October 5th

I remember the day vividly. Of course I do.

Over time, its events have transpired into a movie in my mind, playing on a continuous reel that occasionally makes its way to the forefront. In it, I am watching myself as though I wasn’t a part of it, as though it wasn’t me living those moments.

I see myself as I get the news, as I cry, as I process.

I remember all the details; even the blurry ones.

So on the morning of October 5th this year, I was transported back to that day ten years prior, the day my Dad passed away.

There was my mind made movie, playing all morning as I recalled those things that I already know so well; the events of the day that changed everything.

This October 5th, I woke up in sobs and let the tears stain my pillow as the toddler slept peacefully beside me.

The anniversary of this loss is hard every year, but ten years seems so significant. Ten years. A decade. A milestone.

I miss him everyday. I grieve all of the momentous things he has missed in my life. College graduation. My wedding. Meeting my son.

But there is so much I have missed seeing of him. The way he would have loved seeing the Phillies win the World Series in 2008. The way he would have loved the historical election where Obama became President. All of the Christmas presents I missed getting to see him open and Father’s Days we never got to celebrate. Getting to see him be a granddad.

He is forever a part of me. I see it every time I look in the mirror as his eyes stare back at me. I hear him every time the Beatles song “Imagine” is played, even all of the bad cover bands. I feel him every time I say my son’s full name, because we gave our son my Dad’s name, Richard, as a middle name. I smile every time I pass a chess set, or watch my son play soccer, or stare into my son’s eyes, because, luckily, he has those same big eyes, too.

Yes, I remember that day. But I remember so much more of him as my father and I missed so much more of him in these ten years since he has been gone.

So on October 5th, rather than transporting myself back to that day, I let my mind movie play and I let my tears fall. Then I got my little boy dressed and we had a play date at the Botanical Gardens, surrounding ourselves with butterflies and flowers.

And then I think my family gave each other the greatest gift; we gave each other a weekend of each other.

Leaving the husband and toddler at home, my mom, sister, brother and I went away for a weekend to Charlottesville, VA. We immersed ourselves in laughter and conversation, scenery and adventure, and no shortage of extravagant food.

Nothing will change the significance of the loss, the way his presence is missed daily, the way my heart grieves eternally for the man that I was lucky enough to have as my father.

But this year, on this tenth year of the day we lost my father, we celebrated my Dad with love and laughter, just the four of us.

I know for certain that there were still five of us there.

“Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains.”  ~Kahlil Gibran

Spending time with my family, remembering and celebrating my Dad who helped create it.

My Dad

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Long Days and Short Years

*I wrote this post sometime this summer. I am so terribly behind on blogging, but I wanted to share it with you today.*

These days are long.

These days like today, where this boy sent me on a roller coaster of emotions ranging from elated to exhausted to angry to proud to exasperated to in awe.

This boy who just today threw 3 temper tantrums, drank my Starbucks, opened and ate a watermelon in the middle of the grocery store, stuck modeling clay to his bedroom wall, stuck his penis through the hole of a CD, tracked poo throughout the house, dumped out an entire jumbo bag of cat food in the laundry room and then tried to put the cat in the bath.

Just today, I found myself apologizing to the grocery store cashier for the half eaten dripping watermelon he had to ring up so we could exit the store, and saying the phrases, “Please take your penis out of the CD.” “Why is there poo on your foot?” “How did this entire bag of cat food wind up on the floor?” “We do not put cats in baths.”

But on this same day, this boy said, “You are the beu-ti-est Mommy I eber seen.” And my heart smiled. Just today, this boy was thoughtful enough to pack a snack in his Daddy’s work bag and say, “Daddy, you can take this snack to work to share with your friends.” Just today, this boy and I shared a lovely evening walk.

Yes, these days are long.

But these years are short.

This boy will be three years old in September. In just three years he has changed dramatically from a helpless infant to a thoughtful, smart, challenging, adorable, child. He has formed complex thoughts and a personality all his own.

