Day 14, 2013

This blog is the official end of the Summer Blog for 2013. Thanks for all of the kind words and support the last two weeks. I will blog when I can and continue to reprint my columns from the newspaper.Back in May when the promise of summer made me delusional about my goals and expectations, I decided that it was going to be “The Summer of Mac’s Learning.” In essence, Mac had secured employment and I thought it was time for him to learn some life skills to go along with it. I was eager and determined, Mac was begrudgingly compliant and slightly embarrassed for me and my unbridled enthusiasm. What did he know? He couldn’t even load the dishwasher, well not yet anyway.
So, I set about teaching him some basics. He learned how to make the perfect smoothie, write a check, reheat left-overs, deposit his paycheck, load the dishwasher and more. I think the smoothie was the only exercise that he saw any value in, but he went along with the entire plan nonetheless.What I did not expect was to learn a few things myself along the way…
I learned that Mac is a saver like Mark and not a spender like me. Thank God! We offered him $20 cash for every paycheck that he put in the bank without withdrawing any money. And he did it without question. I never would have done that. In my teenage years, paychecks from “The Great Cookie” in the mall and High’s in Rehoboth went straight to cash and then disappeared like there was a hole in my pocket. I didn’t have any idea that my bank account came with deposit slips until years later. 
I learned that my kids will complain less about what I am serving for dinner if I serve it to them at the pool. Every time Mac went to work, the other two boys went with him. Because Mac was most often scheduled on the 3-9 shift, I would prepare and pack up dinner and deliver it. And because the pool is only a few blocks away, it was still hot when I got there. I brought meals like spaghetti and meat balls, steak fajitas and shrimp fried rice. No one ever said a word except thank you. If we had been at home, it would have been too hot, cold, spicy, gross or any other negative adjective you care to insert here. But when you drop it and run, they have no choice but to eat it or starve until they return home at 9:15.
I learned that while your kids are at the pool for hours on end, there is a lot of reality television to be enjoyed. For instance, Naked and Afraid is a show that deserves at least a passing glance from everyone. It is pure genius. Imagine the perennial favorite, Survivor, with Hugh Hefner as the creator instead. Except no one looks like a Playboy Bunny or a model or even, well, attractive. Like the Seinfeld episode that explained “good naked” and “bad naked.” This is all bad naked and an ineffective use of the blurred bar over sensitive areas of the contestants. It is hard to keep that bar steady and conceal anything when naked people are dodging crocodiles in the swamps, stabbing fish with spears in the water or worse yet, crouching to make a fire.
I learned that the remote is a weapon. If you really want to put a hurting on someone, grab the remote. It puts everyone, young and old, on the defensive. My kids just wave it around and threaten their brothers with it knowing full well it makes them crazy. Mark likes to just hold it and have possession of it. Sometimes he snoozes with the remote on this stomach and I have to creep over and remove it ever so slowly and turn off the Military Channel which is like a lullaby for me. He who has the remote holds all the power.
And most importantly, I learned that it is all fleeting. This summer melted into all the summers before it and school came all too quickly. Somewhere in my sleep deprived years between 1998 and 2003, people would wistfully say, “Enjoy them when they are little, it goes so fast.” I wanted to throw all three babies at them and say, here you go, really, you enjoy them for a while. Is it even possible to enjoy three boys under the age of five in the same house?
Now I look at all three of them, so alike and so different all at once. I see myself in each of them but muted, like the colors in an abstract painting. Each time you look at the painting the light will hit it at a different angle or your perspective will change and you will see something in it that you have never noticed before. The beauty is always there, just evident in a different way.
Time and patience have a way of transforming a blank canvas into a masterpiece and each passing day adds another brushstroke to what will ultimately be my finest work.  In the meantime, I have learned to appreciate the work in progress even if it is not what I envisioned at the onset.

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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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