There’s Just Something About That First-Born

Yesterday, my youngest decided to sign up for her first triathlon. She’s 9 and feelin’ sporty! Her big brother and sister did tris for years around this same age, so she’s ready to have her go at it. And, she figures she has three (including ME!) built-in coaches to help her train and prepare. I might add, just to be on the safe side, she chose a race that’s still four months away…nothing like preparation!

So, after her first official training run, we did some stretching. My oldest son–the cyclist who is just about the sweetest big brother any little girl could ever have–told her he’d teach her how to massage her legs to keep them fresh. It was dinner time, so they didn’t jump right into that, but just as our little sports girl was ready to crawl into bed, she realized they hadn’t done this, yet, and it couldn’t wait another moment! (she’s very literal)

Even though my son was already settling in with his own evening routine of reading cycling news on his phone and reading about cyclists in his books, he stopped everything to do what he promised his little sister he’d do.

As I stood there watching my son take as much time on his baby sister who had run less than a mile at an average pace she could have walked the entire course in, taking such care and telling her why to massage these muscles this way and those muscles that way, etc., I did what I tend to do when I realize how old my oldest is getting…I got choked up. Dang those motherly hormones and sensitivity! I get choked up because I’m so proud of the young man he has become, because he’s still growing and maturing, and not yet a man but certainly no longer a boy.

wp-1465564028173.jpgI got choked up, and although I thought I was keeping it reigned in pretty well, my daughter saw the tightness of my face and understood immediately what I was thinking. Then, the sensitive youngest got chocked up…and didn’t worry with the annoyance of keeping it held in. She went from relaxed bliss to bursts of tears and hugs. She cries because he is going into his senior year and will be going away soon to pursue his own dreams. She cries because he’s her biggest ally and is always willing to drop everything for her. She cries because, like my step-sons who have gone before, my oldest son will move on with his life, building a family of his own some day and their relationship will change. She cries because she doesn’t like change.

And, what does my oldest son do but take it all in patient stride!

He takes it in stride when we’re crying over him getting older. He takes it in stride when he’s drowning in estrogen, surrounded by sisters and me! He takes it in stride when his friends are being crazy, angry, aggressive, competitive, or just plain silly. He takes life in stride, which is probably the quality I am most proud of in my son.

So, here’s to your senior year of high school, Morgan! May this year hold so much possibility, not just for what’s to come this year, but for the ways you’ll continue to learn, grown, and develop for the lifetime to come. Expect more things you will need to take in stride…but I know you will with the same confidence and care you do, now. I am so proud of you, my oldest!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Lessons on Acceptance

This pic of Kelsey was taken by one of her dear Wisconsin friends. I love it--it captures Kels' truest essence so beautifully.

This pic of Kelsey was taken by one of her dear Wisconsin friends. I love it–it captures Kels’ truest essence so beautifully.

“Bullying” has become quite the hot topic in recent years. Months are devoted to it at my children’s schools. Pamphlets abound about it. People are suspended from schools and jobs over it. A generation ago, what is now so clearly identified as bullying was “tough love.”

In many ways, over the course of my lifetime to date, I will openly admit that I have played both sides of this fence. Blame my naiveté or the sign of the times, as one of the more popular kids growing up, I’m quite sure my pride pushed others aside and put others down. The flip side is that I have also spent much time on the receiving end of emotional bullying, and know first hand how painful it can be.  Even though it never leaves a visible mark, bullying changes people. It changes them from the people they were on the path to becoming.

My daughter, Kelsey (of the previous “This Is Kelsey” post), has also had experience with this sort of pain and sees how incredibly harmful “tough love” is. I wanted to share with you a post she recently made on the subject, because her words are so insightful and wise, and because (let’s face it…) I’m a proud mom.

These are Kelsey’s words:

Thought of the day-
Lately, I’ve started taking a lot more notice of all the people who show an extreme lack of acceptance. Whether it be an offensive name, taunting, or some other form of bullying/abuse, people have lost the ability to look at things from someone else’s point of view. So, here are a few reminders:
1) Calling someone a “retard” is offensive for many reasons. Not only are you using a word that’s not meant to have a negative connotation as a way to demean someone, but it’s wholly unnecessary.
2) The same goes with calling someone/something “gay” when they aren’t/don’t want to be called that. You’re taking a word that is a serious part of some peoples lives and turning it into a joke.
3) “Slut shaming” is a terrible thing. Judging anyone for the way they dress and/or the lifestyle they lead wrong. You may not agree with someone’s way of dressing or acting, but you shouldn’t go out of your way to make them feel about themselves.
4) THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT ONE. Body shaming is wrong and a serious form of emotional abuse. People have become better about accepting many types of bodies, whether they be larger or smaller, but there have been complications. I’ve seen a lot of people who make posts or talk about the fact that they respect larger women/men, but in the process, they skinny shame. (Example- “I would rather be big than be a stick figure” or “eat something, skinny girls need some meat on their bones”.) EVERY body should be accepted without putting someone else down. Remember that both skinny and heavier individuals can have body image issues. No one wants to be made fun of for something that would take them years (if at all) to change.

Acceptance is key. Please take a minute each time you’re about to say something that could offend someone and think about how it would feel if the roles were reversed. You deserve better, and so do they. Respect yourself and respect those around you. Besides, why waste your time on doing something that’s not beneficial to your happiness? Life is too short and no one with hate in their hearts can be truly happy.

**Thank you, Kelsey. I love you a zillion and am so proud of your enormous heart for people!**

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

This is Kelsey

wpid-picsart_10-08-10.27.31.jpg

Today was a milestone day in my teenage daughter’s life, but this is more than merely a proud mom moment, this is a transformation story that I was allowed to watch unfold in awe.

