That Moment You Realize Your Life is a TV Show

I grew up loving The Cosby Show, The Facts of Life, and Growing Pains (Ok, I watched Full House too – don’t judge me!).  Then came the Wonder Years, Saved by the Bell, and eventually Friends.  In the early 2000s, when no one was watching sitcoms, I loved Scrubs.  (Scott and I still quote it on a daily basis.)  Now of course, I love The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Whitney, and The Office.  Those shows make me laugh out loud.

I love to laugh.  I love happiness.  I love sitcoms.  I do, I really, really, really do.  There’s enough junk in life to take seriously, but give me 30 minutes in someone else’s reality, and that is 30 minutes in Heaven to me.  Of course, I don’t watch as many sitcoms as I would like each week, but when I do get to see them, the laughing makes my heart sing.

Sometime, in the past 24 hours, I realized something.  It’s not a huge something or a profound something, and if I were a comedic blogger I would even know how to make this funny to anyone other than me.

I am not sure if I realized it when I caught my 7-year-old son, watching election coverage while reading his Presidential Encyclopedia for fun.

Maybe I realized this when my husband decided to actually do some housework at the idea that someone might come over and see the wreck we live in.

Could I have realized it this morning when my daughter chose this as her outfit?  Of course, this was compromise after a few wardrobe changes.  (She has her own style that is for sure!)

Or maybe, it had something to do with me, running around, trying to find everyone, feeling like I am in a constant state of wreck and disorganization.  Seriously, some days I think I am one small step away from a real nervous breakdown.  Why?  Who knows?  I think it’s because I am actually crazy, but everyone is too nice to tell me.

Anyway, when you put our family’s quirks together, but take away a “cool jock” you will see that we are the Hechts through and through.

Old Picture from this summer 🙂

While we dream of the perfect vacation or holiday, no trip is complete without a real misadventure or “lost in the Bronx” story.

The mom does too much for her family, is too involved with her kids, and is so annoying that I want to punch her in the face.

The dad, owns flannel and while he cares, he is work a lot of the time to get too personal with the family.  All he wants to do on a Sunday afternoon is watch football, and can sleep through the annoying noises of the kids.  In fact, he can sleep like a baby through almost anything.

The 8-year-old is a tad quirky, and loves to read.  He is interested in things like Presidents, politics, and grown up issues.  Has a tendency to get obsessed with silly ideas, but he has no idea that he’s obsessed.

The daughter ignores what others think about her.  She does her thing, has her own style, and is so happy in her own little world, she refuses to notice that she is a bit on the weird side.

Now, as you are reading this, you must be wondering, “Is she talking about the TV family or her family?”

See, there’s the thing, I don’t know….Was I describing the show or the real characters in my life?  Gosh, the two are so alike…

You take our quirks, put us in some obscure small town in the Midwest that no one actually cares about, you will see that we live in The Middle!

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Ups and Downs

I am tired.  I am really tired.  Not just the “I said yes too many times tired”, or “the list is too long tired”, or “the when will I ever get caught up tired”; but the my daughter kept waking me up every 15 minutes since 2:30am tired.  Combine all of those states of tiredness, and you have my mindset today.  I am trying to stay calm and happy, and just get through it, but grumpiness took over this morning.

After saying good-bye to my dad (I miss him so much!), getting Scott to work, and running to the store for the necessities for today, I started cleaning.  I admit, when I clean, I get grumpy.  I curse the family and their dirty ways.  I curse the pee all over the bathroom floor AGAIN (Am I the ONLY one who sees it?).  I silent curse everything.  Then I curse myself for being ungrateful for a house of joy and happiness.  I curse myself for being grumpy because I am busy because God is blessing me with work, passion, and opportunities.  I should have turned on music, because when I clean with music, no one gets cursed.

Anyway, as I was scrubbing, the dumbest thing happened.  My cell phone fell out of my pocket and landed on my toes.  For some reason it HURT, I mean HURT, and now, hours later, it STILL HURTS.  Seriously, a CELL PHONE.  How?  Anyway, I cried out in pain because it hurt so bad.  However, my kids didn’t come to see if I was OK.  From another room, I hear, “Mom, what happened?”  However, finding out if I was OK, was not as important as the book he was reading.

