Monday, April 23, 2012

The Rules We Live By

Before I tell you about  “the rules,” I want to take a moment to say thank you to my husband for pushing me in a direction I adamantly did not want to go.  Back in the fall, he signed me up for a writing workshop.  He did it at a time when my craft business was shrinking; I was uninspired by my drawings, and in need of some kind of break from the kids.  While Steve is no longer in school, he still works two jobs, which involves overtime on weekends and travel that takes him out of town almost one weekend a month. He was right, I did need something to do outside of caring for the kids and our home, but I wasn’t sure…ok, let’s be honest, I was downright scared, to go.  And, with good reason…not just because I hadn’t written anything in such a long time, I was concerned about the setup. This wasn’t my first rodeo.   

Steve has gotten into the habit of signing me up for classes in lieu of traditional gifts for birthdays and holidays.  I love it because I’m a terrible person to buy for.  I’m not “fancy” as Natalie often tells me.  I have one purse that I’ve had for almost two years.  It’s not a designer bag and I’ll keep using it until it can no longer serve its purpose.  My feeling is, if I don't have $200 to put in my wallet, I have no business carrying a purse costing that much.  I’m not a clothes horse.  I have a couple of outfits I feel really good in and much of the rest is “mom wear” consisting of jeans and T-shirts.  I love shoes, but comfort comes first.  I have a well-worn pair of Sketchers that I trade off with my tennis shoes depending on my mood. 
Which brings me to the classes he has signed me up for in the past…like belly dancing.  Now, I take partial blame for this one, because I may have been the one to put the idea in his head in the first place.  I’m pretty sure it was during an argument in which I was moaning about needing a higher purpose than being the only one in the house who can run the dishwasher, find a pair of matching socks or has been educated in the ways of when to change the toilet roll.  During the heat of the exchange he asked, “Well, what do you want to do?!”

Belly dancing may have slipped out.  Ok, so I’m not the best under pressure.  If you want to win a million dollars, DO NOT ask me to be your lifeline.  Anyway, there’s a reason chicks like me don't belly dance.  As I tried to imitate the instructor’s moves I realized my body had no shake, which kinda makes you look just plain silly.  Not to mention, the class was held at a community rec center with big, clear windows for anyone passing by to stand and gawk at…I’m talking to you, Mr. Sweatin’-to-the-Oldies-man.  Sigh…so instead of hurting Steve’s feelings because it really was a sweet gesture, I continued to go.  Only instead of actually going to the class, I spent the remaining weeks hiding out at Big Lots.      

So, thanks Steve for pushing me to do things outside my comfort zone that have helped me grow in ways I never could have imagined for myself.  The Rules We Live by is a poem (my first ever!) I created during that fall workshop series.

The Rules We Live By

Always three
things on his plate

Don’t let the foods touch.

Always round
meals chosen

Don’t serve spaghetti.
Always Legos
topic of speech

Don’t talk about sports
Always few
friends and invites.

Don’t bring up recess.
Always struggles
with recall

Don’t ask about his day.
Always concrete
with his thoughts

Don’t expect him to read between the lines.
Always Velcro
fasteners selected

Don’t ask him to tie his shoes.

Always focused
on the details

Don’t ask him about the plot.
Always rises
before dawn

Don’t stay up for Letterman.
Always answers

Don’t forget to wear thick skin.

Always pure
in his heart
Don’t dash his superhero dreams.

Always loving
hugs me freely
Don’t forget to pinch myself.


  1. Kala - Nate's MomApril 24, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It's comforting to see that other families have some of the same struggles. And thank you for reminding us to see the beauty and humor in our lives!

    1. Thanks for reading. Us Moms have to stick together!