Marjorie Writes…

Everyday Musings of an Extraordinary Woman

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

Mom’s Football Heartache

Have you ever tried to put a football uniform on a lump of an 8-year-old boy? A crying lump of an 8-year-old boy? It’s not very fun, nor is it very easy.

After telling me he’d hurt his ankle on Sunday and couldn’t go to his football game, my son came home from school on Tuesday (the next practice) with a bad headache. That time, I believed him. I mean, this kid would never willingly lie down in bed in the afternoon and take a nap if he wasn’t really feeling bad – not even to try to fool his mother. So since school started, he sometime decided he didn’t like football as much as he had loved it the first couple of weeks.

Last night, before bed, I sat him down for a long talk. I told him that football was a team sport, that his whole team was counting on him and he couldn’t let them down. And since he’d now missed 2 practices, I reminded him that it was also dangerous, and he needed to go to practice so he’d know what he was doing so hopefully he wouldn’t get hurt during the games. And that this weekend his huge team would be broken into taxi and pee wee teams so his team would have fewer players and he’d get a lot more playing time in the game (with 26 players, he was spending a lot of time on the sidelines during the games, except, of course, for the game Sunday which he missed which was also a smaller group of kids so he would have had a lot of play time, not to mention they won 26-0).

So I told him he had to think about it and decide if he wanted to play or not. If he decided he wanted to play, he had to go to his games and practices, always. He had to either be all in or out. No middle ground. I even asked him if he’d gotten hurt, if he was scared, if someone was being mean to him, you know, all of the normal “mom” questions. He said nothing like that was going on. And that he did want to play.  Then I told him that he had to go to sleep, no games tonight, no coming in and out of my room or whispering to his sister or any other nonsense because I had a call to a client I had to make and could not have interruptions.

I left his room and called my client. After finally getting in touch with her, we ended up rescheduling the call. So I made another, personal call that I needed to make. And stayed on the phone for a long time.

This morning, after I woke him up, he came into my room and told me he had been up really late because he was going to talk to me after I got off the phone but I was on the phone too late. (WOW – he actually listened to me and followed my instructions!) He told me he wanted to talk to me because he didn’t like football and didn’t want to play – he said it was boring. I told him he had to gear up this afternoon and go to practice and tell the coach that he wanted to quit the team, that I would support him but he had to tell him.

Now, my son has no problem telling me anything I don’t want to hear (not that I didn’t want to hear that) but he doesn’t like telling other people anything that may not be copacetic. And since this kid LOVES sports – he usually gets mad at me if we’re literally 1 minute late to a practice or game, and for the first two weeks of football practice (before school started, when it was FIVE days a week) he was geared up and ready to go at 2, for a 5pm practice, I accepted that it wasn’t his sport and was willing to let him quit. Mind you, this was the day after I ordered his new jersey with his name on it.

So this afternoon, he didn’t want to gear up, didn’t want to go to practice. I held firm, but in the end didn’t make him gear up, just got all of his gear together to take with us to turn in. He purposefully left the house without shoes – told me he had no intention of talking to the coach, I had to do that. At that point, with his mood, I wasn’t going to argue, although I really didn’t want to be the one to do it, since that particular coach kind of intimidates me. Anyhow, we went to the field and I left the kids in the car and went and told the coach that I’d had a long talk with my son and he didn’t want to play anymore. The coach asked if he was in the car; I said he was. We walked over to the car and the coach opened my son’s door and told him that it was a team sport, his team was depending on him, that he wasn’t going to let him quit. He said he’d made a commitment when he’d joined the team, and he had to fulfill his commitment – that at the end of the season if he still didn’t want to play, he didn’t have to play again next year, but he couldn’t quit this season. And he told him that one of the other players had gone up to JV (the next age bracket) and he needed him on the team because he was a really good player. So then the coach told him to gear up and come practice. I told the coach we had to go home to get his cleats but we’d be back.

We got home and my son didn’t say a word. He came in the house, I made him put on his cup and he sat on the couch and cried as he did. I felt so bad for him. I then had to dress him, which is much easier with a squirming baby than trying to put tight, football pants with lots of pads over short, tight shorts with pads and pull them up. His foot got stuck in the lining of the pants at one point, yet he still made no effort to help me. He was still sitting there, defeated, crying. Did I mention that hurt my heart? Anyhow, I got him ready and he came out to the car and we went to practice, now late. He walked as slow as I’ve ever seen him walk across the field, in no hurry to reach his team. And he practiced. After practice, he seemed to be in a better mood, but still very quiet and not happy.

