Tag Archives: inspirational

“Why Me” (A Thanksgiving Reminder)”

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Why me?”, then a voice answers “Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.”
Charlie Brown

We all get overwhelmed. We go to places that make us wonder what we’ve done to bring such challenges to our lives and question how in the world we’re supposed to cope when so many things are going wrong. The voice that tells you “Nothing personal…” is only slightly satisfying. I really believe you, and me, and everyone else; we need to look at the things in our lives that ARE working and that are, in fact, going better than we could ever have hoped for. When those things come to mind, we need to be just as diligent and ask:

“Why Me?”

When we are facing a challenge and friends rush to our sides to assist us:

“Why Me?”

When we suffer a serious accident, and somehow survive:

“Why Me?”

When we have a child who is struggling with school, and we have teachers who join with us to assist in moving them to success:

“Why Me?”

If we focus solely on the things that are challenges, we just don’t realize how each day brings positives we will miss when our head is down and shaking in dismay. We miss our opportunities to be thankful for today. I am not a Pollyanna, I have suffered many hardships in my life. As I’ve grown through them I’ve come to realize they were a gift that brought focus to the good times in my life. They provided clarity to my thoughts about “the routine” and sharp edges to what is really hard and what is just nonsense. They’ve helped me put into perspective how fleeting time really is.

Now when my sons, rush off the bus, jackets flying and backpacks bumping up and down; when they rush up the driveway in a full out race, laughing and fussing about cheating and head starts; all the time with their eyes smiling. I’ve come to understand that I am witness to the morning of their lives. That’s when I ask:

“Why Me?”

and that’s when I say thank you for all the moments that have shaped me and brought me to this place.

At Thanksgiving especially – look around at your place in this world and ask

“Why Me?”

It’s sometimes overwhelming when we realize just how lucky we are.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

“Why Me” (A Thanksgiving Reminder)

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Why me?”, then a voice answers “Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.”
Charlie Brown

We all get overwhelmed. We go to places that make us wonder what we’ve done to bring such challenges to our lives and question how in the world we’re supposed to cope when so many things are going wrong. The voice that tells you “Nothing personal…” is only slightly satisfying. I really believe you, and me, and everyone else, needs to look at the things in our lives that ARE working and that are, in fact, going better than we could ever have hoped for. When those things come to mind, we need to be just as diligent and ask:

“Why Me?”

When we are facing a challenge and friends rush to our sides to assist us:

“Why Me?”

When we suffer a serious accident, and somehow survive:

“Why Me?”

When we have a child who is struggling with school, and we have teachers who join with us to assist in moving them to success:

“Why Me?”

If we focus solely on the things that are challenges, we just don’t realize how each day brings positives we will miss when our head is down and shaking in dismay. We miss our opportunities to be thankful for today. I am not a Pollyanna, I have suffered many hardships in my life. As I’ve grown through them I’ve come to realize they were a gift that brought focus to the good times in my life. They provided clarity to my thoughts about “the routine” and sharp edges to what is really hard and what is just nonsense. They’ve helped me put into perspective how fleeting time really is.

Now when my sons, rush off the bus, jackets flying and backpacks bumping up and down; when they rush up the driveway in a full out race, laughing and fussing about cheating and head starts; all the time with their eyes smiling. I’ve come to understand that I am witness to the morning of their lives. That’s when I ask:

“Why Me?”

and that’s when I say thank you for all the moments that have shaped me and brought me to this place.

Imperfect Parenting

A friend recently told me she likes to read what I write. I let parents look at my imperfections. They get to read about about the things I’ve done right and wrong and they often identify with it.

I do make a lot of mistakes.

I remember taking the boys on a journey to New Jersey when they were very young. Danny was still in a stroller, just an infant as I recall. We stopped to go into a break area and there was a pond at the top of an inclined walkway that lead to the rest stop entrance. The pond was filled with goldfish so I stopped with the boys to gaze into the water. Cool right?

As the boys and I leaned over the edge of the pond, I heard a woman call to me:

“Ma’am, your baby.”

I looked around and saw to my horror that the stroller with Danny in it was rolling down the hill, about to hit a curb and jump into the road of the parking area.

What do you do at that moment?

What exactly do you do?

I had three toddlers by a pool of water, and an infant in a stroller; a stroller that was rolling into a parking lot.

I couldn’t catch the stroller. It had gone too far and was picking up speed. In those seconds that passed, I held my breath.

Literally, I held my breath and stood there paralyzed for what seemed like hours.

