Life Is A Stage, And So Is An Ottoman

Dear People that make ottomans,

The uses for an ottoman are endless. Sitting on the couch just isn’t quite right without the resting place for your feet, it serves as extra seating in a pinch, and a coffee table when you need a spot to set down your remote… or coffee. The possibilities for this cube of wood and cushion are incredible, but it wasn’t until my children reached todlerhood that I realized what it’s true purpose was.

An ottoman is not just a resting place for tows or an extra seat. It is a giant stage, as grand as any stage on Broadway.

Suddenly, it is the stage that the most amazing songs are sung. Dances are choreographed with precision. It is a gathering place where Jacob and Cassidy sing into paper towel rolls and hair brushes. This is where the magic happens. They light up with excitement as the put on a show for Mom, Dad and the world of an audience that I know they are imagining squeezed into our small family room.

“Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls!” They demand our full attention and I know that no matter what this show has in store , it is going to be a moment to remember. Sometimes I video the show so that I can replay it for the stars. They can look back and see how much fun they were having. Sometimes I just watch. I just sit and take in every off key tune and every tiny butt wiggle from the top of that grand stage. I soak it all in because soon they will be too big for this stage.

When the stage lights dim and the audience is gone, usually while I’m cooking dinner, the ottoman is transformed once again. This time it turns into a giant mountain surrounded by lava. There is a river that flows between the couch and the ottoman and the only recommended way to cross the river is to jump. Jacob travels from mountain to couch and couch to mountain over and over as long as no one is looking. One giant jump after another, back and forth dangerously avoiding falling into the hot lava. This is usually where I put down the knife or spoon and really watch from around the corner.

I watch as he climbs up the mountain and stands proudly on top. Just when he thinks that he is safe, the lava starts to rise. The only escape is to reach the couch. He leaps again and makes it by the skin of his teeth. Safe once more! Just then he turns around to see me watching and he turns back into Jacob. The superhero disappears and the  mountain is just an ottoman ready for feet to rest once more.

It’s funny how a piece of furniture can bring so much joy. I could watch these two forever. They shows, the song and dance, the superheros, I love it all. I know that before I realize it, that giant ottoman will be tiny. Instead of our floor being covered in lave it will be just carpet and so I watch. I applaud as loud as I can and scream for an encore! I peak around the corner and I watch the happiness, true little kid happiness. I see it all and I cherish every second of it!

So to the people who make ottomans, Thank you! I couldn’t enjoy your product more, that is unless it also cleaned up after my little superhero/stars.

Cherise

Ingredient List For A Child

Dear Mother Of A Child I Once Knew And Will Never Know,

In today’s day in age, people think about food so differently than we did even ten years ago. Organic is important, and ingredients mean everything. It used to be just grab it because it’s quick and easy and now the trend is to read every ingredient and know what they are, pronounce them, and where does it come from. Is it environmentally responsible or is it harmful. Will this food cause some unwanted behaviors or worse, disease? We have become a society that has never cared more about “what is in it”!

When it comes to our children, however, separated and divorced parents often forget what it is that makes our children. Parents are forgetting how those children were actually created and they are neglecting to recall the exact ingredients that went into the creation of such a miracle.

For example, the ingredient list for Cassidy and Jacob is the same. They are both made with love but thrown into the mix is fifty percent of Brian and fifty percent of myself. I look at Cassidy and we remind her all the time what she has from myself and what was a gift from her Daddy. Her gorgeous curls were the gift of her father and her nose was from me. Sadly, I gave both of my children terribly sensitive skin. (Sorry about that kids) Brian has gifted Cassidy with a little bit of a hot head and the olive toned skin that tans like a beach model. Jacob was given Brian’s body type and many mannerisms. He was also given my sensitivity, sometimes good and sometimes bad. Both of our kids were given Brian’s sense of humor, (one of the reasons I fell in love with him!). Cassidy has my go go go attitude. Jacob has Brian’s easy going demeanor. The each share part of Brian and part of me.

