“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Monday, July 2, 2018

Fake News

Fake news is a big thing right now, isn't it? It's causing arguments and uproars, with loved ones and enemies alike debating what's real and what's not. I'd like to focus on the fake news that I think is hurting everyone the most.

I have heard, more than once, someone sadly indicate that Facebook (social media for old people, my son tells me) shows them how great everyone's life is, and makes them feel badly about their own.

Stop. Right. There.

Facebook started off as something very different. A college kid wanted to meet girls. Period. Now, for us old people (and a few mature-minded youngsters, too), it is a way to connect with friends and family we would not otherwise be in touch with on a daily basis. Indeed, I am superficially caught up on where most of high school classmates are in their lives, as well as distant family members who've moved away or who I'd ordinarily see once or twice a year at obligatory events (or, oh God, at funerals, which is hardly the time for a jaunty how-do-you-do). And, to be perfectly honest, I love using it to commiserate with my mother and sister over various inside jokes, and even to tease them a bit. 

That said, let's be real. Years ago, some viral posts started going around that expressed something along the lines of "Don't be a complainer on social media." Okay, I'm here to tell you, that message was received loud and clear. Unless someone is a pain in the ass in large need of therapy (my sister calls them the "over-posters"), people are not sharing everything on Facebook or Instagram or whatever. 

These things are modern-day photo albums. They show the very best moments we've had. That is why we share them. I do not take the bait when Facebook's status bar invites me to share how I'm doing, because, well, a lot of the time, it would be something like, "I'm a little overly anxious today and feeling gassy. Hope I don't fart in front of the kids because they'd never let me live it down."

Or, "Joe and I had a huge fight about where we should keep the spatulas."

Or, "Today I pulled a wet ball of poo out of the bathroom garbage can while Joey gagged in the next room."

Or, "The postpartum depression is lasting way longer than it probably should."

Or, "I really miss my grandparents and I think the loss of them has irreparably changed my family for both the good and the bad."

Or, "I accidentally threw away something that caused a missed opportunity for one of my kids and they were devastated and Joe was furious." 

This last one is actually a big part of my life right now, because I'm starting to wonder if I'm in the early stages of dementia. It doesn't really run in my family, but I seriously pull into parking lots and can't remember why I'm there, or I drive to the completely wrong place. And when you're on the Thruway heading for downtown and realize you meant to be heading toward Angola, that's a real problem, because they're in opposite directions. 

I try to create little routines for myself so I can better remember what's what, but then someone always comes along and messes it up. Really! It's so thoughtless and rude. SOMEBODY stole my phone charger from my nightstand, for example, and though I was able to procure a new one (score one point for me!) I could not seem to remember to put in my room, or on my nightstand. This is very inconvenient when each morning as you leave the house your phone's power bar is in the red, and you can't charge it in the car because...maybe that was the charger you took to replace the aforementioned stolen nightstand one.

I digress. I think at some points, I am a bit of, as my sister would say, "an over-poster," but only because I'm such an embarrassing extrovert. It shocks people to learn that I'm actually a private person and don't like people to know my business at all, but that brings me back to the point.

What we share with others is not the full sum of who and what our lives are. I'm happy when I see photos of people's beautiful children, and my heart aches when people I care about need prayers (that's actually an exception to the rule, though; I think people must realize you have to be careful with it...there are "rules" about that in itself: don't be too mysterious, don't be too frivolous in the asking, don't discount those who are suffering more, or those who are too busy to be worrying about you....yeesh!). 

But for the most part, social media is a patchy, incomplete version of our lives, and we'd do well to keep that in mind. No point in comparing all that is in your heart, mind, and daily life to anything you see because it is, in essence, fake news. The real stuff is messy. It's complicated. We don't share it, but we all have it

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to do something I haven't done in years. I rode a jet-ski solo on the lake. I was worried about my healing arm (it's been months since I fractured it but it still gives me trouble), but the water was calm and I figured I could just test it out and see. I really, really wanted to go on the jet-ski. So I did. I climbed on, like I did when I was eighteen. I puttered gently out of shallow water, checked for traffic, and then, I GUNNED IT.

My hair flew back. I rode standing so I could glide off the boat waves and get some air. Arm forgotten, I swirled in 180s and let the lake water soak me. I held the throttle flush to the handle bar and I flew. And as I zoomed back toward shore, I was standing up on the jet-ski feeling powerful and amazing and, a little eighteen-ish. It was awesome. I felt like me.

