Mother’s Day: A New Perspective

I’ve written often about being torn between the Hallmark ideal of Mother’s Day and the “same day, same frustrations” reality of Mother’s Day. At length and too many times. So have friends.

But this year is different.

I have a healthy, adorable, smart, funny grandma who lives an hour away. I visited her today while the kids were in school. Being with her infused me with wise, cross-generational “aren’t we lucky, even though the first years with small children are challenging, they’re a blip in the grand stretch of your life” perspective. Being grateful to have her makes a pretty nice Mother’s Day.

I have a healthy, sassy, energetic, interesting mom who lives an hour away. I saw her last week and will see her again for Mother’s Day. That’s a pretty freaking big deal after having lived the first two years of my son’s life in an isolated pocket of Hell (Los Angeles). Being grateful to have her, too, makes an increasingly sweet Mother’s Day.

And I somehow stumbled onto the best idea ever for a Mother’s Day gift. Beginning a few years ago, I forced my husband to engage in this ritual with my kids:

Buy or find the prettiest, smoothest rocks you can get your hands on. If possible, send partner and kids to beach by themselves to collect rocks.
Take dictation from children in Sharpie on the rocks after asking them, “What do you love about Mommy?”
Keep writing their answers on rocks until they have no more interest.
Have children decorate a plain box (wood, cardboard, glass, whatever). As big or little as you want.
Put rocks in box and hand them over on Mother’s Day.


Throughout the year and whenever I want, I can reach in and read a reason, in my sons’ own words, why I’m the best mom they’ve ever had.

And I can’t wait to see what they write this year. Really. That “thanks for cake” rock is begging for a “thanks for 1,092 healthy meals a year” companion. We’ll see.

Mother’s Day. It’s not about sleeping in (as if), or breakfast in bed (ew, the cleanup), or peace and quiet (insert uncomfortable laughter at the realization that it’s never going to happen).

It’s about asking your kids (and partner if you have one) to make the present you want. And need.

And since they can’t build a Krasinski/Rudd/Fiennes/Gosling four-sided hologram, have them build you a box of love notes.

‘Tis the season

We picked and shucked and popped our own corn.
They wandered hay mazes at top speed.
Peanut picked out, designed, and carved his own pumpkin.
I carved all the shapes Butter drew on the one he picked out.

Happy middle of October, everyone! Come on over, because we’re totally ready. Like right now. As in please come by and distract my kids because they think (despite my repeated clarifications) that Halloween is tomorrow.

Whatever it takes

For your consideration:

Item #1 At 9 months Butter discovered the jars of spices and was smitten.
Item #2 He requests several times a day to have someone hold him and open all the spices so he can sniff them.
Item #3 He did, anyway, until he could open jars himself.
Item #4 And work the stepstool.
Item #5 He regularly pads over to the far end of the kitchen, drags the stepstool over to the spice counter/drawer, and has at it.
Item #6 if not closely supervised he will pour them all over the floor.
Item #7 Lack of close supervision includes blinking during the close supervision of spice sniffing.
Item #8 He opens the jars, sniffs, then recaps nicely unless he smells weakness with the herbs d’provence. Then he speeds to the cinnamon.
Item #9 The cinnamon is the only rat bastard spice to have a flip top.
Item #10 Today I decided I can’t fight this anymore.

I grabbed the cinnamon and the small child. I asked him, “Cinnamon sprinkle, cinnamon shake, you like cinnamon?”

“YEAH” came the resounding answer.

“Let’s sprinkle the cinnamon outside, okay?”

“Tookatooka!” he agreed.

So we spend a half hour outside, him meandering through the backyard and announcing each tablespoon of cinnamon with a crashing wet cement on metal sound, the likes of which only small truck-lovers can make.

On paper I might appear to be an awesome mom. I let my kid shake $2.50 worth of cinnamon all over the patio and lawn. In reality I just take whatever drives me nuts and give it a positive outlet. Outside.

Always with the outside.

Coming soon to our backyard, a whining contest and an indirect-wood-carving-by-drawing-on-thin-paper extravaganza.

Not so fast, Internet


I had this brilliant idea. See, I’m trying all hard to dump my emotional and intellectual frump, and I’m trying to make my life more efficient. I have a few hours here and there to write, so I do. I have a few hours carved out for client work, and I’m pushing hard to fill that time. I’ve recently sequestered a few hours a week for exercise, and I’m actually doing it. Hell, Interwebs, I’m actually reading again. Because I was exhausted from whining that staying at home for my kids meant there was nothing left of me. IT was time to change! Part of the July revolution around Naptime is that I wanted a crafty project to fill my two evenings with Spouse and Netflix. Watching a movie is a great joy and a collossal waste of time for someone who cannot abide sitting still. So I knit or sew or do something handsy while I watch.

And after I saw the local yarn bombings and was inspired to craftiness again, I had a brilliant idea to cross stitch snark whenever the idiot box is on. To make little pillows that say “Shut Yur Piehole” and “Bah Humbug” and “Y’all Don’t Come Back, Ya Hear?” So I searched online to find out how to cross stitch (You shut your whore mouth: sometimes my great ideas are for things I don’t know how to do. That means I’m growing while you’re busy…getting good at things you already know how to do. So you can sound better on your LinkedIn profile than I do because you “stick with projects” and “finish what you start.” Shut your talking place.)

So a quick search on DIY cross sticth revealed this site for Subversive Cross Stitch. And this book for Subversive Cross Stitch. And this blog for Seriously Seditious Stitching. Complete with feminist and disestablishmentarian gallery.

Let me get this straight, so I can phrase it with action verbs for my resume: haven’t cornered the market on bad attitude, am way late to the snarky home crafts game, will be stuck watching a movie with Spouse while knitting a plain ol’ scarf, now fully aware how petty my ideas and goals are, given the long tradition of kickass revolutionary cross stitch?!

Fathereffing hell! You see why my fathereffing frump is hanging on me like a cheap suit? I can’t catch a break in this goldanged side-project-that-takes-away-from-my-other-projects game!

Stupid effing Internet.

Now wait one crafty-mama minute. I have it. Brilliant. While I was ranting to you delightful people, another option came into view. I’m going to go work on it for one week. In the four hours designated for such a project. And if what I think will happen actually happens, you’ll be the first to hear about it.

Oh, there will be snark. Mark my words, Interwebs. I will use my powers for fun and profit if it kills me. Which it won’t. Cuz if I can thrive, staying at home for more than five years with a child who ranks right up there with the highest of the highly spirited, if I can keep snark alive without sleep for four of the last five years, if my brain can survive the years away from academia and awesomely creative careers that used to feed me, I can damned well find a way to turn a profit from my bad attitude.

See ya in a few, dear readers. Cross your fingers and your stitches and your Ts, and I’ll be on my way soon.