Category Archives: Megan's Random Life

Top 5 Spring Break quotes

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2014 Spring Break: 2 weeks with my 12 year-old son and 10 year-old daughter.  No travel plans, which means we were given the blessing of entertaining each other. Here are five conversations that pop into my mind when I reminisce on our time together. 🙂

 

5. One morning, my son shouted out from the shower, “Mom! There are no washcloths in here! Will you get me one?”

My husband and I looked fondly at one another. “Aww,” my husband said. “He really does wash when he’s in the shower.”

 

4.  Late one afternoon, my son came out of his room with his iPod. Hesitantly, he said, “Er, mom? You know how you helped me download all those songs? Well, I don’t think the big letter “E” next to the song title meant “Edited”.”

(*for the record, I assumed that it was common knowledge that all Eminem songs had explicit lyrics and that only the ones that were edited would be marked. See? E for Edited?!?  Whatever.)

 

3. My daughter decided to shout out the window of my car at the top of her lungs as we drove out of the Meijer parking lot – “YOU’RE NOT HAPPY!!!  I’M HAPPY!!! … AND PHARRELL!!”

(and now I have yet another reason to shop at Kroger.)

 

2. In an irritated moment during a drive to the movie theater, I said to my son, “I brought you into this world and I will take you out!”

My son replied, “You can’t kill me. There’ll be evidence and Bones and Booth will hunt you down!”

(For future reference, this is NOT the appropriate response to your mother when she is already irritated at you.)

 

and finally,

1. From the time it took me to load groceries in the back of the car (not at Meijer, by the way) to the moment I climbed into the driver’s seat, my daughter, sitting shotgun, had taken a random, blank piece of paper and completely destroyed it – tearing it and wadding it up in a fit.  Confused, I asked, “Why did you do that to that piece of paper?”

Her reply: “Because I knew I could and no one said that I shouldn’t.”

Kind of hard to argue that logic. 😉

C’mon 2014 – I’m ready

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Last year I decreed that I would no longer make new year’s resolutions.  Instead, I choose to reflect on those areas of my life that I sense need some attention.  With that in mind, here is my one and only 2014 New Year’s Intention:

Get motivated

That’s it.  Just get motivated.  I figure it’s pretty all-encompassing and, in so many ways, it’s an intention that I want more than anything to realize.

2013 was a year spent in survival mode.  One day at a time became a literal way of life.  And while the ‘just get through one more day’ mentality kept me moving forward through the year, it didn’t leave much room for accomplishments.  Now, I want that to change.  I want to want to get healthy.  I want to want to write again.  I want to return the feelings of friendship I clung to last year and rekindle those newer relationships I let slide a bit.  And I want to start something new.  I started writing because I was in a place where I really wanted a new start and the result was light years beyond anything I could have imagined.  I want to get back to writing as the escape I once enjoyed and take on a new challenge a long the way.  Maybe I’ll start a new job, maybe I’ll return to school – I don’t know.  But I do know that I can feel my juices flowing just thinking of starting a new challenge.

So that’s it.  While I continue to love, support and enjoy my precious family this year, I want to get motivated again.  I figure updating my long lost blog first thing on the first day of the year, has to be a pretty good start. 🙂

Totally bragging on my kids – yeah, today, I’m that mom

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Yesterday was my grandpa’s funeral.  I could write a book about my grandpa and the impact he had on my life and the lives of others, but right now, all I’m ready to say is that he was a good man.  In every sense of the word, he was a very good man.

Though I’m not quite ready to talk about Grandpa, what I am ready to talk about is how immensely proud I am of my children.

You never quite know how your children act when you aren’t around. Are they polite? Are they kind? Do they stand up for themselves?  As my children joined us at Grandpa’s funeral, I had the chance to catch an un-scrutinized glimpse of them.  From across the room, I saw my 11-year-old son stand straight and look adults in the eye as he offered his hand and introduced himself in a clear, strong voice.  He smiled and actively listened as his great uncles and adult cousins told stories.  He held the door for others and he even asked if he could get anything for some of the seated adults while grabbing a snack in the lounge.

At the visitation – a good three and half hours of meeting new people as family and friends came to honor a great man – my 9-year-old daughter entertained her younger cousin.  She smiled politely at the grown-ups who patted her head, said ‘thank you’ when told how pretty her hair was, and shared her iPad with her cousins, always making sure to keep the ‘play’ in the back lobby and the lounge area.

