Style vs. Cut

Everyday over the last week I have felt like I have 30 tasks I need to accomplish. If I get one completed, I’m happy. So when I took Mario and Ri to Great Clips on Saturday for a haircut, I was pumped up because I was hitting two birds with one stone. One stop shopping baby.
But then Ri threw a curve ball on me. She brought up the bangs thing again. She’s been begging for short hair and bangs for months. I’ve been putting her off. For two reasons – I love her long hair and I keep forgetting to call a salon to get us in for a cut. The first reason is one that I told myself I have to get over. If Ri wants her hair short, I will have to life with it. Besides, how many times do I have to tell her to brush her hair during the week? She’s fine with it a tangled mess and it drives me nuts. The second reason should have rung like a church bell in my head when Ri begged me in front of the haircutter to let her get bangs and short hair. I’d told myself over and over before that day that there was no way I should allow Great Clips to give her bangs and a bob. But that “get ‘er done” personality wrestled its way in and knocked away common sense. Holy Sh–.
What a mistake that was.
Ri looked like Thor. Her bangs were chopped to mid-forehead and straight across with no style at all. Her thick head of hair shot out of her head like a big cone had been placed on her temples. I am not a vain person and could care less about looks so when I was aghast, I knew there were problems. It took all of Jon’s might not to cringe when she walked in the door. But Ri, my sweet little Ri, did not see her cut as horrid. She liked it. She had bangs, albeit crazy bangs that were short and flopped up on both sides, but bangs.
I tried to convince myself that Ri’s hair wasn’t that bad. Her bangs would grow eventually. We could tame her cone head. But by the end of the day I could not take it. I called a hair salon in Grandview and begged for an early morning appointment on Sunday. They had one available at 9:30 am. Hallelujah!
The stylist was a lifesaver. She had to cut Ri’s hair into a true bob – up to her ears – but it was an actual “style” versus just a “cut.”

I was so relieved when we left the salon – Ri’s hair looked presentable. I still love her long hair but it’s not about me – she loves her bob.

(She wouldn’t let me take a post-cut picture because she wanted to surprise everyone).
As for me, I learned my lesson and vowed to take a deep breath next time I felt rushed and on the war path to accomplish, accomplish, accomplish … at least when it comes to Ri’s hair.
Baby steps.

Ups and Downs

Sunday morning began with a kiss on the cheek from Maria as I lay in bad trying to avoid the sun peeking through the blinds.  It only got better from there with Mario jumping on me five minutes later and smothering me with kisses.  Jon came up from downstairs and goofed around with me and the kids. We all laughed.  Life is good. 

So why do I still feel catch myself feeling cruddy?  I assumed, somehow naively, that I would bounce back from my grandma’s death and be back to normal after the funeral.  Grandma would have wanted that.  But it’s not worked out that way.  Rather, I am having really tough moments along with just feeling plain crummy at times.  I guess this is my grief process; I just wish it would hurry on up!  But that is typical me – always ready to move on and start the next thing.  Maybe Grandma is trying to teach me a lesson even still – slow down, sweet grand-daughter. 

M&M at age 4 and 2 in the strollerAnd indeed, Sunday was  wonderful day.” The kids and I took a stroller ride in the morning to Stauf’s.  Maria still gets in the stroller like she is two years old but that is ok with me.  The stroller is like other people’s cars.  I don’t like to drive anywhere around the neighborhood so the stroller is our mode of transportation.  And when we want to get somewhere fast, it is easier for me to load them up and run there then it is to pull the car out, buckle in, and find a parking spot.  Jon surprised us at Stauf’s and we ate breakfast together.  A simple act and very enjoyable on a Sunday morning.   

After Stauf’s, we got haircuts and went to the park.  It was beginning to get warm out by that time so we stayed at the park for a while climbing up the slides (yes, we do things backwards) and swinging.  Maria and Mario love when I do the “underdog” swing where I hold onto the metal chains of the swing and run underneath it to give an even bigger push.  They love it.  Pure daredevils.  Maria is finally getting the hang of using her feet to swing herself but still hates to have to do it. 

My tree climberAfter the park, we went to the second-hand bookstore to look for books.  We found some that looked promising about a beaver and another about horses.  Mario found some Dr. Seuss, and we read four of them before we headed out.  I take every opportunity I get to read to him since he usually only wants to play on the computer. 

When we got home, we began work in the yard.  Maria tried to find a place to hang our chimes and I gathered up dead leaves and branches.  Mario sat inside and played on the computer.  He is a fanatic.  He spends hours playing on the Wild Kratts website trying to win the cheetah game.  It is ridiculous the perseverance he has to win that game.  Maria laid on the deck while I cut the ornamental grass and talked to me about the flowers we should plant around the house.  She also found some baby buds starting to bloom.  I love times like those with my daughter.

My HikerWe eventually got Mario away from the computer and outside.  He kicked the soccer ball while Maria tried to perfect her cartwheels.  My girl does not have natural athletic ability but she puts her heart and soul into it.  Mario, on the other hand, has much natural athletic ability, but gets completely upset if he can’t master a move right away.  Jon worked on putting in the screens to our windows.  Jon’s parents arrived for the OSU game at 3, and Patty helped us drain all of the beer leftover from winter parties that had been sitting on the deck for months.  She should be sainted.  The house smelled like a brewery the rest of the day. 

