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Weekend Moments on Wednesday

22 Jul

When I saw the crowds I thought this was a terrible mistake. We should have woken up earlier, we should have gone to some remote beach at daybreak.

But we wanted something different, something a little special. Nowadays little special somethings go a long way. The Great Outdoors has always afforded me an opportunity to do that, but because of the current pandemic situation, life has been limited.

Crowds are something that isn’t, unfortunately.

When you’re at a concert or game they’re great! You feel the vibe and energy. But when I was trying to find peace. Not so much. Even before the pandemic. Crowds burned me out. The beach. The Park. Morning runs. Lakes. I avoided them. Or at least tried.

So I was grateful for the long hike up the mountain, even though I wasn’t a fan of hiking, it proved to be a good step back, for a positive forward move. You see, not many people managed that. Most of the crowd walked a couple yards and stayed close to the road or parking. Half a football field, I guess. Their lack of exercise was my gain. As most people didn’t want to hike up the mountain and venture further up. The fact that they weren’t socially distancing or wearing masks was concerning. I thought this outing was going to be a disaster. But turns out the more we hiked the less people we found. The hidden nature escape appeared.

The Outdoors became the Kodak moment that made the day better. A recharging station for when your depleted spirit needed it most.

Something about nature turned it around. Especially when we discovered a surprise…

Waterfalls bring smiles. Especially on a 12th birthday.

The entire adventure helped bring about some wonderful firsts, like first time fishing in a river, first time losing the fishing pole and swimming against the current in the cold deep to retrieve it, first time hiking to a waterfall, and first time cooling off underneath it.

First time bucket list adventures with the kids stayed with me and granted us moments of gratitude that still linger.

Buen Camino, friends!

Too Many Words on Wednesday

15 Jul

I felt the weight of it.

Took 18 weeks, but I felt it.

The weariness of it.

After managing through distance learning with two kids and one computer, summer and the beginnings of a heat wave with no weekend beach trips, and the worst was yet to come. I felt the weight of it.

Coronavirus.

I’m not sick. I’m one of the lucky ones, but going through this finally got to me.

I was strong for about 18 weeks and just the foul mood of it all got to me and the day ended on a crappy note. I think it’s a matter of space. Being quarantined with your mother while trying to raise your kids and keep them on the positive tip, taxes every part of your being by dinner time. I have found that space is of the utmost importance.

Crucial.

Night time has become a welcomed friend to gather my thoughts or just rest from the anxiety of being with someone that’s not on the same page as you.

Yoga and meditation provide some needed Zen Moments when the goodness of the morning runs has worn off. But today it all got to me and I snapped. The headache came and my patience was lost as I yelled what all moms yell after a long day.

Go to bed!

And then some …

And so …

It was quiet and the guilt of yelling before bed hit me and of course I realized I needed more patience but had spent it all dealing with my mother and her ways.

So I remembered to breathe and allowed myself a little grace.

It was a rough beginning of the week, and it caught up with me on hump day.

Celebrating my daughter’s birthday, trying to find that special moment for her and all the vibrancy, creativeness, joy, and strength in her, while at the same time mourning my dad on the anniversary of his death makes for an epic emotional roller coaster weekend.

The mix of emotions spiraled.

And I knew it. I felt it.

I realized how fast my daughter was growing one day, trying to slow it down as I saw her smiling and how much I missed my father at the cemetery the next. Celebrating with S’mores Icebox cake, tide pool discoveries, unwrapping paints, canvases, sketch pads and a new bicycle with welcomed happiness and laughter one day, and then tears, heartbreak, and childhood memories the next.

Missing him on days like that weaken my spirit.

And then I realized why I snapped …

I know the days are one after the other. They’ve always been that way and I prepare myself but it just hit extra harder this year.

Having no space of my own makes an impact on emotional well-being.

But I was able to revisit a place that helped me find some Zen, some place to breathe.

Gonna be able to reset and do better tomorrow. Hope you do too.

Buen Camino my friends!

.