I have two bits of advice for you to take away from this. 

One: social media is fake news, because no one is going to tell you their whole story. Don't waste time comparing your life to the fake news. 

Two: Jetskis might not be your thing, but once in awhile, remember YOU. Yourself. Do something that lifts you up and gives you the freedom to be absolutely the best part of yourself. Why? Because it will remind you that comparing and worrying is pointless.

The whole point of you is to be something nobody else can be. Get off the electronic device and go give yourself to the world in the best way you know how.


Freedom.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Summer of Senior Year: Bucket List


Last week Wednesday, my baby girl graduated from my high school. My alma mater. I know what you're thinking: But Mary Pat, you're a Boy Mom! Yes, yes. I am indeed. But before that, I was something else. Something I never stopped being.

A fairy godmother, of course.

When my sister had her first baby, I fell in love with a tiny redheaded bundle. She grew into a human who lives up to the fire that grows from her head, and she means as much to me as my own children. I have been a part of her life from the day she was born and every day since. I'm actually a little offended because mothers of graduates who are alumnae were invited onto the stage during the handing out of diplomas, and no one told me.

"You're not her mother," they all said.

Speechless. I was speechless.

But still, she is my girl. And seeing her graduate from my school brought back so many memories, especially of my senior year. How was I so lucky that I loved that year of my life? I often hear people groan over memories of high school, but somehow, through a stroke of luck or fate, I ended up with the perfect friends for me. And when I think back on that summer after we graduated, I remember sunsets and dusk light turning the trees gold. Thunderstorms. I remember backyard fires and elbow tag (it's a Mercy Girl thing) and just...being together.

I may not be Olivia's mom, but I don't doubt I am a special part of her life. A fairy godmother gives gifts and blessings and, well, magic. So for Liv and her friends on the night of her graduation party, I compiled and shared with them this bucket list for their summer of senior year. Based on my best memories and the things that have stayed in my heart and become a part of my identity, I gave them this:

Mary Pat's Summer To-Do List:

1. Do something unusual and fun together at least once a week. Rollerskate. LaserTron. Go-karting. Beach bonfires. Those kinds of things.

2. Practice making strangers smile. Out of joy. When you pull up next to someone at a traffic light, for example, give them a hearty thumbs up. Wave. Blow a kiss. Dance in the car. Don't be obnoxious. Never be rude--it's not worth it. Making people happy as much as you can when they don't expect it is MAGIC. And, like, blow a kiss at an old man who looks lonely (but not in a perverted way).

3. For the love of God, DANCE. Find as many opportunities to dance as you can. And most importantly...DANCE IN THE POURING RAIN. No shoes. In puddles. Hair soaked. Blare a song, and DANCE.

4. When you are out in public, make conversation with people you don't know. Start small. The cashier at Wegmans. Then go big. Someone in line at Target. Then bigger: a guy at the go-kart place. Ask people about themselves. They love that. Ask them their backstory. Ask them their dreams. Literally, look at a stranger and say, "Excuse me, but what ARE your hopes and dreams?"

5. Kiss someone on the cheek. Just 'cause. (Make sure they don't seem like a rapist, of course.)

6. Get a dozen roses from Wegmans and go to Canalside or the mall. A big busy place. Walk around and hand a rose to people who inspire you or seem like they need cheering up. Tell them it's just to make them happy and to have a nice day.

7. Go kayaking. Two people to a boat. You can rent them at a bunch of places. There is no trust game like operating a kayak with another human.

8. Wear your prom dress to a backyard party. This one should be at the end of summer. Make sure you hang string lights, eat chocolate, and drink sparkling grape juice.

9. Run down the hill at Chestnut Ridge. Then sit on the swings and watch the sunset.

10. Do a walking ghost tour. Drive to Valvo's. Then to Lily Dale.

11. Write a letter...with pen and paper...to each friend. You all have to do it. And give them to each person on the day they leave for school. Seal them in envelopes. Write your memories and wishes for each other. And then when school is overwhelming, or big, or you are just homesick, you will have your friends right there with you. A blank page that is filled up by a person's words to you is...MAGIC.

The End.




