Wednesday, February 13, 2013

If You were an Ice Cream Flavor...

So, I've been struggling with a blog post that just may not get posted. Er...don't ask.
To relieve myself of guilt, stress and discomfort, I am going to treat myself to a bit of 
Ice Cream! 
Who's with me?

I love ice cream. A lot! And since I've moved to the South, I've eaten twice as much ice cream in the past two years than I think I've eaten in the previous five before that!
And popsicles.
Seriously, I have to almost budget Ice Cream into a separate column on the Excel Budget from May to September!

But, as I was listening to my ipod the other day, a favorite song came on and I listened to the words as if it was the first time. (Mindy Gledhill's All About Your Heart.)

It's a love song. A friendship song. A song of acceptance and partnership. 

I don't mind your odd behavior
It's the very thing I savor 
If you were an ice cream flavor
You would be my favorite one.

This struck me. So many times in our world, we are told what our family, our relationships, our romances should look like. Should taste like.

So today, I'm writing a Valentine to the fellows in my life. My husband and my five boys.

My life would be as empty as an Arkansas summer without ice cream without you guys!

And you are each my favorite flavors.

For my husband:

I know your least favorite flavor is Neapolitan. But that's what you are for me. 

You see yourself as vanilla. Others see you as vanilla. 
Vanilla is good. 
You are a Boy Scout. Now some use that as a put-down. Not me. The world would be a better place if more people were 
Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean & Reverent.

Vanilla Ice Cream
(All ice cream images are from

Vanilla is just too unappreciated in the world.
But you are more than Vanilla.
Very Berry Strawberry Ice Cream
You are also Sweet, Sweet Strawberry. You understand me. You commiserate with me when I run into roadblocks and doubt myself. When I wonder if I can ever make it as a mother, a writer, a person, you are my strongest advocate, my biggest cheerleader. You have the most faith in me, even though you see my dark side. The side I show no one else.

And honey, you are also my Chocolate. Not just any Chocolate, but Brownie Fudge with Nuts!
Fudge Brownie Ice Cream
You know I can't get along without chocolate!
I could say more, but  this is is going out into the wide, wide world. So I'll hush now. notice that there are nuts in here? Most people never see the nutty, silly side of you. 
But it's there, just well hidden.

Now, for my boys:

For my oldest. My Teenager.
Buddy, I gotta apologize. You are my first and I keep piling expectations on you.
When I look at your youngest brother and remember what my expectations were for you when you were four, I can't believe how fast I've wanted you to grow up. I didn't see that you were just FOUR.
All I could see was you were the big brother to a 2yr old and an new baby and I needed you to be a big boy. 
Gosh, honey, I'm sorry.
Gold Medal Ribbon® Ice Cream
This is called Gold-Medal Ribbon. Because you deserve one. But also because you are really, really sweet. And sometimes, Mom comes around and douses your reality with a bunch of salty expectations and Why-Didn't-You's. And you, sweet boy, are so forgiving of your faulty mom. And you just shake it off and keep being sweet. Like Salted Caramel Fudge.

 Epic Child.
What can I say?
We haven't always seen eye to eye lately.
You are an idealist that has had his eyes open to the awful realities of life. You want to take the bitter and dissect it so that you can FIX it. 
And eventually make it AWESOME. 
And EPIC. 
With a great soundtrack.
It's a puzzle you want to know and control.
But mom see's it as a lot of pessimism. And I shut down the bitter before it makes me sad.
Jamoca® Almond Fudge Ice Cream
But, you buddy, are in the middle of making Jamocha Almond Fudge. I know we'll get to the point where that bitter, dark taste will be balanced with sweet happiness and nutty silliness.
And it will be EPIC!

 My Bouncing Rubber Ball. The Helium-Filled-Balloon of our family.

I cannot even choose one picture of you, how will I choose a flavor for the kid who fits a weeks worth of fun in one day. 
Rock 'n Pop Swirl Sherbet
You are Rock N' Pop Swirl Sherbet. (Baskin-Robbins, folks!)
See, you're not even ice cream! No wonder we get so confused around you.
And how do they describe this flavor?

Prepare your mouth for fireworks of flavor with green-grape flavored sherbet and purple-green apple flavored sherbet and popping candy.

  Unpredictable and Fireworks. Yep. You're all that...and more.
You shake up my expectations and show me there's more to life than what I'm settling for.
You are Way Awesome!

Now for #4.
Big for his Britches.
 You, mister, make me laugh everyday. 
 By this time, I should know not to expect cookie-cutter kiddos. But you sure prove it. 
You are so incredibly smart and seem set on keeping up with your brothers, surpassing them if you possibly can. 
And then, sometimes, right in the middle, you realize: 
'Whatever! That's what THEY want.' 
It's not your goal, not your movie, not your game. 
You want something Different
And you head out in a totally different direction.
Off Road.
Off Map.

Lunar Cheesecake™ Ice Cream
This is for you, mister. Lunar Cheesecake. (Baskin-Robbins, again.)
You are not just off the map, you are Outta This World!
And incredibly sweet and unexpected all the way around.

Now, what can I say about my Little Buddy!

