humble pie in a blanket

Although in my previous post I claim to be close to comatose and unable to blog, I feel compelled to join in on another PROMPTuesday from San Diego Momma.

Write a story about when you last were humbled, felt humbled by the presence of something/someone in your life, or lay prostrate at the feet of the universe and said “I don’t know what the hell I am doing. I will now relinquish control and let you take over.”

Luckily I had this post saved in my drafts from months ago.  I just dusted it off and finessed it a little. Here goes…

My children teach me lessons in humility every day.  It’s what I love and hate the most about motherhood…the way I am forced to see myself for who I really am.  It makes me strive to be a better person and for that I am so thankful.

I can remember one instance in particular in which I felt humbled beyond recognition.  It was a quintessential A-Ha moment…My 2nd daughter, Lexi, was 6 weeks old. I was in the height of my sleep deprivation and at my wits’ end. And I mean WITS’ END.  Like, call the looney bin, end.  On this particular night, Lexi was inconsolable, as she had been for a few weeks straight, and I was rocking her to no avail, in my Dutalier rocker which I HIGHLY recommend, btw. As she wailed on like a banshee in my arms, my mind raced with all the things I had to do: fold the laundry, wash the dishes, workout, check emails, remove the chipped crusty polish from my nails, plan my toddlers b-day party, shower, brush my teeth, eat, sleep, and call the plumber. As the list raced through my mind I became more anxious, more upset, and more frustrated. Why is she crying?…Why won’t she stop?…I really have a lot to do…UGH! I just wanted it to stop.

Finally, in a rare moment of clarity, the following obvious yet profound thoughts ocurred to me:

  1. Babies cry.
  2. Babies are helpless.
  3. I am her mom.
  4. I am the only person (except her dad) that can help her.
  5. That is what moms do.

Ding Dong Mary, THIS IS MOTHERHOOD!  Moms hold, protect and love their babies. They stop everything else to do so.

They Surrender.

Obvious? Simple? Innate?

Maybe for some, but not to me. The reality of what being a mom means hit me like a flash of lightening in my weakest most raw state.  This little wonder, this miraculous gift from God, is my life, my blood, my everything. She is dependent on me for everything.  Nothing I need to do is more important.

The laundry and dishes, the plumber and nappy nails could wait.

At once, a sense of peace and clarity came over me. I could breath. I could see my baby, through and beyond the tears – hers and mine. She would not remember this moment, nor any of the moments to follow for many years to come, but this moment is what our relationship would be built on forever. In 5, 10, 15, 45 years from now, none of the things I had to get done will matter, but she will know that I am the person who loves her the most in this world. Not just because I conceived her, carried her and pushed her out my nether region. But because I raised and cared for her in sacrifice, surrender and pure love.

In that moment, I was humbled. I saw the higher plan for me and my role as mom. It was beautiful and moving, more than the words on this page can accurately describe.

Out of that moment came my 5 S’s of Parenting: Surrender, Survive, Sweat, Sacrife and Shhhhhhhut the f up. Any new or soon-to-be moms may want to check them out.

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gettin’ giggy with it

Does anyone else get a little giggy a few weeks before their birthday? Well I do, always. Every year. A few weeks before my birthday I start to act a little bitchier than usual, a lot more introspective and whole helluva lot more judgmental of myself and pretty much everything around me.. like the way my hubbie chews his food. Well my special day is right around the corner and today it dawned on me…no wonder I’m a complete hot mess.

So on top of being a little stressed that my hubbie’s work got cut to part-time and beyond exhausted since Lexi is both teething and double ear infecting and therefore up all night, I’ve got the friggin birthday blues.  I’m not really blue, I just feel blue, does that make sense?  I really have nothing in my life right now to be blue about… this just happens to me every year and I’ve learned to accept it.  It will pass and I will greet the new number to be added to my existing 3_ with a Coke and a smile. Bring it on!