Oh, they were tired – don’t get me wrong – and when my son saw me go to the coat room, he jumped at the chance to follow me for a moment of “How much longer are we going to be here?”  When we were alone in the lounge, my bored daughter asked, “Do we really have to wait until after the chapel to eat lunch?”  But in front of the crowds of family, they put on their best faces, acting mature and respectful in every possible way.

And when I saw each of them go up to my dad and offer a hug, making sure he was doing okay as he dealt with his father’s passing, I knew I wanted to remember just how proud they made me.

They loved and respected their Grandpa-Great.  Their behavior yesterday did him proud.

An autumn moment

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Driving through the country to enjoy the beauty of the season, my kids and I came across an exceptionally colorful tree.

“Look at that!” I said. “I love the way the purple is taking over all the other colors.  Like it’s spreading out to be the final color for the tree.”

“Yeah,” my son agreed, “Like some kind of poisonous gas.”

“Or a foot fungus!” my daughter added.

Great analogies, kids.  Thanks for ruining my moment. 😉

Feeling weird

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Sometimes, I am taken aback by my 9 year-old daughter’s maturity and grasp of her reality.  This morning she woke up feeling “weird”.

“Mommy,” she said, “My legs are shaking and when I looked in the mirror, my face looks all pale.  Do you think my blood sugar is high?”

“I don’t know,” I responded, only partially awake.  After all, it’s Friday and I don’t have to work in the mornings on Friday.  So from the comfort of my bed, I said, “Want to go check yourself?”

She came closer.  “Yes, but it’s down stairs and mommy, I’m really shaking.”

Now I was awake.  I looked up at her and saw how clammy she looked even in the pale light.  I hopped out of bed.  “You go ahead and lay down.  I’ll get your glucose monitor.”

I stumbled down the stairs as best I could without having had any coffee, grabbed her monitor and a juice box and headed back upstairs.  She was curled in a ball on my pillows.  “Here you go, sweetie,” I said.

She sat up and started the process of checking her blood from her finger.  She looked so serious.  Then she said, “I’m worried that I’m really high because I’m not usually too high in the morning and the last time I was really high and shaking like this, I ended up getting sick.  I don’t want to get sick because it’s so hard to know when I’m high or low.  And if I throw up, how do we do my shot?  You can’t calculate my carbs if I end up throwing them all up.”

I just stared at her.  She was waaaay too articulate for mom not having had coffee.  “Sweetie, I’m sure you’re fine.  If you’re high, it’s probably just because we gave you that allergy medicine late last night after your shot.”

“Does allergy medicine have carbs?” she asked.

“Yep.  So even if you’re high, I’m sure you’ll be okay.  We’ll make it to the family movie party tonight at school, don’t worry.”

She held up the glucose monitor that said 398. (‘normal’ range for her age is 80-120).  She stood up.  “It may be the allergy medicine, but I just don’t feel right.”  She headed to the bathroom but stopped just inside the doorway to look at me.  “I don’t care about the movie night.  I mean, I do, but I just don’t want to be sick.  When I get sick it lasts a lot longer than it does when other kids get sick.  And I almost always end up at the hospital with those shots and IVs on me.  That’s why I don’t want to get sick.”

Within five minutes she was vomiting.  Her fever over 101.  So just as she anticipated, we are headed to the doctor.

It’s an odd feeling of pride and heartbreak to see how she deals with her diabetes.  I’m glad that she knows her body and understands what it means for her to be sick.  But it destroys me that she has to prioritize her health over movie night. 😦

The first day of school (aka, the chaos begins)

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This year, the first day of school was much more than that for us.  It was also the first day of middle school for my son, the first day of fourth grade for my daughter, the first time my work-from-home schedule included morning hours and, therefore, the first time ever that my husband was in charge of the before school routine.  Oh, and the first time that my son had to ride the bus instead of being dropped off by me or a neighbor – a bus that arrived at 6:50AM versus the 8:45AM drop off my son had throughout his elementary years.  Anticipating the need for a ‘practice day’ my husband had the foresight to take the morning off.