This boy has entered my life and it has been a whirlwind ever since. He has changed me completely, and my love for him at times is so intense that it feels overpowering. This boy has taught me more about life and love in the three years I have known him than I ever could have put together on my own. And I am so aware that my time with him is limited. It will not be long before his world expands beyond this one we have created together. It will not be long before he is old enough to make his own grocery store trips and buy his own Starbucks and take care of his own pets. It will not be long before Mommy and Daddy are no longer the center of his world and he is no longer my sweet little boy.

Yes, these years are short.

“The days are long but the years are short.” – unknown, but my favorite quote since becoming a mommy

Familiar Roles

This feels familiar, as though I’m tracing my footsteps, falling back into a place I’ve known in the past but haven’t visited in a while.

I have become rusty at being in the real world, because as  time passed and seasons changed, my son and I have been creating our own.

It has been a dance of intensity and beauty and I know that we are still only at the beginning.

But the separation is slowly happening. I know we are both finally ready.

As my son expands his world into preschool and friends and independent play, I dust off my “grown up shoes” and try to remember how to walk in them.

This year, I am the Parent Council Chair at my son’s preschool. And my goodness gracious, to those of you that told me to run away when this was offered to me last spring, I owe you a big apology because I really should’ve listened. This job is more of an undertaking than I realized. I had told myself I would not get caught up in it, but as I become more involved and aware of the behind-the-scene action at the school, the more I want to be a part of it. I may be new and I may not want to spend the next year of my life stressed out with this work, but I think I really have a chance to make a difference here. I think this position was put in my path for a reason, and as much work as it is going to be, I also think it’s a blessing. I have done leadership roles before; I have played this part of organizer, brainstormer, care-a-little-too-mucher. I know I can do it again.

I also took a chance this year. A chance I have not dared to take in a long time. I auditioned for a big Christmas production put on by a local church. Most churches do Christmas productions, but apparently this production runs like a Broadway musical. It is an original script each year and the story is told through song, dance, and theater drama. Over 200 people auditioned. Auditions involved dance, vocal, and dramatic. Only 50 people were invited to call backs and 6 women were being considered for the female lead. So here is my big news: I got the lead! Performance used to be a huge part of my life, but I have not performed since 2008, right before I found out I was pregnant.  My skills are a bit rusty, but I am oh-so-ready to bring performance back into my life. There will be costumes, there will be lights, there will be make-up, there will be me trying to learn choreography and lines…and there will be that little piece of my soul that gets fulfilled by being on stage.

I am not sure how all of these pieces will fit back together as I balance motherhood with bits of my previous self, but I know that they will. I am also fighting my own guilt with the fact that I have chosen these roles rather than choosing to return to work. I try to get my Parent Council work done while Noah is in school and all show rehearsals will be at night. These two new roles, though not paid, will still allow me a lot of time with my son. For now, I have decided to feed my soul rather than my bank account.

So as I re-introduce myself to the world of paperwork and pull my dance shoes out of the back of the closet, I also prepare for the beginning of what’s next and pray for guidance into this next round of “new normal.”

(If you will be in the Richmond area around Christmas and are at all interested in attending these performances, you can visit this site for more details. http://gloriouschristmasnights.com/)

What Do You Do All Day?

This afternoon, one of the neighborhood kids stopped by. She does that occasionally, and she is very nice and good with my son. Although her visits are always unplanned, I never mind them.

Today, as she was telling me about how her year is going so far in 5th grade, I mentioned that my little guy just started school, too. She said, “Oh no! Aren’t you lonely?”

I politely said, “No, it gives me time to get things done.” To which my son added, “Yeah, when I go to school Mommy eats and drinks and cleans.”

And then she said, “What do you do all day?”

I told her a brief overview of our schedule, saying, “Well, after we wake up I drop him off at school and then come home to do some cleaning. After I pick him up we eat lunch and have quiet time and then play outside for most of the afternoon. Then it’s time for dinner, bath, and bed.”

She just nodded but I kind of felt like I was being judged for not doing enough. By a 5th grader.

So, here’s the breakdown of what I actually did today. It’s probably going to be really long and boring, so you can stop reading now if you like. I guess I need to write it down as much for my own sense of accomplishment as for needing to tell the story.

