Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My boys...

So, I thought I might share some insight about when my boys were young.  We had a lot of fun together.  Their childhood was unique, of course, just as everyone's is.  Let me share a glimpse of what ours was like when they were my little men...

It's about 1998 and Mike had a traveling job.  His office was on the outskirts of Washington, DC and he would fly out of Albany early Monday mornings and fly back late Thursday nights.  The boys were young, probably six and three when it began but they got acclimated to it pretty quickly. Mike would pack his luggage on Sunday nights and we basically sat on the bed chatting while he routinely loaded up his bag.

It took a little getting used to on my part; I would get pretty agitated on a regular basis.  I always assumed Mike was having a fabulous time eating out and leisurely watching TV in his hotel room as I frantically made dinner, took the dogs out, did laundry, gave baths, stuffed Jeremy's back pack for school and read bedtime stories.  I would typically get myself worked up pretty good - and be horrifically mad at poor Mike by the time his plane came in on Thursday nights.  I imagine he dreaded coming home to my wrath...  How unfortunate.

But that's not the story I'm telling here...

What I wanted to share was what we did from Monday morning till Thursday night.  We actually did have fun... in between my mood swings of annoyance at my life and the lot God saddled me with and the good time I thought Mike was having... (If only I could carry that small burden now!  It' nothing in the scheme of things - it doesn't even register on the scale).
To begin with, it seemed every Monday morning Jeremy started the day by asking me where his dad was.  I'd say, "He went to work".  Jeremy would say "Did he drive or did he fly?"  "He flew" I'd respond.  That was usually followed by a scowl from him - but it didn't last long, we'd get on to breakfast and making the bus in time for school.  Jeremy just needed that minute to process what was going on in his world.  Once he digested it he was fine.  What else did he know?  This was his norm.  He probably thought every dad flew away for a few days.

Chris had no idea, of course.  He was merely three.  All he needed was a TV show and a snack.  Life was good from his perspective.  I envied that.  I envied both boys worlds - to be carefree and have someone do all the work!  Oh wow, if life was only that simple.

I keep wandering off the vision though.

This isn't really a story, so to speak, just a tidbit of what a week was like when the kids were small.  I have no moral to the story or advice to share.  Just showing you what we did as opposed to what you do - or did when you were young.
So, what did go on in our house?  Usually something like this... Jeremy would get on the bus for a half day of Kindergarten right out in the front of our driveway.  Once I had one out from underfoot I might take the chance of running an errand or two with Christopher.  That was an enormous challenge.  He was a holy terror in the store.  Not that he was a crier or a fit thrower, he wasn't but he was fast as lightening and would be gone in a flash.  He would not sit in the grocery cart, could wiggle out of the wimpy seatbelt provided and took everything off the lower shelves.  He was more work than I could handle.  He would make me sweat and I worried people thought I was a bad mother and couldn't control my child. How was I supposed to suppress that personality??? I preferred to go without than to take him shopping.  I did the bulk of my weekday shopping at Stewart's or Cumberland Farms gas station and I did all the wrong things by leaving him in the car and running in as fast as I could!  It was just so much work to unbuckle him and take him inside.  He was so inquisitive, I couldn’t trust him for two minutes.   I would hurry into the convenience store and glare out the window constantly.  The cashier probably thought I was a lunatic.  I would lock him in the car and run thru the store grabbing more than I even needed - just so I wouldn't have to travel out again too soon.  Jeepers creepers!  
By the time Jeremy got off the bus I had Chris down for what I hoped would be a nap, wishful thinking.  Chris did NOT nap... he barely slept at night for God's sake.  He definitely didn't want to nap.  He must have feared he'd miss something?  I know I was exhausted though, daily.  Even Jeremy would crash on the couch after school for a bit.  We all needed a rest,  Chris not so much.  We would plop down but Chris would still motor around using my "Tony Little gazelle" (unmotorized treadmill type thing - go ahead and google it) or bring us his Legos or puzzles to work on.  Jeremy and I just wanted quiet!  We rarely won.
By evening, after a cold dinner for me most nights, we'd venture to that "oh so relaxing" bath time... That time when the body starts to shut down and realize sleep is on the way... Jeremy and I were usually ready for it.  Chris had his own agenda.  His body clock ticked to a different time.  He didn't decompress as quickly as we did.

