Friday Night

John and I hitched up the bike trailer last night and rode off into the sunset for a family dinner at the local taco joint. The girls were huddled together inside their little trailer cocoon, giggling hysterically. My, my, how our Friday nights have changed.
We grinned at each other in spite of the change in circumstances. It was Friday, the beginning of a whole new weekend. A weekend together with our daughters. The sunset looks brighter, the wind tastes cleaner, the stars twinkle more on Fridays.
And the simple act of riding bikes to dinner was the perfect start to a perfect Friday.


The Race to Greatness in 30 Years or Less

I read an article in last month's "Inc." magazine exploiting the successes of numerous now-wealthy individuals under the age of 30. It was called "Cool, Determined, Under 30". There was a picture of the inventor of Etsy.com, Rob Kalin, looking smug and childlike in his 27 years of age. And laughing alongside him was Una Kim, a thick sun-kissed 29 year old with jet black hair and a skate shoe company marketed towards women called "Keep" that's reaching 2.5 million in sales this year. The cocksure and suavely dressed Brendan Ciecko, a string bean of a 20 year old, who's creating websites for everyone you can imagine (Mick Jagger, Sony BMG, Universal). And then, there is Sumi Krishnan, CEO of an 80 employee company named K4, a federal contractor specializing in IT work (that's federal as in the government, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and FireArms). SHE has a sultry looking picture in the upper right hand corner of the article's last page. And she shared a quote, a shuddering combination of words that commanded a serious amount of thought on my part, where she said, "My father always says, 'If you don't accomplish something great by the time you're 30, you're never going to accomplish something great.'"
The most depressing statement ever made, I thought, as I sat in my 32 year old body with this magazine in my hands. Something great by 30...guess it's too late for me. If they wrote an article about my life's accomplishments before 30, gosh, it would have to be a short one.
And quite honestly, this quote stuck with me for weeks since reading that magazine. I analyzed "what could have been" and where I went wrong, maybe I should have majored in Business. Maybe I should have pursued my other passions, taken the road less traveled along the way. I got a teaching credential and a degree in English, woohoo. I didn't foray into the budding technology world in college, I didn't follow my talents in music, I fell in love, I took the safe route and got a career job in education, I got pregnant.
And then it hit me. I DID something GREAT, I did something FANTASTIC, I did something MIRACULOUS by the time I was thirty and I did it TWICE!!!!
I gave birth to two beautiful baby girls. Who are nothing short of perfect. I don't have 80 employees, I have 2 daughters, and my gross salary for 2009 is far below projected expectations and I am just fine with that. Because I have done something that gains exponential returns in love, life and the eternal pursuit of happiness in this world, I became a mother.


The Tiny Space

It was a tiny space between the bed and the bookshelf in the kids' room. It was a space I never considered to be dangerous. Ana could get on and off her sister's "Big Girl Bed" independently. And recently, she had taken a liking to spending her cooling down period (before her nap) lying on top of Sissy's bed, looking through her books and practicing the balance of her head on a pillow.
"Auugh" I heard her offer up from behind the closed door.
"She must be nearly ready to fall asleep," I thought, as I scrubbed the kitchen counters,"I'll be sure to check on her in a few minutes."
"Auugh, ughh, auughhck!" Ana shrieked from the bedroom.
Abandoning my sponge, I trotted toward the room to see what was the matter.
And there she was, wedged in that tiny space between the bed and the bookshelf, perfectly suspended in mid-air by her little tummy squeezed between two pieces of furniture.


The Case of The Sock Monster and The Missing Turtle

My last trip to the dentist began with a carsick toddler reading too much Madeline At The Zoo and decorating the back half of my car in regurgitated breakfast. I can't recall too much of the actual appointment beside the fact that I arrived after a bout of roadside crying and I was very late.
This time I was determined to be on time, despite the cards stacked against me: #1. Daylight Savings Time makes it impossible to wake up early enough to get out the door in time for an 8:30 appointment. #2. Shelby had to be at preschool BEFORE I had to be at the dentist. #3. Shelby had to be at preschool BEFORE I had to be at the dentist...lunch, share, socks, shoes.
Miraculously, we were in the final phases of departure (and nearly on time) when Shelby met THE SOCK MONSTER. If you're not familiar with THE SOCK MONSTER, he's the one who comes along right when you think you've gained control on your morning routine and he hides matching socks, twists them into uncomfortable positions on your feet and essentially F&%$s with your toddler's sock comfort until she freaks out. On this particular morning, Shelby had successfully circumvented THE SOCK MONSTER as she arrived in our living room with her new silver shoes and two striped socks, one pink, one blue. That'll teach him, kiddo. Go get 'em tiger.
With one sock already on, I stepped in to speed things along and began sliding her second sock onto her foot. The first one was all twisted. "IT'S ALL TWISTED Ggggggrrrrr UPPPPPP!! AUUGGHHHH!!! MOMMMYY IT'S ALL WRONG!! AUuuugghhhhh!"
(Damn that SOCK MONSTER) And then, I realized I'd been sabotaged. "MOMMY, LET ME DO IT MYSELF!!!" And she ripped both socks off, waved her wild hair out of her reddened face, and began again with intense determination.
I couldn't watch. So I swept up the last items for the day, grabbed the baby and made my first trip out to the car. I knew that if we left RIGHT NOW, I could still make it five minutes late to the dentist with some sanity left. When I returned to the house, I heard the screaming before I could see her. "Shelby, can we do this in the car?"
A few minutes of coaxing and I had both girls strapped into their carseats, one eye on the clock and the keys in my hand (a miracle). "MOMMY! I forgot my share!!!!" yelled Shelby. Now, any preschool parent knows that a child's share is the epitome of all happiness. I knew too well that leaving here without her share was more torture than anything the dentist could offer.
"Okay," I said, jumping out of the car and striking a track start pose, "Where is it? I'll go get it." Because we know that unbuckling her would merit another hour of waiting. "It's in the house! It's my turtle!" Oh, yeah, that turtle.
Shelby had spent the better half of the morning showing me the different phases of her make believe turtle cage. Which, when complete was a plastic salad dressing container from last night's pizza, where her make believe turtle-a polished white rock-swam in a Tablespoon of water with a piece of floating dental floss inside. A perfect share, if I don't say so myself.
But for all the sprinting, pacing, and searching I did around the house, I could not for the life of me find that G$* D&%$ed turtle!!
Flustered and extremely late, I hardened my own shell and raced back to the car, "I can't find it anywhere, sweatheart," I offered as I turned the key in the ignition, "I'm really sorry." And I shoved her entire Hello Kitty Make Up bag onto her lap, "Maybe you can find something in here to share." Knowing full well this was a shoddy substitution, I wasn't surprised when the wailing began from the back seat. I gritted my teeth and eyed the clock, 8:29. Perfect.
I left Shelby in the arms of her teacher, wailing and share-less. She refused all substitutions. Boy, this was the perfect start to a perfect day. Only 20 minutes late to the dentist, two cavities and a guilt laden heart for sending my preschooler to school without her share. Where the hell did that turtle go?