Toss to coat!

I am not the jolliest of people.

Shocking, isn’t it.

This year I am faking it until I make it. The tree is up. The outside is adorned. We’ve got presents under the tree.

All my babies have pajama pants, Christmas shirts and fuzzy Christmas socks. Their significant others do too. The promise is that we will all get comfy in our pjs and bake holiday goodies. I am sure there will be an Instagram photo or two.

All we need is the college boy Home.

Today is 39 degrees, rainy and just downright nasty outside.

Big girl is under house arrest until her room is clean. It may be 2019 before we see her!

Baby girl is bored and antsy and this is the last weekend I’ll have her before the eve of Christmas. So, we set off today to buy a few presents. Before we left I had her make a list of the ingredients we needed to make rein deer poop. It sounded easy. Her sister loves it. So we made a plan.

It was actually a good lesson. We found the recipe (thank you Pinterest) and I had her look at the ingredients and check the cabinets for what we already had. Then, clutching her list in her chubby little hand we made our way to the grocery store. Up and down the aisles we went with her searching out what she needed.

We hit a snag with the chocolate chips. She’s written semi-sweet in one line and chocolate chips on another. To her that meant 2 different items. We only argued for 10 minutes before she begrudgingly relented that maybe, just maybe I wasn’t wrong.

At home she measured and followed directions. The fractions threw her for a loop but she managed. You would have thought I’d given her the keys to the city when I allowed her to work the microwave!

We measured and stirred and made a big old mess.

She had on her little “I believe” Santa shirt and buffalo plaid shorts. I matched her in pj pants and a “very merry” shirt.

We got to the instructions that directed us to toss to coat. The powdered sugar was measured, the cereal coated and spooned in and the ziplock bag closed tight. She held it up and looked at me expectantly. “Shake it,” I told her.

“No. It says toss it,” she argued.

“Toss it means to shake it so the sugar covers it,” I explained.

Her little expressive face belayed her displeasure. She rolled those big brown eyes and said in her nose aggregated teenage-like voice,”Mom,” she sounded exasperated. “It says toss. Toss means to throw. I throw it, you catch it. Toss.”

She was sincere.

My little fella called muffins puffins because they puffed up when you put them in the oven. I called them puffins until he was 16! It’s one of the sweetest memories I have. It broke my heart when he finally told me that we should call them what they were: muffins. He’d outgrown his little word.

But here she stood…so cute, so adorable and precious and oh-so-sincere. She’d done all the work. She’d read the recipe, picked out the ingredients, measured the items, stirred it all up and even gotten to work the microwave. It was her treat. I’d let her lead the way all day.

Why not now?

So we did as she instructed. We tossed the cereal. Back and forth. And just look at the glee on her face! She laughed and laughed as we “tossed” her bag back an forth.

We made a memory-she and I. Yes, there is junk in the background of the picture. Yes, normally that would embarrass me. No, none of us needs the peanut-butter-chocolate-coated-drenched in sugar treat. But really, none of that matters.

We have a memory. A tradition for the 2 if us. Tossing to coat will never mean the same thing.

Need a memory with your little one? Try this:

Reindeer Chow

And when it comes time to mix it? Well–toss it. And enjoy the laughs.

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Sweet victory

Hello middle age.  Age of sleep an hour, sweat an hour, toss and turn an hour then repeat.  

By the time the alarm goes off to GET up, I am exhausted.

Inevitably my little bug waddles downstairs and into my bed. Sometimes it’s 2am, sometimes 5a and sometimes it’s right as we are set to get up for real.  No matter the time she snuggles up and promptly falls into the most peaceful, precious slumber imaginable.  With her head on my shoulder I can clearly see those little freckles dotting her nose, her eyelashes resting against those chubby cheeks and those puffy, adorable lips pursed like an infants.  She’s 8 now but when she’s snuggling she is still my baby girl.  I love those moments.

Getting up is hard.
Getting up after not really sleeping is harder.
Getting up after not really sleeping with an adorable little ones head tucked onto your shoulder and arm slung across your chest is harder still.

Yet it’s what we do every morning.

Things go downhill from there.

Recently a friend shared a graphic of what it’s like to parent a child with ADHD. It showed an ice berg and listed all the symptoms that most of us know all about.  What was most telling to me was the part of the graphic that showed that most of the dangers of ADHD are below the surface.

I don’t know why I’d never put 2 and 2 together until I saw that, but I hadn’t.  Turns out we are the poster family for ADHD mornings!  Most mornings I feel like that poster looks like the wantedposter hanging in the police department.

