A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The One Where The Varsity Did Us Wrong

It began so well. We had a really happy, fun day which I will have to write about some other time. This post isn't about that. We decided to end our day with a trip to one of our favorite places, The Varsity, for dinner.
We love the place and have made an Easter time trek there many years. But we had such a great day yesterday that we decided we would go, it would be a great treat.
Even with the really long wait for food (they were slammed) the twins were happy and content, knowing that some of their favorite food was coming soon.
We ate happily, chatting as a great big family of dorks enjoying our calorie rich feast. Then we headed home and planned our evening around the Oscars.

I headed upstairs to change diapers and get on pajamas while Julia started a breathing treatment downstairs. I had promised her a pajama party you see, so that was the plan, pajamas and Oscars. I was beginning to change Miles when Charlie walks in, gets the doorway and unleashes a torrent of puke. He takes two steps forward and does it again. All of the door and the floor.

Thus began the evening that the Varsity did us wrong. I'm not sure if they have an employee who is ill with some sort of virus or they mishandled food in some way but one thing is clear, those of us who ate the Chilli and the cheeseburgers became violently sick in a night that hasn't ended. My oldest boy just did another round of puking at 9:30 am. The only person in our house who isn't horribly sick is the girl, who took one bite of hot dog, a few bites of fries and ate nothing else except cheese sauce. Miles puked all over the living room, and his bed, Charlie puked in his bed around 3 am or something. I'm not sure, eventually I lost track of time. The last time on the clock was 5 am when I was waking up because my husband was taking care of someone or I was, again - I forget. Up and down, up and down every hour or less.

My husband is terribly sick also but he's got a will of steel and despite needing to vomit he knuckled down and took care of us. There is something so comforting about SOMEONE being the adult in charge.

As for me, they twins got me up at 8 am and I can barely think. I'm having a coffee which my insides tell me is ill advised but I don't even care. I'm so tired I will end up asking my husband to take the reins sometime after breakfast as I'm not well myself.

I asked Louis, after his last round of puking, "Are you ok?"
His response, "Physically yes, emotionally - no."

Looks like we're off the Varsity for a long while.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Aunties Roll Through

People will someone ask me "who" my Aunt Suzie is. Well, one answer would've been that she was Mom's best friend. But that's such a simplification of who she is in our family. She's the family you choose. She's the person who never forgets your birthday or anniversary. She's the story keeper of our family, taking photos for the last 47 years that are truly the story of many of our special days. When my mom went into labor with me, they drove around the dorms where she lived honking their horns and yelling out the windows, to let her know they were on their way to the hospital. I'm pretty sure she didn't hear them but that's not the point. She was the first person they HAD to tell. When I came home from the hospital and the family descended to see the first grandbaby, she refused to let anyone but my Aunt Suzie hold me. My Aunt Suzie has never been Suzie - she's Aunt Suzie. She's far more of an Aunt than either of the ones I actually share DNA with.

For my children too she's the magical Aunt who descends with presents and total attention to everything they have to tell her. Since we live far away they don't have the luxury of ice cream and drives through the country with her. They don't get to go to the drive in hot dog stand and order icy cold root beers and listen to Neil Sedaka or Ann Murray on her 8 track player. She was always so giving of her TIME when I was a kid, I can understand why when I was a child my parents chose her as my guardian if anything had happened to them.

We always go out to dinner when Aunt Suzie is in town with Aunt Debbie, and lately we've been enjoying Praise the Lard. I admit I kind of like the idea of family dinner with people other than us. It feels like home, even if it's out at a restaurant.
We enjoy sauces. We really do.
The twins are always super excited when Aunt Suzie and Aunt Debbie come to town too. I think they just know when someone is here who loves them, they always want to be right with them. It's hard not to be excited when someone like that comes around.
Our wrestlers this time (they give you a wrestler instead of a number) were the Wild Samoans and I'm afraid I am not familiar with their work. But I kept thinking of Tony RockyHorror and wondering why Marcellus threw him out of that window. Not really family dinner sort of thoughts but I couldn't help it.

