To win and to lose

I’m giving up. Whatever this virus is does not plan on leaving anytime soon. 
I could, at this point, regale you with tales of how crap I feel or how abnormally every function of my body is progressing, but I think I’ll spare you. BECAUSE I LOVE YOU.
 
Yesterday was Max’s chess tournament. Like I mentioned, he’s been prepping for it for months. Nonstop. Last year he played and came home with a “participant” ribbon after beating exactly no one. He was rather wounded, and apparently he was having none of that this year.
 
So he went. He competed. He emerged the second most victorious.
 

Second place, baby! We were all so proud.

However, as happy tales often do, this one has a dark side.

 

Ava, who is fresh into the accelerated program and therefore only this year got a chance to play chess, she competed too.

 

Apparently Ava has inherited my utter inability to stratergize and plan, and therefore she shares my absolute suck at the game of kings.

 

She played one game. She lost. It didn’t go well.

 

She was upset upon the homecoming because everyone was so excited for Max. 

 

Which presented a dilemma. Of course we were sad that she didn’t do better, we were sad that she was upset, but MAX WORKED HIS ASS OFF. He wanted to do well and so he did, whereas Ava would “practice” with Max only if he played with no queen and often she’d just quit when her brain started to tire out.

 

I tried to be gentle. I tried to be understanding. But maybe she learned a lesson.

 

And at least she didn’t yell, “SHIT!” when she lost, I was a little worried about that.
 

Snowed

So, here I am again. 
Let me tell you, whatever this germ is that has assaulted my insides over the past two days, IT WINS. I have never been so miserable. Well, wait. The last time I was this miserable I was eight months pregnant and had the flu. That was bad.
 
But this, this has been awful. I took finals last night in a cold sweat and just prayed I wouldn’t hurl on the table. Or poop myself. Or both. And while I think I may be over it and Lucy didn’t seem to have it quite as bad, Josh has it now. Everyone knows that when the man gets sick the world is ending.
 
It snowed last night. There was a big uproar because we were under a WINTER STORM WARNING. The pink and blue on the radar was very promising indeed.
 

 And then this happened, and it was lovely and exciting. 

I even started to maybe believe the warnings, and i got a little excited. I live in Mississippi, people. We get real snow maybe a couple of times a year.

 

Then this morning I woke up and looked outside with huge anticipation….

 

Nothing. The pavement was wet. The end. I wanted to go find the inventor of the Weather Channel and punch him.

 

Max was excited, though. He had been upset that school might be closed because today is the chess tournament that he’s been prepping for for months. Which is why he woke up, looked out the window, and yelled, “SWEET!”

 

Yup. It’s my kid’s fault the snow didn’t stick. Maybe I should punch him.

 

Thanks be

(here’s the giveaway I know you’re looking for)

So there have been lots of thankful countdowns and such on Facebook.

Generally I don’t shy away from things like that.

AND WHO AM I KIDDING, NOW IS NO DIFFERENT.

I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for:

My health, however I may sometimes hate the way I look and think.
My heart, and the ability I have to love and care. Really. Some people can’t do that.
My desire to be more of a person.
School.
Wine.
The way Josh loves to cook.
Pumpkin muffins.
Friendship – over the past year I’ve done some regrettable things. I’ve lost people who meant a great deal to me. But I still have some people who love me, flaws and all. And that is a blessing beyond words.