Working upstairs, I heard my husband going through the first day of school check list with our son. Did he have everything? His violin? His ID?  Yes? Good.  My daughter had woken an hour before she needed to in order to see her brother off. All was going great and they even had a good ten minutes to spare before the bus was scheduled to arrive.

It was my daughter’s voice that cut through the calm. “Isn’t that Emily outside at the bus stop?  She goes to your school now, why is she out there so early?”

I paused in my work as the sound of murmurs drifted upstairs.  My son shouted, “There’s a bus! A bus is at the bus stop and Emily’s getting on it!”

My husband called up to me, “There’s a bus here! I thought it wasn’t supposed to be here until 6:50! It’s not even 6:40 yet!”

I called down, “Is it bus 11? Go out and check that it is the right bus!”

The front door opened, shut, opened again.  My husband called up, “It’s gone.”

My son was in near hysterics. “Was that the right bus? Did I just miss the bus?”

My daughter put in her two cents, “It was bus number 13. Is that your bus?”

“Is his bus 13?” my husband shouted up to me.

“No – on the website it says his is bus 11.”

“Then why is there a bus 13 at the bus stop?” my husband shouted.

“How am I supposed to know?” I shouted back.  “Check the website!”

I heard my husband scramble into the kitchen for his laptop when my oh-so-helpful daughter called out, “There’s the bus again.  It’s going by again but it’s going really slow this time.”

“The bus is here again!” my son shouted up to me.

“THEN GO OUT AND SEE IF IT’S YOUR BUS!” I shouted back.

“I think it’s bus 13 again,” my daughter added.

“How is he supposed to know if it’s the right bus?” my husband shouted up. “The internet is running slow.”

“ASK THE FREAKING DRIVER!” I shouted back. By this time, I’d emailed my boss asking if I could log off even earlier than scheduled.

The front door opened, shut, opened again. My husband called up, “We missed it.”

“Ugh!” I exclaimed then shouted down, “J – just go outside and stand at the bus stop.  If ANY bus shows up – 13 or 11 or whatever – ask the driver if that’s the bus you’re supposed to be on.”  The front door opened and shut.  My husband’s footfalls stomped up the stairs.  He entered the bedroom where I was working.

“What are you doing?” I asked as he tore through the closet.

“I’m getting dressed to take the kid to school.  We obviously missed the freaking bus.”

“But that was bus 13, right?”

“That was the first one. I have no freaking clue what the second one was.”

I started to say, “Maybe it will go by again – ” when the front door opened and my son’s voice cut me off. “There’s another bus coming from the other direction.”

My husband and I shouted together, “GO OUT TO THE BUS STOP!”

My husband raced down stairs, the front door opened and shut. I listened for a few moments then the door opened again.  My husband sighed heavily and slowly made his way back upstairs.

“It was bus 11. He got on the right bus. Apparently there are two buses this year that are both going to the middle school but come by the bus stop just a few minutes apart. Which is the stupidest freaking thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”  He collapsed on the bed as the chaos of the last five minutes slowly faded.

Not thirty seconds after he laid down my cell phone chirped announcing a new text message.  I read it and cringed.

“What?” my husband said, already nervous.

“It’s J.  He took his cell phone on the bus and just texted me.  He forgot his schedule that has his locker combination on it.”  My husband stared at me with a look of utter disbelief.  I tried to smile but it was a weak effort.  “He has to have his schedule, baby.  I’m sorry.”

He continued to stare at me for a long moment. Then he glanced at my PC where I was still logged in to work.  As reality dawned on him – that after all of the bus drama, he was still going to have to drive across town to the middle school to get our son his forgotten schedule – a slew of creative expressions filled the room.  I just gave him my sympathetic smile and continued working.

Suffice it to say that my husband and son’s morning routine has developed into a well-oiled machine now that everyone knows what they’re doing.  But that first time sure was entertaining.  At least for me. 😉

Conversations with my son

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A while ago, my then-10 year-old son and I were alone in the kitchen – him picking at his breakfast, me doing dishes – when he announced, “I don’t think I like gay people.”

I paused in my dish-doing.  His words were a statement but spoken more as a question. I asked carefully,  “And why is that?”

“They are just so annoying!  I don’t like them.”

I glanced at him over my shoulder and saw him lingering, still playing with his cereal.  Now, in universal parent language, this lingering means that he is waiting for a reaction.  Will Mom agree with this bold statement?  Will she yell at me for saying I don’t like someone?

