Monday, January 19, 2015

The Top Ten Resolutions of a Middle-Aged Mom

Happy New Year! I hope that you all enjoyed your holiday time together with friends and family. I am lucky enough to have a 2-week "break" that mirrors my kids, a period of time that is somehow too long and too short all at once! (Hmmm, Christmas shopping, wrapping, cooking and entertaining on top of my regular chores? If that's what you want to call it!) 

In our family, ever in search of the more meaningful way to celebrate the time of year that is often filled more with unrealistic expectations and over-extended gift budgets than peace and joy, we have tried to begin and sustain small traditions and rituals in order to anchor memories outside of everyone throwing up from the stomach flu or mom and dad arguing about how many "Taxslayer", "Duck Commander", "Gildan Underwear" and "Just Another Excuse to Watch Football Instead of Emptying the Dishwasher" college bowl games one should watch on any given day! 

So from Thanksgiving on, once all the extended relative visits have been completed, we do both small and big things together like watching "Christmas Vacation" for the 50th time, going out to the tree farm with 5000 other families to tromp around in the mud and find the perfect tree, bake mis-shapen cookies, walk around downtown to look at the colorful Christmas lights and even more colorful people, build puzzles, play games and then, on that last official day of the season, we coax as many reluctant friends to join us as we can and all jump in the frigid Winter waters of Lake Washington with another 5000 colorful people, firmly believing in the magical healing properties of frozen toes and goose poop!

Then, once toes have thawed and poop has been properly rinsed, our end-of-season holiday traditions continue as we sit around as a family and set our New Year's goals for ourselves. Being the typical, neurotic, NE Seattle uber-parents that we are, we have set goals as long as the kids could understand enough to write them down in pre-school scrawl. And despite the fact that the mere mention of goal-setting for my kids is the equivalent of asking them to take a 100-point math test before opening gifts on Christmas morning, after all the moaning and groaning, we bribe them with hot chocolate and although they would never admit it, they actually enjoy the process of celebrating the many goals that they are usually proudly surprised they have achieved from the past year. 

Now, these goals range anywhere from being nicer to brother, sister, or college-bowl watching husband, losing weight and exercising instead of sitting around watching football, (not naming names here!), eating more greens before they get slimy in the fridge again, not sucking thumbs to the point of having to wear headgear, not picking boogers and wiping them in various places of surprising obviousness, becoming a better listener and speaker so that mom doesn't feel like she's in a "Who's on First?" comedy routine anytime she asks a question (or at least giving more than a grunt when spoken to!), not saying "no" all the time as a first response (again, not naming names!), paying off debt incurred merely by living in NE Seattle, making a selected sports team or five, (again, it's NE Seattle!) getting better grades so mom doesn't have to check the Source every hour or getting up at 5:00AM to write my blog!

So it's 5:30AM (baby steps!) and as I sit here staring at the new writers electronic version of a blank page, I am once again determined to follow through on what seems like a now crazy and impossible goal made chatting around a holiday fire! It all seemed so much more achievable and easier to be determined wrapped in the warmth of firelight and spiked cocoa than faced with an alarm sounding in pitch black darkness whose sole promise is that I have to step out of my warm covers into the cold morning air to stare at this blank page! The endless possibilities of the life that could be is sometimes so much more fun to dream about than the reality of the hard work and discipline needed to not hit the snooze button and fulfill them, right?!

But here I am, and as I wait for some caffeine to kick in to help my aging brain cells recall any words beyond "what was I thinking?!", what better way to begin my newly-inspired journey towards reviving my blog than to share with you my Top 10 Resolutions for 2015. So here they are, in no particular order: 

1. Since I have just finished reading "Still Alice" and am now quite sure that I also have early onset Alzheimers, I resolve to not feel like I'm "Still Corinne"  each time I do something like ask my son the same question I did two minutes ago, forget why I went upstairs, lose the coffee I was just drinking, try to open the front door of my house by repeatedly pressing my car fob in frustration, wondering why it isn't opening, or try to use the car radio's volume knob to turn down (or better yet, off!) my daughter's mile-a-minute monologue on every thought that enters her brain, thinking that it was just another 10th playing of the same Top 40 song of the day. Needless to say it didn't work!

