Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Letter

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I was searching through some old files on my ancient laptop, the one that has been in the closet for several years and I have yet to figure out how to transfer stuff.  I found a treasure!  I wrote a letter to my unborn child when I was pregnant the first time.  I barely remember writing this, given the fact half my brain cells are warped from motherhood.  I just loved reading it, especially now that the letter’s recipient, my soon-to-be 7-year-old daughter, has grown and changed so much since my early days as a first-time parent.  Many battle wounds later, I still read the letter with the same hope and optimism I had 7 years ago.  For you soon-to-be moms, I highly recommend taking time to do this for your own child.  You will treasure it always.  My daughter was born a month later, almost to the day.  She came January 6.

Cheers!

December 5, 2007

To My Unborn Child:

Your arrival date is approaching with lightening speed, and both your father and I are so excited to see your beautiful face. We have no idea if you are a boy or a girl, and it has been fun keeping all your family members guessing for this long. I’m writing this letter because I know that once you arrive, things will be hectic. I will be learning all about you, caring for you, feeding you, and loving you.

I feel you kick and move around inside my belly and I know I will miss the comforting sensation that you are safe and with me at all times. You are our first, and I am thrilled God gave us such a wonderful gift in our lives. Before you even take your first breath, so many people already love you. I worry each day about raising you, praying that I make few mistakes. I wonder what your personality will be like, and whether you will have my eyes or your father’s. What will you become one day when you are all grown up?

Before you come into this world, I promise these things to you. I promise to always love you, and to give you hugs and kisses everyday. I promise to try and help you become your own individual. I promise to support you with whatever task or activity you choose in life, whether it is sports, music, the arts or whatever else tickles your fancy. I promise to teach you about respect, faith and honesty. I promise to hold your hand when you are scared or lay your head on my shoulder when you are sad.

I can’t wait to hold you in my arms and feel those tiny fingers wrapped around my own. You are truly a gift from Heaven, one that we will treasure for the rest of our lives.

I love you beautiful child.

All my heart,

Mom

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Time Thieves

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I was watching television last night and a Target commercial popped up on screen. The notion behind this commercial was “time thieves.” Now, in college, I did a lot of analysis on commercials and other various forms of media (Communication Studies was my major). I loved doing this because if you haven’t noticed so far, there is a lot of subliminal information inside commercials! Television shows and made-for-TV drama episodes, okay, that we get. But a commercial? Seriously? Oh yeah, baby. They are cocked and fully loaded.

So I sat there, mindlessly watching this commercial when suddenly I thought, “wait, ‘time thieves’ and you’re showing a dad holding a baby? Oh this is good stuff.”   So I quickly grabbed a pen and pad of paper to jot down a few things floating through my head, wanting to save them for the next time I found myself alone and with my thoughts. Have you ever considered the notion of a “time thief?” I know I am putting way too much thought into this, but it was brilliant from an advertising standpoint. Especially for Target Corporation. The sophisticated version of Wal-Mart in America has clenched the store’s proverbial campaign slogan in less than 90 seconds. What better way to attract customers than to tell them that no matter what their “time thief” is in life, Target has a way to get you in and out of the door with all you need to survive the day! Damn…I really need to get out more. I think Thomas the Train is rotting my brain.

Now my mind is rolling, and I start typing about thieves and such, the wheels continue to churn. And I think about how my day has progressed, the events that came into play with my actions. Here is a little snip-it.

Let me explain how this particular evening started. On this day, I had a parent/teacher conference with my daughter’s teacher. During the conference, the teacher was telling my husband and I about how well our daughter was doing in school, and how her grades, attitude and personal ambition were spot on for the kid’s age. So leaving that meeting I am feeling great about being the mother I am. Like I have just conquered a huge obstacle in life. I AM the mother of this child whose teacher thinks she is perfection in a box. And then I come home. I come home to a tired, hungry girl who is miffed that I didn’t bring her white rice from her favorite Asian restaurant (white rice, I mind you). So after yet another huge meltdown with my daughter I find myself yearning to just hug her and ask her why we do this all the time.   I sit her down and look her straight in the eye and ask her these questions, yet this 6-year-old child is trying hard not to laugh?!? I am thinking to myself, Sweet Jesus, am I missing something here? Why am I the one upset and this child, whom five minutes ago was crying and carrying on about how awful I am and how horrible I am as a mother, is trying her damndest not to laugh at me!

