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This Week: 1 Melisa: 1/2

This week has Kicked. My. Butt.

I’m not talking about your average, run-of-the-mill, short-term butt-kicking. I’m talking about nearly a week’s worth of stress-induced, anxiety-laden, sleep-deprived, frustrating, often tearful minutes that crawled by as if they were hours instead of sixty-second increments. To say out loud that it’s “been a tough week” seems ridiculous to me because it’s such a massive understatement.

The cause: too many moving parts in my life, many of which are currently out of my control.

At my lowest point earlier in the week, I sobbed heavily into Jim’s arms, stating rather dramatically that I just don’t know why I can’t be a “normal person who doesn’t enjoy juggling so many things at once.” The sad truth is, I don’t think I know how to live otherwise.

That truth always leads to my eventually digging myself out. This time happened to take days longer than it usually does, but I’m almost there. Throughout it all I count my blessings—my family, my friends, my life—and I repeat to myself that everything always works out just fine. When things aren’t resolved the way I’d like them to be, I happen to be pretty good at making lemons out of lemonade once I have a chance to shift gears.

So that’s what I’m reflecting on today, a Friday that I thought would never arrive but—just like the sun every morning—did. I’m focusing on what’s important, what I can control, and a couple of much-needed victories I had yesterday. Those things are what will carry me through, onward and upward, and right back to my normally optimistic self.

Always Half Full

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Create Your Taste At McDonald’s!

If you’ve been reading Suburban Scrawl for a while, you may recall that I have a special place in my heart for the McDonald’s brand. My first job was at McDonald’s and for two years I worked at the brand new location just steps away from my high school, with many of my friends. We had a BLAST.

One of the benefits of working there was the food, obviously. Break time was easy because the food was RIGHT THERE. I have always loved the traditional menu but back then we would create our own custom creations, too, to mix things up. We would make sloppy joes with chopped up burger and barbecue sauce…salads made from the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and Big Mac special sauce (way before salads were actually sold there!)…cherry pie ala’mode, and all kinds of other crazy combinations.

Knowing that history, I bet you can understand why I was super excited to get an invitation from McDonald’s to check out their brand new Create Your Taste menu. It was like they heard my friends and me all those years ago! We love to creatively customize!

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A Tale of Two Movies.

We are HUGE movie fans in this family. Often, if we have a free weekend day or two, you can find us at one of the two movie theaters that are conveniently located within about six minutes of our house. Checking out a movie is an easy afternoon getaway, and one of our theaters even serves lunch and dinner in addition to popcorn and candy, so it’s a great way to spend date night.

I’m not sure if it’s because we’re just easy to please, because we let ourselves be carried away/entertained by what’s on the big screen rather than analyze every little thing in hopes of discovering plot holes or other mistakes, or because the movies on which we choose to spend our (pocketfuls of, OMG) money are truly wonderful, but we have picked very well in the past couple of months. Last month we enjoyed “Interstellar”, “Wild”, and “Unbroken”.

This weekend we saw two absolutely fantastic movies—one today and one yesterday—both of which I would recommend as required viewing for every American, and each of them having been treated very differently by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

—Don’t worry, there are no spoilers in this post.—

First, “American Sniper”. We saw this amazing film yesterday and it will stick with me for a long time. It stars a super-beefed up Bradley Cooper and a brunette Sienna Miller, and was directed by Clint Eastwood. The film tells the true story of Chris Kyle, the deadlist marksman in the history of the United States military, with 160 confirmed kills. There were impactful moments throughout the more-than-two-hours of this movie, but what stood out the most to me was the portrayal of the sacrifices—physical AND mental—that are made by not only the members of our military but also their spouses.

Image: Warner Bros.

Image: Warner Bros.

Jim was in the Navy for ten years. He was on an aircraft carrier in the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm and was in an extremely safe place compared to those on the front lines. Back in those days there was no email and there were no cell phones; we had to rely on the post office as well as occasional HAM radio calls. I’m not sure what’s better: being mostly ignorant about his daily goings-on as I was, or being able to stay connected as much as today’s military families are. My heart ached for Sienna Miller, who played Chris’ wife Taya, throughout the film.

Watching Chris’ story was heart-wrenching but eye-opening. The people who defend our country’s freedoms every day are superheroes.

“American Sniper” received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor (Cooper), and Best Adapted Screenplay. Surprisingly, Clint Eastwood was snubbed in the Best Director category.

