Kids Ruin the Bad-Ass in You

Kids ruin the bad-ass in you. Yep, I said it. I have envisioned myself, the way I’d really be if I got a break from my kids. Okay fine, it wasn’t anything crazy but I always think, “Man, if I had one morning to sleep in and answer to no one, I’d sleep in until 10:00 and take my time getting ready for the day.” But guess what? On our Mom Spring Break 2014, I never slept in past 7:00 a.m. In fact, I was wide awake trying to think of reasons not to get up. And I actually woke up earlier every morning and called Scott and the kids at 6:45 or earlier hoping to hear their little voices.

Another wild notion I had was, “I would delete all of these awful Yo Gabba Gabba and Sesame Street songs clogging up my playlists on my iPod and never miss them.” I brought my iPod and listened to it once on shuffle until one of the kids’ songs came on and I actually got teary missing them singing along. Now I think even if the kids are in high school, hearing Cookie Monster will probably make me weepy.

Sometimes I think crazy thoughts like, “I wouldn’t be one of those sappy moms with cow eyes over every little kid at the beach on my four day vacation away from my kids.” And at the pool one day, I started chatting it up with a mom who had an adorable shrieking two-year-old simply because I missed my own kids so much.

The truth is that I really don’t know who I would be anymore without my kids. Some people would see this as being incredibly unhealthy. It doesn’t seem right to be so dependent on your kids to define most of who you are. Maybe it’s not. But the one thing I learned about myself last week is that I love my life more now than I ever did before they came along. It makes me wonder who I used to be in my early twenties when I used to say I never wanted kids at all. Just naive I guess.

I respect people for choosing to have no kids or choosing to have twenty kids. Because I can see both sides. I am sure my life would have turned out all right if I’d never had kids. But I can honestly say that now knowing who I am as a mother, I would have been missing out on one of the greatest experiences of my life. Maybe the whole parenthood thing isn’t for everyone. It does take away most of your personal freedom. You won’t be a stoic bad-ass anymore. You could probably live a much more glamorous or exciting lifestyle and come and go as you please. You won’t have nightmares about terrible things happening to your kids. You won’t have to worry about screwing up your little people so badly that they’ll need therapy later in life. You will be able to eat mostly hot meals. You will probably advance without limit in your chosen profession.

But if you choose to go down that road more traveled, the one filled with cliches and the one that has inspired thousands of blog entries like this one, somehow your life does become richer and every day brings a new adventure. You learn things about yourself through the challenges. You see what your character is made of. Somehow, waking up at 6:30 every day doesn’t seem like such a big deal. You won’t mind that it takes an entire morning of preparation to get everyone bundled up to go to the grocery store. I am thankful for the glimpse I had last week. Those beautiful days basking alone in the Gulf sunshine pale in comparison to the freezing cold days cuddled up with my sweet kids in our happy home.


Back to Reality

I think maybe a break was a bad idea…

Christina and I enjoyed weather in the low 80’s and immaculate blue skies and sunshine with low humidity. We visited three different beaches on our trip and spent several hours at our aunt and uncle’s community pool on Sunday before our shuttle ride came to take us back to the airport. Christina is an avid TripAdvisor reference-er. So we ate like royalty at Skillets, Cheesecake Factory, and an amazing little restaurant on 3rd Street in Downtown Naples called Truluk. We didn’t have to pack anything besides our own clothes and toiletries since we stayed at my parents’ beautiful house in Naples. We only had to worry about feeding ourselves and getting too much sun. Except for Christina getting a fly-by bomb from a seagull and a moment where we were read the riot act by an old lady whose sidewalk we accidentally parked too close to (that’s a story for another day), we had a perfectly relaxing, rejuvenating vacation.

I got back late last night around 10:30 p.m. Gracie has a bad cold and was up several times in the night and I was only too eager to rock her back to sleep because I’d missed her so badly. Then Luke and Noah were up for the day around 6:30. And I was beat. There were snow flurries outside. The kids fought like crazy for my attention all day which was sweet at first but I was at the end of my rope by 5:00 this evening. I think I lost some momentum by going away. It seems harder to get back into the swing of it! But I have to say, Scott did really well. They were all cared for and the house was very clean when I got home.

