First Door on the Right

The basic contents of the room haven’t changed much.

A twin-sized bed, a small nightstand next to it, a dresser, a desk with a lamp.

Fourteen years ago, it was deemed The Big Boy Room and we moved his little-boy things in with great fanfare.

When you are three years old and enamored with the garbage man, the height of awesomeness is to have a room at the front of the house. That way, you are the very first one in the family to hear the garbage man coming around the corner so very early in the morning.

And you get to announce it to the whole house.

Loudly.

The Big Boy Room had brightly-colored cars and trucks driving around the room on the wallpaper border, Legos on the floor at all times, a huge stuffed dinosaur guarding the bed, and a jigsaw puzzle always occupied the desktop. A dream catcher hung from the bedpost, ready to spirit away bad dreams that hound even the biggest of boys.

He’s ready to catch his own dreams now.

This room down the hall is still occupied by the same boy, who seems to have doubled in size in the time he’s lived there.

The wallpaper is long gone, the Legos have been tucked away in bins and stored in the game room, and I haven’t seen the desktop in years.

Even the garbage man is no longer a source of excitement, but rather someone to grumble at when he comes too early in the morning and disrupts the groggy sleep of a teenager.

There are piles of socks that don’t quite make it to the hamper, posters of bands I can barely stand to listen to, and movie ticket stubs taped to the mirror next to prom pictures and photos of a hero.

Still Big Boy stuff, I suppose.

But the boy that occupies this room? He’s not in there all the time anymore.

He has his driver’s license, his friends, things to do and places to be.

He’s moving on, that Big Boy.

Come September, he’s moving to another Big Boy room in the dorms, with other Big Boys (and girls). He’ll have a mini-fridge, empty pizza boxes, crazy posters, a lava lamp, and a pile of socks that won’t quite make it to the laundry bag.

If he’s unlucky enough to be near the dumpsters, he may even be able to grumble at the garbage man.

And even though the room down the hall will be unoccupied soon, I have a feeling I’ll still find a reason here and there to open the door.

Who knows what memory I’ll see when I peek inside.

They’re all in there still; some buried deeper than others.

Or maybe just buried in socks.

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I am honored to be a featured blogger over at Mamapedia today! I would love for you to stop over there for a moment and read my post Mother of the Year: Before Kids, about what an awesome mom I thought I was. Until I tried it.

Flash Mob Frenzy

Flash Mobs* are all the rage these days.

Liz at a belle, a bean, & a chicago dog was involved in one at the Blissdom conference. She didn’t tell a soul and she rocked it.

They had one in my own little town just a week ago, right in the middle of downtown.

I’ve been thinking that I would love to be in a Flash Mob.

Then I realized that I actually have been…

Hot Flash Mob

Participants: Group of 8 middle-aged women attending their twice-monthly meeting at work.

Setting: Small conference room; oval shaped conference table surrounded with 8 chairs that recline slightly.

Scene: A nice spring day, temperatures in the low 70’s, after lunchtime.

Scene opens in the conference room as three of the participants enter with their work files and large soft drinks from various convenience stores or fast-food joints.

One by one they enter and talk amongst themselves, until the Boss Lady enters and sits at the head of the table. Everyone chooses a seat and gets their files out of their tote bags.

Agendas are passed around and the meeting begins.

First participant appears to be listening to Boss Lady, but suddenly begins to fan herself with agenda.

Others pretend not to notice, until second participant fans herself with her hand, then takes a huge gulp from her soft drink. After she finishes the drink, she holds the cold plastic cup up to her cheek and sighs.

Boss Lady picks up agenda and fans herself briefly, then continues.

Second participant continues to hold plastic cup to her cheek while first participant fans herself with agenda.

Third participant, who was previously texting during the meeting, jumps up and interrupts Boss Lady, asking is it hot in here?

Fourth participant then grabs portable fan from Boss Lady’s office down the hall and places it at the end of the room. When the fan is turned on, a collective sigh is heard in the room. Several participants lean back in their chairs and close their eyes.

After a few more minutes of enjoying the fan breeze, fifth participant states that it’s still too hot and gets up to open the window.

Window won’t open easily, so participant one and three also jump up to help. Participants two and four start fanning themselves with agendas again. Boss Lady removes her cardigan sweater.

 Participants six, seven, and eight (who previously appeared fine with the temperature) begin to show signs of discomfort. These include rolling up sleeves, removing shoes, and more fanning with the agenda.

The peak of the Hot Flash Mob ensues, and all participants are either fanning themselves, standing near the open window, sticking their heads in front of the fan, or pressing their cold drinks to their faces.

One by one, the participants begin to feel comfortable again, almost as quickly as they were overcome with heat.

Meeting adjourns, drinks are emptied, agendas tucked away.

Until next time…

*According to Wikipedia, a Flash Mob is defined as “a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment and/or satire.”

And Then She Was Mom

Seventeen years ago I had no idea my life was about to change.

Obviously I knew I was pregnant. Thirty-eight extra pounds don’t just hide themselves under Spanx and layers of cute tops.

But through the whole being pregnant period I always just focused on the baby. The baby was it for me.

I collected cute little blankets knit by aunts and assorted stray neighbors; onesies in yellow and mint green (unisex colors of the 90’s); bottles, nipples, binkies, and rattles.

I handmade bright primary-colored crib bedding and curtains in my spare time.

Yes, I had spare time.

The nursery was ready with teddy bears, a musical mobile, tons of books, more toys than a daycare center, a baby monitor, fingernail scissors, and a Diaper Genie.

We took labor classes, learned to change a diaper, practiced the Heimlich maneuver for babies, read about c-sections, and bought an infant car seat.

We were ready for this kid.

There was only one thing I was afraid of.

Delivering this baby on a weekday.

Which was when I was due. Wednesday, June 1.

See, I worked as a Financial Analyst at the hospital I was going to deliver at. I worked very closely with the Department Chiefs in all departments.

Including Labor & Delivery. And Anesthesia.

I was terrified these people whose budgets I’d hacked and paychecks I’d authorized would suddenly have me in an awkward position in stirrups or with a needle pointed at my spine. Chiefs rarely had to be on-call on a  weekend.

It was enough to make me wish for an emergency airlift to a neighboring city.

Even so, on Friday May 27th when we went out with my in-laws for pizza I cringed when hubs said, “I think we should have the baby this weekend!”.

Now?

We?

And darn if my water didn’t break that night around 11pm.

Nothing has been the same ever since.

Because it’s not really all about the baby when you become a mom for the first time.

It’s about that intense connection you just can’t have with another human being.

That feeling that your soul is attached permanently to this little person; that you love your child so intensely that you would throw yourself in front of a bus to protect him.

Or maybe just in front of a crazy middle-school kid on a scooter.

When wiping snotty noses, changing countless diapers, washing spit-up stained clothing, nursing cracked nipples, and staying up all hours of the night become as second-nature as balancing the checkbook or buying groceries.

It’s about giving up the inner portions of your heart to little people who can’t yet speak, walk, or take care of themselves.

And it’s awesome.

Happy Birthday to my son…the one who pulled me headfirst into motherhood seventeen years ago.

And I’ve never looked back.