Life is Beautiful and Heartbreaking thumbnail

Life is Beautiful and Heartbreaking

3 Things by Kristin van Ogtrop, Editor of Real Simple

3 Things by Kristin van Ogtrop, Editor of Real Simple

Truth

“The days are long but the years are short.”

Who coined this phrase? I have no idea. But I am the mother of three boys, with my oldest about to leave for college in a month. My youngest is six. And I swear only about 10 minutes passed from the time my college-bound guy was heading to kindergarten, and now.

We all know that time flies, and when someone says that to you, it’s usually a sign that there has been an uncomfortable lull in the conversation or the person is deeply, deeply dull and should probably be avoided. However, when I first heard the expression, “the days are long but the years are short” to describe this journey of parenting, I thought: now that captures everything.

We spend so much of our lives as mothers just hoping for the next stage (no more teething! no more poopy diapers! no more having to use that suction thing to get mucous out of the nose of a child who can now use a tissue himself! hooray!). The days are so long, particularly when you are sleep-deprived, which is most of the time.

And yet….  You wake up one day and you are packing that teething, poopy, snotty kid for college. And you feel as if no time has passed at all. It is beautiful, it is magic, it is heartbreaking, and it is life.

Tip

If you make a smoothie every morning for your children (and, uh, actually watch them drink it), you will know that they had at least one healthy thing that day.

About three years ago I got a Vitamix blender, and it changed my life. One of my sons is a really picky eater and, what’s worse, he’s 15. So I pretty much have no idea what he eats between 7 a.m. and dinnertime. (Actually, I sort of know because we fund his account at the high school cafeteria, and we can go online to see what he has for lunch. It is a depressing story.)

If he had his druthers, he would have what is known in our household as “vacation cereal” (you get the picture) for breakfast, chicken nuggets with french fries for lunch, and a cheeseburger with more fries for dinner. It never fails that, when given food choices, he always lunges for the least healthy thing.

So I exercise what little parental control I can by making a smoothie just about every morning. Sometimes the smoothie contains kefir and frozen fruit, sometimes it contains apples, grapes, kale and avocado. Miraculously, he will drink all smoothies, except the ones that contain the hemp protein powder I bought at Trader Joe’s that makes any smoothie taste like it has sand in it.  But he will drink in liquid form foods that he would never eat if he saw them on a plate.

So he leaves for school a little bit healthier, and I leave for work feeling like I’ve done at least one good thing as a mother that day.

Find

The FURminator.

In addition to three boys and a husband, I live with two big, shedding labrador retrievers.  (This is when most people say “Oh my God.”)  At certain times of year, there are literally tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling around in my kitchen. I can’t explain how or why, but the FURminator is the only dog brush I have ever found that actually works well enough for me to notice a reduction in the number of tumbleweeds, which impacts my daily happiness much more than it probably should.

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Contributor: Kristin, Managing Editor of Real Simple magazine
Follow her on Twitter.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Larissa August 20, 2013 at 6:56 am

    I do the same thing for my husband with the smoothies! And since there is no cafeteria at his work with a menu I really DO NOT have any idea what he eats- but judging by all the McDonald’s wrappers in the car I can take a pretty good guess. So I stock up on smoothie supplies and really wish I could afford one of those fancy blenders but you do what you can- it makes me feel like I have done something good for my husband’s health.

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  • Mary August 20, 2013 at 11:50 am

    YES! The FURminator is the only thing that decreases the shedding of our lab, too! I highly recommend as well…

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  • Margaret Polino Nicholas August 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    What a good India with the smoothie.

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  • Kristin Shaw August 20, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    You are feeding my Vitamix obsession. I’m going to have to ask for one for Christmas – my husband claims that the blender does just as well, but he’s oh so wrong.

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  • Melissa August 24, 2013 at 5:55 am

    If you don’t want to invest in a Vitamix, a Ninja brand blender works very very well.

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  • Lisa Ahn September 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I love this truth, tip and find. I have been rooted myself in my daughters’ days more and more lately, instead of waiting for the next piece. And I find I really love being fully present in the mom-now. As for the FURminator — it works great on cats too! (We have a super-shedding dog and three cats.)

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