Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Love, Mother, Mothering, Mothers and Sons | Posted on 02-04-2013
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Happiness, Love, Me Time, Mom Time, Personal Growth, Self | Posted on 15-02-2013
I’m kinda sick of my negative body image issues.
“But, Pippi! You’ve had three children! Each baby stretched out your belly, like three feet!”
It seems that I am running high on negative body issues and low on self-confidence. It concerns me that my less-than-robust self-confidence will mess with my ability to be a strong role model for my children. How can they grow to be self-confident if I don’t exude self-confidence?
“But, Pippi! You’re always so positive and so happy and so loving! You are a great Mom! Your kids adore you! Your husband loves you! You are surrounded by family and friends who think you’re awesome! You have a great job! And, man, what curly hair!”
Truth. Reality. I am so blessed. What am I even complaining about?
“But, Pippi, happiness is about inner beauty and needs to come from within! And not something you seek outside yourself! You know this!”
I do know this. I am my own hurdle. This. Has. Got. To. Change. I need to change this.
I read an article that brought clarity to my jumbled thoughts. It’s about finding happiness within. Gilbert Ross, the author of the How to Find Happiness, is trying to encourage people to break the negative pattern “I will be happy if…” If I lose 20 lbs…If I get a raise…Whatever the if is, it’s always something. This leaves us feeling empty and sad because we are never gonna be happy until we surpass the next hurdle. And there are always more hurdles. (I know this. I ran track and hurdles back in high school.)
As a first step, I am connecting with these negative feelings and am working to transform them. It is high time that I make peace with myself.
After all, I’m clever. I have a winning smile and personality. Golly, people like me! I have so much to be positive about and thankful for in my life.
So that I can continue to be a glass half-full person, I need to also fill my glass with self-love and self-confidence. One drip at a time.
This is something we all deserve. Fill ‘er up.
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Friends, Holidays, Love | Posted on 14-02-2013
Tags: friendship, Happy Valentine's Day, love
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Breakfast, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Teenager, Teenagers | Posted on 03-12-2012
Tags: breakfast, family, good morning, independence, love, mother, son, teen, together
Sleepy-eyed, slow-walking, nearly-staggering.
That’s my teen son in the early morning, before school.
He mumbles good morning and greets me with a hug. I whip up breakfast. Bacon and eggs. An English muffin. Sometimes hot chocolate. Sometimes oatmeal. Sometimes fruit.
Whatever it is, he eats with enthusiasm.
My son is certainly old enough to make his own breakfast.
A pro, in fact. He has mastered scrambled eggs. And microwave burritos.
Instead, I could use this morning time to log on and get some work done. Or start a work out.
It’s our 10 minutes of together-time.
My breakfast buddy. It’s a good morning.
I know a sweet family that traveled to Cancun, Mexico: a woman, her husband, and their two-year-old son. A perfect little trip to paradise where they encountered white sand, aqua water, and palapas (thatched umbrellas). Like a Corona commercial.
The family brought sand buckets, shovels, and plastic sharks to spend an afternoon under the palapa. Their son was busily enjoying an ice cream, as it quickly melted down his chin. The woman massaged her feet in the flour-like sand. Talking, smiling, laughing, relaxing. It was the perfect day.
The boy grew sleepy in the warm breeze and the couple made him a bed out of beach towels. Siesta time.
The aqua waters beckoned the woman. She looked at her sleeping toddler and made a bee-line for the waves. No problem, her husband would stay with the child while she played.
Ah. Warm water. She dunked her whole body in and jumped the waves. Like a child. Happy. Carefree.
Body surfing. It was blissful.
When she peeked at her husband and little boy, she realized she was further from the shore then she was comfortable with. So, she started to swim back in. Without warning, the waves increased their volume and force.
The magnet of a rip tide pulled her out.
She could no longer touch the bottom. The reassuring sandy bottom of the ocean floor.
Her head submerged, with the waves three feet over her head. The timing of her breathing was off. She inhaled salt water. Choking. Losing her breath. Sputtering. She wailed her arms frantically.
She was going under. Only 200 meters from the shore, she was drowning.
She could still see the palapa in the distance, but it was shrinking. She could barely make out the outline of her husband. Couldn’t he see her? She tried to signal him, but her head kept going under. He was watching their sleeping child.
