Friday, August 11, 2017

August and Feeling Nostalgic

It's August, and, as usual l when this month rolls around, I am feeling rather nostalgic. You see, my husband, my oldest daughter, and my youngest daughter all have birthdays early this month. Top that off with back to school season which means moving up grades, and, well, I get a little sentimental.

It starts with the hubby's birthday. Now, as we get older, at least around here, birthdays get a little less momentous, so there was not a big celebration as his birthday came and went this year. In fact, it was a rather ordinary day. That doesn't mean, though, that it didn't have significance. Celebrating my husband's birthday makes me grateful for two things: 1) That he will always be older than me, so he can never ever tease me about my age, and 2) All that we have been through together. When I first met him, I wasn't even 20 yet and we got married long before either of us was 30! I see people that age now and think, "Gosh! They're such babies!" (And, I mean that in a sweet, affectionate way - not an insulting manner). But, we were babies, too - we jsut didn't realize it then. We thought we knew it all and had everything figured out. Since then, there have been job changes, moves, kids, financial ups and downs, lots of laughter, oodles of joy, and plenty of times we didn't quite see eye to eye. Birthdays and anniversaries are markers to measure the time we've spent together,how we've grown as individuals and as a couple, and to think about what the future might hold. 
Next, just three days later to be exact, comes my oldest daughter's birthday. This year she turned 15!! Kids' birthdays make me cross-eyed as I try to look forward and backward simultaneously. I thought back to the day she was born in 2002 - the labor pains, the joy, the fear. I looked forward to the next birthday when she'll get her driver's license, and a couple more after that when she will be a legal adult at 18. In only 5 years, she'll be 20. TWENTY!!! As the song says, "Don't Blink!" It feels like that day she was born was eons ago and only just yesterday all at the same time. When she was a baby and I was a new mom, there were days when it felt like we would never possibly be where we are today - for better and for worse. I love the amazing, independent, confident, tenacious young lady she has become (and is still becoming), but I would be lying if I said that part of me doesn't sometimes miss the curly haired, ruffle wearing, Elmo loving toddler she used to be. 
After that, I get exactly 24 hours of respite from the wistfulness, and, then, it's my youngest daughter's birthday. This year, her day is extra special because she turns 10! That means everyone in my house will be in double digits. Again, it's milestones like these that send me into a whirlwind of memories from the past and visions of the future. I think about she when she was born, surprising us all by weighing in at just over 10 pounds. I think about the first few weeks with her at home. She was born exactly two weeks before the oldest started kindergarten and their two year old sister was in the middle. Those days are a blur in my rearview because I spent most of them in an exhausted, overwhelmed fog. Fortunately, she was a pretty easy baby who, like most third kids, had no choice but to adjust to the schedules already dictated by her older sisters. To make her birthdays even more heart wrenching, she has always been my most sentimental kid who often daydreams about going back to "being little" or to "when we used to have special Mommy and E days." Sigh . . . . .She often doesn't want to grow up and I often wish that my "baby" was still a baby so I could savor it a little bit more than I did (or could) back then. However, she is growing up into one of the sweetest, most compassionate kids I've ever known that that is something pretty special to experience, too.

OK . . . deep breath here. I need a minute to let all that emotion settle down.

Now, then . . . 

As if all that birthday sentimentality wasn't enough this month, August also brings the back to school season, of course, which is just another arrow taking target practice on my heart. My oldest has already started back to school - 10th grade, which means, by the end of this year, she will be half way finished with high school and about a billion steps closer to leaving for college. My middle daughter starts 7th grade which means this is her last year with no really major milestones - which actually IS kind of a milestone. Next year will be filled with high school choices, "make the most of the moment" moments, and last times. I have to remind myself not to get so caught up in what's coming next year that I miss this one. Finally, the youngest starts 5th grade. At their school, 5th is considered part of the middle school, so I officially no longer have any elementary school kids. No more class holiday parties (Yay! I think) and she won't think it's cool to have her mom chaperone the field trips anymore - maybe. I suppose that, with every school year, there are always firsts and lasts. It's par for the course, but when it comes on the heels of so much birthday reminiscence, it's just a little bit harder to swallow. 

Yep. It's August and another round of flashbacks and forecasts has me reeling. I can't believe my babies are growing up so much and so fast. I suppose all parents feel that way, though - especially when birthdays come around. I just trying to treasure the memories and delight in the future without forgetting to savor the moments that are right in front of me. 

This post is linked up with Finish the Sentence Friday hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee. This week's sentence was "It's August and I can't believe . . . ."

Monday, August 7, 2017

Thoughts I Have While Shopping with my Daughters

I have three daughters who are currently ages 10, 12, and 15. With back to school right around the corner (or already happening for my oldest), the task of back to school shopping has become unavoidable. But, gone are the days of strolling through seas of pink and ruffles; gone are the days when I alone decided what my children would wear; and, gone are the days when the clothes I purchased qualified as "adorable" or "precious." Nowadays, I'm just trying to find clothes that cover the essential body parts, that my daughters actually like, and that will not make me want to eject my own eyeballs as I watch my girls walk out the door each day. 
I am well aware that there have been plenty of articles and blog posts about the discrepancies between boys' and girls' clothing and the lamentations of frustrated parents. (Like this one or this one or this one.) Well, I'm jumping on that bandwagon in order to get a few things off my chest about it. This blog post, however, will not be filled with research statistics or photographs comparing clothes. Instead, I am simply sharing a few of the things that run through my mind (and, occasionally spill out of my mouth) while I am walking through stores with my daughters. Ultimately, I just hope that, someday, designers and retailers will get a clue, understand how frustrating it is for parents and kids, and maybe start providing more appropriate clothing options.
  • You could just go swimming in your underwear. It would cover up more than that bathing suit does and probably be a lot less expensive.
  • Cute shirt. Where is the rest of it? 
  • Cute shorts - if you were 4 years old.
  • Won't those give you a perpetual wedgie??
  • Why would you even make a size 00?? Just go back to the girl's department if you're that small.
  • Aw, I miss the little girls' department with all those cute little dresses and bloomers! 
  • I know you wore a size 3 in those other shorts, but these are a different brand so you have to try them on. (Because, obviously, it would be way too much trouble for manufacturers to come up with some standardized sizing system so that you could wear the same size in all brands!!!!!😡)
  • OMG!! Why would they put THAT saying on a shirt for KIDS!?!?!
  • Does {Insert store/brand} not realize how much money they could make if they just made clothes that were not so ridiculous?? Seriously! They could make a freakin' fortune on shorts that were a couple inches longer. 
  • What is that color called -"puke?"
  • I wonder if the the people who make these clothes actually have any daughters? Would they let their kids wear this crap!?!?!?
  • If one of your teachers calls me to school because these shorts are not "fingertip length," I swear I'm going to make them take you shopping! 
  • If your grandmother was here she would tell you that they wore jeans with holes in them because they couldn't always afford to buy new ones when the old ones got torn and she would roll over in her grave if I paid good money for pre-ripped ones!! 😱
  • Good grief! When did I turn into my mother?!?! and grandmother?!?! 
  • What kind of nut job thought it was a good idea to make shorts so short that the pockets hang out the bottom???
  • I know I'm old and totally not cool, but I was always taught that your clothes were supposed to COVER your underwear, not make it a feature.
  • You actually LIKE that?!? Are you kidding??
  • God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change . . . . .
  • And, of course . . . .

What do you think about today's fashions for young girls??
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