As the stroller picked up speed and rolled toward the road, God,

(I don’t often mention God actually taking the time to touch my life. I know it’s happened, probably more than I realize, but I don’t think he’s there waiting for me to screw up as a parent and come to my rescue)

at that moment God, sent me two guardian angels. Almost like it was choreographed those two angels stepped from behind the building and stopped the stroller.

They stopped it. It was kind of like they were waiting for that moment to do something amazing and stopping my baby from going into the road was that amazing thing they were there to do.

It was like going from panic to a perfectly normal moment in the blink of an eye;

in the blink of an eye.

Okay moms, then what do you do?

You get the little guys off the pond’s edge and you run, YOU RUN, down the hill and try to manage your mixture of relief, joy, and embarrassment. Relief that a moment of impending disaster has changed to a moment filled with tears, thank you’s, and joy.

“Thank God” drips from your mouth and little beads of sweat finally have the nerve to show themselves and run down your face.

Then, you feel the embarrassment.

You just did something SO FREAKING STUPID that you can’t believe that you’ve actually been entrusted with these four incredible, little lives.

SO FREAKING STUPID when you realize that, ONCE AGAIN, you screwed up.

Embarrassment since people are now shaking their heads at you:

“That’s why there’s a break on it lady.”

“Why’d she have that many kids so close together anyway?”

“Can you believe that she didn’t move?”

When you start to breathe again, you take your little boys and walk into the rest area.

You take them into the women’s bathroom with you and go into a stall telling them to stand

“RIGHT THERE!”,

watching their little feet under the door stall.

Then you vomit. You vomit everything you’ve ever eaten in your life. You vomit until your sides are sore and your stomach is squeezed in spasms and then, you wipe the puke off your face, and the tears out of your eyes and you go back out to those four little boys and smile and ask:

“Who wants a milkshake?”

There you have it. My parenting guide:

“Imperfect Parenting”: How to do a million things wrong, and still raise pretty good kids.”

That’s what I’m good at.

Making lots of mistakes, messing up the experts advice,

(most of whom have NEVER been stay at home moms or dads, and actually dealt with the day in and day out parenting realities most of us face),

and still raising children who are grounded, responsible and pretty darn cool.

Last night I found a little girl wandering away from the middle school where I was picking up my son. She was cute as a button. She had long pig tails, dressed real sweet, and just walking like she owned the road ahead of her.

Problem was she was way out of anyone’s sight and I didn’t see anyone near her. I knew she’d slipped away.

I jumped out of my car, walked quickly to her, and talked to her.

“I can’t find my mommy.” She said. She was four.

We started walking back toward the school together and after I got a pretty good distance toward the door of the school I hear from way over at the baseball field:

“Skyler, Skyler; What are you doing?”

We looked and there was Skyler’s daddy running full speed toward us. I started walking toward him and Skyler and I did “knuckles”.

“Thank you SO MUCH.” her father called to me and little Miss Pigtails went running toward a very important discussion with her father.

“No problem dad.”

“I’ve been there.” I yelled as she closed the gap between her and her dad.

Phew, I thought.

Guardian Angels – 2

Imperfect Parenting – 2

As long as it stays a tie; we win.

Things I think:

Things I think:

1. If it is flameless…it is NOT a candle.  It’s a light.

 2.  If you are one of the four out of five women that cannot read a pregnancy test, you should NOT be having children.  You are stupid.

3.  Even if you didn’t take a little blue pill, any erection that lasts longer than 4 hours requires medical attention. Frankly, your wife needs to get examined too!

4.  Future episodes of Degrassi on the Nick TV channel should NOT be advertised during iCarly reruns; especially the ones about lesbianism.

5.  You should NOT check the “Correct Blemishes” box on your child’s school photo ordering sheet.  Kids should not think they need to be photo shopped to sit on their parent’s shelf.  They are perfect.

6.  Teenage kids should not be able to express themselves by wearing any part of a military uniform unless/until he or she has worn it in combat or in service to their nation. 

7.  Stay at home moms deserve the right to represent what they do at career day.  They don’t stay home because they are unable to do anything else.  It’s because they are putting their considerable talents into raising their children.  Trust me—it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

8.  If you are a commissioned officer in the United States military (or a retired officer drawing retirement pay) and you use contemptuous words against the President, you are in violation of Article 88 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and are subject to a court martial.  Yes.  If you are retired they can reactivate you and court martial your butt.  That is the case even if you do it with a wink and a smile and a nudge.  Clean up your act.  You fight for democracy, you don’t live by it.    

