Del Taco Talk-os

Another week (nearly) under our belts.  Thank You, Lord.

By Friday afternoon, boy, are we marinated and cooked.  I can hear baby girl mewing for me from her crib with a weird early wake-up but she needs to nap longer so I will leave her be while I try to crank out a post.

This past week, I watched a video of a mom stating that the five foundations for a strong family are:

  1. Love
  2. Acceptance
  3. Communication
  4. Play
  5. Presence

Which one are you strongest in?  Which one do you need to work on?

I thought “love” as a catch-all topic was odd as it seemed more like the big umbrella under which 2-5 should fall.  We all love our kids fiercely.

Without overthinking it, I am strongest in communication while we are outside of the home.  I may loathe all things domestic but I will constantly talk to my kids about their feelings – in the car, taking a walk, taking a walk to Del Taco.  In the car is a big one.

Though Kevin teases me for being so Oprah, he does appreciate that I talk to my kids about their roses and thorns, their highs and lows, and set the mood for our family to talk more.

Life is only going to get busier as the kids grow older.  So many deadlines to calendar that one night, when I unexpectedly fell asleep at the same time as the boys, I only woke up to yell down to Kevin, “Can I afford to go back to sleep?  What does our calendar say?  Anything time sensitive for tomorrow?”

And yes, part of our busy, is because we chose it.  Chose to join groups and activities that we just don’t want to cut out during this life stage.  Maybe we will have to reassess soon but for now, everything we’ve joined is life-giving.

Looking back at this past week, everything blurs together, all the photos on my phone – sports, church, school, library – but for some reason, our first impromptu walk to Del Taco for post-homework mini-shakes stands out as a memorable moment in the mundane.

One thing I miss about NYC is how we walked lots.  So I told the kids that the boys can scooter and Olive can ride in her toy car to Del Taco, if they finish their homework fast.  We went for a walk, including my still-healing left pinky toe.  Olive clearly delighted in this break from routine, an unusual walk to a “restaurant” with her brothers zigzagging past her, and back.

While there, I told the boys to take turns, practice asking for things politely while I watched from afar:  “Excuse me, may we have some more napkins, please?  Thank you,” to split fries three-ways without fighting, to throw away all of our trash without dropping the tray in the trash, to be mindful of others’ space when we park our scooters and car.

Ellis held the door open for all of us plus a lady who never even glanced at him or offered a “thank you” even as he used his entire body to keep the door open.  “That lady never said ‘thank you,’ Mom.”

So I shared with him about how non-thankers are also my pet peeve and how I once ran after a man in Manhattan to return all the cash that blew out of his back pocket on a particularly windy morning, and he might have said, “Oh,” at most, even after I went out of my way to return it to him.  I told him about how this world is full of all kinds of people, including rude people who may hurt us, and how we will also hurt others, both unintentionally and intentionally.

Then on the walk back, a senior citizen dropped all the contents of his wallet on the sidewalk so while the scene barely began to register with me as I barked at the kids, “Don’t scooter into each other!  Watch the street.  Don’t scooter into sister!  Watch Mom’s foot – I can’t afford another injury!” Micah had already ran to the gentleman and started picking up his credit cards for him.

I told him that was very kind and proactive of him.

Okay, Olive is crying lots so I gots to go.  Marvel in the mundane.  Watch for wonder.  I’d like to think those are my strengths as an imperfect, mistake-making mama.

Happy International Women’s Day!



See? See?!

My guilty pleasure, “Bachelor in Paradise,” came to an end last week. One moment that stayed with me was when Claire poured her heart out to the camera about wanting to finally find a man who would just SEE her for who she is and say, “Hey, I want you.  You are it.  I’m signing up for all of it.”

Last week was my firstborn’s first week of full-day school. Pre-kindergarden.

It surprised me by turning out to be a bigger week than I had imagined. After all, he had already been attending nursery school in the mornings so this was just an extension of that, right?  Not quite.