Saturday, May 12, 2018

What Makes Her Beautiful

In preparation of Mother's Day, I asked my boys today what they liked best about my mother. Without hesitating, they all answered, "Her cooking." Okay...lame and obvious. I asked what they loved to do with her.

"We love when she tells us stories about you and how crazy you were."

Okay, before anything else, let the record show that I was not crazy. If anything, crazy well-behaved. But that's it. I was a freaking angel.

Anyway.

It's funny because that's my favorite thing about my mom, too. I love the stories she tells about her life. First because the life she's had from beginning to end is unique and fascinating, but also because I love imagining how she saw herself when she was young and comparing it to who she is now.

I know she was beautiful. I think she was fearless. I know that she snuck cigarettes in the high school bathroom. She liked high ponytails. But when I see pictures of her from when she was young, I notice something else, too.

She is stunning, isn't she? But...she didn't smile much. At least not in pictures. Her face here is perfect, at least to me, her daughter. I did not inherit such a face, or her sleek black hair. And still, the first time I ever saw this picture, she snatched it right up and said, "Wasn't I gorgeous?" (She's funny like that.)

I don't know where I got this from, but I'm a blurter. As in, I have to be really careful to control the stop sign that's supposed to be between my brain and my mouth, and I'm not always good at it. So in that moment, I blurted, "You look like a bitch."

She wasn't offended. She laughed out loud and said, "Well, that's because I was!"

Well okay then.

Tonight is the eve of a Mother's Day where her baby girl is thirty-eight. There are many, many more pictures of my mom now, and though she is older and smarter and, as my children can attest, a marvelous cook, I know she does not like that she has grown older. 

I've tried to argue with her, but she usually changes the subject abruptly or gets sad. So mostly I steer clear of the topic altogether. I mean, I'm thirty-eight and I miss being a teenager who used to pretend she was only borrowing the car to go to library and then picked up her best friend and went cruising through South Buffalo with the windows rolled down, looking for boys. I get it. It's just that when I look at my mother, I see something very different than she does.

I see her sitting alone in the morning when it was still dark, a cup of coffee next to her on the table, enjoying the rare silence that mothers crave. I see her standing at the front of a checkout line with her scary eyes demanding that a cashier give her the sale price. Coming into my room when I was younger and upset about some silly thing, trying not to smirk, always able to make me laugh. Always able to make the problem feel small and make my heart feel big. I remember my cousin John Conor being upset about something once, and my mom jumped up just as his chin bunched up to cry, and she took his hand and said, in her trademark matter-of-fact voice, "Come on, let's go see if I have some candy somewhere." When she talks like that, people don't argue. They don't question. It's like a magic spell. They're momentarily confused, probably thinking, "Wait...candy? But...I'm upset. Or am I?" and they follow this woman who confidently leads the way. And within minutes, the only thing any of us ever think is, "God, I love her."

It doesn't matter that she is forgetful and scatterbrained and probably suffering from ADD at some sort of exponential level. When things go wrong, she is the person I want. And I pray with all my heart that in thirty years, that is how my boys feel. And...not just that they will want me. That they know I will always be here for them. I will never say no. Because that's how my mother is for me.



When she looks in the mirror, I know she wishes she saw that sixteen-year-old version of herself, poised in white gloves beside a fireplace and refusing to look at the camera. But look at her now. Do you see the difference? All these years, all these Mother's Days--and birthdays and Christmases and Thanksgivings and grandchildren--and yes, her face has changed. It radiates with happiness. It is the embodiment of love, the real, raw kind that holds on to you and swears it won't let you fall. 

I don't think I have ever seen anyone more beautiful.

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Summer Girl

I measure years by summers. It began with being young and in school, and was perpetuated by becoming a teacher and a mom. When I say this year or next year, I'm speaking in terms of time span that runs from September through June, with July and August existing in a magical limbo that is disconnected from everything else.

I wrote once, long ago, of blossoming trees. As the leaves come out and fill the skyline with green, I think of all those leaves will see in their short lifetime. They live during magical limbo, and drift off when the new year begins. When they begin to fall, my heart hurts for the ending of my favorite time of year.

Today the brand new leaves saw my four-year-old son take on the world wearing khakis, a button-down shirt, and his Phantom of the Opera mask. One of the things I've learned as a teacher is to let kids be comfortable being as weird as they are. I will not squash his Phantom love out of him. Sometimes he wears the cape. Sometimes he wears the whole tux, and I'm not kidding. The leaves of this summer will see my littlest boy embracing his weirdness.

