Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Okay, fine

Grant wrote his Valentine's Day cards for his class last week.  He signed each one:

"From, No one

Okay fine, from Grant"

I thought this was hilarious.  Then the next morning he wrote this note to himself:

It says:

"Please don't throw away sticky note.  

Change the Valentine cards to just from Grant this afternoon."


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Confessions from a Single Mom

I was not a great mom last Thursday night.

Both kids got out of their extracurricular activities at the same time – 5:00pm – but on opposite sides of town. Grant was late coming out of his choir rehearsal, which meant that Audrey had to sit in the lobby at her school for 25 minutes after Rock Band was over. I was fighting rush hour traffic, battling the rain and the darkness, and fielding frequent phone calls from Audrey asking why I still wasn't there.

It was one of those moments when I felt like a very, very single mom. Buddy is a willing and good father but unfortunately he is in another hemisphere and I can't call him when I need help with pick-ups. Or when there's a snow day. Or when Audrey needs supplies for her science project from Office Max. Or when I'm sick.

Finally I got to Audrey and we started the trek back across town to her ice skating lesson, which was starting in five minutes. That's when Grant told me that we needed to go get a drink because his class was having a Super Bowl party with snacks the next day and they could bring drinks and he needed a Powerade. Homemade lemonade in a water bottle was not going to do. It needed to be a sports drink. And he needed to know RIGHT NOW when we were going to go buy it.

And that is when I snapped. I yelled. I don't remember exactly what I yelled, but it was something about being grateful for what you have, and lemonade, and electrolytes being a bunch of marketing hype. And how it's only me around here, I am the only adult and I can't do every single thing.

And then the car went silent. Isn't it crazy how you can almost drown in one 20-ounce bottle of Powerade?

At a stop light at the intersection of West End and Murphy Road, I leaned my head back against the headrest and looked blankly at the night sky. And that's when I found myself face to face with the most beautiful moon I've seen in months. It was so bright and close, I felt like I could punch through the windshield and caress it. And it was full. A full moon. Finally, the moon was full again.

It's time for a Full Moon Dinner,” I said softly under my breath. “A Full Moon Dinner. We need one of those.”

The Full Moon Dinner tradition started a few months ago when Grant came to me and said, “Remember in China how we used to celebrate the full moon every month?” I laughed and hugged him and said, “No, because we didn't....” The Chinese do celebrate the Moon Festival once a year in the fall but there is no monthly celebration.

But the three of us were trying to establish our new family traditions, defining what our new “family” looks like after the divorce. And I had just taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (thank you Betsy!) and had developed a monthly budget that included one restaurant meal per month. So I said to Grant, “What if we start celebrating the full moon every month by going for dinner together?” And the tradition was born.

Here's the deal with Full Moon Dinners. The kids agree to be on their best behavior and use impeccable manners and I agree not to yell at them. We're generous with ourselves for this one monthly outing - we order appetizers and entrees and dessert and Sprite. And amazingly, for at least that one evening a month, we all keep it together. The kids are fun and well-behaved and all-around awesome and I am funny and happy and laid back. We laugh and linger over our meal and give each other our new spy names for the month. For security reasons I can't tell you what they are.

And for one night a month, things are easy and fun.

We keep a Full Moon Dinner journal, where we record where we ate and what we ordered and we rate our server on a scale of 1-5. We even have a Full Moon Dinner logo, which Audrey designed.

Gazing out my front windshield at the moon I marveled at how beautiful she was. So full and luminous and calming. It makes me feel better to know that even the moon isn't that way all the time though. There are nights when she can only bring half of her lustre to bear. There are nights when only a thin sliver of her brilliance makes it through the darkness. There are even nights when she doesn't appear to be there at all. When the sky is yards and yards of ebony velvet and she is absent. Perhaps she's soaking in a bubble bath. Maybe on her computer. Maybe out for a walk.

But when she shows up in all her brilliance, God is she beautiful.

And when I think of the moon, that's the way I remember her. I remember her as full and bright and close. I remember her moments of awesome beauty.

The way she is when she's at her very best.

And I pray that that's the way my kids will remember me one day - the way I was at a Full Moon Dinner. Full and bright and close. My moments of awesome beauty.

The way I was when I was at my very best.

P.S.: Some of you might read this and worry about me but I hope you can see that while there is pain in this post, there's beauty too. In this post and in my life. It is healing for me to share these thoughts with you in my blog. Thank you for loving me through this process.  

P.P.S.: In the comments section, will you tell me what you thought about when you last saw the moon?  I would love to hear that.