Really?  I haven’t taught my kids to drop everything when they hear a scream???  Is that something that is taught?  Are my kids becoming good people???  Feeling like a terrible mom, and so alone, I finish the housework and move on to the next item on my list.

My son, comes to me with his money.  He wants to earn more today.  “I will clean the bathroom, fold the towels, and wipe down the toilet for you,”  he offered.

“Well, I already cleaned the bathroom and toilet today, so you can’t do those things.  However, I am sure we will find some chores for you to do this weekend,” I offered.

“Oh, OK.”  He left the room.

A few minutes later, he returns with a dollar.  “Here, this is for you,” he said.

“Why?  Keep your money.”

“Well, you cleaned the bathroom, so someone should give you money.  Thank you.”

That one tiny gesture was bigger to me than pee on the floor, ignored cries, and all of the other failings I feel each day as a mom.  I am not perfect, and I am not doing this mothering thing well most of the time, however, every once in a great while I get a sign that maybe, just maybe I am doing something right.

Tough Parenting Moments

Monday, after school, in a fit of frustration, my son declared, “I am sick of Fremont and Clarmar.  Why can’t I be anyone’s best friend?”

I paused, knowing he can be sensitive, knowing that he had a bad day/week/month, knowing that maybe it will be better tomorrow.  “What happened?”

“Well, sometimes it feels like the kids are mean.  They don’t really want to play with me.  They don’t want me on their team.”

“Why don’t they want you on your team?  Do you think you can relax about rules on the playground?  Can’t you let some rules slide, and it be OK?”  I asked him.  I know he can be hard to get along with.  I understand that playground rules are different from real life rules.  I know the kids have forgotten that he struggles with this, and it makes sense since they are 7.

“I try.  I try to be nice.  I try to change and act like them.  I try to treat them the way they want to be treated, but no one really likes me.”

In that moment, I pause, I want to cry.  I am sad and I am feeling like a terrible mom.  We are constantly helping our son change.  We are teaching him social skills and trying to help him understand how others think.  He works on it daily.  He tries.  Even when he doesn’t ‘get it’ he still tries.  I know kids get frustrated with him at times, and he knows it too.  He is trying and trying.

The thing I feel bad about: When do others have to change?  Why should he go through life wanting and trying to be different to act like someone else?  If we want him to feel good about being a person with Asperger’s, then we have to accept him, quirks and all.  Kids have to accept him, and others do too.  It shouldn’t be a one way road for this 7-year-old.

After my flood of thoughts and pause, I said, “Well if you are treating others the way you want to be treated, then that is all you can do.  You can’t control others and how they treat you, but you can control yourself and how you treat others.  If kids at your school can’t see that, and accept you for WHO YOU ARE, then they are not worth it.  You are a nice boy, who is trying very hard.”

“I wish that was easy,” he sighed.

“Me too, I wish it would get easier, but that is life, Buddy.  It’s just a stinky part of life.”

Upon hearing the word stinky, he smiled and laughed.  Toilet humor took over and our conversation was paused.  However, I can’t stop thinking about it.

I pray that I can successfully guide these two kids through life.  I pray they know they are loved and accepted just the way God made them, without letting their little quirks be excuses.  No one ever said that raising kids was easy, and unfortunately, I don’t think the lessons will get any easier.

Our Reset

Earlier today, my mom sent me a text picture of Ana laying in the leaves.  First I smiled and then I cried.  Yes, I cried over a beautiful picture of my daughter.  I cried because I miss her.  I miss my son.  I don’t know when I spent quality time with them last.  I see them everyday in between school, chores, homework, and activities.  Our conversations are quickly about school and our days, then they move to cleaning up messes, getting ready for the next thing, eating, and their chores.  I have missed my son’s flag football games, and he only made it to 4 out of 6.  We don’t miss sports, we commit.  However, our commitments are lacking this fall.

