Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Archive for December, 2013

Resolution: Get my fashion on

I was shopping with my daughter one day. We started talking about fashion. I told her that when she got older, she would probably have fashion sense that was similar to mine. She replied, “I hope not.”

Olivia didn’t say this in a sassy way. She said it in a way that sounded like she just really thought dressing like me some day would be disappointing.

Well, I’d like to know when THAT happened. I swear I had a fashion edge once. I really pictured myself as kind of a trendy gal. I started thinking about all the clothes in my closet. I realized that 95% of my non-work wardrobe is Sauk Prairie Wrestling gear.

I hate disappointing my kids. I want them to be impressed with me. I was thinking that in the year 2014, I would commit to becoming more fashionable. But, I really, really love my Sauk Prairie gear. It’s high quality. I’ve got long sleeves, short sleeves, vests, jackets, shorts. I wear this stuff every day. Then I started thinking, who said my Sauk Prairie gear isn’t cool? Who said I can’t make other moms jealous of my fashion know-how AND wear my school mascot too? No one. That’s who.

I gathered some wrestling moms to help me show you just how cool I’m going to be this year. You may need to take a break and get some rest. You’ll need your energy; you are about to have your mind blown!

All Business

I can work my way up the corporate latter, and support the Eagles too. I will impress business partners and clients with my sharp sense of fashion AND my loyalty to my school!

all business updated

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

C’mon, forget trudging along in your baggy yoga pants and slippers. The next time my gal pals and I decide to hang out, or go roller skating at the park (we do a lot of that), they’ll wish they were dressed as snappy as me.

jen pape updated

Cinch It

What the heck doesn’t look good when you cinch it? Eagles shirt, leggings, boots and cinch it all together with your cool belt. Now I’m ready to hang out at the mall and just basically look cooler than anybody else I know.

melanie updated


I plan to be on the best dressed list of the next Gala or Formal I attend. I can picture all the women staring at me as they wonder why they didn’t think of this themselves.

mary updated

Deep Thoughts

Sometimes I just have to get away. Write poetry. Play my bongo drums. No need to abandon my school loyalty!

Kari updated

Tough Girl

I just wish people would get it in their heads. I don’t take crap. When I’m feeling like I want to rumble, I can look tough without leaving my fashion sense behind. What’s that you say? You don’t think I look fashionable? Oh, you mean you said nothing. Thought so.

wrestling moms 036

Here’s to a super fashionable 2014, and setting new fashion trends in the school loyalty line!

wrestling moms 025



5 Things I’m Leaving in 2013

There are so many great things that happened this year. I’d like to tell you about every single one of my blessings in intricate detail. I bet you’d really like that. You’d like that as much as you like getting those 18 page, tiny print Christmas letters. The ones that include pictures of the kids’ first place ribbons and straight “A” report cards. Bad stuff is way more interesting. That’s why I will share with you now the 5 bad things that I’m leaving behind this year:

80’s Hair

I have rocked a version of the same hair for 30 years. It isn’t that I don’t tell the hair stylist to give me a current look. It isn’t as if she doesn’t try. I walk out of the salon with high hopes that I just might finally look modern. The problem happens when I get back home. After my first post hair cut wash, I realize that my hands and curling iron are trained to only work one way. The results look dated.

I finally asked my stylist to train me. She did. Just a few simple tricks brought me from the 80’s to 2014. I wish I would have thought of that 30 years ago. It’s kind of sad to have say goodbye to this. I know a lot of people are going to miss it, especially Dee Snider. He just told me the other day how good my hair looked:

cool hair updated


Real Housewives

Sorry ladies, I know I’ve given you some of my time this year. That’s gotta end. You’re no good for me. I could spend my alone time eating cotton candy and drinking shots of vodka; it would be better for me than you women. The word “Real” in “Real Housewives” is meant to be ironic, right?

Maybe I’ll start my own version of “Sauk Prairie Real Housewives” with my fiends. I’d have an off camera interview like this, “Well, Mary told me that I needed to have the vegetable tray to the high school cafeteria by 5:00. When I got there, she was there to meet me. She hugged me and thanked me for bringing it. I’m like, are you for real?!!”

