Thursday, May 22, 2008

End of School Year Mommy Blues

Right about now, I should be singing that Alice Cooper song "School's Out For Summer." But instead I feel like letting out a deep blue sigh.

In a matter of days my first grader will be a rising second grader and that is farther away from kindergarden than I would like. I know that sounds dumb. I should be thrilled. We worked hard this year, we mastered our math fact families and learned about Ancient Rome, read great books and learned so many interesting things. It probably is about time to move on. Yet like a good book that I don't want to end, suddenly I'm realizing it's coming to an end.

This week I sat with another mom over a foo-foo breakfast and we were both joking about how we have to cram everything fun into our last week of freedom. And in some ways, our summer days do get taken over with camps, vacations, family visits and other priorities. But it's more than a schedule change, it's about seeing a chapter come to a close.

These days feel like treasure. That probably sounds corny. But I love, love, love that my son says mom "kiss me before carpool gets here!" Or bounds into the car to tell me all about the special thing that happened today at school. Or beams with pride that he received the "Industriousness Award" at school. (never mind that he can't pronounce it and has no idea what it means, he's still the glowing with joy.)
I adore this time and I don't want it to change. But it will.

Selfishly, I guess I like the certainty of my days with my son. Or perhaps I'm overwhelmed by having to conjur up the same amount of learning opportunities and joy he gets from school. I think it comes down to the fact that he is growing up and the end of the school year is the milestone that says it out loud.

So I let out my deep sigh and I smile with the other parents as we celebrate all that our kids have gathered up this year. And in one moment, the page is turned.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Treasuring Tortillas

What's your emergency meal? Mine is a tortilla.

When I say "emergency meal" I mean "I'm so hungry that I could eat my arm if I don't get something in a jiffy."

I like to cook them directly on the stove (no pan). Flipping them quickly back and forth, I warm them until their browned bubble spots become a bit burned. Next I slather with gobs of butter and roll them into a handy tube for quick eating. My 6 year old son even loves tortillas and likes to chomp faces out of them -- biting holes for eyes, nose and mouth spots. I know this sounds weird, but he likes to wear his "tortilla face" just for a little while before he eats it. What can I say? It's all for the love of the tortilla.

I personally treasure them so much that I wrote an entire essay about tortillas. Actually it was more about a lovely lady named Hope who made them by hand and taught me as a kid to appreciate their humble goodness.

Carolina Woman Magazine recently selected this essay, "Hope's Tortillas" as an Honorable Mention for their annual Writing Contest. You can check it out at

Yeah for tortillas!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Momma the Trucker

Today I feel like a trucker. Or at least what I think it might be like to be a trucker. This week so far I have spent more time in my car than a mom should be allowed. The mommy snap quotient is mighty high.

I don't know what it is about May, but activities and events seem to be coming at lightning speed. April is this lovely, leisurely walk through the days and May is a knock down marathon of activities to cram in before the end of the school year.

There's the ferrying back and forth to school, carpool kids dropoff, field trips, groceries, the almighty Target visit, grandma to the doctor, dog to the doctor and pretty soon momma's going to need a doctor.

I'm working on not being a whiner about it. I'm trying to move my mind from "I have to" to "I get to." The thinking that I don't "have" to drive my son to school, but I am blessed with a car, an amazing son and a chance to connect with him before his day begins. And all these errands, instead of feeling overwhelmed, to move my thinking to -- this is the way I honor my family by taking great care of them and using this time to listen to my Creator as I go about my day.

It's so easy to focus on the negative and stay stuck in that -- my lovely young friend has inoperable liver cancer, my dog is dying of melanoma, my mom has to go through hip surgery again and I'm not sure how she can pay for it.

But as my buddy Room Parent says "good always wins." I have a strong healthy body, I have a wonderful church family, a dynamic mixture of friends, a beautiful son and loving husband. I am surrounded by so much goodness. And complaining about that seems shallow.

So for now, I'm a temporary trucker. My aim is to be a joyful one.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Super Secret Decoder Manual for Moms

Wouldn't it be great to have a "super secret decoder manual" for moms on need to know advice? Maybe even a ring that makes us invisible and a neat outfit to match.

The next best thing is available from in an online anthology with an inspiring collection of essays on advice that you wish you had received as a mom. (ring and outfit sold separately). Just in time for Mother's Day, the online anthology features writers from across the globe as well as small town USA (that would be me.)

Shameless self promotion here -- you can check out my anthology submission called "Wearing the Ruby Slippers" at

Here are more details on the Mother's Day Anthology Collection...

The 2nd Annual Mothering Heights Mother’s Day Anthology, a hilarious and poignant online collection of essays on motherhood, debuts May 1st, 2008 on the popular website, The Anthology is a culmination of the 2nd Annual Mother’s Day Essay Contest held by Christine Fugate, the writer of the Mothering Heights syndicated column and blog. More than one hundred entries from Israel, Germany, Australia, and thirty U.S. states were submitted to this year’s contest. Thirty-two essays were chosen for inclusion in the book The Mothering Heights Manual for Motherhood, Vol. 1: What we wish we knew before we became a short order cook, shuttle driver, laundress MOTHER, which will be released May 15th, 2008. Additional essays submitted to the essay contest were invited to be a part of the online Mother’s Day Anthology.

“I wanted this to be a celebration of motherhood – and for readers to laugh,” says Fugate, editor of the Anthology. “But some of the essays were so powerful, they had to be included. While we moms need to laugh, we can also use a good cry.” Highlights of the online Anthology include essays on how to avoid being a Stump Mom, the search for parenting instructions, and quenching the desire to be a Mother-Goddess-Lioness.

The 2nd Annual Mothering Heights Mother’s Day Anthology will be debut May 1st at The Mothering Heights Manual for Motherhood, Volume 1: What we wish we knew before we became a short order cook, shuttle driver, laundress Mother,edited by Christine Fugate (trade paperback, $12.95 Mothering Heights Press, 2008) will be available May 11th at and June 15th at and bookstores.