And now for the hardcore love:

I’m thankful for Dan. He is exactly the father Max and Ava need, and we are all lucky to have him.
I’m thankful for my Mom. She is everything I have ever wanted to be.
I’m thankful for my Dad. He is, now and always, the measure of the type of man I need.
I’m thankful for my sister. She has been my partner in crime for my entire life, and one of the best friends I could have. Even if she left me out of her Facebook thankful countdown.
I’m thankful for my grandmothers. For how loving and sweet they both have always been, and the memories they’ve given me.
I’m thankful for Josh’s family. They have loved me and accepted me, they are my family.
I’m thankful for my son. Max has, in the past decade, taught me more about myself than I ever expected. His heart and sweet soul are something we should all strive to match.
I’m thankful for my Ava Thomas. For the fire and joy she carries with her. For the independence I envy, and for the beauty she carries, inside and out.
I’m thankful for Lucy Grace. She has given me new life, laughter, and a joy I didn’t know I had room in my heart for.
I’m thankful for Josh. I could gush and spew about every reason, but I can sum it in this: he has taught me what love truly is. I would have gone through my life an incomplete person if I did not have him.

Happy Thanksgiving.

I have the pottymouth kid. Fine by me.

(Just so you know, the pictures don’t have anything to do with my content today. Our town held its yearly Grand Illumination this weekend, so I took some pictures. It was fun times.)

I don’t know about you, but when I was little, cussing was this huge taboo thing. I remember, even watching sitcoms with mom, every time someone said dammit I’d whip my head around to see how offended she was. I did it so much that eventually she told me that people were going to talk like that so I just needed to quit looking at her.

Well, my kids don’t have those issues.

From the time Max was three and got a note sent home from preschool for talking about his nuts, I have done my best to be honest with my kids about the language that exists. No one in my house has a pristine vocabulary, so it’s kind of inevitable that the kids repeat what they hear.

We told them years ago that words were just that – words. That they only hold the power we give them. That some words were best kept at home, where we all understand each other….or, well, where we all know cusswords.

I grew up with a big fear of swear words. Probably from the Baptists. Somewhere around seventh grade, though, I found the delicious thrill of four-letter-words. My language was pretty bad when I let it be, but only away from home.

As I grew older and became a parent, I realized that I wanted my kids to feel exactly the opposite. I wanted their family to be a safe haven, somewhere they can express themselves freely. If they’re angry, I want them to feel they can say so. Colorfully, if they need to. Also, I secretly think that if they’re free to talk the way they want at home, they won’t be tripping over themselves to overuse every swear word in existence when they’re away from me.

Language is an art, you know. That includes the cusses.

Pornographer

Yesterday, something happened that I never expected.

I mean, it’s not something anyone would have expected because it’s just so random.

I got an email from Ava’s teacher, and lo, Ava drew a naked lady at recess.
As her sentence, she has to miss activity period today.

So, I asked her about it when she got home. Apparently some boy had said he could draw a better naked lady than she could, and my girl would not be outdone. So the lady was drawn.

The thing is, I’m not so bothered by the naked lady. The kid has probably seen me naked (child abuse) a thousand times, not to mention Barbies and dolls and pictures of paintings (culture, people). I’m more bothered by the fact that she let herself be put into the situation to do something because someone else wanted her to.

Although now that I think about it, why is it such a big deal? Isn’t this what breeds such forbidden fascination with ding dongs and hoohas and wahoos? Besides, I mean, is naked such a forbidden thing? I’m pretty sure everyone is totally naked at least every other day. If not, well, those are your issues.

These are my thoughts, anyway. I suppose I’d feel differently if she’d drawn some “Dear Penthouse” nudie show, but this doesn’t seem like such a big deal to me. Am I wrong?

Picture Heavy Hallow’s Eve

I’m not big on Halloween.
It’s not that I don’t like it, I do. I like the mischief and the scaryish moments. It’s that the planning drives me bonkers. And then there’s always this big letdown – months of planning and costumes and tweaking…..and then it’s over. Bags of candy and streaky makeup.

My kids were all about it, though. Understandable.

The other thing is that we’ve actually never lived in a neighborhood, so we don’t have the picturesque doortodoor smiley waving neighbor situation, and so trick or treating entails getting in and out of the car multiple times and rearranging costumes and making sure no friends or relatives miss out on cute costumed kids.

It’s a lot of damn work, and the only candy I get out of it is candy I steal from my kids.

