About Keri

Keri has been a member since May 17th 2013, and has created 226 posts from scratch.

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Things we take for granted

img_7676I’m the first to admit, I’ve done my share of complaining the past couple of weeks. I got sick on what was supposed to be a fun business trip, I worked a really long week last week and now we’re living in a construction zone because of work we’re having done on our house. Like every fall, when things are NUTS at work and home, I’m tired. I’ve missed out on activities for my kids. But really, how much do I take for granted? A LOT.

So that work trip? It was in Las Vegas! I saw amazing friends and business partners. I attended fantastic business sessions put on by a company that I am proud to represent, knowing we are on our way to becoming a billion dollar brand. So what if I puked (repeatedly) in my lovely hotel room bathroom? I’m healthy now. Some are not so lucky.

And work. Nearly 30 hours over two days is a lot. But how many people would take my place in a heartbeat? How many families are struggling to pay the bills while I put on a cocktail dress and chat with fascinating alumni of the amazing school where I am fortunate to work? I followed that event up having drinks with wonderful colleagues before spending the night at my in-laws’ beach house, so I could get a good night’s sleep. Though exhuasting at times, it’s hardly a rough gig.

My house. It’s a mess because I’m getting new floors. Something I’ve wanted since we moved in six years ago! It took some time to pick up for the installers, and the dust in there will make it feel like we’ve moved to the desert, but it’s going to look amazing, and we are lucky to have a roof over our heads, in a great neighborhood, in America’s finest city.

Missed kids’ activities. I missed three weekends of sports. Military parents and those with other work commitments miss out on far more. Others are not healthy enough to attend their kids’ games. I’ll be fine – and so will my kids.

I’ve written about this before, but as we are in this crazy fall, coming upon a season of thanksgiving and gratitude, I needed to write to remind myself to not take all I have for granted. For those who are struggling, in any aspect of your life, know that I’m thinking of you. And for those of you who get overwhelmed like I do – even though deep down you know how lucky you are – I understand. Let’s get through this crazy season together!

You’re here – for once

FullSizeRenderThere is no greater range of emotions than those felt by parents on a daily basis. “I love her so much my heart could explode” can turn into “that child is a f-ing lunatic” in a matter of moments. Multiple times per day. Only someone you love this much could make a non-bipolar person feel both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

I had a work retreat yesterday, at a resort north of town. It was finished early, so I surprised the kids by picking them up right after school instead of from after-school care. I hid under a tree near Avery’s classroom, and her little face when she walked out and saw me could have lit up a room. She shrieked and jumped into my arms. We spun around and had a minute of pure bliss. I put her down for her to grab her backpack, and as we were walking away, she nonchalantly said, “You’re here – for once!”

FOR ONCE?!?

She might as well have punched me in the stomach. I wanted to respond, indignantly. I wanted to shout: “I pick you up at 4:00, it’s not like you’re here all night!” “I’m at every special event at school!” “I took a vacation day to dress up as the Statue of Liberty’s for your brother’s class!” “I took the job I have, so I could have flexibility for my kids.”

Coincidentally, “active listening” was the topic in our sessions that morning. So instead of responding, I bit my tongue.

The truth is, the school year for me is just as busy as it is for them. So it’s true – I’m rarely there at 2:30. She was just stating the obvious, not intending to hurt my feelings.

So while my initial reaction was sadness and feeling defensive, I had to remind myself that Avery doesn’t care how often I’m there right at 2:30. She knows I’m there when it matters. She knows I do work I love and when she grows up she will remember me, like Chelsea Clinton remembers Hillary, that “regardless of what was happening in her life, she was always there for me.”

I hope both of my kids find passion in their careers. I hope that passion is strong enough to keep Avery in the workforce, even when she has children (assuming that’s what she wants to do). I hope that when her daughter says something flippantly, in a moment of excitement, that she doesn’t take it too personally.

At the end of the day, I know she knows I’ll be there for her forever, not for once. Forever just might not start at 2:30 on weekdays.

Perspective

55171_20130823_211126_tumblr_mrykh5NxST1qh77fdo1_500When things go just a little bit wrong in life, it’s so easy to feel sorry for yourself – or to complain about it. For some reason, minor life challenges have bothered me lately more than they should. Maybe it’s the post-vacation blues. Maybe it’s the pending start of another school year, which means craziness at home and at work.