This Mother’s Day Banking on Small Moments, No Chores, and Mixed Tape Soundtracks

9 May

Wishing so much to travel and be outdoors with nature this Mother’s Day Weekend, and not being able to is a bummer. Not devastating mind you, just a bummer. This is the one day out of 365 days where it’s all right to think of myself and not feel guilty.

One day.

24 hours.

Now granted I have to go on a cleaning marathon the day before with the bathrooms, the laundry, the vacuum, the mop, and the dishes, but at least that gives me a day of nothing on Sunday. Can’t say what’s waiting for me on Monday, but Sunday is clear.

24 hours.

I’ll take it.

Even if it’s indoors.

Usually I’m sitting at the ballpark cheering for my Boys in Blue hanging with my family, enjoying the sunny day and loving the little moments in between the Big League hits. The smiles of my kids as we finally reach our seats, the view of the field with newly cut grass cut in patterns, the high fives when home rubs make an appearance, the walk-up-to-the-plate songs, the bloopers on the Jumbotron, the seventh inning stretch, Clayton pitching, Justin swinging away, and Max making great plays.

But I know this isn’t for everyone.

I know some people go all out in their Sunday best with fancy church hats and heels to champagne brunch and that’s super great! Maybe I’ll do that one day.

But I’m good with jeans and a baseball cap, Dodgerdog, peanuts, and a special beverage. Simple things like that always made my day. They make me smile. Everything but the parking situation makes me smile. That’s just a whole lot of patience required after all the goodness … but it’s kind of like a regular mom day. Highs and lows.

But if my team wasn’t in town I’d drive down to the beach and spend the day with the waves, boogie boarding, feeling the ocean wash over my toes, and hanging out underneath my red Tommy Bahama umbrella. Soaking up the sun and feeling the magic that comes with living near an ocean is something that always makes me feel good Mother’s Day Weekend.

Either way I’d have a plan, and this time, even though I can’t enjoy the Great Outdoors, or cheer my Boys in Blue to celebrate my momness, I still have a plan, I guess. Just a little different this time around.

I mean I can’t say I’m angry about it at all. I’m healthy, kids are healthy. We have each other, we have family. We have food, shelter, and what we need. We haven’t suffered a Covid-19 tragedy, we’ve been one of the lucky ones. Don’t live in epicenters like New York, but just in my city alone, not my state, but my city there’s been over 30,000 cases. I recently heard that someone I went to school with died from it. Age 44. Just like that.

So even though there’s no Mother’s Day celebration I’m grateful that we’ve been lucky. Being careful and following rules have helped us out, because sometimes even when you do the right thing, there are others that don’t, and it puts everyone at risk. Even the young healthy 44 year-old guys who have little daughters.

So the fact that I’ll have restrictions this Mother’s Day doesn’t necessarily burst my bubble. It’s not miserable. It’s an opportunity to make another good story. As in, you remember the time there was the Coronavirus and we were sheltering in place, but we still rocked that Mother’s Day?

Making stories is what keeps us going. When looking back most of the time they’re the more interesting or funny stories. Sometimes they’re sad, that’s true, but most times in retrospect they’re not. They bring smiles and laughter at how you can’t believe how you got through it all. Your resolve impresses you.

It’s a date on a calendar to be recognized, yes. But celebrations can wait until it’s safe. There will be so many celebrations when this is all over. But don’t get me wrong, there’s still life, and adventure just a different way of going about it.

There will be chocolate. Definitely. Chocolate and maybe a scenic drive where we can enjoy panoramic views from the highway while listening to our own soundtrack. This year, this Mother’s Day we’re banking on the little things, small moments, a mixed tape, and no chores done by me.

But until then I send you sunshine and waves from months and months ago 🙂

Buen Camino!

Finding The Moments Adds Space

25 Apr

So in all this togetherness I’m beginning to realize that there’s not a lot of space left. Space for a breather, space to take a minute. Like to exhale. That only comes at night when everyone else is asleep. But the sun is gone and the mosquitoes are out so there’s no outdoor anything happening, not even to the small patio.