SO NOT WORTH IT.

So we decided to take matters and deal with them creatively.

It was decided that we would buy our own inappropriate amounts of candy, build a bonfire, roast hotdogs, make s’mores, and generally party it up in our own backyard instead of bothering other people for candy we might not even like (there’s always those people who hand out those black and orange wax wrapped…things).

Ava even decided she still wanted to dress up. She was Katy Perry.

At the outset I was a little worried – worried I was stealing memories or some such. I mean, I know I cherish my fall festival memories of sitting on a table at church, manning a game.

But it was awesome. Seriously. Max and Josh were very manly and coordinated the bonfire, and Ava, Lucy and I supervised.

We did some pumpkin bashin’.

Lucy ran and ran and ran.

And as much as I was afraid of warping their childhood memories, I think these are going to be good ones.

This may become a yearly occurrence.

I also ate four s’mores.

Weekend Recap News

Ok so the book chapter didn’t go over as well as I had hoped.

Anyway.

Dan left this weekend for China. Three weeks in China because he’s important and robotly or something like that. I like to think that he got off the plane in Shanghai and all the short people stopped and stared, like “HOLY SHIT, WHO IS THIS RED GIANT?”

I’m sure it happened just like that.

We spoke with him last night via FaceTime, and the lobby of his hotel looked like every Chinese restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.

As for us, we’ve been branching out. Dan left us his truck and dude, we like it. I’m resetting the miles before he gets back so he doesn’t know how much we’ve driven it.

Friday night we waited until Dan left, and we took the sniffly and sad big kids up to Tennessee to eat some gas station pizza. It tasted a lot better than it sounds, and on this trip it came to my attention that my son squats on the toilet to poo.

Seriously. He puts his feet on the seat and squats down like he’s in some far country without indoor plumbing. Who taught him that?

Why?

The next day we went to Alabama to both escape the branching wake of Sarah Palin (she was speaking about 45 minutes away and I could feel the ridickery all the way at home) and to eat at Five Guys.

And because we believe in keeping ourselves healthy, we had frozen yogurt. With candy bar pieces.

It’s the most time I’ve spent out and about with my oldest kids in a long, long time. Which is sad for a lot of reasons. I suppose it took the “nice” parent leaving the country to make me realize that I can have fun with them, too.

An open letter to my two oldest children

Oh, you two.

Really, what is there to say?

I realized this weekend how quickly you’re growing and somehow I feel like I’ve missed out on a huge chunk of everything.

I haven’t, though. I know that.

But it feels that way.

You’re both so amazing. The things you say and do. You’re so much more than just kids, and honestly I have a hard time believing I had anything to do with bringing the two of you into the world.

I feel like I haven’t been a great mom. We don’t have round the table family dinners and you don’t come home to milk and cookies. I don’t spend time in your classrooms and I have a hard time keeping track of your teachers’ names sometimes.

But I guarantee there isn’t a kid alive who is more loved than you are.

I wish so much for you both. I know it seems like so much is expected of you both…

It is.

I’ve always said I don’t understand when parents live vicariously through their children, but now I kind of do. Not in the way you’d think, though. I don’t want you to write novels and act in plays or be the brilliant I couldn’t be.

I want you to love, fully and completely, and be loved back just as much.
I want you to laugh, every day, for the rest of your life.
I want you to be who you are and know from the very start that there will always be people who don’t understand you or just plain don’t like you. And I want you to be you anyway.
I want you to learn that saying you’re sorry is one of the most important things in the world. People who don’t accept it have their own problems.
I want you to never be afraid of taking a risk to achieve a dream.
I want you to never have to look back and wonder.

So when it seems like we are tough on you or we expect too much, know that if we do it’s only because we want you to get everything you can out of your life.

I love you. I love you both. You are everything in this world that makes me happy. I am so lucky that I can’t say it enough. I love you I love you I love you.

Love, Mom

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