See? Bad stuff is way more interesting.

Paying bills with checks

I’m switching the last of our bills over to automatic bill pay in 2014. I handle the bills in my family. I’m like a detail FREAK! Ask anyone. Total Type A personality. I have a strategic process for paying bills that involves several steps. 1) The bills come in the mail. 2)I throw them in my purse because I don’t have time to pay them at the moment. 3) They fall to the bottom of my purse where they’re forgotten. 4) I get a call from the cable/utility/cell phone company telling me that they’ll cut off service if I don’t pay the bill. 5) I pay the bill over the phone. It’s simple really. Feel free to replicate my system. I may even write a book about it. Now you’re judging me. I’m gonna suggest you leave judging behind this year.

Talking about Myley Cyrus

I’ve actually never talked much about Myley Cyrus, but I’ve wondered about her. I heard an interview with Myley the other day. I listened to her, and I started figuring it all out. I was waiting for her to give a well thought out defense of her anti establishment behavior. Usually there’s more to the story than what we think we know. I kept listening and listening. Then I understood. We’re totally expecting way more of this girl than we should. I’m not being mean. I’m just being straight.

She isn’t exactly an intellectual. She’s a young girl with what I would guess to be lower to medium intelligence, gobs of money and the whole world staring at her. How she conducts herself is only slightly less weird than the attention we give her. I should basically expect and reflect as much on the decision making and behavior of Myley Cyrus as I do of the snowman in our front yard.

Sitting on Bleachers

I mean, I’m still going to watch my kids do stuff. I love doing that. Doing that is like a parent’s end of the year bonus, rewarding them for all the other hard stuff they do. What I’m NOT going to do from this day forward, is make direct contact between my butt and the bleachers. I bought a stadium seat:


Oh good heavens. Have you tried these? If you spend a lot of time on the bleachers, I can’t explain how much you should get one of these seats. It’s like going from sleeping on a kitchen stool to sleeping in a warm, king size bed.

I was holding out and not buying one of these, because I thought that the seats were for old people. Before I bought one I made the smart decision to mention this when I was sitting in the middle of all my wrestling parent friends…who were all sitting on stadium seats. I sit alone now.

What would you like to leave behind this year?

My Best Gift

It’s a gifty time of year. So I am thinking about some of the best gifts I have ever received. I don’t think I came from, or landed in an extravagant gift-giving kind of family. Gosh, you know I love my husband. I’m not really complaining when I tell you that he Christmas shops for me at Walgreens. He’s really proud of that too. Not because it’s economical. But, because when I open (no, I mean, when I pull out of a plastic bag) the socks, lotion, chocolate and knock off perfume, he feels like he has out done himself, again.

I like these gifts. Turn about is fair play though. Scott gets roughly the same type of gifts from me; or, no gifts at all. So, when I’m thinking about really great gifts, I need to think about things that are not tangible. Things that come from God. God tells us “All good things come from Him”. Do you believe that? I do.

One of the best gifts God has given my family and me was “Ryan”. Today I want to tell you about Ryan. It’s kind of a long story; this will read less like a blog post and more like a short story. If you’re in the mood for a story, and have some extra time this Christmas, maybe you’d like to join me. Thanks for doing that.

Ryan is my sister’s son. He was the cutest little boy, curly hair and melty brown eyes. That kid was born with a serious case of the sillies too. Maybe that’s why I had such a soft spot for him. When Ryan was about 4 years old, his dad Graduated from the University of Milwaukee. Ryan’s last name is “Wahl”. His Dad’s name is “Tom”. His dad was one of the last in line to be announced in the world’s longest graduation ceremony. Poor Ryan, that boy was wiggly. He had to sit still for so long. He was miserable. We told him that as soon as we heard “Tom Wahl”, we could leave. No problem. Ryan stood on his chair and yelled, “Tom Waaaahhhlllll” as loud as he could, for the entire auditorium to hear.

