Month: January 2012

lifestyle, sports

A Woman’s Ode to Football

I love football. And, this is the big week.

It is particularly big for me since my home team is playing. Well, my “other home”, New England. My love for the Patriots is no big surprise to my Twitter followers. But, many here in Houston, Texas just don’t understand. Also, it makes sense for me to cheer for a state in which we pay property taxes and will pay a total of 4 Boston universities/college tuitions.

I have been watching football as long as I can remember because my dad watched football. When I was 8, I started drill team. Until I was 20 years old, there wasn’t a football season that went by that I wasn’t dancing at a half-time show somewhere in Texas.

I still remember the head coach of our local youth football team, facing 65 little girls, explaining football fundamentals to us, just so we would know why we were showing up every Saturday morning, to sit in the bleachers in our sparkly uniforms and cheer on our “Space Bandits”. I was 10.  I knew all of the players, some were my neighbors, so it was easy to watch and cheer on my fellow classmates.

If you grew up in Houston during “Luv Ya’ Blue”, then you remember how we all had our hearts broken as our Houston Oilers fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978…and again in 1979. I can still remember complaining to my dad that it was so “unfair” that we had to play in Pittsburgh with all of those cheering fans waving their yellow towels. That is when I learned about home field advantage.

My husband isn’t a big football fan, but he puts up with me as I yell at the TV every week in the fall. I only seasoned my kids with the big sporting events…Super Bowl, NBA Houston Rockets “Repeat”, the World Series, the Olympics…as they were growing up, but their own childhoods were too busy to really keep up with any regularity. But, still, I couldn’t believe it when Houston lost the Oilers in 1997. What was a Sunday without the background white noise of a distant stadium filled with muffled cheers and ref whistles? (Larkin, don’t EVEN say golf!)

Enter Drew Blesdoe and the 1997 New England Patriots. (Yes, I cheered for them before Tom Brady. So tread lightly before injecting some ‘UGG Model’ joke here.) I … Read the rest

motherhood, parenting

Because I’m a Mom

From the moment my daughter Jordan walked into my room in pain, I was “on”. That is what moms do, it’s one of our strengths. I don’t turn into a panicky mom. I use humor and laughter to get through. We dressed in minutes, made it to the car and laughed all the way to the 24 hour ER clinic, in between breathing through sharp stomach pains, of course.

It was odd for me to have the admitting and attending nurses address all questions to my daughter, not me. She is 21, now. An adult. She was amazing to watch as she described her condition over and over to the various health professionals. After an hour and a CAT scan, it was determined she needed to have surgery…quickly. Now, the phone calls.

I am a Latina. From a long line of strong, Tejana women. Once the phone calls start, widespread prayers, candles and vigils spring into action. I am the ONE who has to keep it together. I don’t fall apart. There are others who will, but not me. Because I am a Mom, I am the rock. I am the comic relief. My husband and I opted to drive our girl to the hospital ourselves. My parents and my sister met us there. (Mexicans do not wait alone in waiting rooms.) The Boy, our son Joshua, waited with friends. My oldest stepdaughter joined us, as well. Everyone was concerned, but understood it was a routine surgery but, still…it IS surgery, as my mother reminded me.

Jordan and I had a few good laughs in pre-op, before they wheeled her away. Our “thing” is quoting movie/TV lines. We did lines from “Arthur”, “Friends” and to keep it a little dark, “Steel Magnolias”…”Open your eyes, Shelby…open, open open your eyes”.)  I’m sure some people think we can be inappropriate at times, but humor has ALWAYS been our default mode.

In the waiting room, my husband was way more unnerved than I expected. She is Daddy’s girl, alright. I had to keep him up. My parents, who have been through their medical nightmare this past year with Dad’s heart attack and surgery, were worried. My sister, the awesome “cool aunt”, was helpful and attentive to my parents, so I could concentrate on my husband. Separately, in the waiting room, there was a young woman, who upon receiving good news from a doctor … Read the rest

lifestyle

A Simple Thank You

 

Over the weekend, I finally got around to writing my holiday Thank You notes. If you read my previous posts, you know why. In the past several years, there has been such a push for “Gratitude”. But, I feel this gratitude movement became so inwardly focused with journals and online classes to practice being grateful. With all of the introspection, the act of just writing a simple thank you note has been lost with our “iiGeneration”.

Maybe it’s my southern-ness, but I truly feel that penning a thank you note is an art that our rapidly changing, high tech society needs to hold on to. It doesn’t take but a few minutes to write a quick note of thanks to someone, sending good energy out into the world. I save all the thank you notes I receive. Whenever I come across them, they always put a lift in my day.

