Human Butterfly

What’s in a butterfly?  Transformation, one vulnerable yet powerful creature taking refuge and time in their own delicately crafted home.

Protected and nurtured from the outside world, the caterpillar is given the time it needs by nature and the universe to morph into it’s full potential.

Once the caterpillar breaks free of it’s cocoon, it has now transformed into another beautiful version of it’s original and powerful self.  Still the same at it’s core yet developed in ways to show it’s true brilliant colors in flight.

The process of the butterfly is natural. Intuition takes over as the caterpillar’s body flows with the rhythm it’s soul has been given. Because of this, the butterfly is truly developed. It has followed it’s own path and not the path of others.

Just like the butterfly, we as humans are given the same chance at transformation. Especially at this time of social distancing and self quarantine. As long as we follow our intuition and natural flow each of us will come out of this transformed. Our colors fully brightened and our wingspan broadened.

Yet, the opposite is held too. If we fight the flow and our natural instincts we risk never developing to our full potential. Remaining in a cocoon, of our own making, indefinitely.

I am reminded of this choice again and again as I question if my way is the right way for those in my care and home. Cocooned in my home like the rest of the world. Just as we are bombarded with information on what foods to feed our family, what plastics to drink out of, what beauty products to slap on, what diet trends to follow … we are doused with information on this worldwide virus.

What mask to wear. When to wear it. Should you wash your mail? Wash it with what? Visit a grandparent? Order groceries from here but not there. Stand six feet away. Don’t travel. “THIS”is RIGHT and “THIS” is WRONG. And just as we are given news report after news report of information, we also find ourselves swept up in a new whirlwind of social media comparison. Home school schedules, pantry organizers, kids in pajamas, parents in pajamas, DIY this, DIY that, chakra clearings, accept this ZOOM invite morning, noon and night …. what to do, what to do. All of it seeming so overwhelming.

The answer for each of us lies inside. Just like the butterfly, we can find the transformation in our natural instinct. Following our intuition on what is right for ourselves, our families and our homes. What is a natural flow for one human butterfly may not be the same for another. Each of our journeys different, each transformation personal.

As long as we stick to what is right in our own individual hearts and follow our own flow, each of us will be transformed for the better. When the time comes and this pandemic is put to sleep, each of us will be released from our cocoons. Each transformed.  Colors bright and wings spread.

The Choice to Drown or Breathe

Living in fear and panic is not the answer. When we are under the waters of life such mindframe and actions fueled by dark feelings only fill our lungs with muddy waters rather than the fresh breath that can set us free. The COVID-19 virus is so much more than a bug at this point, it’s a reflection of how we choose to live life. 

How each of us treat the illness and respond to the outbreak says something about the person we are in life, what we direct our focus and energy on can not be hidden as we have nothing to hide behind … our vices stripped, our job titles gone, our bank accounts and retirement funds bleeding. Stripped of what covers our true colors we can either choose to shine or shroud ourselves with fear and panic. 

With the news changing each and every morning about the pandemic, I too change with each day. I’ve had feelings of peace, exhaustion, gratitude, sadness, love, guilt and the list goes on. But when I stop in stillness and push away the curtain of fear and panic the world becomes clear. 

I’m almost ashamed at my behavior only a week ago. I can’t believe where some of my focus was directed at. The little things I took for granted, the foolish items and actions that I was holding as a priority.  I was drowning my authentic self in muddy waters that I was CHOOSING. I was choosing WHAT to be stressed out over, those stressors weren’t choosing me. 

Though I have too many vices and anxieties to name, I can name my comforts that I find myself turning to in this time of turbulence. Finding peace in writing, baking and cooking, being close to my children and connecting with my friends. A week ago I rarely found time to actually put my thoughts to paper. A week ago I despised being in the kitchen out of the time suck that I felt cooking was. A week ago I barely got to spend real quality time with my children since the time we were together was either to and from an activity or getting school work done or running errands. My friends and I were always “busy” with the activities of our kids or some time suck that we chose over one another. It’s almost heartbreaking that only a week ago I chose to devote my time and energy to things that really don’t even matter, things that didn’t even bring real joy, things that just filled my soul with muddy waters rather than letting my authentic self breathe. 

Yes, this virus is causing real pain, real death and real loss – but it’s also creating a second chance, a restart button on life. A restart that doesn’t involve what others think of me. A button that goes beyond grades and the score of a game. Energy that’s fed to the soul rather than to being busy. Care that’s devoted to relationships rather than things. 

