Transitions

I’m a summer girl. The frogs and birds in the wetlands out my window sing me to sleep. Easy breezy flip flops, sun up in the 5 o’clock hour gives way to my favorite road biking rides before my household wakes up. My husband and I enjoy date nights strolling by the river walk downtown. I adore outdoor concerts and the sounds and smells of Lake Michigan.

Yet so many claim fall as their favorite and look forward to the cooler temps and the change in season. I always long to hang on to Summer. Why?

Fall colors are stunningly beautiful around here. Memories of apple and pumpkin picking field trips and hayrides with my kids hold wonderful memories. Halloween festivities and the search for that perfect costume were always a childhood delight for me. And the big event that so many Moms look forward to for the return to routine and a break from siblings getting on each other’s nerves: school starts.

Bingo.

School always pronounced the passage of time and put an exclamation point on it for me. Whether it be a favorite teacher I would no longer have, the cast party capping off an amazing drama production or the incredible sports season coming to an end. School years were season after season of concentrated, elevated emotion. And I find even as an adult that a little bit of melancholy sets in as autumn approaches. Kind of like a strange knee jerk reaction. Change is coming. The falling temps and the fleeting beauty of the colorful leaves show me a preview.

The view from my kitchen window

Last weekend before the sun rose in the 4 o’clock hour, my oldest and I set off for a road trip adventure. I hadn’t stepped foot on the campus of my alma mater in over 20 years. I thought it would be a great way to share a bit with him about my university experience, take an official tour, soak up some of the campus life and enjoy a short walk down memory lane. It was a trip I had been wanting to make for a couple years. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect since he is a high school senior and we are exploring his post-graduation options.

In his eyes he was along for an interesting ride. He has had plans of serving in the military since he was young. And he is still exploring those details and gathering more information. However, he was game for my plan and was a good sport about it. And when was the last time he and I had a weekend just the two of us?! Ummm…Unheard of.

What ensued could not have been crafted more perfectly if I scripted it. We met up with one of my former college roommates who I hadn’t seen in forever and hung out at her house catching up with her and meeting her husband. Together with my friend and her husband, we all visited one of our old college Friday night hang-outs and enjoyed a meal with her daughter who now attends the university.

Bright and early Saturday morning my son and I took an official campus tour with an admissions official, visited my Freshman residence hall, walked a significant amount of the campus and ate lunch in a residence hall restaurant.

He was enamored with it all. And I remembered once again why I loved it too. And ironically, the campus never shines so bright as in the fall. That’s how I remember it most – with all the old brick buildings and the amazing old trees and yes, a little of the melancholy of transition and change mixed in.

campus grounds

I don’t know what this next season of motherhood holds. But the excitement I felt watching my son’s eyes light up and see his wheels turning inside his head was so gratifying. The sun is setting on a huge chapter in what I have known as a mother. I am savoring each night all of my children are safely under our roof and every meal we can all look each other in the eyes.

I don’t know what, but I do know next fall at this time something will be very different. And with the spectacular autumn sunsets and the changing leaves we will work our way through the next transition.

the sunset that greeted us our first night on campus

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Sani-Tally

Ahh to be two and oblivious. Unaware of the germs, bugs, dirt and bacteria and the near misses with cooties that dot every day when out in public places. I am not a self-professed germo-phobe. But I also do not like to go a day without washing my hands like five or six times. And to take a trip last weekend on the Amtrak train to one of my favorite cities on planet Earth was a hilarious look at how much little people really do need their Mamas to look after their hygiene.

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As I sat on the train with my sister, (she had just boarded and met up with us) we were gabbing and carrying on like we do.

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I look over and see Little Bee who had escaped her Daddy’s lap pick up something off the ground and put it in her mouth.

A. USED. blue. cough. drop.

From the FLOOR of the train…

More gabbing. More carrying on.  My husband blurts out from the seat behind us

“Your daughter is licking the train!”

(Of course she is my daughter in this scenario.) I turn around and see her little nose pressed up against the window and she IS licking the window. Good Lord.

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When we disembark, nature called for most of us. Why oh why did I forget that train station bathrooms are the mecca of cooties? We hit a stall, Bee and I, and like usual her little hands could not stop touching walls and surface area and…BIG ICK!

