Life as MommyMo

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My little BFF

The words "best friend" have always seemed like a loaded phrase to me. Those two little words can be exclusionary and even damaging to fragile friendships when you're really young. They can also mean a lot to you when you make that first friend who you feel like you can share anything with.

My first best friend -- at least that I can remember -- was a cute little girl from Mill Creek Elementary School in Lenexa, Kansas. We lived just a couple of blocks apart and spent most of our free time together. We played lots of games, hung out at the pool, did our homework together, and even exchanged those necklaces that, at that age, totally meant you belonged. She had "Be/Fri." I had "st/ends."

I've actually thought about my first best friend quite a bit in the last couple of years. I wrote a "What About Me" book for school in seventh grade. My "Future Me" chapter predicted that she and I would still be BFF and living together in San Francisco. The eerie part of the story is that I also figured I'd have adopted a child named Sam from Korea. Go figure.

Anyway, as you get older, I'm not so sure you really concentrate on the "best friends" label anymore. I actually do have someone I consider to be my best bud. Despite the fact that we rarely get quality time together, he's known me longer than just about anyone and, together, endured a loss that forever changed both his life and mine.

To take my friend Joe's advice, though, I should say that there's no doubt that my husband is my best friend. I'm lucky to be able to say that and I know it. I've gotten in trouble with Joe for not necessarily referring to Rob that way, but it's the truth.

While I never want to take for granted that Rob is the best friend I'll ever have, I just might have to move on and let that title go to someone else...

When we left dinner tonight, Sam asked me to ride in the back seat with him. I climbed in and just sat next to him for the quick ride home. He sat quietly most of the way. Just before reaching our neighborhood, though, he reached over and touched my arm.

I said, "What's up, Sammy?"

He replied, "Mommy... You my best friend."

I swear, I nearly burst into tears. I think I only managed to hold back the crying because I was also simultaneously shocked that he knew those words.

He went on to clarify that he has "two best friends... Mommy and Daddy both my best friends."

I don't think I've ever been happier.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Say cheese

As I dropped Sam off at daycare this morning, I had to laugh at how spiffy all of the kids looked. As today is "Picture Day," not a single child was wearing the usual who-cares-if-it-gets-dirty playclothes. They were all decked out in their Sunday finest for the occasion. I swear I noted a bit of a swagger in Sam's step...It's like he knows he's in his fancy pants.

I had two thoughts fighting for space in my head as I got him ready for the big day.

The first? I really need to get better about the whole portrait thing. No matter how much I've tried to remain committed to keeping up with the compilation of kiddie memories on this blog, it's just not the same as having real photographs. I mean really, what kid's "lifebook" (I really despise that term for some reason) is complete without a few of the requisitely awkward JC Penney Portrait Studio shots? We've been embarrassingly lax in that department. As usual, we had great intentions, but it always seemed silly to spend money on those typical "say cheese" pictures when I know for a fact Sam will make the process difficult. He loves to take my cell phone, point it at his own face, and smile pretty, but a real camera? Not so much.

The second thought was perhaps more nostalgic. Mind you I didn't say it was all hearts and roses nostalgic... Flashbacks from my own school picture days don't exactly make me recall that my poor mother got much out of the deal, either. It didn't help that I was my own brand of tomboy and simply refused to dress up much. (An aside... I recall a certain fashion show I somehow ended up in. The other girls were all girly and twirly in dresses and ruffles. I wore a terrycloth shorts jumpsuit. I kid you not. It was turquoise if that makes it any "dressier.")

No, the school pictures I recall were the type of thing that have reared their ugly heads on things like my birthday cake when I turned 25. Let me describe: Dorothy Hammil haircut, big fake teeth because I'd fallen on the cement and needed a temporary bridge, green polyester one-piece outfits with little mushrooms appliqued on the knees. Thankfully not all of those things were in the same picture, but it's clear that, year after year, the school picture was not something that was worthy of magazines. Probably not even frames, but I could be exaggerating there.

I am sure my dear son will look back on the painstakingly chosen olive green sweater with nice navy blue pants that he's wearing today and think that his hair looks dorky or something equally frightening. But, just like I'm sure my mom did, we'll gaze at the pictures, certain he was the cutest kid in the universe at that exact moment in time.

Still... I vow to try my best not to do the mushroom on the knee thing to him. My guess is that's one that was probably never completely fashionable.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ho Ho Home Makeover

Have I mentioned lately that there's no rest for the weary?! Perhaps someone was trying to soften the you're-going-on-the-road-again assignment by sending me not to some bustling metropolis, but to Santa Claus, Indiana. Seriously, I just returned from a quiet little village named after St. Nick himself. Our temporary address was Christmas Blvd. and my hotel (Santa's Lodge) room faced Holiday Village, down the road from the famed Holiday World. And so as not to leave Santa's cohorts out, I can't forget dear old Frosty, a giant melting snowman in the middle of a mini golf course that was on the grounds of our little resort.

I shouldn't make fun, actually... The people we met in dear old Santa Claus were incredibly nice.

In reality, we stayed in Santa Claus because it was the closest lodging to our true destination, St. Meinrad, home of an inspirational Relayer whose house was being built by the nice people at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Anyone who has ever Relayed can understand what an adventure it was to hold five consecutive Relays...with just a week's notice. A very cool group of people, several of whom hadn't even met by the time everyone arrived in the the quite hamlet of St. Meinrad, managed to pull it off. It was awesome to see a town of about 800 grow to more than 4,000 when we executed a made-for-TV Relay For Life Opening Ceremony and Ceremony of Hope. I was very proud to have been a part of something that will showcase all that Relay is to the millions of faithful volunteers that keep the event going in thousands of communities each year. I also hope it launches us into the next phase of the "Power of Purple."

Having been to many Relays over the years, and having the privilege of meeting Relayers from across the country on a regular basis, it's not often that I hear a completely fresh way of describing what it is we do.

The words of Paul DiMeo, EMHE designer extraordinaire, really caught my attention last Saturday night. He said to the crowd that he couldn't figure out why we don't call Relay a "race." In his words, "Why isn't it a race to get to a cure as fast as we can?...Now I see it...At the end of a race, a single person is too tired to keep going...A Relay is about a team of people that can pick up where another left off so that the effort can continue...That is how we will find a cure." He makes pretty things... He talks pretty, too!!

A post about my adventure in Indiana wouldn't be complete without mentioning how much fun it was to be a part of this "Groundhog Day Relay" with the other people who worked on the marathon event the whole time. I made a new "BFF" in a trailer of all places. I laughed more than I have in a long time with the income development staff of the Great Lakes Division. I shared my guardian angels with new friends. I tried my hardest to recruit a producer from the show to defect to the ACS camp. I became known as the girl who wants to own her own pole driver (seriously, banner hanging has never been so much fun!) And I might have gotten over my aversion to hugging...maybe.