Guest Post from MPerfect Mama


Why I don’t read more:

I think it has to do with the same reason I don’t watch baseball any more.  My mind is trained for constant, unending action.  A moving forward that never stops until an exhausted mama finally gives in to sleep at night.  I can’t stop and slow down and smell the pages of the old books I used to love so much.  Unless it is a thrilling novel that I can’t put down—that propels me forward with the speed I seem to need so desperately.  I think I must secretly tend to the melancholy, with the fear in which operate so feverishly to never be alone…with my thoughts.  Those books that challenge me to think.  They create space enough to sit quietly with myself. And then I see all of the things I need to change, or could improve upon.  And then I put the book down and set to fixing myself in my mind (which is rarely successful), and never finish the thing which so intrigued me initially.  That is a propelling forward of itself isn’t it?  The need to constantly improve?  What if I just sat for a while and allowed myself to be me.  Sitting in the midst of my imperfection, messy house, perpetual lateness, secret laziness, despising of all things domestic, wondering why I am a stay-at-home mom when I struggle to stay off the phone and with my kids.  How could I ever be a homeschool mom?  I hate to sit still.  The only way I can sit still is on my phone, endlessly scrolling from one idea to the next, or zoning out in front of the tv.  Even with friends I seem to need to mill from one to the next, never settling for one or two good friends to dig deep with.  And the friendships I often most desperately pursue are with those with whom I’m not on entirely stable footing.  If I’m not positive that they really like me, I can jump back on the hamster wheel of trying to impress them with who I am which is mostly based on how much I can do and how spiritual I am.  I can do a lot, and I am deeply spiritual.  But I am also kind of a mess, a wonderful mom when it comes down to it, one who hates to cook and puts everything before exercising even though it brings me a lot of energy and joy.  Why do I feel like I need to put the things that bring me the most joy on the back burner?  Why can’t I just live?  Be lazy if I need to be.  Take an hour to sit and read a book.  I need constant stimuli.  Am I really such an extrovert that I need to be connected to people every second I’m awake?  Do I really need such constant confirmation from others that I stay strapped to Facebook for affirmation?

Yes.  I am an exhausted extrovert who just needs to take a break and lie down for a while.  I need to be done doing, but I don’t know how to.

MPerfect Mama is a stay at home mama who is imperfect but perfectly loved by God. She “m” perfectly loves her kiddos, husband, God, and everyone else around her. The days when she actually choose to live her life in the present are precious and beautiful. You can read more of her work at MPerfectMama.weebly.com.

Christmas Eve Wonder


Photo by: Megan Oteri

Photo by: Megan Oteri

What I remember most about Christmas is spending time with my family and the magic of Christmas Eve. The joy of spotting Santa in the sky and the holiness of the night as it curved into dawn of Christmas Day. We would wait up for my father on Christmas Eve, which was so exciting. He worked nights as a security guard at the Northern Trust Bank in Chicago. He would leave for work around 1 in the afternoon. Even though his shift started at 3, he would leave the house at 1 to catch the train into the city from the suburb where we lived. Mom had the house filled with Christmas smells and spices. My favorite was a mixture of orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and cloves simmering on the stove. It made the house smell so wonderful.

We would bake Christmas cookies and roll out the white dough and sprinkle green and red sugary crystals on top of each cookie. Snowmen, Christmas trees, bells, Santas, and elves. I don’t know how the afternoon passed. Sometimes we would wrap last-minute presents Mom needed help with. We would help get “The Little Room” ready for Christmas Eve. The Little Room was the name of the room attached to the garage. It was behind the house, about ten feet from the back door. It had a fireplace and that is where we put up the Christmas tree. It was such a magical place around the holidays.

With a fire crackling and the lights shimmering, we would sing along to the Christmas music on the radio and shake our presents to “see” what was inside. Even though we were allowed to open any gift under the tree on Christmas Eve, my sister and I always opened each other’s gifts that we got each other. Then it turned into tradition. I remember one year she saved her allowance for months to get me a monkey puppet. It had super long legs and arms and had a squeaky toy inside the mouth. It was brown and furry.

The most vivid memory is when Dad finally got home from work around midnight and we would squeal with delight, scampering around the house. Then we would run barefoot over the snow (it was Chicago – you could pretty much always bank on a white Christmas) and pitter patter through it, jumping from stone to stone on the circular stone path that led to the Little Room. And once inside the door, we would warm up by the fire and drink hot cocoa. Then we would open each other’s gifts — my sister and me — and my parents would watch. That is what I remember about Christmas. Well, Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is such a special time. Everyone is getting everything ready and it just is magical, no way around it. I love Christmas Eve more than Christmas morning.

I am embracing this tradition with my son, who is experiencing the wonder of Christmas. I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas with your loved ones and I hope you experience the wonder of the season, just as you did in the pockets of your childhood memory and in the creation of new memories.

***

Please check out my essay, “Presence” which was published on Mamalode. Lisa Stone, CEO of BlogHer called Mamalode, “America’s best parenting magazine.”Mamalode was featured in Forbes recently as a niche parenting magazine.

Here is a teaser of my essay:

“With a fire crackling and the lights shimmering, we would sing along to Christmas carols on the radio and shake our presents to “see” what was inside. Mom was Christmas Eve.”

Here is the link: http://mamalode.com/story/detail/presence. I encourage you to like and comment on the website and share the link. Thank you. I appreciate your support and interest in my writing. Merry Christmas!

Photos


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Totally lazy blog of just cell phone pictures. I have had a terrible cold since Thursday. I can’t even move off couch, only for tea runs.

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Ben said, “I love you with all my heart.” Swoon. He is growing up so fast. I want to take in every moment.
Some of these moments are tantrums though. Like today he got mad at me because I threw his three month old balloon in trash.

The string was tied to his royal blue plasric boat. It was tied to the cherry red anchor.

I asked him, “Do you care if I throw this balloon away?”
“No.”
I threw the flat birthday balloons in the recycling bin. Then the tantrum.
“I’m way mad at you,” he says with a scream.
“Ben say, ‘I’m very mad at you.'” That’s how us English teacher/writer moms roll!
Then Ben says, “I’m very mad at you.”
“OK then.” I said as I retrieved the flat gnarly balloon out of recycling bin. I retied the white string to the cherry red anchor.
The boy was happy once again

Just a slice of our day.

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Ben took this photo of his feet.