8:00 AM: Wake up Noah. Brush his teeth, get him dressed, get him downstairs and set up with a cereal breakfast. Note that getting a toddler dressed is not as simple as “getting dressed.” It involves a lot of coaxing, hands on work, and sometimes bribery.

8:30 AM: Return back upstairs to get myself dressed. Which means throw on something somewhat presentable and put hair in a ponytail.

8:45 AM: Gather up all needed supplies and go out to car to put child in car seat. I had packed his snack and school bag the night before.

9:00 AM: Drop Noah off at school. Drive to Starbucks.

9:15 AM: Go to grocery store.

10:00 AM: Get gas.

10:30:AM: Return home, unload groceries. Do dishes, start a load of laundry, scoop the cat litter, straighten living room. Notice that the china cabinet is leaning a funny way and rearrange its contents.

10:55 AM: Head upstairs to do some cleaning. Which involved: putting away all toys, dusting all surfaces of Noah’s room, making up Noah’s bed (which takes forever), vacuuming his entire room including baseboards.

Then I moved on to the bathroom and since I was in an organizing mood I re-organized all of the upstairs bathroom cabinets including wiping them down, designating things to other places, and throwing things away. Then I dusted all bathroom surfaces and the upstairs hallway.

Moving on to our bedroom, I put all of the clothes in the closet, made up our bed, dusted, and vacuumed.

12:20 PM: Quickly run downstairs, grab keys, and go pick up my child.

12:35 PM: Arrive at school to an excited toddler and listen to his stories about school and soccer. Drive us home for lunch and to let him watch one episode of “Peep and Duck” while I also try to cram in lunch in between switching the laundry load, making Noah’s lunch, and sorting through his school bag.

1:20 PM: Read Corduroy to Noah. He requests, “Again, Mommy!” We read it 3 times.

2:00 PM: After 3 stories and much arguing from the toddler I finally get him to lay down for quiet time. (We are past napping.)

2:20 PM: Noah decides he is done with quiet time and jumps up to play. I reluctantly get up.

I’m not sure of the rest of the time-table for the afternoon, but at some point the mailman comes and we read the mail. We play with leftover yellow birthday balloons. (Yellow birthday party pics coming soon!) We line up magnets. We pretend to fix computers. We have a chasing session. We also go upstairs briefly to get a book (I thought) but instead the toddler sees what I have done to his room and promptly unmakes the bed and arranges his blankets into some kind of fort on the floor. Sigh. We cuddle. We laugh. We marvel at the size of my son’s poot and I wipe his bottom. We vacuum the living room and I switch laundry again.

Around 4:00 we have a snack and then decide to go outside. That is when we run into our neighbor and she comes over to play. She plays with us while we ride tricycles, take a neighborhood walk, swing, slide, and ride scooters.

5:30 PM: Neighbor leaves and we come inside for dinner. Except that transition results in a MAJOR tantrum screaming fit and we do not actually make it inside until 6:00. Ridiculous.

6:00PM: Toddler has a personality change and says, “I will be nice now, Mommy.” What the….?

6:30 PM: I serve a lovingly prepared meal of hotdogs and grapes (for Noah) and a Healthy Choice microwaveable meal (for me.) Cooking is not my thing. I also prepare my son’s snack for school tomorrow.

7:00 PM: I put the toddler in a bubble bath. We make “party decorations” with wash cloths and play with a toy shark and lizard. I wash his hair and we sing silly bath time songs.

After drying off and putting on pajamas we brush teeth and cuddle up in my bed to read Corduroy one more time. There is no trying to get him in his own bed on nights when Daddy isn’t home. We also read Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See and an Elmo book. We then get all snuggled up, I turn off the light, and my little guy drifts off to sleep.

8:00 PM: I leave the toddler and come to my computer to catch up on email, which involves a lot of correspondence I need to deal with for my new role of Parent Council Chair at my son’s preschool. I alternate between working on that, checking Facebook and Twitter, and trying to catch up on blogging (which I am terribly behind on.)

8:55 PM: The toddler wakes up. I comfort him and am able to return to the computer work after about 15 minutes.

9:30 PM: The toddler wakes up again and this time does not settle easily. After rocking, singing, and getting him water he finally drifts off into a deep sleep right before 10:oo.