9.  Skinny people do NOT eat McDonald’s food. 

10.  Going to the McDonald’s drive through, ordering coffee and having the little black box ask you “Where’ve you been?” is NOT a good sign.

11.  If you have 18 children, that’s enough.  Really, 18 of anything is enough.  If you cannot control yourselves please stay in separate rooms.

12.  If someone offers you a reality television show you are odd.  In some way you are odd and there is nothing good going to come of it.

13.  If you do get a reality TV show, when things in your personal life go to crap please, please, please don’t go on the talk show route and talk about the intrusion into your personal life.  Refer back to #12 and probably #2.  You are odd and you are stupid. 

14.  If airlines are going to sell food or alcoholic beverages then they should have adequate change for people who buy the food and beverages they have to sell.  I’ve been flying in airplanes since I was 16 years old and they STILL announce they can’t make change when you buy a drink.  Is this rocket science?

15.  If you are 24 years or under – you don’t have a “life story”.  Don’t write a book.  It makes us 40 somethings mad.  Only people that have lived longer than a horse should be able to write a book about their life story. 

16.  The world changes when both your parents have passed away.  If you are in this situation, you know what I’m talking about.  Home is no longer someone or someplace you go to visit.   There is a  painful hole that you will never fill with anything but sweet memories.  I respect the process and the whole circle of life thing, but I miss my mom and dad.

17.  If for some reason you are not speaking to one of your children, you need to fix it.  You are the parent, you are the grown-up, and you need to fix it.  It may hurt and it may be the last thing you think you need to do or you owe to your child; but someday you will die.  When you do, you want to leave someone grieving your loss.  It means you impacted a life. 

Your tombstone will not say:

“I was right by God”. 

and…

even if it does;

No one will come to read it.

Parenting Tip of the Day:  We struggled with our decision on letting the boys see their Grandmother’s body.  My husband was traumatized by that process when he was young and we all worried that perhaps our boys were too young.  In the end, we asked them for their thoughts.  We were very frank with our children that the body was not their grandmother that she’d left.  In honesty, they did not know her very well.  She was sick for about the past seven years.  They opted to be a part of the service and I’m glad they were there.  They heard me speak about her legacy and they rallied around me in support.  And the oldest, the one that did know her, he cried.  I’m glad he cried.  Some things are worth being sad about.

“What’s Wrong With Mom?”

Sunday Afternoon (The scene):

      Four boys sitting on one couch looking down and playing their new DS games they purchased earlier in the day.

     Husband of four boys sitting in “his chair” (why do men have “a chair” anyway); looking down at his laptop.

     Mom walks in, sits down and literally as her butt touches the cushion:

——————————————————————————————–

Brother #1 (not looking up):

    “What’s for dinner mom?”

Mom:

     “Flank steak and roasted red potatoes.”

Brother #2 to Brother #1 (not looking up):

     “What did she say?”

Brother #1 to Brother #2:

     “Meat and potatoes.”

Brother #4 to Mom.

     “What kind of potatoes?”

Mom:

     “Roasted red potatoes.”

Brother #4 to Mom:

    “Do I like those?”

Mom:

    “Yes.”

Brother #2 to Brother #4:

    “What’d she say.”

Brother #4 to Brother #2:

    “Potatoes I like.”

Brother #2 to Mom:

    “Do I like those kind too Mom?”

Mom to Brother #2:

     “Yes, you like those kind.”

Brother #1 to Mom:

     “They’re not the kind I like are they mom?”

Mom to Brother #1:

     “I’m not sure you do like those kind Jake.”

Brother #1:

     “Oh Man.” (In that long drawn out “maaaaaaaaaaan” sort of way.)

Brother #3 to Brother #1 (without looking up)

    “What’s wrong?”

Brother #1 to Brother #3:

     “Mom’s making the kind of potatoes I don’t like for dinner.”

Brother #3 to Mom:

    “Do I like them mom.”

Mom (a little louder):

    “I DON’T KNOW IF YOU LIKE THEM BEN.  But those are the kind I’m making.”

Brother #4 to Mom:

    “Can’t you make French fries?”

Mom to Brother #4:

     “Yes, I COULD make French Fries, BUT I’m making roasted red potatoes!”

Brother #1 to Brother #4:

     “Huh?”

Brother #4 to Brother #1:

     “She won’t make us French Fries.”

Brother #1:

     “Oh man!”

Brother #2 to Mom (not looking up):

    “Can we have peaches?”

