Bedtime stories for my daughter – the third proposal

Once upon at times there was this super fly chick who apparently had it going on. She was in her early 20’s, working two jobs, roommates with a really good friend and living her best single life.

She was the recipient of two previous proposals of marriage. One she said yes to but later realized it just would not work. The other she laughed off because they were not on the same page about education. When someone doesn’t value something important to you, keep moving.

This one was different. It was more of a pre proposal negotiation.

The two of them had known each other for years. They met through her brothers as children. They attended the same high school. They had many of the same friends. They were always friends but never had a romantic interest.

After they both graduated from college, they found themselves running into each other more often. There was still no attraction. Honestly, she liked on of his friends.

One day he dropped by the townhouse she shared with her roommate. They hung out for a while then as he was leaving he made a proposal. Let’s get married if we are both single at 30. She smiled as she pondered this request. It wasn’t a bad idea.

They had known each other forever. They had great relationships with each other’s family. She asked one question that would determine if this was a viable option. How do you feel about your wife staying home after having a baby? This was something she wanted as an option. She didn’t want it forced on her like the first proposer would have. She wanted to know that she had a choice.

He responded, that’s fine. Her heart beat quickened. Maybe… Then he said, I don’t mind if she doesn’t work for the six weeks of recovery. Her heart sank. She went on to explain why that option was important to her. He explained his vision of a dual income family. They hugged as he left and still remained friends.

Legend has it that she’s still fly and still has it going on.

Night night punkin

When I Was a Little Girl – 2

When I was a little girl, I loved school. I really mean it. I loved everything about my elementary school. I loved the library. I loved piano lessons by given by the music teacher, Mrs. Walsh. I loved all the games we played during PE including red rover, kickball, four square, dodgeball and tag.

All of that was before “everybody is a winner” became a thing. I’m convinced that movement was started by the people who were always picked last. I was typically a team captain. Now that I think about it, the teachers were kinda savage. They never let the last kids picked be captains of the team.

Bless their hearts.

I didn’t have a backpack or book bag to carry my books. I remember searching around the house for something to hold my pencils. I found the prettiest purple bag with a string at the top that was just the right size.

One day my mom saw by bag and took it from me. I remember being confused. My mother was never one to give explanations to her three children. She took that bag and replaced it with something else around the house.

As an adult, have you ever had a flashback to a moment in time from your childhood? The first time I saw a crown royal bag, I flashed back to my beautiful purple school bag. Now I understand why my mother took the bag from me.

My pencil bag.

I wonder what our teachers thought of us as students. We were from low income families but I personally never felt judged. I’m thankful for my elementary school teachers. They cultivated a love of learning in me and encouraged me to achieve goals I had not thought of.

To the teachers who are teaching students who are socioeconomically challenged, and helping them see themselves beyond their circumstance, thank you!

Except for Shawn

You know how people obsess over their first born? They take photos everyday of all the wonderful and cute things the first born does? They are extremely cautious and protective.

Have you seen those parents with more than two kids? That third child or in my case fourth child apparently didn’t exist until he was two. We had pictures from the day of birth and then nothing until his second birthday. It’s as though there was a moratorium on photographs during that time.

It all started when the kids and I were looking through old photographs. Remember when we took rolls film into the store to get them developed? As we looked and reminisced Shawn kept asking, “where are my baby pictures?” “Where are my baby shower pictures?” “Where are the pictures of you pregnant with me?”

How do you tell that baby you opted out of a shower? I had two baby showers or more with each baby, except for Shawn. There is only 15 months and a few a days between he and Josiah. How do you say, I was tired? I was too practical? It was a mistake? Friends and family offered to host a shower for me but I said no. The only thing I wanted and needed was a double stroller. I met with one friend and one family member at a restaurant where they presented me with the stroller. This definitely predates selfies. I’m not sure if we asked a waiter to take our picture.

Then one day a few years ago I put out an APB, I turned on the bat signal, I called, sent text messages asking friends and family to scour their photos to see if there were any pictures of Shawn. A few were located. I was relieved. I showed him the few that were sent to me. He have me that smile he gives when he’s excited but doesn’t want to show it.

I have lots of except for Shawn scenarios. All of the kids were vegetarian for the first 18 months except for Shawn. He was eating meat at six months. Everybody slept in their own beds as babies except for Shawn. I was exhausted so he slept with me to keep me from getting up in the middle of the night to feed him.

He’s not scarred for life over the exceptions. At least I don’t think he is. We have more than made up for the lack of pictures. Now it’s Josiah (third born) who I struggle to find photos of on my phone. He doesn’t seem care though.

Shawn at birth.

Josiah’s Family Meeting

I could write a whole book on how events in my my childhood affect who I am as an adult and the decisions I make as a mom of four. My mother raised three children as a true single mom. There was not a dad around. It was just her. She made all the decisions and her decision was final.