I agree with the coach. My personal ethic is that if you sign up to do something, you do it, to the best of your ability. You don’t quit and let people down. Your word is the most valuable thing you have – if you do something to render it worthless, it is impossible to fully get your credibility back. And yes, he needs to learn that ethic.

That said, my son is also not a quitter and normally gives every sport his all – he is a pure Type A personality. He wants to excel at everything he does. He’s played soccer, hockey, baseball and taken karate. He’s given each sport his all and tries his hardest – and usually does excel at them – he’s just naturally athletic (he certainly doesn’t get that from his mother!) Anyhow, he’d also never wanted to play football before. The coach’s wife asked in the summer if he wanted to play, he said he didn’t. Later in the summer she messaged me saying her husband wanted him on the team, so I told her I’d ask him if he wanted to play, but I’d asked him a few times and he’d had no interest. That time he said yes. When signing him up, I asked him a few times if he was sure he wanted to play, instead of playing soccer. He said he did. Then he asked if he could just try it. I said yes. So the first week I kept asking if he liked it and he really did.

I definitely have mixed feelings on tonight. I feel very bad for my son, but it’s a good lesson to learn, an important lesson. And if he’d wanted to quit the first week or two, I would have made sure he was off the team. But he’s into the season now. I just hope he has a lot of play time on Sunday in his game, and he sees how much he likes it, or it will be a long season. Some days are harder than others to be a mom.

Live, love, laugh…it’s what makes it worthwhile!

Advertisements

Perceptions: A Love Story

I heard an interesting tidbit from my past last night, which I had never known. It’s actually very sweet and romantic, mostly sweet.  Apparently I was part of a love triangle 25 years ago, but never knew it (until last night). I was talking to an old friend and we were reminiscing. I said something (I honestly don’t even remember how exactly this came up) and he disagreed with me. I started to insist, argue my point, tell him what had transpired. He tried to correct me but was also evading my questions. However, some people are better than others at evasion, and he is just like I am – he ends up telling the truth because he can’t help himself (I really hate when I do that. In this case, I loved it!)

So my friend I was talking to last night, whom I’ll call Fred, was a friend of mine in my senior year of high school. He was in the army when I met him, but only 6 months older than I was – he had gone to college at about 15 and then joined the army. He’s incredibly smart, but I think at the time wasn’t sure what to do with himself, or something like that (I’m still unclear on this part). Anyhow, when I first met him, we went out for a couple of weeks and I broke it off, because he was more a friend to me than anything else. We remained good friends, obviously, and I would hang out with him and his army buddies and they would hang out with me and my drama group (rather, Thespian friends) and it was always fun. So I developed a crush on one of Fred’s friends, whom I’ll call Roger. Somehow, I convinced Fred to set me up with Roger and go on a double date with us, and he took out one of my drama friends. We ended up at this park/lake where we were hanging out and paired up, walking around in the moonlight (very romantic). For years, I’ve remembered my first kiss with Roger, under the moonlight on a beautiful night by the lake. We were walking and talking and laughing and we stopped and were looking at each other. We both leaned in close, my heart was pounding, ready for him to kiss me. Just as his lips got close enough to almost touch mine, he pulled back. “Psyche!” he cried out. I can’t even fully explain my reaction – I pulled back, shocked, surprised and embarrassed. I must have looked upset. He put his arms around me and leaned in and kissed me. Of course, given how it started, I think I will probably remember that first kiss better than any other in my life. It was at once sweet and deep and took my breath away. Oh, and this is another change from my memory, or actually an explanation. Apparently, when Roger got close to kiss me, Fred gave him a look saying no, and he stopped short. Of course, obviously, he couldn’t resist me and kissed me anyhow.

