Author Archives: jennifer

Hang on!

I don’t know about all you other mothers out there, but it’s the middle of May and I feel like I just might die before school is out.   It’s a wonderful time of year, when suddenly the weather is pleasant, but for me it means exhaustion.  (Pregnancy doesn’t help.)  This is the month when every activity my children are in crescendos to a feverish pitch.  The sports teams are in tournaments, the music and performing arts activities must have recitals, the teachers at school must assign end-of-year projects.   There are field days, field trips and end-of-year programs that happen at such a frequent rate that you wonder if you should rent a camper and set up residence in the school parking lot so you can make it to all of them.  The fact that you rarely get even 24 hours notice concerning these activities makes you feel like you should sleep in your clothes so you don’t have one of those mornings and end up at the school in your pajamas!  The preschool has a graduation.  The sports teams have try-outs for next year.  The school needs registration information for next year.  If you don’t sign up for swimming lessons now, you won’t get to sign up at all.  Summer schedules and vacations must be finalized.  Kids can’t fall asleep because it’s still light outside.  I swear that almost our whole year as a family gets decided during May.   As a little girl, I remember thinking that a May day celebration would be so much fun.  As a mother, I wish I had a radio I could use to cry out to the world:  mayday! mayday!  I feel like I’m going down!

My youngest son recently had the chance to take a pony ride.  He was so excited about this moment.  T-shirt, shorts, and cowboy boots were the order of the day.  (I no longer fight my kids about clothes at this age as long as they are clean and appropriate for the season.)  When his turn finally came, the pony he ended up on was a lot bigger than his little legs could get around, so he ended up doing the splits in the saddle.

When the pony started to walk, all bravado ceased and he leaned forward to lay on the pony’s back and hug the saddle for dear life!

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The only trouble was, the longer he rode, the more he started to slide to the right side of the horse.

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Pretty soon, cute as he was, I was thinking “Hang on!” and I started pondering what I would do if he really slid before the ride ended.

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Thankfully, his death grip on the saddle kept him relatively upright until the ride was over.  Then he sat up straight and felt like a champion.

When I was growing up, my parents gave me six months of horseback riding lessons for Christmas one year.  I really loved it.  Most of my lessons went without a hitch,  but there was one night that got a little interesting.  When they brought me my horse, no one realized that they hadn’t tightened the girth on the saddle and I didn’t yet know enough to check or even wonder if everything was ok.  I was pretty light, and got on the horse without budging it.  But a little while later, when it was time to canter, the speed of the horse caused the saddle to slide to the side, and in about 5 seconds I was hanging off the side of the horse with my foot caught in the stirrup.  Gratefully, the horse was mellow enough to slow down, and my instructor quickly got to me before I was under the horse!  The whole thing happened so quickly that I never had time to be frightened.

Right now I feel like I’m hanging off the side of my horse in life, wondering if I can hang on until the end of the month when school gets out and life slows down.  But I realize that although I’m doubting my ability to last until the end of the ride, it will be over quickly and we can regroup.  It doesn’t have to be pretty, but we’ll make it.  And to anyone who knows how I feel, hang on!  You can do it!

Monkey Bars

For the last several weeks, my daughter has been on a mission to conquer the monkey bars.  With 5 soccer players, we’ve been at plenty of playgrounds in the last 8 weeks (when it wasn’t raining or snowing) and she’s been practicing at every one.  At last, she came running to me this week to announce that she did it.  Naturally, we had to have a little monkey bar show for Mom to celebrate the moment.

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As I watched her display her new skill, I pondered for a moment the weeks of trying that built up to this.  I thought about how she refused to be discouraged every time she didn’t make it.  Instead of thinking about her failures, she continued to focus on how badly she wanted to do it.  And she believed she could conquer those monkey bars.  Little wonder that she was so triumphant when she reached her goal!

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I know that in the big scheme of things, the monkey bars are a non-issue.  When she’s all grown up, it won’t matter that she did this.  But in a way it will.  It matters that she accomplished something that was important to her.  It matters that she knows she can try hard things, work at them, and then do hard things.  It matters that she knows she can do a hard thing and make it fun.

I wondered what kind of monkey bars I’m struggling with right now.  Some of my monkey bars are things I want desperately  to learn; others I would probably never seek.  But whether our monkey bars are chosen or thrust upon us by the realities of life, we are just like my daughter.  We can try hard things, work at them, and end up not just doing them, but having a great time.  Isn’t it wonderful to have children on earth with us, to remind us of the lessons of life in such simple ways?

Coming Soon!

I had a funny thing happen to me last week.  I had a few minutes before I needed to pick up from kindergarten, so I took my two littlest with me for a quick scan of the thrift store.  I have learned to trust my instincts regarding lines, proportions and overall style so it only takes me about 5 minutes to walk the entire “as is” part of the store and see if there’s anything fabulous available.

I found a little old settee that had potential.  I liked the size and shape.  The condition is a little under what I would hope, but the price was good:  $30.  I can’t even buy a new dish for that anymore!  My thought was of my bedroom.  When we built our house, we skipped most upgrades, but did add a fireplace to the master suite.  I’ve got two old wicker chairs in there, but my husband hates them (and I’ll admit they’re not very comfortable) so we never sit in that area.  I’ve been wanting to find a better option, and at this price I can take a risk.  So I bought it.  Here it is:

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In the next few days it will be slipcovered in white fabric, sitting in front of my fireplace.  Watch for the final product!

Oh, and here’s the funny thing about this whole story.
At our store, in order to buy a larger item, you find an employee and fill out a little “sold” tag that has your name and phone number on it.  They tape one copy of it to the item and you take the other copy to the register.  After you pay for the item, you go back, show them your receipt number, and they pull the piece to store in the back, where you go to pick it up.

Apparently, while I was in line at the register, another woman decided she wanted the settee.  She wrote down my name and number and spent the rest of the day calling me to see if I would sell it to her.  I got home later in the afternoon and had the funny experience of someone begging me for a beat up old thing I’d purchased from the thrift store!  I had to chuckle a little bit.

And, by the way, I told her if I hate it she can have it.  But I’m pretty sure I’m going to like it.  I suppose there’s nothing that will boost your confidence in your thrift store shopping taste than having someone track you down like that.  Ha Ha!

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