Julia asked me how old Aunt Suzie was, and I told her she was a year or two older than Grandma at which point she cried and said "But I don't want Aunt Suzie to die."

Man, I don't either. I wish there was some way around it. I really do.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

I Deal With More Poop Before 10 AM...

It was a dark and storm night. Ok it wasn't. It was a cold but sunny morning. Things were pretty much normal for a Saturday. There were twins in bed with us, and it was prior to 8 am but it was quickly apparent that no one was going to sleep if Mom didn't get up.

I didn't mind. There was coffee to be had and some stretching and relaxing in my future.

Things went pretty normally for a while. I changed diapers, I watched Spongebob with a hot cup of coffee in my hand, giving alternate drinks to whichever child is standing nearby to mooch a drink. I actually made them their own cup but my cup tastes better it seems.

Somewhere around 830 or 9 the poop parade began. "What's that stinky smell?" Julia asks and at our house it only means one thing, twin poop. So I found the culprit and changed him. As I headed back down the stairs I hear "Mommy I NEED TO THROW UP!"

We rush to the bathroom where nothing happens but she declares her tummy hurts. I tell her that perhaps she needs to poop (see more poop talk) and so she endeavors to make that happen while I discern that twin #2 needs changed so back upstairs I go.

I come back downstairs in a while, grab another cup of coffee and settle back into the couch for some more Spongebob and consider breakfast. I ask her what she wants, and she tells me she thinks she doesn't want to eat. That's a bad sign.

I wandered into kitchen and gave Miles his cereal choices and reminded him he has his OWN coffee cup. Dropped the bread in the toaster when I hear Julia say " I need to potty again." I said "Ok," not really considering that she JUST WENT.

I kissed Miles on the head and grabbed the sausage from the fridge when I hear a shriek and "MOMMY HELP ME HELP HELP HELP"

I run to the bathroom, throwing the sausage in the sink (why? I don't know) and behold my bathroom floor. And her legs. And her feet. Oh, she's unwell. She's just had an explosion of epic proportion. She's sobbing "What do I do Mommy?"

Mommy duty is amazing. If it were any person I hadn't given birth to I am pretty sure I'd be like "Good luck with that mess." But those big eyes crying huge tears and I'm not even bothered by the situation. First get out of those clothes, call Louis to resume breakfast.

"OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENED?" He moans in horror when he comes to my aid.

One shower, one set of clean jammies later it's like it never happened. Much cleaning happened. Much Lysol was used. She still doesn't feel like eating much but she definitely feels better.
And as for me, I have been promised a nap today.

I am so going to take him up on it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Fat Girl Goes Into A Running Store

I am not the sort of girl who shops in running stores. In fact, until about a week ago I wasn't the sort of girl who knew running stores EXISTED. Apparently running is such a thing that there are whole stores just for those who run. WHO KNEW? 

I've been wearing these really cute Hello Kitty vans as my casual shoes and then more as my "every day" shoes as this situation with my plantars fasciitis tends to ebb and flow with the moon or something. If you haven't ever HAD plantars fasciitis then get down on your knees right now and pray to whomever you pray to a thankful prayer that you don't have this. 

Here is what it is like, if you want to try it at home. Break up a bunch of glass and put it beside your bed. Make it variable pieces, large and small, sharp and smooth. Then, go to sleep. First thing in the morning, sit up on the edge of your bed and then plant your heel into that pile of glass. Stand up and put all of your weight into this pile of glass. Now, have that pile of glass magically stay under your foot for every other step you take throughout the day.

That's plantars fasciitis. 

Well for some time it's been apparent that even with inserts to help with the pain I needed some better shoes. I wanted shoes I could walk if not run in (I want to run, my body doesn't want to run, thus far I am listening to it). So I asked about and was recommended to go to a running store. My first thought was like this. 
Because a running store would be full of jock people who run and are fit and talk about their low body fat and whatever it is runners do. They're fine individually but runners in a group are irritating to us fat girls. Well, to me. I'm speaking for everyone. I'm the spokeswoman today.