Before I can settle at my computer again I go to let the cats in that have been left outside in the rain that just started. Oops. They are ok. Just a bit wet and mad.

Now, after 10:00 PM, I am finally hoping to get caught up on Parent Council emails, some blogging, and some social media. I hope to be asleep by midnight.

Of course, this isn’t the way it is everyday. There are some days when I clean other parts of the house or run other errands or go shopping. There are some days I pay bills or make house administrative phone calls or deal with some pressing paperwork issue. There are some days when I choose to actually take some me time while Noah is at school. After today, I am hoping tomorrow might be one of them! There are some days when my husband is around. There are some days Noah does not have school and we do play dates or go to parks or the children’s museum. There are also some days I actually get adult interaction.

But most days, this is a good description of my life. This is currently day 11 of no husband home to help. He is a medical resident and his current schedule is a stretch where his shortest shift is 12 hours, but most days it has been 16. Either way, it means he’s gone before we wake up and home after we are asleep.

I don’t mean this to be list of complaints. I love getting to spend so much time with my son. I love that I am able to have such a clean house. I love that I can go get Pumpkin Spice lattes. I love evening walks and cuddles with my little guy. But days like today are the perfect descriptor as to why my life is both elating and exhausting.

And that, my friends, is what I did all day.

How did you spend your day?

The Difference A Year Makes

Last year, at this time, I was a nervous wreck.

I barely slept the night before. I tossed and turned and hugged my little boy tight throughout the night as he slept beside me in bed. I woke up early and dressed myself and my son and slowly carefully drove the 12 minutes it takes to get from our house to our destination.

It was my son’s first day of school.

He was only going to a two-day-a-week preschool program from 9-12, but it was the first time he had ever been away from me. He had never had a babysitter and I rarely even let family watch him. To be honest, he had never even been with my husband alone for more than 4 hours. The school separation was going to be a huge deal, for both of us.

When I dropped my son off in 2011, he screamed and cried and I finally had to leave him crying there while I walked out under the teacher’s advisement that he would stop crying and settle more quickly if I was gone. This, I knew was true. I used to be a teacher, after all. But it didn’t make it any easier for me to be the mommy that had to leave my crying baby nearly in tears myself.

With mixed emotions of apprehension and excitement, I drove away from the school and went to Starbucks. I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and made myself comfortable in one of the bar seats facing the window. I watched as people scurried to work or shopped at the outdoor mall. I felt pangs of quilt and frivolity for the luxury of being able to people-watch on a Thursday morning when most people were working or in school. I felt unencumbered and oddly uneasy with my new-found alone time.

After trying to enjoy my latte and spending a little too much time in my own head, I decided it was time to leave Starbucks. Except it was only 10:15. And so I drove to my son’s school and sat in the parking lot until noon, anxiously awaiting pick up time. I just did not know what to do without him for that long. I felt like a piece of me was missing.

This year, at this time, I was ready.

As it turns out, I got pretty used to my two mornings off a week last year. I spent most of last year re-discovering my identity outside of motherhood and I felt pretty exhausted after a long summer with very few breaks from constant toddler care.

The night before, my son slept in his bed while I slept in mine, (for the first half of the night anyway).

This year, my son is going into the three-year-old class three days a week from 9-12, but with extra curricular activities of soccer, art and gymnastics after school each day, so I will be picking him up at times ranging from 12:30 to 1:00pm. His school is no longer a new environment, but a trusted and nurturing one.

We were both excited for school and I may have driven a little over the speed limit to get us there.

I walked my son in and dropped him off in his new classroom. Though he was a little hesitant and a bit nervous when we arrived, he became distracted with washing his hands in the new (to him) big boy bathroom in the three-year-old class. I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, said, “Mommy loves you,” and slipped away with no tears from either of us.

This year, I went straight to Starbucks, ordered my Pumpkin Spice Latte, and drove home to my house where I set up my laptop, lit a candle, and spent some time enjoying the fall weather, listening to music, blogging, and soaking up every second of my blissful alone time.

This year, I may or may not have been a few minutes late to pick him up.

What a difference a year makes.

