Friday, June 27, 2008

I've Got a Teen On My Hands

Daughter graduated from preschool last Friday. She went to the same school Son went to so I couldn't help but compare. He was and still is one of the friendliest kids around but he was shy that day. His teacher had to hug him while they sang. He looked nervous in front of the people. And shy. But he made it through.

This time there were considerably more family and friends in attendance. But Daughter walked out with her class singing her little heart out. We ALL knew the words. She had been singing them daily since Christmas or so. Just like Son, I was on the verge of tears the moment I saw her. Don't ask me why. Don't know. It only lasts as long as it takes for them to all come marching in. But weepy I was and trying to control it so I can see her clearly. Two years at this school and it was time to say goodbye - again. "That's it, right," one teacher asked. "Last one?" Mr. T and I just laughed. "Don't know yet. Don't know."

The kids went through the alphabet phonetically. They sang more songs. Soon, they called her name and she walked up and got her pretend diploma. She's just so confident. Must be nice to have that confidence at the age of 4.

As a treat for her and Son who's report card was the equivalent of all A's, we went to Hershey Park.

Mr. T. and I had last been there back in 1994 or maybe 1995 when a friend of mine was graduating medical school. So the kids had not been at all and we didn't tell them they were going. We said nothing at all the whole ride until Son, who had been buried in his DS and missed the "Welcome to Hershey" sign, looked up and saw the street sign pointing right to Chocolate Ave. "We're going to Hershey Park," he said matter of factly. And then you could hear him start to smile and get excited. Daughter is still a clueless when it comes to theme parks and recognizing them by name but she got into the swing of things easily. All she wanted was to stay in a hotel and eat in a restaurant.

We stayed for the weekend and did Chocolate World the first night and the park the next day. The park was immaculate. Daughter wanted to ride everything and would have been on the coasters next to her daddy if she were at least a Twizzler size. But alas, she's only a Reese's right now and Son is a Hershey. Too short for the mega coasters. But Mr. T. has a budding roller coaster companion in her and thank God because it's not my thing to go loop-de-loop and I don't think it will be Son's either. He didn't even want to get on the big swing that went REALLY fast but made Daughter laugh.

She's a teen-ager, I tell you. I came home last night and she wanted me to polish her toenails. She had asked in the past and I'd do one toe and she'd mess it up moving around. "I can keep still," she promised. And she plops her foot on my lap to beautify her toes. We make it through so I do the other foot and blow on them. I turn her to sit on my lap. "Why do you have to hold me?"

"Because I don't want you moving around and putting nail polish on my new furniture."


So she sits, and wiggles her feet, propping them on my propped up legs so she can compare our toes. She talks about everything and nothing, telling me she's almost 5 now and she can sit still long enough so her toes dry. All I can think is how could I have ever said I didn't want a girl? She's the perfect mix of brave boy for her dad and girly girl for me. When it seems all is safe, she moves around to test her new toes. "See? I didn't mess them up! Can you do my fingers now?" Why not. She can handle anything.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sweet Summer!

Where did the Spring go? It was in and out, haunted by Fall temperatures and Summer sun but it never really had its chance to shine. Still, it was as much my chance to bloom as the rest of nature.

I wrapped up my incubator and I joined the business network I've been looking to join. If you have a business in any stage or if you just want to make some personal changes in your life, I really think Ladies Who Launch is an excellent resource for all that and more. The incubator was so inspiring and motivational and even though I am a self-motivator, it propelled me even more to do things I might have been dragging my feet to do. So I'm content in the possibilities and focusing one huge thing for next year but we have to see if we'll even get the chance to do it. In the meanwhile, my local paper interviewed us after I sent them a press release on a teen sales program we are launching. A few buyers have asked to see samples and my plan is to hound them until I get an answer one way or another. More samples are going out to trade publications and blogs and I'm hoping for the best. I've reconnected with my sorority and even though they are too far for me to go to monthly meetings, it's good just to expand my network in that direction. It's one of my avenues for giving back and my chance to help some younger people make their own marks in the world. It's good.