The world exploded in ten minutes, like a bad horror movie, and Godzilla or JAWS didn’t even make the cut. What the hell?

Is it just me, or does anyone else on this Earth find it extremely ironic that when life seems to crap out on us, we find ourselves in a tizzy at home. One thing can go wrong during my day and the feelings or emotions I have from that moment rear their ugly head at the most inopportune time. A fight with my daughter, and I just want to literally curl up in a ball with a glass of wine and disappear from the world. These, ladies and gentlemen, are my “time thieves.” Being a mother, it is so hard. I never knew or understood the mental challenge this job was going to pose on me. The ups and downs are draining.   I am a parent, full-force and in the raw. My soul is bared when it comes to my children. They are such a part of me, in more ways than just the physical.   Yes, I carried them for 9 months, birthed them, have watched them grow. And yet, they are such a connection to me, a deep part of who I am as a person. I look at them and worry about their health, hope for their happiness, fear for their future and love them with all my heart—all the emotions that makes a person breathe each day. I feel these feeling through my children, both the positive and the negative aspects of this “being” called a “mother.”

Are my kids “time thieves?” Hardly not. I just let the attitudes and emotions take away from the environment they inhabit.

Recently I read a great quote by Flannery O’Connor, which stated, “The first product of self-knowledge is humility.” I love this quote because it speaks to me on so many levels. Like the Target commercial, I can see where our self –knowledge can be a time thief because we often lack the humility to really ask ourselves what bothers us? What are the triggers that cause the crap to go on in our lives? Okay, okay, so maybe this is a bit deep for a Target commercial, but do you see where I am trying to make a connection here? We all have “time thieves” in our lives. They may be the grumpy guy next to you in the grocery store, or a child’s outrageous bad mood over not getting white rice. Perhaps it is a fight with your parent or spouse, or even idle gossip about everything and nothing. The point is they are time thieves. They are the things stealing away our ability to gather all the good stuff in our Target carts to get us through the day. Someone on Target’s advertising team hit a goal with this latest TV spot, and Don Draper didn’t even have a say in the ordeal.

Time, something we all have, and yet, seem to all lack enough of in life. So maybe I should start keeping more things on the shelf when I stroll through Target and start being more selective about what I decide to put in my own “cart?”

To wrap up my late-night typing binge, a quote I have on my fridge to help me remember what the day really needs to behold:

“Kiss your life. Accept it, just as it is. Today. Now. So that those moments of happiness you’re waiting for don’t pass you by.”

Of course while I write, I like to have a glass of wine next to me. It just helps me think and sort my ideas and inspirations. And I have to tell you about a new treasure I had this time around. A great Napa Valley Family, the Wagner Family, has produced some of this region’s most splendid cabernets. Caymus wines, and a slew of other red blends and superb whites, encompass the family’s wine empire. So to celebrate 40 years of the Caymus label, the family produced a special anniversary bottle. The 2012 Napa Valley cabernet anniversary edition has been released and let me tell you, it is awesome.

I found this wine, thanks to a good friend of mine, at our local grocery store. I love Caymus because they have always held up on taste, balance and ability to cellar for decades time and time again. This special edition wine bares the same resemblance as its sister bottles. When I opened up the wine and first tasted it, the wine itself was tight and complex. I tasted typical cabernet flavors of currant and blackberry, with hints of oak and even a hint of dark cherry. But as the wine sat and really opened up over the next hour or two, the flavors mellowed and smoothed. I think this bottle will cellar great, or you can drink it now if you find yourself purchasing a bottle. Just remember to decant and let it sit open for an hour to truly appreciate its splendor. For $70 a bottle, you can’t beat the chance to taste a great bottle from the Wagner family without completely breaking the bank.

Until next time, cheers!

Breathe

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It has been months since I have had a chance to write on this blog. Who knew that trying to keep up with something simple like a weekly splurge of whatever nonsense is rattling around in my brain would be like trying to stop a runaway train?

Why do I find it so hard to get daily life to stop long enough for me to take a moment and do something I absolutely crave, which is writing? Oh wait, I know why. I have kids, a husband and a million other nitpicky things to do every day. The time for sudden inspiration usually travels much like my words of advice to my 6-year-old daughter: in one ear and out the other.

Then yesterday I was in church with my family and inspiration finally struck! It was during one of my favorite songs, “Breathe,” by Michael W. Smith. As I listened to the lyrics I suddenly realized how important this one simple word is to each of us. We live in such a crazy, fast-paced life nowadays that many of us take very little time to just simply “breathe.” We are wired and running to the next destination, the next phone call or the next text message. News channels run tickers constantly updating us on important (and unimportant) information going on across the globe. Breathing is something that comes as a necessity to live, but do we really live to breathe?