Choking on salt water. Helpless. Trying to tread water, but powerless. She tried to yell for help, but her voice was a salt-filled whisper. She tried to swim, but she ran out of energy and the current was holding her back. Her worst fear: she was going to drown and never see her family again.
Then it happened. The parasailing crew spotted her and signaled the lifeguard. At that same moment, her husband looked up and saw her struggling. He sprinted–with sleeping toddler, rubber-like, in his arms–yelling frantically for help.
The lifeguard swam with intensity. The waves were still crashing over the helpless woman. He draped her arms around his shoulders and pulled her in, diagonally, to shore.
Her body was shaking. Her lungs were filled with salt water. She was bawling. But she was, oh, so grateful.
To the lifeguard, she was just another woman. But for the woman, he was an angel, who saved her paradise.
When I reflect on that near-drowning experience in Cancun more than a decade ago, I can still taste the salt water in my throat.
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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Communication, Love, Marriage | Posted on 02-10-2012
Tags: birthday, children, guitar, happy birthday, husband, Kindergarten, love, Maria, music, present, supportive, talent, The Sound of Music
It was a decade ago when my husband gifted me a guitar for my birthday. It was the sweetest birthday present ever. Sweet because he was supportive of my “musical dream.”
You see, I kinda wanted to be like Maria from The Sound of Music.
Dorky, right? Are you kidding? Maria was freaking awesome.
I wanted to learn to play Do Re Mi Fa and Old MacDonald Had a Farm for my young son. I was eager to strum along in his Kindergarten class down the line, to entertain the children with my forthcoming talents.
A glistening, wooden acoustic guitar smiled at me, beckoning. With new red picks, a tuner, a guitar case, and everything!
I tried to pluck. I tried to strum. I watched the DVD Playing Guitar for Dummies.
But I couldn’t do it.
I tried. For days. Weeks.
I just couldn’t get the hang of it.
Then, I got pregnant with my daughter. And I got busy with other things. Years passed. My guitar sat lonely in the corner of our living room, gathering dust.
Years later, people would visit and see the guitar and ask, “Cool. Do you play?” “Yeah, I play,” I would lie. Because saying “No, I never learned,” sounded so lame.
I later tried playing from time to time, but I didn’t have the patience (or the skill). I tried Guitar Hero. And I sucked at that too. Red. Green. Blue. Green. Red. Red. Yikes!
Now my daughter is nine and is learning to play the “fancy guitar in the corner of the living room.” We dusted it off. Bought her some new strings and neon picks. She has the patience. And she seems to have some talent.
I smile at her enthusiasm as she strums. And I smile that it was my husband who bought me the guitar in the first place.
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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Grandmother, Memories, Relationships, Women | Posted on 25-09-2012
Tags: aging, friend, friendship, love, priorities, relationships
We had a plan to meet up for a visit. My good friend, Irma, and I. Easy enough, she eats at 4:00 p.m.
Admittedly, I scheduled our visit like she was another appointment in my busy day. Get the kids to school, jog, conference calls, dentist appointment, and client meetings, then meet up with Irma. I was to visit my “adopted grandmother” at her senior living community. I drove like a maniac in traffic.
I arrived late. The white-haired crowd had already dispersed from dinner. Dishes were clattering, as the bussers wiped away dropped napkins, rolling peas and spilled iced tea.
A friendly woman, named Barbara, walked me to Irma’s apartment. Apparently, all of the residents know her. How can you resist Irma’s charming smile, funny stories, and kind words? The door was unlocked, as always. I knocked and called out, “Irma! It’s me!” I didn’t want to startle her.
She wasn’t there. Her place was quiet and tidy. Silk flower bouquets. Hummel figurines. A loud ticking clock, marking the seconds. An afghan to cover cold legs.
I left the chocolate chip cookies I had baked on the table, with the lace doily. “Oh, you sweet Darling. You always do such nice things for me,” I imagined her saying. I wanted to hug her frail, ninety-something-year-old shoulders. And see her twinkly eyes and her dangly earrings. The pair I gave her a decade ago. Now, far too heavy for her drooping lobes.
Where was she?
She always showered me with encouraging, complimentary words. I needed my “Irma fix.”
I navigated the maze hallway, down the elevator, and outside to her raised bed garden. In the hopes that she would be tending her delphiniums. At that same moment, Irma was meandering the maze hallway, up the elevator, looking for me.
The delphiniums were a lovely shade of periwinkle blue–though a bit weathered through the heat of summer–and were staked up. With the hopes to stay strong and perky another month. Hopeful.