They will see my oldest embrace his newfound independence. Riding his bike through the neighborhood, going to movies sans parents in groups that include--gulp--GIRLS. What I love most about the way I've raised him is that every day since kindergarten I've sent him off with the message, "Try your best and be kind to everyone." I see the fruit of that now. It didn't always feel like he was listening; it still doesn't. But then I see the way he reaches out to friends, and to people who aren't his friends. He tries to understand everyone's backstory so their attitudes, often different from his own, don't bother him. "Be everyone's friend," I tell him. "Don't get involved with the negative stuff. Just be neutral. Just be kind."

The leaves will see my middle boy struggle as he always does. I say the same things to him that I do to his brothers, but his response is different because he is different. And that's okay. I like my little middle. The leaves will watch him take his confusing world and mold it into what works for him, and I love that.

Dear Summer Leaves,

I pray that you will whisper with soft warm breezes and bless us with a kind of pixie dust that makes us strong and healthy, quick to smile, slow to anger. Bring us moments that will stay in our hearts like photos in an album. Bring us chances to rise up and make our lives special, even when it is daunting to do so. Help us to spread goodness where it is needed, and to make the world as magical as you are.

Love,

A Summer Girl


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Slice of Life

This is going to be poorly written, but if I don't do it now I won't remember it. And it so perfectly sums up the chaos that is my life.

Where do I start.

Joe and I have an event to attend tonight, which means we need a babysitter. That means, at least to me, that I have to do a run through the house with bleach and Pledge and make sure it at least looks good enough for me to say, "Oh, my, excuse our mess! Tee hee!" instead of "Please don't call CPS."

So I'm running around, scrubbing the toilets and wiping the mirrors behind every sink, because boys are gross and for some reason when they spit out water they need it to be like putting a thumb over the hose nozzle.

When it looked decent (and it doesn't; I left two full baskets of laundry downstairs by the entry of all places...I hope remember to move that), I was like, "Okay. Shower." Get the older brother to watch the younger brother. Warnings and threats about behavior because these two are oil and vinegar. Or really, vinegar and vinegar. Or like...machete and machete. I don't know. Dangerous combo. So, yeah. Warnings and threats.

Dash up the stairs (of which I'm terrified because I almost died falling down them four weeks or so ago), fling off my clothes, and hop into what will most assuredly be a half-assed shower.

Through the steam, I see my four-year-old son run into the bathroom. I can see he is wearing one gardening glove and is brandishing scissors. The wrong way. They're safety scissors, but I've always found that ascription to be a bit of an oxymoron.

"NO SCISSORS!!!!" I screamed.

Even through the steam, I can see he is annoyed. Like, "Guh. Mom is so stupid, thinking I'd hurt myself with scissors."

Whatever. He put them down.

Then, I hop out of the shower, and I'm wrapped in a towel running around (is this too much information? apologies, but really, it's life, right?) and I see Max in the hallway in his underpants and bright orange socks, yanking on his Thomas the Tank bathing suit.

"Max!"

He put a hand up, like a crossing guard about to let children cross the road. "I have a cold. I'm very sick and I need a shower." He was so matter-of-fact (and also lying), I was momentarily stunned into speechlessness, before I said, "Just take your socks off first."

I mean, really. I just can't.

Right now he's lying on his belly on the floor of my shower waving his arms and legs around like he's swimming, and he has a plastic dinosaur next to him. The safety scissors are on my counter and the gardening gloves lays in the wait on the floor.

He's singing Phantom of the Opera songs louder than a Broadway diva. I gotta get outta here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Middle Child

When I turned ten, my older brother said to me, "That's it. You'll have double digits for your age for the rest of your life."

This gave me a complex that lasted at least three years. I was the baby in our family. It was my Role. Having left behind my single-digit era, I found myself in an identity crisis of Wendy Darling proportions. Except she was an oldest...so even that failed to serve as comfort. (Poor me.)

This is far from being the only complex inspired by my older brother. Scarred by his dethronement as youngest by my unexpected existence, I was subject to all sorts of twisted tomfoolery. I was backup to his lead in our pretend band. I was placed in precarious situations (like dangling from our second floor bannister) so that he could play the part of Superman and rescue me. And of course, I was forever subject to playing the part of the younger brother he never got to have. I played GI Joes (but never the cool guys; I always had to be the unwanted character), He-Man (same situation), and a gamut of sports that has left me with many physical scars, including a permanent lump on the left side of my head. I was never going to be an athlete due to lack of talent, but being forced to pretend in order to fill the part of the missing opponent may have sealed any possibility of attempt.