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We visit the Shedd Aquarium to start our day. At mid-morning-snack-and coffee pick-me-up-time my sister purchases a lovely fruit cup for all of my kids to share.  There was some squabbling over honeydew melon (or lack of interest in it by Twinkle Toes) and an exceptional interest in the red grapes. And there sits Bee eating grapes off the bare counter at the snack bar and making an attempt to rescue a wayward grape from (where else!??) the floor!

It was at this point that my sis and I decided to recount how many Gold Medals of Gross my daughter had earned that morning. And thus “the tally”.

It’s a germ jungle out there people. Wash your hands and cover your mouth. And if you eat a cough drop on the train. For God’s sake, finish it.

Thank you.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Can Shamu Become a Dolphin?

She sits on the edge of the pool. Six years old.  Apprehensive. No, petrified. Breathing much faster and extremely out of her comfort zone.  The kids in the swim lesson happily jump into the water. And she does as she is told – barely.

It’s a summer day. The sun is shining. It is a perfect day to learn how to comfortably bob under the water, blow bubbles and start on her way towards a life of water confidence and triathlons.

Oh no, friends. Five minutes in, panic takes over.  Tears. The pool deck seems much safer than the water and so does her Mom, watching from afar. Out she goes.  And that.was.that.

Fast-forward 35 years, some swim lessons and a triathlon later (finally!) She is still not feeling her groove. Looking to get this swim thing down PAT. Always beating herself up for not “getting it”. Everyone else in the pool seems to. What is the big, hairy deal?

I’m sure, clever reader you have assumed by now this story is mine to tell. What happened next was so unexpected. It has stuck with me all week.

My cousin, Michael, competed as a swimmer for 13 years. He’s now in town and a Freshman in college. We got together last weekend and I begged him to get in the pool with me to give me some pointers and try to assist me with the ugliness that I call swimming.

He in his lane and I in mine. I told him to do his thing and when he was done he could tell me how bad I stunk and give me a few suggestions.  I set off on my zigzagging course. And he confidently shot off the pool wall like a bullet.

I have watched him compete before and it is exciting and so impressive. Of course it is obvious by now how I revere a swimmer. So unnatural for me. So effortless for them.

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Michael in action

As I swam in my lane, what I saw under the water was simply incredible. Flawless. And who doesn’t appreciate flawless?

He was so in his domain. He had compete mastery of his craft. It was beautiful. The phenomenal flip turns, launching way off the depths of the pool. The dolphin kicks. So aptly named.  His movements imitated that of a dolphin.  It was unreal. From my vantage point, unlike anything I had ever seen under water.  Powerful, yet so smooth and graceful.

It got me to thinking, had my Aunt -his Mom- ever had this view of her son in his element? Years and years of car pooling and early morning practices day after day.  Hours and hours of sitting on bleachers patiently waiting for the gun to go off. Years of weekends filled with travel and wait. Travel and wait.  For just a moment or two of watching him compete. She has such pride in her son. He had such drive and motivation for his sport.  I called her up and encouraged her to dust off her swimsuit and make it a bucket list item that just has to be checked off soon. It’s not something I think she should miss.

How rare and how amazing to find that special something that is a natural extension of yourself. What you were called to do. The thread of who you are.  We all know it when we see it. Basketball and Michael Jordan. Shaun White and snow boarding. Meryl Streep and acting. This is swimming for Michael. The icing on the cake when it is your kid to cheer on and marvel at.

Sadly, I am no dolphin. I will never master a flip turn (or even attempt one!) But I felt so very lucky to be in the lane next to this guy. It was a rush.

Look at this face.

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Born to do it. Just wish I had that grin and ease on the pool deck before I jumped in the water 35 years ago. Clearly I am scarred for life.

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

It’s Snark Week…Check Your Local Listings

Am I the only Mom who is on Week 2 of Back to School and already in disbelief that it’s “same stuff, different school year” ??

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The classics are back!

“You can’t wear those postage-stamp shorts!”

“Why? I don’t have anything else!”

“Maybe if you tried bringing in your laundry more than once per Leap Year, you would!”

 

Ye Olde band instrument. Practice twice on the weekends. Get a signed slip for the next week’s lesson. All good.

“Mom can I practice now?”

“No, your baby sister is in bed now. Your saxophone is too loud and you should have practiced first thing when you got home.”

Exchange of words too long and boring to print here. Blah Blah Blah…All NOT good.

And in the absence of her two older siblings, Little Bee is now lashing out at the cashier at Target or the friend I see in passing at the grocery store. They get her new snarly look and some snappish two-year old comment and a wagging finger point.