Ryan was not just a normal little kid kind of silly. He was legit, funny-silly. I remember being on a trip up to Yosemite with Ryan and family. He and I were telling absurd knock-knock jokes. He made me laugh so hard I couldn’t breath. I remember thinking the other adults were getting annoyed with him. I mean, annoyed with me. I mean, annoyed with us. I wanted to say to those adults, “Are you hearing this kid? He is hilarious!”

ryan little boy

We took a lot of vacations with Ryan and his family. I have clear memories of Ryan’s silly antics and his silly/horrible lack of fear. I had little to no experience as a mom back then. Ryan had a knack for putting himself in precarious situations that made me weak in the knees: sprinting along the side of the deep end, trying to wiggle away from us in the lake after sunset, or jumping from boulder to boulder. That kid made me a nervous wreck! His parents are way braver and more adventurous than me. They would always at least appear calm.

When Ryan was a teenager it looked like his future was gonna be a crap shoot; could go any direction. He was really, really smart. He was too smart to fall for any generic platitudes, and too smart to do things a certain way just because that’s the way they had always been done. He really liked adventure too. All those qualities makes for a kind of scary combination in a young teenage boy.

Ryan’s mom and dad lost some sleep thinking of ways to keep Ryan on the right track. They prayed, and prayed and prayed. Then God told them what to do. He said, “Send Ryan to go see his Grandparents and cousins!” So, they did. That was such a fun summer. My kids spent a lot of time with Ryan. He was like the Pied Piper. He led. They followed. Ryan didn’t understand age constraints. He could carry on an intelligent debate with his Aunt and Uncle, or play sidewalk chalk with his 2nd grade cousin. Either way, he was a happy guy.

My kids loved Ryan so much. When he walked through the door, the fun could begin. Sometimes he talked them into things that cost them all a little trouble, but our kids for sure thought the trouble was worth it. We were really sad to see him go back home that summer. Thankfully, you could always count on the Wahls for frequent visits.

ryan fire works

Over the years, my kids were always the saddest when they had to say good bye to Ryan and his family. I came up with a name for it. I called it the “Post Wahl Blues”. Ryan made his way through high school. All that praying worked. He chose the right track. Sure, he was still fully anti-establishment: rejecting the injustice of wearing shoes, a head full of dreadlocks, and playing guitar in public places. But, something else totally refreshing had taken hold of him. He was phsyched about Jesus. He spent hours reading literature by Christian authors like C.S. Lewis. And, he put some serious miles on his Bible too. Now, when my kids saw him he was as much fun as he had always been, but he also had something deeper to share.

One summer, Ryan visited us and as usual the time was filled with wrestling matches with his uncle, rugby, volleyball and singing along with Ryan as he played worship songs on his guitar. We had an anniversary celebration that summer for my parents. Ryan organized the cousins and had them sing songs and create a recording for his Grandparents. If you’ve never heard a bunch of rough and tumble boy cousins singing, “My Chains are Gone”, you should. That’s the kind of stuff you can think on and be happy about when life roughs you up a bit.

boy cousins

On that visit Eddie was a young teenager. He was a bit of a wild card himself, and his parents didn’t know which direction his life would go. Ryan told Eddie that it was okay to have fun, but Ryan said we have to measure our words, and use a filter. Those words carried a heck of a lot more weight from cousin Ryan than they did from Eddie’s folks. I remember being so grateful for the help, That was the last serious conversation Ryan would ever have with Eddie.

Ryan died in a climbing accident just before Easter in 2012. He was 20-years-old. By the time Ryan died, he was working with the youth at his church, serving the homeless and considering full time missions as a career. It was the saddest day of my family’s life.

On the day he died I was with Scott’s family. We were eating out and I saw that I had a half dozen missed calls from various people in my family. I called my oldest sister back. When I reached her I was by myself in the entryway of the restaurant. My sister said, “Ryan was rock climbing. He fell. He didn’t make it.”

I threw my hand up in the air for Scott to see; I needed him to know that I was about to drown. I fell on the ground hard and started making a strange noise in my effort to breath. Scott finished the phone call while my children and Scott’s family hovered around me. I was hyperventilating and crying. I remember thinking that I needed to get up and stop scaring the children. I also thought we needed to take our kids home so that we could tell them privately. My father-in-law helped me up. He walked me to the car. I stopped once to throw up. All the way home my body was shaking involuntarily. The kids just kept staring at me with fear in their eyes.