I have raised my kids to appreciate the art of the TY note. My 3 girls are very good with ink and gratitude. However, it almost killed me when The Boy didn’t send his high school graduation TY’s. But, that’s a whole other post. He did, however, very eloquently acknowledge me:

“Thanks for putting up with my teenage bullshit. Your a Queen, and I love you.”

You, see? Your sentiment can be expressed in a few lines, that’s it. What more could a mother ask for? (I didn’t even mention the incorrect usage of “your”) Simple elegance.

My oldest stepdaughter types her 2-3 page heartfelt sentiments in a small font, then literally cuts and pastes them into her cards or stationary. If I were to put them all in a book, it would rival an Oprah read. And you need tissues to get through them.

Excluding said stepdaughter, a common excuse is, “I never know what to say.” All you have to say is “thank you”. That is why it’s called a “Thank You” note. Sorry. Spoiler alert. Here is one of my favorite TY’s, received from My Girl (our youngest daughter). Short, very sweet and very to the point. Easy. I love it.

For inspiration, check out Leah Dieterich’s www.thxthxthx.com for her beautifully simple gratitude examples. To pine for an era gone by, go to www.lettersofnote.com  and see just how far we have really fallen.

For 2012, how about committing to upping the gratitude with a little pen … Read the rest

empty nesters, parenting

3 steps forward, 2 steps back

Your college freshman is home! You are so proud. Hell, he graduated from high school and got into college, all in this past year. Wow!

However, the first winter break for college Freshman is a very long, exhausting break. And, not just for the parents. These kids come home and try and reconnect with every friend they’ve had since middle school, cram in visits with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins all while trying to catch up on their coveted sleep. You can try and set up dentist and doctor appointments, but don’t have your heart set on it. And, parents, get ready to roll out all of the old mantras all over again. “Don’t drink. Call me if you do. Don’t do drugs. We will come get you whatever time. Remember what happened to___________” (insert your local tragic teen story here…sadly, there are too many.)

It seems that many of these newbie young adults revert right back to that high school mentality of living in the moment and throwing consequence to the wind. Life is a party! Even worse, they don’t have jobs or school responsibilities to keep them on any kind of schedule. Over the long break, the college-ness begins to wear off. I keep wondering, where is that college kid we saw at Parents Weekend back in October? The one that knew his way around Boston, walked confidently through the school, actually woke up and met us for brunch? Will he be showing up again soon? Or does he only reside in Boston?

It has come up more than once, these past few weeks, the idea of which childhood relationships are real and which are just being kept alive through the magic and wonder of Facebook. Just because a “friend” posts a party on FB doesn’t mean everyone has to show up. The fact that we were having these discussion made me feel that these savvy kids know the difference. Every evening, I watch our kids’ beautiful faces illuminate with that bluish hue of their iPhone screens, as they scroll all of the possibilities for the night. Then, in a very non committal tone, The Boy: Well, ‘so and so’ is going to ‘so and where’ and there’s a bunch of people going, so I might meet up with them. Me: Oh? I don’t remember ‘so and so’. The Boy: Mom, remember? Sophomore year. That guy.

That guy. … Read the rest

Uncategorized

2012

While everyone is making resolutions and lists for the new year, I feel somewhat hazy from the long holiday. In full automatic pilot mode, I will begin to take down, pare down and store my holiday decor.

Last year, we sold our big house in anticipation of our new “empty nest” life. Our new “grown-up” city home is a third of the size. It is more the size of the homes my husband and I grew up in. We always shared rooms, made pallets on the floor or slept on couches for sleepovers or when grandparents came to visit. But, when we started to raise our family, it was important to us for everyone to have their own space. More importantly, we wanted my husband’s two young daughters to feel that it was their home, too, when they visited on the weekends.

Now, that our kids are 28, 26, 21 and 18 and off doing their thing, we are left with the boxes and boxes of childhood and parenting memories. My job now is to gauge just how precious these memories are and do we need the physical proof taking up space! Downsizing is a tremendous challenge, but it is also very zen-like. It can be so liberating purging the miscellany and holding on to what is “truly important” is a big lesson in this culture of having “things”.

Our home has always been the gathering place; the home to host all of the holidays, the big game, the birthday parties, the showers, the home where all of the kids gathered. We realized that with selling the big house, we were giving up that privilege. It was obvious to us, that our little abode would not lend itself to big gatherings or big sleepovers.

To our kids, God bless them, not so obvious.

These past two weeks, we have not gone without having a guest or guests, of some sort for one day. And with 3 out of 4 kids over 21, can I just mention the hit my personal bar has taken?! (and when I say personal, it is…The Mr. doesn’t drink. It is ALL mine.) I kept asking myself, “Where is everyone going to sleep? How are we going to fit everyone? How are they comfortable?” Sharing rooms, pallets on the floor and couches. Just like when we were kids. It doesn’t even seem to occur to them … Read the rest