There’s always tomorrow’s cup of coffee and the promise of 10 minutes to breathe and look at a magazine or catch up on some meaningless celebrity nonsense from the Today Show.

But as past experience proves…I have been re-warming that cup of coffee for the last week.

I still never get to my target while it’s hot! Grrrrrr…

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Do These Look Like the Eyes of a Wrecking Ball?

wpid-img_20140812_174749.jpgI pretty much got away scot-free with my two oldest. Except for Twinkle Toes’ mullet-cutting episode of 2008 (she cut, I freaked) and the red and blue crayon grout-drawing on my ceramic tile in the kitchen done by Techno himself (trust me it was no Monet) I never really had too many wild kid stories to share.

My friend’s son was dubbed the “Wrecking Ball” (her own moniker for him) when he was about two. I confess try as I might it was hard to relate to that about four years ago, sailing along in my Toddler-less world with two pretty self-sufficient older kids.

Until. Little Bee.

“Wrecking Ball” may have a soul mate and I fear it’s MY two-year old.

On a daily basis she provides us with one mischievous feat after the next. It’s like she can sniff out the weakness in any situation and use it to her advantage.

Got a coffee mug up high enough? Think again. By week’s end the carpet-cleaning professional was in my house after I tried to take care of the offending splatter myself (and broke my friend’s irreplaceable, trusty circa 1980 carpet cleaning machine in the process. Thank you for saving me, Ebay!)

Need to test out if the spindles on your decking are “to code?” Don’t worry she will try to stick her head through them and give you a heart attack.

Scissors left out by mistake? No problem, she will find them, run away with them and laugh in your face while doing it.

The one day I did not take the time to put her shorts back on after changing her diaper pre-nap, she made sure to “help” me get the process started after she woke up by attempting to change her diaper herself and make pretty pictures with it.

And my most favorite scenario of recent memory…sitting in the salon waiting to get Twinkle’s hair cut last week and listening to some sassy language blurt out of Bee’s mouth. Praying that the two elderly ladies waiting patiently beside us were not going to hear a four-letter word from my curly-haired darling.

I affectionately call her my fortieth birthday present (well, really I was 39 but I’m not splitting hairs over it) And oddly enough, I feel like some days I am way too old for this.  Other days it keeps me young.

By and large I choose to stick with the keeping me young deal. Bring it on, little pip squeak!  I shudder to think how old I would be now if we didn’t have her.

I threw myself a minor pity party a couple of weeks ago when for the second time in a row I was not carded when I purchased my beloved red wine.

Then BAM! This past weekend “May I see your ID please?” rung sweetly in my ears.

Thanks, Bee.

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Always Blow Out the Candles

God sends children to enlarge our hearts and to make us unselfish and full of kindly sympathies and affections ~M. Howitt

This quote comes from a quote-a-day calendar that belonged to my Dad. When us kids were all grown-up it got passed on to my husband as we started having children and needed some sage advice.

This statement has been staring at me for a couple of weeks. Neither Ice nor I have changed the date over. I guess we like the reminder.

Recently we celebrated Little Bee’s second birthday. She loved the blowing out of the candles. It was the first time she was old enough to understand and make an effort.  She called it her “special cake”. She thought it was just going to happen every day.

So the day after her birthday, night time rolled around and she asked for “special cake” and wanted to blow out the candles again.

In a buzzkill moment, for whatever reason, I declined the candle request. And Ice wisely said, “Why not? Let her do it.”

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Nothing fancy.  Not the “Birthday Plate”, just a paper plate. Just a leftover, already-been-burned-candle.

It made her so happy.

It struck me then how many ordinary moments and ordinary days can become extraordinary with a little effort, a little sprinkles on top, a little sparkle.

And being reminded again from my husband and my two-year-old’s smile was just perfect.

What can you do to make a moment a little more special in your day today?

Hope you find a way. I would love you to share a picture or drop me a comment in the comments section.

Here’s to the sprinkles on top.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

We are licensed!

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5.14.14: We are licensed!

Hunting? Fishing? Driving? Nope. A dual license for Ice and I to be foster parents with the intent to adopt.

This brand new bunk bed is now ready for a boy who needs a forever family. Now we wait for the call…

On Wednesday there were three voice mails I didn’t know we had even received until Thursday. Sandwiched in between an insurance and a telemarketer call was a message from our social worker letting us know our license had been issued.

Thank God for voicemail!

 

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.