The ingredients can go on forever, but the point is that they have some from me, and some from him. We made them, together. Love, hate, happy, sad, rain or shine, those kids are made from Brian and I, and will always have half of each of us.

Now for the point!

Given the fact that our children are made from my ingredients and Brian’s ingredients, to say that one of our ingredients was no good, would be to say that our child was no good! Pay attention here, because this is what I think that parents are missing. Just because you no longer love each other, just because you are separated and divorced, DOES NOT CHANGE YOUR CHILD’S INGREDIENTS!!!!!

Hate each other and despise each other, but when that child is concerned, share nothing but good things about each other because what you say about the other ingredient, you are saying about your child. Your hate for even an ounce of that ingredient will make your child feel hated and unloved. They are half of each of you and a whole of perfection, even if you no longer see the perfect in the other. Read this paragraph again if you need, because it couldn’t be more important to any child of separation or divorce.

These 200 blunt words couldn’t speak louder to the situation that someone close to me is going through right now. A mother has turned her child into a possession, a tool to fight with. He is the leverage and the reason to hate. I once met this child. I saw him briefly and only every so often at birthdays and maybe a holiday. Now, I will see this child never. My daughter celebrated her birthday this past week and while the child would normally have been there, I had to explain why not.

Well, the why not lies in one person’s hands. One person who should probably read these words and consider them heavily, but probably never will. That person has turned an innocent child into a pawn in a game that she is playing like a master. Well, guess what Mom of the Year, the prize for winning this game is ruining your child! You may act as though you are caring and loving and looking out for the best interests of your child but actresses belong in Hollywood!

Actually caring and loving and looking out for the best interests of your child means setting aside your dislike for the child’s father and letting that child live in peace. Letting a weed growing on an air conditioner be the reason for concern to leave your child with HIS FATHER, is absolutely unfounded and the exact reason that I believe that you only see this child as a possession. The weeds may stop the air conditioning unit from working and overheat causing a fire, not verbatim, but close, is your excuse this week for a boy of four years old to not see his father? Poison ivy that may or may not be in the yard, ticks that may or may not live in the grass. Give me a break! This isn’t concern, it is controlling. Let alone the reasons that you have created for the two months prior that his father was unfit to see him.

You have managed to keep this boy from his Dad, fifty percent of himself. Way to go! You have sent a clear message that his Dad is too worthless to see his own son. You have sent the message that He is worthless. Fifty percent of him is worthless to you. You only use him to fight his Dad. Do you hope Dad will give up? Do you hope Dad will quit fighting for his own son? I bet that you do and that makes you even worse.

You may never see this letter, and your son may struggle his whole life to figure out why his Dad was so terrible that he couldn’t be a part of his life. His Dad isn’t terrible, and you and I both know this. He may not have been your Mr. Right, he may not have been the perfect husband, the perfect cook, the perfect Dad. He probably wasn’t a great housekeeper, or dish doer, or bed maker, or grass cutter or hedge trimmer. He probably sucked at things, and so did you. He made mistakes and so did you.

At the end of the day, you decided to marry him. You decided to make a child together, and regardless of if the child was planned or not, we all know what happens when adults have sex, so as an adult, there are no surprises, just we weren’t careful enough. You made a fifty/fifty commitment in that child. You both made him from scratch.

Put yourself aside, and actually care about the child that you seem to think you are fighting for. You are stealing his childhood. You are giving him a life without a Dad. You are cheating him of memories and moments that will make him and shape him into the person he is supposed to be, not the person you choose him to be. You are using him to fight someone that you no longer love. Hate is fueling your fight and not the love of your son.

I pray that things work out for this broken family. I pray that this boy sees his Daddy real soon.

I think about Jacob and Cassidy. Brian has a trip for a couple of days planned down the road. He isn’t even gone, we just discussed it tonight and both of them went to bed with tears in their eyes because they will miss him. I couldn’t imagine telling them that they can’t see him for months. They are old enough to know that it hurts. They would feel a loss and so does your son. So Does Your Son!!!

Don’t let this get worse. It is in your hands to show him that not just fifty percent of him is good, but all of him!

Cherise