I can’t imagine what a family of five must feel like. Not any one … A working-class family of five. Oof. Or maybe just three kids under the age of five. Dude.

Parents out there … I feel you. I feeeeeel you. You have to tag out sometimes just for sanity’s sake. But what if you have no partner? What if you can’t just leave when you need to?

That’s a rough one, that’s when the grays start popping up and you immediately try to remember how to take deep breaths so as to prevent a heart attack, because you feel it rising up inside of you. The frustrations of parenting in this tight environment gets to you. I mean it makes the small space you inhabit even smaller.

Quiet always feels good to parents after sustained chaos. But I also hear that loneliness takes its toll if you’re single and don’t have the loudness surrounding you 14 hours a day. Company and conversation are missed as you can only take so much alone time or online meetings. Connection is missed. And your space feels small.

Everyone’s struggle is different. Sometimes someone else’s plate looks better. But that’s for everyone.

Hang in there parents …

So you just try to find a moment … something that made you laugh or something that ended up right after a whole lot of wrong. Dude.

Listening to good poets slam their beats and touch a heart string to create a smile. That felt good, even if it was just a couple minutes while the kids played Legos. Finding a funny sign and it making you laugh, not just smile, but laugh.

Planting a garden from scratch for Earth Day felt like an accomplishment. It will be a while before I see any results but we still took steps in the right direction.

Talking to friends on the phone in a video chat gave a few of them a very needed outlet of expression and relief.

Finding the little moments add up at the end of the day, or week … Homeschooling distance learning week three went well as all work was finished by Friday and the kids continued to learn something new not just go through the motions. Sparta and Athens. Fractions and order of operations happen in real life, like when measuring and baking banana nut bread muffins, and step two needs to happen before step 4. Clouds have names, like cumulus, and they mean something to the weather. Learning to play the Star Wars theme song on your saxophone. Recycling old crayons was the best surprise moment as it was something new and in the process we created art for Earth Day.

Baseball was still the funnest lesson as Abbott and Costello informed them on who was on first.

Finding the moments helps expands your space.

Buen Camino my friends!

🙂

Outdoor Fitness Fun, Bob Ross Art Breaks, 80s Dance Jams, Netflix, and Looking for the Last Toilet Paper Roll

17 Apr

Normally I would have been excited to have gotten two weeks of Spring Break with the kids. That opportunity never happens. We made plans for another Outdoor Adventure to see big Sequoia Trees, Redwoods, lakes and trails on a road trip that would have produced Rainman-like photos from in and out of the car.

I felt rejuvenated with the outdoor love as we returned from Colorado the month before, but just as with everyone else Coronavirus changed life and we found ourselves hanging at home and preparing for this thing called distant learning and searching for the last toilet paper role.

Yesterday marked the 30th day my part of the country hunkered down and tried to protect its people with social distancing and Stay at Home order. Our governor and mayor are rocking it, trying to help people stay alive, bend the curve, even if some aren’t smart enough to understand the severity of the situation. We are all chipping in and there are more highlight reels of Good Samaritans than of ignorance and greed. And that’s been positive and uplifting because even if some people in position of power can’t lead the regular moms and pops, young and retired are stepping up and hitting homers out of the park.

Moms or dads are educators now, they’re still in parenting mode in search of the last toilet paper roll, but now in addition to working from home they’re part time teaching. And that right there is a recipe for an 80s sitcom starring Jack Tripper as the dad or Laverne DeFazio as the mom.

That is my current state of existence. We just completed Week 2 of Distant Learning in The Guat household. And while a lot of moms who had big back yards, trampolines, pools, multiple electronics, siblings in different rooms, laptops, iPads and desktops complained about boredom in their houses and were suffering bouts of massive anxiety I paused for a moment…

Small apartment. One computer. Two kids. It would be epic.

And it was.

At least we had a patio. Legos. And enough sporting equipment to open up a Big 5 Sporting Goods.