When we got home we sat our kids on the couch together, and we told them. For a very long time we had our arms full of our children crying and sobbing, sobbing and crying. It was so sad. It is so sad. It’s hard to go back.

Ryan’s funeral was unlike any experience we have had or ever will have again in our lives. Turns out that we were not the only ones who thought Ryan was extraordinary. He impacted thousands of people, and they all said the same thing: There is absolutely no one like Ryan. His faith was so unique, fresh and real. He was the kind of Christian that Jesus described: serving others, authentic, real.

Now we’re trying to live without Ryan. We want him back. If I could figure out how to go back and change the course of things to get him back, I would do it. His life was a gift to us. Not just because we enjoyed him while he was here, but because he impacted the spiritual lives of my children more than anything probably ever will. What more does a mother desire?

I can take care of my children’s physical needs. I can excel in doing all the motherly things a mom loves to do. But, I have no control over my children’s souls. They have to decide for themselves what they believe, and where faith fits in their lives.

When my boys were little, I remember praying with them at night and asking God to help them develop a genuine faith. I asked out loud for God to help the boys know that they did not need to fake it or pretend. Because, let’s face it, in our home (and a lot of homes like ours) Christianity is as much a part of our culture as it is a personal, genuine life giving source. Faking happens.

After I said that prayer, I remember Zeke saying he would never fake loving God. Eddie called down from the top bunk and told us he would definitely fake it. He said he faked it all the time. Ahhh…I thought that my prayer must have been inspired. Honesty is so healthy.

Ryan did not fake anything. He didn’t do anything simply because that’s what he was expected to do. He didn’t sit in church like a robot, putting his time in so that he could maybe get to heaven some day. Nope, Ryan read Christ’s Words. He read them, meditated on them, and acted on them. When Ryan worshiped Christ, he was expressive, because he knew he was literally at the feet of his Savior. He chose to put his faith in Christ, and that faith was active, alive and obvious in the choices he made and the relationships he kept.

Ryan left this lasting impression of what faith looks in the minds of my children. Now, I see them moving ahead with life, embracing this truth for themselves. I sometimes wonder at the things they say. My heart rejoices as I talk to them and understand that they are gaining strength to handle life by fostering their own authentic relationships with God. I know it isn’t because of anything we’ve done as their parents. I know that it is in large part due to the influence God allowed Ryan to have in their lives. And THAT is a gift I will be thanking God for the rest of my life.


Ryan Wahl

Why I Did Not Kill a Guy…

You may remember my last post was on positive thoughts. Those work. You may not think talking about killing is very positive. But, see I’m talking about NOT killing someone. So, THAT actually is good. Meditate on it.

Last week we had an inspector come to our house to evaluate our levels of environmental allergens. This is a guy you never want to invite to your house. We hired him to tell us what our potential problems are and where. We had an air quality test done a while back. Everything checked out fine. Apparently those tests can change day to day and are not totally reliable.

We have been asking ourselves (again) if there is something in our house that is making Eddie sick. If so, we were prepared to just burn the thing down. Well, after FIVE hours of going through every inch of our living space with a fine tooth comb, the inspector told us that our house is in pretty good shape. And by pretty good shape, I mean, we live in complete filth.

I do NOT recommend anyone go through this exercise. Bru – Tal! If you are a germaphope and you have this guy come to your house, just make sure you make your reservation at the mental institution in advance; that is where his information will send you.

I am aware that I am not a 5 star housekeeper. I think I might give myself 2.5 stars. Then again, I have been known to be overly confident. Maybe I am actually a 2 star. I know what a 5 star is too. My mom, Aunt and cousins are five stars. They’re like “The Ritz Carlton”, I-dust-the-top-of-my-water-heater-every-week type of housekeepers. I’m like the “Motel 6”, I haven’t-seen-my-kitchen-counter-in-a-month type of housekeeper.