But, it was brought to my attention that they could do a gait analysis and also some other stuff and help me pick out shoes best for ME. This seemed like witchcraft, however, I decided to give it a shot.

I have never tried on so many pair of shoes in my life. And what is this in some shoes I am a ten? WHAT IS THIS LIE?
 In a good shoe, I wear a size six, but a seven feels so good, I buy a size eight.

Ok so maybe a 9 and a half. And apparently a ten on occasion.


But, they all felt amazing. Some were more amazing than others and after a while I narrowed down the most amazing and the even more amazing and made a choice. At that point I was the proud new owner of a really expensive pair of new sneakers.

It's not that I can't afford fancy shoes it's just that hell when you have four kids, one of whom is 13 you tend to make sure they get the stuff THEY need and well mom and dad get what "will do."

We're from the midwest - we make do.

So my experience in a running store was actually really amazing. I wasn't uncomfortable or weirded out but maybe that was because Tamara from twins club works there and so right when opening the door I saw a familiar face and that made it not scary. Her co-worker waited on me, and was really amazing to have someone so patiently listen to what I need and not think what I didn't know about was weird. 

It really made me wish I was some hardcore runner because I want to go back and buy all the things from them because since they were so nice. 

So, running stores exist and they aren't just for runners. Fat girls can go in and buy shoes. Our money is good there. 

Who knew?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Adventures In Grant Park

Well we were up early for a day of adventure this Sunday, and while Ria's Bluebird may have the best pancakes in America per the New York Times, it also has a wait an hour long apparently and that just doesn't work so well for our little guys. Luckily the husband did a little reading up about other places to eat in the area and found us a PERFECT spot for Sunday Brunch - Dakota Blue.
I have to say everything was really tasty. Let me HIGHLY recommend the Grand Marnier french toast, it was ridiculous. I'm not sure the last time I saw Miles eat so much food. It was really tasty. It looks like such a little hole in the wall, it's really the last place I'd fall into with my family but there were lots of other families in there. It was a really nice surprise.
This ridiculous painting was on the wall. It makes me love the place even more.

After brunch we set off for our destination - ZOO ATLANTA. Our local libraries have a deal where there is a video about the zoo you can check out, and after you watch it and watch the quiz about it you can then return it for FOUR Zoo passes. So we only had to buy two and hope the weather cooperated. It was raining when we arrived, and a little cold and dreary.
A before and after at the zoo, separated by four years. In a couple more years they won't fit at all. That amazes me.

One of the things I always find interesting about going out with all of my little guys is what THEY like. For instance, Miles and Julia always want to do one of these photo ops whenever they see one. They both think they are funny and will run right over to it without being asked to.

Charlie was very interested in the giraffes, but at the end of the day when I asked him what he liked best he said TIGER very loudly. So maybe it was the tiger.

For me one of the most interesting things was the gorilla exhibit and they've got really nice big habitats for them, it's pretty impressive. It might be because we've got a major primate research center near us. They definitely don't seem to have as much room as I think they should have for the elephants.
"Draw me like one of your French girls," Louis said upon walking into the glass observation area of the exhibit. This gorilla is actually shielding her baby from our eyes. We sat and watched them all of quite a while, it was a thriving family unit here closest to us. They all sign (omg you know how that freaks me out) and the mothers snuggled their babies close. If you can say they don't love their children you aren't watching them. They fiercely love their children. They are pretty amazing creatures.
The tiger Charlie was so fond of was walking around ROARING like a nut. It actually sounded like he had a hairball and was mad about it. We couldn't tell exactly what was his complaint. It really did seem like something was wrong but it was hard to tell what he needed, other than to possibly eat us.
Some animals were just too boring to be entertaining for too long. I guess all zoo exhibits are not created equal for five year olds.
Lions on the other hand, are awesome and so of course those garner our full attention. LIONS!
We made a short lunch stop and enjoyed the cool breeze and warm day. It had stopped raining shortly after we got there so we got really lucky - because pretty much all of Alabama was covered in rain which means it was coming our way.
I am never NOT impressed by the fact that we have pandas, and that seeing them is routine around here. THEY ARE PANDAS PEOPLE OMG BEHOLD PANDAS. They're adorable and beautiful and amazing, and of course super dangerous and will rip off your face and eat it.
Our original plan when we arrived was to bust a move straight to the reptile house (MY LEAST FAVORITE PLACE) but it's indoors and we decided it would be a good place to wait out the rain. However the rain downgraded to mist and then stopped. We eventually got there, and discovered they have built a whole NEW reptile house since we were last there. The new one was actually quite lovely despite being full of horrible snakes. Cobra? Black mamba? OMG kill them with fire. I hate snakes.

