It takes a village

12545490_1672146226396144_1312233716_nDrew joined the Cub Scouts this last year. Late by standards I am sure, but after the troops visited school, he asked, a lot, to join and finally after talking to a friend about his sons’ involvement in Boy Scouts, I decided to give it a go. He’s been a member since right before the holiday and it’s been fun. It’s the thing he and I do together even though it’s probably more a dad and son thing to do. I have enjoyed going to the meetings and the field trips.

I have not enjoyed how freaking confused I am. I admit, I should probably read this Bear book. I am totally lost when it comes to understanding why we’re meeting policemen and visiting wildlife places. And outside of being helpful to the hungry, I don’t know why the Scouts annually collect food. Except maybe to earn badges… but I don’t really know much about that either.

And then, gasp, Pinewood Derby hit and they said, “buy a kit, it’s all you have to do” and so I did and it was a block of wood, four pins and four wheels and I was totally lost.


My brother is handy thankfully. And despite my house of subpar tools, a beautiful car was created. Drew painted it and Kevin will take it to a friends how to make sure the wheels and axels are just so. And so while I wanted to do it myself, because I am the Cub Scout Mom, I had to rely on my village.

The whole idea of a village is hard for me. The introvert. It’s also hard for me to accept help. I have always thought to myself, “these are my kids, they are my responsibility” especially  with the stigmas attached to large family (see the Duggard’s buddy system). I also hate the thought of not being able to do something. But, I cannot cut wood. And I need more time to learn to build a really good derby car.

It took a village. I fell short, because I am human and my village stepped up.

I have a strange brain. Even though I know I should think about the “what ifs”, I do. What if I was a single mom? What would my little Cub Scout do? I think people think this is a bad thing to do sometimes but I think it’s makes for good planning. Good helping. I’ll ask now… what happens to the Cubs who don’t have a parent who can help them with this kind of thing? Maybe a single Dad who doesn’t work wood and doesn’t have family near. Maybe some kind of network, some village needs to be in place for that. People helping people. Because you never know.


I also learned from all this that you can’t take over the projects. Holy heck I wanted to paint that car so bad. But this is not my project. It is Drew’s and letting him do it, is part of the journey. It’s a real struggle to not say, “this could be this way” or “paint it like this”. I cleaned up his bomb and realized what I was doing. And I stepped away. It’s Drew’s car. Not mine.

More lessons in parenting. I’m learning more and more every day.

Saturday is the big race. The weather is calling for a tremendous amount of snow so I am hoping we can still get there. We bought a van to replace my much loved truck and judging from how it did in the first snow, we may not be going anywhere.

Oh how I miss my truck right now. I really don’t want to miss his derby.

I don’t want to miss anything.


Let it go, let it go

IMG_2895Dixon can sing. He sings more than he talks. I think he’s partial to Mumford and Sons, “I will wait for you” but we’ve added “Let it Go” from Frozen to our impressive list of lyrical awesomeness.

He says Papa, Daddy (sounds more like Dadeeeee), Bubba and I poop. This week we added shoes to his ever present, Go. He talks a lot. He’s lightyears ahead of where Dexter was and it makes me feel bad that I did not push for help with Dexter sooner. Mom guilt. There is always some sort of mom guilt, isn’t there?

As a mother I never know what the right thing to do is. And everyone has their opinion. Everyone who loves your child, weighs in. They want what is best for them too. And then, if you’re like me, you have other children to compare too. So one may talk late but need no assistance while another should of had more help from day one.

Sometimes it feels like a losing battle.

I wonder too, sometimes, if the invitation of social media to my life and the lives of my children has grown the guilt monster. I know it’s grown Guilt’s friend, Doubt and through the years I have found my self sharing less and less because I don’t want the weigh in. People with good intentions, without inflection. They mean well but come across mean or hurtful… because well, interwebs (inside joke)

“Did someone suggest that because they think I am a bad mother? Do they think I am not spending enough time with this one or that one? Did I make the wrong choice?”

We have to learn to just let it go. I have to learn to let it go. I am thankful for the tiny sounds of Dixon, to remind me.

We can’t be right all the time. In years we will look back and questions our decisions I am sure. Was it right to move Devlynn across the country? Did I kill her social life? Maybe but she goes to schools that make the schools in Denver look like playtime. She has the fortunate opportunity to live in the history epicenter and her love of history flourishes here and just grows stronger. She may not have a gaggle of friends but she has other things instead.