I never really had much growing up, and my kids have more than I did but we’re not high rollers. However we’re not suffering hardships that many other families might be going through right now. Foster care. No jobs no income. Domestic abuse. No internet access. Language barriers. Coronavirus makes situations like these more intense.

So we make the most of what we’ve got and I’m always emphasizing life lessons and love. And even though I got my Zig Zigler vibe going on as we start the days, there are frustrations and whining episodes that add more gray hairs to my new salt and pepper silver fox look.

They miss their friends. They miss being part of a team. They miss walking through the hallways with construction paper art on doors and seeing the everyday faces of kids in the crowds. They miss laughing at inside jokes during recess by the red playground, or walking from their lockers and headed towards lunch with their friends. They miss playing in games. They miss high-fiving and hugging their teammates when they score. They miss the energy, the cheers, and the vibe. They misssssssssssss it.

But we get through it, through it with outdoor exercise breaks, indoor family fitness fun, books, Bob Ross art sessions, Mo Willems drawing workshops, old school home economics, Monopoly battles, 80s dance jams, Netflix, humor and eating breakfast in pajamas.

Week one was for setting up a routine, getting the hang of online assignments, moving into the groove of homeschooling and still searching for the last toilet paper roll. Week two revved up the material and tested my flow. But we’re fine. It’s more laid back than our regular schedule of massive homework with soccer, hockey, baseball, and softball practices. There’s no more GO-GO-GO-GO we’re gonna be late! Do your homework before we need to leave. Don’t forget about your report. We’ve got to be on schedule! That schedule that’s written in a rainbow of Sharpie markers on the calendar that all moms and dads live by because if you didn’t the whole day turns into a disaster of epic proportions!

There’s none of that now. No Sharpie Marker schedule. We have nowhere to go, nowhere to be. Things slowed down. And we’re okay with that. Today we’re okay.

Buen Camino my friends!

Kodak Moments and Oscar The Grouch at The Pumpkin Patch

28 Oct

I could have gotten the six-dollar pumpkin at the supermarket down the street, no need for the heat, the crowds, the parking lot battles, toddlers crying over the ponies, or random chickens everywhere. I mean a pumpkin is a pumpkin. I probably had a coupon for it.

But I didn’t mind driving the long windy road to get a giant six-dollar pumpkin at the farm. I mean of course I’d enjoy it if the farm was closer, but it’s a whole experience. It’s the vibe. It’s the Doreen Cronin books my kids grew up with that set the scene. Farmer Ted.

It’s another memory for the Jar of Awesome, the kind where my kids still seem to enjoy my company and hug me while we take a picture, even without me having to ask. I hear that trails off once the teen years hit. Crossing my fingers for the opposite effect. Maybe the pumpkin farm trips are what keeps the hugs going.

Even though my son entered the world of lockers, over-sized backpacks, six different teachers and hundreds of new students weathering all kinds of emotional outbursts, he still welcomed a family trip to the farm, where the little kid in him enjoyed the pumpkin patch and fall festival activities with his younger sister.

They enjoyed panning for fossils and gems, as well as, racing dune buggies on the dirt track, firing the green-tomato sling shots, and corn blasters. And … it was fun watching them get into the farm vibe try rope tricks and go on hay rides. One of the highlights being that my son guessed the exact weight of the ginormous pumpkin, and won his first farm prize ever. Another would be the fact that my daughter won her first mini pumpkin with the ring toss game. These Kodak moments I captured, but there is an event that I’ve come to admire year, after year.

Now every year I look forward to the giant tractor, the band at lunch, the corn maze, the pig races and eventually choosing our pumpkin. But one of my favorite activities has been discovering the pumpkin art contest. I hadn’t realized how creative these people can get. Most of the time, I’m making sure my kids don’t stab themselves as they’re cutting out the triangle eyes in their Jack-O-Lanterns. I hadn’t even thought of tapping into my childhood painting hero Bob Ross for inspiration.

But this particular farm does a good job of bringing out the creative artist in a lot of people and inspiring people like myself to think they can create something awesome as well. But, we’ll see.

For now I just admired the inventiveness of their imagination.