Today Jim and I saw “Selma”, the film about the fight FOR freedoms which begins with the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and tells the story of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery (Alabama) voting rights marches, led by Martin Luther King Jr. and other members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, along with John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Image: Paramount PIctures

Image: Paramount Pictures

Watching the film was very emotional for many reasons, especially in light of the recent events in Ferguson. It’s amazing to me that, as recently as fifty years ago, Black Americans did not have the right to vote. We have come so far in fifty years but at the same time we have so much further to go in order for everyone to be truly treated equally in this country. I believe that in order to move forward, we do need to take the time to look back at what once was.

My friend Alexandra wrote a much better summary of why you and your over-aged-thirteen kids should see this movie than I could have, so I’m linking it here. My favorite line? “These films are needed to capture and cast open the cost, which was high, of the story of Americans wanting to be accepted as Americans.” They are NEEDED. You NEED to go see this movie.

The movie, directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, and Oprah Winfrey (with appearances by the likes of Common, Martin Sheen, Cuba Gooding Jr. and many more!) was not looked on as favorably by the members of the Academy, who are 94% white and 76% men; it was only nominated for Best Picture and Best Song. That’s it. Deb Rox wrote a great call-to-action post over on BlogHer in which she implores you to support this movie by buying tickets to see it, especially this weekend as we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (I know that my theater has plenty of matinee showings tomorrow, with it being a national holiday. I bet yours does, too.)

Two great films, two important historical tales. It’s time for popcorn, you guys. Go see them.

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Mr. Sandman, Bring Me A Dream. PLEASE.

Take a look at this, an arrangement of just a few of the products that are involved in my pre-bedtime routine.

All the Lavender

It wasn’t always this way, my having to bring in reinforcements. Way, way back when I was in my twenties, I could brush my teeth, use the bathroom, get into bed, snuggle up to Jim, pull the covers up to my chin (I always loved being cozy under the blankets!) and fall asleep nearly immediately. I’d stay asleep until morning and even if I “only” got seven hours, I felt so well rested!

These days, in my midtolate forties (to me, forty-six is not mid- and not late-; it’s midtolate) things are way different because somewhere along the way, I stopped being able to sleep well. My pre-bedtime routine involves the following, not necessarily in this order:

1. washing my face
2. brushing my teeth
3. using the bathroom
4. spraying my pillow with lavender mist
5. applying lotion to the bottoms of my feet and then pulling on socks
6. applying lotion over most of my body
7. occasionally taking something to help me sleep
8. taking my high blood pressure meds
9. putting on a lavender-scented nasal strip because snoring
10. getting into bed
11. pulling the covers up to my chin and snuggling with Jim for about five minutes until it’s hot as blazes (thanks, peri-menopause!) and I have to scoot over and swing at least one leg out from under everything

An aside: I do not moisturize my face at night because the nasal strip will go “Fwing!” and if you want a hilarious explanation of that kind of situation that will leave you in stitches, go watch Liz’s vlog from two years ago. It’s one of my favorite things ever, and not just because it ends with, “So, Melisa was right.” I truly love it from start to finish.

Even after all of that (SO MANY LAVENDER PRODUCTS BECAUSE RELAXING!), I do not sleep much. Seven hours of sleep would be great. Eight would be like winning the lottery. Nine? Well, nine isn’t even within the realm of my imagination.

I would KILL to consistently get seven hours of solid sleep and feel well-rested in the morning. Okay, maybe I wouldn’t KILL for it. (Maybe.) I’ve always been a light sleeper but the last few years between my advancing age, my increasing core body temperature, my bladder, and my inability to shut my brain down at bedtime, I’m a member of the “often awake at night club”, otherwise known as an insomniac. I lie there deep breathing all of the lavender around me and trying to think about slow-moving things that don’t cause me a care in the world, but it’s no use. Sometimes I lie there on top of all the covers (even in the middle of winter), wondering if I should turn the ceiling fan on “medium” while I let my mind run off to the destinations my body has visited over the past few months: the Bahamas, Tennessee, Mexico, New Jersey…still nothing. Sometimes I’ll put my earbuds in and listen to my “Beach Sounds” playlist on Spotify, imagining I’m either relaxing on the sand or floating in the water while the waves lap the shore. On the worst nights, that is a total fail. Sometimes I’ll even go downstairs and try to sleep on the couch or, worse, I’m so wide awake that I’ll start working at 3:00 a.m. and make plans to power nap later in the day. It’s so completely frustrating. A typical “good” night’s sleep for me is four or five solid hours and a “bad” night’s sleep can mean all kinds of things: one night last week I slept for a grand total of twenty minutes, all night.