First Day of School Pics

Noah’s first days of school. Left: 2011, 2 years old, apprehensive. Right: 2012, 3 years old, attitude.

Noah playing with play dough at school Left: 2011 Right: 2012

Animal Problems

We are having animal problems.

Sunday, I decided to do some yard work. I did some weeding and blew off the driveway, but the biggest chore was cleaning off the deck. As I was gathering up the toys and sweeping leaves, I noticed a squirrel. He was not moving, but he still looked very much alive, just laying on the deck. After closer inspection I realized he was already dead, but there were no bite marks to indicate that the cats had gotten him. It was like he just fell down and died. He really just looked as if he was lying still.

Monday night, I let the cats out as usual. They have become keen on night exploration since we have moved into our house. I always call them in before heading upstairs to bed, as they come quickly, usually ready for a rest themselves. Last night, only one came back. I called and called for the other one but eventually had to just go to bed.

When I woke up Tuesday, I called for her again, but still could not find her. I decided to go outside to look for her, but by the time I fed the toddler, got him dressed, and convinced him to go outside, it was 11:00 AM. We looked around for her in the front yard, and then as we were heading to the back yard I noticed something moving in my car. It was my sweet kitty. I got her out immediately and ran her straight inside to food and water. She did not eat or drink, but she was purring and seemed fine. Monday night, my husband had gone to the grocery store. She must have jumped into the car while he was unloading groceries. That means she had been in the car for over 12 hours! I am just so thankful that she is ok.

It soon dawned on me that a cat locked in a car for 12 hours also meant that there was probably cat poo in my car. It did not take long to spot it (with the helpful “Look, Mommy, cat poo!” from the toddler) and so I began cleaning. I spent 45 minutes scrubbing cat poo and pee out of my car and then left the windows open so the smell could air out.

The toddler and I continued our day which included a walk. We made it home just before it rained, but forgot that my car windows were  open. So now I have a wet car that smells slightly like cat poo.

Late in the afternoon, the rain cleared. The toddler and I were sitting in the livingroom when we heard a loud THUD and saw something briefly on the window. We ran outside to see a small bird on its side in our front flower bed, obviously stunned by its recent encounter with our window. I tried to shield the bird from being touched by my son as he peppered me with questions to satisfy his curiosity of ‘why.” I used a stick to nudge to bird into an upright position. Once on its feet it hopped away, but it was obviously quite injured. His breathing was labored and his couldn’t move more than three small hops. We observed him for a while, and finally decided to go inside. When we went out to check on him a few hours later, the bird was gone. I can only hope that he regained his senses and flew safely away.

Here’s hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. Because if we have one more day of animal drama, we might have to move.

*When I am not dealing with animals, I am learning more about how to give my son the best education possible. If you are interested in reading some progressive ideas about education, enter to win this book!*

Five Years of Marriage

Five years ago, I woke up in a hotel room next to my sister and my two best friends. My other best girl friends were sharing the room next to us.

I spent my morning giggling with my girl friends. I took a leisurely shower and then had my hair and make up done in our room. I remember the make up artist saying, “You are so calm! You could do this everyday!”

I felt calm. I felt good. I was excited and happy and surrounded by the people I loved. I was ready.

After a calm day of getting beautiful, we headed to the event location.

I put on a white dress.

I sipped some champagne.

We took some pictures.

And then I got married.

As my mother in law would later describe it, my wedding was 98 % perfect.

And it was.

We had an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception. We danced the night away and I was in the midst of so many people who had shaped my life.

In five years we have lived in three places, celebrated a graduation and worked multiple jobs, become parents (to cats and a baby), and endured many ups and downs.

Five years changes a lot of things.

But nothing will ever change the fondness on which I look back on my wedding day and reflect on the beauty and excitement that the promise of that beginning held.

So, today, my husband and I will celebrate five years of marriage with a massage, dinner, and a night in a fancy Richmond hotel.

Cheers to celebrations, beginnings, and the accomplishment of five years of life intertwined with the life of another.

Fireworks, Cake, and Sleeping

Rather than bore you with a long story about how we spent our Fourth just hanging out at the house, grilling, playing outside, waiting on a Verizon worker to come fix the cable line that had fallen in our back yard, made a cake, and then walked about a mile and a half to go see fireworks, I will just show you our Fourth of July pictures.

