What Mother's Day Means for Me, With Flowers!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This post should have been up yesterday but my flowers died and Tyler was stung by a bee. But I should back up a bit. I have a relationship with a new PR company. They offered to send me fresh flowers, my favorite Gerber daisies, to use in a post about Mother's Day. I've been wracking my brain trying to tie flowers and what being a mom means to me together in a way that didn't sound trite or cliched. The events of yesterday afternoon spoke for themselves and kind of wrote the story for me.

I'm not crafty so the thought of arranging the flowers myself, especially into something picture worthy that wouldn't embarrass the sponsor was a little scary. I love having fresh flowers but I generally leave the arranging to the pros. I've never made a topiary out of anything, let alone flowers. But, I try to be open to new experiences. There's always something to learn and the feeling of accomplishment that goes along with mastering a new skill is so, so sweet.

I kept my flowers in a vase with the protective straws on the stems until I was ready to start my post. If you're not familiar with Gerber daisies the flower heads are really heavy. The stems can get limp and droopy long before the bloom is gone and the heads hang like they lost the Little League title by one run and it looks so sad.

So, I kept the plastic straws on the stems to support the heads so that my arrangement would look fresh. But, when I took the straws off to start creating my topiary the stems had mildewed and collapsed but I couldn't see that through the green straw. I was crushed. I thought I was being careful and doing the right thing. But sometimes, decisions we make that seem right at the time don't turn out the way we planned.

I had to take a moment to regroup and come up with a Plan B on the fly. I decided I had to get new flowers so that I could honor my commitment. After I picked him up from school, Tyler and I went to a wholesaler near us and I bought two bunches of beautiful orange Gerbers and white mini Carnations. When we got home I started snipping and bunching, hoping the topiary would turn out at least sphere-like. And it didn't, so I tried again. And again. And again.

It took me more than hour to put the arrangement together. Mostly because I'm anal but also to prove to myself that I could do it. Putting together a flower arrangement isn't on par with cooking a five course gourmet meal for eight but I really, really wanted it to turn out well. Having the topiary on my kitchen table would be a visual reminder that I do manage to get the all encompassing "it" right, at least some of the time.

As I was finishing up and trying to find good light for pictures, Tyler, who was outside playing tether ball, started to cry. Then he started to scream. He ran inside holding his hand and his eyes were huge. "It hurts! It hurts! Ow, ow, owwwww!" I tried to get him to show me where he was hurt but he ran from me, to the bathroom, back to me and to the bathroom again in a complete panic. I've never seen him like that before. "It hurts worser now! Ow, OWWWWW!"

I thought he might have gotten a bad splinter from the wooden base of his tether ball set but he wouldn't let me get a good look.
Phil brought the tweezers and antibiotic into the bathroom, but Tyler had already stuck his hand under the faucet. What I saw could have been a splinter, but judging by the pain he was in, the redness and swelling, it had to be a sting. It was his first, and Phil is allergic to stings so we kept a close eye on him for awhile, just in case.

Seeing Tyler like that, hurt and terrified, scared me a little. He's my heart and soul. Keeping him safe is my job. But sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we won't always be able to keep our kids out of harm's way. But, we can do our best to kiss it and make it all better, and hope that it actually will.

For me, being a mom has changed me in so many ways. It's been a journey to say the least. I've had to step out of my comfort zone into unfamiliar territory many times, making decisions as I go and hoping they are the right ones and trying not to beat myself up too badly when it turns out I was wrong.

I've had to learn how to handle the energy of a fearless, curious little boy. I've tapped into patience levels I didn't know I had. I've had to think on my feet and change directions many times. I've had to admit when I didn't know the answers.

I've come to realize I need external validation more than I'd like to admit, especially now that I'm a stay at home mom. I understand now that deep, fierce need to protect that is only words until you have a child of your own. Being a mom is hard at times. But it's so worth it. And when my little flower smiles and tells me I'm the best mommy in the world, I know that all my time, effort and patience are working and I'm getting "it" right.

Gift Idea: Teacher Appreciation (Ziggy Marley iPod giveaway)

Monday, May 4, 2009

There was a conversation on Twitter last week about what to do and what to give for Teacher Appreciation. Teaching is a calling. Actually, I think it's more than that but I just can't think of a word bigger than calling.

I'm a nerd and I really like school. I'm sure that's partly due to some of the great teachers I've had who helped take learning above memorization and recitation and made it engaging and fun.

My Freshman year, our World Studies teacher turned class time into a Jeopardy game. He was also really into classical music and made our knowing composers and individual pieces of music part of class too.

I credit Mr. T (my teacher, not the man from the ATeam) with the fact that I enjoy classical music and he's why I bought all the Baby Einstein music CD's to play for Tyler. I may not remember all the Palestinian Territories anymore, but I remember how awesome it was to come up with the winning mega bonus point answer after a really close round and all the cheering and high fives in our row. I think we may have gotten ice cream too.

Anyway, all this is to say that teachers work HARD to make a positive impression and impact on our kids' lives. For Teacher Appreciation week, gifts that can help teacher's expand on the lessons in their classroom are much needed, especially when budgets and funding are being cut. If that gift will also help a charity benefiting children, more's the better I say, and Ziggy Marley's new CD, Family Time, fits both bills.

Family Time is a CD of children's music and short stories. Willie Nelson, Jack Johnson, Ziggy's daughter Judah and Paul Simon are a few of the artists collaborating on Family Time, and Jamie Lee Curtis voices two short stories, one she wrote and one written by Ziggy.

The music is typical Marley. It makes me want to dance with my son on a white sand beach while we sip from coconuts (mine with a little Jamaican Rum added of course). Proceeds from Family Time go through Ziggy's foundation
U.R.G.E to help renovate the
Chepstowe Basic School in Port Antonio, Jamaica, which is so badly in need of repairs it is not allowed to be an official part of the school system.

Win It!
One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive the following:

* Copy of ‘Family Time’ CD * 1GB iPod Shuffle

Three (3) runner-up winners receive a copy of Family Time
To enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me how music is important to your family or what you're doing for Teacher Appreciation - required.

2. I MUST have a way to get in touch with you! I will have to delete comments with no contact info.

3. Comments will close on Monday, June 1st at 11:59pm CA time.

4. I will use random.org to draw the winners and post the results/notify winners via email and in a "Winners" post on Tuesday, June 2nd. The number that appears first in the sequence will be the grand prize winner.

5. US residents only (sorry!)

6. For two extra entries: (not required) Tweet, and/or blog about this contest and leave each of your links in a separate comment (three entry opportunities total). You will need a free
Twitter account.

7. You
do not have to follow me or subscribe to this blog as a method of entry (but you're more than welcome to!). Tweet as often as you like, but only one Tweet will count as an extra entry. Here's the URL to this post: http://tiny.cc/JEhPp

Good luck! (PS: Comment moderation is on only because this post is older than 25 days. I'm getting each one and will publish them before pulling a winner.)
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