Somehow, we became the family we never wanted to be.  We are busy, and not the productive kind either.  It starts with one yes, then another, and another…. before you know it, you are scheduling things on top of other things, and letting someone down.  UGH!  I am about to scream….instead I cry.  I cry because where is our pause?  Where did fall go?  Our treeless yard is full of beautiful colored leaves, but where is our leaf pile?  Where are the memories of sitting in a pile of leaves and throwing them in the air?  Where are the squeals and the laughter?  Where are our visits to the pumpkin patch or apple picking?  Where did we go?

Starting on Monday, our family schedule is being reset.  We will go trick or treating together, we will enjoy Halloween.  In November, there will be cuddles on the couch, piles of leaves, laughter and time together.  We, as a family, are pulling out of all extra curricular activities  with very few exceptions.

In November, I am giving my family the gift of time.  I am giving them my 100%.  I will be present and happy.  I promise this to them.  Life is too short to waste it being over-scheduled and busy.  It’s time to pause, to laugh, to enjoy each other. That is what our life is all about.

I will not forfeit another season.  It is time to say No.

Kids Give me Hope

I am so tired of campaigns, negativity on TV, news, and in social media.  It’s enough to make one crazy enough woman scream.  So, lately, the tv is off, Facebook is ignored, and life continues on.  I could sit back and think about the issues.  I could go on and on about how people’s view of education is wrong.  I could stand on a soapbox about many topics, but I won’t, at least not today. 🙂

Instead, I choose to focus on the little notes I have found lying around the house.  Ok, I finally picked them up off the middle of the floor after they had been there for too many days.  (Oh, the working mom’s house is back, and probably not going anywhere.)  I don’t know when they made them, but they did it all on their own.  These notes, give me hope, and make me smile.

Our country and world will be fine.  Education will be fine.  Our futures are bright.  Those are the lessons that working with children teach me everyday.

“I wish that there will always be freedom.” – McCartney

I can’t find the note that says, “I hope McCartney will always be my brother.” -Ana

“We all live in a yellow submarine.” -Ana 😉

“For Mrs. Beck, I like the Beatles. Paul, George and Ringo” -Ana

 

 

 

 

 

Moment of Triumph

The other day, after work and a photo session, the kids and I had to wait for Scott at the park.  It has been extremely busy lately, and I am afraid that I have missed fall.  As we waited, I pushed aside my long to do list that was burning in the back of brain, and was present with my kids.   I am going to miss the next few years of their lives, if I am not careful.

The day was perfect.  The air was thin, but not too cool.  The leaves were bright, with some trickling off the trees, one by one.  I could have stayed at that park, with my kids for hours.  Being lazy, I sat down on a swing and started to move.  The next thing I knew, my son joined me, and he soared through the air.  Swinging has been one of his favorite activities since he birth.

Ana also hopped into the fun.  She has never had the desire to actually learn how to pump and keep herself going.  I have tried “tough love.”  You know, I say, “I will give you one push, and then you have to keep going.”  Well, being the charmer she is, she manages to compensate for my meanness, and always finds another kid, including her brother, to push her.  If she can’t con someone into helping her, she usually jumps off the swing and skips to another activity.  On this day, for some reason, I really wanted to swing.  I mean, I really wanted to put my desire to swing over her desire to join us.  However, I did give her the one push that my mean momma self gives her at the park.

At one point, I looked over at Ana and noticed that she was attempting to pump.  Her body swayed back and forth, her legs went forward and back, forward and back, forward and back…

“Mommy, I am moving by myself!  I am swinging all by myself!  I can do it!!!”  she exclaimed in her high-pitched-over-the-top excited voice.  She was moving ever so slightly, but moving all the same.  She didn’t give up and kept gaining speed, little by little.  Baby steps, but successful.

“Look at you go, Ana! I love how you are working so hard on moving your legs and your body!  Yay!”  I let out a huge sigh of relief, my little big girl was going to learn to swing by herself sooner than later.  YAY!

Magic happens in these little moments and I cherish them all.

Failure is Underrated

When I grow up and am in charge of the world, or at least when I can get others to listen to my strange ideas,  I want to teach people, especially my kids, how to fail. I think failing is underrated in this day and age, especially from those of us with big dreams, high goals, and almost unrealistic expectations for life.