So Roger and I started dating, and soon fell in love. He was my first love. It was a love so deep that I harbored it for many years, until I fell in love with my second husband, and realized I was no longer in love with Roger (and no, he wasn’t my first husband, whom I did also love, but not in the same way). Anyhow, in the spring of that year, I asked Roger to go to my prom with me. He hemmed and hawed, wouldn’t say yes, told me he didn’t like proms, that he was 20 years old and hadn’t even been to his own prom, etc. He kept putting me off. I argued with him that I really wanted to go to my prom, that he was my boyfriend, that I didn’t want to go with anyone else. Finally, he acquiesced and we ended up going to prom and had a wonderful night together. The next week, Roger broke up with me, telling me he was getting orders to be sent overseas and didn’t want to hold me back. He knew I was going away to college and wanted me to go without anything holding me back. He broke my heart.

Anyhow,  last night I was talking to Fred and somehow this came up and he told me that Roger had really wanted to go to my prom with me. No he didn’t, I told him, and gave him all of the excuses Roger had used 25 years ago. He tried to get out of my tenacious questioning but eventually told me that he and Roger had argued repeatedly because Roger wanted to take me to my prom, he loved me, but Fred had wanted to take me to my prom and told Roger he couldn’t (despite the fact that I had asked Roger). So finally, they decided to fight it out, a duel of sorts for the honor of escorting me to prom. Mind you, as Fred was telling me this last night, I was completely flabbergasted. I kept pressing him for details. So he told me that I had been there the night they had the fight. Immediately, I asked if it was the night he tried to fly out of the tree, and laughing, he said it was. That night, we had all gone out (there were 4 of us that usually hung out together, the 3 of us and another guy in their platoon). Fred was beyond drunk that night, and was hilarious – which is why I remember the night so clearly, 25 years later. Fred climbed a tree, and about 500 birds flew out of it. Then he decided to fly out of the tree, which of course, didn’t end so well for him, since he ended up on the ground. He was fine, just got up and walked it off. There were also several other things he did that night that were even funnier, including blowing up a condom while in the backseat of a small sedan; it actually blew up almost as big as the backseat of the car before it popped.

Well, apparently, after the guys took me home, they went back to base and Fred and Roger “dueled” for my hand. Now, Fred was a tall, lanky guy, and Roger had about 50 pounds of muscle on him. Fred told me last night he’d gotten so drunk that night hoping it would make the punches not hurt as much – he knew going into it that Roger would take him, but was determined to fight for my hand. The next day, Roger told me he’d decided to go to prom with me. I assumed (for 25 years) that he just changed his mind, not that he’d “won” the right to be my date. Of course, I found out last night that he just finally agreed, as he’d wanted to all along. Oh, and Fred told me he had gone with Roger to order my corsage, and to rent his tuxedo, etc, because they both wanted to make sure I had a perfect evening. So sweet!

All day today, I’ve been thinking of this huge difference from what I’ve believed for so many years. And all day today I’ve been smiling. I actually had 2 amazing guys fighting over me, and I had no idea. I probably never would have if it hadn’t been for some random conversation I had with an old friend last night, who got backed into telling me the parts I didn’t know. Wow. Now, I have a lot of confidence, I know exactly what I’m worth (a whole lot, and I’m not talking about finances, I know the kind of person I am). However, I could never have imagined that these two guys, two best friends, literally had come to blows over me. It’s stupefying.

And it’s funny. If I’d known back then that Fred was trying to tell Roger that he was going to prom with me, I would have been very upset. I was madly in love with Roger, Fred was my friend. I wanted to go with Roger. It would have been a huge teenage drama filled with angst. Instead, I think it’s about the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard.

It’s funny, the difference in perception that 25 years will make. As I’ve thought about it, it’s also a lesson in the way we view things that happen. We never know the back-story, what else is going on in a situation. Our circumstances change the way we view things. This is an important lesson to keep in mind – we only ever know one side of the story, even if we believe there is nothing else going on. When I was studying journalism, we were taught what to find out in reporting a story: who, what, when, where, why, how and what else. That’s something we should consider every day. What else?

Live, laugh, love…it’s what makes it worthwhile.

Contentment

I’m sitting here, late at night, relaxed, content, and wide-awake. I’m pretty happy with being relaxed and content, as far as being wide-awake, not so glad about that! However, it’s times like these that I start thinking (don’t worry, won’t set off any smoke detectors) and get inside my own head, figure out what I’m really thinking and feeling.

