Thursday, February 04, 2016

Who was that?

She's talking about the nightclub in Florence. Dancing on speakers, shots of schnapps, being overly tired. Laughing while she's talking almost slurring her words as if she's still intoxicated, but not. Then she starts talking about the Pope. The camera pans and you can see the Vatican and a big window with a flag draped under it. People everywhere sitting at tables waiting for the Pope to make an appearance and bless the crowd with his service. She giggles some more as she talks about sitting in Rome waiting to see the Pope.

Her hair is gently weaved into french braid pigtails. Her t-shirt, a blue ringer with Rainbow Brite on it, fitting not one stereotypical thing about her. When in Rome... doesn't apply to her. The bright blue eyes shining in the sun without a hint of a hangover gleam with excitement and love. Her shotty mascara job making her eyelashes ten time longer. Freckles dot her face so innocently and more seem to appear the longer she talks with the rays of the sun.

She's not talking to anyone in particular as her friend talks to her through the camera. She can't seem to stop talking as she rambles on and on. Then a hush takes over the crowd and the camera pans again to see the Pope at the window. It's quiet in front of the camera and you can faintly hear the beautiful Italian floating through the air from the Pope as he addresses the crowd. For a brief minute she's mesmerized.

Then the talking continues. The camera pans back to the girl. She's grinning ear to ear. Not overly religious but definitely sentimental you can tell she's thinking. Maybe she's thinking of the last time she was in Rome with her grandparents a few years ago. Maybe she's thinking of her last trip to Italy. The time when her stuffed dog, the one she took everywhere and slept with every night even at the age of 18 (and still at 22), got left behind accidentally in Milan. How she cried the entire flight home and how after many confusing phone calls between her non Italian speaking mom and an Italian hotel her stuffed dog flew back across the Atlantic back home. She could be thinking about that memory and smiling fondly.

Her mood changes and her happy smile turns a bit melancholy. Maybe now she's thinking of her stuffed dog and her mother. Maybe now she realizes she hasn't seen her mother in a while and misses her terribly. But her smile doesn't stop. She's thinking and smiling. The camera zooms and you can see this young girl so full of life. Not one bag under her eye. Not one heavy burden on her shoulders.

The blonde streaks in her hair glisten in the sun and for a second you lose the image because of the glare. She is back on the camera looking up at the Pope still speaking. She is taking it all in and doesn't want to forget one second of this experience. The camera abruptly cuts out and then goes to an Italian flag. I paused the clip.

My daughter looked at me watching the video on the computer screen and asks, mommy who was that? Was that you?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Some Please Hire My Husband...Before I Kill Him

[Disclaimer: I would never kill my husband; it’s just a saying!]

Someone. Anyone. Please. Hire my husband. He needs a job. His “life” depends on it. Seriously. I’m ready to kill him!

Why? Because while I’m busy being a working mom of 2 and he’s a freelancer and part time business owner looking for full time work, our lives are all messed up! But most importantly, he’s driving me crazy!

  1. He’s doing all the laundry. I usually do the laundry in the house. Now he’s home and doing it all. It’s great and all but it’s really obnoxious. There are never dirty clothes, ever! Just piles and piles of clean clothes all over the place for me to put away. Make it stop! Oh and it will. Once he gets a job and I can get back to the subpar ways of doing laundry myself.
  2. I’m used to working from home by myself. Now I have him home every day! I love him and all but for the love of all things holy, I’d like to have some time by myself! I don’t have an office I can go to so I’m stuck at home. Every day. With him. All day. Oh and our son is one and because things are tight money-wise, there is no day care involved. Just me, the hubs, and a toddler (who only wants me) all day, every day. While I work. FUN!
  3. He cleans the house. All. The. Time. Our vacuum is ready to explode from frequent use. Come try to find dust in my house or a stray hair. I dare you. Every day he threatens to clean my desk because he can’t stand my organized clutter. I usually clean the whole house every Friday. Now it’s sparkling every day. Man, our house is going to be filthy when he’s employed - bring it on!
  4. Luckily for me, my husband has always been the cook in the house which means he does the grocery shopping too. Since he’s been home, he’s making lunch and dinner. I feel like I’m at a five star restaurant, every day. He is an amazing chef making incredible meals but sometimes I just want a PB&J sandwich with a side of goldfish without an eyeroll. Okay?
  5. I’m sick of breaking things. My husband always needs something to do or fix. So when he’s bored or has some free time, he goes nuts. I’ve been “accidentally” breaking things all over the house to give him a project. He spent a whole 2 days fixing a kitchen cabinet door! Score! I’d much rather prefer he’s doing something more valuable with his time than fixing my klutziness ways.