Today I force myself to step back from it all. Well, OK, I do have to mail a few things and I do need to make one phone call to get some clarity on the show we hope to do next year but after that - or maybe I'll be doing all this en route - is Daughter's preschool graduation. Time to watch her shine now and I know she will be smiling and singing her heart out. It's just her way. My little leader. Of course, she then has to turn around and go back to the school for the month of July until it's time to go see the grands but she knows the next step is going to her brother's school and getting on that school bus. My children and my business are growing up. Yay.

Oh, and so is my brother. My niechew has officially become a nephew and in 5 more months he's here. I wonder if I can sneak down there for the weekend when he gets here. I'm sure I'll figure something out so I can hold that baby while he's brand new. I LOVE brand new. But no, not ready for my own yet.

Now it's off to finish breakfast. We are taking the kids to Hershey Park for the weekend and they don't know it and there is still much to do. Catch you all later.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Brotherly Love

My partner and I had a town event to attend yesterday. We were vending and this was our first major vending event in that 20,000 to 40,000 people attend regularly. We had to be there by 7 a.m. to register and had until 10 to set up. But of course with her daughter and my 2 children, it took a little longer just to get there. Mr. T wouldn't be available for a while so the kids were tagging along with me and I'm used to traveling in a group anyway.

It was supposed to get over 90 degrees yesterday, which mattered because this was an outdoor affair. Still, the morning felt pretty good. It was just hectic. Very hectic, and trying to set up with our 3 kids running about or bugging us to get cotton candy didn't help. The event was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and it took us all the way to the last minute to do everything. Son's cub scout troop was supposed to sell lemonade there and I had hoped he could go do that for awhile but I knew Mr. T had to be there.

It grew hotter. A co-worker stopped by to help me and when she saw the kids were distracting us from dealing with potential customers, she graciously offered to take them around to the kiddie rides up the street. They had fun with her and before long Mr. T arrived with food for them, ready to go sell lemonade.

Peace was ours once again. We talked to people, sold a couple of puzzles and found out that the vendors who had done this event many years prior said this was in fact the worst they had ever done. It had to be OUR year that was the bad one, eh? Oh well, at least it wasn't us. My partner's cousin and niece came by to sit with us. We all talked, time went by and we wondered how the scouts were making out. It was only a couple of hours before the end of the day and we were close to the finish line.

Daughter appeared first. "Mommy, I was in the ambulance and I was eating ice cream," she said excitedly.

"Excuse me? Ambulance? What? Where's your daddy?"

Son followed, tears streaming down his face, crying one of his loudest cries. Oh Lord. Now what? Mr. T was close behind. Son came to me crying, hysterical, and I couldn't uderstand but I couldn't let him do this in a place of business either. I motioned to the chair at the table behind me and told him to sit and calm down. Mr T told me about games they were playing at the booth and letting Son and Daughter play in some bouncy thing when Son came back without Daughter.

"I went the wrong way," she said.

"I'm confused," I told them. "What happened? Why was she in an ambulance? Why is he crying?"

My partner was talking to Son trying to get him to calm down as well. She knew as well as I did his penchant for the dramatic but Lassie could get a story across better than my son when he's in hysteria mode. The woman in the booth beside me pulled back the fabric that had been hanging between us.

"Do you know that little boy," she asked. She thought he was lost. I guess she hadn't been paying much attention for the hours and hours he and Daughter and Bizzy Girl's daughter had been running around playing. "He's mine," I responded with a smile mixed with appreciation for her seeming caring question and annoyance by what also seemed to her slight aggravation at the noise.

"You know," Bizzy Girl told Son. "If you keep this up you're going to have to pay money."

"Money," Son asked between gasps of air.

"Yep. People are working here and you will drive away their customers with all that noise, so you'll have to pay for that." That seemed to help a bit.

"Son, you have to calm down. I don't understand you. So you sit and get yourself together and then tell me what happened."

Mr. T had tried to explain what he knew, which didn't seem to be any more than the kids did. He was busy helping the scouts with their game booth. One minute the kids were playing behind him, the next Son came back alone. Some girl had found Daughter and took her to the ambulance workers. I still don't know how someone knew to come to him and tell him where she was but thank God someone did. Mr T went to her and found her happily eating ice cream in the ambulance.
When Son had finally gotten quiet, I asked him again. "So what happened?"