I turned back to my dishes and said, “I didn’t realize you knew any gay people.”

“Well, there’s PJ*,” he said quickly. “And he’s the most annoying kid I’ve ever met!”

*PJ (not his real name, of course) is a boy that has gone to school with my son since Kindergarten.  He is feminine, likes dolls and ‘girlie’ stuff, and has feminine mannerisms. I think it was back in 3rd grade when my son asked what ‘gay’ meant because some kids (and grown ups) had started saying that PJ was gay. Now wasn’t the time to debate PJ’s sexuality – or why it was none of our business – but a bigger conversation was obviously necessary.

“Hmm,” I said and turned to face him, still drying a dinner plate.  I waited a beat while he took a bite of his food. “You know,” I said, “I heard you arguing with Mikey* over the Xbox yesterday.  He gets on your nerves sometimes doesn’t he?”

My son frowned a little. “He got on everybody’s nerves yesterday. I just stopped playing.”

I nodded thoughtfully.  “It’s because he’s black, right?  The reason he gets on your nerves so much – it’s because he’s black, isn’t it?”

My son froze with a spoonful of cereal halfway to his mouth.  I’d never actually seen anyone freeze mid-motion like that but that was exactly what he did.  His eyes were wide circles as he said, “What did you say?”

I swallowed the lump in my throat and kept going.  “Mikey gets on your nerves because he’s black, right?  Isn’t that why you argue with him so much?”

My son slowly put down his spoon as he stared at me with a mixture of confusion and fear.  “That has nothing to do with it. You know that Mom.  What Mikey looks like doesn’t mean anything. You know that.”

“Oh, right,” I said and continued drying my plate.  My son eyed me as he took another bite of his breakfast.  After another moment I said, “Well what about Ryan*? You’ve said you don’t like to play kickball with him sometimes and that he is annoying.”

My son visibly relaxed, grateful I was moving on. “Ryan is very annoying. And he yells at everybody!”

“Yeah…it’s because he’s fat, right?  That’s why you think he’s annoying.”

This time my son threw his spoon on the table.  “Why are you saying these things?” he shouted at me.  His eyes shimmered.  “Do you really think I’m like that? I don’t care about things like that at all.  I’m not prejudice, Mom!”

I put down my plate and stood with my hands on the table so I could lean over and look my son in the eye.  “Then what about PJ?”

At first he frowned in exasperation.  Then, as if in a cartoon or something, I saw the light go on in my son’s eyes.  His face drained of color and he looked me in the eye as if he couldn’t look away.

“It is the same thing,” I said, accentuating each word.  “It is hate. Do you understand that?”  Slowly he nodded. I pushed his cereal bowl. “You love Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Mikey doesn’t. Does that mean you hate Mikey?” He shook his head no. “It is all hate, J, and hate is unacceptable in this family.  Do you understand that?”  Again, he nodded.  “Who does God hate, J?”

“No one.”

“So who do we hate?”

“No one.”

“But what if your friends hate someone, or their parents hate someone?” I asked, figuring out where this was most likely coming from. “Do you hate then?”

“It doesn’t matter what they say.”  His voice was a little stronger now.

I backed off and picked up my plate again, letting myself take a deep breath now.  “Does that makes sense, buddy?  Do you really understand what I’m saying?”

“Yeah, I understand,” he said with his head down. “Sorry.”

I smiled at him as I gave him a hug.  “Don’t ever apologize for telling me what you think, bud.   And I’m not mad at you and you’re not in trouble. Ok?”

“Okay.  Can I eat the rest of this in the family room?”

“Sure.”

It was several months later that my husband was reading the news on his phone at our daughter’s softball game when he casually mentioned, “Hey, Jason Collins came out as the first openly gay NBA player.  That was brave.  Good for him.”

My son frowned. “Why was that brave?”

My husband, having put his phone away to watch our daughter bat, said, “A lot of people are probably going to give him crap about it.  It takes a lot of guts to be who you are when you know some people aren’t going to like it.  Atta’ girl!  Good swing!”