My husband is truly a gem - he takes care of so many things that most men don’t. I am so lucky and I count my blessings every day. But… our lives would be much happier and more full if he was putting all his talents to better use. At an office. Daily. With a 20-30 minute commute. And a steady paycheck to boot! Anyone in need a of digital media, marketing, video production rockstar - holla!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Even When They Don't Show it, They Are Listening

I talk to my daughter a lot.

I tell her everything. Nice things. Sad things. Happy things. Scary things. I'm as honest and detailed as I can be with a five year old. I like to think it's for the best for her and she in turn feels comfortable always talking to me and being honest with me.

Sometimes I worry that things are too deep for her grasp or understand at her young, innocent age. And then there are times when she completely blows my mind and my heart swells with love.

Today that happened.

I was volunteering in Lyla's class this morning. I love going in and spending an hour in her classroom helping the kids with their reading, writing, and spelling. The teacher is very appreciative of the extra hands and Lyla loves me in there hanging out.

Today they were continuing to celebrate and learn all about civil rights and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her teacher was explaining all about being kind and helping out in your community and what dreams you have for your community.

As we walked around helping the kids fill out a paper cloud with their community dreams such as don't litter, be kind, etc, she was telling me about how the day before she had given the kids a lesson on community and Dr. King. She asked them to raise their hands and give her an idea for something nice you can do within your community.

The teacher then told me how Lyla raised her hand.

This is what Lyla said: You can grow your hair long and cut it off to donate to a little girl who is really sick and has no hair.

The teacher then told me she was near in tears hearing this from Lyla which then made me tear up as well.

I remember telling Lyla about how I did that after she was born, donated my hair. I also told her when she didn't want long hair anymore, she could do the same. She really listened and in turn realized that helping your community, like the lesson they were learning, is truly about being kind and selfless.

This proves to me that regardless of the yelling and the not listening bouts we have day to day, she really is listening to me and taking it all in. She may not listen when it's time to get dressed or clean up but she is listening to the life lessons I'm teaching her as well as the values I'm showing her in our every day life. I like to think that she will grow up to be a strong, beautiful, and caring person. I like to think that she's taking after her amazing grandmother and myself as we are one in the same.

I'm so proud of her and the way her brain works. I'm glad that her teacher sees it too. I'm glad she's my girl.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I Want to be Like Her

She gives me her hand to shake and says hi I’m Lauren, nice to meet you. I take her hand and then take her in. Shoulder length blonde hair brushed and neat. Kind, blue eyes that glisten with sincerity. Beautiful facial features, the kind of pretty girl looks you’d see on a woman who was the class secretary in high school, on the yearbook staff, and maybe a dancer long ago. Not the most popular girl, not the most desired but definitely well liked by all.

I look down at myself sitting in one of those popup chairs at the soccer field in my “frumpy, go-to, good enough for public” sweats and sneakers. My hair still damp from my shower and no makeup on my face but happy my glasses can disguise my tired eyes and the bags that go on for days. I used to be pretty too is my immediate thought.

Every once in awhile on the soccer field, I’d see her. She always looked so well put together standing with her handsome husband and three healthy, happy kids. Her hand sporting the quintessential diamond ring you see many moms donning; large and beautiful yet not splashed in your face.

I’d see her in her big SUV, shiny and fancy waiting at the bus stop. Sending off her kids with kisses and hanging around the bus stop for a bit afterwards catching up on the latest gossip in the neighborhood.

I’d see her in the school with friends all around her, her little one hugging her leg. Always polite to everyone and giving me a friendly smile and nod hello. With her gold ball earrings and her fit figure in neat attire - not fancy or trendy but just classy and organized.

I’d sit and wonder what it’s like to be her. I wanted to be like her.

My little, athletic figure gone and flab in its place. My pretty facial features not so pretty anymore. My limp hair I can’t be bothered with. My clothes aka my sweatpants I can’t bear to part with. My little diamond ring that can barely be seen by the naked eye. My second hand SUV. My crazy, busy life as a working mom. My husband and I struggling after his lay off.

But she is not me. I am me. And I don’t know her. Maybe she’s not happy in real life. Maybe she looks perfect on the outside but is truly hurting on the inside. Maybe she struggles from something that I don’t know about. Or maybe she is really that perfect and happy. Maybe, just maybe, she sees me and thinks the same.

Maybe she’s envious of my beautiful children who are smart and well-behaved. Maybe she’s envious of my career and how I support my family. Maybe she’s envious of my pristine home and property. She may even be envious of how my husband takes care of the house and how he is an amazing chef and handyman.

I think about all I have and I think about my blessings and I look at her with envy no longer. I wanted to be like her but I will be me.
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