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Piggy is our family’s mascot and Small’s near constant companion. She has become so threadbare that I fear it will not be long before Small literally loves her to pieces. I have patched her, re-stuffed her, and darned her to the best of my abilities. When I am outside of Small’s hearing, I refer to her as “Frankenpig.” I’m quite sure Piggy doesn’t mind; she cares only for her kid.

A couple of weeks ago, Medium went to Disney World. Without us. She didn’t go alone (obviously) but she wasn’t with any of her immediate family members. She accompanied our friends and their seven-year-old son, A, who are friends-like-family or “framily” to us. (See how I can make up words just like the media? Brangelina, what?) According to her own and eye-witness reports, Medium had a ball and hardly missed us. It’s possible that she didn’t miss us at all but I’m unwilling to consider that because I missed her terribly and couldn’t wait for her to come home.

We live about four hours from Boston, and she flew in and out of Logan International Airport. The day before she was scheduled to return, my husband and I drove to Beantown with the boys and painted the town Piggy-pink. We hit Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, the Boston Museum of Science, Harvard Square and the Hilton Boston Financial District. We rode the “T” multiple times, much to Small’s delight, and listened to a lecture on rockets given by MIT students. We also terrorized the staff at the Harvard Coop Bookstore but there’s no photographic evidence and some things are better left unsaid.

I put together a short movie of our trip as much to document our family’s experience as to record Small’s first love. Music is “Fall Creek” by Bill Hammond downloaded via Enjoy!

Piggy’s Adventures in Beantown from OINKtales on Vimeo.

There are so many things I ought to be doing now, but instead of tackling any of those MUST-DOs, I am sitting at the computer, writing, which is a decided NICE-TO-DO. Writing eases my mind; it puts order to the chaos. When I am stressed or even just busy, I make lists. I feel a ridiculously deep sense of satisfaction when I cross items off a list. Done. Done. Finis.

I am trying to get Large to embrace list-making as a way to manage his anxieties but so far, it’s not working.

He’s ten and a half years old. He is a smart, funny, socially-aware kid. He loves to read, tell stories (replete with sound-effects!), sing, dance, and do anything technology related. He is also a tougher critic of himself than anyone ever could be, including me. And I’m no picnic.

Every mother wants success and happiness for her child. But what I’ve come to realize is something I’ve known all along: Wanting isn’t enough. We can’t just want for our children to grow up and become confident, well-adjusted, compassionate adults. We have to actively help them get there. It’s what we do, as mothers – as parents – that counts, if not now, then later on.

Being a parent is often mind-numbing. The stalling. The bickering. The whining. The slammed doors and the I-hate-yous. I am far from being a perfect mother (or wife, but that’s another post) and I am embarrassed to admit how frequently I delve into my fiction cocoon or retreat onto the internet rather than engage, comment and interact with my offspring. Even so, I hold fast to the belief that good parenting is a cumulative process. Consider the little things parents do every day, even when our patience is spread as thin as peanut butter on a piece of Weight-Watchers’ toast. The gentle reminders. The sit-and-do-your-homework speeches. The pep-talks. The these-are-the-consequences dictums. The smiles and hugs and cuddles. The I’m sorrys. The I’m proud of yous.

God, I hope I’m right.

Liam, every one of us learned to walk one step at a time. The luckiest of us had someone’s hand to hold onto. Your family loves you! Don’t ever forget it.

Today was one of those gorgeous Spring days in Vermont – the sun shone brightly, puffy cotton balls floated in the blue sky, fields were awash in shades of green and dotted with yellow.

And there I was, in my minivan, totally oblivious to the beauty around me wrapped as I was in angst. I was considering the meaning of my life and was wrestling with the question: If someone offers you the moon, shouldn’t you take it?

For someone recently did just that…and I turned it down.

It’s a flaw of mine to skew glass half-empty. Instead of marveling over the magnificence of the moon, I worried about how it would fit into my life, what toxic substances it might introduce into my atmosphere, whether I was ready to shoulder the burden of its care and maintenance.

Yes, I am purposefully being cagey and no, I won’t go into the specifics. While it’s true, in creating this blog, I voluntarily put details of my life in a public domain; it’s untrue that I eschew privacy entirely. Maybe the best part of having a blog is that as its creator, one gets to pick and choose which anecdotes to include and which to stuff in the deeper recesses of the family’s toy box. But I digress. Back to the minivan.

At the stop light, I continued the fruitless pursuit of deciding whether to regret a decision I had already made. I was in a sightless, soundless, self-absorbed zone. Although the passenger side window was open to let a certain red dog stick his nose out, I was barely aware of it until another car pulled alongside me. Their music, without any sound barriers, was at blasting volume. Paco and I looked over.

This is what we saw: Two big guys (imagine Jake and Elwood without the hats and jackets), in an electric blue Dodge Charger, staring straight ahead, singing and punching their fists in time to the beat.

This is what we heard: Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

This is what we did: Laugh until I snorted.

At some point during the ten seconds before the light turned green, my mood shifted. I remembered. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

Dear Reader:

Everybody’s doing it, so why shouldn’t I?

Here are some of my favorite oinks from the last seven months (can you believe it’s been seven months?!). Maybe you’ve read them before. But, maybe not. I encourage you to read them. Again, if necessary. You’ll enjoy. I promise.

In closing, THANK YOU for coming on this ride with me. Keep the laughs going and the comments flowing. My best to you and yours for a happy and healthy 2010!

Peace and love,

Anatomy 101
Posted May 30, 2009
A short discussion about the birds and the bees.

Farewell Pepe Le Pew
Posted August 15, 2009
Standing trial after running over a small woodland creature.

The Secret of the Pork
Posted October 13, 2009
Why Small doesn’t know where bacon comes from.

Daddy Does
Posted October 30, 2009
Appreciation for my husband’s way of doing things.

H1N1 Hysteria
Posted November 16, 2009
Hell hath no fury like a surprised five-year-old.

Come Fly With Me
Posted September 22, 2009
My personal favorite.

Want more?  Check out my Oldies But Goodies page.  Then come back tomorrow night for an all new oink!

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