I didn’t say anything but watched my son frown in thought for a moment, then smile up at his dad before joining in cheering for his sister’s team

Finally, this past summer, while driving with the kids to the store, the Macklemore song, “Same Love” came on the radio.  After singing along for a few verses, my son said to his sister, “I think Macklemore is really brave for making this song because a lot of people and rappers don’t like gay people.  But I like this song.”

My son is in middle school now and while I don’t think he will always agree with the opinions of his father and me – in fact, I hope he doesn’t – I also hope that we are setting an example for him that will keep his mind and heart open.  After all, at this age, the influences of his peers are only going to get stronger.  I keep my fingers crossed and my prayers flowing that we are giving him and my daughter the right tools to come to their own conclusions. 🙂

Returning to Random

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Here’s the deal with this blog: I enjoy keeping track of my everyday life.  My writing, my kids, my overly mundane existence.  I’ve never done the scrap-booking thing or any other real recording of my family’s lives.  (No baby books, no special drawer of school crafts or drawings –  I’m not even good at taking pictures of those must-remember moments that all mothers cherish.)  So I started this blog as a way to record some of the amusing, special, and monumental moments that I didn’t want to forget and that I wanted to share with friends and family.  And I really enjoyed keeping it up to date … until my first book got published.

Don’t get me wrong, when NO PEACE FOR THE DAMNED came out in 2012, it wasn’t like it was released as a national best-seller or anything.  But it was my first anything ever published and it was HUGE for me as a writer.  I developed an author webpage that readers could follow and where I could keep track of my writing separately from this blog.  After all, no one who didn’t actually know me would ever be interested in my kids’ first days of school or the home repairs I was dealing with when my garage broke again, right?

Reality hit me at my first book signing in New York.  The event was amazing to say the least – author dinners, publisher cocktail parties, book signing – all super cool and super overwhelming.  But the moment that really knocked the breath out of me was when a librarian from Wisconsin who also ran a popular review blog handed me a copy of my book to sign and said, “My daughter has Type 1 Diabetes, too, but she was a teen when she was diagnosed.  How is your girl doing with it being so young?  Is she still able to do her cheerleading?”

That was the moment I realized that as long as I was going to be a published writer my privacy would be diminished.  People would read my personal blog or browse the pictures on my Facebook page.  I freaked.  I turned off my Facebook account, shut down this blog, I think I even started deleting pictures from my PC.  If people wanted to know about me and my books, great!  But my kids? No way.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that as long as I wanted to continue being a published author, hiding myself from every social and media site just wasn’t feasible.  Of course I had to Facebook.  Of course I had to Tweet.  And of course I had to blog.

It’s been over a year now since I stopped this blog and, honestly, I missed sharing some of the funny stories that my kids and I produce in our daily lives.  I want to continue writing about my incredible family and our strange and ordinary encounters and I want to do it through this fun blog that I started more than three years ago.  I’m just a little safer about it now.

So Random Megan is back online and, hopefully, I’ll be able to enjoy sharing my little life anecdotes as much as I did before.  And, hopefully, you will enjoy them, too. 😀

Remembering on Memorial Day

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Several months ago I had a frazzled day.  I had a hundred things to do and no time to do them.  A stop at the grocery store was first on my list.  With kids in tow, I practically ran through the store shouting warnings in my wake. “Don’t ask for anything not on our list!” “Keep hands to yourself!” “No bickering!” and of course, “STAY WITH ME!”

We hadn’t even made it to the cereal aisle when my then-nine-year-old son suddenly took off down a random aisle.  “Ugh!” I shouted as I dragged my daughter with me back through the store.  “I so do not have time for this!  What did I say a hundred times?”  With threats involving a PS3 and the garbage disposal on my tongue, I turned at the aisle my son had darted down, and stopped in my tracks.

At the far end of the aisle, two soldiers dressed in fatigues smiled down at my son.  As I watched, my son held out his hand and each soldier took it, shook it, and said, “You’re welcome.”

Suffice it to say, my son’s PS3 was left unharmed.

Our holiday weekend has been packed full of cookouts and races, swimming and fun times with loved ones.  But remembering this day with my son, I am reminded that some things are more important than obligations.  My family will take a moment of perspective today as we say our prayers in remembrance of those who have died serving our country.  We will be sure to include those who still serve, and still put their lives on the line for the rest of us.  And in our prayers we will take my son’s lead and be sure to say, “Thank you.”