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FREE Happily Ticked Off Book Anyone?

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I’ll send you the PDF in exchange for an honest review left on Amazon here.

Send me an email at Andrea.Paventi@Gmail.com and I’ll send it your way.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and talk to you on Friday as I work my way through the “how to suppress tics” list one item at a time. (See previous post.)

God, grant me the serenity to accept the tics I cannot change, the courage to change the tics I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Andrea

 

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From “That Sucked” to “Miracle”

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Tonight at my kid’s tennis lesson I had a long conversation with a dad who happens to have an auto-immune disorder. This dad has a kid at my kid’s school who inherited his disease. As fate would have it, another friend of mine’s kid, from the same school, just had her kid diagnosed with the same auto-immune disorder as this dad from tennis. (It was kind of a six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon and wonky diagnoses moment. So fun! Grab the insulin shot and a slice of gluten free bread pronto!)

This just brought up a whole slew of conversation back and forth like, “Would we, if we had known about our wonky genetics, have gone into parenting so readily?”

For both of us, it was an astounding “Yes, of course!” Neither of us could imagine not having the children that we do. It’s not about auto immune disorders but the soul that matters. (Even if that soul happens to be my son who was getting me so darn mad moments before the tennis lesson that I’m surprised I didn’t lose my mind or at least my keys. Oh, wait! I did! But that comes later on in the story.)

Instead, let me tell you the next thing that happened. In between talking about medication and personality and genetic pre-disposition with cute dad, another mom sat down. I looked at her face. If Ellen Degeneres were Indian, this short-haired, brown-skinned soul would be her. I just loved her spirit. And, turns out, I knew her!

PJ!” I said, shaking her hand in greeting.

“Andrea!” she said, shaking it back in unabashed delight.

The one-word greeting spoke volumes about our reunited connection. It seemed to triumphantly whisper, “Yay! We can talk for thirty minutes and have an adult conversation while our kids try not to bash each other’s brains in with tennis balls!”

Except this unspoken thought didn’t stay in our brains. It bled right out of our mouths all over the gum encrusted park bench. Within moments we both blurted out how happy we were to see each other again. Which, well, was a bit odd, given we had only met once before… two months ago… but we remembered each other for whatever reason. (Well, okay, the reason was that in a few minutes I completely analyzed her personality, her wife’s role in parenting, the disposition of her kids and why she likes her job. She thought I was a bleepin’ psychic. I was sad to report that I was just a wacky writer. But somehow I didn’t scare her off.)

Um…can you see men doing that on the football field? “Oh, Jerry, it’s so awesome to see you again. You know, the moment I heard you turn over that motor in your rotary engine, I knew we’d be fast friends. Let me read your palm and afterwards let’s make bmf bracelets!”

Well, silly or not, there it was…this bond between PJ and I that I can’t explain. And there was this bond between this dad and I that I am grateful for, too… two parents of two kids that require a bit more attention than “Suck down these Pop Tarts for dinner, we’re just done with cooking tonight.”

Let me now go on record that, as a Christian woman who has been married for 15 years, it might seem odd that a straight wife like me finds connection between an Indian lesbian and a happily married Italian father, but it is what it is.

Note to my Christian readers, Mom and Farmer Stacey: Do not be alarmed. I’m not starting an emotional affair with my Bollywood princess or blue-eyed auto immune cute dad friend. But I cannot lie. I find them both fabulous spirits and I’d be kidding you, and my very own self, if I didn’t admit that signing my kid up for tennis was the greatest lift to my spirits this month since Costco’s sale on dark Starbuck’s coffee ($15.95/bag – a deal!). When I start shaving my head or wearing a mini-skirt with a tight John Mackenro tee over my Double D’s, you can call out the Jesus squad.)

To add more cherries to the topping of this fun park bench banter (think of me as the peanut butter in between two slices of wonderful, talkative bread) we found out that PJ knows my sister through their kids’ middle school. Fun!

And then I lost my keys.

Boo.

But I didn’t freak out.

Yay!

Because what would be the point? The day up until that moment had been so crazy. (Wonky news from a writing client. No Ebay sales. Wondering if perhaps I should just throw in the towel and get a real job after all or run away with the circus and sell GMO infested popcorn to parents who have more money to entertain their kids than I do these days.)

But Stink made me sit on a parking slab and pray. Which I did. Which was no small feat for this six foot 1 mama.

“Jesus isn’t a magic genie,” I told him, adjusting my 2-foot wide butt to the diameter of the six inch cement chair.

“I know,” he said. “But He’s a miracle maker.”

Which, well, turns out He was. I did not find the keys right away. But I did stay calm which helped me retain my sanity. Each step I took I just remembered that I’m not in charge. I’d figure it out.

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Since my own phone was dead, I used the tennis instructor’s phone. (Old old phone… crack in the glass… thank God… a fellow tribe member of the ‘We’re Doing the Best We Can Club’.)

I called every person on his roster. “Did you take my keys by accident?”

“No… good luck…” was all I got.

So I called my husband.

And he showed up….

…At the exact same time as cute dad who pulled up in his car, keys dangling from his finger. “I took them with mine by accident!” he said.

So then I came home and ate a beet salad that my sweet husband (and even cuter) had made. And we talked about my work options and his business. And how sometimes, even if things don’t go the way we want them to, they go where they need to go. And that’s the kind of peace that makes all the nuttiness worth it.

If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.