I remember that I used to let only one of the boys sleep on Mike's side of the bed at night. They would compete for the spot.  I had tried allowing them both in there at one point but the arguing and poking at each other drew me to stop.  Nobody got any rest and each of them wanted to be in the middle.  One was always cold or hanging off the edge of the bed. 
It was too much!  This nice gesture went haywire on me.  I can't recall exactly how I picked who got to sleep over but Jeremy tells me he thinks I used to have them pick a number and that I rigged it so he would win more often.  Ha hah!  Seems to make the tiniest bit of sense to me though because Christopher's room was much closer to mine and he was only steps away.  Jeremy was clear down the hall and around a corner.  I suppose I could see why I would want them both as close as possible.  On top of that, Jeremy was three years older and more likely to manipulate the game in his favor.  Can't blame him there!  Chris never seemed to mind too much.  He always talked to us from across the hall to see what we were up to... Like we were up to anything but sleep!  He exhausted us.
One of the funnier things I do remember about Thursdays was that it was "dad's coming home day"... We spent from Monday thru Thursday doing whatever our normal week was but on Thursday's when we finished dinner the three of us ran around the house like wild turkeys picking up our mess.  I had a round, blue laundry basket that I would hold and I would call out "trick or treat!" and the kids would race around and find something to toss in it.  It was typically a bunch of scattered toys or used socks, anything that didn't belong where it was.  We desperately tried to pick up and make the house presentable for dad. Why?  I have no idea other than I guess we figured he had a long week and didn't need to see our mess.  He probably couldn’t have cared any less.

So, that's just one little glimmer of our younger years.  We had our challenges but we also had a ton of fun.  I'll share some more sometime.  I hope it makes you stop and think about what you used to do.  I know it's different than what we did, but it's fun to recall regardless.  I hope you got a smile out of this one.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Dear Gina,
    I can't tell you how much this story just meant to me, Thank You! That was a special gift delivered right on time. Always In My Thoughts And Prayers, Love You, Eddie

  2. Good morning Regina. This post did make me smile and had me thinking of when my boys were little. We had crazy times too, but I loved it! My one son, is the same age as Chris, and he was just as busy. I remember he somehow was able to undo the child safety door knob and lock himself in his room. We had to take the door knob off to get him out! Well when we put the door knob back on, we had the lock on the outside and use to lock him in! He spent most nights sleeping on the floor behind the door! And there were marks all over the back of the door from where he banged it with his bottle!! I can't believe we locked him in! He grew up fine though. LOL. Hope you have a good day.

  3. Regina-Have to tell you made me laugh. My oldest daughter Stacia was the same way Did not sleep much. But shes now getting a glimpse of what she was like. Shes 32 now and has a 6 yr old girl and a 3 yr old son. Her husband Ix a pharmacist and some nights is not home at bed time. Their son Thomas fools around before going to sleep. Many nights there is s facebook post something like the bewitching hour or I hate bedtime or 60 minutes now. I just laugh. But last night a classic. Stacia thought he was sleeping so she ran downstairs called me ran back up stairs and hopped on her bed. All of a sudden we heard these little giggles. He wasn't asleep. He got into her bed and under covers and tricked her. Then he giggled his head off when she found him there. I could hear him laughing. Was so cute. Then he talked to me grammie and laughed some more. When those memories are being made we dont realize at the time how precious they are. Hope your new norm is getting a little easier. Try to have some good parts to your day today. I think of you off and on all day long. Remember we are here for you.

