The title of this blog, “The Joy of 5 AM”, may be a little deceiving. You may think that I enjoy waking at this hour. Quite the contrary. I set my alarm on my cellphone every night for 5 AM. Every night. Some mornings the duck quacking alarm does coax me out of my slumber. Other mornings I sleep right through it. I have instructed my husband to push me out of bed onto the hardwood if I don’t get up. (He has never done that because he usually sleeps peacefully through the quacking.)  I want to get up. I really do. And, most mornings I do. These mornings are a treasure, in my opinion. Pure bliss. Unless of course, the kids hear me and they get up at 5 AM, too. Then, my treasure of a morning turns into the beginning of a very, very long day led by one cranky mom.  It’s amazing how the start of your day actually affects the hours that come after it. What happens in those early hours sets the path for the entire day.

I choose to wake at 5 to get some time alone. I usually make coffee, do the dishes that I didn’t do the night before, read my emails and then by 5:30 go to the gym. I have about a 10 minute drive to the gym and I think I look forward to the drive there more than anything. I think of it as my meditation time. It is not your typical meditation routine but it allows me some thinking time. My meditation time consists of me playing my country music in the car and listening to the words as the croon in the speakers. Country music seems to be a combination of short stories and the sounds of electric violins and banjos and I can’t help but to get lost in the words. It transports me to another world…or one at least, down South. The drive brings me through farm fields and over mountains where there is always a light mist to be seen on the grass and the sun is always just hinting at rising over the top of the mountains in some sort of fabulous color that I feel lucky to see. The thing about driving around at 5 AM is that there is no one really on the road. You feel like you are in a movie where the scene is paused and you are the only one in motion driving through the town. And, if you put your windows down, you can usually hear the birds singing, all with their own tunes. It is hard to hear the birds’ music once the world wakes up. But, when you wake at 5, you definitely deserve some music to get you to where you’re going and I am thankful that the birds and the country music make the journey to the gym delightful.

I have always associated working out with being a happy experience. When I was younger, my dad and I would run together and he would tell me stories from his days as a trial lawyer. I found the stories so intriguing  that the run went by in a flash. I am the type of person who works out so I can eat what I want later. If wine and pizza is 350 calories, I will work out until I see that I burned 350 calories and not a second more. I hop off that elliptical at just the exact moment 350 blazes on the dashboard. I don’t want to overextend myself at this early hour. I have been doing this for years and it totally makes sense to me. The workout always wakes me up and gives me a burst to start my day. But, it is now only 6 AM and there is a whole day ahead. Honestly, by 2 PM, I am ready to crash and burn. When you have kids and a business to run, it is hard to keep up the energy all day long. I wonder how some do it? Michelle Obama was known to get up at 4:30 to work out, before her kids rose. But, she admitted that she was lucky to have help through the day to get through the responsibilities she had. What if you don’t have help? How do you fight off the tiredness that will come as the day progresses?

Around the 2 PM time, I always think of taking a nap. I remember when I was little and would moan & groan that I didn’t want to nap as my parents told me I needed one. I remember my dad saying, “Roey, one day you will love taking a nap”. Well, Pop, that day has come. For all of us who are working and running around with the kids, an early wake up time gives us some time to ourselves and a chance to start the day refreshed and renewed. But, then again, for all of us who are working and running around with the kids, the flip side is that the day is long and the day’s journey requires full throttle. Somehow, we all manage to do it. We get through the hours when we could really use a nap. I totally understand why there are siestas in Spain. What a fabulous tradition! The Spanish eat a large meal at home during lunch hours and then rest afterwards before going back to work. I would love to visit my mom everyday for a meal and then nap before going back to work responsibilities. But, I do not live in Spain and my mom certainly does not have time to cook me a meal everyday at lunch.  My naptime, unfortunately, will have to wait.