We watched some of the game in between windows and yard work.  The Buckeyes lost.  But we had Ray Ray’s to cheer us up.  Nothin’ like some brisket and ribs to brighten up your day.  We sat around the dining room table listening to Maria rat out Jon for comments he made about Maria’s friends.  Little does Maria know that she is very much like her father and has his same sarcasm and wit.  When Jon dishes it out, she dishes it right back.  Patty and I laughed so hard at some of her retorts to Jon’s comments.  The two of them could put on a show together.  After dinner, we finished up the yard work, and called it a day.  It was so nice to have Patty and Joe with us for the afternoon just hanging out and chatting and watching the kids.  The kids love having their grandparents around them; Mario tries to usurp a lot of their time because he begs for them to watch his every move. 

Mario and I took a walk after Patty and Joe left.  On the walk back home, it grew darker but it was still pleasant outside (upper 60’s).  We could hear the birds chirping and kids playing outside.  I felt alive on the one hand but also still so sad about the loss of Grandma.  I took a deep breath and exhaled and just let my emotions run through me.  I guess there is nothing more to do but let it process… and remember all of the wonderful gifts around me.

Fresh Air – Finally!

Maria and Mario enjoying the 50 degree weather

The only good aspect of living through such cold, dreary, snowy, rainy, blustery days is that when a mildly sunny 50 degree day pokes through, it is like nirvana.   I had been trying to convince myself all week not to fall deep into the doldrums but it had not worked especially well.  I went to bed at 9:30 last night because I was tired and irritable and sick of the cold – go away old man winter!   

But then Saturday arrived like a bright pink package waiting for you on Christmas morning and I felt sparks of energy zing throughout my body.  The sun was out, and it was above 40 degrees.  I went for a run around the neighborhood.  I felt like I could go for 20 miles.  When I came home, Maria immediately begged to go on a walk – yes ma’am!  She got her homework sheet (find things outside that engage one of your five senses) and went to wait for me on the porch.  Mario, always imitating his sister, grabbed a pad of paper and pen and followed her outside (on a side note, Mario wore jeans today for the first time in probably 4 months – he had sworn off jeans and only donned sweats for all of winter (can we say George Castanza?!)) 

Enjoying their favorite tree

They walked a few houses up noticing the delicate Spring flowers blooming on the hillsides of the neighbors’ yards.  Mario did not like the white ones because they drooped downwards and looked like they were “dead.” He liked the purple ones standing at attention, sturdy, strong.  Mario is all into muscle lately whether on him (“Feel my muscles, everyone”) or on objects.  Maria reminded me that we needed to buy flower seeds and flowers to plant soon so our yard would look pretty for Spring.  She is a task master.  After looking around the street, she chose a car to describe her senses.  She saw the car, touched the car, smelled the car (she observed if it was turned on she would smell gas) and heard the car start its engine ( I tried for a flower or tree but she wanted a car). 

We headed up the street to Stauf’s for a bagel and cream cheese.  We had not hit Stauf’s together for a long time and it was refreshing to sit in the coffeehouse and relax.  And neither of my children ran around like crazy people, which thrilled me most of all.  Mario sat on my lap and Maria sat in her chair.  Is this what it is like to have well-behaved kids?  Love it. We took off down Grandview Avenue – Maria running ahead and hiding behind signs and Mario trailing behind doing the same.  Luckily, Maria is very good about stopping at every crosswalk but I still make her stop every 20 feet or so.  What is it going to be like when she is older and wants to walk alone with her girlfriends?! 

Mario soaking up the pampering

We made it past the post office, past the waterfall in the flower shop, and to the hair cutting place.  Mario stopped dead in his tracks; ran his hand through his hair, and demanded he get a haircut.  “It has been too long, mom.”  So, we headed inside.  Maria and Mario flipped through magazines (Mario’s was ESPN and Maria’s was Vogue – swear!) and Maria got called up to the chair.  She had decided she would “get a trim.”  However, she didn’t make it two minutes before she started crying about how much it hurt to comb her hair.  It went from a slight sniffle to a full-blown sob and we had to stop the hairstylist.  If there is one thing that Maria hates it is getting her hair combed.  I let her brush her own hair for school because she has such a meltdown if I touch it.  It is one of those battles I choose not to have because it isn’t worth it in comparison to getting dressed, getting lunch together, getting homework done.  She certainly does not do the best with it but I don’t have enough energy to waste fighting this one (although there are times that I just want to style her gorgeous thick hair!). Mario is up to the chair next.  He sits straight up, eyes focused in the mirror, sucker in his mouth, and does not move the entire time the stylist cuts, razors and trims up his hair.  He watches intently in the mirror soaking up the adoration and pampering from the staff.  When finished, he agrees to some gel through his hair.  When we get outside, the wind blows hard.  “Mom, does my hair still look good?”  The boy is destined to be the next drop-dead male model – god help us. 

We head to Giant Eagle next to pick up lawn bags and yogurt with candy on top (Mario’s new obsession).  I am concerned about the walk home because I now have bags of groceries and therefore it is inevitable one will be too tired to walk and want me to carry them.  However, much to my amazement, they run with each other down Grandview Avenue, stopping at the waterfall again and the mailboxes.  They continue to think it is so funny to hide from me behind a parking meter.  

We were so close to home when Mario tripped on a hose; hence, the end of the walk for him.  I carried him home with Maria by my side asking if I was proud of her for walking the entire way. “Maria, you are my amazing, strong, adventurous girl – I am so proud of you.”  She continued to look down the street but I saw a little smile form on her face. 

My rough and tough princess

Thank god for this day – we all needed it to raise our spirits and get us back into life again.  Recharge the batteries.  See the light.  Tomorrow is supposed to be back to 40 degrees and cloudy but we can handle it for a few days now that we have had the gorgeousness and splendor of today.  Besides, daylight savings time is tonight so it will be light until 7 or so every evening – another saving grace to keep us away from those doldrums.