Tonight, I’m feeling very thankful. I don’t have everything in the world, but I have the most important things. Barring a job with a steady income, I’ve got just about everything else a girl could want or need. I have two of the most amazing kids in the world. Ok, so it was just a few hours ago I got so frustrated with them not going to sleep that I realized I was literally counting down the hours until they went back to school (about 30, more or less, at this point). However, I think they’re just excited about going back to school (my son is super excited about his teacher) and I guess refusing to settle down before they absolutely have to (in my mind, we were past that point, but who knows really what they were thinking). Anyhow, barring that, they are amazing kids. Today they were silly and goofy and laughing a lot, which is probably one of my favorite sounds in the world (their laughter). And, really amazingly enough, they actually let me have a long phone call with an old friend from high school without really interrupting me (this is seriously amazing, as anyone who’s tried to talk on the phone with me while the kids are around can attest to). Those of you with kids will understand that – they will leave you alone all day until you get on the phone, and then they absolutely can’t live without your attention.

Anyhow, and I guess one of the things I’m most thankful for is the amazing friends I have.  I don’t mean the people I know and am friendly with, my acquaintances. I mean my true friends. I don’t have a huge circle of friends I hang  out with all the time or even see regularly (although some of them I do). However, I have been blessed with a good number of people I consider true friends, whom I love and would do anything for. And they would do anything for me, as well. They have. They have saved my life, emotionally, during some really rough times during the course of my life – kept me laughing (as I love to laugh) in the face of pain and adversity. They let me cry when I need to and also give me a firm kick in the ass when I need that. Mostly, my friends are just there, an important part of my life. I am fortunate to have very close friends from many different parts of my life – high school, college, first job after college, etc. And I don’t talk to all of them regularly – some I chat with daily, some every now and then, but the thing about good, true friends is you can call them and pick up right where you left off even a few years ago. You just catch up and move on, it’s a wonderful thing.

I also have two super adorable and super loving dogs – one is the mama dog and the other is her baby (she’s a little over a year old). We adopted them from a shelter about a year ago, shortly after the puppies were weaned. The mama, Emmy Lou, is as sweet as can be – she’s about 4 years old now, half dachshund, half beagle, and just a very quiet, headstrong dog who loves to be loved. Her baby, Scampy, is the dachshund/beagle mix and ???. She’s black and white and cute as a button, crazy, hyper and always getting into everything. But she’s a lot of fun to play with and cuddle with. My kids adore them and they fit into our household well. I grew up with dogs, and always loved having them around. They are part of our family.

Now, as I said earlier, I don’t have a steady job right now. However, I have an opportunity in front of me, gifted to me by one of my dearest, oldest friends. I am so excited about it, and about everything the future holds. With the love and the people in my life, I know I can do anything I put my mind to.

Live, love, laugh – it makes it worthwhile!

Summer’s Ending

So now that I’m seriously focused on my job search, or actually have narrowed down my focus and determined my plan of action, my life seems to have gotten crazy, kid-wise. The past week was non-stop.  Today is Labor Day (actually, after I go to sleep and wake up it will be, but technically it’s after midnight, thus it’s the holiday). School starts for my kids on Thursday. And for the first time all summer, I am seriously ready for it to start. I will actually have real time again to do those freelance jobs and search for new ones without having to do the work late at night or while juggling kids’ activities. YAY! I can’t wait!

Of course, I’ll miss (as always) the relaxed pace of our days, the fun of summer activities, the beach, you name it. Bedtime is usually the one thing I’m consistently strict with (not that I’m not strict about anything else, but bedtime is usually a no-fail barring exceptions for activities, homework, etc). However, in the summer, on days when there’s nowhere we have to be early, I’m a pushover. Which means, I’ll also have more time at night, once the kids go to bed! Another YAY!

That is definitely balanced, however, with homework, the true evil of the school year. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for homework – I rarely think they have too much. I think it’s a very important part of the learning process. The issue is with my daughter. She HATES doing homework. Mind you, it’s not because it’s too hard for her – she’s a very smart girl (takes after her mom there) and when she sits down and focuses on the work in front of her, she generally breezes through it without much trouble. I love those nights! On those nights, she finishes early enough that we can all sit and play a game or watch a tv show or do something together. On those nights, I don’t feel like a slave-driver or a warden, and I’m not pulling my hair out by the time I put her to bed. I am just a regular, tired, happy mother. Which, by the way, is a great thing to be!