"We were playing in the bouncy thing and Daughter left. I tried to tell her to come back but she wouldn't listen to me." That's not surprising. "I went after her but I couldn't find her." The tears started to flow again and his mouth went back into his loud cry. Oh how that cry bugs the heck out of me. He just sits there with his mouth hanging open making all the noise in the world - waaaaaa! - and I want to just disappear. "Don't start this, Son. I can't understand you. She's here. She's fine. Why are you still crying?"

"I tried to find her but I fell," he cried loudly. He had fallen trying to get back to Mr. T.

"But. She's. Here," I repeated, trying to be patient. "She's OK. What's wrong now?"

He cried and looked at me as if he didn't want to say what he really thought. But then he did. "If she's gone, I'll have no one to play with," he sniffed and geared up for a louder cry. "...and my life will be empty! Waaaa!" He yelled louder, letting the tears and his runny nose soak his shirt. Yes, my friends, this is EXACTLY what he said. He'd have no one to play with and his life would be empty. You know those cartoon with crying babies that hold their faces up to the sky, mouths gaping and tears spraying out like they were shooting from sprinklers? That was the scene, my friends. I had to turn away and deal with my muddle of laughter and anger. Son really knows how to take something to its most extreme point but what I am supposed to do with that I have yet to figure out.

Eventually normalcy returned and I brought Son next to me. "Look. I understand you were scared. Daughter doesn't listen to anyone. We know that. That's not your fault. You didn't know where she was and you got scared. Your mind went to the worst place you could imagine and you are having a hard time coming back from that. OK. But she was safe. Daddy found her. Everything is OK. You, on the other hand..." I sighed. "I'm at a loss, Son. You are dramatic. You always have been and I don't know what to do with it. Clearly you are my sensitive child and God made you that way for a really important reason but you have to learn some control. If something had been wrong with her, it would have been a whole 5 or 10 minutes before we could have done anything because when you get hysterical like this, no one can understand what you are saying and we can't do a thing but wait for you to calm down. We both have to learn what to do with this, Son. It has to change." I had to hug him. I didn't want him to think there was anything wrong with him feeling the way he did but it still annoyed the heck out of me.

"You know, Son. There one good thing about this. You now know how you'd feel if you didn't have your sister. Maybe it can teach you to treat her better, huh?" I know that was wishful thinking. Still, I have to appreciate a boy losing his little mind because he thought he had lost his little sister. As much as they scream at each other and hit each other and run to tattle on the other, I know my son and daughter love each other with the deepest love they know how to show. Daughter is a fighter and she can yell you down if you try to hurt her brother. Son is a lover and he'll hug her and hold on to her as long as she'll let him. Somehow I have to teach Daughter to not be so darn stubborn and Son to not be so sooooo sensitive. And I think I'm supposed to keep my sanity in the meanwhile.

God help me.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Don't Stop Now!

I am taking a brief moment from my crazed life to say:


Now, to the regularly registered Democrats and to the usually Independents (like me) who jumped back on the Democratic team to help pull the load, I want to say "UNITED WE STAND."

If Hillary was your woman, I understand. She put up a fight that I don't think I've seen since her hubby ran for president back when I was finally able to vote for the first time. She was valiant. She was strong. She continues to be a worthy opponent. But she is gone. Please. Please. Please. Democrats. Do not be bitter. Be better. No, she should NOT be his VP. I just don't see her there but to be perfectly frank, I think the country is trying to embrace the thought of a black man or woman as president as it is. Put them together and I honestly think it would be a losing battle. Give the man a chance with someone who can really help him win. This is politics. Don't be naive. Red tape and ole' boys continue to reign.

Don't go off and pout. Don't not vote or throw your lot in with McCain just "to show Barack." That is stupid. Shooting yourself in the foot. Cutting off your nose to spite your face. (Insert your own cliche here.) Please be mature and please think of the common good. We need change and we all know that. He can't do much worse than the GOP has, can he? Well, just give him a chance to prove you or me wrong.

