The Rockwood Files: 2008 Round-Up

By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

With less than 30 days before the year ends, I took a look back at the 11 months we’ve left behind and rounded up a few pieces of “columns past” that give a snapshot of how the year has gone. It’s been a fast, funny year and I appreciate the opportunity I had to share it with you in this chunk of newspaper space.

On a few extra pounds after last Christmas…

As much as I’d like to blame pregnancy, gravity and age for this predicament, I know I had a lot to do with it. I’m pretty sure all those trips to Chuck E. Cheese and McDonalds were a factor. The kids are so excited when we get there that they end up taking three or four bites of their food and then race off to play, leaving me at the table to stare at leftovers and tell myself it would be wrong to let perfectly good pepperoni or French fries go to waste. But ultimately, that’s exactly where they go – to waist. My waist. Meanwhile my kids are burning tons of carbs crawling through those kid-size tunnels. No wonder they’re so skinny.

I wish I liked working out as much as they love those tunnels.

On love and laughter…

Sure, love and passion are great, especially for Valentine’s Day. Everybody wants love and passion. But so much of day-to-day life is like a steep, rain-slick hill – hard to navigate, scary, sometimes treacherous. And if you don’t walk it with somebody who can help you laugh, even through your missteps, you’re toast. You’ll never make it.

Over two years of dating and almost 10 years of marriage, Tom and I have been through job changes, house moves, miscarriages, the death of my only brother, and three new babies who have taught us what life is all about. On Valentine’s Day, I’ll certainly be grateful for the love and passion, the commitment, the loyalty and friendship. But more than anything, I’m thankful for the laughter – the every day, get-ya-through-anything laughter.

On the Easter Bunny vs. Santa…

If I had to choose between being the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus, I’d be the bunny. Hands down. When it comes to holiday icons, the Easter Bunny has negotiated a pretty sweet deal. Pun intended.

Sure, Santa gets more hype than his furry counterpart. But along with the hype comes the headache of super stardom. Every year, Santa’s very existence is called into question, and a dubious gang of underage paparazzi stay up all night just to catch a glimpse of him. Santa also has a ton of bookkeeping work. Just imagine how long it takes to compile the infamous Naughty and Nice list. My three kids alone switch back and forth between the lists at least a couple times a day.

On starting a business…

If you want to start your own business, there’s one essential ingredient you’ve got to have. It’s not hard work or a great location or a solid business plan – although all those things are important. The one thing you really need is this: a dash of crazy.

Starting your own business is one of those ideas that looks great on paper and seems nearly impossible in real life. I know because I’m doing it. I can’t even believe I’m doing it. Like most moms, I already had a full plate with the kids, the dogs, the house, the baseball and soccer games, the column deadlines. What am I, nuts? The answer is yes – a little. Otherwise I’d be doing something entirely more sane, like trying to spin 18 plates in the air while hopping on a pogo stick.

On parenting a picky eater…

I have this vision of my son as a twenty-something wearing a tuxedo and looking dashing at his wedding reception. In this vision, he is seated beside a banquet table full of chicken nuggets, bologna and cheese sandwiches, pepperoni pizza and yogurt cups, and all the wedding guests are staring at me in silent judgment wondering “Where did his mother go wrong?”

On flying alone with 3 kids…

Then I had to quietly explain to Jack that, although he had the toy first and it was technically his turn, the world is basically an unfair place, particularly when you’re on a plane with a toddler. While Jack was shocked at my hasty move, his sister was intrigued. When she shrieked and got what she wanted, I could see the realization in her baby blue eyes – a true, “ah-ha” moment. In an instant, she knew she owned me for the duration of the flight.

When her ears starting hurting during the flight, the only thing that kept Kate entertained was to let her put goldfish crackers into my mouth. If I liked the little orange, fish-shaped crackers, it would have been a lovely way to end the flight. But I do not like goldfish crackers. I do not like them in the rain. I do not like them on a plane. But I will eat them all the same when I am forced to on a plane.

On shopping for a recliner with my husband…

The male salesperson pointed out that this particular recliner comes with an attached remote control massager. The thing reminded me of the Michelin Man character, with rolls upon rolls of bloated foam padding covered with wrinkly leather. But I didn’t say anything because I’d promised to be open-minded. Tom said, “Sit down and try it out, honey.” So I did, and I’ll admit the chair feels fabulous – like a vibrating bed of Twinkies. It’d be great if I could just wear a blindfold every time I walked into the room.

Thanks for reading The Rockwood Files in 2008. Stick around for more in the New Year!