But in the meantime, I am completely short on brain power and am worthless when it comes to this blog. I have started at least 4 different blog posts and saved each one as a draft, because I just can’t muster the brain capacity to complete a decent post. Any minute brain power I have is going to my kids my book project and to composing emails to the IT genius who is helping my re-vamp my site (new snazzy Mama Mary site should be up next week – woo hoo – Thanks Hunter!). So for all of you faithful readers, stay with me…It just may be awhile  before I can “make it work,” Tim Gunn style and write anything worth a darn.

I’m off  to bed now, and for the love of everything good and holy, I pray for a decent night’s sleep tonight. Sleep changes everything…except my age.

oh the wonderful things she can do

What are friends for, besides the obvious telling you about the large green chunk of food between your teeth, listening to you when you complain about the fact your significant other never takes out the trash, or dishing dirt on the latest celebrity gossip? Well in my world they serve the following purposes:

To notice my change in hair color and complement it with adjectives like hot and sexy.

To pick out a new accessory I’m wearing and ask where I got it, appreciate its stylish flare, and celebrate the fact it was only $14.99 at Target.

To compare notes on the previous night’s American Idol performances.

To sing the full libretto of Rent while imbibing “one last drink.”

To provide advice, counsel and insight on just about everything from a fashion ensemble to content for my latest project.

To help wipe snot from my toddler’s nose when my hands are full with the baby, a bottle, a binky, a snack, a diaper, a wipe, and a chai latte.

To lend me a book because she knows I will relish every word, just as she did.

I am blessed in life with many such friends for whom I am thankful for everyday.  But today I need to give props to one in particular…The ridiculously creative, talented, passionate and rock solid, Laura Lee.  She has been my dear friend for years, but recently she has been invaluable to me, for many reasons.

Her son Lucas was born 6 days after Lexi (though he looks like he’s Lily’s age) so we have been able to share the joys, fears, insecurities, frustrations and overwhelming happiness that accompanies the first year of a child’s life.

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Also, she too is a member of “the Club” and has been my sounding board, design guru and overall traveling companion along my book project journey.  Yesterday we met for lunch to catch up and to disucss design elements for the book.  With her she brought a book she just finished reading by Anne Lamott called Operating Instructions, which is a non-fiction work about the first year of her son’s life.  It is AMAZING! I’m already half-way through it and I highly recommend it for any mom who has recently (or not so recently) had a child.  Lamott is candid, crass, honest and raw. I have read several of her fictional works like Rosie, Hard Laughter, and Crooked Little Heart, but I have never read her non-fiction works for which she is most famous.

So I love this book and am wondering why I’m not using the kids’ nap right now to be reading instead of typing but I fee compelled to write this right now.

Not only do I resonate with Lamott’s writing’s about her experience as a mother, but I also connect to her on another level…Anne Lamott is a member of “The Club.”  She discusses her grief throughout the book and how it permeates various aspects of her life.  I am now on a mission to get Anne Lamott somehow involved with my book project.  I don’t know how I’m gonna do it, but I’m gonna do it.  Just watch me go…

But now back to my friend: Thank you LL Cool J, my dear friend who inspires me and encourages me. This poem, inspired by the delightful Dr. Seuss, is for you:

Oh the Wonderful Things She Can Do:

She can act, she can sing, she can do anything

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She can write, she can draw, she can paint on a wall.

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she can work, wife, and blog and be an awesome mom.

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Oh, the wonderful things she can do.  She can do it all and be an awesome friend too.
Check out her hilarously honest and sharply written blog – We Sit By Fire and her crazy good artistry at Lolly Lava Ink.

never say never – part 2

It occurred to me the other day that my out-of-shape a$$ will be running a half marathon in a few months, up the HILLS OF SAN FRANCISCO…really???  So, this week I dusted off my running shoes, put air in the jogging stroller tires and hit the trails, running.  No, it was jogging.  No, who am I kidding, it was walking swiftly with a few slow sprints mixed in.  I need to start training for my training, that became painfully clear.

While on my first day out, about 5 minutes into the run, only traces of the bribery lollipop were left in the form of a bright blue stain on Lil’s lips which were uttering, Mom I want to go home.