Well, turns out “Motel 6” housekeeping isn’t cutting it in the allergen free department. Did you know that dust is actually human skin? We shed skin all day, and it lands on our TV and underneath our refrigerator. And if knowing your skin is hanging out on the TV doesn’t impress you, then I can tell you that mites live in that skin dust. These little dust mites poop all day long. Dust mite poop is toxic. Isn’t that awesome?

More good news is that your bedding is full of this shed skin. So, sheets are the perfect breeding ground for mites and their turds. COME ON, MAN!!!! Don’t you think I have enough to worry about? Now you’re telling me that my family is sleeping in poop?

The inspector did other fun things, like show me mold that is growing in the refrigerator (in places you need to get on your hands and knees and use a flashlight to see.) And, he explained that the beautiful antiques in our house are also home to mold. Right there. That is the time I considered delivering a karate chop to his neck.

After the inspector’s horror house tour, he told me our home checked out pretty well. Then he handed me a 5-page, double-sided list of things we need to do to rid our home of allergens. Here are just a few of the items on my list:

1. Buy new pillows
2. Wash sheets every week
3. Spray vinegar inside toilet tank
4. Spray vinegar and wipe down underneath and all over every antique (getting rid of them is even better).
5. Buy special attachment for vacuum to clean the bottom/underneath the refrigerator.
6. Pull everything out of the refrigerator. Clean every inch.
7. Buy a new dehumidifier with a hose.
8. Recaulk the bath tub.
9. Dust every few days.
10. Spray insulation in all openings in the basement.

There are at least 200 more items on this list! Excellent.

We have already started. We are not expecting this to cure Eddie. But, it is definitely going to help (I’m a positive person, remember?). People with healthy immune systems have the luxury of being able to lay in poop and serve themselves up plates full of mold, if they’re in the mood for it; no harm done. But, if your health is compromised, all this stuff is taxing on your system. We’re going to bust through this list, and it is going to help Eddie feel better. And for THAT reason alone, I let that inspector live to see another day.

Positive Thoughts

positive thinking

Have you experienced paradigm shifts in your life? You’re going along knowing what you know, ignoring what you don’t want to know, or don’t believe. Then, suddenly, something happens that makes you understand things in a new way. You wonder why you passed by this information so many times before without grabbing on to it. It was there. You just weren’t ready for it.

I have recently experienced a paradigm shift. Have you heard people say that positive thoughts attract positive results? I think that when I used to hear this, I interpreted it as, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” I am a practical girl at heart. You know, a let’s-just-stick-with-the-facts kind of person. I have never been keen on taking time to meditate on inspiring words and slogans. I’ve got things to do and a whole semi truck full of problems to solve. I like action.

We are seeing a new Doctor. Yes, another one. Every time we see a new Doctor, I find myself wishing we could just fast forward through all the stuff we’ve done hundreds of times before. I want to skip the part where we tell the Doctor this long, ridiculous story that we hate to tell, and get to the part where the Doctor tells us if there is anything she knows that we have not heard before. Because, we’ve heard a lot, sister. We’ve heard a lot.

This Doctor told us that Eddie’s body is reacting (allergic) to almost everything. We knew that, but it’s a little reassuring to have someone else confirm it. So, I’m not going to go in to all the other stuff we learned and the stuff we’re going to try; I just wanted to share the highlight of this appointment.

The Doctor did a demonstration. She had Eddie hold up his arm straight in front of him. She pushed down on his arm, and he was to resist the pressure. While he resisted, he was supposed to say two different statements. The first was, “I am getting better.” The second was, “I am not going to get better.” When he made the positive statement, he was able to resist the pressure. When he spoke in the negative, his arm weakened, and the Doctor could easily push it down. SHABANG!!!! Paradigm shift!!!

Now THAT is practical information that I can use. Positive thoughts and positive talk can help my son get better. I am so ON it!! See, I’ve been doing it all wrong. I have been hedging my bets and managing my expectations all these years. That’s all wrong. Sure, I can’t live in crazy town, making up fairy tales. What I can do is speak and pray into existence what I hope to see. That is something practical I can do. Something that will help.