The best part of the 5 AM rise and shine is that they day starts with a feeling of having accomplished something. And, at 5 AM, I feel overwhelmed with joy at the fact that I have accomplished the very large feat of putting my two bare feet on the cold floor and rising ever so slowly from my fluffy bed. Very slowly. When my sneakers go on, I feel unstoppable.

My kids will wake up to a mom who has already heard the sounds of birds and Zac Brown playing in her ears. And, to have a mom that is smiling and renewed, at least for the early part of their day, until I can figure out how to sneak a nap in, is the biggest perk of all.

Stay colorful today ~ roey






I opened up this blog again after years of letting it go. This motherhood blog started more as a daily journal where I could share things that happened during the days and record them for my memory’s sake. It has now turned its focus more to motherhood and working and the fascinating combination of making both work in tandem. Putting your thoughts in sentences and then connecting them into a blog and then pushing the “Publish” button for all to read is a bit like opening your 5th grade Mickey Mouse diary in front of your whole family at dinner and reading it aloud from page one….”Dear Diary, I think Bobby is sooooo cute”. You get the point. It is a bit raw and a bit scary to let everyone read your ups, downs, disasters, highlights, funny moments and moments when you just have screwed up completely. And, yet, I find it somewhat therapeutic to put thoughts down and then interact with others in the comments they post. Motherhood can be lonely. We all know that. It is a bit of a double whammy when you throw running your own business into the mix. You find yourself with yourself more often than not. But, yet, I hit publish yesterday and let the world read my words…or at least the surrounding area. And, lo and behold, it took one comment to make me rethink my thinking. Just one little word. One! It was the word stupid. As quickly as the comment went up, the writer pulled it down. I don’t know if I was more annoyed by that then the actual comment. I wanted to know why my blog was stupid. Why? I always need to know WHY??? Doesn’t everyone?

My friend Kathleen told me about the positive sandwich. I had never heard of it before and try to use whenever I need to give a criticism. You say something positive, stick the negative point in there, and then add one more positive thought that they can take away from the conversation. The recipient is left feeling positive and yet knowing that there is something to work on too. I use it at home all the time now. It goes something like this: “Duke,  you made an awesome Nutella sandwich. But, can you stop using a spatula to spread the Nutella. Wow, Duke, I hope you make me a sandwich like that one day.” Bam! I wish everyone would use the positive sandwich. But, not everyone thinks that people need positives in their life. It is so strange that usually the negatives are the comments you hear the most in your head.

Don’t get me wrong, I am ok with rejection and criticism. Seriously. Of course, I don’t like it but I think in some ways a fire is lit under me in those instances. I just always need to know the reasons behind it. I hate not knowing what I could have done differently, if anything. I think my kids appreciate me telling them what is making me lose my marbles when I see their snow boots ON the kitchen table. I try to carry that into work as well. I never give a criticism at home or work without the why. The why is how we learn. The why is important. Years ago I was a model. A model who did car commercials, pet food ads and the occasional QVC hair model gigs. I tried out for a national commercial in Philly. It was a huge booking and I managed my lines well. I found out later that day from my agent that I gotten the booking. I was so excited. It was more money than I had ever made before and it was a National spot. Well, later that same day…yes…that’s right…just a few hours after I had found out I got the job….I was called again to say that the company who booked the commercial had decided to go in a different direction. I was so disappointed. I mean devastated. Were they using someone taller? Someone who spoke more eloquently? Someone with an accent? WHAT was the direction they were going in? WHY? So, I called my agent back and asked. Why? Why was I being replaced? I couldn’t stand the not knowing. And, she replied…wait for it…they had decided to turn my character into an animated cat! I immediately felt a sense of peace. I could not compete with an animated cat. There was no competition. Nothing I could have done better. It was just a different direction. Plain and simple.