Circling. Searching. I must have passed the white-haired trio of women sitting on the bench gabbing and enjoying the evening air, four times. They gave me a perplexed look.
An hour later after I had left and was driving down the freeway, Irma called me with her sunshiny voice, “Hello, Dear! I am so sorry. I took a walk and checked my flowers and got caught up talking to one of my friends.”
Of course she did. That is just so Irma.
I smiled, “It’s OK. It was my fault for being late.” (And I mentally kicked myself.) “Let’s plan another visit in a few weeks.”
And I knew that when I said that, that I had better prioritize Irma in my over scheduled life.
Because friends should not be treated like appointments. And Irma, much like her beautiful delphiniums, will not last forever.
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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childhood, Family, Grandparents, Memories, Music, Relationships | Posted on 11-09-2012
Tags: childhood, family, grandparents, love, memories
Being the youngest grandchild gave me pampering privileges.
My grandfather, with his Einsteinish hair–crimped, like white cotton candy–would sit in his La-Z-Boy chair, with the cracked seat cushions, letting me pet the whiteness. But only for a few minutes. Too much giggling.
He would let me sit on the armrest while he did his crossword puzzle in the daily newspaper. I loved how he would straighten the newspaper out just so—crackle–and fold it back into quarters, and then into eighths. A perfect rectangle. He was always with pencil. If not in his hand, then one tucked behind his fluff. The heavy black Webster dictionary was by his side. He would look up words as he read and pontificated. And he would put a check mark by the words he looked up with his pencil. Proof that he had been there. Over the years as I would flip through the wonton-thin pages of the dictionary, I was amazed at how many words had been studied.
As I sat by his side, balancing on the armrest, I was encouraged to watch, but not talk too much. He liked my company but he didn’t like distraction. Except for the hefty bowls of Butter Brickle ice cream my grandmother would bring us. The brown sugar toffee crystals would dissolve on my tongue and I’d let the ice cream pool into liquid—savoring and prolonging the moments.
I would sprawl out on the orange-gold shag carpet that smelled a little wooly, a little doggy. I’d spread pillows onto the floor, to make a nest.
His soft pencil scribbles usually lulled me into a nap.
Sometimes, special memories don’t hit you until it’s too late.
I want to go back to that living room on White Oak to hear the newspaper crinkling, smell the carpet, taste the toffee, and fall asleep in my special nest, pampered in the love of my grandparents.
Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Childrearing, Children, Fathers, Men | Posted on 17-06-2012
I know a Dad who:
- Mixes paint colors and demonstrates brush techniques with his daughter, while she sits wide-eyed with awe and follows his lead–turning blank canvases into works of art.
- Watches old war movies with his son, late into the night.
- Loves his children.
- Plants apple trees and hardy perennials and Douglas Firs, transforming the yard into an oasis. He buys the spindly Charlie-Brown-trees at the nursery and nurtures them until they are full and tall and lush.
- Kisses his children to sleep and makes up a new kiss each week: angel (soft as a whisper), bird (pecks your neck), and puppy (nibbles your ear)–causing the children to giggle and wonder what will next week’s kiss bring?
- Demonstrates the work ethic and provides for his family. Every day.
- Removes splinters with his special X-Acto knife, squeezes blisters on soccer toes, and pulls baby teeth, that are hanging-by-a-thread, with a washcloth. He is not squeamish.
- Talks Star Wars trivia with his son. For hours.
- Gives prep talks and pep talks before soccer, football, and baseball games, reinforcing the importance of playing your best.
- Buries pets who were dearly loved.
- Compliments and supports his children’s projects with genuinity: Lego creations of hovercrafts-with-shooting-missiles; portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in watercolor; B+ math tests; diagrams depicting the life cycle of water; drawings of super heroes with stick bodies.
- Cooks with heat, introducing his children to spice and zest.
- Puts his family first. Always.
- Lays down ground rules for his children about how to act–and about how not to act–in the family, in school, in society.
- Queues up the children’s DVDs first in the Netflix queue, so they arrive the day they are released.
- Treats his dogs with compassion, love-and-tough-love, and mutual respect.
- Turns any weekday into a family party night, with Indiana Jones and popcorn.
- Teaches his children the importance of being kind to each other, others, animals–and most importantly, their mother.
This Dad I know is the father of our three children.