Sunday, August 30, 2009

I'm sorry, you're HOW old?

Excuse me, but when did I get old?

If some of you mature readers are thinking, "Oh goodness, Maxine! You're still young yet." Think again. Or at least tell that to me when I keep running into people that really should always be older than me.

For instance...

The doctor. When we moved to Washington in 2004, I needed to find a pediatrician. I found someone who came highly recommended...only they failed to mention that this doctor was still prepubescent. Okay, so maybe she was old enough to have completed medical school, but it was really odd taking parenting advice from someone so young. How could she know anything? She was probably still living with her parents! Crazy thing was, she was an excellent physician.

Then we moved to Arizona and I was pregnant with Noah. Time to find that ob/gyn who would bring my 3rd bundle of joy into the world. Again...she came highly recommended. And again....she's younger than me. A lot younger. Maybe it's easier to deliver babies when you were just recently one yourself?

My child's teacher. Okay, now this one I actually do expect the kindergarten teacher to be a bubbly 20-something with loads of energy to keep up with a roomful of 5 year olds. However, it's when you are broad-sided with the realization that this teacher who looks fresh out of college has been teaching for 8 years! So why is it that someone who is 29 or 30 years old looks soooo young to me, unless...dare I say it...I'm not.


But this weekend was the clincher. Sunday's Bismarck Tribune showcased the new president of my college alma mater. Sure, I knew we had a new president. I even figured he had plenty of credentials, was an outstanding leader and would likely accomplish great things in his new role. I didn't know he was someone who didn't even have his drivers license yet by the time I graduated high school!

Yes. It's painfully true. He's younger than me! The PRESIDENT of the proclaimed "America's Leadership University" is younger than ME.

I don't suppose the most discouraging part of that news is the fact that I'm old, but rather that I'm old enough to have actually accomplished something. What have I been doing for the past 15 years?! Did I fall asleep under a rock?

Sure, my resume isn't completely blank, and being a mother pretty much qualifies you for everything. Doctor? Oh yeah. Slapped on some hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin and a bandaid to Rachel's knee just the other day! Teacher? Are you kidding me? I'm constantly "students" don't always seem to get it, though. University President. Well, no. But I do have the same taste in pasta as dear President Shea (light on the sauces).

Someone told me today that old is "anyone always 15 years my senior." I could get behind that statement. also means that energized first year kindergarten teacher is finding me old. Oh well. Closing her in a room with 25 noisy children who could pee their pants at any moment seems like sweet justice to me.

As for me, I think I'm going to like the blooming new president. In his words...

"The way things unfolded, the finger of God can be seen so clearly," he said "- that is, in how each piece of your life fits into a whole, prepares you for a future that you couldn't imagine at the time."

So the future could hold some amazing things for me.

Maybe I'm still collecting the pieces.

For the full story on the University of Mary president, go to: (

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pass me the gun, Honey. I just found Season 8.

Goin' to the chaaaaapel and we're gonnnnna get ma-a-a-a-ried...okay, so it's not a chapel and it isn't me, but we will be attending an outdoor wedding this evening. I love weddings. But there's something I get rather envious of.

No, it's not the gorgeous flowing white gown on that young, flawless beauty. It's not even the ultimate pampering you receive as a bride - manicure, pedicure, make-up and hair. Frankly, I don't even get all that jealous of the perfect Caribbean honeymoon (okay, well, maybe a little).

You see, I want the registry.

Pages upon pages of merchandise you just plain want. It doesn't even matter if you actually need it. All 10 seasons of Friends on DVD? Come on! Back in my day, it was all about the china and crystal (borrrring). Sure, they'll reach for the scanner gun as they stroll past the blenders and toasters too, but these days you can register for anything from poker chips to a chainsaw.

I've been married for 16 years. The towels are thin and frayed. The crockpot button broke off years ago. And I don't even own a DVD player. How about a registry for those of us in desperate need of dropping a few hundred dollars at Target too?

Because let's face it, when you're shopping a wedding registry, cost is barely a factor. Visions of your gift adorned in embossed white wrapping paper with a big shimmery bow cause you to lose your head. Not to mention you adore this new couple and know your gift will be remembered for all time (5 years later...Husband: Where'd we get that popcorn bowl? Wife: Oh, you know! It was a gift from Aunt Doreen for our wedding!). So the pressure is on to get just the right gift.

Translation: People you haven't seen in months or years will slap down serious cash to help you set up your home. I like the sound of that.

So how about it? Every 15 years we head to the store with our spouse, grab a gun and start scanning like mad. When can that become socially acceptable?