Then, just when I’m at my wit’s end and I believe I’ll never get a good night’s sleep ever again, the worst possible thing happens: all of the parts of my pre-bedtime routine actually work the way they’re supposed to, and I sleep for seven hours, uninterrupted. Yes, I said “the worst”. Here’s why:

I get excited about it.
Jim gets excited about it.
I wonder if I can get two nights like that in a row.
I don’t.

The silver lining to all of this is that, during the day, I can sleep anywhere, anytime. In fact, all I have to do to fall asleep during the day is stop moving. It’s one of the reasons why I am ALWAYS doing something while watching TV, because if I don’t, I’m out. I’m an expert Power Napper: if I allow myself to sprawl out on my couch and close my eyes, I can feel completely refreshed after twenty minutes of sleep. If Jim drives us to Wisconsin to see the boys or on other long-distance road trips, I fall asleep as quickly as a baby in a carseat. I’m convinced that this kind of lifestyle is the gateway drug to Early Bird Specials and other Senior Citizen routines and I suddenly feel like I understand the elder generations a little better now, so there’s that.

Still, I’d love some sleep. Maybe it’s time to plan a roadtrip. Who’s driving?

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To Grandma’s House I Go

I’ve been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately, especially as I toss around ideas for the essay I will write for this year’s Listen To Your Mother show in Chicago. Memories of her come and go, and sometimes she hangs around in my brain for an extended period of time. I don’t mind at all; in fact, I rather enjoy it. My Grandma was a huge presence in my young life. We visited her house all the time, and she spoiled her grandkids like crazy. She was one of the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met in my life. I’m often in awe of the fact that she died when I was only ten years old but has continued to affect my life in so many ways.

Since she’s been on my mind, it didn’t surprise me at all that, when I was looking for a picture of my boys earlier today, I came across this, a picture I haven’t seen in ages.

This picture is worth way more than a thousand words.

This picture is worth way more than a thousand words.

I noticed so many things at first glance. The glasses, for one thing. How awesome are those?

I see my mom in my Grandma’s face so much more than I ever have before. I see my younger son, J, in my face.

My side curls. WHAT???

The picture was taken in October of 1973, when I was nearly five, and it’s a perfect representation of the love that was between us. I still miss her after all these years, and when I catch myself wondering what she would think about the person I am today, I laugh because I already know.

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Just Give Me A Second And I’ll Figure It Out.

Unfortunately, all of the answers can’t be found on Google.

I mean, LOTS of them can…but often there are questions or problems that can’t be resolved by typing in a query.

Here’s what I do when I have a dilemma: I call someone to talk it out.

Wall phone

This phone, hanging on my kitchen wall, is not the phone I use to call people in the 21st century, ever. I should take that thing down.

Now, you might think that when I say “talk it out”, I mean that I’m calling that person to have a two-person exchange about my issue and then hang up feeling triumphant because we have figured it out together. Good job. That’s what I thought I was doing too, for a while. Not so. I mean, that’s my INTENTION, but that’s not exactly how it all plays out.

You know what they say about how, if you want someone to talk, you just leave a little bit of silence in the conversation from your end and then the person with whom you’re speaking will get uncomfortable and start blathering?

This is nothing like that. Except the blathering.

Confession time.

First of all, I didn’t even really realize that I was doing what I’m about to tell you until Momo, one of my closest friends who ONLY speaks the honest truth, put a pin in my balloon and told me, and now I’m self-conscious about it. That said, there are way worse faults I think? Yes, there are. There are definitely worse faults to have, so I don’t feel as bad as I did a minute ago. Shew!

See? I just did it.

What I do is, I make the call and explain my dilemma, and then…I solve it. Usually by myself, apparently. When I called Momo a couple of weeks ago with the problem-du-jour, I started talking about it without even giving her a chance to insert some silence so I could get uncomfortable (like THAT would ever happen with a close friend!) and when I stopped to get validation by saying, “Don’t you think?”, she replied “Well maybe; I’m just waiting for you to finish talking it out like you always do.”

And then we both laughed, only I think it was just me, laughing alone.

Thank God for good friends who love me anyway, in spite of things like this.

