B is for…

B… the moments that make us hold our breath.

… the moments that take our breath away.

… the moments that we need to be reminded to just breathe.

For the hopeful parents holding their breath waiting for the test results to the anxious parents in the delivery room a simple breath holds all the tension. They are the two greatest moments in becoming parents, after all. It is the moment you find out you’re going to be parents. It is the moment it all becomes real. There is one more person in this world and in that moment all it knows is you. In that moment you know that all of its needs are your responsibility. We hold our breath in hopes that we ascend to become the parents we hope we can be. We hold our breath as we watch our little one come into the world. We hold our breath hoping the doctors tell us we have healthy newborn.

Our breath breaks the tension all the waiting created. It is the first step in accepting our new role. In later years we’ll hold our breath again when our little ones are learning walk. Will they take their first step by themselves? Will they get back up if the fail the first time? We’ll hold our breath again while we wait to see if they’re okay after a fall. We’ll hold our breath again and again as they grow older. Fortunately, these moments are spaced far enough apart so we don’t die of asphyxiation.

There will also be moments that take our breath away. The sweetest actions by our little people can stop time. Whether they make us an “I love you” card, share something that means the world to them with us, or brags about us to others, these are the sweetest moments. Sweet like the art they made just for us. Sweet like peanut butter kisses softly planted on our cheek. Sweet like an older sibling protecting a younger one. They are moments that will most definitely bring a smile to our face. They may even bring a tear to our eye. A moment that takes our breath away will become etched in our memory and be a part of a story will tell and retell a hundred million times.

Then come the moments when we have to remember to just breathe. Those trying moments from the ones who also make us hold our breath and take our breath away. What did they break this time? What are they screaming about now? Why do they insist on trying to argue with me? Sending kids to a time out is most often for their benefit. It removes them from the situation. It allows us a minute to breathe, to count to 10, and hopefully not overreact. It’s as much a time out for us as it for them. A deep, calming breath can help us summon the patience we need to survive our children.

From the moments that make us hold our breath to the moments that take our breath away to the moment when we just need to breathe, parenthood is full of joys and scares and frustrations. The best we can do is catch our breath, hold it, and release it. One day they will be grown and we’ll be out of moments.

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How To Tell If You’re A Parent

 You might be a parent if…

you’ve argued about socks
you had to explain the reason for washing hands after pooping
you get no sleep
you get sleep, but still wake up tired because you’re eternally sleepy
you’ve been peed, pooped, puked, or bled on
you have to be in three different places all at the same time
you could really use a free maid
you could really use a free cook and masseuse, too
you have answered the question “why” so many times you found a parallel universe
you can answer any question sufficiently enough to satisfy their curiosity without raising more questions
You thought you understood parenthood perfectly before you were a parent but now that you’re a parent you realize you know nothing about parenthood.

You might be a parent if you’ve ever asked…

Where are your pants?
Why are you naked?
Where’s your other sock?
What is all over the bathroom floor?
How did you get water on the ceiling?
Why are you sitting on your brother’s head?
Why did you put three DVDs into the DVD player?
Why did you think eating the whole thing was a good idea?
Who peed on the toilet seat?
What are you doing up at this hour of the morning?
Why are writing on the walls?
Did you ask your father/mother, yet?
Didn’t I answer that question already?
Why are you peeing outside when we have a perfectly good bathroom inside?
How many times do I need to tell you ___(Fill In The Blank)__?

You might be a parent if you’ve ever experienced a temper tantrum…

because their cup is the wrong color
because a sandwich was cut improperly
over a hotdog that has lines (or doesn’t have lines) on it
over a broken crayon
because someone looked at them
because it’s bedtime or because it’s bedtime!
because they have to brush their teeth
because you didn’t read the book “right”
because you didn’t pick the right shopping cart
because you cut their cheese into the wrong shape
because you didn’t put enough chocolate chips in the pancake
their food is too hot
their food is too cold
their food is too something else…

Come to think of it, you could easily replace “You might be a parent if” with “You might be tending to a drunk if” The similarities are uncanny.

Raising children is like caring for someone too drunk to know that the potato bin is not a toilet.

You know you’re a parent if…

your fridge and walls are decorated with the art of a child
listening to your kids fall asleep is among your favorite sounds
you secretly enjoy when your kids are sick because it means more snuggles
you receive little doses of love when you least expect it and it means all the world
you feel the hand of your child in yours and think all is right with the world
you stop what you’re doing to answer a pretend phone call
listen intently, like you really do care about Minecraft (or whatever else you couldn’t care less about but have to pretend you love so as not to offend)
at the end of the day, all the frustrations, all the arguments, and questions, and exausting coversation, all that really matter are the little hearts that love you more than anything in the whole wide world… all the way to Jupiter and back.

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Lucy At Home

The True Spirit of Santa Claus

Fourth grade is a crucial year. I would know because I taught it for 6 years. Every year in December I would create a math test to assess their knowledge of the concept we had just spent weeks learning. However, there was always one question, the last one, that I was most curious about on this December math test.

20) Is Santa Claus real?
O Yes
O No

The ones who answered “Yes” simply thought it was a gimmie. An easy question because it was Christmas time. They thought it was as question I put on there so I would have an even 20 questions instead of 19.

The ones who answered “No”, I knew it was time for a chat. So at lunch time, I would line up the students who answered “Yes” without them knowing why I lined them up specifically. I would send them off and I would talk to the rest. It would go something like this…

Raise your hand if you’re not sure if Santa is real or not. Hands around the room would go up and furtive looks would be passed to one another. Do you know I think Santa is real? In fact, I know he is. Think about what Santa does. He delivers presents to people around the world. How do those people feel waking up to gifts under their tree? Pretty amazing, right? Santa spreads joy and happiness. That right there is what the whole Christmas season is about, bringing joy to others. This is a time of year for family, friends, fun, and feeling festive. So really Santa is a person who represents all that. Kind of like the flag represents our country or a cross represents Christianity, Santa represents Christmas spirit. As long as you, as long as others continue to spread joy and happiness, Santa is very real. 

But let’s not forget the true meaning of Christmas. This is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Heads would nod, faces would smile, and each of them understood what I meant. Then they’d go on their merry way to lunch and the subject would never be mentioned again.

I bring this up because just yesterday, Crash (who is in 4th grade now) was talking about a picture he colored of cookies and milk for Santa. It’s currently on the fridge and he says to me, “I want to tape it to the table we leave Santa’s cookies and milk on. But I think its you and mom who eat the cookies, drink the milk and buy the presents.”

I paniced. I tried to stay calm on the outside but my insides were screaming and crying on the floor like a full blown toddler tantrum in the candy aisle. My only response was, “I wouldn’t do that. They’re not my treats.” Nothing else was said.

I also bring this up because of a Facebook post that’s been making its rounds. It’s an amazing story of how a mom handled her son’s disbelief in Santa. If you haven’t read it yet, please go here. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Go ahead. I’ll be here when you come back.

See? Pretty awesome, right? Essentially, it’s what I told my 4th graders, Santa is the spirit of giving and all things happy. However, she took it a few steps further by allowing him to BE Santa.

I knew this day would come. I just didn’t think it would come this soon. I didn’t think it would be today.