2. I resolve to not break down into tears when my teenage son comes upstairs in the morning before school after a 45-minute shower that I'm sure has used up more water than African nations use in a month, a towel wrapped around his waist, and greets me with "I don't have any underwear" because I know that I have failed, once again, to be the perfect mom who works full-time, cooks a variety of delicious, home-made dinners that do not come out of a cereal or Costco-sized Bagel Bites or Mozzarella Cheese Stick box and gets all her laundry washed and folded so that her kids have clean underwear everyday!

3. I resolve not to panic every time I feel a new, middle-aged ache or pain in any part of my body and rush to self-diagnose myself by stopping everything else I am doing to "google" my symptoms and then convince myself that I have some terminal or chronic disease for which there is no cure (see resolution #1 above) and then worry incessantly over it until I can attribute it either to something I ate or drank, the fact that I woke up at 3am to worry about something else like no clean underwear in my house (see resolution #2 above) or until the next new symptom pops up (wash, rinse, repeat, right?!).

4. I resolve not to feel irritated when I walk into into any given "if you're older than-50 you shouldn't probably be shopping here" store at the mall and can't even think straight because I am overwhelmed by the annoying number of overstuffed clothing racks that they can squeeze into 800 square feet, the appeal-to-your-inner teenager music blaring over my head and the people who always seem to want to be exactly where I am standing like a deer in the headlights as I look around at all the outfits hanging on all the walls trying to figure out how a 50-something mom should dress once she changes out of yoga pants!

5. I resolve to fight the urge to ask the 20-year-old Sephora clerk, at said mall, with the perfect teeth, beautiful, long and ungrayed hair and baby-smooth, non-blotchy and unwrinkled skin, "do you think I'm still pretty?"! Better yet, maybe I should just resolve to give up the mall! 

6. I resolve to get rid of the unhealthy idea that worrying incessantly about any issue (see all of the above) is the same as being in control over it and finally accept and enjoy the woman that I am now instead who I have not yet become for one reason or another or who I was before my graying hair, muffin top, aversion to magnified bathroom mirrors, Sephora clerks, and mall store music! 

7. I resolve to stop trolling Facebook for evidence that my life is not as good as or is better than that girl in 9th grade who stole away my first crush or that the guy who bullied me in high school is now divorced, bald, and out of shape. (Okay, that is kind of fun, though, isn't it?!) 

8. I resolve to buy a pair of reading/magnification glasses and a pen and notebook for every room and hallway in my house, or better yet, design a cool bedazzled lanyard for middle-aged ladies to carry their smart phones around their necks along with their reading glasses so that every scattered thought, missed grocery item, appointment to schedule or cancel, bill to pay, birthday gift to buy, paperwork to dig up, thank you note to write, clothing item you'd like to purchase or load of laundry to fold can finally get out of the head that I think, for now, is still Corinne's! 

9. I resolve to try and go gluten-free. Okay, maybe not!

10. And finally, I resolve to be grateful for and savor every minute of my middle-aged life while I am Still Corinne, and can laugh when I hear such choice things like "Mom, look what just came out of my ear!" or "There's no good place to fart around here!" relishing the fact despite all of my striving for perfection, my kids will never get mad at me because the bathroom isn't clean, my husband still loves me despite the inability of the $100 Sephora cream to halt my fading youth and that I really have learned a lot over the past 50 years of my life, even if I can't remember half of it!

And before I end, I also want to take the time to thank the many friends who have been asking and urging me to continue to write. It is because of you that my 5AM bell sounds! I hope that the achievement of all your resolutions is also off to a successful beginning. Thank you, as always, for your support!