Tag Archives: motherhood

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!

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The “Annabelle-ism”

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My daughter, the first-born child in our family, is known to be a little dramatic at times.  Okay, that is a bit of an understatement.  She is EXTREMELY dramatic.  In fact, during one of her “fits” I often find myself saying out loud, “Annabelle would like to thank the Academy….” She doesn’t think it is very funny.  Oops.

When Annabelle first started talking and putting thoughts together, I decided to start a continual document on my computer called “Annabelle-isms.”  I record every single funny, embarrassing, out-spoken thing this child has said in her short six years on this planet.  And I absolutely love going back through them, reminiscing on all the face-squishing moments this little girl has caused me over the years.  But one story in particular I feel the need to share because it still brings tears of laughter to my eyes when I read it.

This story takes place when Annabelle was a little over three years of age.  I did not have Addison, our son, at this point in time.  Just Annabelle-and believe me, she was enough to handle.  The day was pretty typical for the two of us, visiting the gym, running errands and getting groceries before heading home.  Naptime was quickly approaching, but Annabelle and I had made it all the way through the store without a major meltdown (thanks to me opening up a package of Oreos).  Now, I don’t know about your grocery store, but our checkout aisles are junked-up with magazines, candy racks, gum and the occasional cigarette lighter paraphernalia.  I pick an aisle that had as little as possible for little hands to grab.  Annabelle continues to sit in the front of the cart eating Oreos as I begin to load my items on the conveyor belt.  All of a sudden she starts to yell, “Mommy, Mommy!”

Now, for you moms out there, I know when you hear the word “mommy” you let it go in one ear and out the other unless it has that specific “tone.”   The one which lets you know the child is hurt or in trouble.  It is the difference between a whine and an actual call of alarm.  This specific “mommy” Annabelle was saying over and over had the tone of “I want your attention, and I want it now…but my limbs are still intact.”

I glanced up at Annabelle to give her my attention when she started pointing at all the miscellaneous things in our particular aisle.  “No Annabelle,” I began.  “You can’t have the Pez candy dispenser!”  This is where it gets good.  “No Mommy, I don’t want that.  I need my lighter.”

“Your what?”  I ask her, stopping in mid-air with my unloading.  “Your lighter?”

“Yeah, my lighter,” she continues in this innocent voice.  “I need it for my cigarettes.”

Oh. My. Gosh.  The first thing that pops into my head is how does she know lighters and cigarettes go together.  Oh wait, my mother is a smoker.  There you go…insert literary eye roll.

Now, as the words so eloquently come out of her mouth I notice a nice young gentleman behind me waiting to check out.  And I make the mistake of locking eyes with him.  I see scorn and judgment in them.  Sweat starts to form at the base of my neck.  This guy seriously believes my kid knows what she is asking for right now?  Has he ever heard the phrase “kids just say the darnedest things?”

I give him a nervous laugh-you know the one I am talking about, right?  The kind of laugh you used when you had to explain to your parents why the car had a busted light or why the vodka bottle was filled with water.  It was one of those laughs.  He continues to just stare and judge-Mr. Personality.  Meanwhile, my devil-of-a-daughter is still yelling for the cigarettes and lighter!  Oh Lord, help me now!  I see a “coming-to-Jesus” session with my mom over this one.  Can the floor just swallow me up right now?  I wanted to scream at the man behind me, “I don’t smoke, it’s my mom who smokes!  Yes, I give my kid high fructose corn syrup, but not nicotine!”

By this point in time I was basically hurling my grocery items towards the kid who was starting to bag stuff up.  I desperately needed to get the heck out of dodge.  Annabelle’s rants were starting to draw more attention around me.  I looked at Annabelle and said in what I hope was a calm and orator-like voice, “Honey, stop.  You don’t smoke (oh really?) and you don’t have cigarettes (another genius statement, Samantha).”  I continue on as if I’m scolding a teenager caught smoking under the school bleachers.  “No one in our house smokes.  Let’s go.”

I pushed the cart Annabelle was sitting in towards the bagger so he could load our groceries.  Then I planned to pull a Florence Joyner and sprint out of the store.  The entire situation was embarrassing and hysterical, all in the same moment.  A typical Off-Broadway satire that only a mom could truly appreciate.  I am sure anyone who witnessed the entire scene was left scratching his or her head in confusion, wondering what the heck just happened.  Oh, and did that kid really ask for cigarettes and a lighter?

And for the guy behind me in line with the dagger-shooting, disdain-filled eyeballs (who obviously didn’t have kids), I have this to say.  One day you will have a child, girl or boy, and in your mind you will have a vision of how this child will carry his- or herself in public.  And this said child will completely pull that figmental rug from under your feet, wrap it over your head, then proceed to perform a “Dutch Oven” on you (if you don’t know what is, look it up and laugh).

So there you have it, one of my best “Annabelle-isms” to this day.  But I am sure as time rolls on and she learns more vocabulary words, witnesses more inappropriate cable commercials and acquires new “habits” from her school friends, my Word document will just keep getting longer and longer.

Now, if I have to compare my daughter to a wine in this world I would have to choose something with pepper and spice.  What better wine to serve such a purpose than a red Zinfandel?  Don’t confuse this wine with the light pink version on the markets.  Yes, that wine is made from the same Zinfandel grape, but it has been mixed with white varieties and sweetened up a bit.  The wine I am speaking of is robust, not anywhere close to light-bodied or sweet.

I am new to the world of Zinfandels, but when I had some a few months ago at a tasting I fell in love with their spicy undertones.  They completely surprise the palate, hinting at blackberry and currant when you first sip, but then blasting your tongue with a bold spice that could stand up to any meal you serve on the table.

Zinfandels have their biggest presence in California, but you will also find some from southern Italy and even Australia.  I would go to your local liquor store or wine shop and try a few different bottles, compare their likenesses and differences.  You don’t have to break the bank to find some good labels.  If you want to try a trusted name, Rombauer (California) makes a Zinfandel that would cost you around $30.  One label I have had is Quivira (California).  Their Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel will only cost you about $20, and it held up nicely to this particular grape’s heritage.

Until next time, cheers!