Fast forward to today. I decided to have more of a democracy. Every family member is equal and has a say in all major and minor decisions. We recently took a trip to Maryland over the Christmas holiday. I asked everybody if they wanted to go. If one person had said no then we would have stayed home. We literally had a conversation about putting up Christmas decorations and specifically a tree. I could care less about a tree. They don’t like taking down decorations. We scaled it way back and with a compromise we put a metal tree with lights that’s meant for the yard up in the house. Don’t judge us. It worked. I have the final vote on major things like buying the house we are in now. Everybody went with me to look for houses. My daughter, Melody, wanted one house and even through a mild fit. I told her she could not see what I could see. I was not only buying a house but a neighborhood and a way of life. Living on a cul-de-sac three house from the neighborhood pool proved to be a great choice and worth less square footage.

All of that to say, anybody can call and conduct a family meeting in our house. Josiah had requested to hold one to discuss his new guidelines surrounding waking everybody up in the mornings. Now Josiah is the third child. He is a typical attention seeking, vivacious, charismatic middle child who also likes being punctual. His school bus arrives at 7:40 so he has the alarm set for 6 am.

He had taken on the responsibility of waking everybody up if they were sleeping too late. He’s done a fantastic job at this self appointed duty. He has helped his siblings, especially his sister and younger brother, make it to the bus just before it stopped and opened the doors. He has even saved the day by finding neighbors willing to give them rides when it seemed they would not make it on time. After a year and a half of this daily activity he resigned from the self appointed position because of the stress. He did not provide any notice. It was effective immediately.

After a couple of days he realized how much they had grown to depend on him to get out of the house. He was sympathetic to their plight. During the meeting he said they would each get one free wake up per month. Unfortunately Shawn had already used his. He also told them the unused ones would accumulate from month to month. There was much discussion and shouts of outrage an insult or two and threats of bodily harm. At some point I heard, “objection!” and somebody yelled “order in the court!” It may have been the same person. For some reason the oldest gets unlimited wake up calls because he has a car. That created another uproar among the other two. But it was a good strategic move. Stay on the good side of the person with the car.

In case you’re wondering why the oldest doesn’t take everybody to school on a daily basis, it’s because he has late arrival. He will take them if they have activities in the morning.

I truly feel like I’m helping them find their voices at an early age and most of all realize they are an important part of this family and I value their input and points of view. They might decide there was way too much discussion and not allow their children to have any input. I won’t be offended. Everybody has to walk their own path according to the influences in their lives.

Be well,

Alicia

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

I came home from working out yesterday and saw my two youngest sons standing in the kitchen. The baby of my bunch (he’s 11) was holding an egg slicer with an unpeeled cutie in it over a cup and squeezing with all his might. I asked them what they were doing and they responded, “Making fresh squeezed orange juice!” My response was, “Well that’s not going to work.” I did wonder why they were putting so much effort into that when there’s a juicer sitting on the counter. Is that innovation or wasted energy? It’s hard to tell. Nevertheless I’ll pick up orange juice on my way home today.

Remind me to tell you about the family meeting we had last night.

Happy New Year!?

Question

How many days into the new year do we stop saying, “Happy New Year”? Sometime after the 3rd it started feeling awkward to me but then I decided that maybe it was appropriate for people you hadn’t seen or spoken to just yet. But I’m not really sure. Is this a question for Miss Manner or Amy?

If you haven’t been told by anyone lately, Happy New Year. I sincerely hope your year is filled with joy, peace, love, abundance and the ability to endure the difficult times.

Be well, healthy and whole.

The 38th Floor

She liked getting to work early. There was something about the peaceful elevator ride to the 38th floor that she loved. Maybe it was the view of the city. It could have been the multitude of sunrises she experienced. Perhaps it was the quiet before the storm. She knew by the time she stepped off the elevator, triggered the light sensors and brewed her first cup of coffee it was only a matter of minutes before the chaos of her busy work life would begin. 

Before she left for work in the mornings she made sure to double check herself in the full length mirror. She had nightmares of panty lines, stray lint and well hidden stains or tears in her impeccable clothes. She never wore a shoe that had even a slight flaw. Her hair was the perfect shade of brown. She paid a lot of money for her stylist to create this shade just for her. Her face was perfectly powdered, lips lined filled with the perfect shade of red plum and her shadow evenly applied on each lid. Her eye lashes were lengthened and water proofed, not that she ever cried but she had gotten something in her eye once causing agitation which led to her rubbing it and triggered a watery reaction in her eye. Needless to say she began purchasing waterproof mascara. She also has two sets of identical makeup for home and office. 

She intentionally selected the 38th floor of this building for her office. It held a special meaning to her. Thirty-eight was the number of times she remembered being called trash by Roberta when they were eleven. Before she could call her that a thirty ninth time, she moved to a different neighborhood. Her dad lost his job and her mother was diagnosed with cancer. They moved in with an elderly aunt in a rough neighborhood. Her mother told her all of this much later. At the time she only told her that a bitch named Karma had gotten Roberta’s family. For years after that she thought Karma was the girlfriend of they guy who sold handmade cigarettes on the corner.