Love celebrates

By Mir
May 20, 2010

Hi, would you like to buy a Funk? It’s used—I used it quite a lot the last few days, to be honest—but it’s got lots of moping left in it, I’m sure. It’s available, cheap. I’m trying to quit.

By the time the kids got home yesterday, I had my feet back under me. There is a certain arrogance in being unhappy when leading what is fundamentally a good and blessed and lucky life, isn’t there? I mean, that’s not to say that my (or your) problems aren’t real and challenging, just that the Right and Mature thing to do, after a while, is to say to yourself, “Self, time to suck it up and deal.” Lord knows I say this to my kids often enough; I should take my own advice.

So I did.

Of course, that was made significantly easier because one of the biggest sources of my discontent conveniently fixed itself.

Yesterday was the last day of school.

Now, in the past I have found summer equally or even more challenging than the “regular” part of the year. I still have to work, of course, and the kids do a lot of traveling back and forth to see their dad, and I miss them when they’re gone, but they also can make me crazy while they’re here, etc. It takes some adjusting, is what I’m saying. But I also think I often head into summer convinced that it will be hard.

The difference, this year, is that the 2009/2010 school year will go down in the Casa Mir annals as perhaps the most awful period of “growth” (AHEM) both children have ever had, so—suddenly!—summer is looking pretty damn good. We all need a break. We all need some time to just… regroup. I feel like we need some time to huddle up and figure out how to best support each other and ourselves, without all of the distractions of homework and “incidents” and all the other things that school has wrought.

So at dinner last night we had a family meeting, and we talked about the summer. We talked about upcoming trips and things we’d like to focus on as individuals and together. Otto suggested that we give the summer a theme; that we all think of this as the “Summer of Pitching In,” and each one of us commits to finding new ways to help each other an contribute to the family’s overall well-being.

There were a few specific things we asked the kids to work on, and goals we chose for ourselves, too. For example: I am a high-volume person in real life (I bet you had no idea), and in times of anger or frustration I am quick to raise my voice. It is not one of my more endearing qualities. At some point a while back I announced (during a similar family meeting) that I was going to make a concerted effort to yell less, and asked the kids to let me know when I was failing, and for a while there, I was much better (and quieter). But life got stressful again and my volume climbed, and I’m back to being a shrill harpy and I owe my family better than that. I owe MYSELF better than that. So I let them know I am recommitting myself to being aware of my tendency to yell and actively working to stop.

We took a few minutes to talk about recent successes, too. Both kids finished out the school year with great grades and multiple awards for various things. And the stuff we’re asking them to work on is only going to enhance the good, as well as mitigate some of the less-than-desirable results we’ve had lately.

Otto can call this the Summer of Pitching In, but I prefer to think of this as the Summer of Knowing. To my mind, many of the challenges of the last 9ish months are easily traced back to doubting ourselves. All of us. Over the next few months I’m hoping we will all get reacquainted with our best selves, and remember and just KNOW that come what may, we are capable, and we are loved.

And the only appropriate way to punctuate a family meeting like that, of course, is to stay up late and go out for a special dessert.

We raised our spoons to being done with school, to better times to come, and to being a family. It turns out that we have a lot to celebrate.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. What are you celebrating today?


  1. Therese

    I am celebrating the lovely weather here in Pennsylvania. Finally a day of sunshine and temps in the high 70s after weeks of rain and cold temps. I love Spring! Happy Love Thursday!

  2. joaaanna

    There is a certain arrogance in being unhappy when leading what is fundamentally a good and blessed and lucky life, isn’t there? I mean, that’s not to say that my (or your) problems aren’t real and challenging, just that the Right and Mature thing to do, after a while, is to say to yourself, “Self, time to suck it up and deal.”

    I wrote this down in my journal – thank you. I do not have the talent that you do for the written word, so if I may, I’m taking your words and applying them to myself. I needed that. Very much. Thank you again.