Mom said the story of Louis life could be told in the photos of the carousels he's ridden. Every time we get on a carousel I think of her saying that. She laughed when she said it, and she's right, we rarely pass up a carousel. He's 13 and I am pretty sure we're very close to that age where he's too cool to ride.

I, however, will never be.

My life needs more carousels, and tigers, and lions, and great apes.

I need more everything.

I had some point I was going to write about when I started this post but then I spent two mornings trying to make my internet do what I wanted and now I've lost the thread. So, behold, we went to the zoo. And there was great rejoicing.

Monday, February 15, 2016

So Much Valentine's So Much Love

So Valentine's Day has come and gone and we celebrated in our way, with a family day and lots of treats. The girl had her first ever Valentine's Party at school and was pretty much the most excited girl EVER to bring home her box of love notes to show us. Apparently it was a pretty amazing party.

I told my husband to choose the breakfast for our special day. I had originally thought PANCAKES but he really wanted some of my really eggy french toast. Alton Brown says I'm making it wrong but he and I are just gonna have to disagree on this one.

I would've made him anything he wanted, though. On the 13th you see, his mother died.

He's handling it better than I did but we are different people. It doesn't lessen the loss, regardless of how he handles it. But on Valentine's day I would've made him a souffle (well I would've tried)  or any other damn thing he wanted. What he mostly wanted was to sleep for a lot of the day, and I can support that wholeheartedly. I endeavored to make the day fun and keep the kids busy so that it was a day they would remember positively.

In the middle of making our french toast, Julia took one bite of a banana and declared herself full. It was really a perfect banana, and I didn't feel like eating at all and I hated to waste it. Internet to the rescue - I found a recipe for "ONE banana" banana bread and Miles set to work mixing while I finished the french toast.
I don't even like banana bread, but my husband does so I thought maybe this would be something full of love to eat today. Miles did a spectacular job mixing.

Pretty much after I got breakfast done I had to start working on lunch as I wasn't sure about it and it was an experiment. I saw these "pizza roses" all over the internet yesterday and I wanted to make them for fun for Valentine's day. So we cleaned up breakfast (I CLEANED UP) and got to work.

This was another activity for the kids and I to do together, the little people helped with putting on the pepperoni and smearing the sauce. Charlie mostly ate the pepperoni. If I said "hey don't eat the pepperoni we need it" he would reply "OH NO!"
Not really romantic date food but it was super fun kid lunch food. Julia said "We always make fun stuff together. I wonder if everyone does this?" That made me pretty happy.
We ended our night in our family tradition of cards, candy and presents. The girl got a new pony to love and pretty much was the most excited girl on the block.
My hubby got me a beautiful cameo and an IOU for the new waterproof fitbit when it comes out.
It's a weird thing to realize that you're the adults now. Even having a family, when you have that patriarchal/matriarchal presence, somehow you have that someone to defer to. You have someone to ask, someone to lean on. For both my husband and me, now, we are the someone.  We are unquestionably the adults in our own lives and families not just in our own house.