The entire world is still under water as we fight against a tiny germ that has an enormous grip on our lives. But will we bust through the waves breathing freely or will we drown in muddy waters? The choice is ours. 

Mud

It was only weeks ago that my hot yoga teacher referred to the time between the end of January and the late middle of April as a “muddy time”.

Often during this season of mud we find the animals struggling to make the transition between hibernation and actual daily exploration; the struggle of the flowers bursting through the ground that had been frozen for so many months; the blocks of snow melting and mixing with the brown grass and dry dirt creating mud pockets in our front and backyards.

We find this muddy time in our children and ourselves, the struggle with the time change, the full moon and that feeling of wanting the gray skies to just disappear over our homes and bring the warm sun of late spring and summer.  Muddy times with March coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb come April. Muddy times of renewal and hope that the muck will wash away. Now here we are with some really muddy times. Quarantined to our homes and away from what feels normal. A virus that seems to be picking up the mudd of the season and throwing it in our faces so we can do nothing but face it.

A couple of weeks ago the “muddy time” reference held a different meaning for me. I always feel out of sorts during this time of gray and muck, always struggling to find routine in the mud and also a sleeping routine in the change of time. Berating myself for that struggle when so many seem to have been embracing it with ease. But now with all this epidemic stuff gone wild, the more I think about muddy times the more I see the sun, warmth and growth that comes afterwards.

It was muddy spring season when my parents divorced and my grandmother passed my senior year of college.

It was the muddy times when Erik and I found out that I couldn’t have children naturally.

It was the middle of February mud when our son, not even two yet, was diagnosed with amblyopia causing his eyes to turn out and as a result go under a trying eye surgery. It was during that same diagnosis that I found out that our infertility cycle wasn’t successful.

It was spring when we found out that we had 2 weeks to find a home and move with 3 kids under the age of 3.

It was March 11th when we moved back from Texas to Illinois leaving all we knew behind and starting all over again.

It was late muddy January when our 3 year old son had an epileptic seizure leading to a diagnosis of epilepsy that left a future of uncertainty.

It was only a year ago that our newly renovated basement was flooded and human waste shot out of the drains of our new bathroom as all I could do was watch and cry.

And now here we are again in muddy times as a society.

But what matters most about those times that fill my memory with the stench of their muck is that there was so much light, so much warmth, so much love and growth after the mud washed away.

Erik and I moved in together shortly after the divorce and passing of my grandma, starting a life together that would be forever. It was the spring season after the mud had been washed away that Erik proposed.

After the muddy times of infertility we were blessed with our first born on April 27th 2010 with the sun shining and the warmth of the sun glowing with promise.

That same first born was under the care of amazing doctors and came home from his eye surgery 100% healed. Then two months later he turned 2 and also became a big brother times two as we came to find out we were pregnant with twins.

The spring after that two week period of moving found Erik and I in a rhythm of parenting and marriage that only showed us how much of a perfect match we were and are.

After moving back to Illinois I came to find one my best friends in June of that year. A photographer who captured my heart and understood my mud and we still continue to wash one another’s mud away today.

It was the spring after my son’s seizure that I ran my first 5K followed by my first half marathon that fired a love of running that came to slowly heal my low body image and disordered eating of 20 years. It was in spring two years later after that seizure that we found out our youngest son was completely cleared of his earlier diagnosis and was taken off meds.

It was the muddy times of spring that one of my closest friends and I decided to start bringing our two families together to bask in the sun of summer during duel family vacations filling a July days with laughter and memories.

And a year ago as I waded through water in my basement, it was my close group of friends and my loving family that helped us wipe up the muck of the mud and come out into the sun at the end of it all, showing us who cared.

So this too shall pass.  This muddy time will wash away. The sun will come out. Our connections will be strengthened. We will grow and we will flourish. The mud maybe shit coming out of your drain at first glance, but in the end it’s only the foundation of better times to come.

 

Don’t Wear Khaki …

petting-zoo

Living in the dark and light of life and finding the miracle in each. It’s about embracing those dark days and those dirty honest moments with the faith that there is light, faith and a divine plan in all of the muck and bad feelings. It’s about remaining hopeful, kind and full of wonder through it all. I call these moments, SOUL MOMENTS. Moments when we find a way to be shaken and rattled in order to be grateful of things that might be ordinary, but are still full of wonder when you take the time to fully pay attention to and appreciate them.