Yesterday, when my blog was told it was stupid, I immediately had the thought to unpublish it. I thought nuts to this. Maybe it is stupid. Maybe I was stupid to think I could do this again. And, then, I remembered that I was given no WHY. Not having a why meant I couldn’t learn from the criticism. I just was left with one hateful word. So, I fought the urge to unpublish and left it there all day…glowing on the computer. With each positive comment and story, my little blog grew and grew in visitors and readers. I think of the first time painters who come into my shop. They are nervous and afraid to put the paintbrush on the canvas. It is only paint, I tell them. You can’t hurt it or ruin it. Just paint. But, I wonder, did someone give them a comment somewhere along the way that made them doubt they could do it. Did they get a “Stupid” comment and no “Why”? If so, it’s not their fault they let their creativity slip away. It’s not. One comment about someones art can affect them forever. It is so personal. As is writing. But, if we all let the negatives affect our creating, the world is really missing out on what we can do. Everyone deserves a positive sandwich. I hope that any criticism I get in the future is surrounded by  two thick pieces of whole grain bread and an extra spatula full of Nutella to let me know that what I have to say or create is important.

Stay colorful ~ Roeyth





picIt has been a few years since I have written on my Momperk’s Blog. And, to be honest, I miss writing so much. I looked forward every morning to writing the posts and seeing the responses. Life took over, however, and I just couldn’t find the time to write a coherent sentence. I also couldn’t find my computer to write the blog, on most days, since my children usually “borrowed” my computer to do their homework, play Mine Craft, or just watch movies. Today, I was lucky enough to find my computer in my daughter’s bed under clothes she had worn yesterday. Glad it was easy to find!

I am not sure if it is because I am 45…mid-life crisis years, right? Or because I have younger children and college age children and high school age children…lots of children…so I have a broad perspective on motherhood.  But, I feel like I am questioning everything lately. How can I manage my work and still put my kids first?  I want to do things better and find more time for all the things I think will make me more content with my choice to work but how? There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in a day. I have kids’ activities galore and basic household duties (ugg…not a fan of those things…grocery shopping, cleaning a constant source of urine from under the toilets, more grocery shopping, wash, then wash again because I forgot about it in the washer the first time around…you get the point) and now I am a working mom. When I had this blog years ago, I wasn’t working. I was just dabbling in my art career. But now, I own my own studio and the struggle of working and being a mom is real. And, not just a mom…a good mom. One who can find the time to read them stories, take them to the library, volunteer at their school, send them care packages, make a dinner good enough to sit down for, watch a movie without looking at my phone…that kind of mom. My daily wish is that I might do just one of those things. Just one. But, as they get older it gets harder. They are just so gosh darn busy, the older they get. I feel like I am always giving it half. I always in a constant mental battle with myself between my work and my home. Honestly, I feel like no matter how hard I try, I only get everything half done.

Take my living room,  for instance, I only hung up half the artwork I have for the walls. I have all the pictures in a closet somewhere. I got distracted by a scream from the kids that the dog ate the pancakes off the counter and, honestly, after cleaning up the syrupy mess on the floor and getting the butter and blueberries out of Bandit’s fur, it just didn’t seem important to hang those paintings up anymore.  I wanted to be the kind of mom that sent care packages to my college kids filled with toiletries and treats, maybe once a week. Well, that never came to fruition.  The best I did at that was sending my son a Starbucks gift card maybe once or twice a semester. I am sure that was a real thrill to get in the mail. I question whether I am doing this motherhood thing correctly. Other moms are able to work and have their house fully decorated and clean. Other moms send delightful care packages and mail them in a timely fashion on their way to a meeting. I once had a package for my daughter in the back of my car so long, that she transferred schools by the time I mailed it. If other working moms, could be all in…what was wrong with me? Or are all working moms having the same struggle I am?  Do they feel the constant tug and pull?  It feels blissful to be at work some days and yet, I wonder what they are doing at home. It is refreshing to be at home surrounded by the kids and yet, I always feel like I should be working on something for my studio.  It’s no surprise that I paint oils in my living room while the kids sit on the couch and I ask them their homework questions. Maybe one day I will have uninterrupted painting time but not for awhile.  For now, at least,  it has to be split into what the kids need and what I need to get done.