    Today I’m celebrating my good fortune. And reminding myself to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it.

    (Sorry for if you get grossed out by the p-word.)

  3. Ali

    I am celebrating that my rearview mirror this morning showed a pre-schooler softly singing “Kung Fu Fighting” to himself and a 6 mo softly chortling and smiling at the rain on the window.

  4. elz

    Yea for summer and dessert. Nothing says I love you like dessert. I am celebrating our changes- my oldest is graduating kindergarten next week and growing leaps and bounds every day, my girls are findign their groove as sisters and friends, my perspective is changing, I’m relaxing more and taking time. Celebrate the changes, that’s my mantra.

  5. s

    oh man, I need to change my volume as well! Years ago, the kids and I were reading some alphabet book of whacky superheroes, and “Y” was for “Yellow Yeller” and it featured a mom in a cape with her mouth wide and little squigglies representing her “volume” and my kids dubbed me Yellow Yeller. Fab. And I still quite frankly am that person, as much as i hate it and as non useful as it is (and when I see someone else do it or gosh forbid yell at MY children I cringe!

    so I may just have to steal this idea…since I am a working mom from home…and DREAD summer…and every year say “THIS YEAR WE WILL HAVE ROUTINE…this year we will have QUIET READING time in our rooms from x to x…this year I will not have to make snacks and lunches and such ALL DAY LONG between mtgs…” so I am right there with ya. The good of the summer though is that AFTER work we can head out swimming vs homework, activities, showers, prep lunches and backpacks… so there is definitely GOOD!

    Good luck and if you have any good ideas for running summer smoothly while STILL getting work done, just give a shout haha!

    And I don’t have anything specific to celebrate other than a brand new day is here and with it, a clean slate!

  6. birchsprite

    I am celebrating a lovely holiday to come this weekend with my Mum and then a trip to finland next week (volcano permitting!)

  7. karen

    I’m celebrating awesome weather finally, your awesome desserts that I am going to recreate tonight :-) and the approach of summer which also means finally moving into the old/new house. Here’s to a summer of Knowing and Pitching in.

  8. Kai

    I am celebrating finding the love of my life after some less than stellar prospects and the excitement that moving in together next month will bring as we start our own little family unit.

  9. Lisa

    I would make an offer on your Funk, but am in possession of my own, well-used high-mileage funk. So just this morning during my looooong commute, I told myself how lucky we are that we are not underwater on our mortgage, that my husband & I both still have our decent paying jobs (no matter the commute), and that we are all in relatively good health.

    And I am also celebrating with great joy the end of the school year. My daughter is graduating from high school tomorrow and THANK YOU JEEBUS that is over.

    Oh wait, my next child starts kindergarten in the fall. I just might need a replacement Funk. Or dessert that looks as pretty as yours.

    Thank you for the summer theme and goal ideas. Inspired.

  10. Pat

    I bet that the sundae with the fruit & nuts was Otto’s? And you, Dear Mir, had plain ice cream?

  11. Leandra

    I am celebrating the pre-K graduation of my Punkin. My Punkin who has come SO FAR this year and the wonderful little girl that she is becoming. *sniff*

  12. Becca

    My little sister is graduating from Yale this weekend! I’m so proud of her.

  13. Jan in Norman, OK

    Just a suggestion about the rest of the family reminding you about the yelling: Instead of telling you in words, a secret signal might be less irritating. Something like touching two fingers to the chin or tugging the earlobe (ala Carol Burnett).

    Just a thought…

  14. Scottsdale Girl

    I am celebrating my daddy being home even if it’s only for 2 months, my new bf who is amazing, my job (love it), my health and my sweet animals.

  15. Holly

    I’m celebrating our new puppy! I’m also looking forward to the summer and just relaxing…

  16. Wendy 2

    Next week we will be celebrating the end of another school year. I have one child completing 2nd grade and one child completing 8th, and the youngest is completing preschool today. I love the idea of the summer of pitching in. My two oldest will be spending most of the summer at home together and have been warned that there will be chores involved. So they will need to pitch in.

