Friday, February 6, 2009

Sometimes, You've Just Got to Lighten Up

I love William Shatner. He and Alec Baldwin are the two people on this earth who could literally read a chinese take out menu and have me in stiches. The thing that's great about them both is their uncanny ability to make fun of themselves. But they weren't always this way.

Shatner, in particular, used to take himself seriously. VERY seriously. So much so that he became a caricature of himself. If you haven't seen his 1978 "performance" of Elton John's Rocketman, you are in for a treat. Now, you can challenge me on the fact that his "interpretation" of the song was tongue in cheek - that he wasn't serious - but I will go to my grave saying otherwise. Just see :20 and 2:09.

Too many times in my parenting life, I ,like Shatner, have taken myself far too seriously. I have allowed small things to irritate me and big things to go unsaid because of pride. The older I get, the more I'm able to relax a little and see myself "from outer space" - from a different perspective, as it were.

The truth is, my kids don't need me to be so uptight and serious. In fact, they need me to be less so. Before you "yes, but" my point, let me be clear. I'm not talking about relaxing my rules or loosening the structure in my home. I'm talking about HOW I maintain those things. More often than not, a small dose of humor can go a lot further than a big dose of Rocketman with my kids. It allows me to stay connected to them even when they break a rule or get under my skin. It allows me to realize that they are not the only ones who can make mistakes or get annoying. And keeping my sense of humor allows me to be along side with them as I teach them right from wrong.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Sauce that Binds

So, Hannah is now 12 and is officially hormonal. There are moments in the day when she is kind and sweet and there are other moments when she is .... um ..... not. I wanted to spend some time alone with her, so I pried her off of the computer and took her to Costco with me.

Ok, I'll admit, it's a lame mother daughter outing. But we can't all do mani/pedi's on a weekly basis, this would have to do. She was in a pissy mood to begin with, but I wasn't going to let that deter me from being with her. So, with our list out and gi-normous shopping cart in hand, we ventured into the chasm of Costco.

I am always amazed at what one can find at these kinds of stores. Pork loins the size of Volkswagons and barrels of caramel corn that you could hide a small child inside lurk around every corner. I had hoped that some of this might snap Hannah out of her huff and back into her old pleasant self, but nothing seemed to be working. I had just about given up when we turned the corner.

We were snipping at each other over something small, despite my best efforts at remaining ScreamFree. I wasn't paying very much attention to where I was going and our cart was veering to the right ever so slightly as I pushed it. Suddenly, our cart slammed into a disply at the end of our aisle. It made an enormous crash and the whole, huge stack of boxes started to sway. It happened in slow motion and as we sat back in anticipation of a crash, we both simultaneously noticed what we had hit.

It was a 10 foot tall stack of boxes plastered with this guy's face on it. Thankfully, the tower of teriyaki did not tumble, but we got plenty of looks anyway as we both fell to the floor laughing.
The ice between us was broken by our friend Mr. Yoshida and to commemorate the event, I bought a gallon of marinade. Now, whenever something small (i.e. hormonal meltdowns) gets in the way of us having fun, I just might whip up a batch of stir fry and lighten up a bit.