Ugh!

By the time I repeated Just a little bit longer, Lil for the umpteenth time, my desire to work it on out had completely dissipated, so I headed home, after only 15 minutes.

At some point that evening, between the “Oh, I hate this show!” and the “Turn it up!” I exclaimed to my hubbie every 10 minutes of the Bachelor: After the Rose (It really was the most dramatic one ever), I had a flashback to running with Lily in the jogging stroller one night when she was just a baby, before baby #2 was even a consideration. We ran past a dad whose toddler was watching a DVD player in the stroller.

I remember thinking, Oh you’re kidding me! You can’t mix nature and exercise with TV. How dare he? That is the lowest of the low. I will NEVER do that.


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Yesterday my run/walk was 45 minutes. Booya!

We do what we gotta do, right parents? Can I get a what what?

Pennies from Fallon

A few years ago I flew to New York to visit BFF Mariana with the third of our Three Amigos, Amy.  I was 3.5 months pregnant and just beginning to experience the ever-so-delightful perma-nauseum that accompanies the miracle of pregnancy.  As we slowly rolled out of bed on our first morning, jet-lagged and starving (yes, I still felt hungry through the nausea, it’s a wonderful combination), Amy and I debated our options for our morning meal.  Mern had already headed to the hospital for her shift, so Amy and I were left to our own devices.  It didn’t take much time for us to decide we were in need of a New York City bagel…STAT.  Good thing Gramercy Bagel was right across the street.

Here is where the conflict of my story comes in…Through the pukey hunger pains I needed to contemplate…Do I take time to put on make-up, brush my teeth, comb my hair and make myself presentable for the inevitable New York City Star Sighting or do I just throw on my nappy, stanky, airplane-stenched jeans and take care of my grumbling tummy and growing fetus?  This may seem like a no-brainer but to me it was a difficult decision of epic proportions:  On one hand… I RARELY go anywhere without make-up — at least my brows, mascara and lipgloss – and particularly if there is a chance of seeing a friend, foe, ex or celebrity. Vain?  Maybe. Precautious?  Yes.  Silly? Completely. But that’s the way it is, or at least was before I had kids.  On the other hand…Hunger and I are not friends, particularly when I am pregnant.  So the insatiable baby in my belly won and against my better judgment, and everything I stand for, I threw on the stale jeans, whipped up a pony and we headed for food. As I trepidatiously stepped into the elevator, Amy noticed my reluctance and said, “Don’t worry Mare, who would we possibly see?  We’ll only be gone a minute.”

Do you know where this is going?

We moseyed across the street to Gramercy Bagel with the cool New York air in our unkempt hair and before either of us landed both feet in the door, we saw him.  Hot hotterson funny man, even with a beanie, flannel and the “I partied pretty hard last night” eyes, Jimmy Fallon.  We looked at him, and immediately whipped our heads back at each other. Without a word we knew it was him and I knew I was going to KILL her when we got back to the apartment.  A mental image of my browless, glossless, nappy haired countenance made me shiver…Are you kidding me right now?  I patted my pockets in hopes of finding at least a tube of Bonnie Bell chapstick (cherry maybe?) but to no avail.

Disgruntled yet star-struck and sweaty-palmed, and still starving, we got behind him in line.  He was thowin’ out fist bumps and “what ups” to all the homies behind the counter. They knew his order. He was a local, a regular.  We were in his territory and I was beyond, beyond…Not sure what I even ordered.  As we neared the register, he dropped a penny.  Pretty sure it was a magic penny. Or in the very least a funny one. So there was the penny on the ground.  I wanted sooooo badly to say something witty, clever, memorable.  Then he would look at my cute baby belly (not the browless face) and make a comment like, “Oh, you’re pregnant, you should name your baby Penny?” Or something witty like that.  And that would be our moment. But no.  That’s not how it happened.  The penny fell between Jimmy and Amy.  She picked it up and gave it back to him and he said “No, you should keep it for good luck,” or some shit like that.  Being the attention hog that I am I poked my head around her and tried to speak, but all that came out was, “Good penny, luck you, hee hee.”  Oh for shit’s sake!  This is my moment with Jimmy Fallon?

