I don’t know if I can adequately opine, but lately, I’ve thought about this conundrum quite a bit: Why aren’t I satisfied when I get what I need? Why do I need more?
I guess I’ve come to expect the extras. Taking a look back, I’ve lived my life enjoying and expecting them at the makeup counter, the grocery store, and even at my favorite bar. Two for one deals and special promotions that encourage unnecessary spending abound. Metaphorically, somewhere along the lines I figured out that a meal isn’t complete unless it includes dessert. And, if dessert isn’t available, well, my meal has fallen short.
I listen to my children speak and I wonder where their sense of entitlement comes from? Surely they can’t be modeling their behavior from me! Could they…?
My 4-year-old, who after a day of nearly indulging his every earthly desire says: “But I didn’t have fun today Mom. You are mean!” this last part said after shoving his bike to the floor. Unknowingly I’ve taught them to expect more. Without those “extras,” it is hard to find old-fashioned satisfaction in the simple things.
Interestingly enough, my husband and I pride ourselves in not overcompensating for our work absences by distracting our kids with obsequious gift giving. But here we are, two people who consciously decided not to emphasize materialism somehow still coping with its effects. With a forked tongue, I twist myself teaching them the value of money, gratitude and conservatism, yet, repeatedly they watch me fail to employ the same values I espouse.
So, here’s our belated New Year’s resolution: Back to the basics. Use what we need and cut out the spares. (Unless, of course, it’s free.)
February 22, 2010
In appreciation of all things hand-made:
Mexican hand crafted talavera tiles trace their roots to 16th century Spanish artisans. They are painted by hand, dried in the sun and continue to be as lovely today as they were centuries ago.
Check out http://www.etsy.com/shop/ValleryB for a wonderful collection of hand-made hair accessories.
I just bought these for my daughters at tamar.etsy.com:
February 20, 2010
It is in my best interest I remain polite with the chronically loquacious security guard in my community. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is. If he’s at the gate (and he’s always at the gate), I have to courteously tolerate his meandering conversation until he is satisfied, and opens the gate. Sometimes 7 or 8 minutes might pass before he pushes the button that facilitates my escape.
As such, each night I must pass by the guard gate and hope against all hope that he’ll open it without motioning for me to lower the window, and engage in an otherwise long-winded conversation about nothingness. Ironically, he sometimes talks about the fact that it’s 10:30pm, and isn’t it a shame I’m coming home so late? He often tells me he bets I’m anxious to get home.
He’s very observant. Yes! I am anxious to get home and sneak a kiss on my sleeping kids’ cheeks, pull my sleeping husband off the couch, and crawl into bed. The last thing I want to do after a day of toil is engage in polite inane conversation with a lonely and bored security guard.
I know he has hours of solitude in his little gatehouse to contend with. But, I do think I’ve done right by the universe and respected his need to talk. These days my sanity is at stake. I need to get a gate clicker or program the car to open the gate.
Despite all this, here’s what makes me smile each time he opens that heavenly gate: I am certain any person of ill intent that attempts to get through him will be stopped dead in their tracks; and once they endure the garrulous diatribe of our gatekeeper, they will absolutely never come back.
February 18, 2010
I am told my first love’s name was Juan Bamundi. And while my recollection of this slight and shy boy is vague, his name will forevermore be etched in my memory. He was my faithful shadow through kindergarten and 1st grade. He had knobby knees and sheep dog blond hair that perpetually covered his sky blue eyes. Though I never laid eyes on him again after 1st grade, I know for a fact he was the most persistent and bravest of all my suitors. I’m told he had the audacity to knock on our door, flowers in hand, and politely ask my astonished father if he (and his chaperone) could take me out for a walk. Shy but determined Juan Bamundi was my first foray with matters of the heart. I still remember his name.
Fast forward to present day and I am at a loss with my daughter’s bewildered sentiments for a certain Patrick. Fool… he is completely unaware of my bright and perfectly bashful daughter. She furtively watches him in the playground and at the oddest times will mention an encounter with him. “I don’t know why I’m not Patrick’s friend,” or, “Patrick said hello to me.”
She appears mystified by his apparent indifference. I know her mind is a filing cabinet where she logs a careful account of each utterance they have shared. And in his presence, she yields like a blade of grass for a moment of his attention.
Eager to de-mystify this boy, I asked, “So, what do you like about Patrick?”
“Mom! I don’t like him!” she squealed, then dismissively adds, “anyway, you don’t understand.”
Oh, my sweet wide-eyed daughter! I do understand.
Do not waste a single thought or glance on this boy. He will never be worthy of you … though you will always remember his name.
February 19, 2010
This past weekend a friend invited our family to participate in a 5K organized to raise money for Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
Since last year’s laughable but traumatizing experiences while ½ marathon training, I’ve remained somewhat cautious in my running routes and times. For example, I know I must specifically avoid a certain path in my community during the months of March through July due to crow and Blue Jay nesting seasons – which ruinously occur at the same time. I also cannot run in the early morning and early evening hours as those are peak bird nesting hours. Suffice to say, unless I run on a treadmill, I am at serious risk for bird attacks — running anywhere near a nest will result in bird swooping and general aggressive behavior.