We spent our first Valentine's day as orphans together, surrounded by the family we made, and showered our children with love. We made silly treats, snuggled all six of us in a queen bed in the afternoon while my husband played music on his phone.

Onward, into the rest of our lives. I hope every day is as good as yesterday. It was pretty good.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Valentine's Party

When I was about 8 years old my parents lost all their money. That was the way I understood it. I know it was more complicated than that now. There as matter of my grandmother not being willing to help them out with remodeling bills on our old house that my grandfather (now dead) had said not to worry about. There were too many bills and not enough money. Because of that we had to sell our pretty little house that so much work had gone into and move into what was forever known as THE GREY HOUSE.
The grey house had wooden floors and big double doors into most rooms. It had two fireplaces with beautiful mantles and tilework. It also had no insulation. We learned that the first winter. It was a house we rented from my grandmother. The train ran through our backyard (literally, seen above) and if you wonder why my brother loves the railroad just remember that the rumbling of a freight train was the womb music he grew to. The window panes shook, dishes would shake off the counter and break, when the train went by.

Still, it was a great adventure moving to a new house. I got a new room, and it was even bigger than my old room. I changed schools and I was so excited because I got to go to school with some of the girls I had gone to preschool with. There was a set of twins, Amy and Laurie, I was especially excited about being in school with again. I always thought that they were so pretty and I was entranced by the idea of twins. They were identical twins, and I guess when you are 8 that makes it even more exciting.

It was only after a few months of living there that I realized that things were different for me at this school. There had been a sleepover party, I learned one Monday. I don't even really remember being upset or thinking I should have been invited. But I remember when the girls realized I was listening. Amy said "I'm sorry we didn't invite you. Our Mom says you are poor now and you probably couldn't afford to buy us presents."

The other kids didn't laugh to their credit. In fact they just sort of stared and the subject was changed. I went home and cried and asked my mom if we were poor now. I didn't understand what had changed? We just moved to a new house. Why did that make us poor? I told her what Amy had said, and that Amy and Laurie had a birthday slumber party and they didn't invite me because I was poor. She held me while I cried and then she told me I should go play or listen to records.

Eventually I smelled something like vanilla baking. I went into the kitchen and my mom was cutting a round cake and making a heart. It was kind of like this.
She asked me if I thought it looked like a heart and of course I did so she told me to make some icing and we'd have some cake. While I frosted it she said "I think we should have a Valentine's day party. What do you think?"  

I thought this was the craziest idea I had ever heard, no one ever had a Valentine's party at their house. But mom started looking up different kinds of punch we could make, and talking about treats she could make and before long we were making a party list. She said I could invite as many girls over for this party as I wanted.

She made games, she bought prizes. She set up the stereo so we could play records and decorated my dining room in swaths of pink ribbon and hearts hanging from the ceiling. It looked a little bit like a high school prom, in fact. When the girls came over there were fancy cups from my grandmas for punch, there was heart cake and it was this amazing event that was unlike any party I ever had before or after. I remember there was so much laughter, and everyone was so excited at winning the prizes mom had gotten for the games. She even made little gift bags for party favors to take home.

I had invited every girl in my class, including Amy and Laurie. It never occurred to me until I was driving home today, remembering this amazing party, that my mom threw that party so that the other kids wouldn't think I was poor. She never said anything about it, except that she thought we should have a Valentine's party. At the time I thought it was because she'd figured out how to make a heart cake.

Such is the mind of an 8 year old. 

We didn't have a lot of money. 

But I was never, EVER poor. Not in the way that mattered, anyway.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Oh Good Now We Can Rock

So after my ill considered yoga experiment I've been so sore I can barely lift my arms. I'm blaming yoga however I just realized I also did circuit workout that same day so it's probably a terrible combo of the two. I spent my day not being to lift my arms up to do things like, hang up my coat at work because that hook was just UP SO FAR.
But I came home and decided to do some light working out on the total gym and just stretched a lot. I like to put on Pandora on SHUFFLE because nothing is better than Beethoven followed by Savage Garden followed by Johnny Cash followed by Barry Manilow followed by Opera Trance followed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

While doing squats and just closing my eyes and relaxing I realized that flailing around me is a whirling five year old, singing along suddenly to Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree in a super excited way. She was dancing and informs me that dancing is a great way to get healthy.