  4. Thanks for today's slice of life. Priceless as always. You have a great knack as a storyteller. I'm wondering if you have ever read the late Elizabeth Edward's first autobiography -- one one she wrote right after she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. I know things are different when they happen to people in the public eye, but she devotes a lot of the book to how she dealt with the death of her son Wade in a car accident when he was 16. I read her book years ago, but from what I can recall, you are lightyears ahead of her in terms of your emotional well-being so soon after the accident. As someone who has always been interested in the need to find commonality of experience in others, I'm curious as to whether you feel the need to reach out to others in similar situations. At the end of the day, I don't know how you do it...but you do. And we are all out here raising a glass to you.

  5. This one brought some interesting conversations between my husband and I. We went through a similar time in our lives (though the kids were older at the time). After 9 months out of work I was the one who had the "away" job - 4 days a week in a nice clean apartment in Boston while my husband ran the kids around, put dinner on the table, leaned on friends. And yes I would occasionally come home to a messy, dusty house. What was it like? Clean apartment, no toothpaste dribble, my own space to watch, listen, read and work to my heart's content... go our for a drink with a friend when I wished... I just wanted to share with you, from the other side, that all of this had it's upside but most days I went to bed with an incredible longing for home. My babies (now teens) needed me and more to the point I needed them. There were tears of missing them, of lonliness, of feeling trapped in my complicated conflicting worlds, of missed soccer games and track meets, of helping with homework over the internet instead of in person. My life is simpler now and I think none of us will ever take our time together for granted again.

    When I read through the lines of your blog I think you recognize the blessings of togetherness with your boys even through the most challenging times. This is the gift. It always is! God bless your family and may you steep in togetherness. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Regina!
    I am so happy for you and your family that you are able to recall and smile at the memories. Memory Lane is such a calming place. Bask in your memories! They certainly can put a perspective on life and love can't they?

    Your Chris is much like my daughter. She also was not a napper. So independent and full of life. I would imagine you would not change a thing. Sounds like his adrenaline was super charged from the first and undoubtedly allowed him to become the athlete he was:) I cannot help but see his shining eyes come through in every picture and I can tell he truly was a special person.

    God Bless you and yours!

  7. Good morning Regina. The "mental picture" you painted was pretty vivid. Looking back over the 23 years of parenting, there were some major struggles. I was a single parent for my childrens' younger years. I'll spare you the details, but with the negative came the positive. My children are 7 years apart. I juggled, worked 2 jobs, chose to give up my home to move in my with my mother for support, which actually was only a luxury to not have the rent all on my shoulders. At times it was a nightmare and I felt bad for my kids, but they seemed adjusted. I just wanted "a sense of normal for them, that I felt bad I couldn't provide" Boy was I clueless. They learn what they live and probably didn't think anything was out of the ordinary at the time. I shared the rent and expenses with my mother, but still did everything as if I lived alone. She and I both worked and had our own responsibilities so we were roommates. The chaos was still there and resentments started, so I moved yet again with a then 8 year old and 1 year old! Gosh, looking back from when my son was 2 until he was 8 we bounced around a lot, but we landed on both feet and got it right!!! In order to move out on my own with both kids, I worked 2 jobs. The normal 9 - 5'r and a computer job that allowed me to work from home. Those hours were typically 10PM - 2AM give or take a few minutes because I waited until after the kids were in bed (which was way too late because we needed our quality time) and they loved to be with me after work. I had quite the schedule, but I wouldn't change any of it. I still had many quality hours with them and I know they loved it, as did I.