We sometimes need others to share those soul moments with us so we remember that they are all around us. That the light is all around us, even when we are in pitch black darkness. So I share with you a moment of darkness, mentally and emotionally as a woman, wife and mother but was able to grasp that ray of light in my soul moments that were laid out before me.

So on this particular day my dark and light were these feelings:

Dark = ordinary = boring = khaki = forgettable loser

While my light was: Light = bright = bold = hero with a legacy

Since I know of you all probably have visited such a place of where I came to meet my darkness, let me paint a picture for you. A local barnyard type of viewing and petting zoo. Think ducks, pigs, goats, ponies, owls, bunnies, gift shop and picnic area within an enclosed space that your children cannot escape from. For this piece of storytelling we will call this place ABC ZOO. Let me state first, since many of you are probably petting zoo lovers, that I am not a hater of ABC Zoo and do own a membership to the so-called ABC Zoo…

HOWEVER …. On this particular Saturday I was not an ABC lover. Since the moment I woke up it was playing out to be a dark day … the weekend before I had been in Chicago with JUST my husband for four wonderful adult days where I did what I wanted, when I wanted while I wore adult clothes while eating adult food while doing adult things with my adult husband. But then this adult came back to reality on a Sunday afternoon and  jumped right into a week of VBS, dance classes and giving all of myself to everyone else. So when my eyes popped open that morning I was less than enthused to pack up my clan and head to the zoo. I don’t make a habit of hanging out there on the weekends, but my eldest Braxton was a founder of the Pokemon craze and had been asking to hit up the Pokemon Go stops at the zoo all week. I decided that making my husband suffer along with me would be a good soul moment for him, so we had decided on Saturday morning for a Pokemon pit stop.

When we arrived it started to drizzle which always makes me and my kids happy … said no one ever. When we got through the entrance we immediately logged into the App to find Pokemon for our eldest. This is where everything went downhill for me.

The GPS of the damn app wouldn’t catch … I tried, my husband tried and we tried and we tried with no luck which caused a pissed off first grader. Super. So now what exactly was the purpose of our trip to ABC Zoo then??? With three-year old twins they found a purpose … the actual zoo itself.  So off we went. It being a Saturday it was busy and there were lots of ABC Zoo imposters that didn’t know the lay of the land. I was in a seriously bad mommy mood and was not equipped with the patience to allow strangers to stop in front of me or cut my kids in line. As the rain lifted and the humidity swept in I also was surrounded by not only my sticky skin and the sticky skin of strangers but also the thick muggy smell of animals and hay. As we made our way from the duck pond and into the barn, all three of my little ones began asking for snacks and the echoes of children screaming and parents bickering overtook my senses as we made our way into the tunnel. I felt myself twitch and flashes of Elaine from the episode of Seinfeld when she gets stuck in the subway took over my brain and I too wish I could scream “Shut up! Shut up!”

As we went deeper into the hot dark barn I literally thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown when I saw two parents yell at their kid for touching the drinking fountain. “Don’t! Touch that! IT’s germy! You’ll get sick!” immediately grabbing his hands and dousing them with hand sanitizer. Meanwhile my kids had their snack in one hand and with the other were picking up hay from the wet ground feeding the sheep as they stuffed the rest of their snack in their mouths. Sigh. The amount of parents seemed to grow in number within seconds and I found myself being suffocated by khaki wearing humans with smartphones glowing blue in their faces as they talked about the latest characters on Bubble Guppies. That’s when I lost it. I started to lose my breath as I thought this is not where I am supposed to be. I am supposed to be in the city. I am supposed to be having conversations about art, sex and food. I hate khaki. I hate the smell of animals. I am supposed to be writing a book and rubbing elbows with the cool cats of the literacy world. I’m not cut out for this! I’m supposed to be a hero leaving a legacy of change not a path of snack crumbs. The black cloud that had been looming over my head was now an all engulfing storm cloud and I thought to myself that I could make a run for it! I could run out of that barn and for the main street. I could catch a ride to Chicago with it’s bright lights and dreamy people. I could break out of this suburban jail and be FREE. Talk about dark right? Yes, I am a mom and yes I was thinking my life was a jail at that exact moment. Talk about shame.

But then something happened … one by one my kids began speaking my thoughts out loud. “These people are loud. “

“This place smells.”

“I am hot.”

“Those kids are mean.”

“Let’s go home.”

“This is boring.” 