I get up, make my coffee and begin the process of awakening my sleepy head.  It’s important to note that there are 3 females getting ready in the morning at my oh-so-humble abode. It’s more important to note that none of us are fans of mornings.  As non-morning fans we are not at our best.  We all have a tendency to put off getting up until the last possible second and thus the morning routine is rushed and harried.  And yes, I have tried getting up earlier.  Refer to the first paragraph.

It takes FOREVER to get her awake and moving.  For.Ev.Er.  “5 more minutes,” she always mumbles.  I’ll have her awake and sitting up on moment, turn my back, and she’s burrowed back under the covers sound asleep in the next.   99.9% of the time it ends in yelling. Me at her and her back and me which exasperates the entire scenario.  On rare occasions I can bribe her with “the Greatest Showman” soundtrack or a piggy back ride to the bathroom.  Those mornings are better.

And that’s the easy part.

It’s downhill from there.

“Take your medicine,” I must say this at least 50 times. She’s making faces in the mirror, sneaking off to the couch to go back to sleep, dancing around the table or just generally doing anything BUT taking a swallow of liquid and her little pill.

“Get dressed,” I must say this at least 50 times per morning. She picks out her clothes the night before.  I don’t interfere IF there are undies, socks, a shirt and a bottom (that FIT).  I am trying to build her independence.  She usually looks like a hot mess but she’s done it herself and I’ve forewarned her teachers.  I’ve learned to let that go.  You can only fight so many battles and I am not dying on that particular hill anymore.  At 8 she knows how to dress herself.  It shouldn’t take me telling her 20 times PER GARMENT for her to get dressed, but it does.  Seriously.  “Put on your shirt,” I say over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  “Put on your pants,” I say over and over again AFTER I’ve argued about why she has to wear pants, not shorts, when it’s 30 degrees outside.  And AFTER I’ve explained that November IS winter and winter is cold.  And AFTER I’ve explained and argued about what day of the week it is and AFTER I’ve re-iterated what happens after school this day and the next and AFTER I’ve argued that said pants are not to scratch-too itchy-too long-too tight….SCREECH….well, to be honest they usually are a bit snug.

FINALLY, she gets her bottoms on. From experience, I’ve learned to do an undie check.  Yes, from experience.  Experiences like seeing a full moon, in the evening, when she’s home from school and doing handstands IN A SKIRT.  Experiences like when she admits things like “I got to sit in the teachers chair today,” as we drive home.  When I ask why she laughs and says because she’s ‘commando’ in a dress.  Yep. Proud mama moments. Needless to say I now check.  Many a day she fails the ‘underwear’ check and we have to start all over again.  Repeat:  “Put on your pants,” I say over and over again AFTER I’ve argued about why she has to wear pants, not shorts, when it’s 30 degrees outside.  And AFTER I’ve explained that November IS winter and winter is cold.  And AFTER I’ve explained and argued about what day of the week it is and AFTER I’ve re-iterated what happens after school this day and the next and AFTER I’ve argued that said pants are not to scratch-too itchy-too long-too tight….SCREECH….well, to be honest they usually are a bit snug.

Socks.  2 of them. Twice the nagging.  Socks no longer match in our house.  I don’t think she knows that socks are supposed to match because in her lifetime we’ve never had the time, energy or ability to get matching socks on her. It’s a victory to get any sock at all.

Shoes.  Despite having laid out shoes the night before when morning comes there are, inevitably, only one to be found.  It’s one of the questions I intend to ask when I enter the pearly gates, if I get there.  What the hell happened to her shoes every morning?

Between each article of clothing she’s twerked, danced, made faces, spilled her drink, snuck a piece of candy or hid something in her book bag.  It’s not like we seamlessly go from one article to the next.  By the time we get to this point I’ve broken out into a sweat, have given up on my own morning routine and have yelled at least 45 times.

We no longer see the 16 year old in the mornings.  Not that I blame her.

The entire time we are watching the clock on the phone. She knows we have to leave at 7:30a. She knows but has no concept that if you are buck naked at 7:21a and if your mom is bare faced at 7:21a because she’s been fighting with you all morning that there isn’t any way in hell you are getting out the door at 7:30a.  We’ve even turned into a math problem. “if it take momma 15 minutes to put on her make-up, 10 minutes to get dressed and 3 minutes to make her coffee how many minutes is that?  If we need to be in the car at 7:30, it takes 18 minutes for momma to get ready what time does she need to start?  If momma needs 18 minutes but it takes you 18 minutes to put on a sock what time should we start????????????????????