I’d say Oscar the Grouch was my favorite. I enjoyed Elmo and Big Bird on Sesame Street, they were my favorites, but something about Oscar the Grouch made me smile. This display always makes me take a minute. Even if we’re rushing to get in line, to sit and watch the band, or just to leave because I’m exhausted by everybody at the end of the day. This has become one of my favorite stops at the farm.

The family vibe sits with you, accompanied by the all the hay in your car, and long after you drive off into the sunset you feel good about doing a good thing … About going the extra miles to give your kids an experience you never had as a kid. You’re tired, and still driving back the long, windy road while they sleep, but you feel like the Kodak moments and Oscar the Grouch were enough for today. Today parenthood did not beat you down in the dumps with the difficulties of life and raising kids. Today you got this.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

Duct Tape Adventures Continue …

6 Oct

It’s an adventure inspired by my childhood Saturday morning cartoons and now continues into a family tradition. Something that involves the very best of our creative bones, laughter, and smiles.

Sometimes I think I enjoy it more than my kids, but when I see their faces during the race or at the night, it might be a tie.

Do you remember those Saturday morning cartoons, the kind you needed no alarm for, just sprang out of your bed in pajamas and snuck into the living room to watch as everyone still snored and dreamed away until the sun shone through the curtains?

This story always begins there …

Wacky Races. I loved the competition and how each character created their own custom vehicle. The whole concept was something that stuck with me for years. I’d always wanted to do something like that, but nothing like that existed in my neck of the woods. So I needed to wait until I had kids to finally participate in something as cool as that. So the duct tape and cardboard make appearances every year in the fall.

I don’t necessarily do it so that the kids can look back on it and say … yeah we had a tradition … more so that they can be able to remember the fun in building, in creating, in racing, in cheering others on, in thinking yeah we had fun with mom on that, that was something cool I enjoyed in my childhood. I know they enjoy it in the present moment, I just hope the memory lasts long after I’m gone and they smile at the pictures. They start conversations with each other and tell stories of our family. They think … good times, noodle salad.

Our annual duct tape adventures took place last month and I seemed to enjoy the creativity and architectural skills of all the participants. I’m surprised every year by the ingenuity and awesomeness of people’s spirit. Sometimes I wonder if these people make props or stage sets for a living because they’re so great. But I give my mom skills a high five as we are always one of the few boats left afloat.

This year my son, a true fan of The Rebellion, chose a Star Wars themed ship for the race and in truth we almost didn’t make it. But a couple late nights and the amazing strength of Gorilla Duct Tape and we were sailing away.

 

Our Rebel ship ready for takeoff 🙂

As always we participated in the child-adult race, but they also decided to try their luck in the child-child category as well. It was so fun to see them paddle their way to the finish line. Now they weren’t experienced kayakers as some of the older kids, but the fact that they raced on their own and tried it was pretty fun to watch. I was worried by son’s competitive edge would result in a frustrating loss, but he enjoyed his first kid race, regardless. My daughter attempted paddling and I believe her arm muscles didn’t appreciate it the next morning. Next year we’re gonna have to try taking rowing lessons as we finally got the buoyancy and staying afloat part nailed. We just need our rowing muscles and a little more coordination.

IMG_4100

My favorite this year was Marty, Doc, and their DeLorean …

But no matter what, we enjoyed our day at the beach, the camaraderie of the other boat architects, the creativity of the boats and the excitement of the races. I’ll keep building the boats as long as they keep enjoying the journey.

 

Buen Camino my friends

 

 

 

The Bench Is Not A Fun Place …

15 Sep

You hope at the very least that they have a moment when they hear the cheer. The clapping. The loudness. You hear the woo-hoo charged with such energy and enthusiasm that it reverberates in the air.

You’ve heard it before for your kid and hoped the start of a new year on a new team, that you’d hear the roar again, at the very least from you.

But instead it was silence, frustration, and disbelief. I rubbed my forehead and face in anguish. It was painful to watch.

