First I'd like to explain the title of this post. This is courtesy of my wise mama Barb. She has this knack of finding solutions to problems with ease, almost like she has an otherworldly insight into life’s problems. Anytime I bring an issue to her attention, without hesitation she will have an idea. It's always something simple and practical. One of her most common answers? "If something's not working, change it".
I have utilized this advice many times over the years. When Ellie’s therapies were beginning to be too much for us, we opted to take the summers off. Therapy-free summers were renamed "real life therapy", and we have not looked back. We actually see huge gains in Ellie's development during these breaks. When my corporate job was overwhelming, my mom suggested working 4 days instead of 5. I asked my boss, and after some planning and rearranging I was able to have Fridays off. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself! And since I wrote this post, I have quit corporate life and joined Jesse at Stafford Beverage selling booze! What a huge change for me, but a good one. I'm still adjusting to this new role and am finally settling in. Being home at the end of the day to get the kids off the bus has been the biggest bonus with this change. I am so grateful.
The whole point I'm trying to make, is that when you find yourself stuck in a rut, feeling down, and as if things are no longer working, take a step back and make a change. Try talking it out with the ones you love, lean on your mom, mother-in-law, husband, or best friend. Talking it out will help bring out alternative solutions to the surface. And hey, if it doesn't work that is OK too. You can just move on and try something different.
But that brings me to the reason I wrote this post in the first place. Sometimes, something isn’t working right before your eyes and you don’t even realize it. Like the time we found the note in Luke’s backpack. The guilt-inducing, I seriously suck as a mom note. I was sucker-punched, right in my guts.
It was after dinner one cold night in December in 2017. Jesse and I were cleaning out the kid's backpacks, and he happened to flip through one of Luke’s notebooks. Doodles filled the pages, Luke’s signature unicorns, detailed eyeballs and other colorful creative creatures. I like to think of this moment as a little nudge from the universe, because I’m usually the one who empties backpacks. But on this night, Jesse took on the job but he happened to flip through Luke's notebook, something I wouldn't have done. He handed the little notebook to me and nodded as if to say "check this out" with a concerned look on his face.
In Luke’s cute little handwriting was an “attention chart”. He had drawn a pie chart where he carefully outlined how much attention each of our kids receive. Luke: 25%, Will: 35%, Ellie: 50%. That equals 110%, not too shabby, eh? In all seriousness, I felt terrible when I read it. Absolutely terrible.
I immediately called my mom. You see, I grew up with 6 brothers and over 100 foster kids in our home. Why did I not feel deprived for attention as a kid? I needed to know what the heck was I doing wrong, and how to fix it. I was crushed. She reminded me of our “hooky days”. Ahh, yes, hooky days!!! One of my most cherished memories! My mom would let me skip school and we’d spend the day just the two of us doing whatever I wanted. This usually would include trips to the mall to buy cassette singles and acid washed jeans. It was amazing and memorable.
After I got off the phone with my mom I excitedly asked Luke his thoughts “hey would you want to skip school and take a hooky day with me?” He was thrilled. “Heck yes!" He said. "Can Grandma come? Can we go to Walmart and Chipotle?” So that’s what we did. We had a blast, we found some fun things for his art desk. We went to Walmart, and Goodwill. We took our time eating lunch at Chipotle, and didn't rush like usual. We had the best day ever.
|Hooky Day 2017
|New bedding and loving it!
|Hooky Day 2019
|Hooky bday with Mama