I remember going to an illustrator’s conference a few years back. It was held at Boyd’s Mill Press in Honesdale, PA. The conference was held in a beautifully restored barn and illustrators from all around the globe, who specialized in children’s illustrations, were on hand. There was a panel of  renowned children’s illustrators.  There was a member of the panel whose pastel illustrations made it look like you could reach out and touch the fur of the polar bear she had drawn on her storybook pages. We had a chance to ask the pastel artist questions about her career. One of the participants asked her if she had children. She answered yes with a smile. And, then, continued to say, “But, I could have never illustrated when the children were young. It would have been too difficult”. My heart sank. I had young children. I wanted to illustrate. And, somehow, deep down, I knew that it would indeed be difficult. I couldn’t even find a blank piece of paper in my house at that point, let alone the time or space to illustrate without distraction. It was the first time I actually thought to myself that perhaps I might have to wait to accomplish anything I actually wanted to do till after the kids were grown. Dear God… I would be an old woman by then.

So, here I am at 45. Like I said, my children are no longer babies but still require a ton of attention. Attention that will distract me from work. And, I realize that I am ok with that. I chose to work while raising my kids. I decided that I don’t want to wait till the kids are grown to do my thing. I am definitely “halfing” it. I am the last one to turn off my cell phone in a movie with the kids, because I want to check my work emails one more time. One day I may hang up the rest of the artwork on the living room wall, but for now, I am content with the empty spaces because my time is needed somewhere else.  But, I know that by giving “half”, I am actually giving my “whole”. I am happily working and trying my best to be a good mom, the kind of mom who has no problem ordering pizza when she just can’t handle dinner because she ran out of time to make it. There is always the other half of a story. And, I hope that when my kids talk about me as they grow up, they forget the times I had to send an email instead of play Legos or the game I missed because I was working. I hope they see the half of me that wanted to show them my whole self. Being able to be myself is the biggest perk of being their mom. xo roey

The other night I was watching the Kardashian wedding…yup, I got my mindless TV shows back now that the Phillies lost…love it!….and I couldn’t help thinking of my own pre-wedding days.  As the Kardashian sisters oohed and aahed over the ENORMOUS engagement ring Kim was given, I couldn’t help thinking of my own ring. I’ll never forget the excitement of showing my sisters and girlfriends my ring. It was all we talked about for weeks.  I would just stare at the diamond as I was driving or as I was writing on the blackboard.  It was flawless and I couldn’t believe I had something that shimmery on my finger.  I didn’t give a flying fig about the upcoming marriage…I had a diamond ring, baby, and not another care in the world.

Funny how priorities shift, isn’t it?  I don’t even know where my engagement ring is at this point in my life.  My wedding band?  Nope, don’t know where that is either.  I do have excuse for both…I did develop a horrible gold allergy and my fingers would actually be so irritated that taking the rings off was the only way to prevent a severe reaction.  And, second, I paint every day which makes rings impractical.  And, third,  gold is really high right now…so maybe I should just sell them and buy a new oven…something I could really use.  Pop that diamond out and buy myself a gorgeous Viking stove.

Each stage in my life has had definite priorities.

There was the before marriage stage, it was all about the stuff…what new car should I buy? I had no money back then…but I didn’t care…what kind of new car should I get?   What kind of ring would I get?  Would I get a cappucino maker at my shower?  It was all ooo, ahh, ooo, ahh, ooo….all the time.  New, new, new.  Good times with no worries.

The pregnant phase was all about the stuff, too.  I guess I’m just a “stuff” kind of girl.  But, I was consumed with what the baby’s nursery looked like.   Would I get the awesome jogging stroller that I wanted?  Would my diaper bag rock?  Was the car seat going to be zebra-lined or polka-dots? OH, and the most important concern… if the baby would be cute…seriously…I was so not okay with an ugly baby.

There was also a house decorating phase.  I went through a couple years where I needed my house to be picture perfect and I constantly compared my home to others.  I needed all the frames to match in a room.  I needed all the beds linens to match the wall colors to match the curtains.  I needed magazines on the end tables and fresh fruit in all the bowls.