It was one of those times you tried to find something positive to say or remember about the performance and nothing … absolutely nothing came to mind.

I had one of those parent moments where I couldn’t believe what was happening but it was happening because my eyes were watching it, so I just sat there stunned.

I was watching everything fall apart, just completely sink. From the top of his game to being third string. As a parent and sports enthusiast it was tough to face.

He had the worst … and I mean the worst game of his life, where everything that could go wrong did. He forgot how to pass, how to shoot, how to move fast, how to defend. It’s like he had amnesia and forgot how to play the game. It hurt to watch him self-destruct.

It hurt to come to terms with the terrible plays and effort, it was disappointing to know that he was just a body out there, not making an impact at all … well … he was, but a negative one.

That’s one thing I tell both my kids … did you make an impact? Did you do better than last time?

Both answers were no.

I mean just yesterday my daughter continued making strides in her first year of soccer. The way she continues to improve as a player every game only makes me believe that we’re just scratching at the surface of her potential. I’m excited at what she can do and what’s to come for her.

My son, however, has started his journey this year at an all-time low, and I’m troubled by it. I’m having a lowly parent moment where I feel there’s nothing I can do for my kid. No matter how many pointers or words of encouragement I shout out nothing was getting through and the slump snowballed into a disastrous state of play.

It’s the first time I couldn’t see a positive. It was an epic failure and it sat there for all to watch and the oohs and ohhhs could be heard.

The performance will hang over him like a Scarlett Letter and he’ll have to dig and fight his way out. He’ll have to work twice as hard now to even earn half the time he had before. It’s slipping away.

I’m thinking maybe it’s time to rewatch Rudy, or Hoosiers, or read the sports biographies of comeback underdogs. Perhaps rewatch Nadal’s Championship match in the U.S. Open, because the bench is not a fun place if you’re an athlete. It’s not great if you’re a parent either.

This uphill battle is going to be tough. I’m wondering what Coach Taylor would say …

Buen Camino my friends…

Channeling My Inner-Coach Taylor

31 Aug

I saw myself doing it at one point in my life, don’t remember when I thought I could pull it off but I totally saw myself with the whistle and Coach Taylor attitude.

But I hadn’t committed myself … not until my daughter saw Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn on the screen during the World Cup and asked who are they?

Oh I’m playing soccer this year, she says. That will be my sport this semester.

Soccer.

The one sport in my entire athletic repertoire that I did not play. I watch it every four years and catch Vela whenever we can go to the stadium. I reported on it during my newspaper days. I know the ins-and-outs, but hadn’t played on a team before.

But there she was … inspired by World Cup fever and so I was left with a decision. I had my run-in with this AYSO bunch before … you know the disaster that happened with my son a few years back, so I wasn’t sure I could handle another logistical nightmare.

I had to think about this one.

You see, I had signed her up to play but she was waitlisted. You know the lies about the Wait List. I was like here we go again. And then I got the message … you know the one … ‘calling all volunteers’ but with an extra twist. If you’re player has been waitlisted we give priority to people who volunteer.

Priority.

And there it was … the trap. The offer I couldn’t refuse …

Coaching. Coaching your kid’s team, along with other kids you don’t know, who may not always listen, and whose parents might be THOSE parents, the ones that come out on the news brawling in a full on cage match because of a bad call on the field.

That gave me some pause.

But there could be positives …

Time for Jim Carrey’s YES Man to make his appearance. And he did. My perspective shifted and it no longer seemed like a trap but an opportunity. An opportunity to try something new with my daughter, a double journey.

Now I was a little hesitant because I come from the old school philosophy that you shouldn’t be a coach if you’ve never played the sport. But I already knew the sport, I was athletic enough to pick up some skills and vision was something I already possessed.

So I asked her would you be all right if I helped coach the team, and her response was you coach me all the time at home.

So there it was … I’d officially get a clipboard and whistle and help lead this girls 10-U team.

Let me tell you, some girls at this age aren’t as enthusiastic about playing soccer or should I say doing drills to help you get better at playing soccer. It was funny to watch the different personalities on the field. I wasn’t sure how things would pan out at our first game.