Mom to Brother #2:

    “Yes, if there are peaches you can have peaches.”

Brother #4 to Mom:

   “But I don’t like peaches.”

Mom to Brother #4:

    “Then you don’t have to HAVE peaches.”

Brother #3 to Mom:

    “Can’t we have mandarin oranges.”

Mom to Brother #3:

     “I DON’T CARE if you have mandarin oranges instead of peaches; it’s up to you.”

Brother #1 to Mom:

    “How about salad.  Are we having salad?”

—————————————————————————-

Husband to Mom:

    “Where you going?”

Mom to husband:

    “I’m going to watch TV in my room.”

Husband to Mom:

    “What’s for dinner?”

Mom to husband (Who is STILL looking down):

     “You’re kidding me, right?”

Brother #3 to Dad:

    “What’s wrong with Mom?”

Dad to Brother #3:

     “She’s a little edgy today.”

Brother #1 (without looking up):

     “What’d he say?”

Parenting Tip of the Day:

When they were little I started serving the boys spinach with ranch dressing.  It was “dark green lettuce” I told them.  Now they are very happy to “eat their spinach”.  (All except #4 who won’t eat ANYTHING other than meat and potatoes.)

The Life Cycle

“I killed it.”

 Well I guess I should say,

“We killed it.”

Not sure what the cause of death is officially, but it was a long time coming and the smell, once death was pronounced, the smell was awful. 

We had 22 good years together so I can’t complain.  How many things in your life do exactly what they’re supposed to do for 22 years? 

Oh sure, there were times it was overwhelming.  All the bending and lifting; crossing the line between dirty and clean over and over again. 

Nothing in my life has brought me such grief and such joy as that which I am now laying to rest.

Goodbye washer.

Goodbye dryer.

You’ve served our family well.  I don’t think it was the first 10 years that were too tough on you.  After all it was just the two of us. 

It was these past 12, all the itty bitty socks and t-shirts that became hundreds of pairs of sweat socks you repeatedly cycled around and around.  All the baby clothes laden with food spills and unspeakable matter, the description of which is too foul to print, spewed across the front and back.  All the candies you were forced to reduce to silver slivers of paper, slivers that became trapped in your vent; and of course the occasional red marker and game boy game that you sadly rotated to oblivion knowing they would never function correctly again.

The pain of watching your kids pull those small rubber bands that go on their braces from your inner workings; listening to them as they howled after realizing their favorite Pokémon card or DS game was destroyed in your rinse cycle. I’m sure it took its toll. 

We did share some times didn’t we?  Remember those hours upon hours of me folding clothes; me talking to you about how recently we’d just washed a pair of those exact same looking jeans.  My screaming exclamations of:

“THESE AREN’T EVEN DIRTY.”

or

“OH MY GOD; WHOSE ARE THESE?  THEY’RE DISGUSTING!”

As I stormed from the laundry room calling one boy or another, preaching what is now a well known sermon that we wear pants 2 or 3 times and underwear only once!

All the times, in the middle of the night, I came rushing in with sheets covered in whatever midnight body functions had shown themselves in one of the boys rooms.  Starting your soak cycle, filled with Clorox or any other germ killing detergent I had at the time. 

We can never get those times back can we?

You never complained. 

I bought your replacements yesterday.  They’ll be here next week, and the men in white jackets will take what is left of you to the recycle bin.

I asked Steve if we could keep you.  Maybe put you out in the yard and give the boys some screwdrivers and let them have at it.  It would have been hours of fun for them,

 and I sure would love to know where that yellow sweater went.

But I was overruled.  I think my husband worried that I’d want to start stacking up our used tires in the yard, and maybe get a chicken or two.

I don’t have much faith the two shiney, white, brand new replacements coming from Maytag will live up to your reputation.  How could they?  They’re so young and naïve.  With all their fancy cycles and steam clean options.  I won’t be able to share the same stories and midnight visits with them I did with you.  After all, the boys are older now and I really don’t have the emotional energy to invest in another relationship like the one we shared.

In retrospect, I probably hung on too long.

Even after you wouldn’t stop cycling when your lid was lifted,

I kept you. 

Even after your cycles wouldn’t stop without manually turning your dials to “off”,

I kept you.

Even after your tub would slam so violently from side to side during the spin cycle that I could watch you dance out into the hallway,

I kept you.

After all, you still cleaned the clothes, and well; frankly,

I’m pretty cheap.

But once I heard you screaming; screaming so loudly I couldn’t run you through your drills and not wake the boys; when the smell of rubber was so pungent it burned my nostrils. 