To give you an example, the other day my husband threw out the notion of having a third child. I first laughed off the comment, thinking it was just a joke we had been sharing together. If you have met our son, you would understand our laughter.  He is an amazing child, but as they say, “is all boy!”  He runs on full-speed from the moment he opens his eyes in the morning until his head hits the bed at night.  He is fearless, energetic and very vocal…and he is just two.  So it has actually been a running joke about throwing a baby in the mix of things, until I saw the look in my husband’s eyes.  Oh boy, something told me it wasn’t just a quick laugh.  A nervous giggle escaped my mouth as my mind suddenly started to churn. Should we have a third kid? So if I got pregnant now, then maybe the baby would have a warmer birthday? Oh my gosh, can I even handle a third child right now!?!

The panic set in, not severe, but enough to make me feel like a total jerk for wanting to say “no” to my husband. Don’t get me wrong, I adore our kids, and love being a mom. It’s like the perfect off-Broadway satyr, full of mischief, laughter, love and anger. But right now, where we are in our lives, having two kids makes for busy, busy times. And then you throw an infant in the mix, and all the things that go with it (late nights, early mornings, diapers, shots…the list goes on and on), how chaotic would it get? And could I handle that? Especially when I feel like I have finally reached a place in my life where I can simply “breathe.”

When both kids are in their respective schools, I have the ability to run errands, work out, go to the grocery or sit in the library and type on my computer without having a kid to chase or look after. For you moms out there, it is like an Herbal Essence hair commercial. You want to scream “Yes!” to the rooftops because for a few short hours you can focus on making time for yourself or just simply get a long, hot shower. I can “breathe.”

If you have never listened to the song “Breathe,” then you should get online and look it up. At least look up the lyrics, for they speak to all of us in some way. The words speak about need, about being desperate for love, about having daily nourishment and about being lost without this necessary “breath.” Smith is talking about Jesus and His love for us, about the need to read God’s Word everyday for sustenance. But Smith’s song reaches further than that for me. It bridges the connection about what I not only need from my faith, but what I also need from life in general. Like a trainer telling you to breath during a grueling set of push-ups, this song was making me really think about what it means to step back and take in all that is going on around me. To reconnect to what I often loose in the middle of making lunches or changing diapers.

Don’t we all need to take more time to heal ourselves from the punches life has thrown us? Instead of trying to jump right into the next activity or run to the next destination, wouldn’t it be therapeutic to meet a friend for coffee and find out how he or she has been? Why shouldn’t we get a sitter and have dinner with our significant other on a weekly or monthly basis as a way to keep the breath flowing in our marriages? The answer here is simple and straightforward. We need and should do these things. To stop and smell the roses, take in a ballgame and forget for just a moment the constricting vices we have tangled ourselves up with everyday. We all simply need to “breathe.”

Will it be easy? No. Will I fail at my own advice? Probably more often than I care to admit. But what we should probably focus on here is the fact we are conscious of the idea. Perfection is impossible for human beings, but constantly striving to reach it makes us all come together under the same umbrella. It is the thought that counts, right?  No one said Rome was built in a day. So today, tomorrow or whenever you find the time, take a moment to really “breathe” like I did this past Sunday. I bet you will find yourself feeling a little more rejuvenated in mind, body and soul.

Speaking of letting something breathe, I can’t think of a more perfect subject, and of course it is wine. Depending on whom you ask, having a bottle of wine for any occasion can be a presentation. Selecting the label, noting the year or vineyard and choosing the proper glass. Once opened, there is even the smelling of the cork (if the bottle has one), analyzing whether it “held” or not while the wine was being cellared. Yet, the most important part of the entire presentation is letting a bottle, especially a full-bodied cabernet or Bordeaux, breathe for a period of time before you start to drink it. Much like the “breath” we should often take in our own lives, a wine blooms and expands to its full capacity after it has encountered a good dose of oxygen. One can catch the true aroma, or nose, of the wine after it has been left open for minutes or sometimes hours. The flavors of a wine can soften and relax after sitting uncorked on the counter or in a decanter. Either way, wine needs that moment to show the world what it has to offer. Do you see the correlation here? Now take a deep breath and…ahhhh.

Until next time, cheers!