But then I realized, oh ya…I’m married, happily, and to a hottie by the way.  And…on top of that pretty important detail, he’s a SUPER DUPER famous guy.  And he ordered two cups of coffee, probably to take back home to his lovely fiancé.  But yet… it was a brief fling in a bagel shop. And it was a fun story.  We smiled all day.  And continued to look for him, once we had our make-up on.  Just in case…

I’m telling this story tonight, on the eve of a VERY IMPORTANT DAY TOMORROW…
1)    My sister Laurie’s Birthday – Happy B-day LaLa~
2)    My friend Flo is having her second baby girl – Go get ‘em Flo!

AND

3)    Late Night with JIMMY FALLON begins – With special guests: Robert DeNiro and are you ready for this one…JUSTIN TIMBELAKE…What??? Can you tell I am bursting out of my skin with excitement right now?

Good luck Jimmy, knock ‘em dead!

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my two girls and the five senses

It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in San Diego Momma’s PROMTuesday, so since I am once again, in bed, in the dark, lying next to my sick baby girl, I will take a few minutes (not more than 10…that is the rule) to write about today’s topic:

Write a character sketch of someone you love (child, partner, pet, mentor, etc.). Detail this person, let us see him or her through your description. Maybe you want to “show” your loved one through action and movement, or perhaps you are viewing him or her in repose. Either way, get down to brass tacks and give us the one you love through your writing.

Lily & Lexi — my dears, my dolls, my doves, my delights , my dy-no-mites —

The color of sunshine

Music to my ears

Soft to the touch, exquisite, finer than china

The smell of rain: pure, clean, fresh, beautiful, joyful

Edible

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A letter to my daughters #2

My dearest Lexi,

As I type this letter, in my room, in the dark, you lay next to me, sleeping, fitfully.  Your writhing and moaning makes me want to reach into your perfect little body and remove whatever demonic aching you feel.  And I wonder, is it the wretched ear infection making another guest appearance?  Or maybe another budding tooth is callously cutting your pink soft gums? Or worse yet, is it something I fed you today, wreaking havoc with your intestines?  Your skin is clammy and I want to text Tia Mariana with your symptoms (bff Mariana, the doctor) but my rational side is stopping me, since it is 1:00am her time and most likely it is nothing major.   Or if it is something major, it is highly doubtful she’d be able to diagnose it through a text.   So instead, I have brought you to bed with me, against ALL advice from EVERY other living human being, including doctors and most parents I know, because 1) I don’t want you to wake your sweet sister Lily, who just finally fell asleep, and to whom I owe an apology, see below, and 2) Because all I want to do is hug the hurt away.   After an hour of tossing, turning and kicking out your cute little soon-to-be soccer legs, I again went against every piece of advice and let you nurse from an almost completely dry well, as it was the only way I could think to give you comfort…Selma Hayek style.  And guess what…it worked.  Now you are sleeping soundly, with angels. And I’ll stand guard, all night, if I have to, to keep the angels in and the icky, mean, owie monsters out.

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And to my sweet, tenacious Lily Grace,
I am so proud of you for working on going pee pee in the potty this week.  I think our chart with the ducky stickers (the only ones I could find) and the lollipop prizes are working.
I must apologize to you, however.  You are getting a raw deal lately, having to share a room with your baby sister.  On one hand, I am quite glad you’re in the same room, as I think it will foster a special closeness between you two later in life.  But on the other hand, on night’s like tonight, it is not an ideal situation.  I was so concerned with keeping Lexi asleep in her crib that I got mad at you for making too much noise, when really all you were doing was being a kid.  You were talking to your dollies, which I think is just precious, and I overreacted.  I told you I loved you before you fell asleep but there was an invisible fog of mommy’s angst still looming above the crib.  Hopefully, your naivete blocked it out.

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I love you both, my little lulus.
XOXO
Mommy