A couple nights ago I had some visitors to my new place … specifically three of my younger cousins, one who is in the area for her college spring break. I absolutely love these girls; they are the youngest cousins on my Dad’s side and I can clearly remember them as babies (well, at least two of them anyway). Now they’re all “grown up” and in college.

In any case, the reason they wanted to come over was to watch some DVD’s of “The O.C.” on our new HD TV. Except we never did get around to doing that. Instead, we hooked up the Wii and played some Roc.kband and Raym.an Raving Rabb.ids. Way too much fun … except I have a feeling that our neighbors below weren’t too thrilled. Especially since playing Wii and the “photo shoot” (read: digital cam on timer at 10 shots per incident) lasted well into the night.

But oh … was it ever fun. And here are some pictures to prove it. Personally, I think we’re all set for the cover of Rol.ling Sto.ne! LOL!

[rockyou id=133909794&w=450&h=338]

Moving on …

Have I mentioned how much I liked working in the big city? I love not having to drive to work. I love not having to park in the same parking lot in the same general spot every single day. I love that there are multiple ways to get to my office building. So that on a cold crappy day, I can walk inside another office building and walk through the indoor pedestrian walkway. Or on a beautiful warm end-of-winter day I can walk down the busy avenue and enter directly into my building.

And let’s talk about that busy avenue. There are definitely more options for shopping and eating along the day. No more of that “get in the car and drive” to get out of the office just for lunch or to run to the bank. Nope, I can now just walk out of my office building and down the street. That doesn’t even count all the different cafes and restaurants in the pedestrian walkway inside; where I can run down in between meetings for a quick bite to eat. Believe me, having designer coffee available in the morning comes in handy after those late nights of Rockband on the Wii.

Anyway … there happens to be a Hallm.ark store in the walkway. I love going in there because … well, Hallm.ark stores are always such fun to look around in. (And besides, being a “Gold Crown” member has it’s little bonus coupon perks … !) It reminds me of my grade school days when Hallm.ark was the place to find cool stickers for your sticker book or cute stuffed animals to add to your collection. And in some rare instances, the young Asian girl in me would be delighted to find Sanr.io items at some of the stores (back when Hel.lo Kitty was just a blip on everyone else’s radar).

Except now, I find myself at Hallm.ark looking for a variety of different cards. Or other cute items to give as gifts. Personally, I love the whole Ho.ops & Yoy.o collection. That darn pink kitty and green bunny are too frickin’ adorable. (Must check out my cute totally new wave song and “music video” I created on their site! Tee-hee … !) And their selection of cards for any and every occasion makes picking out just one card nearly impossible. Especially when they have cool ones with music and sound effects now.

630006_mAnd their gift collections are just so chotski-ish … way too fun to look at, and on various occasions, buy as well. Like the whole series of clay jars that say anything from “Retirement Fund” to “Ashes of Former Employees” on them. Or all the Prec.ious Moments figurines with all the cute little sayings on them like “A tender touch makes love bloom.” I don’t mean to belittle them, because really … I would buy these gifts for the appropriate occasion. And I would certainly appreciate any of them if I were ever to receive them as gifts.

Anyway, the point of my rambling about Hallm.ark and their gifts is because I realized something the other day. I was in the store during my lunch hour just passing time after spending pretty much the entire morning in meetings upon meetings. It got to the point that by the time I got back to my desk my desk phone was lit up and blinking like a fire truck, my work-issued blackberry was vibrating non-stop, and my personal cell phone was personally notifying me about the “Devil Inside”. Yeah … it was a nutso day. And at that moment, I just had to walk away.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly enjoying my new job. And I’m clearly up to the challenge that face me in my new position. But as I’m still relatively “new” to the corporation, I find myself sometimes frustrated that I can’t pick up on processes as quickly as I used to in my previous job. I know that it will come in time. And believe me, I know that I should be proud of all I accomplished even in this two month period. I’d even go as far as to say that I believe I’ve made enough progress in my position that I’ve earned the trust of my staff and the respect of my other peers.

Yeah. I know … what a difference 8 months and a change in jobs and scenery makes. Amazing what it does for my self-confidence and self-esteem.

There I’ve gone again … I’ve once again digressed.

So as I was down in the pedestrian walkway, I strolled into the Hallm.ark store. I was tempted to buy a cute Ho.ops & Yoy.o plush, but I resisted. And then I wandered to the back of the store where many a picture frame and plaques were displayed.

I’m not sure if it was the effects of seeing the ceramic handprint in my boss’ office, but for some reason my eyes gravitated to all the “Mom” chotskies out there. The little paperweights or mirrored plaques with “Ode to Mom” poems. The angel figurines that talk about how ”Moms are a Gift from Heaven.” The picture frames or coffee mugs the proclaim how “Moms RULE!” The keychains or notebooks that proudly state, “Motherhood: The Hardest Job You’ll Ever Love.”

It’s that last statement about motherhood that had me a little hot under the collar. Not that I disagree with that statement. Nor do I discount how incredibly hard being a mother is. Because I am absolutely positively one hundred percent sure that particular statement is correct.

But the thing is … I’ve just never experienced being a mother. Nor do I know that I ever will experience motherhood. And while that truth does hurt … does make me incredibly sad … that last declaration evokes another unpleasant emotion in me. It creates this feeling of triviality in what I do with my job; my career. It’s as if what I do for a living will never ever top that of being a mother.

And what does that say for someone like me who has always wanted to be a Mom? Who has always held the idea that I could be a mother and a career woman? Who has been given these incredible job opportunities in her career but has not been given the opportunity to be a mother?

It’s thoughts like that … and all those tiny little observations that I notice on any given day … those are the things that also hit me square in the chest. They’re the things that knock me for a loop. The things that bring my self-confidence and self-esteem back down a notch.

I hope the receivers of such gifts; those mothers of children (or those other family members) realize what a hard job motherhood really is … I hope these moms truly appreciate the thought and the sentiment behind those gifts.

And I hope those mothers realize exactly what a gift motherhood is.

Because outside their world are those women who may never be on the receiving end of such gifts.