And it wasn’t just about getting the logistics down, driving to and from another neighborhood everyday, timing Ellis’ and my morning activities, lunch, and nap so that they would all be completed in time to walk to our parking space three blocks away (though I’ve still had to wake up Ellis from his warm, toasty nap each day).   Then, we finally get to go pick up Big Bro just in time for us to be waiting eagerly on the sidewalk by his school door, like paparazzi.  I even snap a pic of him on my iPhone just to record how happy he looks after enjoying school all day, and also about reuniting with his family.

That is our favorite time of day, to catch a glimpse of our very own Micah, strutting down his school stairs with a radiant Denzel smile and a backpack bigger than his torso, exclaiming, “Mom! I only cried so little today!”  We are his own little entourage of two.  Ellis has even cheered loudly as Brother walks down to us.

Back to Claire from the Bachelor. She just wanted a dude to see her for her and say, “Yup, I see you, even your weaknesses, and I still want to be with you.”  Somehow this reminded me of my boy starting school.

I have been at home with him since weeks before his birth. I see him. All of him. I know everything about him, from bowel movements to quirks to weaknesses to stremfs. I know his body better than I know mine. I know what sets him off, what makes him happy, what makes him sad. This is such a precious time because it won’t always be this way.

I see him for him and because all of his traits are a part of him, and I am the one who birthed him, he is the one for me. Now that he will be spending his days with his two teachers and 17 classmates, I wondered, “Will they be able to SEE him? Beyond him winning the #1 Crier award at dropoff the first few days, will they be able to SEE my Micah as I see him?” I hoped so.

Of course it takes time but slowly, I wanted them to be able to see the boy that I see. I’m sure all parents want the same for their precious little ones.  And big ones.

Before his first week, I observed him at Orientation. He and his new classmate were playing house when she said, “You spit when you talk.” I gave them their space and just observed. He asked her, “Me? I DO? Me?” while rivulets of drool rolled down his chin.

So this is what it was going to be like to let him do his own thang for a full day. I wasn’t going to be there to run interference when classmates said things, or pushed him. He tends to freeze when attacked and I wasn’t going to be there to remind him to use his words.

And I know he ain’t perfect either. If he don’t act right, I wasn’t going to be there to tell him to come correct right quick.

Definitely some growing pains for Mommy. To send him off to grow and learn on his own.

I also didn’t think about the effect this going away to school business would have on Little Bro. I had heard on Facebook that many little siblings were having a hard time. Though my dude does ask about Micah hyung wherever we went, especially when we saw things that reminded us of him, which was pretty much everything since we three were rollin’ deep, homies 24-7 over the summer, my little guy also relished that Mommy was able to SEE him, just him. In fact, he loves to say, “See? See!?” after pointing at anything these days. “See? Supe-man!? See? Bah-Man!? See see? Mommy, see?  Animals, see!?  Squirrel, squirrel ova they-ah!?  See?”

Yes, I see you and everything that you’re pointing to.  What a treat it is to see you without having to split my attention. I get to see you with laser-sharp focus, with new eyes now that brother is off to school for the day, and I am honored. I am excited to see you grow up this upcoming year.

I love this concept of truly being able to see someone.

When you make friends in your 30s, you want them to be able to see you beyond your current struggle with your job or your spouse, or even your life stage, that you aren’t JUST the circumstances you met them during, but a whole person.

The question always seems to be, “Who do you even WANT to see you? More of you?” As I get older, the answer is, “Not as many as befo’!”

Therein lies the beauty of childhood friends, your people you can use shorthand with to say, “This is me. You’ve seen me, warts and all. And you’re still around!”

When you start dating someone, you want them to be able to see your quirks and weaknesses and not just put up with them but welcome them as they are a part of you.

And even as I write this very typical Mommy post, I hope that folks can see that while I sound like Just Another Mommy, waxing poetic about her kids, this is just a part of me. Just as I am, though I fear eyerolls and being insufferable as I am fully aware that anecdotes about your kids are usually only interesting to you or their relatives.

Speaking of “see”? I’ll SEE y’all later. It’s almost our fave time of day!