Unless you’ve been subjected to this little known (but common risk) runners (and I use that term lightly) face during each run, like my husband, you’ll find my paranoia amusing. But I digress. At hand is the issue that due to the birds, I’ve fallen off my running habit. I picked it up right before the holidays and as such, was excited to participate in my friend’s 5K.
So, the day of, I showed up to the appointed place but not at the appointed time. By the time I got to the starting line, the runners were about 4 to 5 minutes ahead of me. I ran fast to catch up but by mile 2 felt winded and out of synch with my normal running pace.
I decided a brief respite was justified. As I eloquently justified myself and nearly stopped my run, a woman and son jogged past me. I overheard the young boy tell his mom he couldn’t go any further. He breathlessly told her he felt pain in his chest and wanted to walk the rest of the way in.
She wouldn’t hear of it. She grabbed his shirt and told him it was his duty to continue the run and complete it. She reminded him that children battling cancer and other crippling illnesses would trade places with him in a minute, just for the chance to feel their legs run with strength and their unassisted lungs fill with breath.
They completed their run. He never stopped and as I kept up with them, I was reminded that this wasn’t just another morning run. I was there to support a very important cause. Until mile 2 I had completely disregarded the purpose of my run. I was entirely engrossed with the bird population and their nesting practices, and thought of little else beside my need to rest.
That cold morning the truth of her words unknowingly kept me on task.
Though I lost sight of them when they crossed the finish line, I remain grateful for her truthful words.
February 16, 2010
My sister keeps warning me she is going to “eat the baby” when my daughter is born. Although somewhat concerned by her constant declaration of this fact, I completely understand.
Of all my roles in life, I enjoy being an aunt the most. I love being a daughter, sister, wife, and friend, but for me, the most fun is being an aunt. Before my fist nephew was born, I did not believe in love at first sight. That changed the moment I met my first nephew. Then it happened again when I met the next three.
I am beyond excited about becoming a mother. I am equally excited about giving my sister her first niece.
She’ll finally get what I mean when I say I love, love, love, love my monkeys.
February 13, 2010
I am 27 weeks pregnant and have what can only be described as an extraordinarily easy pregnancy. So, imagine my shock when all of a sudden my left leg started to hurt yesterday. I didn’t panic at all…at first.
After a few hours with an odd ache behind my left knee, I got home and lay down on the couch. By this point, mild panic had set in. The hypochondriac in me was certain I developed a blood clot that soon would dislodge itself and make its way straight to my brain.
As soon as my husband got home I informed him, in a very grave voice, that we might need to go to the emergency room. First, however, I was going to take a bath and see if that made my pain go away. The rational part of my brain assumed it was just muscle ache.
After my bath, I lay on the couch deciding if my leg hurt more, less, or exactly the same. After a few minutes I had an epiphany: It’s a varicose vein!
“I have a varicose vein!” I yelled through the house to my very uninterested husband. I asked him to get a hand mirror to inspect the back of my knee. After much effort twisting my pregnant body into a position where I could view the back of my knee, I gave up. I asked him to inspect it and after a few minutes of staring intently at my knee he said, “nope, no varicose vein, but, you do have what appears to be a bluish, ruptured blood vessel.”
I didn’t bother telling him that is exactly what a varicose vein looks like.
February 13, 2010
It’s hard to pull it off, the notion of a working mother, perfectly coiffed and presentable each day. I never pull it off, despite my best intentions.
The amount of time I spend every morning begging – yes, begging – my family to get their fannies out the door in a timely fashion is astounding. My mornings are measured in 15 minute increments. I time each member in our household with the careful precision of a drill sergeant and a stop watch.
Thankfully, my husband and kids continue to thrive despite my morning bouts of lunacy. My darling children make it out the door and to school with clean nails and teeth, fresh clothes and brushed hair. My husband begins his day well turned out, except for those occasions he finds it quite reasonable to mix and match patterns or dress in varying shades of green – but, that would be subject for another post.
Suffice to say the Herculean effort we make every morning to get to school and work on time leaves me less than 10 minutes to pick out a recycled outfit, tame the curls I’ve recently sprung, and brush my teeth.
Sometimes I see myself in the mirror and wonder where the “other” me has gone: that 20 something version, where my clothes fit and matched, my hair wasn’t crippled by incomprehensible curls and I didn’t look so tired. I find it entertaining, to say the least, how I still consider myself the 1999, pre-kids edition, when in fact, everything is considerably different.
So, while I stand in line at the bank behind these women, impeccably put together, in crisp clothes unstained by milk — I am comforted by the thought that in the foreseeable future, I too might find a balance between motherhood and a career.
At least that’s what I like to think.
February 10, 2010