The good news is, I’m an excellent listener and when my friends call me with their own issues, I actually do know when to shut up and hear them out until they’re ready for me to pipe in. I mean, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t take my turn to listen? Not a very good one in my opinion. Don’t you agree? Of course you do. That’s what I thought.

There I go again.

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Google Is My Middle Name.

I am a curious person by nature. I ask lots of questions, all the time. I usually come up with more questions too, depending on the answers. It’s the main frustration Jim always has when he takes care of any calls that need to be made regarding our house or family (contractors, doctors, in-laws, etc.). He hangs up his phone and my interrogation starts immediately. Usually the conversation ends with Jim sighing and saying, “I didn’t ask THAT…” I ask so many questions that I annoy myself, truly. (Really Jim, I do!!)

When it comes to facts and figures, I am constantly feeling ever so grateful that I live in the age of Google because I use it ALL. THE. TIME.

Like three hours ago, I had to look up “How to remove a GE Profile Microwave” because Jim and I had to do that before installing the new one (duh), and we just couldn’t figure out how to get that thing off the wall. Google to the rescue: I found the answer immediately.

Thank goodness too, because that kept a smile on his face, which kept a smile on my face, all the way until we were done with the installation.

Installing the microwave

Smile not pictured, but it’s there. Trust me.

I probably use Google more than ten times on any given day. I love to learn new tidbits of information about anything that crosses my path. Just like my questions often lead to more questions, my Google searches can lead to more Google searches and I can get lost for hours. Knowledge is power! Let’s look up ALL THE STUFF! I wish Google had been in existence when I was in college. Kids today don’t know how good they have it. Related: get off my lawn!

One of my very favorite things is when someone wonders about something out loud and I can drop whatever I’m doing and look it up. Seriously. Is that sad? (Don’t answer that.) This happens often when I’m working out (which is so convenient for me, especially if it’s a tough class); the instructor will wonder about a musician or something from pop culture and I’ll say, “I’LL GOOGLE IT!” and after I finish whatever set we’re working on (honest!), I grab my phone and find that answer. I can’t tell you how triumphant I feel when I can provide answers. Simple pleasures, you know? This is not an invitation, by the way, to send me questions. It has to happen ORGANICALLY, you know?

An aside: One of my least favorite things is when people ask questions on Facebook and Twitter that can easily be answered by Googling. I mean, it seems easier to type the question into Google and get answers immediately rather than crowd-sourcing, right? Grumble grumble grumble. Jim tells me I shouldn’t get so annoyed by it because not everybody has the same thought process as I do, so I’m working on my patience with that because he’s right. Probably.

Anyway, I seem to have forgotten where I was going with this. I just Googled, “How should I end this blog post?” and I found a great article that suggested, among other ideas, that I ask a question to encourage comments. So here goes.

Would you say you use Google as a tool only when you need to look something up, or do you ever use it just for fun and/or to waste time?

I hate that I just asked you that because wow, what a letdown at the end of what started out to be a very promising blog post. Sorry about that. The good news is, I just Googled “What is the worst ending ever?” and I saw A LOT about the series finale of “How I Met Your Mother” but nothing about what I have just written.

Shew.

I guess I’ll just put us all out of our misery and end there.

The end.

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Apparently My Word For 2014 Was “Travel”.

This time last year I noticed many of my friends picking “a word for 2014″, something they would live by or strive for. I didn’t join in but it all worked out. As it turned out my word, “Travel”, found its way to me.

While thinking about what kind of 2014 wrap-up post I wanted to write, what stuck out the most was how much travel I did this year. In fact, without even looking at my calendar to count days properly I figured out off the top of my head that I was away from my home for between six and eight weeks. That’s a lot of time living out of a suitcase, but it’s also a lot of time making some pretty spectacular memories.

Of course, I had some Chicago-based adventures too. (It’s a well known fact that I can make an adventure out of just about anything.) Here are my all-around favorites from 2014:

Not a lot happened around here in January and February other than constant shoveling so I’m just skipping those months.

At the beginning of March I road-tripped to Momo’s house in Columbus. I LOVE solo road-tripping. The post I wrote about my Musings From The Road kind of cracks me up. I loved hanging out with Momo’s family and live-tweeting the Oscars with her, in the same room.