AHHH…..the good old days.

Now…the stuff that my priorities are made of is real…so real, sometimes.  It makes the days of engagement ring delight seem downright ludacris…(love that word). I just want a car that drives and never has a “light” blinking on the dashboard.  New car….I don’t think it will ever be a concern of mine ever again…so unimportant, now.  And, new shiny rings?  Could care less about that too.  I’d rather share stories with my friends then have them ooh and ahh over a piece of jewelry.  Time with my friends has become just about as precious to me these days.  And, the marriage that I didn’t give a flying fig about 15 years ago…it was all diamonds and gowns and cappucino makers back then…well, now, it’s all I really care about and all I should have ever cared about but it took wise old age to figure that out…(plus, my gown was gorgeous, so it needed at least a year of obsessing over.)

Oh, and that baby who I hoped would be cute…because a Shrek-like baby would have been just awful…well, cute was the farthest thing from my mind when each of them was born.  Cute is sooo 15 years ago.  Cute means nothing to me anymore.  Great, that the kids turned out cute……but from the second each of them came into my life, what they looked like took a backseat to…are they going to be alright?  There has never been a moment when I actually put thought into what they looked like (well, except for the girls in their tutu phase…I kind of have a tutu obsession).  Even if they were the ugliest kids in the school, I wouldn’t notice..all I care about is that they don’t have a weird cough, a strange rash, or a burning fever.  I care about how they talk or why they won’t talk.   I care about where they go and who they go with.  I care about the way they think and take care to respect their differing opinions.  To think that I thought the hardest part of being a mom would be to be stuck with an ugly kid…honestly…I didn’t have a clue.

And, the house phase.  Well, come visit and you’ll see that my priorites have definitely switched on this topic, too.  There are no matching linens.  Actually, there is no matching anything and I’m lucky to find a fitted sheet to put on the beds when I change them.  I have no problem sleeping on a snowman flannel sheet in the middle of August.  None.  I’m just proud I got the bed covered.  There are no longer perfect pillows on my couches.  They’re ruined from making tents and having sleepovers.  There are no matching frames.  There are just random pictures all over the house.  None…absolutely none…of my two youngest boys.. but who the heck cares.  I’m prioritizing.  I no longer spend hours at JC Penney’s to get a perfect photograph that will eventually be stuck in a box forever.  I spend hours in the yard with them and I do manage to take the worse pictures ever with them in the sandbox and them on their bikes.  At least, it’s something.  I have toys in my napkin holder and spatulas in the bathtub.  The house is a freaking mess…But guess what?…I’ve never been happier… You might not want to stay too long, but it’s a fun place, I promise.

And, that brings me to the biggest perk of all…when I finally realized what really should be my top priorities…everything else took a backseat (cleaning really took a backseat…because seriously…that just does not make for a happy mom)….and the perks of motherhood were all around and always were.  I just didn’t realize it as I sat in JC Penney’s waiting area, sweating from the overcrowdedness of it all and screaming,  Please, don’t drool on your purple tutu. Really…who screams at a kid for drooling?

But, it’s time.  It’s time to just be happy with what I have and realize everything I have to be happy is right here in front of me…some of the perks are literally screaming my name as I type (Little bugger.  I would definitely rate alone time as a bigger perk, but that doesn’t seem to be in my cards at the moment.)  For me, my engagement ring will always symbolize the perks…some of them that I passed up because I was caught up in such ridiculous nonsense and the ones that I thought would be so important and now know that to not be true.  If only they could make Magic 8 Balls into engagement rings…my priorities might have been in a row all along…but what fun would that be? Now, I just have to find that shiny thing.

I will never surrender the power of motherhood...never.



Up for sale is one lovely, beautiful teenage daughter.

Willing to do no chores or help around the house.  Bed making skills are definitely in need of a refresher course, but that shouldn’t be a problem since she’d rather sleep without a sheet on the bed than make it herself.

