Friday, May 25, 2007

How Do You Talk To Squirrels?

Okay, this is a true story (I have many stories like this). I am driving home from the hotel where I previously worked. It is about midnight. As I turn onto the road I live on, I see a small animal in the middle of the road running toward my car lights. Several thoughts run through my mind - why is an animal in the road running toward my car? Why is the animal not afraid? Is it someones pet? What kind of animal is that?

I don't want to hit this animal so I stop in the middle of the road expecting to see movement away from the car. A few moments pass and nothing happens. With the car still running, I open the door and step out. Much to my surprise, this unknown animal jumps on my right foot and looks up at me expectantly. I am staring into the eyes of a baby squirrel, about the size of a softball. I freeze - don't want to hurt it, scare it, or cause it to bite me. Meanwhile it is still perched on my foot looking up at me with large, innocent eyes. In my "frozen" state I have blocked the road both ways. Minutes pass and a car comes towards me and stops in front of my car. A young man jumps out of his car and calls to me, "What's goin' on?"

I explain the situation to him (the squirrel is still contentedly sitting on my foot). The young man offers to help by placing an extra shirt he has in the car on top of the squirrel in an attempt to gently capture the little guy. I intended to take the squirrel to an animal rescue shelter that caters to exotic animals (I have dropped off other animals in the past). As the young man is approaching my car with the shirt, a woman pulls up behind me, stops, opens her door, and yells, "Looks like there's something interesting happening here. Do you need help with something?"

I explained the situation to her and she said, "You will need a box to transport the squirrel. I have one you can take." At this point the young man has collected Squirrel from my shoe and carried the animal filled "knapsack" to the donated box. I thank everyone, run home to show my husband of my "find", and I head out to the 24 hour animal shelter. I end up home around 1:30am completely satisfied with my interesting night, the kindness of strangers, and the end result of adorable Squirrel. He was released to the the nature preserve after two days of care.

Next up ... a couple of days ago my friend, Sassafras, came across four baby bunnies in her yard (each about the size of half a tennis ball), and she asked me to help capture them. The story ended happily and they too are looking at a life of luxury in the nature preserve.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Surrogate Sisters

I live in Maryland. My parents and siblings live in Florida. If I am lucky, I see my sisters and parents one time per year.

Here's the question: If your family isn't nearby, who are the people you most wish to talk to? Who helps you in times of need?

It has taken me 11 years, but I finally have a second family of surrogate sisters. It was a long process, and I was actually starting to give up hope that I would find these highly desired, elusive friendships ... but it happened! Two and a half years ago I started a playgroup with a girlfriend of mine (Kitty). It was not exclusive - in fact, we encouraged our friends to bring other friends. The result: the playgroup is nine mom's strong and we are dedicated to seeing each other weekly. These women know more about me than most of my family. It's no one's fault, it's just the reality of my life. I also have a handful of wonderful girlfriends outside of the playgroup that I can also trust and confide in.

We help take care of each other, and this is important. Being a mom is hard. Although we love our kids and husbands dearly, no one understands the trials and tribulations of the "job" better than other moms. My friends provide my life with love, laughter, support, a shoulder to cry on, the all-necessary gossip, and kindness. I am grateful for every single one of my "sisters"... you know who you are. Thank you for being my friend and Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

It's All About The Party

So, I think I have officially recovered from my son's birthday party. For me, a bit of a perfectionist, I spent the previous three weeks sweating over details such as party theme, game selection (I usually create my own games), how to make the best birthday cake, and who is invited to the party. I let my kids decide what kind of cake they desire and then I put on my thinking cap and make it a reality. Last year my son (Lightning) requested a vanilla, lollipop cake with blue frosting. This year the request was for a lemon, vanilla cake with red frosting and green and yellow lightning bolts.

I am also a fan of large parties. This year we hosted 26 kids... next year the party will be smaller. The weather was dicey - ominous all day but no rain (SO lucky). Lesson learned? Have a back up plan in case rain presents itself at the party.

I am not sure what has changed since I was a child. I can count on one hand the number of parties I attended until I was 10 years old. The parties were always at a home and typically they were small. I don't think I ever received a goodie bag. Times have changed - now it's all about the location, the goodie bags, the decor, and the invitees.

As organized as I was for Lightning's birthday party, I still wasn't prepared for :
1) the fact that there would be a 92% child attendance
2) that the weather might, in fact, work against me
3) that with the 92% child attendance, I also had a 92% adult attendance ... which means there were more than 50 people at our home
4) how much fun a party this size can be
5) how many memories one party can create
6) how wonderful it feels to see your child living this "special day"

In reflection, I spent a lot of money on food, prizes, decorations, and game supplies. I labored for 4 weeks and slept very little (but we know this is nothing new). Was it worth it? ABSOLUTELY. At some point, my children will not want this kind of party. Until then I plan on spending my April and May months planning birthday parties.

Speaking of which, my daughter is having a birthday party in three weeks... so I better get planning!