At the end of April, Tracey and I hit the road to support our fellow LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER co-producers in Milwaukee, meeting up with a few other Chicago friends as well as LTYM founder and National Director Ann Imig for the show. It was a great day. I just LOLed all over again when I went back to read the post I wrote about it, because of Tracey’s tweets and the pictures I took, including the group selfie we got with Ann after about thirty tries and Ann saying “I just never know where to look!” about twenty-nine times.

Also in the spring, my trail mix became famous. Or infamous. And it’s actually my mother-in-law’s trail mix. I “revealed” the recipe, “ish”, in this post…even though there’s no set recipe. You’ll get the idea.

May was the biggest, most busy-for-me month of 2014. I was busy at home AND busy on the road. May 2014 is a huge and awesome blur for me. For starters, it was LTYM month. Our third annual Chicago show was beyond amazing and I wrote about my favorite moments from that experience.

Oscar Selfie

I also hit up the Northwest Indiana LTYM show and the Mother of them all, Ann’s Madison show. SO much fun.

There was no resting after LTYM season closed, as BlogHer conference season started with BlogHer Food in Miami. I ADORE working at BlogHer Food, and this year was even more epic than last because I was with Momo AND Liz nearly 24/7. We were mostly working, but we snuck in a few madcap adventures too, of course.

Drinks are larger than they appear.

Right after BlogHer Food I flew directly to New Jersey without passing “Go”, and spent a few days with my east coast family. I didn’t write any blog posts specifically about that trip because Liz and I were fried from the conference and didn’t spend too much time with our computers (not to mention we were busy seeing “Wicked” and eating steak and drinking Raspberry Rosemary Martinis at Crisp’s to celebrate her birthday), but this is one of my favorite pictures because HAPPY PLACE:

Seaside

In June we drove to Tennessee to help my parents celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. They renewed their vows in a lovely and intimate ceremony at a friend’s home. It was awesome to be present for that; I can’t even express how much.

July brought my first “In Pictures” post, in which I drew pictures of our dinner at Chicago’s “The Purple Pig” instead of capturing them with a camera. At the end of July I flew to San Jose, California for the tenth annual BlogHer conference. I was with Momo and Liz nearly 24/7 again, along with tons of other blog friends from all over the country. The weekend was epic as always, and I’m not only talking about the part where RUN-DMC’s Rev Run DJed the closing party.

Momo, Melisa, Liz

Rev Run

I wrote one of my favorite posts in all of 2014 in August when I took a sabbatical day at a friend’s lake house in Wisconsin.

Sabbatical

At the end of August I wrote another “In Pictures” post, this time about my adventures with Samantha at the Steve Harvey show taping, with featured guest Pitbull. What a day THAT was. What a sunburn THAT was. Totally worth it.

I wrote another favorite post in September after Jim and I took a hike with D. I also accompanied Jim on a business trip to Merida, Mexico ABOUT WHICH I ONLY WROTE ONE TEENY POST OMG but I sure did take a bunch of pictures…

Chichen Itza

Cenote

Stairs to the cenote

Merida tree

Coke bottle

Mexican dresses

Crosses

October was another huge travel month. In early October Jim and I went to Tennessee for his sister’s wedding, and a week later I went back to Liz’s to enjoy yet another phenomenal visit with my sistuh-from-anuthuh-muthuh. We had good times at This Full House and all the way down the Jersey coast to Cape May.

Liz and Melisa at Sunset Beach

I also got addicted to tea on that trip. Oops.

I finished out October in a temporary but deep depression brought on by the combination of returning to a completely empty house after my New Jersey trip and, likely, hormones (stupid peri-menopause), and worked it out by writing a post that resulted in my being wrapped in love from my friends (thank you!).

I participated in NaBloPoMo in November, blogging each and every day of the month. They weren’t all gems, of course, but I wrote about my newly-developed tea obsession and let you all in on my crazy. (You’re welcome.) I also turned 46 and got one of the best birthday-gifts-that-wasn’t-meant-to-be-a-birthday-gift ever (because she didn’t know it was my birthday), when my friend, the amazingly wonderful and hugely tremendous Erica, got two members of the Brady Bunch to address me on video. I’m still sweating.

Earlier this month Jim and I left town again, this time to go on a cruise to the Bahamas, with an overnight stop in South Beach. (I highly recommend heading to the islands during December.)

Melisa and Jim at the beach

I also wrote about finding my inner pirate at Neverland, gave you guys a peek into the five hundred millionth reason why I love my husband, and, yesterday, wrote an empty nester post that is actually syndicated on BlogHer today! (Thanks, BlogHer!)