I looked at my husband and he nodded in agreement as we all half jokingly and me fully serious in an all out gallop headed past the caged animals to the exit. Just as I saw hope and light as we neared the gates to the parking lot my husband stopped our little clan in front of one of those tornado experience machines that you (as mean mommy) are always telling them no to. He asked if they wanted to experience a real tornado. What was HE DOING???? I was almost free! Should I just leave them? But, I too stopped. more from the shock that he was actually dispensing two dollar bills into the damn tornado machine, but the result ended with me missing out on my jail break.

Once the air began to blow within the man-made cylinder, my husband broke out into an all out stripper dance tease lifting his shirt behind the plexi glass as my three little ones danced around him and screamed with joy. Because see, my husband doesn’t care who is watching he doesn’t care about the opinions of others but he cares about me and making me smile. I laughed and as they all proceeded out of the machine they grabbed me with their sticky snack hands and hugged me. As I looked into the windows of the gift shop, Our reflections were anything but khaki … my eldest son got caught up with the hobby of tye dying so he and my husband were donning their latest creations of bold colors. MY youngest son, into anything sporty, wore a bright flourescent blue and green outfit. while my perfect little girl was dressed in her favorite color from head to toe … screaming pink. And I, myself, wore a polka dot shirt at the age of 33. My little girl slipped her hand in mine and they all yelled to go home … my thoughts exactly and this was a definite soul moment. I had my people! My people got me and my people understood me. But it gets even better …

what really put the cherry on the sundae was when I put my youngest son down for his nap a couple of hours later.  I sometimes squish his cheeks and recite how much I love him and that he’s my baby in one of those annoying Mommy voices that can only come from having so much love for one tiny being. This time he grabbed my face and said, “My little mommy Halperin, the baby’s mommy, my HERO.” — Talk about S-O-U-L MOMENT.

Though it had been easy for me to be enveloped in the darkness of the mundane, boring and khaki of life, when I looked a little harder through the dark I was able to find the light, I was able to find the wonder and hope in those soul moments. My life may not be text book glamorous or thrilling but it is filled with bright lights, bold ideas and colors. I do have a fan club, while I create a legacy and… I am somebody’s hero.

 (P.S. I shared this story with my MOPS group at our kick-off meeting this September)

The Jig Was Up

The jig was up …

Someone that I love very much has called me out on a problem that I have come to recognize as a lifestyle. A lifestyle I deemed as a success, that I gave many names and adjectives to except the correct one.  For dignity purposes let’s say health nut but it’s one of those nuts that fell on the pantry ground 10 years ago, was kicked into a dark corner, forgotten and is now rancid.

I have disordered eating. No, I’m not a 17 year-old girl trying to fit in with the popular crowd. I’m a grown woman with kids and an adult life full of responsibilities, friends, love and family. I wasn’t beaten or grew up neglected. But here I am at 33 without knowing how to really eat because, well, my eating is disordered.  Even worse my self-image is an extension of that disordered eating making my seemingly normal lifestyle perfectly disordered.

I feel full of shame and embarrassment as I even write this.  I mean for god’s sake this is the problem of a teenager, not a grown ass woman.  The thoughts in the back of my head tell me that people will judge me thinking that such behavior lacks common sense and willpower. Surely people will say  to just get over it. But I surely cannot be the only one that thinks this way. To say aloud or at least in words that I really do have a problem.

The jig was up ….

I started to look into the dark corners of this reality on my own and what I found was darker than what I had hoped. But where there is darkness there is always light, as long as you have faith.  I searched the all knowing internet, the books offered through Amazon, the library and online. I rifled through blog searches and chat boards. I found plenty dealing with mothers of those who had an eating disorder and I found a book here and there about women with eating disorders but the actual mother with an eating disorder that was a straight shooter and not part of a research project was pretty far and in between. Why was is such a secret? I have a feeling that I’m not the only one. After all, most women I come across are body bashing, talking about the newest diet or skipping a meal here and there to hopefully make up for that cookie eaten four days ago.

I began to look at the ways in which my behavior mirrored the inner workings of my mind. A control freak. A perfectionist. My self-image and body image crumbling with each new diet I latched onto or a day of eating that I deemed “bad”. My exercise regimen stressed like my body and mind were. I was caring and nurturing three little ones but when it came to caring for the one who loved those little babes the most … the word that comes to mind is anything but care.

The jig was up …

I was pouring so much time and energy into diets and rules surrounding my eating, molding my body and my mind frame of what was right and what was wrong. I spent lengths of time reading books, surfing Pinterest, sifting through blogs about achieving the ultimate clean eating and body. But in my mind I had never been to that point of perfection and I would never get there as I ultimately didn’t believe in myself. A reflection of so much more than just my disordered eating.