Show the Republicans that the Democrats can get the job done. Put the deserving man in office in November. (In case you missed the point, that would be Barack Obama.)

That is all.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Nothing will keep me from achieving everything I have been desiring these past few years. That's my feeling and my belief and I keep pushing on.

It's been a hectic month or so, my friends. I have literally been too busy to write and when quiet moments came - like today - I took the time to do nothing.

All the weddings are done. Brides are either on their honeymoon right now or just returned. I wish I could show you pictures but they aren't mine to share in this format. I can only say they were all beautiful and I'm happy for them that this moment in time, as wonderful as it is, is done and they can get on with the business of living their lives with their husbands. Weddings are great but it's the marriage that makes it all so worthwhile.

Son has crossed over in Cub Scouts from Wolf to Bear and he's still loving it so yay for him. His den leader was telling me how many Eagle Scouts she has had come from her group. She says she the toughest of them all but she has been nothing but accommodating and fun and simply a loving, determined person and Son is in wonderful hands with her. I'm happy for him to have a shot at something that could be so beneficial in his life. I won't push him to stay year after year but I do hope he chooses to - even if it does mean sitting on metal chairs from time to time unable to hear what people are saying in their microphones. He's happy. That's all I need to know.

Daughter has had to have 2 teeth pulled because one simply wouldn't budge and another one was coming up behind it and we all learned in Physics that two things cannot occupy the same place at the same time, right? So out they went and she's proud as she can be to be somewhat toothless. They say it's early. She's only 4 and teeth shouldn't be coming out until 5. But both my babies had 2 teeth by the time they were 5 months and were walking at 9 months. So for them, I suppose it's never too early for anything. The dentist warned Mr. T. that her teeth looked crowded and she, like Son, would need braces one day. One day at a time, sweet dentist.

Work has been nonstop but it's work and all I can say about it is I'm still glad to be there. It'll be 3 years this month and I know that is saying a lot. I was at my very first full-time job for 8 years and I loved it for at least 5 of those years so I do know what it is to be happy on the job. It's not my first time but it is my best time and I want to enjoy every moment of it while it lasts. I don't want to work for anyone else after them so I look at this place and this time like I'm on a boat crossing to some foreign land where I intend to make a new life. I can't see the shore yet but it's coming and I expect great things.

My business incubator group has been wonderful. The visions these ladies have for my business and my's great. It's scary but it's great and it's about time. We have a major vending event to do on Saturday where thousands of people are expected to attend. I would love to sell out of everything we have but even more, I'd love to get some orders for custom work and make the kind of money we need to make our website the spectacular place I envision it to be. I don't know what else is going to happen this year but I've been networking like mad and right now I am waiting to find out if we have the biggest job yet coming our way soon. It would give us an opportunity to do the very thing we wanted to do 10 years ago when the idea first blossomed. It could do a lot. Change a lot. We'll see.

And the book? A woman worth millions has agreed to be a part of it. Another one has had her assistant call me so I can tell him about it to share with her. Maybe she'll jump on board. A magazine publisher has passed on the word to some other people who might be good for this and a couple of them are waiting to talk to me about it. In the midst of all this, I have to do a book proposal. Hopefully it will net me an agent to help me keep everything on track but even if it doesn't right now, I've got the help of so many people right now that the agent and/or publisher is only a matter of patience.

And now I need to go do some homework for my incubator group. I don't mind going to work tomorrow but I wish I could freeze time just enough to give me time to think about each thing I am doing and to make some progress on it. Another hectic week, month, summer is ahead. The literacy camp is coming up at the end of this month and those meetings will be starting soon. Then once again I'll be buried in Son's projects.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, as usual. I think right now I'll go look at my sleeping children and remind myself why I am doing what I am doing - to give them an example of persistance; to make the kind of money I need to do the things I want to do for them and all of us now and in the future; to give them a mother who is content with all aspects of her life, even in the midst of changing some of those aspects; to be able to be available for any of them - and for me - at any time. It's so much closer now. I just hope I can handle it when it gets here.