Most mornings she gets her hair brushed.  Not gonna lie, it doesn’t happen every morning.

Most mornings teeth get brushed. Not every morning.

She always gets breakfast and some mornings she eats it. Not every morning.

She does always manage to get a snack tucked into her book bag. And on mornings when I am not watching she manages to get a toy, an electronic AND 5 additional snacks crammed in there as well.

Each morning we have to go over what day of the week it is. That means a trip to the chart on the fridge so she can see what ‘extension’ she has that day.  Hell, who am I kidding, once we actually AGREE on the day of the week (‘cause she will argue) it means multiple trips to the fridge to look at the extension chart. GOD help us all on days that it says  PE and she’s dressed in a skirt or her ‘high heels’ and we have to start alllllllllll ovvverrrr again.

Each morning I have to tell her who will pick her up and, during fall, have to tell her if there is a football game or some other activity after school.  When fall sports are over I have to spend the next 12 weeks explaining WHY there isn’t an activity after school.  I have to tell her where her bubba is, what Kinsley’s plans are for after school and who will pick her up.  Every. Day.

And I do this on, a good night, 4 hours of good sleep. While thinking about the day ahead. While worried about what is due, what I forgot to do and beating myself up for the house being disheveled.

I tend to get frustrated in the mornings.  She frustrates me. The process frustrates me.  The whole thing is exhausting.  I’ve learned to take it more in stride some days. Most days not.

This morning was the same.  I didn’t have the energy.  I didn’t have the fight in me.  I let it drag out longer than it should have. Which meant I would miss the car rider line and would have to check her in as tardy. SHE HATES GOING INTO CLASS after everyone else has gotten there.  I HATE checking her in the morning under the disapproving eye of the school secretary.  I hate clicking that box that says “overslept” and imaging what people are thinking about a mom that can’t get her kid to school in time.  Most days we make it in just under the wire.  That was not today.

I was grumpy, frustrated, irritate and just generally in a bad way this morning. I hadn’t slept. She was particularly unfocused.  We were late.

And then there was this.

At some point she snuck in and made me my ‘to-go’ coffee.  Yes, it was mostly creamer and whip cream.  Yes, it was a mess.  Yes, drinking it would put me in a sugar coma. Yes, I would use all my weight watchers points for the day in a single sip.

But none of that mattered.

When you have an ADHD child you take the victories as they come.  You ignore the twitches and ticks and randomness and learn to focus on the sweet, the thoughtful and the intentions.  And that single cup of overly sweet, cold coffee was perfection.  It was so sweet. So thoughtful and showed the best of intentions.  That poured cup of coffee in my favorite cup, made to my liking…or her version of my liking, showed that she did pay attention and had the ability to retain information.  That to go cup showed me that our morning rituals did matter to her.  That, despite the constant reminders necessary each and every day, she did understand what it took to get out the door. She might not understand the time association but she did understand the process.  That wickedly sweet beverage made with fumbling love was a version of a white flag, it was her little way of loving me despite my yelling and prodding her all morning.

I looked at saw her little face. She was so proud. Her smile was big.  Her eyes were anticipating my pleasure.  “I had a little trouble,” she said sheepishly, indicating the spillage on the counter, the top that was askew and the creamer on the counter.

“It’s perfect!” I declared.  “It’s so sweet! You are the sweetest one,” I assured her.

Oh that smile. No matter what else I accomplish today I will be confident that I did one thing well. I made her proud of herself with that compliment.  Too often, in the mornings, I tell her that she needs to do things faster, better, neater with more purpose and focus.  I think she expected to be admonished for the mess on the counter, for the lid being askew or for the wrong creamer.  And, to be honest, there are days that in my hurry and frenzy I would have done that.  But luckily I didn’t this morning. Luckily I took the time to appreciate the moment for what it was:  her best attempt, her sweetest heart and her thoughtful way of ‘helping’ and showing me love.

Parenting a child with ADHD isn’t easy. The battles outweigh the victories most days. But the victories, when they come, are more rewarding and more appreciated because of that.

Be-beep HI

Everyone should be able to make their child smile this big!

Thanks to my parents we pulled off a BIG surprise. A surprise that will leave me smiling for a long, long, long time.

When my girl talks about or remembers her first car she’ll remember this pretty fall day and a little car that makes her smile.

She’ll remember her little sister, gramsey, her aunt and cousin, her sweet fella and her great aunt and uncle and ME!