Texting skills are excellent.  Secret foreign texting language is also a superior quality of this daughter.  Speaking skills are excellent with  only one exception…her mother.  Fantastic at eye-rolling, actually an expert, and a superb under-breath talker.

Mother MUST SELL IMMEDIATELY because this daughter speaks so far under her breath that it is no longer possible for her to hear the words of her daughter…which are sure to be favorable.

Rather extensive clothing collection comes with this daughter.  Will need to call ahead of time for pick up since some of her things are left out by the pool, in the trunk of the car, in the sandbox…yes, she still plays in the sand or apparently just leaves sweaters there, and under wet towels in a pile of other dirty belongings.   Will need at least one month’s notice to gather all of her belongings.

*Beware that all belongings will be wrinkled or stained and she will immediately request a shopping trip to replace these items.  DO NOT…I REPEAT…DO NOT BUY ANY ITEM WITHOUT THE DAUGHTER PRESENT.  DOING SO WILL REQUIRE A SECOND TRIP TO THE STORE TO RETURN THE BOUGHT ITEMS.

Will need to be instructed on what a washing machine and a dishwasher are.  Such foreign objects have never entered her vision.

Will bring cases of makeup and jewelry. PLEASE NOTE:  THE MAKEUP HAS ALL BEEN TAKEN FROM HER SISTER OR MOTHER  AND THE EARRINGS HAVE NO MATCHES.  If you take these cases away upon arrival, she will promptly request a trip to Claire’s for a refresher case….which, please note again…she will break, leave unattended or just plain lose.

Has slight forgetfulness.  Poses a slight problem when trying to pin point whose cup was left by the sofa or whose SOAKING WET TOWEL was left on the coffee table.  it will never be hers….guarantee you that.

Strict dietary conditions:  Will eat nothing in the house, especially things that were made for her, bought for her or packed for her.   Seeks new exotic food choices or fabulous restaurants to dine at.  Drive-thrus are not quite up to daughter’s taste.

Reason For Selling:  Item for sale is causing bus stop rage (equivalent of road rage but from a mother’s perspective) and is no longer requiring attention from her mother, except in cases of needing a hair appointment or a wonderful new fall jacket.

Precautions:  Be fully prepared to have your heart broken probably moments after purchase.  Be also fully prepared to NOT want to sell this item to another buyer.  Once bought, it is very hard to let go of this item.  Teenager daughter has the ability to become both your confidante and the reason you drink wine at night.


Teenage daughter can only be returned if she was not given anything while away.  Attempting to buy her things or take her places makes the return null and void and will lead to an utter breakdown by the seller (i.e. the crazy, raving lunatic mother that I’ve become).  Teenage daughter must be returned with a smile (scratch that…that might be pushing it), with a half-snarl, instead of a full snarl, and a willingness to speak to her mother without asking for ONE FREAKING THING.


Sorry, I’ve got nothing.  I’m going to have to get back to you on this one…she is driving me bonkers!!


But, still….the best perk of all….she is mine and I love every (almost every) bit of her.

So, today is the first day of school for my kids.  It’s my oldest son’s first day of high school.  A milestone that I always dreaded.  High school means friends I don’t really know.  Parties I hope he never finds out about.  And, weekend nights spent at football games instead of on the couch with me watching a favorite movie.  But, guess what?  He’s ready and I’m ready and I’m so excited for him to experience high school.  (Check out my awesome back to school photos on the bottom…real prizes) So, what you may ask, kept me up all night crying?  Up until today, I would have thought Max going to high school would have done it.  But, nope.  Something I never saw coming.

An empty crib.