I knew it was time for us to part. 

Enjoy retirement dear friend.  You have served our family well and you will be missed.  I just hope your replacements are ready to be put through the wringer.

Parenting Tip of the Day:

If you have many children, that means many, many socks.  To keep them straight mark their socks with a laundry pen when you get home from buying them so you can match them to each other and to the child who owns them.  I used the “dot” system; one dot for the first born, two for the second and so on.  That did two things.  I was able to couple socks when they came out of the laundry and send them off to their rightful owners; and I could also immediately pinpoint which son thought it was okay to leave their dirty, smelly socks on the dinner table.

Kid Speak

For posterity: odd words and phrases: and definitions of those words/phrases, used routinely in the Flett household.

1. Goopies. (Pronounced: goo peas), n.

 Those things you clean out from the inside and outside corners of your eyes in the morning or after being out at the baseball fields.

Common Usage

“Okay boys; clean your goopies.”

2. No Poke Zone. (Pronounced: no po oh ke z oh n eh) n.

That effect created by crossing your arms over your chest; flattening out your hands and holding them in Cleopatra fashion over the portion of your shoulder just above your armpit.

3. Worst Poke Ever (pronounced: wurst po oh ke eh ver) n.

The execution of a successful poke in the area described above when said area is not protected by the successful execution of the “no poke zone”.

Common Usage

Pokee after being poked:

“Oh no, that was the “worst poke ever”.

4. Coner (pronounced: ko ner) n.

 The act of shaping your hand in an “O” shape and successfully placing that “O” on the target’s chin.

5. No Cone Zone (pronounced: no kone z oh n eh) n.

Target of incoming coner is successful at shaping their thumb and pointer in an “L” shape (think the “loser sign”) and placing that “L” directly in front of the chin, with the thumb running under the chin, to stop any incoming coner assaults.

6. No Cone, No Poke Zone: (common pronunciation) v. n.

The simultaneous execution of a no cone zone and a no poke zone. Think Cleopatra with her arms folded over her chest and her head turned with her chin and resting in the “L” shape of her left hand which is in turn resting on her chest just above the armpit.

7. Best Bite in the Universe. (Common pronunciation) n.

The bite of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that is formed at the “neck” of two slices of bread where the crust doubles around on itself near the top. This is especially significant if the sandwich is made with white bread (which mommy hardly ever buys).

Common Usage

Boy about to take a bite yells to his brothers:

“Best bite in the universe.”

 To wit all of the boys say:

“Lucky”.

8. The Brothers: (common pronunciation) plural noun.

Term used by any one brother in search of any one or more brothers in the family.

Common Usage

“Mom. Where’s the brothers?”

9. Fix it: (figs iht) n.

An obsessive need to rectify something you know isn’t right.

Common examples include but are not limited to:

  • Needing to crack all of your knuckles after one accidentally cracks

 

  •  The compelling act of cleaning out aforementioned goopies when they are brought up.

 

  • Not being able to sleep unless the bottoms of the sheets are tucked in. 

 

  • Needing to feel pressure at the ends of your fingers. 

 

  •  Repeatedly restarting your prayers with mom till you both say your parts perfectly.

 10.  “Roughed Up” (pronunciation: ruffed up) adj.

Something that is not right and should be corrected as in “messed up.”

Common Usage

“That’s roughed up!”

This is really a Flett Family experiment.  We want to see if this new term will catch on in America and spread around the United States.  Kind of how “turkey” or “phat” must have gotten started.  Keep an ear out.

11. Fluffer Nutter: (common pronunciation) v.

The act performed with the brothers after they are tucked in, where mother (it must be the mother) lifts the cover or covers and fluffs them down on the occupant of the bed. It is best if the occupant is compelled to “pose” their legs while the blanket is in the air.

 

Well I feel tons better now that I’ve gotten those written down for the official record. I’d been so worried that I’d forget some of the fun things we do that I was having “fix its”.

Parenting Tip of the Day:

Lighten up and be goofy with your kids. The boys recently had their spring photos taken at school. I told them they could do funny faces in the photo. So there they were, dressed up and making goofy faces to the photographer for their “official” spring photo. A mom came out of the room where the photos were being taken laughing and saw me waiting with the next class to go in.

“Did you tell them they could do that?” she asked me.

 I smiled and nodded.

“You know” she said, “I had my son in tears this morning because we couldn’t get his hair just right. I really need to lighten up.”

“Well,”  I thought to myself

“light sure is easier to carry.”