This is my oldest daughter, Kelsey. She is a beautiful spirit of a person, and certainly indomitable. She’s the second born child, which–in a nut shell–means that everything I so easily mastered with my first son was completely turned on its head and proven wrong with my second child. She’s been her very own version of herself since Day 1, even in her persistence to be born…she couldn’t wait a single moment more to get on with this thing called life and insisted on being born two months early, with no residual complications or health concerns to speak of. She is and always will be my “angel baby.”

The road for someone so spirited and creative can be a difficult one. When your ways of doing things don’t quite line up with the societal (or parental…) “norms,” frustrations erupt easily and with relatively frequency. She has gone through periods of time when she held her wildest dreams close to her, not sharing them for the sake of no longer wanting to argue or defend her stance. Other times, she has shared it all, baring her soul and her dreams in the open for those all around her to observe and, consequently, judge. She’s one of those kids who could have gone either way…she could use this uniqueness to her advantage or allowed it to swallow her up in a dark hole that summons the “unique” of our society. Kelsey chose the higher road. She has big dreams and decided not to allow her way of being work against her, but to use it as her fuel for accomplishment.

Her latest great endeavor has been one of great openness and, as of tonight, great success. Kelsey has been writing and creating all forms of artwork essentially her entire life to this point. She’s wildly talented an creative, but–like me–is great at starting things, but for one reason or another tends toward quitting and moving on to another project of greater excitement before finishing the first. Kelsey has begun writing many books, but this time was different. There was something different in her mindset, her preparation, her planning, and her execution that was the turning point between past abandonments and current success. And, each day of this writing journey, she posted on her personal Facebook page what she had accomplished in her writing for the day. Without giving away all of her trade secrets, I will share that her primary writing goal was 2,000 words a day. She often exceeded this goal, but every day she wrote and wrote and wrote. She wrote after a long day at school. She wrote after homework. She wrote in the middle of a chaotic house full of family. She wrote in the quiet of her bedroom. Wherever she was, and however she had the opportunity, Kelsey was able to buckle-down, focus, and let the writing flow through her fingertips.

This evening, she posted this: wpid-screenshot_2015-10-18-22-12-17-1.png

Please understand right here and now that Kelsey realizes that this is just the first step in a very long journey of writing and working to be a published author, but this is still a monumental step for my amazing daughter. Not missing a beat, now she’s worked out her schedule for editing this manuscript, while simultaneously working on the sequel book. I couldn’t be more proud of her perseverance!

Did I mention…she’s only 15 years old.

So proud!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Show, Don’t Tell

Backing our mouths up with action.

Backing our mouths up with action.

Talking about making changes is easy; actually making the changes seems much more difficult.

In my marriage, in my friendships, as a mother, as a daughter, and in evaluating myself, I see the frustration that promises of change without action to back up the plan backfires…BIG TIME.

We are all too familiar with the Mahatma Gandhi quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I don’t think Gandhi was talking about sitting on our thumbs complaining about the problems and not taking steps toward the solution.

Instead of seeing problems, see solutions. See the solutions, then continue down that path until you’ve acted on the solutions. Don’t just tell me, show me!

Our world is moving at record pace, while many of us (myself included) watch all that is happening through a screen on a television, computer, or phone. We talk about it with our friends. We complain about it to our co-workers. We sit back, running our mouths and our fingers across the keyboard, but what do we DO?

So, whether your biggest fuss is with your waistline or the state of the economy, I’d like to challenge you to step beyond the talking phase and into the land of the doing.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

On the 27th Day of New Year’s…

Sometimes, the current style is just that…and mothers of teenage girls have to allow for the current style to take over their daughter’s heads. Such is the case with my lovely daughter, Kelsey…who now has partially blue hair 😉 …and I LOVE it!!!

Cheers to my fearless, beautiful, amazing daughter, Kelsey (who also loves to make YouTube videos @ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOmbBqd1Md1f29DwULXqakw/videos)!

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

Oh, “Shirley Temple”

011So, this morning in the coffee shop drive-thru, I looked at my youngest daughter in the back seat. She had her sneaker off one of her feet and was beating on that socked foot with her shoe.

When I asked her if her foot had gone to sleep she responded, “Oh, Shirley Temple, yes! My foot is asleep!”

Now, if you say this aloud, or imagine your 6-year-old saying it aloud, and slow it all down in your head like that point in the TV show when the child is about to say something offensive in front of the hoity-toity rich relatives…that’s what I was going through in the comfort of my car this morning.

Charlotte said, “Oh, sh….” and I thought I was about to come unglued! Of course, she didn’t even hesitate or think anything of it. She wasn’t about to say the bad word, and changed at the last minute to Shirley Temple; that’s what she meant to say from the beginning. Whew!!!

Oh, Shirley Temple, it’s Tuesday!

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn 🙂

Love Notes

love note 1I used to write my husband love notes on the bathroom mirror in dry erase markers…until, one day, our 5-year old daughter took the gesture over.

She makes sure to sneak into our bathroom daily to update her notes. love note 2She adds pictures, words, signs her name over and over, and is always careful to balance mommy-specific drawings with daddy-specific drawings, so as to never hurt anyone’s feelings.

Such sweet little love notes from a sweet little soul.

love note 3

Bloopers from the latest video post

blooper pic 1My daughter, Kelsey, was my super cool videographer for the latest video post for RS2H: “1000 Days Younger Mission”

blooper pic 2We had so much fun–I think we had as much fun when things were going smoothly as we did when there was a tug boat video-bombing us, or random pedestrians wondering what in the world we were doing in the middle of a historic downtown park!

I just don’t think life would be worth living without SMILES 🙂

Make it a great day,

Marilyn

blooper pic 3