My shoulder is popping and I pull myself up a few times gently, feeling my stupid flabby arms burn and I wonder how the hell I ever got this unhealthy. I can remember being strong, being able to run, riding my bike everywhere.

Can I get a do-over?

No, I can't.

I'm slightly less sore but more achy now after around a total of 30 minutes of working out and stretching and I'm trying to decide if I have a hernia or what in my abdomen. I guess I have to get it checked out.

I lay on the total gym, feeling like I'm not ever going to enjoy this shit but at least I do it, when suddenly U2 comes on (Pride - In the Name of Love) and Julia starts bouncing madly..."OH GOOD! Now we can ROCK!" she declares.

I'm wrong. I do enjoy this. Just not the THIS I was thinking of.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Multitasking and Multipe Tasks - Like A Mom

I have decided I want to try yoga.I don't really know why but I want to. However I'm also pretty paranoid about going someplace and doing something like yoga in front of tons of other people.

I don't even have the clothes for this adventure. I've got ONE pair of shorts that fit and no way I'm wearing those in front of people.So I decided to dip my foot into this pond solo, like with all my other work out stuff, and see what's up. Starbucks suggested YouFit yoga app so I downloaded it because HEY FREE. Yesterday I decided to try it out.

However I also had lots of other things to do. This may be why yoga and I aren't meant to be because who has time to just give away doing ONE thing? I suspect that's an ideal situation for that but even working out at my house I've got 1 to 4 kids in the room talking to me if not my husband also.

I ran Julia's bath and slathered on some depilatory and decided to check out the app.
I sat on my bedroom floor, with my upper lip burning listening to a very nice lady explain the app set up. It really made a lot of sense. TRY each of the poses and then tap the screen and mark them too easy, just right, or too hard. As I gave them a try and tried to ignore the follicle mitosis killing field below my nose, I got kind of sad that oh 75% went into the TOO HARD category. (Or is it meiosis? I forget which is which.) I do want to mention I'm SUPER GOOD at this thing called Corpse pose. Second would be the sitting thing. I can sit. But it sort of hurts.

But I did it. My back hurt like a mofo and my hips were screaming and really most of my body was saying hey that's stupid let's don't do that. My body, however, is a poor steward for what it needs. It tells me I need chocolate shakes on the daily.

After her bath I decided that since Sunday is the Superbowl it means we're going to feast like we're Tudors and I've just gotten all the damn Vegas weight BACK off so there was nothing for it but to hit the total gym. My body was too shaking and achy for aerobics but laying on a slab I could do.
My arms disagreed heartily about this whole working out business and this morning they're reminding me of their rancor. Too bad arms. You're flabby and gross.

Post bath and post workout the girl decided to remind me we were going to paint our nails for the Superbowl. We're legally required to root for Manning around here if we can't root for the Colts or Falcons so Orange it was.
I love painting her tiny toes. She says that proper ladies always paint their toes. This makes me smile because my own mother used to tell me that a lady always has her nails done. I'm trying Mom, I'm trying.

I didn't have any orange so we had to use her polish.
No regrets.

I also am playing this stupid game on my phone and it's a collecting game but I don't know what the hell I'm doing is this good is this bad? I don't know I'm just playing it because other people are playing it and that makes me feel like a lemming but.....kitties!

I cannot tell if I am doing well or poorly.

The end of our day came later than usual and my tiny blonde companion brought a pillow and a blanket onto my lap for family time. Then promptly this happened.
In the silence of Sunday morning I've fed those cats on my phone and am considering which workouts to do today, I would like to try to fit in two to combat that which I am about to consume.