(Click on the pictures and they will get bigger. Obviously, I do not know how to correctly add pictures to wordpress. But I did learn how to make photo collages with PicMonkey.com!)

Pretty cute, huh? We tried to be very patriotic this year. I even tried to explain to my son why we celebrate the Fourth of July by telling him, “The Fourth of July is America’s birthday.” He looked at me quizzically and then responded, “America’s not here right now. But we can still eat cake.”

This week, my little guy has also gone to summer camp. I have had every morning off for the entire week and it has flown by!

In other news, tomorrow is my five year wedding anniversary. Because we co-sleep and just due to life in general, the hubs and I realized that we have not slept together in almost three years. Not in the 50 Shades of Grey way, but in the just me and him in a bed kind of way. So tomorrow, my sister and her husband are coming down to spend the night with the toddler while we go have dinner and stay in a hotel. It will be the toddler’s very first night away from BOTH Mommy and Daddy. I am a little bit nervous! But I am also super excited about sleep. Actual, close your eyes, and wake up when you feel like it instead of when a toddler jumps on your head sleep.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is planning a great weekend!

A Weekend of Blessings

This weekend was full of moments that took my breath away. I was very aware of their presence, their simplicity, and their significance. I am incredibly blessed. I found myself moved when I was:

  • Laughing at 7:30 in the morning on Friday, because my son was being adorable. I usually barely function at that hour, let alone laugh.
  • Watching my son perform in his end-of the-year school assembly. He sang “This Little Light of Mine” with his fellow two-year-olds. Except he didn’t sing, he lifted his shirt up and showed his belly and then covered his ears. But it was precious.
  • Holding my son in my lap after his performance while we watched the older children do their songs. I got teary at the 5 year olds. I became very aware that it is only a few years before my son will the big kid in the 5-year-old class, giving his last performance before he graduates from preschool. I hugged my son even tighter in my lap and tried to stop tears as I had a flash-forward mommy moment.
  • After the assembly (does anyone say that word anymore?) we went to the youth room to throw a surprise baby shower for Mrs. P, the teacher assistant in my son’s class. All of the moms and the lead teacher had been collaborating for weeks. It was a great success. Mrs. P was so moved, she gave a teary speech about how blessed she’s been to have our children and this sweet class and us as parents. She is due in just three weeks, so she’s been pregnant almost the entire time we’ve known her. She said that she didn’t want to sound corny, but her baby has felt the energy of that class and our children and she thinks the gifts and energy our children gave to her she will carry with her the rest of her life. Beautiful moment. All the mommies were crying and all of the toddlers were happily engaged in running around the room and squealing.
  • Leaving my son’s school to realize I only had enough gas to make it to the nearest gas station. Where there was a line. And the toddler was crying because he was tired and a very elderly man in front of me was taking FOREVER, and then told me I better find a different pump to wait at. I was mad and flustered, and finally got a pump. As I was pumping, the old man asked me to come to his car. I was annoyed. But then he gave me a gold coin (a real one) and told me to give it to my little boy for his piggy bank. I was immediately humbled and honored. I graciously thanked him and reminded myself of what’s really important.
  • Pulling into my driveway to see that my hydrangeas, that have not bloomed in two years, have decided to present themselves.
  • As did a yellow rose.
  • And a peaceful sleeping toddler who was lulled by the car ride home.
  • The invigorating sense of community and life that going to the Farmer’s Market early on a Saturday morning brings me. (And the amazing goods we brought home.)
  • The peacefulness of laying in a hammock on a Saturday afternoon.
  • The joy and laughter I shared with my little boy when we went to Music in the Park on Sunday afternoon to hear my neighbor’s band play. We shared peanut butter and honey sandwiches, listened to music, I pushed him on a swing, and we danced and laughed and threw his hat. (I forgot to bring a ball.) It was perfect.
  • The excitement my son had over a bath I ran for him with yellow colored water. Yellow is his favorite.
  • Waking up Monday morning to my son curled by my side and my two cats nestled at my feet.

