before you get a headache, though). Jumping up and down and yelling really does release a lot of tension. Maybe grown ups need tantrum rooms. Maybe I'm over thinking this. What I am going to do read Where the Wild Things Are to Lily tonight. She is after all so close to Max. I can't wait for the movie to come out. I think I may even look for In The Night Kitchen. Maybe we need to tap into our inner wild things a little more. ROAR!

Mother's Day

I have been thinking about my grandmothers a lot lately. Well, I pretty much think about them daily. It's been a little over two years since I lost them ( a month apart). I used to call them when I was making dinner and share all of my crazy Caroline stories (once upon a time she was a wild child too). I still find myself picking up the phone to share Lily stories. Maybe that is part of the reason that I started this blog. I don't know. It was such a comfort to talk to them while doing the mundane daily tasks of motherhood. It was also an ego boost. They both had very different personalities. My Gramma Runion was very down to earth and sweet with a sharp sense of humor. It didn't take much to tickle her and make her chuckle. My Gramma Hill was a little harder around the edges. She could have a sharp tongue and short temper, but not with me. She was also the best at sharing the latest gossip. Admit it, who doesn't love some gossip?Despite the differences, they both had this in common: they were proud of me.

They had both been stay at home mothers when their children were young and both of them always expressed amazement at my ability to juggle work and children. "I don't know how you young mothers do it now" I heard this often. Could they look through the phone and see me picking up a toy with me feet, while stirring something on the stove, while doing the dishes? All I know is that when I felt like I was losing my mind, I could call one of them and they'd always make me feel better.

I could tell them funny stories about the kids or share a new book title. They both loved to read and every time I came across a new really nice book, I'd recommend it. Although, they both weren't oppossed to a juicy romance novel (Gramma Hill said it spiced things up a bit), they shared my love of nice stories with happy endings. Right now I am reading the perfect book for them. Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg. I really wish that I could give them this book. Gramma Hill would love it and the stories and memories that it would spark. I can just picture us sitting on her porch sitting in her wicker chairs gossiping about when she was young and first in love. Gramma Runion would have loved it too, but I think she'd love Can't Wait for Heaven (Fannie Flagg again) more. The character grew up on a farm just like her and was just as strong in her faith.

I was very lucky to have my grandmothers for my best friends. I talk to my other friends about their grandmas and they don't seem to have the shared stories or interests. I really did enjoy sitting and chatting with them. Everyday I hear something on the news that would intrigue them, although honestly most of it would make them sad. I save up the motivating stories and tell them to Caroline. She usually agrees with me that they would love them too.

Most of what I learned about being a mother, I learned from them. They taught me to cook, bake, be patient, and have fun. I do wish they could be here to see how wonderful it all is. How beautiful Caroline is (inside and out) and how sharp and funny Lily is. I would love to have told them about Caroline's first heels or Lily's salty language (they weren't the kind of grammas to be offended by a little swearing).

Can they see it all? I don't know. Maybe this summer, while I'm sitting on the porch in my very own wicker chair (my Mother's Day present from Rob), they'll be listening in. Listeing while I tell my own tales and their tales to my girls. Listening to us joke around and "gossip" (tame stuff of course). Listening while I teach my girls everything they taught me.

Monday, May 4, 2009


I know that I've said this before, but some days Caroline leaves me in awe. She goes from gangling woman-child to complete goofball in minutes. When I am well rested and not too stressed it is a wonderful ride. Add a little stress and exhaustion and it feel like I fell down the rabbit hole to a place that makes no sense.

Last weekend she helped run a booth for her bronze award. The troop was teaching children how to be bite free. Caroline was in her element. She walked kids through the steps and explained everything to the parents like a pro. I always wanted to raise children who could speak coherently to adults. Yes!

This past Sat it was older scout skate night from 7:00-12:00 (am). I devoted mom and leader, stayed most of the night. My co leader and I were working on packets for our upcoming beach trip (we might be a little too involved with our troop, nah). I needed more envelopes and decide to run out to Target. As i was dashing through the rain to my car, I thought about how old Caroline is getting and how she really didn't need me around all the time. Of course, when I got back, she was standing by the snack bar crying. She'd fallen and couldn't find me (she really fell hard, her knees look like purple grapefruit). I could tell that she really wanted to go home, so I let her sit with me for awhile.

After she'd calmed down I offered to go out with her. I skated next to her as she slowly crept along the wall. As we skated under the disco ball listening to 80's tunes, I regaled her with embarrassing stories from my youth (there are enough to fill a book). I told her about how when I was eight, I fell on the ice and went across half the rink on my face. I made her laugh when I explained how my friend greeted my mom at the door and said "Don't worry Dene, it's not as bad as she looks.

I also told her about the time that I went roller skating with my best friend when I was 13. She'd done my makeup and I thought I looked perfect. When I was skating two boys tripped me and I fell into the wall. I cried so hard my mascara ran all down my face.

Caroline laughed and then was so surprised that I wasn't embarrassed. Before long she was skating slowly, but without holding onto the sides. Sometimes life really does work out like a Hallmark commercial. After three times around the rink, my arches were killing me and I decided to get off. Caroline spent the rest of the night skating with her friends. Toward the end I peeked out on the rink and saw her right in the middle, dancing and laughing with her friends.
She said that it was the best night. I'd have to agree.