Who knows what I will get done. Maybe none of it.

That's Mom life. I wouldn't trade it for the world, though.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The One Where I Have Shingles

It started at about 5:52 am. That's the moment I blinked open, more awake than I should be and thought "Damn, what is that?" A burning, hurting feeling on my back. It felt like I was being bitten/ had been bitten.
It felt bad.
I got out of bed and felt it, a line of bumps above my right kidney. What the hell would make bites like that?

I made it downstairs to find the husband had my coffee ready (he can be awesome like that) and asked him to look. His first response was that it was bites, except upon further inspection it seemed that there weren't any BITE MARKS. No holes, no punctures. Just these raised red blistery rash things, in a line on my back.

We put some hydro-cortisone on it and our day went on. I got to thinking, though, why doesn't it itch? Bites ITCH. Then I got to wondering "What does SHINGLES FEEL LIKE?"

After a doctor visit this afternoon I learned that this is what the very early onset of shingles can be like for some people. Everyone's can be different. Some is agony. Some isn't so bad. I'm glad for the not so bad version. At least on day one I can say that with confidence. It's not so bad. I know people who have described this as unbelievable pain. The horror stories are not making me excited.

Apparently a weakened immune system (thanks pneumonia) coupled with a lot of stress (ahem, work) is the devil's playground for shingles. I had chicken pox when I was seven. I just stirred up the recipe for this disease. Who knew?

But right now the spot hasn't spread and it just sort of aches. I've got an anti-viral on deck which is supposed to suppress my symptoms (but won't cure me - the body cures itself) and a new round of prednisone is happening.

I'm sorry in advance to everyone whose head I rip off in the coming week. I'm very sorry. This drug and I, we're at odds with one another and sadly it's one I need more than I like. It makes me sleep deprived and over emotional. It makes me tense and angry. It makes me question everything and everyone and fight with the people who love me the most (sorry Hunny).

So hold on, we've just boarded the crazy train.

And as for shingles, well damn. I thought this was an old person thing.

Don't google pictures of shingles. This stuff is scary as hell.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

About Those Life Goals

So my visit with my grief counselor was so good today that it inspired me again to sit back down at the computer and talk at the space that exists here.

She asked me this question, "What made your mom a great mom?" I talked for a half an hour solid. I said a lot of things. I said she was a feminist in a 50s housewife's clothing. I said she taught us to think - in fact she often said it was the most important thing she EVER taught us. I talked about how she'd say "When I'm dead..." and follow it up with a thing I should do, or should have, or should remember. I talked and talked and talked. I admitted to not remembering what half of that stuff was.

The most important thing, however, the thing that was the most important thing to ME was that she believed in me. More than that, she believed we ALL could do ANYTHING. She was of the Frank Zappa school that children don't need rules about which toys are age appropriate. She believed we could be what we wanted, we were smart enough and she knew whatever it was we could do it. She TOLD us we could do it. She didn't order us to, however. But she always believed in us. She never thought we couldn't do something.

That's the part of me that's suddenly on fire. I believe I can do it. Whatever it is. For instance, I can climb up this...

So that Michele and I could do THIS...

This was actually a dual bucket list and weight loss goal for me. I've always wanted to do a zipline but I used to be too heavy for it. It was incredibly liberating to just step on the scale, knowing I totally met the criteria. It was scary up there at the top. It was scary as we stepped down one, two three steps and swung into midair. But I knew I could do it. I knew I could because my Mom knew I could.

My dad used to say "My children are fearless." He would say it with the chest beating pride of a warrior. I don't know that we're fearless. I think that in the past year we've learned what fear is, in a really terrible way. But maybe what we really are is strong.

And in addition to believing in ourselves, somehow I've realized we believe in each other.

Mom gave us this gift. This ability to think. This ability to believe. This knowledge of how important we are to one another. The ability to believe we can do it. Whatever it is.