For 14 years, the white scroll work crib has been filled with a little person.  It has been filled with an elephant named Peanut, a dog named Tuffy, a little rainbow-colored beanie baby fish, contraband Halloween candy, a stuffed Philly Phanatic doll, baby quilts so worn you can see through them, Thomas the Train blankets, Lion King sheets…you name it.  For 14 years, the crib was filled with all the good things that would get a baby to sleep.  Sometimes, the crib would be filled with a car seat.  That one drives my parents wild.  But, if the baby would fall asleep in the car seat, I’d just plop the car seat right in the crib.  Why the heck not?  They were comfy.  There were even nap times that the crib would be filled with two little bodies.  One always snuck in the crib to wake up the other.  Good times.

The crib had seen the room decorated with pandas, bunnies, cars and trucks, carousel horses, an aquarium painted wall.  The crib was always surrounded with color and chaos usually was found beneath the poor majestic piece of furniture.  I have found old disgusting juice cups under its legs..another contraband item.  I have found socks, toothbrushes…you know the free ones they give out at the dentist, well, that’s where my kids stick them, Halloween candy that belongs to someone else, party favors from some long forgotten birthday party.  Crazy mess under that crib.  But, even still, it held up for 6 kids.  Through the jumping and the crying and the shaking and the rumbling, that old white crib stayed strong.

Last night, I went to check on all the kids one last time before bed.  Much to my surprise, the 2-year-old…my youngest, my baby, was not in his crib.  (Look at the bottom to see what a gorgeous piece of art his crib is…don’t look till the end, promise?) Where could he be?  And, then I saw him.  Pierce had lifted his little, well, huge, belly out of his crib and plopped himself into a bed.  He took his quilt and his favorite toys and snuggled himself into the bottom bunk.  How could he?  It was not time yet.  There was no warning.  It was like this preemie was destined to throw me surprises my entire life…none of which I’d ever be ready for.  He came 2 months early…no warning of his early birth.  No time for a procrastinating mom to prepare.  No time to enjoy those last months of my last pregnancy.  And, now this.

It’s not the fact that he moved himself into the bed that bothers me.  It’s the fact that there will never be another baby in that crib.  I wanted it to filled for a little while longer.  I wanted it to be my choice when he moved his big belly out of it.  I didn’t want this fixture in my house to go into the barn so soon.  I wanted this very loved piece of furniture to comfort me when my oldest went to high school and when my daughter gets annoyed with me or when my 5-year-old won’t get dressed.  It always seemed to be there for me, even in the roughest moments.  One look at the crib filled with a sleeping baby always made everything alright.  For 14 years, it has been filled with a little piece of my heart.  But, now I see that growing up is not a mother’s choice.  They just do it…sometimes, too fast.. before I even realize they’re off to the next stage.  So, now I’m crying again.

In the middle of the night, I got up once again…can you tell I’m a hall walker…and checked all of the beds one more time.  I saved the 2-year-old for last.  Snuggled in the corner of a bed that is way too big for him was a large belly covered in monkey pajamas, an old worn quilt and a stuffed dog named Tuffy that used to be my oldest son’s prized possession.  I went to give him a kiss good night and I stopped.  Because on his face was the biggest grin I had ever seen.  This little boy was proud of his move.  And, who am I to stop progress.  Well, I am his mom, that’s who.  So, I did what any mom in my situation would do.  Any mom who is not ready to let the precious moments slip by quite so fast.  I picked up his little monkey body and laid him into the crib.  Covered him with his quilt and laid Tuffy next to him.  And, yes, that’s the biggest perk of all….for one instant being able to recapture a moment that might never happen again.  The biggest bittersweet perk of all.

Do you love the permanent marker artwork he added?

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One of the best parts of getting a gift is the surprise.  There is nothing like getting a gift on a totally random day…everyone expects something on Christmas or your birthday but the gifts that mean the most are the ones that come on a Tuesday in August for no apparent reason.  There is also something about getting a gift from someone who totally gets you.  And, by that I mean, the gift is for you and only you and exactly what you need at the moment.  It becomes more than a gift.  It becomes the inner workings of a long-lasting friendship when you get a gift like that.

