Monday, February 3, 2014

Would I Trade Places?

The other day on the radio, the morning hosts posed a question:

"Wives, would you trade places with your husbands?"

OK. I had to think about that question for about 2.5 seconds. And since I'm ADHD I had seven other, completely unrelated thoughts during that time.

Both of us have similarities in our jobs:
  1. We both work an unmanageable number of hours per week.
  2. We both rarely get praise or recognition for the amount of hard work we put in by the people we do the most work for. 
But that's kind of where the similarities end. 

More About His Job
  1. He travels about 75% of the time to places like London, Tokyo, and Chicago. He is Diamond level with Hilton Hotels and Platinum level with Delta Airlines.
  2. He gets to stay at nice hotels with Executive Lounges that give you free drinks and snacks in the evening. Good morning, Mr. Edgecomb! Good evening, Mr. Edgecomb! Of course I can take care of that for you, Mr. Edgecomb!
  3. He gets to eat out in restaurants where people cook your food, bring it to you, and then clean up after you leave.
  4. He doesn't have to make his own bed or take out the trash because someone else does it for him. 
  5. No one barfs on his bedroom rug and looks to him to clean it up.
  6. If he is traveling over a weekend, he can do cool things like go to the theatre or sleep in.
Note: Right now he is in Tokyo for 10 days...
More About My Job
  1. Due to aforementioned travel, much of the time I am a  single mom — to 3 boys (currently at home) from age 8 - 16.
  2. I am also a Scout den leader — although I didn't sign up to be one — because my husband isn't there to do it.
  3. I love to cook, but eat smoothies, eggs, and leftovers more than anything else because most of the time it's just not worth it when you're only cooking for kids who are OK with eggs. Again.
  4. I make the kids do their homework, practice their instruments, and eat their veggies. And I get the pleasure of frequently being told that I am hated because of it.
  5. I have to break up sibling fights a dozen times a day. Or at least tell them to go outside because I don't want to hear it.
  6. I have a before-bed list of chores and tasks that takes about 30 minutes or more because I'm the only person here to do it most of the time.
  7. I'm responsible. (As in: If a kid is sick, I'm responsible. If a kid needs disciplining, I'm responsible. If that cat pukes on the rug, I'm responsible.) 
  8. Oh, and I also have a part-time job. 
So, back to the original question:

"Wives, would you trade places with your husbands?"

My answer:

"Not just no. Hell no!"

Because if I want to talk to my kids, I don't have to calculate time zone differences.

Because Skype is cool, but live is cooler.

Because you can't snuggle with an iPad.

Because sometimes I want eggs, and I don't have to figure out if the hotel restaurant in Tokyo can make them just the way I like them.

Because one "I love you Mommy!" coupled with a hug can cover a multitude of sins.

Because if I'm having a bad day, I have friends I can call to cry or laugh together. Or dump my kids on.

Because, as much as I complain about them, I don't have to miss sports games,  recitals, class parties, or teacher meetings for work.

Because my bed is better than any hotel bed.

Because I don't have to decide ten days ahead of time what I'm going to want to wear ten days from now.

Because I will never be downsized out of my job. Not for a long time anyway.

Because the amount of responsibility he carries on his broad shoulders is more than I can imagine.

Because I know that even if international travel were all it's cracked up to be ... and it's not ... that he'd rather be here doing this.

Disclaimer: This does not mean that, given the opportunity, I wouldn't like to get a few more stamps in my passport. Nor am I forfeiting the right to complain about my job to anyone who will listen. I mean, let's be real guys.

Finish Well.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Five-Minute Friday: Family Heroes

[Today's one-word writing prompt: Hero]

A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Sandwich.

Raise your hand if you got that one.

OK. I got that out of my system.

I know with all of the snow and ice and crap that's been going on in Atlanta recently, you think I'm going to write about the cop who handed out coffee and granola bars to stranded motorists on the highway. Or the hotel worker who walked three miles in the snow to get a non-paying guest (i.e., lobby squatter) who had just had open heart surgery the medicine he needed. Or the man who walked five miles to be with his child who was stuck at school.

But I'm not! (Hey, wait a minute. Didn't I just?....)

After that obvious stuff passed, I was thinking about everyday heroes in my own family. So I just want to give a few shout-outs.

To my mother who didn't kill me when they took me to London when I was 11, and I made her skip something really lovely and educational to take me to Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum and House of Horrors. That's an afternoon of your life you will never get back. I'm sorry.

To my dad who melted Hershey chocolate for me after I had my tonsils out when I was 8. Is that cool or what?

To my niece who is a kick-ass single mom of two little minions, yet manages to cook more than I do (and better), have a wicked garden, and still have a raucous social life. At least it looks that way on Facebook.

To my husband who once had to hold a bowl for me to vomit into while I was ... um ... doing other things. TMI, I know. But you guys just have to know what I've put this man through.

There are plenty of others, but I'm out of time. That really isn't the image I wanted to leave you with. Sorry 'bout that.

Finish Well.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Holidays Make Me Feel Incompetent*

* Stolen from Jana Anthoine

I just took down my Christmas tree.

I admit it. My Christmas tree was up until Wednesday, January 22. And if carpet cleaners had not been coming to try to get red gel food coloring out of Jordan's new bedroom carpet, it would probably still be there.

If my tree were alive instead of completely, utterly fake, it would have looked like this:

Which is why we have a fake tree, by the way. Too many years of that.

Why, pray tell, was my Christmas Tree up until the 29th Day of Christmas?

Excuse #1: I need hubby's help to take it down, and he travels.