I think after the Roller-Coaster Ride of your brothers, God knew I needed a sweet finale. 
And he gave me you. 
Nutty Coconut Ice Cream
Coconutty, buddy!

Smooth, sweet, and easy to get along with. Pairs up with almost any flavor. But full of nuts, because you have to be to survive this family, hon. 
You fill my days will joy and laughter.

All of you fill me with joy. I am so lucky to have you guys. I am so very blessed.

So, I'm done with winter. I'm ready for warmth and sunshine. 
And Ice Cream.
Because you guys are my Favorite. Always.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

That Kid Broke My 'HAPPY'

I've been staying out of craft stores for a few months. 
Part of that reason is money. I get a little creative (in a bad way) with my budget when I spend too much time at Hobby Lobby or Michaels or Jo-Anns.

The other reason is my kids. My boys. All five of them. 
They each have had their not-so-great moments while I've been trying to purchase the exact shade of green corduroy or pack of scrapbooking paper or pretty doo-dad to put on my wall.
Inevitably, when I go with an entourage, something gets broken. So, I should have known.

I should have known.
But a couple weeks ago, I NEEDED to go to Hobby Lobby. My six year old has developed an obsession. With notecards. 
He went through a really cute (and expensive) set of notecards from Target in two days. The kid loves to write, but...did he have to use THOSE?
What about lined paper, computer paper?

"No. I like the little cards. They have pockets you put them in."
"You mean envelopes?"

So, my mission that day was to obtain a 50-pack of blank notecards that my 6-yr-old can personalize himself. And they were on sale. So instead of almost a dollar a card, I could get fifty for less than $4.00. 
A steal. 

But I also needed to get a birthday present for my niece. Which was the excuse I needed to wander around the store looking at all the pretty eye-candy.

.....With my youngest. 4-yr-old Little Buddy.

I should have known.

So...Notecards. Check.
Now for the eye candy.

I wander the aisles, pretending I own all the pretty stuff. The store has jumped the gun on the garden things, so I hang out in that aisle for five minutes, pretending its spring.

Then we enter the aisle full of RED.
Red framed mirrors, red candle sticks and lots of little red British phone booths made into bookshelves and key caddies. They were sooooo cute!
My 4-yr-old thought they were cute too. He went down the aisle opening the door of each one. I noticed at the end of the aisle several inspirational signs. Nice. They were a little close to the last red phone booth and the edge of the shelf.

If someone's not careful, those signs would get knocked over.

The thought quickly exited stage left as a new Diva of an Idea popped into my head. 
What if I spray painted one of those phone booths BLUE! And put 'TARDIS' on the top!?!
I needed blue spray paint and a plan to rearrange the budget, so I could blow some cash on a whim. 
"Come on, Sweetie," I called over my shoulder as I steered myself towards the spray paint aisle.


Why didn't I see it coming. Why didn't I move those signs? 

I knew what I was going to find before I turned around.
An open phone booth door and on the floor, the word 'APPY'.
My little buddy retrieved the 'H'.
"Mom, it broke. Can you fix it?"

I was silent a moment. I wanted to walk away from the mess, from the responsibility. I could have. It would have probably been easy, For a moment I stood between two choices.

Then I bent down and picked up the 'APPY'.
"Yeah, buddy. We'll fix it."

We walked to the glue aisle instead of the spray paint aisle and found adhesive that claimed to keep 
anything stuck together.

And then it hit me. This is what I am in my family. 
I am the glue.
I am a writer and a swordsman and singer and an artist and the PTA RIF coordinator.
But I am a mom.

My life is full of broken, lifeless, difficult things that my children expect me to fix. 
To make better. To make sense of. 
To hold everything together.

Homework: Add 6 ones and 1 tens = 16
or 6x + 75 = 123 ... Solve for x

Dinner: Combine flour, butter, herbs and broth. Add sausage, potatoes and onions = Soup

Ouches: Frozen bag of peas + neosporin + bandage

Relationships: Sorry + Eye Contact + Shaking Hands 

Togetherness: Cuddles + Eye Contact + "Tell me about your day." + "I love you."

All this truth swirled around my head as I stood in line at the cashier, buying notecards, a 'HAPPY' sign and the Amazing Space Glue used by NASA to fix Everything.

I have to admit, since then, I've been working on my A-Game. 

Writing is important to me. Cannot even tell you how much. 
But my kids are so very important... Irreplaceable.

And I can't be a writer or a mom very well when I'm multi-tasking.
I stink at both.

So, now when I'm doing family stuff, I'm all in. 
Eye-contact. Listening. Heart open.

When story ideas and plot lines try to edge in, they are noted and then banished until Writing Time.
And when the kids are off to school and its time to write, I know I can't procrastinate on Pinterest. The kids will be home in a few hours and I won't get back to the computer until after bedtime.

And its been better. 
Better Writing Time. Better Family Time.

Not saying all is perfect. 
Perfect is so far away...its not even on the horizon.

But Better is Here. And I love it.

Thanks Little Buddy for helping me fix my 'HAPPY'.

Oh, and to my niece:
Sorry. You're getting a gift card. :)