Thursday, February 14, 2013

Best Mom Tip #178: Choose your soundtrack

So today is Valentine's Day.  Quick, you have a few more hours before it is painfully clear that you've forgotten to acknowledge your significant other.  Anyway, Valentine's Day makes me think of romantic comedies and that makes me think of movies and that makes me think about how much more fun my life would be if there were an appropriate soundtrack.

During my boot camp class this morning there were a LOT of stair repeats and we tried hum-singing the "getting stronger" song from Rocky but it really isn't the same with a bunch of out of breath women instead of Sly Stallone.  But I did raise my arms and shadow box a little just in case I did look cool doing it.  Even though I know that I didn't.

I once heard a speaker say that you should choose 5 songs that represent the soundtrack of your life.  I have no idea in what context or why he said that because, clearly, I spent the rest of the time choosing my songs.  I thought I'd share my soundtrack and challenge you to choose your own.

1.  Jesus Loves Me.  I know it's simplistic.   I know large sections of the world don't believe in my faith.  But it reminds me of my childhood and kind little old ladies at church and when all songs in my life had hand motions.  It makes me feel secure and loved and is the core of what I believe in.

2.  Amazing Grace.  OK, I know that it's a little lame to have back-to-back church songs because that would never happen in a movie, but here's why I chose this one.  It was played at my grandmother's funeral and it made my dad really sad.  My grandmother, once a dedicated pianist and teacher, had Parkinson's disease and toward the end of her life she didn't recognize us at all.  At my grandfather's grave site she had to ask if someone had died--it was a bit painful to have to explain that yes, it was her husband of more than 60 years who was gone.  So why doesn't it make me sad like it did my father?  The last verse starts, "when we've been there 10,000 years bright shining as the sun"-and that's how I like to remember my family members who have gone before me--bright shining as the sun.  What a glorious view of death.

3. Georgia On My Mind.  I am Georgian.  Like since the Revolutionary War kind of Georgian.  I'm pretty sure my ancestors were horse thieves or something back in the old country, but whatever their reasons for leaving they thought, "I can do better than this"  and so they risked their lives and headed to the unknown of America.  And they wound up in Georgia.  Cotton farmers, tobacco farmers, a relative who served for both the Union and the Confederacy, and a whole lot of teachers.  I can relate to the "moonlight through the pines."  Also, every state wishes that their state song had as much soul and talent as Ray Charles.

4.  Brown Eyed Girl.  Ignoring that this is clearly a romantic song, my mom used to sing it to me when I was little.  It makes me want to dance and sing "sha la la la la la la la la la la tee da."  And I am a brown-eyed girl.  With four brown-eyed kids.

5.  This one changes depending on my phase of life.  It has been a variety of U2 songs.  Some Cold Play.  Some Mumford and Sons.  Right now it's "We Are Young" by Fun.  Every night after dinner we have a dance party where we play this song and flail around the living room with our children.  They think the last line is, "so if by the time the ball closes you feel like falling down" (you know, because you're so tired) "I'll carry you home, tonight."  And thus continues the family trend of singing totally inappropriate songs to our kids.

None of these is romantic in the least.  Somehow, that portion of my life has always seemed separate to me. More precious.  More sacred.  I dated people before I dated my husband, but no one ever held my heart like he does.  When I think of our soundtrack, the song that comes to mind is Into the Mystic by Van Morrison.  It's soulful, it's romantic, it speaks of a love that existed before and forever.  The chorus starts with a very hippie "I want to rock your gypsy soul."  And when Jay asked me to marry him, 15 years ago today, I said yes largely because he was the only one who could see my gypsy soul trapped in the body and mind of a responsible first-born kid with sick parents.  He's the only one who, in the midst of a lot of child-rearing, still makes me feel like we're about to flow into the mystic.

So maybe tonight you and your sweetie can share your soundtrack and think about all the reasons you still say yes.  I wish a very happy Valentine's Day to you all.

Hey, look at that, Jay!  I did get you something.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Best Mom Tip #177: Enter the Momlympics

 The Momlympics are just like the Olympics except that instead of elite athletes making you feel inferior because you canNOT run a mile in under 4 minutes, they have moms competing in categories for which only motherhood can prepare you.

Thus far, the Momlympics includes the following events:

Schlepping stuff:  If you have ever used your mouth to carry something like your phone because your hands were filled with a school bag, two sippy cups, a random sock, car keys, your own purse, a water bottle, and a baby, you have been training for this category.  Then you thought, "did I just put my PHONE in my mouth?!! The same phone I set on an elliptical machine at a public gym in case the school calls about one of my kids and that I then let my toddler play with? I am clearly going to die of norovirus."

Clothes Changing:  In a car, in a public restroom stall, in the booth of a restaurant, with a baby that does flips every 2 seconds, with a newborn who cannot control his arms while another child clings to your legs, while you are covered in diet coke AND you're in a rest stop parking lot, when one or more of the participants are covered in vomit, when none of the clean clothes left fit the child who needs new clothes, and when due to unforeseen weather or spontaneous swimming it involves 3+ children and yourself.  This category is going to be pretty competitive this year and is closely related to the next one...

Bodily Function Clean-up:  If you have ever caught spit-up with your hand or been glad that the poop landed on you because at least you don't have to clean the floor, this is your event.  Do you have 14 different boxes of tissues hidden in your home and car?  Do you buy baby wipes to keep in your car even though you no longer have a baby?  Do you know how to get blood out of silk because of that one time you dressed nicely for a date and a kid busted his lip AGAIN while running in socks? It's got to be fast before another kid sees/steps in/tracks through the house whatever it is that needs cleaning up.  And it's gotta involve at least a little bleach.

Finding things:  Where are my shoes? What happened to the 12th rubber disk that my Buzz Lightyear gun shoots?  Where is my blankie?  Where is my paci?  Where is Daddy?  Where did I leave my milk?  Where is my skirt/shirt/pants that I want to wear right now?  Why are these items invisible to everyone in the family except Mommy?  I don't know, but prepare to test your skills while thinking like a kid.

Remembering Things:  Prescriptions dosages, number of kids in their classes, when the doctor appointments are, when the dentist appointments are, which kid has a class party, which kid cannot have anything that has ever looked at a peanut in their lunch, that even though she didn't ask for them your daughter will be disappointed if you don't send in cookies for the class to share on her birthday, and when the baby needs to eat again.  This category will not include remembering your own appointments or birthday because your brain is clearly full of random other crap.

In the interest of full disclosure I am forced to admit that, as of yet, there are no actual Momlympics.  But if there were, I would be a serious contender.  What other events would you like to see?