It was a great visit. I'm going to keep going until I don't need to. I don't know if that day will ever come. One of the best things of the visit was at the end, when she asked if I was going to come back and I said yes, and she said "I'm so glad, I don't get to hear wonderful family stories that often and you have some great ones. I love hearing about your family."

And I apparently love talking about them.

The Things Left Undone

I have a grief counseling appointment today. I am pretty excited to be going as the last visit was pretty great. I've had a while since my last visit and my brain has been chewing on this experience some or all of every day.
The whole regretting the things you didn't do or say thing is probably the worst, at least in my opinion. At least in my opinion at this moment, any way. What is the worst part of it varies by the hour which is also the worst.
It doesn't consume me, it doesn't rule my every motion and word but I can't tell you that it hasn't changed me in ways that are immense - because it has. I realize now that I've lost my patience with some things, and I've become more determined about other things. Most of those things are selfish but they're also "taking care of me and mine" sorts of things and I'm not going to be sorry about them.

I thought I would talk a little bit about the things I regret. Some of them may seem stupid but I can't help it, I regret them anyway.

  • I regret that I never got to take my mom to the two places she always wanted to see. She wanted to see Hawaii and New York City. I always thought that she and I would take a vacation together and maybe April would come, even just a few days, and see those places. I wanted to take her to Tiffany and eat a pastry while we window shopped, having Breakfast at Tiffany's - one of her favorite movies.
  • I regret that I was never able to buy my dad a 57 Chevy. I know, that's a big one. But you see when I was a few weeks old my dad sold his cherry 57 Chevy that was a thing he LOVED so much. He sold it to be able to go to Sears and pay cash for a brand new KENMORE washer and dryer so my mom didn't have to lug a baby to the laundry mat. He was a full time student and drove a taxi cab all night. He LOVED that car. I was a colicky baby and they would both tell fond stories of how sometimes the only way they could get me to sleep was to take me for a ride in that car with its loud engine. He never told the story with regret of selling the car. He told it with pride, he didn't regret selling his beautiful car because he'd taken care of his family. I always wanted to give him one, and I never could. 
  • I regret that I didn't recognize my dads mental illness years ago. It would have impacted how I handled him when he was being crazy and hateful. I wouldn't have lost years of spending time with my parents, I would've just HANDLED him. It's easy to say now that he's dead. I think it would've been harder at that time, with a crazy person screaming "you're dead to me" at me - but somehow my ego thinks I would've handled it. Maybe we could've forcibly gotten him medicated I don't know. But we didn't know, and I lost five years.
  • I regret not going home more.
  • I regret that my last trip home I didn't just crawl into my mom's bed with her. But she hurt SO much, she was so fragile, I was afraid to hurt her worse. Every touch caused her pain. I didn't face the reality that I would never see her face again, I would never, ever get to hug her again. I wish I had done it. I told her I'd be back soon. "I'll be back soon, I love you." That was the last thing I said to her in person. I was back in a matter of days, for her funeral. I think she knew. 
  • I regret every day I didn't call her and him. I regret every email I didn't pay enough attention to.
  • I regret not appreciating all of the clothes she made me and that I wanted store bought clothes instead. I wish I had them all.
  • I regret not wanting to learn how to sew, or knit, or crochet, or do tatting, or any of the other millions of amazing things she could do with her hands. 
That's the short list. 

As a consequence I'm not going to regret anything I don't have to, going forward. I know they'll always be things undone, unsaid. But it won't be because I didn't try. I feel like many of the items above are simply because I didn't try,I didn't FIGHT.I didn't respect that the universe is on it's own clock and not mine. 

But the universe and I, we have an understanding now. I am now fully integrated into the concept of how fleeting everything is, how impermanence is a thing, and how this carbon based life form has to grasp every minute of her days. I'm going to. I want things. I don't want things. I'm gonna do things. I'm gonna spend time with people. 

I'm glad I'm going to the grief counselor today. I'm gonna keep going. I need it, and everyone in my life needs me to have this help. 

It's going to be a great day. Make it so.