Sunday, May 19, 2013


Our family is in the middle of an exciting transition. We’ve sold a house and bought a house. A great house. A just right for us, meets all our needs, moving in and staying until the hubby and I are really old kind of house. The only problem is we can’t move in just yet. We can’t move in for 18 more days. And we had to move out of our old house nine days ago. Which means that we are officially without a home. In a sense, we are homeless.

My husband says I’m being melodramatic. He has a point. We are not actually homeless. We are staying in a perfectly acceptable three-bedroom, fully furnished apartment. We are safe, we are dry, we are warm and clean and fed. In other words, we are just fine. Well, most of us.

The beans have adjusted beautifully. They seem to think this is rather exciting, although the novelty of sharing a room with the excessively chatty Pinky is starting to wear on Sunshine more than a little bit. My hubby of course is fine because he always is.

It’s me who’s struggling. And this has taken me by surprise. When I stop to think about it, I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, home is what I do. Home is who I am.

Calling oneself a homemaker is more than likely old-fashioned. But a homemaker is what I am. What I am proud to be. I get a great deal of satisfaction from making a home for my family. Creating an environment and traditions big and small that make our home uniquely ours. That make us who we are.

I have been nearly undone by things as minor as baking cookies and Sunday morning breakfasts. Working with an unfamiliar oven and an uncooperative cookie sheet led to a batch of chocolate chip cookies that didn’t turn out the way my cookies always turn out. Funnily enough, this seemed to bother exactly no one but me. (And yes, there’s a lesson there. And yes I know it’s probably time I learn that lesson.) Sunday mornings mean pancakes. Always. And yet I am without a griddle or pan that will properly cook pancakes. I let myself be sad about this while I made scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning – this Sunday morning. And guess what, no one complained.
Is my sadness a result of my ego? Is it the result of an unwillingness or inability to go with the flow? It’s unclear. What I do know is that being a homemaker is an enormous part of who I am. For me it’s a huge part of being the mommy I want to be to my three beans.
But here’s another time where I learn instead of teach. Where I watch my beans get excited about scootering on the sidewalk in front of our apartment or blowing bubbles on our tiny patio instead of moaning about not having a backyard. They get excited about finding a parking spot instead of wishing for a garage. In short, they’re living in the moment and enjoying what we do have instead of thinking about what we don’t. Because what we have is each other and literally everything we need.
So my cookies didn’t turn out quite right. So what? So we’ll have to go out for breakfast if we want pancakes. It could be fun. So my kitchen doesn’t come with an ice cream scoop. Okay, that actually is a problem J
In a short while we’ll be in our new house and I’ll be hard at work making it into our home. Every day. In the meantime, I’m going to follow the lead of my sweet beans and enjoy what we have right now. Us.  

Friday, May 3, 2013


I had what could very loosely be termed an epiphany of sorts this week. It could also be termed a train of thought that simply wound its way around a number of sharp turns and meandering roads to lead to a moment when I said, “Hmmm.” But an epiphany sounds better, right?

Anyway, it all started with a moment of irritation. I wish I could say it was the only one I experienced this week, but that would be a lie. Given my not-so-patient nature and my current state of hovering on the edge of crazy pants, irritation was bound to happen.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that I’m not alone in what I’m about to confess. Here goes.

There are some people in my life with whom I get irritated VERY easily. In fact, one might say I go into interactions with these people very nearly expecting to be irritated. And guess what? Invariably that’s just what happens.

After one recent interaction that ended with an extremely irritated me, I started to examine my response. It seemed to be very nearly involuntary. And it came straight from the gut, almost like a reflex. As if I was conditioned to respond to this person in this manner. I had a flashblack to studying Pavlov’s dogs in a college psychology class. They were conditioned to expect food when a bell rang. The bell would ring, the food would be dispensed and the dogs would salivate. After a time, the sound of the bell triggered the salivation even when there was no food. Now I didn’t take this path much further because frankly comparing myself to a dog wasn’t very appealing J But the message is there – after a period of time, a stimulus, or in this case a person, can cause an automatic, triggered response.

I’d like to say that this is where I make a vow to be a better, more patient, more tolerant member of society. It’s not.

Instead, this is where I tell you about how my train of thought meandered on to where it almost always does. My role as a mommy. My most important role.

I found myself wondering if I have become conditioned to expect certain responses or behaviors from my beans. And, in doing so, if I’m unconsciously creating or encouraging some of these behaviors.

For instance, the Sunshine Bean is my easy one. She always has been. She was an easy baby, an easy toddler and is closing out the preschool years true to form – easily. My husband calls her “Capital D” as in delightful. I refer to her to others – in front of her – as being a very easy child. So I ask myself – is she easy because that’s the way she’s wired or because that’s how I see her and respond to her? I suspect it’s probably a bit of both.

My Pinky Bean on the other hand comes at life differently. She faces it full on and lets you know what she wants. Sometimes this involves being loud. Sometimes it involves having a fit. Other times it’s simply a refusal to give in or give up until she’s reached her goal. There is a lot that is completely fabulous about the way Pinky approaches every day. There is also a lot that is challenging. I find myself referring to her as my toughest one.  And I have spent a lot of time pondering again how much of this is Pinky and how much is my conditioned response to her. Am I expecting her to be challenging? Am I expecting push back and less-than-smooth days?
I wouldn't change any of my kids for the world. They are each perfectly themselves and wonderful to their cores. Where Sunshine is easier than Pinky, she could also benefit from a little of Pinky's pluck and determination :) And the Professor might discover something unexpected if he went into new situations with a wide-open welcome like Sunshine does instead of taking the time to observe and analyze first. 
So much of who my beans are is determined by how they're wired. But parenting also obviously plays an enormous role in how they grow and develop. In who they really turn out to be.

As this week comes to an end, I find myself wondering what would happen if I tilted my head to the side a bit and looked at my Pinky differently. If I told her – with words and actions – that she is easy, too. That she, too is completely delightful. Because she is. She is also, as she likes to say, “extremely spunky.” But if my expectations of her going in were that things were going to go more smoothly, what might happen?

It’s an experiment I’m going to undertake.