I have a great friend who has been telling me about this mind/body connection for years. I’m so sorry that I only heard her say, “Blah, blah, blah!” Let me tell you about this friend. You would hate her. Not only is she beautiful and looks like she could be on the cover of a fitness magazine, but she has five kids and is even nicer than she is fit. See? It’s better to not know people like this exist. Wait, that isn’t very positive.

I mean, “I am beautiful. I am nice. I am fit.”

Anyway, several years ago this fit friend of mine some how got it in her head that we would be good training partners. She is a runner. A very good runner. I had done a few races, including a couple of half marathons. I could have sworn I told her that I finished “running” with the speed walkers (now there’s a cocky bunch) in my last race, but people hear what they want to hear.

We were out training one day. I was having a hard time keeping up. I told her to just go ahead and let me run at my own pace. She started talking about this positive thinking stuff. She said I needed to believe that I could accomplish a faster pace. I needed to tell myself that I would run a 7-minute mile. I tried it. I said to myself, “Self, you are a fast runner. Your legs are lean and strong. You run fast, and you are running a seven-minute-mile.”

It worked. I ran the first mile faster than I have ever run a mile in my life. Then, “Self” had a morsel of wisdom to say in return. Self said, “You are on CRACK, lady!” I begged my friend to run ahead, and she finally did. My legs didn’t know how much I believed in them, because those suckers boycotted big time. They seized with cramps. I had to start walking. I seriously considered crawling. It took me so long to get back that my friend finally came back in her car to get me. She was worried about me, and was certain something serious had happened. She knew it couldn’t possibly take so long to finish the route. I told her my body knows no boundaries.

I kept trying to use my friend’s advice. When I was on long training runs by myself, my positive thoughts were like this, “I’m not sure I can keep going. Oh, that car is going fast. What if that car hits me? If that car hits me, I can stop running and I can rest in the hospital. I hope that car hits me.” I can save you some time, and tell you that line of thinking does not improve your running times either.

I know speaking, praying and thinking in the positive is not a magic wand. But, being positive is a tool I have not been using to help Eddie. Remember, I told Eddie I would use everything and anything to restore his health? I think when you get beaten down in life, you start to think you are better off hoping for nothing. Better to get what you expect, than continually experience crushing disappointment. There may be some truth to that theory, and let me tell you I have been clinging hard to that mindset for years; what I understand now is that thinking and praying that way is not physically, emotionally and spiritually helpful to Eddie. Helping Eddie is all I want to do.

From now on I will be praying like this, “Dear God, thank you for the healthy body you will be giving Eddie. Thank you for the Doctors that you will be leading us to that will solve this complex issue. Thank you for trials that are making us stronger and smarter.”

Do you think it is a coincidence that our Pastor pointed something out that confirmed this new paradigm? Let’s be clear, I’m kind of hit and miss on my Bible trivia. But, it’s for sure my go-to-guide. Our Pastor pointed out a passage in the Gospel of Mark. The disciples were complaining about not having bread. Jesus said (and this is a direct quote), “Listen, you silly little guys. Don’t you remember how I fed thousands of people with a few fish and a few loaves of bread? Why you gotta be so negative? Have some confidence in my miracle making, and let’s stay positive, okay?” There you have it. I know what you’re thinking. I should be teaching theology somewhere. I’ve just got a lot going on right now though.

Now when you meet me on the street, instead of me saying things like, “No one knows what’s wrong. We may never figure it out.” I’m going to say things like, “We know more than we ever have. We are working on a cure right now and Eddie is going to be well!” Wow. That just feel good, and it works. I’m totally running a seven minute mile today!

more positive thinking

Dear Matside Mom…

I wanted to write you a letter. I saw you at a high school tournament this weekend. You may not remember me. I was one of the hundreds of parents sitting up in the stands. I remember you really, really well. You were the mom (singular) that I saw standing down by the coaches, wrestlers and managers. I heard you too. You sure are a good yeller. Actually, that was more of a scream, wasn’t it? Remember how you kept screaming the same thing over and over? I guess your son likes lots of reminders.