Here are a few highlights from our trip. Sorry for the poor picture quality. A photographer I am not…

Clam Pass Beach
Clam Pass Beach- Really nice, but very crowded the day we were there.
Dinner at Truluk
My Dinner at Truluk. A Blackened Halibut with a spicy jalapeno avocado, tomato salsa. We ate way too much this night but then walked around the art fair on 5th Ave in Downtown Naples after to work off dinner.
Treat at the Beach!
I didn’t even have to share my kid-sized frozen strawberry lemonade!
The community pool at the Quarry in Naples, FL.
We were both practically in tears checking the weather forecast back on Michigan as we stared at this view on our last day in paradise.
Mom Prom 2014
Christina and I didn’t mean to, but both packed coral colored maxi dresses to wear for our big dinner out. We got a lot of stares because of our “match-y-ness” but were upstaged by a proposal taking place at the pier at sunset. Which then lead us to reminiscing about our own proposals. It was a fun night!


The Tortoise and the Hare Show

So I have decided kids only function in extremes. You never hear of a sort of laid-back or sort of high-strung kid. They are always easy going to the point of being pokey or VERY hyper. They never “kind of” have to go to the bathroom. They always have to go NOW!! They are never content with the temperature in the car. They are either sweating or freezing. They are either full to the point of a tummy ache or starving.

What is amazing is that I have at least one of each. It is impossible to keep up with the ever-changing demands. Noah is my guy in a hurry. Everything needs to happen immediately. I think- no, I know- he gets this oh-so-charming quality of impatience from yours truly. Hey, we are the people who get it done! However Luke is my patience-trying child whom you could probably light a fire under his rear-end and he wouldn’t move until he was good and ready.

So as a result, I am always rushing around the house to appease Noah then have to summon the energy of a yoga instructor to deal with Luke. I am not sure where Grace falls on this spectrum, but I am sure she will be somewhere closer to the Noah side when I see her baring her teeth at me for not getting food to her high-chair tray fast enough. She also is beginning to take steps at not even ten months old just as big brother Noah did. Luke didn’t even bother crawling. He scooted on his rump around ten months (imagine a dog with worms dragging its butt across the carpet) to get to the places he wanted. He did this until he was about fourteen months and then decided to give walking a go. Actually, Luke took his first steps the day I decided to start potty-training Noah. Oh and I did the naked potty-training method so we could be done in about three day’s time. So there was a rush to get Noah to the potty since he always had to go immediately yet Luke was about to fall on his face because he hadn’t quite worked out the kinks to the whole “walking thing.”

I have been living in this state of dual extremes for nearly four years. I am in need of a break. And my very sweet husband offered to buy me a plane ticket to Florida for a long weekend with one of my best friends/cousin who also has three adorable, yet time-demanding children.

THAT’S RIGHT!! The moms get four days of a break from the Tortoise and the Hare show in the MIDDLE OF MARCH of the COLDEST, LONGEST WINTER ON RECORD IN MICHIGAN to go soak up the rays in sunshiny Naples, Florida! Thank you to all who have made this possible. Your kindness is immeasurable and it is impossible to express enough thanks (Scott, Keith, Mom, Dad, Alison, Mrs. Mellas, Mr. Mellas, anyone I might be forgetting. Wow, it’s like receiving an Oscar). I will be sure to post some pictures, although they will more than likely be between the hours of 10:00 am to 8:00 p.m. since Christina and I will be spending most of our trip sleeping.

All joking aside, I will miss my sweet babies very much. I hope Gracie will hold off on walking until I get home. I hope my little boys will not miss me too much and will let other people make their chicken nuggets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have frozen meals for Scott to help with the dinner rush. I tried to catch up on every stitch of laundry and cleaned all the bathrooms. I cut everyone’s finger nails and toenails. I hope Scott won’t be too overwhelmed. I have a gift for the boys- gummy bears- that Scott can give to them if they start to miss me. We even got one last virus out of the way this past weekend, so hopefully no one else will be sick (saying many prayers for that).

The only thing left is to… RELAX.