Earlier that day I told her that I didn’t think the little beetle was possible. She didn’t see me seeing her face drop. She didn’t know I saw her eyes tear up in disappointment…but I did. She’s teared up in disappointment before. Usually there isn’t anything I can do but hug her and apologize. Not this time.

I kept the ruse going all the way to Toccoa. We “pretended” to look for cars as we drove. She asked for permission to borrow her gramseys truck for a few days. We talked about patience and made plans to keep looking for a little beetle bug. Willing to wait she was for what she’d decided was her dream car.

I was in the back seat. When we got close I texted the beau (who didn’t know) don’t say anything but when we get close can you film Kinsley? He started laughing. He held up his phone and told Kinsley, “your sister has your mom’s phone…..” from the back seat I popped him on the shoulder! I was frantically shaking my head and mouthing “it’s from me!!” He looked confused. Okay just tell me when we are close. He texted back. Whew.

We arrived. The little car was tucked behind some pick up trucks. She gave her hugs and kept her back to the little car. I noticed her trying to NOT notice it. Like paparazzi at the royal wedding, Phones were out and filming the moment.

Finally she couldn’t pretend to NOT notice anymore. “Who’s is that?” She asked hesitantly pointing to the little car. He voice was high, her smile was wide.

“It’s yours!” I said. My eyes were already tearing up a bit.

“Really?” She was beaming.

“Really.” I assured her.

“Really-really?” Her smile was so big. She didn’t know whether to run to the car or to me. To my delight she ran to me and gave me a HUGE Hug.

Then she ran to the car and hugged it. “I love this car so much!!!”

She hugged her gramsey after I told her they made it possible.

She looked in the car and delightedly said,”ahhhhh….the glove compartment is still broken!”

As much as she loved the car she seem to love the story that went along with it equally as much. That made me absurdly happy.

After some fumbling we got the top down. I allowed her to pile her cousin, her beau and her little sister in for the first ride. “I am going to look so cute driving this to school!” That was obnoxious but her glee was infectious. I still corrected her.

Off the went. Seeing that little car roll away just made me smile.

I LOVE THIS CAR!” She yelled as they pulled back in from their jaunt around the block.

Kiddos got out. My mom, sister and I tried to her in. It wasn’t easy. The back seat is not existent. The seats are worn. The door panel is falling off, the cup holder is broken in the back and the glove box won’t close. But none of that matters. To her it’s perfect. And that makes it perfect for me.

The sun was bright. The air was cool. The top was down. We zoomed around the block…her smiling all the way.

We’d barely pulled back in the driveway before she has the Titan tee off my car and onto hers. “I can’t believe I have a car! I can’t believe this is MY CAR,” she kept saying over and over and over again.

I loved seeing her happy. I loved that I made her that happy. I love that she has a story to tell. I love that she loves the story as much as she loves the car. I love that she laughed and laughed at the idea of her big, strapping grandpa driving the little, tiny car home from the dealership. I love that she and my mom share a story. My mom and my aunt had a little VW beetle when they were young.

“What should I name her?” She’s already asked. Betty. Bree. Beatrice?

“I can’t believe it’s mine!”she has squealed no less than 100 times. I don’t even have to correct her. She immediately follows up with “…well it’s yours until I pay you for it.”

Her brother is excited and told her,”I am going to help you fix it. Make a list and we’ll work on it.”

We had to leave the little bug in the care of her grandparents. The door has to be fixed. To get out the passenger side someone either has to open the door or you have to open it yourself from the outside. Her grandpa offered to her that checked for us.

She hasn’t stopped smiling. Neither have I.

She hasn’t stopped thanking me. I should be thanking her! That smile, that glee, that appreciation and that joy…that joy is infectious.

I can’t give my kiddos all they deserve. But this weekend we (my parents and I) were able to give me sweet, appreciative and hardworking girl something that makes her happy. We have her a memory. We gave her something she’s happy to work for. We added to her story. No matter how old she gets. No matter how many cars she drives or things she accomplishes in this life she will always remember this weekend. The weekend she got her first car. The car with the story. The car that makes her heart happy. She doesn’t see it’s faults. She doesn’t see the dings. Each little hiccup makes her laugh. The story of how it came to be makes her laugh. The idea that her gramsey and grandpa were a part of it makes her giggle.

Her happy heart makes me happy.

If it ain’t broke….

Always a story….

Car shopping with the 16 year old. It’s an adventure.

Being in the market for a cash car keeps things interesting.

