A First Time for Everything

posted by Momo Fali on October 21, 2014

This post was inspired by Netflix. Come see what we’re watching.

My kids, both born premature, started their life journeys by consistently missing milestones. Crawling, walking, talking (though, I can attest they have both caught up markedly in that regard), running, jumping – pretty much every chart in their baby books was left untouched until months after a child would typically have it filled.

Needless to say, these breakthroughs have been a huge deal around here. A daughter who didn’t crawl until her first birthday or a son who didn’t speak until he was nearly four years old was cause for long-awaited celebration. They weren’t (and in some cases, still aren’t) just milestones; they are rather enormous landmarks. I’ve been tempted to erect monuments.

Now that they’re 12 and 15, the milestones are less about their existence and more about fun. For instance, my son was recently able to join us on the 93 mph Millennium Force roller coaster at Cedar Point. His next goal is to be tall enough to ride Top Thrill Dragster which goes 120 mph and launches you 420 feet in the air. Don’t judge me because I verified with his cardiologist, TWICE, that it was okay for him to ride them. They are  intense, but we love them and when he was finally 48″ at age 12, he loved some of the big coasters too.

With Halloween on the horizon, we’ve started enjoying the experience of watching scary movies with our daughter. Poltergeist didn’t faze her. Probably because she only knows Craig T. Nelson from “Parenthood” and she doesn’t have any concept of The National Anthem playing on the television at 1:30am, then going static for the  night. *shudder* The TV always had to be turned off before the static started! Always!

Of course, the milestone I’m most looking forward to is when my daughter will do the dishes without being told, or when my son learns to keep the shower curtain liner inside the bathtub. Those moments will be GREAT! Some I’m less than thrilled about, like my daughter going off to college. Gulp. That one is going to be rough. Like sandpaper on a rug-burn rough.

One thing is for certain, these are the things that make memories. You don’t remember the fifth time your kid rode a bike, but you’ll never forget the first.

A Few of My Favorite Things

posted by Momo Fali on October 8, 2014

Do you ever think about the things that make you truly happy? If you don’t, you should. When you’re searching for peace, you think of them a lot. Trust me, I know.

I’ll give Maria raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but she loses me at bright copper kettles. I mean, you’d REALLY have to love tea. I like tea, but I don’t care how the water gets boiled. Plus, I think you have to polish copper and I hate chores.

rose

So, what does make me happy – or, rather, peaceful? In no particular order:

1. Sunshine.

2. My husband touching my face or hair. The touch of a cheek or gently holding the nape of a neck is intimate and lovely.

3. A clear, starry sky. For making wishes.

4. Intense, exhausting workouts. I don’t look happy while I’m doing them and I complain A LOT, but pulling a rope with a 400 lb. tire attached to the other end makes me feel strong, powerful and confident even though my face is purple and I’m dripping with sweat.

5. Watching my kids try anything. A new food, a new experience, a new activity; seeing them attempt something makes them achievers in my eyes, even if they fail.

6. Cold beer. Duh.

7. The beach. Sand between my toes, the sound of the waves, and saltwater making my hair look pretty without any effort – I’ll take that ALL DAY LONG. Combined with #1, #5 and #6? Heaven.

8. A clean house. I never get this one. Never.

9. A good movie. Throw in Milk Duds and it’s even better.

10. Puppies, good friends, flowers, board games, slow-dancing, campfires, music, and snuggling. Not all at once, but I didn’t want this list to get too long.

While things have seemed kind of bleak lately, I’m finding it helpful to come back to this list to seek out, and give myself, the things I can. Thankfully, that hasn’t resulted in too many Milk Duds, but don’t even come near me without expecting a snuggle.

What would your list look like? What are your favorite things?

Dear Teacher

posted by Momo Fali on September 29, 2014

Dear Teacher,

I regret to inform you that the test you requested be signed and returned was accidentally placed in the trash. When I went to retrieve it, I found it covered with coffee grounds, paper towels that were used to clean poop out of a puppy cage and a note which reads, “Are those mouse droppings inside this cabinet, because I WILL DIE!!”

trash

I am assuming you would rather it remain in the garbage, but please advise.

Best regards,

Momo

How to Achieve Spontaneous Happiness…Gradually

posted by Momo Fali on September 24, 2014

I’m reading a great book right now called Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. Andrew Weil and last night I came to a passage about how creative-minded people often do the most self-reflection. This can be both good (leading to positive changes in oneself) and bad (leading to regret and bouts of depression).

Just a few hours before I read that section, I went on a walk and actually yelled at myself to stop looking at everything metaphorically. Every falling leaf is not a sign that I’m getting old, every flower blooming from a crack in the pavement is not me reaching beautiful heights despite broken beginnings. I think Dr. Weil has me nailed.

Honestly, if I were to really look inside myself I’d likely just see cell inflammation and I’ve yet to find a metaphor for that in nature. I think the only way I’ll really know what’s lurking under my skin is if I come across a puffy, bloated, dead fish.

The thing about the brain is that it never stops. You can not set it to pause or control its reactions. The brain has a mind of its own. Get it?

So, while the massive self-reflection I’ve done lately is leading to bettering myself, I’m kind of in this non-stop spiral of looking inward. I barely have a second to figure out how to improve upon a flaw, before I find something else to fix. Hello, chaos? It’s me, Momo. My hygienist is totally going to yell at me for all of this teeth-grinding.

What I want is immediate change so I can get to the next task. Find it, fix it, move on. This, to me, is the key to happiness, but of course it’s completely unrealistic. My expectations are set to freeway driving, while real life is in a school zone. I think I have metaphor problems, for real, you guys. *adds it to list of things to work on*

While this book has been incredibly beneficial to me, I think it should have been named Slow, Steady Happiness, because happiness doesn’t come with the snap of one’s fingers. We have to search, then focus on what brings us joy and work to maintain it. Unsolicited, permanent, giddiness is not a normal human condition. Apparently, hot flashes are, but that’s another blog post.

It’s hard to know this is going to be a long journey when I just want to get to the finish line, but at least I have well-fitting, comfortable shoes. I can’t stop. I just can’t. Before I can start, though, I have to wrap my mind around the long haul. I have to know that the first few miles are going to be painful, I will feel heavy and every step will be a struggle, but by the end I will be lighter and happier.

Then, and only then, will joy be spontaneous. It’s not going to happen without much toil and trouble, but I like to think you get more satisfaction when you’ve tried really hard.

On my next walk, I’m going to go ahead and think metaphorically. I choose to believe that someday my happiness will be evergreen.