However, as I said, my daughter is my mini-me. While I don’t remember not wanting to do my homework when I was younger, I do remember how I didn’t do too much more than what I had to do to get by. I was very blessed with intelligence, which I completely didn’t believe at the time. I could get by making mostly Bs with some As and some Cs without studying too hard. So I did, and managed to stay in honors classes all the way through college. When I look back now, I wonder what I could have accomplished had I ever really applied myself (I will say that I think my last semester in college I decided to really apply myself and it was amazing how much more I got out of my classes, except for that business calculus class, that is!). My mother was constantly on my case about my grades, even though they weren’t bad. She just knew they could be so much better. Of course, that was when I was older than my daughter is now. I’m wondering if she put that parent’s curse on me – you know the one – where you tell your kids that one day they’ll have kids just like you?

While I can’t complain yet about my daughter’s overall grades, I do know in certain subjects (like spelling – I’ve always been great at spelling – why didn’t she get that gene?!) I have to really stay on her and make sure she not only does the required homework, but actually studies the subject matter before her tests. I’m hoping that since she’s going into middle school, which they SAY will make the kids much more independent (I can hope, right?), she will take more responsibility for sitting down and doing all of her homework without me constantly looking over her shoulder to remind her to focus and do it. She also takes great pride in making honor roll and earning good grades, so hopefully this past year’s successes will be an impetus.

So along with the homework, the school year starting also brings all of the activities and varied schedules. I become Mom Taxi again, more so than in the summer (although I’ve gotten used to it with daily football practice for the last few weeks). But at least practice is down to 3 nights a week plus a weekend game, instead of  5 nights a week plus a game. So I’m looking forward to seeing what the school year brings. PLUS, I’m looking forward to getting back to working regularly. Not to mention getting back into a regular routine. I love those days where there’s nothing we HAVE to do, but I actually get so much more done when I have more to do, if that makes any sense.

So after 3 more days, I’ll have a tease of both freedom and routine, and a chance to get used to our new schedule with one in elementary and one in middle school (different time schedules). Of course, the first 2 days are half days, which is why it’s a tease – they like half days but I prefer full days. That will come soon enough. Along with the endless homework, activities, birthday parties, etc.

Upon reflection, I think we’ll have to spend the next two days being lazy and enjoying the end of summer – maybe go to the beach on Tuesday (I try to avoid it on holidays – too crowded). I need a couple more days of fun with my kids without the pressure of school to hold me over until the next break.

Live, laugh, love – it’s what makes it worthwhile!

Coming Soon…

I’m very excited tonight! I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day about the frustration of trying to find freelance jobs online and the time it takes to click, click, click incessantly, to find very little. Now, said good friend is a computer genius. Anyhow, he had been sending me posting links for virtual positions located all over the country. So he decided to do one better – he sent me the link to a program he had written a few years ago. This program enables him to search specified categories in Craigslist in various cities (which he’s programmed) without having to click on all of the cities then the job categories, etc. He can even have it send him a daily email with updates for those cities/job categories.

I opened the program and BAM! Everything was on one page. All I had to do was select the city at the top of the page, and it had all of the writing and editing jobs listed for that city. Then click on another city at the top and search through them. It even had the first two lines of the ad under the header – so I could see at a glance if it was something that might interest me. I quickly messaged him and told him he was a genius and that I loved him – he just expanded my search area exponentially and made it so much faster! Honestly, for some reason, I had never thought of looking in the LA area or Chicago, etc, for jobs on Craigslist, even though it makes perfect sense since I am looking for jobs I can do from my location (East Coast girl here).

I also immediately told him that this was something a lot of people could use, for a number of different search reasons, and that he should market it for public consumption! This led to a few long conversations (including until 4:30am Saturday when his cell phone finally died) and he is now working on setting up the program for a website to sell various options of this service. I think it’s genius – I’m very excited for him and about this project!  And because I gave him the idea to make it available to others, he’s going to call it Margie’s List. Isn’t that sweet? (I’ve known him since high school, so he still calls me Margie.)

Anyhow, check back here for more information – hopefully he’ll have the website up and running soon and I’ll give you all the information you need about it when it’s up! Until then, I’ll go back and use the program he personalized for me and keep searching for jobs. Oh, and of course, I’ll keep writing on here about other topics. Just wanted to give you a quick peek of what’s coming.

Live, laugh, love…it’s what makes it worthwhile!

Post Navigation