Even so, I love my brother heaps and we've grown past these silly sibling issues (mostly). But what always strikes me is the irony of how he has been reincarnated (while still being alive) in the body of my own middle child. Mr. Noah.

There are a few words that can best describe Noah. They may not immediately make sense to an outsider, but it's more about putting them together to paint a bigger picture. Ready? Emergency. Fireball. Black hole. Maniacal laugh. Compassionate. Bursting. Disgruntled. Senior citizen.

Day after day for the last ten years, walking hand-in-hand with this child has been like trying to pull a wagon that has blocks for wheels up a hill riddled with potholes and stubborn thorny bushes. But, imagine if you will, the feeling of great satisfaction that fills the heart when you get that wagon to the top of the hill, square wheels and all?

That is what it's like to have a good day with Noah.

He's not easily swayed by much. By pure coincidence, my sister and I both bought him a copy of A Wrinkle In Time this Christmas. When he unwrapped the one I'd bought him Christmas morning, he'd made a face like it was a pair of socks or underwear and then wordlessly cast it aside. My English teacher's heart broke.

Imagine my reaction when he opened the same thing from my sister later that day and expressed...joy? Excitement!

What a little jerk.

Anyway. He read the book cover to cover in less than a week. And then, because he's Noah, he had the frustrating audacity to sidle up to me for a snuggle and say in a googly, lovey voice: "You were so right, Mom. It was the best book. I loved it." Right. But only because Aunt Jane recommended it. (For the record, I totally watched to see which physical copy he chose to read from; mine gathered dust beneath the Christmas tree.)

But Aunt Jane wasn't the person he invited to see the movie. That very special privilege went to me. Just me. Daddy and the brothers went to see something else with gnomes or something. Noah and I went to the concessions counter, picked out snacks, and took seats in a near-empty theatre together.

He sits on his feet. His eyes are so big, particularly his pupils, so the reflection of the movie was in them the whole time. He held my hand (until it became, as he loud-whispered apologetically, "too warm"). True to his personality, he teared up at certain parts, but when the credits began to roll he shouted (because he only knows how to be loud), "That was terrible! The book was so much better!" (A Band-Aid on my English teacher's previously broken heart.)

And then, "The best part was the Tesseract. That was cool."

*Sigh*

Today is his tenth birthday. The spirit of birthdays is, of course, celebrating the birth and existence of a person we admire and appreciate. Happy Birthday! I like to follow it up with, "I'm glad you were born!" And if I can, I like to find the exactly right gift to let the person feel inside what their existence makes me feel.

I scoured Amazon for about two hours after seeing this movie. And then I found the perfect birthday gift for this amazing boy entering into double-digits. See, when my oldest turned ten (or thereabouts), I bought him a light-up globe. "I'm giving you the world," I'd said. Hard to compete with, and sort of lame if copied with the next child.

But after A Wrinkle In Time, it was easy enough.


amazon.com

My gift to Noah this year was a Tesseract. I didn't give him the world. I gave him the Universe.


Dear Noah,

When it becomes hard to not be oldest and not be youngest, when life seems impossible, when you feel like a wagon with square wheels, remember that my heart is always with you. No matter what else, you have my love. You may not always see it, but remember: Not gone. Just folded. 

Love,

Mom



Friday, April 13, 2018

Boymom 101 - Enjoy!

Noah is twelve days shy of his tenth birthday. This kid has driven me crazy since he was in the womb. Before he turned two, I was convinced he was plotting my death like Stewie from The Family Guy.

Awhile back, I instituted Family Meetings as part of our household structure. The children hated them, Joe was enthusiastic to the point of weirdness, and Max repeatedly left the table. But, in the end, it really didn't matter because I got to ring a bell every time I made a point. Nothing can really get me down when I get to ring a bell.

Family Meetings led to chores as Law. Among other things, Joey and Noah now do the dishes. When I say they "do the dishes," I mean I make them clear the table. They rinse the plates. Load the dishwasher. And they do all of these things so half-assed that every morning after they've left for school I have to re-do the whole damn job. It's fine. I love doing it! I embrace it!