She and I have been stalking Facebook market place for a “deal”. That in itself is daunting. After seeing 100’s if pictures and reading countless descriptions we decided to bite the bullet and go see a couple. We threw the 6’3 boyfriend in the car for protection and knowledge and off we went.

Drove an hour. All of us were speechless when we pulled into the neighborhood. One of us even remarked that we might get him to take less because he obviously didn’t need the money. The houses were big and grand and well maintained. This might be all right!

At the back of the grand neighborhood was the entrance to a less grand, still nice but noticeably smaller community. At the back of that neighborhood was yet another entrance to what was decidedly the starter homes for the first neighborhood.

We arrive. She’s ready to love it. The car door is barely open before the seller starts talking. “….$1500 in repairs…just got ‘Er back this morning!” Real selling tactic dude.

Blue thread holds part of the gray seat together…not all of it. The body is great but I open the rear door to inspect it and wowza…the car must have been previously owned by the Marlboro man. Gross.

We told him we would call if we were interested. Hope he doesn’t wait by the phone.

Next stop: same model. Despite being presented as an individual we arrive at a rather sketchy used car lot. A man sees us and darts out of a garage. Before saying anything he cranks the car up. “Drive it if you want,” he says. He then darts back to the garage like building. Must have been late for his drug deal. We poke out heads in to pretend to be interested. I have to push up the head liner so even see the backseat. It’s dropping so low over the entire car it looks like a canopy bed. Quick getaway time before drug dealing dude comes back! We make a mad dash for the car. Even I run. We open doors and dive inside like we’ve just stolen something. Note to self: don’t ever steal something if Kinsley is the get away car driver. She takes a second to make sure her music is working. Then she can’t get the car to turn on. We are yelling “go-go-go” and she’s leisurely pressing the ignition button saying, “it’s not working.” Lord.

Despite the unsuccessful attempts yesterday I woke up this morning and began the search anew. I felt like I’ve seen every single under $5k suv there is in my local area so I branch out a little bit and add cars to the search.

And what do I spy with my little eye? The cutest car in our price range. I text sleeping beauty a pic.

We decide to go look. After my speech about not getting her hopes up and all of the Debbie downer things moms are supposed to say.

Off me go. It too is an hour away–in the other direction. Things are fine until we get about 7 miles away. Errrrtttttt. Bumper to bumper. It’s Buford so I am not shocked.

But then it doesn’t dissipate! An hour later we still have 2.5 miles to go. It took 45 minutes to go another mile. I am agitated and downright ornery.

About .5 miles from our destination we both spy something at the same time. A car. A black car. Top down. Neon numbers across the windshield. Two women smiling and laughing in the sun as they streak past. We look at one another and at the same time shout,”that was the car!!!”

Great. Just our luck. Talk about a day late and a dollar short. We’d missed it my minutes. Damn traffic.

We go on to the dealership. The website said they had another. It’s outside our range but after all this at least we can look.

Arriving we are greeted by a salesman. He asked what we are looking for. We tell him what we are looking for just drove past us. He checks for other “cash cars” for is. Nada. We walk around anyway.

“What did we do to karma?” Kinsley asked. “She’s a witch.” Seeing the car we came to see go right by us was slightly funny but disappointing as well.

A few more conversations and we find out the car is in a test drive. We decide to eat and come back…just in case. As we pull out guess what pulls in—right beside us?! THE CAR.

I slam it into reverse and back out way back into the lot. From out car we stake out the little car and the occupants. “They are buying it. I am sure they are buying it,” I keep saying. We watch as they try and lift the top. We see them circle the car once or twice. And then–miracle of miracles–they walk away.

The salesman swoops in and we hustle over. “We are a first come-first serve lot,” he says. “She didn’t buy it yet!”

The top is down. It’s adorable. Precious. Fun. Her eyes are already sparking. “We can look at it but I am sure she’s going to get it. But go look. We came all this way,” I encourage. She skips off to get in the driver’s seat. The salesman, already feeling the sale, gallantly steps ahead to open the door for me. Like a prince welcoming a princess he bends slightly and opens the car door.

The door panel promptly falls off. I mean pieces are hanging there. The light dangles and the armrest falls to the ground.

I bust out laughing.

He stands there trying to hold the two pieces together.

I am bent over double laughing so hard years are streaming down my face.

“What’s that tape called?” He asked. “A little bit of that and it’ll all be good.”

