Archive for October, 2011

30 Oct 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

24 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

Do you now, or did you ever, have a nickname?

I never have had one, and it makes me sorta sad. The only nickname I ever had was “Lisa Kushell” or “Lisa Arch”. What? (You’re asking), but isn’t that your full maiden name followed by your full married name?

Yes. For some reason people never really call me Lisa. They always use my first and last name. “Lisa Arch” is how I am frequently greeted by my friends. In high school some people called me “Koosh”, short for Kushell. But I’m not really sure that counts.

So, allow me to live vicariously through you as you share your nicknames. And come up with one for me, if you so desire.

22 Oct 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

14 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

Do you keep your promises?

One thing that always gave me great security growing up was the fact that my parents never broke a promise to me. Seriously. Never. If they used the word “promise”, it held great weight.

Russ and I are raising G the same way. If we make a promise we keep it. If we’re not sure we can deliver, we don’t promise. We say, “We’ll see”, or “Maybe”. But a promise is a guarantee.

I realized, however, that I promise things to other people that I don’t always stick to. It’s not purposeful. As a matter of fact, I always think I’m going to do what I say I’m going to do… But I don’t always. So I’m trying a couple of things when it comes to the promises I make outside of my family:

A. Promise only when it’s something I know for a fact I’m going to follow through on, just like I do with my son.

B. Make fewer promises

I promised a teacher at G’s school that I would try her family’s new restaurant a couple of months ago. I meant it, but I never followed through. When I saw her the other day, I told her again that we would be coming by. Tonight, we did. I felt good about it because I kept my word. Our kids see everything. And even though G didn’t know I made that promise, he does know that we supported a friend of ours.

Several months ago, we visited an amazing animal sanctuary and I promised (I PROMISED) I would help the woman who runs the place raise some money by having a charity event. I don’t even know where it came from, but I was so overwhelmed by the work she does… I just wanted to help. I absolutely have to keep that promise, and I will. And I feel like I have to do it soon.

But I need to think before blurting out a promise. I need to make sure it’s something I can follow through on, or I need to make it clear that I’m going to try to do my best.

So, do you keep your promises? How much does it matter when people keep their promises to you?

20 Oct 2011

There’s Apple Juice in Heaven

16 Comments Family, Personal Crap, Toddler

It comes with the territory of having a smart kid; a kid who isn’t satisfied with “yes” or “no” answers, a kid who likes details, who looks inside of things and turns them around in his head over and over until they make sense. You have to expect it from a kid who likes to know everyone is happy and no one is in a bad mood, or angry, or sad.  A kid who totally understands when you take his chocolate dessert away because it’ll make him cough harder. (As long as you replace it with a frosted sugar cookie.)

We told G on Saturday that our cat, Sonny passed away, and for two hours he was untouched by the news. But as soon as he digested it, the questions came.

“Will we see him again?”

“Is he still sick?”

“Was he old?”

They were easy questions at first. The great thing about Garrett is you just have to be honest with him. We always are. Yes, the shot will hurt a little but then you’ll get a lollipop. No, you can’t bring your blanket to the restaurant because God knows what’s on the floor of those places, and if it touches the floor I’ll have to wash it 30 times.  No, this isn’t mommy’s original nose.

But the questions got harder. And somewhere between honesty and fantasy lies spirituality. This is the first time I had to share any of my beliefs with my son, and the first time I wasn’t sure about how honest I was being… Because I don’t know the truth.

“Am I going to die?”

“Yes, we all are.”

“What happens when we die?”

“Well, I think we go to Heaven and we get to do a lot of fun things.”

“Do they have houses? And food? And drinks? And refrigerators?”

“Yes to all of those.”

Then he said this:

“I’m SO EXCITED to get to Heaven!!”

I put the brakes on.

“Whoa!! Slow down, sweetie. Don’t rush to get there. You should stay here as long as possible.”

“But Heaven sounds fun!”

“I’m sure it is, honey. But it’s fun here, too. I would miss you if you went there, so let’s all stay here for a while.”

“Okay.”

Then he got sad and said he didn’t want to die because he wouldn’t be able to play with his Transformers. (He only has one Transformer. And it’s on loan from his cousin. But apparently it’s the one possession that’s making him want to stay here.)

We talked about Grandpa Art and how he’s probably taking care of Sonny, then he asked if we could call them. I told him he could talk to them whenever he wanted but we wouldn’t be able to hear them talk back. I told him when people die we don’t get to see them again, and that it’s harder for us then it is for them.

He wanted to know what Heaven looks like and if we could look it up on the computer. I told him no one knows unless they’ve already gone there, but we could draw pictures in the morning of what we think it looks like.