You were really mad, especially when your son lost. When you screamed at the ref and told him his calls were Bull Sh**, what did the ref say? Sometimes they change their minds when parents yell at them. They tell the parents how much they regret their decision. Then they tell the parents they would be happy to provide a redo. Is that what happened?

If you have time, I was wondering if we could hash over your strategy. Are you up for it? You seem like a pretty strong lady, with strong opinions. I bet you don’t take crap from anyone, right? I bet when your son was little and you saw him getting picked on at the playground, you threw the other kid off the top of the slide, didn’t you? I’m kidding. Don’t be mad. I’m just a kidder. No one doubts how much you love your kid. That is FOR sure. I was just hoping we could talk mom to mom about a few things. Just hear me out. I promise this will only take a few minutes.

I was wondering what your son thinks of all that screaming. It’s pretty intense. I could imagine screaming like that if I was about to crash into a semi on the highway, or if Freddy Krueger was chasing me with a bloody knife. Your little guy must think losing that high school match is one of the scariest things that could happen to him, and you.

I was also wondering if you like it when people admire and root for your son. I didn’t know your son before this week. Typically, I’m rooting for all the kids, just because they’re kids. Darn it. I feel badly telling you this, but once I started watching your sideline antics, I started rooting against your boy. I’m not proud of it. But, it’s true. The people around me felt it too. Your precious little guy went from anonymity to being recognized and disliked. That was totally not fair of us. Do you think it was fair of you?

Speaking of you, do you think there is a teensy chance that you could just be injecting all together too much of “you” into this thing? You were about 8 feet away from being in the actual match with your son. It’s his match. You were not in his bracket. He can definitely do this on his own. He should do this on his own.

I am back to rooting for your son now. I hope he has a long, happy wrestling career and life. But, I have to tell you that I’ve seen a lot of crappy stuff happen to people. Young kids I know get tragic injuries that end their sports careers. Kids contract illnesses that keep them from achieving their childhood dreams. And, sometimes with no warning at all, kids die. When that stuff happens, it’s super hard to remember why you thought winning a match was so important.

That match that you were screaming and swearing about in front of the entire gym, and in front of your kids, was not what you think it was. That match was just another opportunity in a long string of opportunities that make up a life time. That match was an opportunity for you to learn and to teach. It was an opportunity for you and your son to learn how to improve. And, it was an opportunity to show your son how to handle success or defeat. That’s it. That’s all it was.

I think you should back up. Back away from the mat and go sit down in the stands. Sit back and enjoy watching what your son is accomplishing and all the things he is learning. You’re going to get mad sometimes when the ref blows a call. We all do. Don’t make too much of it. Life hands out all sorts of bad calls. You want your son to be strong, and know how to move past that. You don’t want him to get into the habit of feeling sorry for himself and looking for people to blame.

Don’t be afraid of losing. Your son can learn a lot from losing. You can learn a lot from losing. If your son sees you handle defeat calmly and humbly, he will start to understand how he might handle defeat later in life. I hope he wins at every single thing he does. There is a chance he won’t.

When he wins, be a good winner. Tell him he did a great job, and you’re proud of his hard work and effort. Then move on with things. Don’t celebrate like your happiness depends on his performance. Don’t let your happiness depend on his performance.

This may all sound like nonsense to you, but I wish you’d trust me on this. I know you’re just following your basic instincts; you’d be surprised how many times good parenting involves denying your basic instincts. I admire your devotion. I was just hoping I could get you to consider a few things you may not have thought of before. I might be making more of all these things than I should. Maybe our kids are NOT watching us, and what we say and do will NOT affect the outcome of their lives. I sure can tell you love your son. So, if I am right here, that’s a pretty big gamble for you to take. Don’t you think?

wrestling mom

First World Luxury

Wouldn’t you love to know what you are doing that is going to cost your kids some therapy later in life? I don’t have to wait. I know, because they’ve told me.