“Duck tape?” I manage to say. I am hysterical. “Patterned duck tape!!” The very picture of zebra printed duck tape that we have at home holding the door handle in place makes me start laughing all over again.

Big girl is setting in the front seat hands on the steering wheel looking at me with pleading eyes.

About that time a live falls clean off. I laugh even harder. Poor sales dude says,”I can’t even lie…” or something to that effect. I can’t hear him over my laughter.

“I could pay to get that fixed!” Girl says to me. She’s laughing too but also deadly serious.

“Take her for a drive. I don’t even have to go with you,” he tosses the part into the backseat.

I shrug. Why not? A quick copy of her license and he sends us on our way. She’s loving it. I open the glove box. I try and close the glove box. No luck. I start laughing all over again. The glove box bounces in my knee as we hit a bump. I can’t even catch my breath I am laughing so hard.

She asks if I want to drive. I do. I try and open the door. It won’t open. Good thing it’s a convertible. I reach and open the door from the outside. Laughing all the while. “Drive up there,” I say realizing we are in the middle of the lane. I have to hold the door closed with my arm because the dangling light is preventing the door from closing—which sends me back to hysteria.

Ends up she and I climb over one another to switch places. I don’t want to risk the door not closing again once we get all the pieces tucked in.

The little car is fun to drive!!! In the passenger seat she’s telling me she will fix it up herself. She’s smiling and laughing about it how it’s her version of the truck her brother drives which his friends have dubbed “the wal-mart special”.

Oh god she wants this car! I look around and see the it…sagging back seat, worn leather seats, glove box gaping open, passenger seat door panel totally gone. And though I am laughing I am also thinking….it’s got a story. She’s already got a story with it. And shouldn’t all first cars have a story?

We park. “Make sure everything works,” I tell her. In the middle of rolling up the windows she gets tickled. The casing holding the window button box is lose and comes up as she presses the button. “It just needs a little glue. It’s fine.”

The top is down. I suggest putting it up. We try and lift it but can’t. There is a button on the console. We try that. Nothing.

We circle the car. “I love it” she says.

“Let’s go home and google door panels,” I suggest.

“Look…I ain’t going to try and sugar coat this car,” the salesman says. I start laughing all over again. “But I like y’all. Kids her age don’t normally appreciate things like this. They want them brand new cars. If you are thinking about this car I can see if we can at least get you a new door.” We tell him the top won’t go up. He sits in the car and presses the button. The top rises. “You gotta press it a few times,” he says. Now I’ve got him grinning.

The girl knows I don’t have the money on me. I’ve explained that I have found a way to get it but I need some time. We’ve talked about it. She understands. But still she looks at me hungrily. “You can have all my savings mom!”

“You see about the door. We will call you,” I tell him.

Baby girl has lost her mind and says,”but someone will come buy it if we leave!”

I laugh a little more loudly,”I am not saying no. I am not. I should not I’m not. But let’s see what he can find put. Baby, there isn’t going to be a line of people wanting this car.”

The salesman says,”I gotta agree with her there. It’s a great first car but I don’t know if anyone else is going to love it.”

We get is card and leave.

In the car she says,”I know…I know…don’t get my hopes up. But I love that car mom! And it fits right into our family. You know what gramsey says if it ain’t broke it ain’t ours.”

I laugh even harder as we turn to leave the lot.

That little car does belong in our family. We will see what’s meant to be.

Don’t get no better

We have a saying,”it don’t get no better then this!” It’s the go to phrase when the lake is serene and calm with the sun setting on the water.

It’s used at tybee island when we are all together-young and old alike-enjoying the winter beach breeze.

Sitting on the beach, in the sun, with no where else to be. A perfect blue sky. A white wispy cloud here and there. Melodic surf. Toes in the sand and music wafting on the wind.

A perfectly cooked steak and a cold beer. It works there too.

It’s a phrase used when the moment is simply perfect. Not fancy. Not exotic. But an extraordinarily perfect simple moment on a normal day in a normal life.

That’s part the appeal. The simplicity. Because it’s normal and everyday it’s that much more perfect. A grand vacation….it’s supposed to be amazing. A delicate meal…you expect to be wowed. A birthday or anniversary or special day–well–you have expectations to feel special.

No. The days that “don’t get no better” are the simple days that are perfect, for a moment or two.

It don’t get no better. A few rented movies. A taco bar. All my babies home and happy…it don’t get no better.

The day started at 5:45a when I took my big girl, in the dark, to get on a big yellow bus to travel to Marietta for a swim meet. An all relay meet.