All we can do is try and do our best, right? Learn from our mistakes. Walk away from the bad and try and start over with better, with different choices. And learn to forgive ourselves and let it go.


Baseball season approaches again. My favorite sport of them all. Last year, I put too much pressure on myself and on my kids. I worried too much about something, that in scheme of things, won’t matter in time. This year, we’re taking a different approach. No travel teams. Just private lesson and rec. It’s Davis’ last year at the rec league and I’m not gonna ruin it by putting pressure on him or myself. It’s probably an unpopular decision but it’s the only one that works for my family. Letting go of the pressure. Let it go.

Baseball, lacrosse, Cub Scouts, well they should be fun. Yes, they’re work and they’ll teach our kids things but in the end, if they’re not enjoying it, they’re not taking away from it the important lessons we put them in these things, to learn. If there is anything I want my children to know, it is that you don’t have to be miserable. Find work that you love. Find people that you love to be around. Life doesn’t have to be full of misery. Not if you don’t want it to.

We have to learn to let the bullshit go. Let it go.

That’s my mantra this year.. hopefully, I can stick with it.



Dreaded Valentine’s Day

IMG_0721In elementary school, our school had love bears. You paid a dollar or something like that for them and sent them to the “friends” you wanted. In my entire time at Ryan Elementary, I never got one. Not once. I started hating Valentine’s Day right then and there.

It’s a stupid holiday really. Love, schmuve. The Saint Valentine story isn’t very romantic. I mean, I guess *he* (St. Valentine) was a little. He married people, in secret. Claudius put a ban on marriage with the thinking that unmarried soldiers fought better. Typical idiotic thinking. Saint Valentine married them anyway and then got his head cut off.

So now, we exchange tokens of love or, like me, we don’t at all and spend the rest of our lives thinking about how stupid the holiday really is.

Devlynn and I were walking through Wegmen’s. She pouted through the pink and red of the Valentine’s section. She hates it too. She’s single. Having trouble with fitting in and making friends that last. She too hates Valentine’s Day.

And now, to add the the distaste, I’ve fallen into the pressure of “world’s best toddler/preschool Valentine”. Because I am “that mom”. And I used to really love to make them but now? It’s like a competition of who can make and deliver the best Valentine ever. It’s really sucked the fun out of it.

This year I may let the kids pick boxed cards. I may refuse to attach lollipops and pencils. I may send dark cards with bad jokes or I may just ignore it all together.

I have slowly but surely fallen into the “I hate the holidays” slump. Christmas about sends me over the edge every year and now I am starting to dread the little ones too. Easter may put me in a straight jacket if I see another basket stuffed with 10 speeds and iPhones.

But as I complain, I wonder to myself, why do I care? Why does it matter what someone else fills their child’s basket with? It doesn’t but I can’t help but flash back to the day when I didn’t get the bear Valentine and the many years after when I just wasn’t “important” enough to celebrate.

I work hard to make sure my kids feel loved each and every holiday.  I won’t be able to protect them from feeling left out at school or missing out when candy-grams are passed around but I can teach them at home, that their tiny chocolate token has just as much love in it as the neighbor boy’s bicycle. It’s hard to teach kids about comparisons, especially when you’re still navigating the ideas yourself. When you feel like less of a parent because you have to work so much harder for the vacation or the baseball bat or the lacrosse lessons. It’s easy to forget that everyone is working for something. Especially when you’re viewing the highlight reels of Facebook.

This Valentine’s Day I should perhaps ask my children to love on someone who might not get the bear Valentine. Simple acts can change lives. Just tiny things. This holiday we made cookies for our neighbors on both the right and left side. In addition to the two small plates I made for them, I thought to include a third for the nice lady across the street who compliments the children and also roots on our football team. A small plate with pizzelles, oatmeals and gingerbread,s and a few yummy spritz, which are my fav to make. Tiny and sprinkled with lovely sugar. I sent the three oldest boys out for delivery on Christmas Eve and thought nothing of it till the third plates owner caught me walking home from school. She thanked us and mentioned her dad had died the 23rd. And that spritz cookies were her favorite and that she’d not made them this year (even though she made them every year with her late mother’s vintage press) because she was so sad. And seeing the tiny plate, delivered by tiny hands with her favorite holiday cookie, made her happy for a moment in a time of great sadness.

Who knew a few cookies could make things okay, even if for just one minute.

So this year, I am going to encourage my kids to send proverbial bears. So no one else hates Valentine’s day. Because no one else should feel unloved…..