The jig was up …

One writing exercise in a self-image workbook that made me truly sad was one in which you were to write down all the eating rules you followed. After I completed my list I counted each one resulting in 26 different rules. That’s right 26. I can only imagine all the time and energy that went into upholding these rules. What’s even worse and more time-consuming is that each time I broke a rule I would mentally and emotionally beat myself up. I was a failure. Breaking a rule broke my vision of perfection which broke my spirit which broke my day which meant that I wasn’t living or enjoying life to its fullest all because the nutrition content of what I put into my mouth or the numbers on the scale or what time I had eaten my least bite of the day.

I fixated on these feelings of out of control fatness. That if I didn’t get up and move each and every second I was nothing but a sloth. That if I didn’t workout each day that I would blow up over night. That if I wasn’t thin than I was uglier than I already was. If I wasn’t the number I wanted to see on the scale then It all mattered so much. The skin that I wore on my body meant more than the soul that my body held. What had I done? The jig was up …

Exploration of this so-called clean living fixation that I associated will power and healthy habits is leading me through a dark journey of what I’m reflecting as a mother and how I’m acting as a woman and a wife. However, where there is dark there is always light. You gotta face the storm before the rainbows and Care Bears appear.  Let the journey begin.

The jig is up and now it’s time to share. Sharing to heal. Sharing to find. Sharing to let others know they aren’t alone. Sharing so other moms begin to realize that starving isn’t healthy, working out until the body aches is not natural, that we are not the number on the scale or the cookies we eat. Most of these fixations are only skin deep. What really matters are attributes that cannot be contained by the body, the scale or the rules we apply to foods and exercise.  The jig is up …

Can I borrow a quarter?

washington-quarters-obverse

I was just commenting to my friends that my twins had never slept a night in our bed since they were teeny-tiny babies. Be careful what you put out into the universe …

The screaming traveled up the stairs and into the kitchen. My youngest son was crying shortly after I had put him down for a visit with Mr. Sandman. As I trudged down the stairs I assumed he had forgotten his favorite stuffed dog or would complain about it being too dark or one of the countless excuses a three-year-old can come up with when avoiding going to bed.

As I opened the door to his room, my littlest man was on his knees perched at the end of his bed crying real tears as he held his throat with both hands.  “I swallowed a quarter!” Most parents would assume that their child was lying because why would there be a quarter around when hitting the sack for bed?? Well let me tell you why. For Travis he has what I call a “bed shrine”. The shrine is made up of little figurines ranging from Lego men to Pokemon to shiny coins to pencils. The shrine sits around the bed board portion of his bed where he can fall asleep as he fiddles and adjusts their placement. Travis has never been a child who put anything in his mouth. He never had a pacifier. Never had a bottle. Never a thumb sucker or a small baby that put small objects in his mouth. But here he was at 3 1/2 swallowing quarters, at 7:30 at night, during bed time, on a Sunday night. Super.

Can I borrow a quarter?

Up the stairs we went. Tears rolling down his red cheeks as he held his neck and I held his hand. I called to my husband and he called poison control. Poison control informed us that this sort of thing was not their area of expertise. Call the pediatrician was their answer. It being a Sunday evening my husband got the emergency voicemail message and left his own message. Within moments his cell was ringing with the on call NP.  After explaining the events of the Halperin Household that evening,  the nurse said we would need to follow protocol for ingestion of a foreign object — to wait 8 to 12 hours before making it into radiology for an x-ray. We’d also have to keep him up for another hour or so. Then he would need to sleep with us in order to keep watch on his breathing. (This would be where I ended up eating my words about our twins never sleeping with us from just a couple of days prior). For our coin eating kiddo this was a win! Not only did he get to stay up and watch football with dad but he also got to sleep in mommy and daddy’s big bed. His eyes practically sparkled with joy as we explained the events that would be taking place that night.

Can I borrow a quarter?

Hello radiology. Twelve hours later my little boy was having a medical bracelet wrapped around his small wrist as a badge of honor for his crime. The nurse asked him what he ate … he replied “breakfast” which in theory was absolutely correct since only an hour before he had been eating a bowl of cereal but I’m pretty sure she was expecting him to answer “a quarter lady”.

Can I borrow a quarter?