At 7a, to my little girls delight, big girls beau pulled up to join us as we made our way to the city. He was a delight. Not many 17 year old boys would divide attention between a smitten 8 year old and a sleepy 48 year old. But he did.

We watched my girl swim. She was upbeat and happy to be back in action. That’s not always the case during swim meets. She tends to be nervous and cranky. Even though she’d forgotten her suit…yes…again…she pleasant and sweet. To me and to her little sister. Wonders never cease.

Afterwards we traveled to downtown Atlanta for some traditional greasy food at the original Varsity. What’ll ya have? What’ll have? It was the boyfriends first trip to the historical venue. That made it even more fun.

They’d had plans to do something once we got home. It is Saturday night after all. I’d agreed. They’d spent the day with me trudging thru IKEA and entertaining the little one. They’d done their duty.

When the big girl asked,”could we just rent a movie and stay home?” I was tempted to nay-say. The floors weren’t mopped or even swept. The clothes had been folded but not put away. The kitchen table was full of things that needed a home. The house smells like dogs. The couch has dog hair.

But I didn’t say no.

“Sure,” I found myself saying. Immediately I started thinking about that I could make for dinner.

A few minutes later the boy called. He wasn’t sure of his plans. He had some but they were costly and his little account is bare. I simply said,”we are having tacos and movies. You are welcome to bring your girl and join us.”

I had little expectations.

“That would be cool,” he answered. My heart skipped a beat.

I tried to be nonchalant. “Great.”

My fella spent a few minutes with me in the kitchen telling me about school.

My little girl has her favorite people around her. They are showing her attention. She’s happy.

My girl has her guy and my fella has his gal. They are happy.

Everyone likes tacos. I let them set up a little taco bar in the den. They agreed to a movie the little one could watch. Afterwards there will be a scary one.

Everyone is happy. Including me. Hell-especially me.

See that smiling face in the corner. That’s me. Happy me. A me that knows “it don’t get no better then this.”

Always watching

When the youngest of my trio was born we were gifted a video baby monitor. Granted for the first year of her life my baby girl was rarely in her bed in her room. (There is another blog in THAT story.)

On the rare occasion she was in her room-in her bed-I could watch her. I could see every breath, every twitch, every tiny, sweet little thumb suck. And I watched. It was hard to take my eyes off the little screen.

As a mom I watched to be sure she was safe and secure and protected.

Later, I could watch her on daycare. There, on another little screen, I could see her. And I watched.

I watched her play. I watched her teachers interact with her. I watched her have tummy time. I could see her scoot towards the little stuffed toy she wanted to play with. She would wobble as she learned to sit and I would see. She would proudly rock back and forth in all fours almost ready to launch forward. I could see that too.

I could watch to be sire she was safe, happy and cared for. When she wasn’t with me all I could do was watch to see that she was protected.

We spend all those little years cradling them in our arms-protecting them. We put up monitors so we can watch them. Corners are wrapped. Outlets are covered. Gates are erected to baby proof the home in an attempt to keep them safe. Our eyes watch their every move. To protect them. To keep them safe. To help them feel secure. That’s our job.

But then the go out into the world.

It’s still our job to protect them. We just have to do so in a grander scale. There are more dangers, more threats, more to be scared of and more to be concerned about. But it’s still our job. To protect and keep safe.

So we watch. Wherever and however we can.

Video baby monitors. Daycare video feeds. We watch it all.

But then they go out into a bigger world. And we have to watch them differently–in more ways then one. We watch them navigate a world thru the lense of instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and any other new app they find. Watching becomes checking phones looking for dangers. We watch news feeds and story lines to see what they are doing and who they are doing it with. The dangers are scarier and harder to see. But they are there. So we watch. We watch to try and protect them…to keep them safe…to help guide them and help them stay on the straight path. So we watch and watch and watch.

And then they go and get bigger and older. But we don’t stop watching. In fact, if anything, we watch more.

My big girl turned 16 recently. Today she got her license. Who knew driving test appointments were so hard to get?? Unable to get one locally for several weeks she found one an hour and a half away. Her brother goes to college in the same town. Win-win.

We drove down. She passed her test. We saw the fella. Drove home. And then…

I can remember being 16 (sort of). I can remember the excitement of having that license and itching to take that first drive.

So I let her go. At night. Her first drive. Alone.

It was only a few miles. I’d recruited her boyfriend to follow her all the way. But she was still alone, without me, driving off into the night.