    At that time, my son, an avid sports nut was in soccer and then baseball. Always a 3 season sports kid. My daughter didn't have a schedule because she was always in toe, either in her carrier; her stroller or on my hip going to sports events, bringing him to regligion or off shopping with me. I did everything with them, there was no choice. My favorite memory was that we made games out of doing laundry at the laundromat. I found a laundromat that was in a shopping plaza and when I put the laundry in the washer we would head over to the toy store or book store or picked up a few necessities at the Grand Union and wasted time until the laundry was done in the washer (I had it down to a science) and then I would put them in the cart with the clothes and wheel them over to the dryer and they would both help put the clothes in the dryer. Then it was off to the pizza place that had a climbing/matted/ball pit contraption in it. We would eat pizza and then they got to play. It was a crazy routine, but it sure made the chore of laundry fun. We would stay there until they were sick of playing and then off to the laundromat to fold and head home. Our days were insane, but happy. I had no one to be mad at. In the beginning, before my 2nd came, my time with my son was precious and he only went for small spells with his dad, but when things got busier when my daughter came, I found my routine. It wasn't easy, and I had a lot of guilt for my situation, but I read a book (The Purpose Driven Life) that gave me the ability to forgive myself for the way things were, and let go of that anger. My kids grew up happy, well adjusted and compassionate (well so far!!).

  8. My other fond memory (that I got a lot of flack for from many) was that my daughter, who was struggling with a situation I chose not to bring up, had trouble calming down and going to sleep. I understood her and knew she needed that extra mom time. For a few years actually, probably up until she was 6, we would sit in my big overstuffed brown chair and cuddle at night. She hated going into her room alone to fall asleep and if I went in there I would fall asleep and wake her when I left. It was a crazy time. So we got into the routine of sitting in the chair, reading books, talking or watching t.v. until she fell asleep. She needed that extra time. I would then carry her up to bed. A lot of people were opinionated about how I should just put her to bed and let her deal, but I believed she needed me more than anyone would every understand and I would do this with her until she was comfortable again... I will never regret that time with her and still believe I was right to do it.

    Your fond memories brought back many of mine, thank you for that. Thinking about you today and hoping you have more than an 80% good day...

    God bless

  9. Aunt Gina- I laughed the whole time I read today's blog. OMG. Christopher was nonstop...that's for sure. He was the fastest little tank I have ever seen. I still laugh about how I would have to chase him and I was pregnant with Alexandria and he would just laugh and say "c'mon Rita" and keep going. He also liked to hide...in cabinets... I'll never forget the first time I couldn't find him..then I remembered his "special" hiding spots. I actually think that is the only time he would take a nap, was if I "let" him hide long enough in the cabinet and he would doze off for a bit while I "searching" for him ...lol.. What a doll he was. I am honored to call him my cousin. He made me smile from the first day I met him. God bless our sweet Christopher, because I know he is not resting peacefully up above, and neither is anyone else, but they sure are smiling :) Love, Anita aka Rita

  10. MEMORIES ARE THE BEST.....It must be a BOY thing, cause my son Matthew was a holy hell terror throughout his younger years. I couldn't take my eyes off of him for a second, he would get in the fridge and dump all the juice on my brand new oriental rug. Hahaha... And his poor sister used to get the worst of it he would bring the whole brand new dozen of eggs into her pretty pink room and smash ALL the eggs....dump milk on her rug....sigh.. He is only 11 now soon to be 12 in May, GREAT BOY now ...thank the lord .. He had more energy than anyone in the house.. I remember being at my parents mind you there house is immaculate, and I was helping my mom put together a new cabinet for the kitchen and lil Matt got into there bathroom and decided he was gonna take the soft scrub with bleach and Dump it all over my parents BRAND NEW hunter green rugs just put in about two weeks prior....shaking my head as I remember this and share it with you....as I said in the beginning MEMORIES ARE THE BEST.... Thank you as always ,I look forward to many more great blogs from you... Hope your day is as fabulous as you are...

  11. Regina,

    I love the trip down memory lane. I often say I wish I could shrink them back down to just enjoy the time they were little again...it goes by way too quickly...it is not a cliche'

    I will share one of my fondest memories, when the kids were about 3,6 and 8( my husband and I are both teachers) we knew the next day was probably going to be a snow day. It was one of those nights where it was warm and the flakes were huge and relenless, there was no slowing down, the snow was accumilating easily an inch and hour...we woke the kids up at 10:30 put them in their snowsuits went out side and the 5 of us played for an hour in the snow...our neighbors came out and joined us it was a perfect night full moon and bright outside. Sure we took a chance that there would be work and school/daycare the next day but we didn't care it was time with the kids and we had a blast!!!Luckily, there was a snowday the next day so we got to sleep in and play in the snow again in the morning!