That's a lie.

When it finally did come down, he wasn't there. He was in Chicago. I took the ornaments off, boxed them up, and then Joshua and Sandy took our Christmas tree apart and took it to the basement.

And I certainly don't need his help to take down the Santa Claus flag which is still  hanging by the front door.

Excuse #2: I didn't put it up until late, so I'm still enjoying having it up.

That's a lie, too.

I was cursing that tree by the time it came down.
Cursing every time the cats knocked an ornament off and the dog ate it.
Cursing every time I went to bed with the lights still turned on. Yes, we were turning the lights on right up until the end.
And cursing when I thought about what you thought when your kids came home and said, "The Edgecombs still have their Christmas tree up! Why did we have to take ours down three weeks ago?"

And it also doesn't explain why I had to take down my Halloween flag to put up my Christmas one. Doh!


You know what's great about the Internet? I can Google "For Better or Worse Christmas Cartoon" and one of my favorite cartoons of all time pops up:

Back to our regularly scheduled program.

My mother did special things for all major holidays and made it look easy. Maybe that's why this cartoon resonated with me. It's what moms are supposed to do. We create magic half a dozen times a year (not including kids' birthdays) without breaking a sweat.

Well guess what? I sweat.

And I curse.

And I never make it look easy.

So holidays make me feel incompetent. Like I'm not a good mom.

But wouldn't I be a worse mom if I gave my boys an unrealistic view of what holidays should be? To let them grow up thinking that adorably-decorated cookies in eight different flavors just appear? That everything magically goes up on time and comes down on time with no effort expended whatsoever?

So I'm being incompetent for my kids. And my future daughters-in-law. On purpose.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Finish Well.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday: The Best Laid Plans

[This week's one word writing prompt: Visit. And I know it's Saturday. I've gotten over it. So should you.]

This week I was reminded of a memory that's not one of my favorites.

When I was in middle school, my parents and I traveled to Richmond, VA, to visit my father's father who was dying. When Senior summons Junior and The Third because his doctor says he's not long for this world, you come.

We went to the Masonic Retirement Home to see him. Papa Stu was a Mason? How did I not know that? My parents told me that until he retired there, they weren't aware either. It's incredible how much you learn about someone right before they die. I suppose it's one of life's ironies.

It was good to see him. To say good-byes and reminisce as much as you can with someone whose memory and hearing are both failing. As I looked back and forth between my father and grandfather, I tried to envision Dad thirty or forty years hence.

Would I be bringing my children to a stiflingly hot retirement home room to visit? 
Would my mom be there, or would she have passed already? 
What would we learn about him in his final days that had remained hidden for most of his life?

But in another of life's ironies our visit was cut short. My mother's father passed away unexpectedly in Thomasville, NC.

I collapsed into tears.

Where was his final visit?
Where was his gathering of the children and grandchildren? 
Where was his chance to say good-bye?
What was his secret I never got to learn?

Papa Stu hung on until well into my college days. When he finally did succumb, I was abroad and didn't even know it had happened until weeks later.

But that's another story for another day.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Too Old for Cheap Tampons

I've decided I'm too old for lots of things I used to put up with. Like cheap tampons.

Early on in my adult life, I learned the lesson that just because my parents could afford to provide me with clothes from Talbot's, it doesn't mean that at age 22, I could continue to do so.

That discovery was made during a very embarrassing trip to Talbot's to return about $600 worth of clothes I couldn't afford. Lesson learned: look at the price tags. Mama ain't here to do it for me any more.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Kissing the Face of God

I am currently enamored with the Christmas song, "Mary Did You Know?" Here is a link to the song if you're not familiar. It's worth a listen.

What has captured my thoughts is the line, "And when you kiss your little baby, you've kissed the face of God."

What could that have felt like? To kiss the actual, physical face of God? And to have it disguised as a child?

Did she know? 

Could she comprehend? If not, when did the pieces fall into place? At that first miracle at the wedding in Cana? At what point did she really know what ... or whom ... she was dealing with?*

But what occurred to me the other day is that I kiss the face of God every day. Every time I kiss my children ... every time I kiss my husband ... every time I kiss the top of one of my children's friends heads ... I am also kissing God.

We are God's sons and daughters. Adopted, yes, but no less family. No less kin. No less image-bearers.

I wish I remembered that more when my kids are fighting. Or disobeying. Or procrastinating. Or pouting. Maybe that's my Christmas wish for myself this year. Don't see them as little bickering gremlins with a crappy attitude.

Look into their eyes, smile, and kiss the face of God.

[*Note: Bad grammar. I know. Get over it.]

Friday, December 6, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Good-bye Hair

{Today's 5 Minute Friday word prompt is "reflect."}

Last night, I spent quite a while looking back through photos of me over the last three years. Not because I entirely enjoy seeing myself in photos. I honestly despise a lot of them. My skin is blotchy, my weight see-saws between Hot Mama and "crap, another pair of pants I can't breathe in." And I have made a few (well....more than a few) really heinous fashion faux-pas over the years. I am frequently Ann Hathaway from The Devil Wears Prada before her Stanley Tucci makeover, sans the onion bagel.

But I was looking back through these pictures because I'm cutting my hair off today for the first time in about three years. Three years ago, my darling husband asked me to grow out my hair so he could see what it looked like long.  Because then it was really short.

So I did. I kinda wanted to see it, too.

So it grew.

And it grew.

And it grew.

Until now it is longer than my hair has ever been in my life. But you know what I discovered?

Long hair is a lot of work! At least mine is.