One of my favorite moments, EVER, was at my bridal shower.  I was knee-deep in wrapping paper that contained silver chafing dishes and Wedgewood china sets ( I picked a pattern that had unicorns and naked centaurs on it….very ooh-la-la for boring old Wedgewood), forks and spoons (seriously?),  Corning-Wear (which to this day is still in the half-unwrapped box in my attic), a blender, and all this other stuff which everyone at the shower seemed thrilled that I was getting.  I could not imagine why.  Who could even muster up any enthusiasm over a whisk?  I didn’t even know what a whisk was back then.

I got the biggest gasp from the crowd when the non-stick cookware was unwrapped.  Very hot for the early ’90s.  To me, it was slow torture.  It was like being trapped in the kitchen section of Macy’s and having to bring it all home to my new house.  Ugg.  I suddenly felt smothered by an omelet pan that screamed “You will cook omelets for your new husband every Sunday and you will like it”.  I just didn’t get it.

No one at the shower understood me.  No one except one person – my mom’s friend, Roses.  At the bottom of all the big, unappealing boxes was a tiny little present wrapped in white paper with a black bow.  Very chic. And, there was no way it contained a kitchen appliance.  This could be good. I slowly unwrapped the pretty packaging and there it was.  A sign that someone in this place knew me.  Really knew me.  Inside the wrapping laid a tiny box that said Chanel.  It was my favorite perfume and up until this moment a perfume that I only had free samples of.   Finally.  Something beautiful and practical.  Who could enter a new marriage without their favorite perfume? It was all I needed.  And, to this day it is one of my favorite memories because it was so unexpected and so needed at the moment.

This weekend, I got a gift.  Nope, it wasn’t my birthday.  It was just an ordinary Saturday (well, if I’m honest…it was my son’s birthday…but who says the mom can’t get a gift, too.  Out of the blue, I  got a tiny package from my sister-in-law, Megan.  And, to me, it is right up there with my Chanel.  In the tiny box, was a present that means so much to me.  Not because of cost…she got it for free…but because she gets me…and that’s not easy to do, because I’m weird and really quirky and did I say, weird. I have a picture of it at the bottom of this blog and you can see what she did…she made me Mom Perks business cards!  I’m obsessed with this blog.  I wake up to read the comments and I look forward to finding the time to write.  But, along with that comes comments that aren’t always positive and people who say ” I don’t really get it” or “Why did you write that?”.  I have rhino-skin and take rejection and criticism gracefully, and sometimes, daily.  But, I have a soft-spot for Mom Perks and all that DO get it.  So, to me, the business cards made Mom Perks even more special and they were such an unexpected gift on a random day and that makes it one of my favorite gifts of all.

I noticed recently that stores are getting ready for Halloween, which means Christmas.  For all of you who are like me….who buy presents ahead of time and forget where you put them or buy presents ahead of time and then just plain forgot you bought them….let’s just start our own thing.  Random gift giving.  If you buy it, give it.  Right there and then.  If you see something that you know will mean the world to someone you know, give it for no reason at all other than to make their day. If you want to say something, jot it down and send it (not by email…old school…pen and paper).  It will mean so much more.

One of my other favorite gifts was from my son, Max, and it was just that.  A pen and paper gift.  I took a picture so you could see it. It’s on the bottom slideshow.     He doesn’t like to be thought of as sentimental (oh, and he doesn’t want me to blog about him either…but that’s ok…he’ll appreciate it someday).  We went on a trip to NYC and it was kind of stressful keeping the taxis from running over the toddler’s feet on the curbs and keeping the kids together in Times Square and keeping the family from falling off the Top of The Rock ( I know that can’t happen, but in my mind, it definitely can).  And, when we returned, Max left this note on my dresser.  For no reason.  Just because.  And, geez, it hasn’t left my dresser since. It means that much to me.

Receiving a gift that says I get you, has to be the biggest perk of all.  We’d all love to get one and I’m sure we’d never forget it if we did.  So, spread the perks…start your gift-giving today…It’s Monday, August 22…and to me, that’s just perfect. 

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