But I helped prepare them the best way I could … The Coach Taylor way. After all they’re still learning dynamics, skills, and team cohesiveness. So positive attitude and the ball movement we learned in practice is what I focused on. As the head coach led the offensive strategy and lineups, I focused on defense and mental state. Fun was an important part of the formula if the players were to last in the heat of mid morning.

And in the end … they did a great job. They hustled and ran hard. We won 5-1 and I was happy to see the butterflies go away and the confidence build up in my daughter and the other players. Step by step they found their way on field of dreams.

In the end, I was glad I wasn’t one of the parents sitting in beach chairs on the sidelines. I was the one running the sidelines helping athletes become better players, helping them gain their confidence.

I was a coach … for the first time … officially. Although I still need whistle.

Buen Camino my friends!

My Son is Kevin Arnold …

25 Aug

So the summer began with the end of fifth grade and the start of the unknown …

I mean, I knew it. I’d been to junior high … I survived 6th grade, but as an 11-year-old girl in the 80’s who took the city bus every morning at 6:45 a.m. I had a different set of issues and concerns. 80’s concerns.

Today is today and my son goes off into the Wonder Years. He is Kevin Arnold. I hope he finds a friend like Paul, or Winnie Cooper, or another Kevin. It makes the transition so much better, to have a friend … a good one.

I worry a lot because the dangers are different now, social media and phones allow kids to publicize harshness when in my time it would eventually, if you were lucky, phase out.

But there are so many other concerns or issues that stress me out about junior high, but I’ve been corrected … “It’s not junior high anymore mom, they call it middle school.”

And so middle school … my sweet kid is going to middle school and it’s a growing pain that tugged at my heart and tuned up the dial in my mom anxiety, because I’m gonna miss my little boy as he turns into a young man.

See ya later kiddo… to the one that used to sprint out of the dismissal gate with joy inside and sport the biggest smile as he’d charge into my arms for a hello-I’m-so-glad-to-see-you-I-love-you hug so powerfully strong that it would take down The Hulk. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that snuck into bed still in pajamas before toothpaste or toothbrushes made their appearances because he wanted a family hug and just five more minutes, five more minutes … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that giggles at corny jokes, cracks up with his sister, and dances to songs from commercials on the spot …any time of day, he feels the music he dances and doesn’t care if anyone is watching…I hope I see you again.

see ya later kiddo … to the one that was so cool he listened to Queen, U2, and the 80s, the kid that liked feel-good songs in the morning to jump-start his day … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to my sweet, sweet boy with a BIG heart who still loves StarWars, Avengers, America Ninja Warrior, Bear Grylls, and Legos… who likes to hang out with his mom and play board games, soooooo many board games, and baseball, and beach soccer, badminton … who is my daydream believer who gets lost in books, so many books, and thoughts … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one who loves sharks and wants to grow up to be a part-time shark conservationist, part-time hockey player, part-time baseball player, part-time firefighter. I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo … to the one that still wakes up for Saturday morning cartoons and can watch for hours … the one that likes pancakes and Honey Bunches of Oats … I hope I see you again.

See ya later kiddo… You’re growing up. You’re a 6th grader the kind with lockers, P.E. Classes, nutrition instead of recess, and life changes that will involve deodorant. You’ll run into jerks who don’t know how awesome you are, and kind people who’ll know you’re magic. You may doubt yourself, but I hope you won’t because everything about you is incredibly awesome. I hope that even though your life is changing, you still hug me with that 10-second embrace, eyes closed tight because it feels like home. I hope your heart will still feel safe and big near me. I hope you’ll always remember how much I love you. You are the most amazing kid I know and I’m proud of you.

You’re my kid and you’re growing and I hope that when you’re in sixth grade and seventh and eighth and you turn 12 and 13 that you’ll still remember your 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 years … because they’ve been the best, with ups and downs they’ve been a good life. We just started year 11 and the adventures have been memorable.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

I love you, I love you, I love you …

Buen Camino …