about Blogs book exercise mamalougues contact Image Map

Friday, December 13, 2013

These are a few of my favorite things

I was on Facebook today and was prompted to click an icon that said " Look at your year in review"
As if I didn't know what had happened all year, I decided to click on it.   According to Facebook my highlights were the birthdays, anniversaries and the last picture of our beloved dog.
But to me, the best things of 2013 can't even be defined in a picture, and even words at times.

One day when I was  having one of my non-rational panic attacks I started freaking out to Don about a fitted sheet.  Those things seriously, never fit right.  In the middle of my tantrum, while pulling my hardest to fit the sheet on the corner, I fell on my face.  When I looked up, Don was standing there blinking his eyes rapidly. When I asked him what he was doing, he explained he was taking mental pictures of me because it was hilarious.  It made me want to strangle him and hug him at the same time.  He made me realize that I was freaking out about a fitted sheet. And it wasn't that there was a hidden meaning behind it, the sheet had gotten the best of me.
Those are highlights that Facebook seemed to miss, but it gave me the idea to take mental snapshots so when I am feeling overwhelmed or sad for no reason, I can sit back, close my eyes and flip through my mental album.  Sure I may look crazy as I walk into work smiling, but its better than frowning.

A few moments I will hold close to me are as simple as my mom walking in my front door with a fresh cup from Starbucks for no reason.  Watching my Dad sketch.  The smell of a clean bathroom after Don cleaned it.  Seeing a picture or a status update that really cracks me up.
Discovering a quote like this:
Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength. 
Finding friends that share my interests.  A co-worker who can dance and make me laugh.  The sound of silence when all the boys have finally fallen asleep.  The little tinge of excitement I get when they sleepily walk down the stairs with their bedheads in the morning.  Watching my husband work.
Getting published and feeling that my parents and my best friend are not the only ones who like reading my writing.
The feeling I get after I realized that I have made it to the gym every morning even when I haven't felt like it.   The even more rewarding feeling that I have accepted my post-baby body.  Any buzzfeed list that includes dogs.

 These are just a few of the very unexciting things I celebrate when things are starting to look bleak.  
Most of the time its the things that are done behind the scenes that make me the most proud.  I have accomplished things at work that have earned me recognition and that make me feel validated. But the fact that just this morning, I managed to wrangle 4 monkeys out the door including 16 gloves, 4 pairs of snow pants, 4 fleeces, 4 hats, 4 pairs of snow pants, 4 scarves, 16 boots, 4 coats and 4 dietary sound lunches and arrive to school early is down right a miracle. That deserves some kind of recognition, but I don't get an award, or a mass email congratulating me. All I get is the satisfaction of  a deep breath and  a pat on the back ( from myself).  If I can do that day after day, I'm pretty sure I can do anything. 

2013 had its highlights and low-lights.  I'm thankful that I am able to recognize the difference. The very best moments have nothing to do with my job or my bank account, an exciting trip or a new baby. They are simple moments and feelings that I have made snapshots in my memory for days when I seem to forget.

Facebook couldn't possibly be able to capture that.  However it did capture this as a highlight . And I will leave you with it because it makes me laugh, not only because we received an American Girl catalog, but also because of the boys visceral reaction to deface it. These kind of things are the highlights of my year and will stay closest to my heart. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Seeing Red.

This past weekend I experienced a feeling I have never felt before. Complete full fledged anger towards my son.  I actually saw red.  I have been irritated with his behavior in the past, but this incident brought me to an entirely new level.
Let me explain the situation. My husband's family was visiting for Thanksgiving. It was a full house filled with copious amounts of food and people. Thankfully wine also.   My attention was not exactly focused on my boys. In fact, I can't really remember seeing the older ones  for three days, except at the dinner table.
I thought the visit went really well, but on the Sunday after Thanksgiving the bank called us at home.  They said our account had been compromised. They listed the charges and I told them that they were absolutely fraudulent.   I worried a bit, but figured it was taken care of and went about my business of listening to my mother-in-law talk, eating, eating and  more eating.
Then it hit me like a wrecking ball. (thank you Miley Cyrus).  The charges were to iTunes.  When we set up my son's iPod touch, we used our card to purchase a few apps.  We never took it off.  Monument dumb mistake.  I immediately approached him in private and asked him if he had downloaded any apps. He admitted that he had, but thought it was going to the gift card.  (the gift card that probably ran out of funds 6 months ago).  I tried so hard not to flip out, but made him very aware that I was mad. Even kicking a pillow for dramatic flare.  I told him he was going to need to pay back the  $75 dollars and he was grounded for 2 weeks.
I was angry, but thought it was a learning experience.  On Monday I got to work and checked my account. What I saw will give me nightmares for a long time.

iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes iTunes iTunes iTunesiTunes iTunes 

So many charges I couldn't see strait.  When he said he had downloaded apps I thought it was maybe five. This was a list a mile long.  He was playing a game and apparently every time it asked if you wanted to purchase a life or token he said yes.

I called my bank in a complete panic. They said they were continuing to post from the previous day and I needed to call iTunes.  If you have tried calling iTunes before you will know that you would have better luck getting Jesus on a direct line.

Finally I reached an actual person named Kevin.  I explained the situation. He looked at our account and was as shocked as I was.  He asked if I knew the total. I said, at this point, it was probably around $200. He took a deep breath and told me it was $1265!

Let me write that again for emphasis.  Twelve hundred sixty five freaking dollars. I'm not an openly emotional person, but I started to cry. Panic. Cry. Poor Kevin.  He tried to console me. And then a Christmas miracle happened.  He told me that would refund it. 100% of it.  I couldn't believe it. I didn't ask him to, he just knew it was an honest mistake. He also told me that he could see how a 10 year old could be misled in this particular game.

My relief was quickly overcome with what was now rage towards my son.  I wanted to call his school and get him on the phone.  I wanted to drive there and pull him out of class. But to say what?  He already knew I was mad. I was forced to wait for the next 8 hours and either simmer or cool off.  I could have gone either way.

Thankfully for my son I cooled off.  When I spoke with him at home I was surprisingly calm.  I mentioned that what he did was very irresponsible and that he needed to earn back every penny.  I told him that he spent money he doesn't have and has nothing to show for it.   I didn't tell him the total, but told him it was more than he could make in the next 10 years with his chores.

We decided that he wasn't going to pay us back, but rather forward.  He needed to do hours and hours of service.  Whether that means helping an older person shovel their walkway, or helping out at the church.  He agreed.

He also is grounded from his iPod touch until some undecided time in 2014.

Surprisingly it opened up a conversation about addiction. He explained that when he was playing it, he felt like he couldn't stop.  He realized he should and kept going, and then was shameful for what he had done.   I would be a hypocrite if I didn't admit I have been in similar situations.  I understood. It may not have been a video game, but I have felt out of control in other areas in my life.  Addiction runs in our families.  Maybe having this little nugget of information will help him when he is tempted as an adult.

Parents have to learn to deal with their child's indiscretions. Take some responsibility for them.  Even major ones. Each convicted felon has a mother.  She has to find it in her heart to forgive even if she knows her child is guilty.

This morning my son got ready as usual and the extra time he would have spent playing his iPod was spent helping his little brothers get ready for school.

In less than a week I have witnessed tremendous growth not only in his stature, but in his character and you can't possibly put a price tag on that.