    I also am a yeller. So is my husband and so is my oldest. Our voices are naturally loud, so a lot of times even if we aren’t yelling, people perceive that we are. I am making a concerted effort to work on that, MAN that is hard.

    I may steal the family meeting idea on the last day of school, then go for dessert. The kids have been asking for DQ lately. Thanks for the ideas.

  17. Cathy

    I am celebrating being able to embrace change. I’ve historically never been good at it. Few people actually enjoy change, but I’d dig my toes in and RESIST. Now though, I’m thinking that I just hadn’t found the right kind of change. Now my life is looking to improve — good prospects of landing a much better job, moving with my husband back to our hometown and our families, becoming a first-time homeowner.

    Yes, it is terrifying… but exciting and wonderful at the same time, which I’d never been able to feel before.

    I saw Pat guessing each person’s ice cream. I will agree Pat that the nuts and berries must be Otto’s and the plain one must be yours — but I will go out on a limb and say the one perfectly divided into three sections is Monkey’s and the one all mixed up is Chickie’s. Are we right?

  18. Megan

    Know what? I’ve spent the last… few weeks at least in a funk I didn’t even realize was a funk and now that I realize it I’ve figured out something even worse – I’m in a funk because things are actually going well, like really well (whisper it please, no loud voices that might awaken the gremlins) and I kind of think I’ve forgotten how to be happy – maybe how to be peaceful with being happy? Maybe, even more, how to TRUST happy.

    So that’s what I’m working on and heck, maybe I need to celebrate it too.

  19. Melissa

    I was guessing about the ice creams, too! I’d like to print out the quote the first commenter highlighted and tape it to me bathroom mirror, so I can get a little talking-to first thing in the morning. Because I surely need it right now. I am celebrating that we are all healthy and looking forward to a fun summer connecting with old friends!

  20. The Other Leanne

    I’m celebrating the MirOttos for sitting down like a family of planners, reflecting on the past and setting goals and objectives for the near future (with a theme even!). It makes my Planner Heart go pitter-pat. Pardon me while I wipe the drool from my chin.

  21. StephLove

    Would it be cheating to say I’m celebrating still having four weeks left in the school year? ‘Cause I’m still in that dreading summer vacation place.

    Or I could be celebrating the fact that my 4 year old’s bout with a stomach bug is over, or that I planted cucumbers seedlings yesterday and we have homemade cheese scones and peanut butter cookies from yesterday’s baking spree?

    Have a super, awesome summer.

  22. RuthWells

    I am celebrating the imminent arrival of my younger brother from Singapore — and not just because he offered to rebuild my (rotting) deck while he’s here…

    And I’m celebrating the warmth of my family and outpouring of support from friends as I head to the kidney clinic next week for my pre-transplant work-up. : )

  23. Lylah

    What a great perspective and reality check, Mir. Thank you! I think today I will celebrate the fact that I can and will (eventually) get everything done, even though it all overwhelms me right now.

    And then I will get icecream, too. Just because.

  24. Beth R

    I’m not really celebrating anything – just holding on until tomorrow and a long weekend with my best friend.

    But I did want to say that while I’m sure it’s a very attractive funk, I think I’ve got a pretty full collection all ready. Thanks for the offer, though :)

    Hugs and here’s hoping that the summer is a good one!

  25. MomCat

    Thanks for the love today – I needed it!

    I am celebrating my daughter’s funk suddenly disappearing, like a mist that lifts and lets the sun shine through. She’s suffered a number of injustices at the hands of teachers this year, and the lesson that life isn’t fair is a hard one. Her bouncing back allows me to let go of the knot in my heart and be happy again, together.

  26. Steph

    I’m celebrating the last day of school as well. I closed my classroom for the summer and am ready to spend some fun time with family. Go summer!