“What do you mean? Don’t you want to succeed? Don’t you want your kids to be successful?” asked the skeptic.

My answer is simple, “Yes, I want to reach my dreams, I want success, and I want the ultimate happiness that Earth has to offer. I also want my kids to live a happy life, reaching for the sky. However, they will not get there if they don’t fail a few hundred times first. I firmly believe it, and little anyone can say will change my mind. The truly successful people in our world, learned how to make mistakes, and fail many times.

I don’t just want my kids to learn how to deal with failure, but I want them to know the heartbreak of it. I want them to feel those sad feelings of rejection, and cry the tears of disappointment. I will be there when they fall.  I will listen to their tears, anger and disappointment.  That is my job as their mom.  Then I want them to get over it, pick themselves up, and reassess what they could have done better. I want them to make a plan on how improve their past mistakes, and be even better than before.

It sounds cold, but when I look at how my life has improved because of my past failings, I can’t help but hope my kids know how to fail, just so they can succeed.

For years and years, I failed to lose weight no matter what I did. During my weight gaining/not losing process, I learned how to get up in the morning and work out. I learned how to get over the tired feeling, and which workouts I enjoy.  I learned the joy of completing a race, and that I can physically make my body do almost anything. I also learned the key for my body’s nutrition, and that is to get rid of gluten. I believe with my soul, that ten years of failing, is leading me to being healthy for the rest of my life, especially now that I am having weight loss success.  The mindset, “I can always lose this 5 pounds,” is dangerous, and I will never feel that way about weight loss.  I have failed too much, it’s time to succeed.

I failed to get a teaching job this spring/summer. This failure, opened me up to new opportunities. Because I wasn’t teaching, I able to have lunch with a friend. Over lunch, she told me about grad school. With a huge leap of faith, I enrolled in a wonderful program, that will lead me to the right job. Had I gotten a job, I would have ended up where I left off, which is not a good thing. Plus, I have wanted to get my masters for years, and now I am.  I love my schooling and the work that goes with it.  I finding this love of learning is feeding my soul and for the first time in years, I feel like I am moving forward to new and exciting territory.

I have failed at photography. I have always loved taking pictures since I got my first camera in first grade, but I never understood it. Once the digital age hit, I started taking even more pictures. I can’t even begin to count how many digital files I have wasted on a photography mistakes, nor do I can to even count the number of cameras I have gone through the past 7 years. However, now I know, what makes a good picture. I know how to capture the moment, and I know how to make it perfect, or at least represent the moment. Had photography been easy for me, I am sure I would not have learned the science of light. That has made all of the difference in my skills.

I have also made big mistakes out on photography jobs, those mistakes, which I have shed mountains of tears over, taught me how to fix my mistakes. Had I not messed up, my mind would not learn to check my settings, over and over again. I am confident in my skills, now that I have messed up, and learned how to fix it.  My lessons in photography have pushed me to learn more and more.  Now, I feel confident when schedule a photo session, and my heart sings even more when I process and can relive the love of a family again.  It is an amazing job, and I love it.

Yesterday morning, I awoke to an email explaining that I did not get a writing job. I had a moment of disappointment, but my second thought was, “How can I be better? How can I make my dreams come true, despite this unwanted feeling?” I know with my heart and soul that this rejection will lead me to something greater and bigger than I can imagine today. I just need to figure out how to learn, grow, and seek out the next opportunity.

I could go on and on about my failings. Few things in this world have felt easy for me, however, my struggles have led to lots of happiness. My life is better because I have failed time after time again.

So when my kids come home nd talking about how “easy” something was for them, I am slightly sad. I want them to work at a level that is hard, in a place where they might fail. I want them to learn rejection, so they can learn how to deal with it, instead of giving up. I want them to really understand that on the road to making their dreams come true, they might fail, but they will be better people for it.

Really successful people fail before they succeed. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can ask da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Dr. Seuss, Thomas Edison, Oprah…. The list goes on and on. Failure leads to learning, and life lessons lead to success.