Observations and Oddities

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Sappy category.

A Mothers’ Day Memoir

The annual celebration of mothers often incites people to share tales of their children’s births, touching memories of those no longer with us and precious sentiments about the things our mothers have taught us or given up for us over the years. While I could write pages on any of these subjects, I have chosen to instead document 10 moments that confirmed for me what it is to be a mother.

  1. Waking a peacefully sleeping baby, just to assure myself she was still breathing.
  2. Reaching into my purse in search of keys, only to pull out a pacifier.
  3. Paying three times what I should for the Christmas gift my child just had to have.
  4. Crying during a first grade performance of a song about Egypt.
  5. Applying the “mom arm” technique during a sudden stop of the car.
  6. Spending hours and hours, into the wee hours of the night, making the perfect Barbie cake.
  7. Sobbing hysterically (the textbook definition of an “ugly cry”) while witnessing my child in pain and knowing I couldn’t ease it.
  8. Singing every word of the High School Musical soundtrack with my daughter (and being able to identify the actors, characters and scenes involved with each song).
  9. Sitting in a parking lot, making frantic phone calls and refusing to leave until I know exactly why police cars and fire engines are surrounding my child’s school, while simultaneously considering the various ways I could bypass the emergency vehicles to get to my child.
  10. Digging through the garbage to find misplaced homework assignments.

They may not be the memories that will ever grace the front of a greeting card, but they are the ones that have made me Mom.


The Thankful Game

Lately, one of my pastors has been encouraging us to the play what he has dubbed “the thankful game.”  His purpose is to keep us focused on the important things rather than getting caught up in life’s little distractions and inconveniences.  So, after being quite grumpy about my nasty commute home last night (for a brief synopsis of this event see my Facebook page ), I’ve decided to play a round of the thankful game.

I am thankful for the following:

  • That no one was critically injured in the accident that caused my chaotic commute (A miracle in itself when you realize a van tumbled off on overpass and a semi was completely engulfed in flames and no one involved was wearing  seatbelt. Read more here).
  • That I didn’t leave work a few minutes earlier, as it could have put me in the middle of the accident
  • A nearly full tank of gas, an empty bladder, a charged cell phone, a granola bar and a book
  • That my children were safe at home with their dad and not stranded somewhere waiting to be picked up
  • Friends and family who called, texted, and posted to Facebook in order to both check on me and keep me entertained
  • My iPhone- plenty of entertainment to be found in that 2.5 X 4.5” box
  • That, for the most part, people remained calm and polite and didn’t act incredibly stupid in the traffic mess
  • Public servants such as the police officers and firefighters who worked long hours in blistering cold to deal with the aftermath of the accident
  • Alternative routes and navigational systems
  • That the alternative routes were only covered with light ice and snow and not the dreadful stuff my friends and family in other regions are dealing with
  • The warm house I had to go home to, even if it was at the end of the ice-covered hill that my car was not able pass
  • The family waiting for me in that house, and the fact that they are all healthy and safe
  • The yummy leftovers that were in my fully-stocked fridge upon my arrival at home
  • The job I was coming home from
  • A pastor that reminded me to be thankful
  • A God who has blessed me with everything listed above and more
  • Those of you that will take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to read this post

Are we there yet?

Once upon a time, I believed that being “grown up” was a simple rite of passage that took place the moment I turned 18 and became a legal adult. Shortly thereafter, my definition evolved to include the ability to purchase alcohol legally, then college graduation, then marriage…….the list goes on and on.  Now, at the ripe old age of 36, I often wonder if I’ll ever feel like a certified grown up.

I’ve completed all of the obligatory tasks.  I can vote, enjoy a martini at my favorite bar, display my college diploma, introduce you to my spouse, show you pictures of my children, present you with my business card and refinance my mortgage.   I possess grey hair, wrinkles, cracking knees and deteriorating vision. Despite all of these credentials, there are often times when I don’t feel so “grown-up.” 

I often look at my fellow “grown-ups” and wonder how it is they do the things that they do.  How do they afford this, manage that, sound so certain, keep it all together?  Regardless of whether these individuals are any older than I am, I regularly think- “wow, they are much more grown up than I am. I wish I could do that.” It’s another one of those things that leads to my frequent introspection.

During one of my recent moments of self-reflection, it became very clear to me that my original definition of being grown up was completely inaccurate, at least in my view of things. Growing up is a lifelong journey, one that is not complete until we have acquired decades of life experiences. There is always going to be a new task ahead of us to mark our progression through life, adding to the ranks of our knowledge and emotional intelligence.  There will always be new firsts that we’ll have to learn how to navigate: becoming the boss, watching a child leave the nest, welcoming a grandchild, preparing for the death of a parent, accepting your own mortality.

This realization doesn’t change much, but it does help me put things in perspective. When I’m feeling immature, unprepared, incapable or self-conscious about my ability to handle any given situation, I can now look at it and understand that I’m not failing as an adult.  I’m just in the process of growing up.

Have fun. Do good.