No I don't. I'm being sarcastic. I effing hate re-doing the work for them. But whose fault is that? I know it; I own it.

Tonight Joey is having a friend sleep over. It's Friday the 13th and they've begun a tradition of watching horror movies on said date. It went swimmingly at the last event; this time the tradition morphed into six seventh grade boys sleeping in my basement. That's fine. I don't really mind, but you can bet your cottontail that I'm going to make him earn it. This morning when I opened the dishwasher, nothing was even placed properly. All pots, bowls, and plates were flung in haphazard heaps with no attempt at organization. I pulled a coffee mug out and it was crusty inside. Unacceptable! I calmly put the mug back in the dishwasher, closed it, and walked away.

Sleepover is set for 8 pm. I made Joey clean the entire basement, including the bathroom (except the toilets, which is Noah's job BECAUSE...you don't want to know why, I promise). And then, just as the boys settled in to while away the rest of the hours by watching Spaceballs, I sang out, "Oh, boys! Let's talk about the dishes."

Boom.

Parenting is power, and I am wild with it.

You can imagine they were beyond disgruntled, right? I tried not to show my amusement as they grumbled and shoved at each other trying to complete the task they had carelessly believed was done. (Chumps!)

And then it happened.

"For Chrissakes, Joey, get outta my way!"

WHAT.

I almost peed my pants. I'm not even kidding. About seventy percent of my instincts wanted me to laugh, but the other thirty percent had to rein in that stampede of hysteria with maturity.

"NOAH."

He'd forgotten I was there. You should have seen him freeze up. He didn't even turn around, but his voice grew a bit squeaky on the one word..."Sorry?"

"NO WAY. GET OVER HERE."

It's not enough to have a scary "serious" voice, you know. You need to perfect the crazy eyes. I learned it from my mom, she'd be proud to know.

Noah's face went from white to a rosy blush as he walked over to me, his mouth open just a little.

I pointed at the floor. "TWENTY-FIVE PUSHUPS. NOW."

Let it be known that my father-in-law was a big fan of pushups as consequence, and since Joe's brother was only fourteen when we started dating, I saw with amazement the incredible results of this genius. It's not just character building. It's exercise, too. WIN-WIN!

Joe taught each boy how to do pushups around the time they started climbing on furniture. As tots they found it enjoyable and loved impressing their father. Fantastic. Positive preparation.

But that means that in that moment when I pointed at Noah, I was SO READY.

He got down and started the process. He huffed and he puffed to his third pushup, and then dramatically whispered with strain, "TWELVE..."

"No way, buddy. That was THREE."

He looked up, a small smirk starting on his lips. My scary eyes washed it away within seconds.

At fifteen, he asked for a break.

"I'm getting your father."

"Nooooooo!"

Yeah, right. I was escaping so he wouldn't see me laugh. I ran up the stairs to where Joe was getting Max ready for bed and whispered the whole thing in his ear, and he, too, got the giggles. But for good measure, he yelled, "Don't make me come down there!"

Listen. If you're judging us right now, I don't even care. These boys are disgusting! You can't even imagine the crusty bathrooms. The junkyard they call their closets. The toothpaste on the mirror because spitting after brushing teeth apparently means turning into a power washer of epic proportions. The farting. The fart JOKES. The pranks! Joey once pretended he broke his neck by crunching a plastic water bottle in his armpit. He abruptly collapsed to the floor like a limp noodle. I screamed and started to cry. He began rolling on the floor, laughing so hard he couldn't breathe. They run me ragged and then cover me with hugs and kisses and apologies and compliments of such sincerity I start to cry all over again. They talk about their poop. Sometimes they call me into the bathroom to show it to me! I'm not kidding! They are exponentially disorganized, and it's literally in their hormones to be so. And oh my goodness, the blood. There's always blood on one of them. And then it's on their clothes with the grass stains and food stains and exploded pens that they keep in their pockets because they must want to one day be sterile!

Read my words: THEY MAKE ME CRAZY!!!!

So, yeah. Given the opportunity to build character, encourage exercise, and return the crazy, you bet your boots I'm taking FULL ADVANTAGE.

And that's called BEING A BOYMOM.

Feel free to share your crazy parenting moments in the comments below. I love it, and believe me, it feels amazing to vent!!