Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Big Girl Pants

I got an email this morning from a friend who learned I have taken on a leadership challenge.

“I could never do that. . .” she said.

She gave me a good laugh. We organized a group together, starting from scratch, in a previous life, and she was one of the very first to step up to the plate, to volunteer for a job I considered burdensome, but she has done it well for over three years now.

I grew up around the military. There were always these older women around, really together women, women who organized things, women who managed, women who were leaders. They were also totally intimidating women, and behind their backs we called them the “tough old birds,” not without admiration.

The turning point came for me in my early thirties, when I saw a job that needed doing, and I knew I could do it at least as well as it was being done, and probably better. I knew I had a lot of resources available to help me do the job, just needed some organizing. I took the project, did the job, and it all worked out great. I was not yet a tough old bird, but I knew I was now playing with the big girls.

The phrase I keep coming across now is “put on your big girl panties,” some add “and deal with it.” I’ve seen it in a couple ads, and in more than a couple blogs . . . it seems to be a phrase of the day. (Google it – you’ll see what I mean.) It means dealing with an situation that needs to be handled, even if unpleasant, even if you don’t want to. It means taking responsibility. It can mean you’ve taken a hit and have to keep going. Most of all, it means you’re at a higher level of performance than before, and you need to meet a new standard. I think it’s a hoot.

(It originates in toilet training, when a toddler goes from diapers to cloth pants, called “big-boy pants/ big-girl panties” and it means literally, you are now expected not to have any accidents, but to use the facilities just as big boys and big girls do.)

The elastic on my big girl panties is giving out. I’ve been wearing them for a while now. I have probably now reached the age when women are calling me tough old bird behind my back. When did that happen?

To all my faithful friends out there, friends who have been my friends for years and tens of years (you know who you are) I am proud of you, and more thankful for you that I can express. Aren’t there days when we wish we weren’t big girls? Aren’t there days when we just want to run and hide, and not take those responsibilities? Aren’t there times when you want to say “no! I can’t do that!”? You’ve helped me through all those days.

Thanks to your love and support, putting on big-girl panties hasn’t been so bad. And we’ve had a lot of laughs along the way. Thanks for being along for the ride.

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May 8, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Humor, Women's Issues, Words | 8 Comments

Best Mother’s Day Story

In honor of the upcoming American Mother’s Day (I don’t know why we have it on a different day from the rest of the world) a friend sent this hysterical story, which I am sharing with you.

So, we had this great 10 year old cat named Jack who just recently
died. Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around and sit on
him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all day long
on this mat in our bathroom.

Well we have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 years
old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves
chapstick. LOVES it. He kept asking to use my chapstick and then losing
it. So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my
chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put
it right back in the drawer when he was done.

Last year on Mother’s Day, we were having the typical rush around
and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My
two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I am trying to nurse
my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up. Everything is a
mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful day to honor
me and the amazing job that is motherhood.

We finally have the older one and and the baby loaded in the car and
I am looking for Eli. I have searched everywhere and I finally round the
corner to go into the bathroom. And there was Eli. He was applying my
chapstick very carefully to Jack’s . . . rear end. Eli looked right into my
eyes and said “chapped.” Now if you have a cat, you know that he is
right–their little butts do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn’t
seem to mind.

And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it
was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat’s behind or the hundredth.

And THAT is my favorite Mother’s Day moment ever because it reminds
us that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little
creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they’ve been using
your chapstick on the cat’s butt.

May 8, 2007 Posted by | Family Issues, Holiday, Humor, Hygiene, Living Conditions, Pets, Relationships, Women's Issues | Leave a comment