This weekend was filled with moments that made me stop and pause and see the beauty mixed into the simplicity of my life. And I’m oh so glad I noticed.

Nicholas Sparks Is A Liar

“You deserve to be kissed every day, every hour, every minute,” comes the line booming from the TV complete with the sexy undertones of Zac Efron’s voice and a romantically themed musical score.

I was having a down day, and because I was in the middle of crying while watching my DVR recorded season finale of Up All Night, (which involved a tear jerking proposal that I had to watch because oh-my-goodness-I-LOVE-that-show), I was already a sappy mess. And then here comes this commercial for The Lucky One. I was completely wrapped up in it. I was mesmerized by the intensity and the passion and the love story. My mind wandered and became wistful. No sooner had Zac Efron delivered his line then my husband let out a loud disgusting burp simultaneous with the sound of my toddler yelling from the bathroom, “Mommy?! I pooted! Wipe my bottom!”

*sigh*

I think if it weren’t for the fact that I knew crying over the culmination of that moment would just make me look like an unstable mess, I totally would’ve broken down right there. But instead I just sighed and asked my burping husband if he might go handle the toddler’s bottom wiping needs.

So you see, The Lucky One-based-on-a-novel-by-Nicholas-Sparks, suggesting that the leading lady needs to be kissed every day, every hour, and every minute, is crap. I don’t have time for kissing every minute. I have stuff to do. You can’t just let toddlers sit around with poo on their bottoms. And who really wants to engage in a kiss with a person who just freshly burped? Gross.

On top of that, if I’m getting kissed every minute, when would I have time to do other stuff like dishes or laundry or drive my kid to preschool or, I don’t know, watch totally ridiculous romantic movies?

You see, it is these kind of movies that get our hopes up. That make us think that somewhere out there is this guy who will love us so intently that he just can’t wait to kiss us every minute. Who will love you with an unwavering passion and create a love story worthy of a movie. That one day we will grow up and meet Prince Charming and live happily ever after. I am not falling for it.

Maybe there’s some of that intensity in the beginning of a relationship, but then it becomes a marriage with real life things to deal with and babies to take care of and it’s hard to find one minute alone with your partner, let alone multiple minutes in which to kiss them.

Why can’t we be more realistic about this? Why can’t we make a movie where the leading man strides up to the leading lady and says, “Hey baby, I know you’ve had a long day, why don’t I clean the livingroom while you sit on the couch. And I promise I won’t try to kiss you because I know you are not in the mood after dealing with the toddler all day.”

Or something else wonderfully romantic, like these amazing Ryan Gosling memes from digitalmomblog.com.  Swoon!

15 0 15 Sweet Words for Moms from Ryan Goslingoriginal image source: bangersandnash.com

01 0 15 Sweet Words for Moms from Ryan Gosling
Or my favorite,
06 You Look Great in Your Sweatpants: 10 Things Any SAHM Would Love to Hear
source: Babble.com

And can we please be realistic with our story endings? Nobody lives happily ever after. They LIVE. Which means ups and downs and successes and failures and happiness and sadness and monotony and excitement and elation and exhaustion. (Did you catch that? Shameless blog plug.)

Why don’t we say “and they lived mostly happily except on the days when they never got any sleep because of the baby and money was tight and the house needed maintenance and the husband never remembered to pick up his dirty socks.” Or something else more clever and less cryptic than “happily ever after.”

I’m not a total romantic movie hater. Nicholas Sparks was my favorite author for years and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read The Notebook. And that movie? Swoon! (Or maybe I just have a thing for Ryan Gosling.)

Either way, I was into all that a long time ago. Before I got married. Before I really understood that this love and marriage thing? Is hard. 

Aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice by romanticizing the realities of long-term relationships? Are we setting ourselves up for disappointment when our real lives can’t measure up to the love stories we see portrayed on TV? Or are these movies meant to re-inspire that part of ourselves that gets lost in the daily business of real life? Do we still yearn for this type of romance even though we know it’s not realistic?

I may not have all of the answers, but I maintain my original stance. The “you need to be kissed every minute” line? Is bad. I just don’t have time for that, people. I have poo to wipe.