    It is the little moments in life that the heart takes a picture of for you to hold onto...

    God Bless and enjoy all your fond memories, I look forward to hearing more...

  12. Hi Regina ~ funny how the pace of the house changes when husbands are away. Mine travels a lot too and when my two girls were little we would play "Diner" for dinner which basically meant I'd make up a little menu with the EASIEST dinners known to man kind and they would "order". Fruit for an appetizer or perhaps a few pieces of cheese with crackers? Entrees of course included mac & cheese,omelets, or the special .... left overs! Anyhow, my youngest, now 13 asked me just last night if we could play again since Dad is out of town! Had to smile at that....I think we'll do it!
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Regina,

    Oh how I can relate! I too have a holy terror! My third son, Jeffrey! He didn't nap and he didn't require a great deal of sleep! Funny thing while he was always on the move, the few hours he did sleep he was so peaceful and is to this day! Still does not require much sleep though! We called him "Houdini"! He walked at 7 months; flung himself out of his crib at 9 months; at 9 months he could also undo the safety latches under the kitchen sink! He could open doors so we installed hook and eye spring latches on all of them! Still didn't stop him...he'd drag a chair to them so he could climb up to open them! I swear he has given me a run for my money since the day I got pregnant with him! He still gives us a run for our money.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. We love to share memories with our kids and there are so many great ones!

  14. Thank you for sharing your life and you boys life. This story made me laugh. I read it aloud to my kids. They laughed too. It was good to share this with them. My daughter goes to Shen. She is a junior. It made me feel good to read this and see her smile. Thank you and God bless.

  15. I cannot thank you enough for sharing. I truly LOVE reading you blog!!
    You and your family are in my prayers.

  16. I smiled the whole time reading this blog. None of my 3 boys (8, 5, 1) require much sleep. they wake up in the morning and it's game on until bedtime. Thankfully the 1 year old takes naps but they can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, I never know how much time I will get. My husband doesn't travel for work, but he is very busy and between teaching and coaching, he is in and out of the house all day and most nights. He doesn't get much down time and I appreciate all he does for us so I can stay home with the kids, but they wear me out!!! I just try to remind myself they are only young once and someday I will rest...in about 20 years.

  17. Hi Regina!
    We had "stay days" on Sundays because that was the day of the week that Pat didn't go into Little Anthony's. That was our day to go out and have fun together, or just hang out around the house, but always spending time as a family. Tyler was just goofing around on a Sunday - clapping and jumping in the kitchen chanting "stay day...stay day", and at 20 years of age with a broad frame like your Christoper, it was quite a spectacle!! =)
    Thinking of you.

  18. Regina
    Normally when I read your blog.. I think of my 3 daughters ...
    But today I thought of my 3 sisters ..
    I'm the oldest of 4 girls.. Like Mike..my dad traveled mon-thur pm ...
    I grew up in small town .. Herkimer .. When my dad was gone .. The weeks consisted of my mom making us the food we liked ...baking cookies. She would play with us all day and then when we went to bed she would stay up all night to get her chores done ! The crazy thing was my mom didn't get her license till I was 16... So all those years when my dad traveled mon-thur ... When we needed grocerys we would all ride our bikes to the store (my youngest sister was on my moms bike seat..) then we would shop and the guy who owned the store would bring us ..our bikes ..and our grocerys home ! Then in the winter she would pull us on a tabagon and the guy at store would drive us and tabagon home ! Only in Herkimer ! The worst part was if we missed the bus a taxi would have to bring us ! Embarrassing !
    Even though we missed my dad ... We loved being there with my mom..as I'm sure your boys did !
    I haven't thought about this in 40 years ... So thanks for writing your post and reminding me of these great memories of when I was little !
    God Bless you. We are all in your corner praying for you.