Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feliz Mommy Hot

It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, going from Starbucks and stilettos to Sippy cups and strollers can take a hit on anyone’s ego. Okay, I’m more of a kitten heel kind of girl, but I haven’t seen a pair of those since that plus sign appeared more than five years ago.

Along with my job and my wardrobe, my life changed when we started our family. So, it’s not surprising that my emotions followed suit.

The other day while my daughter and I were trimming the tree, I got choked up listening to ‘Feliz Navidad.’ If you’ve heard it, you know it’s a cheerful tune. Why get emotional over this song? Well, it started when my daughter was two.

I’m toting around the cutest tot on the planet, but I look like one hot mess. I’d heard that’s what happens when you have kids, but vowed never to go more than two days without a shower and to never, I mean never ever, resort to a three-day ponytail and stretchy pants. Yet, there I was hair pulled back rockin’ the loungewear wondering if I’d ever shave again.

We’d been listening to holiday tunes on every media device we could since the day after Thanksgiving and ‘Feliz Navidad’ was playing.

All of a sudden my daughter squeals, “Mommy Hot!”

Not sure whether she said what I think she said, I ask her, “What’s that honey?”

And this adorable kid, bouncing around beams at me, “Mommy Hot is on.”

I know my daughter misunderstood the words and changed ‘Navi-dad’ to ‘Mommy Hot.’ I also know that to her, hot is a temperature, not a word describing one’s appearance, but I feel complimented all the same. Not since being relegated to the easy on, easy off driving moc category had I felt anywhere close to ‘hot.’ Thinking of myself as ‘Mommy Hot’ made me feel good on a day that I really needed to feel good. So I turned the music up and sang along.

It was the cutest thing, every time we heard the song she’d get excited and I’d get a confidence boost just hearing her say, “Mommy Hot.” I loved it. I clung to the moments as long as I could and figured she’d soon forget all about our special version.

Fast-forward two years. We’re in the thick of it with two kids – an independent wants-to-do-everything herself 4-year-old girl and a teething makes-his-own-schedule baby boy. I’m stuck in some kind of post-baby reconstruction phase and all I want for Christmas is eight consecutive hours of sleep. But, it’s the holiday season, one of my favorite times of the year, and darn it, sleep or not, the hall decking must go on!

We had our favorite holiday classics from Ella to Elvis on while we trimmed the tree. I heard a guitar intro and then a chorus of, “Feliz Navidad.” My girl did a “twirl-jump” as she likes to call them and shouted, “Feliz Mommy Hot!”

So focused on getting the umpteenth box of decorations emptied and out of the way, I almost missed it. I stopped and stared at my daughter. Her red dress twirled as she sang, “Feliz Mommy Hot.” She was two again and I wondered when did she get so big?

This peppy song is playing, our daughter’s dancing and I’m devastated that my baby girl is not a baby anymore. Such emotion is expected when something holds such great meaning. I just never thought it would be ‘Feliz Navidad’ that brought on the waterworks.

The scene reminded me of how desperately impossible parenthood is at times. Struggling to keep your identity, and sanity, while pouring every bit of goodness, confidence and smarts you can into your children. Sure, it’s wonderful to see them grow, but bittersweet that many precious moments are over so quickly, like snowflakes melting on your skin. 

I stop thinking about how much has changed and focus solely on this moment, for I know it will pass just as quickly. I hit rewind and grasp my daughter’s hands. Then I grab our son and we all dance together for a while. When it's over, I squeeze them and tell them how much I love them. So, to José, Celine and the many artists who’ve covered this song I say, “Thank you, and Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Does Anyone Sign Holiday Cards Anymore?

If you read my previous post then you know how I feel about empty Christmas cards. I heave a heavy sigh when we receive cards that aren’t even signed. Hey, I get that life’s busy, but can you at least write in your name every couple years or so?

We’ve come close several times to stuffing envelopes and shipping them off, but I’ve fought hard against it. Printing companies are making it even more tempting when they offer to design, print and mail your announcements or greetings sight unseen. But, I can’t bring myself to it just yet. Sure, it’s easy, but is it impersonal? I’m not sure.

We still sign ours, and let me tell you it’s fun for about the first five cards. After that, our daughter’s had it and struggling to get her to write more makes it worse. So, like any good (desperate) parents, we stop and take the next few days to bribe her with games and treats until they’re finished.

Ours are done, except I still have to fill out the envelopes and mail them, but they’re close.

As I prepare to spend the evening with some eggnog, a sharpie and my next stack of Christmas cards, I raise my glass to those of you who still sign your holiday greetings. Cheers!    

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Need Gift Ideas for Book Lovers?

Books make a great gift. Take the stress out of selecting the right one by following two simple rules. 

1. Give what you like, like what you give. If you find a topic interesting, share it with a friend or relative who recognizes this is something you enjoy. If you love jokes, perhaps a humorous take on parenting is the perfect gift for a new mom or dad. If finance, cooking or another subject is your favorite, try to find something that relates that subject to the person you're gifting it to. 

2. Give what they like and you can't go wrong. Say you know someone who loves biographies, search sites like Goodreads, Indiebound or Barnes & Noble for ideas. You can search by genre or see what's new and recommended. 

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!
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