Not too long ago, in the midst of a random chat with a dear friend, I was asked what I would do if I ever won the lottery.  To clarify, not just won the lottery, but won millions and millions- more than I could ever spend. My answer to this question began in a way that likely resembles the answer of many others: I’d purchase a litany of “toys,” homes and cars, travel the world, take care of family and friends, give to my church, then start my own philanthropic organization- serving underprivileged children (the idea for this organization is a blog post of its own which I’ll likely discuss in the future, but not today).  After rattling of my list of would do’s, I chose to sum it up in a simple statement that captured it all: “Have fun. Do good.”

Often a fan of my own wit, I decided that I really liked this summary statement and that it should be my life motto. After all, if my goal in life when I have all of the financial resources imaginable is that simple, shouldn’t I apply that same ambition to my life today? 

Don’t worry- this discussion of a life motto isn’t going to turn into a Jerry Maguire-like mission statement, nor am I going to start chanting “have fun, do good, have fun, do good” as a daily mantra.  I’m just one to overanalyze things and, in this case, I felt the need to let this phrase permeate my thoughts for awhile. What I found is: this is a pretty fair description of how I try to live my life and that maybe reminding myself of this goal every once and awhile might me a worthwhile thing.

Have fun.
I’ve never been the class clown. I’m no Pollyanna. I’ve sometimes been the life of the party (editorial comments on this statement should be sent to my private email only). I’m often the one with a sarcastic comment, hoping to bring some humor to any situation.  That said, I think it’s fair to say that, in general, I do approach life with a “have fun” mentality. However, as adulthood, parenthood, mortgages, deadlines, taxes, responsibilities and many of the other stressors of life have become commonplace it’s easy to see that I often lose track of that positive outlook.

I’m not suggesting that I should take this month’s mortgage payment and reallocate it to a weekend trip to the Bahamas (however tempting that idea may be). But there is definite room for improvement in how I react to and look at everyday situations.  A daily reminder to have a little fun along the way could definitely not hurt.

Do good.
I’m no Mother Theresa.  I have been accused of having a bleeding heart.  I find service to others rewarding. I am, at heart, a do-gooder.  When it comes to the doing good part of my life motto, the largest obstacle I face is likely my own need to overdo everything. Refocusing on the fact that doing good is represented just as well by small random acts of kindness as it is by weeklong mission trips to distant places, will serve me well here.  Doing a little good in the world each day will surely result in a lot of good in my life.

 So, rather than setting resolutions this new year, I’m choosing to instead refocus on four simple words that stemmed from a random conversation:  Have Fun. Do Good.  If I make this my goal, how can I go wrong?

Auld Lang Syne

As I’m sure it is for many, the holiday season is a time of reminiscing for me.  Whether it’s a simple look back at the trials and tribulations/achievements and enjoyments of the last twelve months or a deeper look back over the years, I enjoy the retrospection invited by the closing of a calendar year.

This year’s  recollection has been an especially sentimental one for me, for a lot of reasons and no specific reason at the same time. Maybe it’s due to my increasing proximity to middle age or, it could be my daughter’s entrance to teenagedom that triggered my trek down memory lane.  Or maybe it’s just the simple amalgamation of a collection of life events, experiences and my stage in life that have made me a bit sappier than usual this time around. Whatever the reason, I’ve been especially mindful of the value of relationships in recent weeks and months. 

Every New Year’s Eve, as the clock strikes midnight, millions sing (or attempt to sing) the song Auld Lang Syne.  I’d venture to say that a large percentage of these folks have no idea what words they are even saying when they belt out the lyrics to this ballad, let alone the sentiment behind them.  (Luckily for these individuals, I’m here to provide my incredible insight into the meaning of this traditional tune).  The opening line, depending on your chosen translation (I’ll use the English here), states: “should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?”  This query is a bit of a rhetorical question- meant to challenge you to think about the value of long-standing relationships.

I’m truly blessed in the friend department and this year has offered a variety of reminders of this gift in my life.  Not only have I been lucky enough to have some of the best “reason” and “season” friends any girl could ever ask for, but I am privileged to have a collection of “lifetime” friends that mean the world to me. These are the friends that no matter how many days, weeks, months or even years may have passed since you last spoke or visited,  you can count on to be there in a time of need. They are the ones who can pick up a conversation with you like no time has passed at all. These cherished few know me at such a fundamental level that explanations are rarely needed and sometimes even words are unnecessary for them to know exactly what is on my mind and in my heart.  

So to these friends, I wish you the happiest of new years. 2011 promises to offer us some great blessings that I look forward to enjoying and celebrating with you.  I’m sure it will also hold some trials, challenges and heart wrenching moments as well, but whatever it brings I rest confident in knowing that we’ll make it through it, together.  Take a few minutes to read this excerpt from the  1711 ballad which inspired our traditional New Year’s Eve chorus and know that “my heart is ravisht with delight,when thee I think upon.”

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
on Old long syne.


On Old long syne my Jo,
in Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
on Old long syne.

My Heart is ravisht with delight,
when thee I think upon;
All Grief and Sorrow takes the flight,
and speedily is gone;
The bright resemblance of thy Face,
so fills this, Heart of mine;
That Force nor Fate can me displease,
for Old long syne.


Since thoughts of thee doth banish grief,
when from thee I am gone;
will not thy presence yield relief,
to this sad Heart of mine:
Why doth thy presence me defeat,
with excellence divine?
Especially when I reflect
on Old long syne


Auld Lang Syne, James Watson, 1711.