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Until next time, remember to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

More of my writing can be found at AndreaFrazerWrites, on Facebook at Happily Ticked Off or on Twitter @AndreaFrazerWrites. 

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Free Range Me

Well, my kid made it to Arizona safely. Shockingly enough, I didn’t spend the entire vacation without him in an anxious mess. Sure, I breathed a sigh of relief when I knew his plane landed safely, but that was about it.

The few days without Stink included lots of cherished time with Pip and her dad. We all stayed up late a few times, curled up on the green couches with books akin to those fat fluffy seals sunning themselves on rocks at the pier. (I’m currently reading Anne Lamott’s Grace, Eventually and just laughing out loud. That woman is brilliant and about as neurotic as I am. Though I have better hair – and that’s not saying much.)

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The day after he left, I had tea with Tuskany. While Pip and her daughter swapped books in the next room, Tuskany quipped that I had some free-range characteristics in my laissez-faire approach to parenting. I had to laugh, because in many ways, she’s not wrong. I didn’t check Stink’s luggage. (For all I know, he could have loaded up that suitcase with Twizzlers, pens and porn.)

I didn’t know who was parent chaperone was until I arrived at the airport that morning, groggy and disheveled from lack of coffee – hair resembling a greasy ballerina with bed head. (But my locks still looked better than Anne Lamott’s. The day I get dreads is the day I leave AA, my husband and join a traveling Reggae band: Mama Frazer and the Traveling Tickers, yah, Man.)

In stealing kisses from my man-child and reminding him to brush his teeth at least once on the three-day trip, I forgot to ask for his chaperone’s phone number. I reckoned to myself that if he needed to get in touch with me, he could take my advice and ask another parent chaperone or the teacher to use their phone.

I’m not sure how you, reader friend, would handle this. I do know that Tuskany would never operate in such a manner. I can attest to the fact that she is truly one of the best parents I know. She has this responsible thing down pat. (I mean, her kid eats veggies every day. EVERY DAY.) And her daughter, well, she’s a genius. Even Stink thinks so. (After Disneyland a few weeks back – which Tuskany was gracious enough to treat us to – again) he turned to me and said, “Mom, Nadia is the smartest girl I ever met. And she’s only in THIRD grade. Um… I think she’s smarter than me!” To which I responded, “She is smarter than you, kid!”)

Yup, I’m certain that this wunder girl’s mother would not only be sure that her daughter had her own phone, she would not be on a plane with a bunch of rag-tag public school kids going on an excavation in the first place! (I’d tell you the places they went, but I lost the itinerary before we even got to the airport. I had fuzzy ideas of sites containing red rocks, deserts and Indian caves with the name “Canyon” tied onto the end for the tourists – replete with gift stores and ash trays made from quartz.)

The thing is, though, I just knew Stink would be fine. He was surrounded by responsible adults. I even had cell phone #s for some of the parents who promised to send updates and snap shots. Here’s one from someone who, thank God, was kind enough to show me how much Stink was enjoying the culture on Day 1. I mean, really, could a mom be any prouder?

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Turns out all went well! When he landed late on Thursday, I watched him hunker down the hallway through the security gates. The moment he saw me, he threw himself in my arms. “Mom, I’m home!” he said, eyes tired, mesh shorts a bit stained from chocolate.

Or mud.

I couldn’t be sure and frankly didn’t care. I was just happy to have him home. He smelled of sweat, sweets and 12-year-old tween – the most glorious odor I’d sniffed in three days.

“Did you have a good time?” I asked him, taking one of his bags from his sagging shoulder.

“Yup,” he said. “But I’m so glad to be back.”

On the car ride home, his voice cracked. “Mom,” he said, looking at the rain outside, “This night… it feels so feels holy.”

Side note: This kid is going to grow up to be a con artist or a pastor. The verdict is still out. But I digress.

“Holy, huh? How come?” I asked.

“I guess because I was nervous to fly,” he said, “But then I said a prayer to God to get home safely. And then, I just felt peace… because I figured either I’d make it home to you or to my permanent home. And either way, I’d be okay.”

Re-reading that statement just now, I burst out laughing. It’s so melodramatic. But it’s also a true statement of his heart – a heart of a boy that beats of intellect, concern and faith. Its professions like that which not only make me grateful he has a God, but grateful that I do, too. This God of mine kept me from over thinking his trip. Without Him, I’d never let Stink go.

I’m certainly not saying that people who have faith are not allowed to be protective. But for the way I’m wired, which is pretty much tighter than a drum on pots of Yuban combined with hyper monkeys if I take myself too seriously, God keeps me from having a panic attack and screaming naked after my kid’s plane on the tarmac.

Classmates: “Dude, we’re at the Grand Canyon already?”

Stink: “Nah, that’s just my mom’s butt crack.”

My cheeks in the wind are not a national landmark any sixth grader needs to witness.

With Stink gone, I held onto my own faith and my favorite acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. I reminded myself that the chance of his plane crashing to the ground was pretty far-fetched. But if we’re being honest, it was also too scary to imagine, so I just didn’t think about it. I trusted my gut, and my God, that he would be fine.

The night of his homecoming, after kissing him on the forehead, I had my own holy moment. I lit a candle, got into the bath tub and gave thanks to God. “Thank you for bringing him home… to me. ”

Until next time,

May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Andrea

Connect with me on FacebookTwitter and at Armonia on Mondays. (Email works, too! Warning: I’ll likely email back.)