My kids have told me that I have a nasty habit of killing their joy with my regular inclusion of “orphans and families living on dirt floors” into our discussions. To quote Eddie quoting me, “Oh Eddie, you said you like that piece of cake? Well, don’t forget that there are orphans in other countries who have never tasted cake. What’s that you say? You like that soft pillow Grandma made you? Just remember that somewhere at this very moment there is a child laying on a dirt floor. They don’t have a pillow.” That looks even worse in writing. What have I done? At Christmas I am ridiculous. My poor kids

I’ve been trying to lighten up, but it is hard. I feel steeped in luxury, and I don’t want my family or me to take it for granted. This week we had two luxury items delivered to our home, a dishwasher and a Kindle Paperwhite.

Our dishwasher broke in June. We eat 98% of our meals at home. Every meal involves the stove or oven, and pots and pans. We juice and use the food processor every day. My kitchen counters have been buried in dishes for 6 months. Everybody in the family was doing them (some of us more than others), but it’s like one little person trying to stop a village wide stampede. The mess is an overpowering force.

I kept dragging my feet with the dishwasher purchase. I wanted to pay cash, and a dishwasher is not a necessity, right?

Well, apparently Scott thinks it IS a necessity. It is necessary to stop me from complaining about all the dishes. He could not take it any more. One Sunday I was gently reminding my sweetheart, and the lads and lass in our home that I was doing those precious dishes…AGAIN!!!! Scott said in a definitive and firm (rare occurance) voice, “We are buying a dishwasher tomorrow.” I give.

What blessed, blessed relief. We bought a beautiful Bosch dishwasher upon the recommendation of my Facebook besties. The only problem I see is that Scott may get a little jealous. I want to marry this dishwasher. Wait, that’s weird. Forget I said that.

I know that a dishwasher is pure luxury. I do not deserve it. But, can I just say that it is so AWESOME!!! You just throw all the dirty dishes in there and push start. It’s crazy. You wouldn’t believe it.

It took a month for the dishwasher to arrive. They did not have any white ones in stock. The salesperson said there is not much demand for white. I guess most people aren’t as modern as us. They don’t know that white is the new stainless steel. We’re kinda used to that though.

The second luxury item was this Kindle Paperwhite. Hello? What part of a Kindle is involved in providing my family with food, shelter and clothing? None of it. It’s for someone spoiled like me. Of course, my story is that I have this reading habit that costs us some cash in overdue fines. I started buying books at second hand stores because I wasn’t good at returning books to the library on time. But, that costs money too. Plus, I think I have 100 pounds of books under our bed. So, that isn’t an efficient use of space, right? See how I just talked myself into thinking I NEED a Kindle Paperwhite? I’m good at that.

When I was pregnant with our second child, we decided I should stay home. Eventually, we were a family of five, living on Scott’s youngish teacher’s salary. I remember one time a friend said, “You guys are the happiest poor people I know.”

I said, “Thanks. I think.”

When Scott got home that night I told him I learned something new that day. I said, “Did you know that we are poor?”

He answered, “We are?”

I said, “Yes. We are.”

He said, “Huh.”

Some time later, Eddie was in school. I had another friend tell me that our family probably qualified for free and reduced lunch. I looked it up. Sure enough, she was right. So, it was true. We were, by definition, poor. We had two older cars that were paid for, but worked fine. We owned a sweet little townhouse that I loved. We ate three meals a day and never worried that we would run out of food, but we were poor. I started thinking about orphans and families living on dirt floors, and I knew it was the definition that was wrong. We were not poor. We were living in luxury.

Quite a few years later and we are now a dual income family, buying high performance dishwashers and Kindles. We live in a little ranch that I love. I also love my warm coat and boots, our ping pong table and trampoline, our bikes, our new roof and our central air. If we were living in luxury back when the kids were young, I’m not sure what you could even call this.

So, I am going to try to quit spoiling all my kids’ fun. I’ve told them I’ll dial it down; it is difficult for me though. I feel responsible for passing on important truths to them. At the top of the list is wanting them to understand that surrounding themselves with a pile of stuff won’t make them happy. And, if we’re not grateful for what we have now, we won’t be grateful when we get more. And, for the love of Pete, let’s try to do something to help orphans and people living on dirt floors!

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