  27. KarenP

    We are celebrating the gift of music with our son. We came to North Carolina from Washington(he came from New York) to see our son play a flute concerto written for him. He will be performing tomorrow night. We have visited Asheville and Winston Salem. Also a short drive into Tennessee. Lovely country!

  28. Katie in MA

    I’m celebrating the fact that I’m treading water so well, I can help a friend out who feels like he’s drowning. Okay, that doesn’t sound very positive, but I was so happy that I could honestly say about my situation right now: “Hey, I’m okay!” It feels good paying it forward.

  29. karyn

    i too am interested in who’s icecream was whose?!

  30. Jean

    The volume thing…I am going to do that for sure. Thank you for this beautiful post Mir. It’s really hard when kids are in school. I’m learning this just this year. I will remind myself constantly how amazing my child really is.

  31. Jodie

    See, there you go inspiring me to be my best self. Thanks!

  32. Nelson's Mama

    I’m just trying to celebrate life…period.

    Lost one of my dearest friends to kidney cancer this week. She was 43 and left behind an awesome husband plus two small sons. She taught me so much about dignity, grace, tenacity, poise and living in the moment.

  33. Kailani

    I am celebrating that in two weeks from today I will have surgery-glorious surgery- that will get me out of a constant state of drug induced, pain riddled sleep. That once again I can resume being a mom, even one that yells, and maybe I’ll yell just for the simple fact that I CAN!

    My guess is that the plain one is Mir’s, fruit and walnuts is Otto’s, white and chocolate chips is Chicky’s, and the chocolate and marshmallow riddled one is Monkey’s.
    Come’on, Mir… Let us off the hook…fess up!

  34. ramblin red

    1. Celebrating – I’m celebrating health this day – as this is the tail-end of the anniversary of my 2 week hospital stay last year. On the 11th, we all went, “One year ago Mama was sent to the ER in an ambulance….Wow, how far we’ve come….” and as it’s not yet the 23rd, I’m STILL saying that and celebrating my health that I have gotten back! I’m totally gonna kick ass on the 31st and show everyone how far I’ve come by running the Bolder Boulder!!!

    2. Yelling – Um, me too. I wield double edged sword on this one as I was raised in a family where whoever was the loudest was the rightest, and I have a disproportionately HIGH sense of justice and need to be right (when I am in fact right, which is uhm, always, right?)

    3.) On writing about the funk – Oh. Em. GEE!!! I LOVE your first two paragraphs. Couldn’t have said it nearly as well.

    <3 you and happy summer – ours starts tomorrow at noon.

  35. Deirdre

    I am celebrating that I am here to hug my kids and planning how to help the family of one of my daughter’s classmates. His mother died tragically yesterday, and through the tears, our family is being reminded to love each other even when we can’t stand each other.

    And I, too, plan to tape that quote up. Beautifully put, as always.

  36. Jen

    I’m looking forward to summer for the same reason. This year has about killed us, and I know next year will be harder. Four more days…we can make four more school days.

  37. crazyjane

    i’m sure i have great things to celebrate, too, but i am far too distracted by that ice cream with the marshmallows…

  38. Liz@thisfullhouse

    Right now, after reading this, I am totally looking forward to our “last day of school” and for our “regrouping,” to start, too — thanks :)

  39. Cele

    Ducky is forever moving his hands in a gentle “lower it” you voice motion. I get animated :) Maybe Burp and I can just remind each other constantly of “Indoor voice.” Hey the frozen yogurt looked great.

  40. Molly

    Beautifully put, Mir. Cheers to summer! I’ll celebrate along with you.

  41. Lady M

    Wonderful. I need to remind myself to stay calm at home more to.

    Hey – you may have gotten some grumpy comments about your site redesign, but I want to say again that I like how easy it is to read – the combination of background, font style and color is much easier on the eyes than the old design, as lovely as that was too!

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