I can’t say I’m in as much of a hurry as most of my friends are for 2014 to be over; it’s been a pretty darn good year for me. That said, I’m in complete favor of moving forward, saying goodbye to it, and welcoming 2015 with open arms because I’ve got some new adventures in the hopper and I can’t wait to get started. So let’s go! I’m wishing you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Happy 2015!

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It’s Just A Table…Or Is It?

Something happened last week that made me realize that I’ve spent a whole lot of time reflecting on the changes Jim and I (and this house) have gone through since J left for college (when we officially became empty nesters), but next to no time (okay, no time at all) reflecting on any changes the boys have gone through in regards to the two of us and this house.

Let me try and make some sense.

In my parental mind, I naively assumed that once the boys were settled in at college—or in an apartment, or whatever—that was it; their adjustment was made. That’s not necessarily true, as I just learned. Assimilation into their new lifestyle is only part of it and that comes relatively quickly. Figuring out that their old home can be different in many ways is the other part.

That’s where the table came in last week.

We have this awesome antique gate-leg table that belonged to my grandparents. Their Chicago bungalow had a very small dining room and the table worked well in that house because the two ends folded down to make it more compact. Grandma kept the table pushed up against the dining room wall so it was out of the way except when she had visitors, and sometimes not only unfolded the ends but also added a leaf to the center.

My mom gave Jim and me that table years ago, and I love having it in my own home. The difference is that until recently we always kept it unfolded in the center of the dining room because when the boys were around we always had four or more people seated there.

Table unfolded

In early November we were preparing for our dining room windows to be replaced, so I folded the ends of the table down and repositioned it against the dining room wall (just like Grandma did) so it wouldn’t be in the way of the contractors. After the windows were done, we left the table exactly where it was until Thanksgiving, when we set it back up so seven people could sit there. After everyone went back home after the weekend the table was folded and pushed against the wall again because Jim and I just don’t sit there.

Table folded

Last week the boys asked if I wanted them to get the table unfolded so we could get ready for dinner and I said, “Yes please!” One of them said, “Okay and we’ll put it back in the middle where it belongs, too.”

I said, “No need for that. Just leave it near the wall and unfold the one end.”

I got this from both of them:

*blink, blink*

One of them said something along the lines of “But it goes in the middle. We can put it there!”

Jim then jumped in and said, “No thanks, guys! We’re just going to fold it back down when we’re done with it this week. Mom and I either eat here (patting the kitchen island) or down in the family room. We don’t use that table when it’s just the two of us.”

They seemed stunned for a second but then shrugged and set up the table how we asked.

Usually when kids grow up and leave their home for college or other forms of the real world, the talk is mostly about what the parents are going to do to their bedrooms. A new office? A workout space? New bedding and accessories to make it a guest room? You don’t hear much about how parents prepare their kids for how life changes for those still in the house, other than superficial comments about how we have to purchase less food or might be able to travel more.

Did Jim and I ever have a real conversation with our boys about how our day-to-day lives were going to change? No. I don’t think anyone thought it was necessary…and maybe it isn’t.

Speaking as one of the parents, we likely didn’t think about having that conversation because it never occurred to us that on some level it might matter to them. (To be clear, I’m not saying that I think our sons don’t care, but who thinks about these things?? That’s why I’m writing this.) I can’t speak for my kids but my guess is that they just assumed that it would, for the most part, be business as usual around here because why would they imagine otherwise? “Business as usual” is all they’ve known.

I don’t know if a quick conversation is or was ever necessary to prepare our kids for how things at home might really change. I don’t even think we knew, ourselves. What I do know is that, as a parent, seeing that unexpected flash of *blink blink* in my kids’ faces like I did last week made me feel like I was watching one of those split-second “here’s another way I am growing up” milestones and, for that split-second, it made me a little sad. Just for a split second. Then, just like that flash of *blink blink*, the sadness was gone.

Because in the end, the more things change, the more they stay the same. They’ll always be a part of us and our home, and we’re happy to unfold that table for them anytime, any day of the week.

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And The Winners Are…

I just posted a video of J doing the drawing for the year of Netflix and the $75 Target gift card, which were won by Kizz R. and Ruth, respectively. You can check out the video on Facebook HERE.

Thanks to everyone who entered; I wish I could send you all something, other than hugs…which are on the way for sure.

Happy Friday!

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