5, 6, 7, 8. Who Do We Appreciate?

ap·pre·ci·a·tion noun \ə-ˌprē-shē-ˈā-shən, -ˌpri- also -ˌprē-sē-\
Definition of APPRECIATION

    1 a : judgment, evaluation; especially : a favorable critical estimate b : sensitive awareness; especially : recognition of aesthetic values c : an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude
    2 : increase in value

Yay, you!

The Small People lack appreciation. Sometimes they try, but neither of them rock the thanks for peeling every hint of crust of my sandwich, Mom with the fervor I’d like.

No, peeling crusts off hundreds of sandwiches won’t cure cancer. However, E’s likelihood of curing cancer is zero if he’s pulling a Gandhi over some bread crust. So.

And yes, they’d both prefer that I do nothing but play, or rehang the bed tents that were removed after catching them (more than once) attempting a ceiling-length zip-line. By nature of the parent/child relationship we are stuck.

And poor JB? Whenever he says thank you for some thing I’ve done–like cooking real food– I assume it’s rooted in sarcasm.

I find myself humbled, and immeasurably pleased, when someone extends me appreciation. It makes me want to sew adult-sized super hero capes.

Or write what was supposed to be a quick post about appreciating the people in my life.

To my husband:

~For a wide variety of things, mostly summed up as: thank you for resisting the urge to actually push me down the basement stairs. I love you can be said in myriad of ways– I prefer this over flowers.

To my children:

    ~Each of you, and sometimes both of you, move slower than a paper income tax return;

    ~The regular demands for my attention when I’m otherwise focused;

    ~The enviable ability of remembering a random statement from 2 years ago, we should build a backyard fort, while simultaneously forgetting things like putting on pants.

I appreciate you both. Maybe not necessarily for what I listed above, though I’m finally starting to see the humor in a human truly forgetting to PUT ON PANTS. Do you not feel the breeze?

To my parents:

    ~Dad, for teaching me to be independent, despite having no desire for me to assert said independence while living under your roof. Good times.

    ~Mom, for overcoming your hatred of conflict enough to step between hard-headed spouse and child during some epic situations. (*cough*Navy*cough*)

To JB’s parents:

~ For having so many kids so that my own children get to appreciate what it’s like to grow up with cousins. For that one, I will fake pray at every family meal.

To my crew of friends, some old and some new:

    ~ For interrupting me when I talk too long. And for not getting angry when I interrupt you, even when you haven’t been talking too long.

    ~ For remembering that my bed was once referred to as The Cloud. The Cloud contained neither snoring husband, nor pillow-hogging, foot-in-butt-crack-seeking children.

    ~ For fully understanding that paying attention and snooping are completely different things.

    ~ For giving me the line “it makes me slower when you rush me”. Karma laughs with you–and at me– every day.

    ~ For understanding–and agreeing–with my Nickelback to Frank Zappa analogy.

    ~ For not saying out-loud thinking it’s ridiculous when I don’t know the date, or plan life 90 days in advance. Or check the weather.

    ~ For knowing that I have a slight obsession about the Craigslist matrix and hanging out with me anyway.

    ~ For not thinking that the plastic bottle cap at the park was a used condom.

    ~ For cutting me slack with my flakiness, despite not knowing me well enough to realize that it both is– and isn’t — a chronic condition.

    ~ For inspiring all of my appreciation urges today, by not getting me a pony. Instead you wrote me the best love note I’ve gotten since Mike G. misspelled want as wont back in the 10th grade.

    ~ For being quiet. For being loud. For being there every day, or just picking up like no time has passed– I appreciate you.

Ocean Zen

No pictures (yet) and there is a really kicking storm rolling over the ocean from the edges of Hurricane Irene…so, more attention-grabbing-things happening. Watching the ocean is my zen. Sadly, my oldest child finds my zen to be the most boring thing ever.

This is how the beach thing has gone with him this year:
As he shoves me away, “I can do this myself”.
Big wave knocks him down, “Why did you let me go under”?
Me: “Okay, let’s get some water and take a rest”
Him: “No, I’m fine.” As he stumbles toward the waves like a drunken pirate.

Rinse. Repeat. One stops listening, the other one starts yelling. People go to time out. Nevermind that he’s already had that oh shit moment in the ocean. You know the one, the first time a wave gets the best of you and you can’t quite get back up? I thought that give me at least the rest of the summer without having to worry about excess bravado.

That’s a negative. I can even appreciate his stubborn determination. Kinda.

This vacation, Hurricane Irene left new sandbars, which turned the usually calm Crystal Coast of North Carolina into a rip-tide filled rough surf-land. Dudes, there aren’t even surfers are out.. Unless you count large chunks of the Bogue Inlet pier as surfers. All of this should make what is normally a cautious child be more chill about that whole beach safety thing, hunh? Doesn’t help that part of him was trying to man up in front of older cousins. Which brings back both fond–and not so fond–memories of trying to play with my older cousin, while she was telling me that sharks were going to eat me. I was so much nicer to my younger cousins–the worst thing I ever did was tell one of them to eat the boogers, thus eliminating nose-picking evidence.

The Oldest of the Small Ones is instead learning that the other part of this mom-gig is to be the Ultimate Fun Killer and Ruiner of Lives and All that is Wonderful. Fortunately, having me trapped alone in the car for 6 hours seemed to soothe some of his larger issues. Or not. All I know is that he talked to me for 3 straight hours. So.

Then E, who can almost never be described as cautious, is sort of OCD about his interaction with the ocean. No wave jumping without an adult’s hand for that one. JB and I took him out for an after-dinner walk one evening, which is the first time in his whole life that he’s had the two of us to himself. Then, when Z and I took our day trip back to Raleigh, Elliot had four adults focused entirely on him. They let him stay up late and watch WipeOut.

In his words, he’s had “the best time ever. I love you guys.”

I was slightly worried about the post-cousin leaving letdown coupled with rainy morning, but two Small People, plus five Large People in a three story house full of nooks and crannies? A truly stellar, genuinely fun game of hide-n-go seek. As it turns out, my mother in law is the best hider of them all. Craziness.

I so don’t want to go back to reality tomorrow. I do miss our four-legged Small People, aka the Dogs– I’m also glad I have another set of grandparents to do the free pet sitting thing!