I know what you're thinking: By that time in your marriage you should be well-established in your careers, making enough money to allow you to take care of yourself. Oh reeeeally? So that must be why the majority of people I see at garage sales are people under the age of 30? NOT! Look at us! We're scavengers for the best deal we can find! We have children to feed and clothe now and don't even get me started on the cost to repair the car that just broke down last week! We're the ones hovered around the clearance racks and scoffing at pillows priced at $39.99!

So, come on all you Aunt Doreens of the world. Whaddya say? I'll even let you wrap up my new queen-size sheets in tissue paper stuffed with confetti I'll have to vacuum up later.

Just to give you a little more joy.

And you'll be quite impressed when the 'thank you' card arrives so punctual. After all, I can write them as I'm watching Season 8 of Friends on my new DVD player.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's With All the Gore?

It's as if we are a society that can't learn anything unless we see something disgusting related to the poor choice/activity. What's up with that?!

For instance, I've watched that nasty video of the kids texting while driving that results in a horrific accident that you are "privileged" to watch every bloody detail.


And I just read that within the next 3 years, federal regulators plan to require tobacco companies to cover at least half of the front and back of packages with graphic—and possibly gruesome—images illustrating the dangers of smoking to help convince people to quit.

Really?! Is it going to HELP? Let's take a look at previous attempts: remember when the surgeon general warning was posted on cigarettes? Ooh, yeah, that really scared people into quitting. NOT. And then they jacked up the taxes and prices of cigarettes. Well, surely that should at least get the low-income people to stop smoking. Seems to me they had to make a choice between smoking or eating. They'll pay for the addiction before they'll pay for a meal.

So now the feds figure if they slap a gruesome picture of a cancer-ravaged mouth with rotting teeth on the pack it will make people stop smoking. It'd be nice if people would just stop smoking because of common sense, but I won't go down that road.

But if it does work..well, then, I need the yucky photo of a clogged artery or organs wrapped in fat to appear on my potato chip bag. Seriously. I could use some help with that one. I love me the chip.

By Popular Demand

Okay, so maybe it's not "in demand," but I have had a couple people indicate that I should start a blog, so I say, "Why not?" Give the people what they want! Right? Right!

Today is the first day of school. I now have a first grader and a kindergartener, which means I am left with just a 20 month old firecracker at home, BUT...he naps! So guess what I get to do during naptime?! You guessed it! WRITE! No interruptions...oh, this is bliss.

Speaking of the first day of school...I have been anticipating this day with a bit of guilty joy for the past several days. So I wasn't sure how I'd react to sending off my 2nd child to Kindergarten. I was fine until I went to hug Caleb goodbye. I felt like I was abandoning him. Maybe it's the fear that he'll get lost in the shuffle with the other 24 kids in his busy classroom, or that someone else will be putting on a band-aid when he gets hurt on the playground, or that he may only eat his cookie at lunchtime and toss the perfectly good pizza and green beans! Rachel, on the other hand, is my whiz kid and I had all the confidence in the world for her.

And then she did it.

You know the've said goodbyes and she's happy as can be, but then she sees you again after you supposedly left already. I stayed for the flag-raising ceremony. BIG mistake. She motioned me over afterwards, began to cry and said she wanted to go home. Now had I just left, I'm sure this would have been avoided. But now I'm holding my daughter's frail hand, walking her down the hall to her classroom for the 2nd time to leave her apprehensive and weepy in the arms of her teacher.

I managed to pull myself away and head to the van with little Noah in tow, only to have him begin chanting, "ACHEL!" and continue the entire drive to the gym. It's like having that little cartoon devil on your shoulder, showering you with guilt. Yes! I know! Rachel's not here! She's in someone else's care and your mother has abandoned the poor child in such an emotionally fragile state! I should be reported to CPS!

But then I'm reminded of my husband's joke as we awoke this morning, "Does Rachel start High School today?" To which I shuddered at the thought.

And so as I walk out the school doors, it hits me. The days of her clinging to my leg, begging to stay with me will be over much too soon. Instead of "Mommy, don't leave me." I'll hear, "Mom, can you just drop me off at the end of the block?" or worse yet, "Mom, can you just stay away from me? You're so embarrassing!" Yeah, I'll awaken one day and it will be the first day of school again, but my chlldren will be teenagers and I won't be filling backpacks with Crayola markers and Elmer's glue. They'll want the car and cash.

All of it will pass in a flash, and one day I'll wonder why I thought this was so hard!

One of my favorite quotes is, "A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary." - Dorothy Canfield Fisher

So I'm just doing my job, even though it isn't so easy all the time. Hey, I can look at it this way: all the teary eyes and leg-clinging? It's really just job security!