He asked if Russ and I are going to die, and when. I told him we’d hopefully all live until we’re 100 years old. Then he said over and over how he didn’t want to ever die and I told him it was so long from now that we don’t have to worry about it. I distinctly remember those childhood fears. They’re still fears of mine, but they’re a lot less raw and scary.

It was a hard conversation to have. It tested all of my parenting skills. And I know we’ll be talking about it for a long time. It is in these moments, when we’re faced with these challenges, that we parents wonder how much we’re screwing our kids up. Because, we are. It may just be a little bit, barely detectable, but it’s most likely bigger than that. And if we didn’t screw them up this time, we’ll do it the next time, when they ask us about love or marriage or oral sex or drugs or alcohol or geometry.

But it is in the deepest part of me that I long to look my son in the eye and share with him my truths.  I promise to not shy away from the tough questions, but to face them head-on and answer them. I want him to know that he is worth the painful conversations and the uncomfortable silences. I will do my best to not screw him up too badly. Or I’ll die trying.

16 Oct 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

19 Comments Flawless Saturday Question

What is the last ridiculous thing that made you cry?

I booked a job on a new Disney show this week. It was something I had auditioned for several days before, but they didn’t let me know I had the job until 14 hours before I was due on the set.

Five years ago, they could have let me know about the job 14 MINUTES before I was to work, but now I have a son (in case you didn’t know), and this son of mine requires care, and I had no one to provide said care at the moment.

In addition, I had several appointments I would now have to cancel, grocery shopping that wouldn’t get done, and a lost driver’s license that would have to wait to be replaced. Oh, and I had barely slept in three days.

I spontaneously combusted. I started sobbing and I could not, for the life of me, stop. Garrett was sitting at the table eating dinner and stared at me. He’s never seen me cry like that. I mean, he’s seen me cry. But I’ve never been that tired and irritable and unable to STOP crying in front of him.

“Mom! Stop crying! I’m a really good finder. I’ll find your driver’s license.”

“That’s not why I’m crying, buddy.”

“Well, why are you crying?”

“I can’t explain it. I’m very frustrated.”

“Well, take off your glasses and wipe your tears. Then take a deep breath. You’ve got to calm down.”

Yes, that is exactly what he said. I took a deep breath.

“Are you calming down?”

“Yes. I’m calming down. I’m sorry I cried like that.”

Here are all of the reasons my crying was absurd:

1. I got a JOB. I know about 30,000 people who would kill for even a week of work right now, and I was given just that. That’s good news.

2. I was crying about getting a job in front of my four-year-old son.

3. My four-year-old son had to calm me down.

4. I could move all of my appointments to other days. Frustrating? Yes. Cry-worthy? No.

5. I need to start getting to bed earlier.

So, the week is over and the job was an absolute blast. My mom was able to handle picking G up from school and taking care of  him until either Russ or I got home. G even went home with a friend one day and had a five-hour play date which made him very happy. It all worked out.

I’m more than a tad mortified that Garrett had to take care of me in that moment. But I guess it’s good for him to know that I’m human and that I cry sometimes just because I’m hungry or tired or frustrated. And it was amazing for me to see how good he is at caring for a person who needs help. I’d like to think Russ and I had something to do with that.  (I’m just trying to make myself feel less stupid here.)

So, do me a solid and let me in on a recent time when you cried for a really stupid reason. (This is my second time in recent memory. Remember how I cried when I ruined the mac and cheese?) Oh my god. I really need to start sleeping.

08 Oct 2011

Flawless Saturday Question

26 Comments Flawless Saturday Question, Uncategorized

Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday otherwise known as The Day of Atonement. With that in mind, I’m curious:

Is there anyone you need to forgive? Anyone who you wish would forgive you? Or… Is there something you should forgive YOURSELF for?

Yom Kippur tends to be a sort of New Year for me. Which, in fact, it is anyway. Last week was Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. To be honest, I don’t celebrate these holidays as heartily as I used to, but I do still get something out of them. Yom Kippur is not only a day of forgiving, but a day of deciding to do better. And there are certainly many things I could do better.

This year I’m going to try my absolute hardest to work on my patience. I feel sick to my stomach when I yell at someone who just cut me off in traffic, and G-Man is sitting in the backseat. I need to let that stuff go. He sees me do things along those lines way too often, and I do not want to set that example.

I also need to be more patient with people, including G-Man, my husband, my mom, and myself. I expect things to happen too quickly and I get very frustrated when they don’t. And sometimes I forget G is only 4, and he can’t help but be a giant goofball when I only have five minutes to get out of the house. (By the way, I love that my son is a big goofball.)

So, I am going to forgive myself for my transgressions this past year, and promise to do better in the coming year.

I’m also going to forgive myself for dropping the ball on blogging and tweeting the last couple months. And try to do better.

Now, LAY OFF!! (And answer the question. Please. If you don’t however, I’ll forgive you.)

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