Monday, February 24, 2014

Are You the Glitter or the Glue?

My house is a mess right now. It seems that every room has a pile of stuff to be put away, sorted through, or in some way attended to. Yesterday after the boys' basketball games, I had intentions of cleaning the basement. I could have cleaned Molly's playroom because it looks like a tornado hit it. I could have cleaned the piles of stuff leftover from Timmy's room makeover from last weekend. I could have done laundry, cleaned the laundry room, the kitchen, my desk…you get the idea, the house is a mess. But instead, I laid down on the couch and read a book. 

I'm feeling under the weather. Shannon has been battling a nasty virus and now I can feel the back of my throat starting to get swollen, a few body aches, and a general feeling of I just want to lie down and take a rest. It really does amaze me how quickly things fall into disarray around here when I don't stay on top of everything. 

When I think about it, Chris and I have a traditional marriage…family. He gets up early, goes to work and works hard all day. He is good at what he does, responsible, dedicated, level headed, diplomatic, attentive to details…I'm his biggest fan. But while he is doing his thing, I am doing my thing…position, CEO of the Nealon Corporation. I stay at home. But it is this stay at home mama that checks her emails  for updates to basketball schedules, soccer schedules, dance performances, spring tryouts, school events, classroom updates, tests that are coming up. It is the mama that knows when it is cozy day in fourth grade and tells Molly to pick out which stuffed animal to bring. It is the mama that knows about a field change or time change for practice. It is the mama that knows when the next payment is due for spring soccer or a New York City dance performance. It is the mama that knows when there are school meetings and worries about course selection and making sure her kid isn't overwhelmed with classes that are too hard but also competitive enough for college. It is the mama that has magical eyesight and knows exactly where the syrup is in the pantry even from another room when her kid is standing right in front of it and can't see it. At any given moment there are 12,674 items floating around in a mama's head of things on her to-do list, mental notes she makes, appointments that need to be made, (note to self, make appointment for the dogs to get updated on shots…oh yeah, and Timmy needs an orthodontist appointment) and just "stuff" that needs to be DONE. 

With all this, at times there is a sense of being completely overwhelmed and many times I feel that I am the "bad guy" and Chris gets to be the "good guy" for lack of a better ways of putting it. Because with all this mama responsibility, it is me that makes the kids clean their rooms and makes their beds and do their chores. It is me that knows there is a test coming up and that they need to turn off the TV and go study. It is me that tries to teach them to budget their time between school work and basketball and if you have 11 pages of math homework due by Tuesday and basketball games and spring tryouts then you might have to get up early on a weekend day to get the work done BEFORE basketball. These are all things that they don't want to hear. Yep, mama always seems to be the bearer of bad news.

Now that's not to say that any of this is not important to Chris, it is. He hates when their rooms are a mess or he'll remind me that he his down to his last pair of boxers and that Timmy needs to get caught up on his chores. Chris may not know where basketball practice is, but when he's at a game he's the dad cheering not just for our kids but for all the kids on the team. Chris may not know that Timmy's letter to the Bishop is due this week for Confirmation, but he's the dad that calls up to Ryan who has already put himself to bed and says, "Hey, Ryan there's a funny movie on TV, you want to watch with me?" Chris leaves most mornings before my alarm even goes off and there are many nights that he makes it home just in time to give Molly a good night kiss before she goes to bed. His time is limited and so when he walks in the door, the kids are excited to see him. They are excited to share a funny story of something that happen at school, they are excited to share what happen at practice, they are excited to share a funny video that saw on youtube. The other day, Ryan out of the blue said to me in the car on the way to basketball, "Have you ever noticed that when one person from our family, doesn't matter which one, is missing from the dinner table, things just are not the same, you can tell there is a missing piece." 

As a whole, we work as a family, I am the one that attends to all the nitty gritty details of our everyday life. Chris is the one that adds some fun and laughter into the mix. If you were making a roast, I would be the meat and potatoes but Chris would be the spices and the garnish. He's the one that adds the flavor and flair to our everyday life. But, you can't just eat spices alone, you have to have something to put it on, a meal certainly would be bland without the added spices. You need both, the meat and potatoes, and the spices to make it a good meal. 

But there are times that I want to be the spice, I am tired of always being the bland, dependable meat and potatoes that gives nourishment but adds no flavor or flair. 

So back to yesterday, lying on the couch, reading Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan. 

I read both her other books The Middle Place and Lift. All these books are about being a mom. She puts those thoughts down on paper that all us moms think about and as you read it you think, "I know exactly what she's talking about. I have had those same exact thought!" On the book jacket, it says that her own mom used to always say, "Your father is the glitter and I am the glue." And I thought yes, EXACTLY! I am the glue! The glue that keeps everything together, if you didn't have glue everything would just fall apart. But sometimes I want to be the glitter! I want to sparkle! When you look at something sparkly and glittery, no one says, "Oh, look at that glue behind the glitter, you must have some really good glue! You must have used some really strong glue!" Nope, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that. But reality is, you can't have all glitter and no glue. It doesn't work, you have to have glue...and that is me. 

But that doesn't mean that Chris and I can't trade places every once in a while. I don't have to be the glue ALL of the time. When my kids are all grown, and gone and have families of their own, I want them to remember the lessons that I have tried to teach them. I want my voice to be inside their heads. I want them to remember to eat their frog first thing in the morning. I want them to remember that people may not remember their words or their actions but will remember how they made them feel. I want them to go out each day and be the best person possible and that the only person they really need to be better than is the person that they were yesterday.

But I need to be a little less glue and a little more glitter. I want them to remember baking cookies and snow days and family movie nights and snuggling in bed reading and family dinners and catching fireflies and making smores…and…and…and...

Are you the glue or the glitter? I am definitely the glue with not enough glitter.

As I finish writing this, my computer dings letting me know that I have an incoming email. Basketball practice has changed time and location tonight. Fourth grade show date has changed, I think for the third time and the phone just rang and my credit card was just used this past weekend…not by me. Yep, I'm the glue.

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