So I watched. For once I was grateful for technology. Thanks to an “app” I. An watch where she goes. For a few extra dollars I can see if she’s heeding my rules: no speeding, no phone, straight there and straight back.

So I watched. Second my second the little icon inched along towards her destination. And all I could do was watch. Watch to keep her protected, safe and secure.

The hardest part of parenting is watching.

Tomorrow I am bumming rides so she can take the car on her first solo drive. She’s driving to school. Has swim practice. Has to be back at school at 5p for a tailgate and the has to be at the rival high school at 6p to get ready to cheer at the big game. I have a work event so there was no way I could get her everywhere she has to be. It makes sense. My head knows that. My heart does not.

She’ll be driving. I’ll be watching. And riding since we are a one car family. That fact should make for a few more blogs…stay tuned.

Tomorrow she’ll drive. I’ll watch. Always watching. It’s what a mom does.

I am her mom

She drives me crazy, makes me angry, makes me lose my religion, makes me laugh and breaks my heart.

She’s my daughter.

I still struggle to believe it most days.

As much as she pushes every single button I have–I still love having her around. Her quick wit and sharp mind delight me. Stolen moments when she’s not with her beau or off with friends are rare and far between but I wait for them eagerly.

We’ve learned to declare a truce more often. It’s usually after one of us cries and one of us yells but we’ve learned to at least attempt to wave a white flag at one another whenever we can.

It never ceases to amaze me how alike we are. We like the sound of heels tapping on a tile floor. We love the sound nails make on a typewriter…or keyboard for the young ones in the audience. Neither id is suffers fools very well. Quick tongues, yep. Last word…hell yeah. My dad keeps trying to convince my girl that she should always get the last word as long as it’s yes mother dear. She ain’t buying it. I didn’t buy it at her age either.

Both If us are right. Don’t believe us? We will tell you. Neither of us backs down. Can you see our pattern here? Can’t imagine why we clash.

As much as we grumble neither of us does conflict well…unless it’s with one another.

Her school work ethic matches my work ethic.

She writes. I try to.

Her heart is sweeter and kinder than mine has ever been.

She’s insecure and self assured all at the same time. It’s the oddest combination I’ve ever seen. Take her hooker shoes…she’s never worn heels this high bit it’s what she wanted and it’s what she got. When showing them off to her grandmother she must have said, no less then 10 times, that she walks great in them.

She looks like a lady but acts like a goof ball most of the time.

Right now she leans into normal…lots of gray and simple clothing, following where others lead and being careful to not upset the status quo (unless it’s me). I hope it’s a stage and she breaks free before the normal soaks her up. I miss her individual style and spunk. But it’s high school and laying low is a matter of survival so I get it. I just don’t want her to get lost in the world of the mundane.

Her laugh comes from her belly and rings loud and true. I love hearing her laugh. Her smile is sweet and happy. When she smiles it makes me happy.

An enigma…I think that’s what it’s called. She shies away from being center of attention in some things but demands control in others. When she leads…she leads…and no one ever questions she’s the leader. But sometimes she stays back and lets others lead. She can follow.

She loves dating someone tall who can wrap her up in a hug. I don’t recognize her sometimes as she’s gazing up at him in abandon, her face betraying her heart. With me she is sometimes guarded. But not with him. And he seems equally as happy with her. That softer side of her isn’t one she lets everyone see…she saves it for special people.

Once she’s made up her mind it’s nearly impossible to change it. I try…more often then I should…and I lose…way more often then I should. But its also a trait that gives me great comfort. If she doesn’t want to do it she’s not going to do it…and that includes things that could get her intro trouble.

She loves with her whole heart. Thankfully she loves really good and nice people. I love the people she surrounds herself with. Her sweet boyfriend and sweet friends support the person she is and wants to be. I love them for loving her.

She’s my daughter.

But she’s so much more.

That takes some time to get used to. She’s my daughter but she’s someone’s friend, someone’s girlfriend and someone’s student. Scholar, cheerleader, swimmer…she’s all of it. What she does, she does well.

Disappointments haven’t kept her down. She rallies and rises. Time and time again.

She is my daughter. And someone’s sister, someone’s granddaughter, someone’s niece and someone’s friend. I have to share her.

Tonight she got dressed up and gussied up. She put on a beautiful dress that was exactly what she wanted…I know because we tried on at least 100 others. She made her vision happen. She wouldn’t compromise, wouldn’t be swayed from what she wanted.

But it paid off. She was beautiful and confident and secure. She was happy. And that happiness made her ravishing.

She’s my daughter.

My girl.