After one waiting room and one x-ray later, the foreign object was successfully found in the upper right portion of his intestine. Good news is that’s what we basically wanted, in the digestive track, rather than caught somewhere that would obstruct his breathing. The bad news? Well we would have to wait on a call from our pediatrician for that part.

Can I borrow a quarter?

Finally, just before dinner. The nurse called, repeating the same question that I had heard a number of times in the last 22 hours … “A quarter??” YES, A QUARTER.  The prognosis? Long story short … Wait it out and sift through batches of his poop. Wonderful.

Can I borrow a quarter?

Though our youngest male offspring may be lanky, his poops are not. Bowel movements from him equal clogged toilets and at least 10 minutes on the porcelain thrown. This means that searching for the treasured quarter would be like searching for a needle in a haystack (except in water and exceptionally disgusting).

Can I borrow a quarter?

What exactly do you use when sifting through tons of poop in a watery hole? You know those paint stir sticks that every hardware store in America gives out for free when purchasing paint?? Yep, that’s the money maker. As a parent, I now advise having at least ten on hand, for crafting and of course poop scooping. Three poops later we are still on the search.

Can I borrow a quarter?

If you should need a quarter, my son is your man … you may just need a paint stick and some patience before he hands over the loan.

 

I’m Not Your Babysitter

All three of my kids participate in a soccer program. I chose the program based on the fact that all three, though divided into separate age groups, would be playing at the same time frame. This not only provided less chauffering and scheduling but also meant an hour of breathing time for me. It meant an afternoon time slot where coaches would be in charge of my children rather than me.

This is why I became so annoyed with another mother. She was messing up my “alone time”. She was inadvertently invading my space. How so? Through her C-H-I-L-D.

As I sat enjoying the fall weather that finally enveloped the Midwestern states, I sat back with a book in hand with one eye on the pages and my other “mom eye” on my kids as they trotted across the soccer fields. Finally … the kids were bought into the play and were leaving me alone (with the added benefit of exercise and team camaraderie). Suddenly a shadow appeared over my book. My space was being shared with another small body, one that did not come out of my body.

A little boy around the age of two was mumbling on about the tree that I had set up my mom camp next to. At first I said hello and was nice as pie to the little guy. But then after about 3 LONG minutes it was apparent that he was not leaving the space that I had designated as my territory.  What made matters worse is that this little boy had snot cascading out of his nose and past his top lip. It wasn’t the clear kind that is caused by running in cold weather, rather it was the thick slimy green kind that can only mean an infection. Along with his constant chatter was the on going smack against the tree that he continued to conduct like a Mozart of the forest. He had acquired two fallen sticks in both hands and was slapping the side of the tree with both again, again and AGAIN.

After another three long minutes of annoyance I stated to the little person that he should probably go find his mommy. After looking at me with green boogers slipping into his mouth, he gave one last slap to the tree and galloped over to his mother that was standing with three others as they babbled on about  _______ (please enter whatever boring subject you’d like). He pulled and pulled AND pulled on her jacket when she finally took notice of him. I’m not sure exactly what he said but she looked my way and gave a wave and a smile. “At last” I thought, “Peace and quiet — take care of your own kid.”

I settled back into my spot and within in moments that snot monster was back, mumbling louder and hitting harder. I looked past him at his mother who just gave the same wave and nod. “Um, WTF??? Are you serious? Lady, I am not your babysitter.” I wanted to take her waving hand and wipe it across her face to erase that clueless smile off her suburban face.

Rather than demonstrating an act of violence in the suburbs of the Midwest against an obviously clueless mother, I picked myself up from my cozy spot. I then used the opportunity to get closer to the sidelines of each of my children’s practices. Ping-ponging between the Terrific – 3’s and the First grade scrimmagers.

Now when I reflect back on the annoyance and the mindless mother …. maybe I was the one who was clueless. Maybe the stick swinging, germ carrying little dude was actually sent as a wake-up call from a greater power to have THIS mother focus more on her kids rather than the book in her hand. Maybe my little people needed to see me fully in IT, completely in the moment cheering them on and giving a thumbs up when their tiny little feet managed to kick a ball bigger than their heads into the goal. Maybe the banging of the stick was a banging on my head to get my ass up and walk over to see my growing first grader in a competitive foot-fight as he ran full speed as a 6 year old … because one day he’ll be 7 then 8 then 9 then 12 then 16 then 21 then married ….

Well played universe, well played. I hate snot, I hate germs, I hate loud smacking noises over and over …. what better way to get me fully in the game, the game of LIFE that is.