I’ve told myself to have some perspective. But telling yourself to do something and actually doing it are two very different things.

Yesterday morning, a friend finished up her last breast cancer treatment, after a difficult year. Her best friend (who is also my friend) recently started chemo to treat the same terrible disease – and faces a year of challenges ahead.

Later in the day, a friend had skin cancer removed, at the same time she is dealing with a family member’s health issues.

Today, my boss called me at 6:30 a.m. When you work in communications, early morning phone calls from the boss can only mean one thing: crisis communication. A beloved teacher at our school passed away suddenly last night, while on vacation with his family. I felt physically ill as tears came to my eyes. He has two teenage children and my heart breaks for them.

The past two days have been a slap in the face, helping me to find the perspective I lost in a sea of stress over little things. Life is good. We are all healthy. Happy. Some aren’t so fortunate. For them, I pray. For myself, I’ve found the perspective I needed.

Back to school…the busiest time of year!

School books with apple on desk

It’s August. How is that possible? What does August matter, you may ask? Well, in most places in the country, it’s the start of a new school year.

Yes, I realize the calendar year starts in January, but for people who have school age kids, August is the month when everything starts fresh. A new school year is exciting and fun – and overwhelming and expensive, exhausting and hard!

People complain that the holidays are busy (and I agree), but in direct comparison, I think the start of a new school year may be worse. It may very well be the most expensive – and time intensive – time of the year.

The expenses, oh, the expenses! New clothes. New shoes. PTA memberships. Classroom supply donations. Sports registration. After school care annual fee. New football and soccer cleats. School foundation donations. Hair cuts. Huge Costco bills. New back packs. Another set of new backpacks when the kids don’t like the first ones (I’m hoping this one doesn’t come true).

And the time. Buying the shoes and clothes. Back to school night. Practices. Sorting through 100 forms to fill out, per kid. Homework. Foundation board meetings. Costco shopping. More practices. More homework. More late nights and dark circles. More time applying eye cream (thank goodness I get this at wholesale cost).

Gone are the days of lounging by the pool every afternoon. Gone is the chance to make a 4:30 p.m. barre class with time to spare. Gone is the wiggle room in our budget for regular happy hours and family trips (see expenses above). Gone is drinking beer at the pool while the kids swim because you don’t have to drive anywhere else for the rest of the night. Gone are the days of calling grilled hot dogs “dinner” because you have them leftover from a weekend barbecue.

It’s all over, soon enough. But you know what’s here? Hopefully another great year for our munchkins. We’ll get back to normal and back on track with time and money soon enough…just in time for Christmas!

 

 

 

 

Still my favorite

Yesterday, my Facebook memories reminded me of this post, from five years ago as we were approaching our fifth wedding anniversary.

marriage

I wrote a blog post about it then, but I just came across an article about marriage in the New York Times, where Dan Cole of the Gottman Institute said, “40 years of research on couples has taught us the difference between the ones who make it and the ones who don’t. There is an emotional connection that occurs when couples like, admire and respect each other. They talk to each other. They laugh together. When they speak to others about their partner they tend to brag about how great they are.”

Nearing our 10-year wedding anniversary, while I still think Chase is the right person for me, I now realize it’s because after all this time, we still have that emotional connection. There is no one I’d rather spend time with.

Full disclosure: like every married couple, we have our issues. I tell him what to do. He tells me (often in frustration) to leave him alone. He gets sleepy when he drinks. I try to wake him. Sometimes that works, sometimes he spends the night on the couch – and I’m secretly relieved. We aren’t always on the same page about which parenting issues are worth a battle and which ones aren’t. We don’t always agree on how to spend our money. We annoy each other and disagree, but…

There is no one I like more.

We spend every night talking in bed, like it’s the first time. We regularly stay up too late chatting and laughing, like we did when we first met 13 years ago – but back then it was on the phone. Last night we had a last minute dinner with friends, then came home and drank beer and talked for hours on the couch.

We have no secrets. And lots of mutual respect. We can agree to disagree. And clearly, I’m okay bragging about him. (I should probably apologize now for the razzing he will get from his friends for this post.)

I remember a quote from my matron-of-honor’s speech, who wished us the best on our wedding night and said it would be the night, “we loved each other the least,” which at the time I thought was odd. I get it now. I’ve never loved him more than I do now. Life changes – for the good and for the bad. People do too.

He’s still my favorite.