A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Semi Trucks and Hot Wax

I'm busy having a midlife crisis or so I hear, and in the spirit of that I'm embracing new things and trying to expand my boundaries.
I did something quite new on Monday. I was leaving work to go meet my family to buy shoes for the kids since they were off for President's day, and got hit by a semi.
That was new.

I haven't ever been in accident as an adult, nor as a driver. I was in the car once when my mom was hit head on by a dude who crossed the center lane. It was before cell phones and I don't even remember it that well. It was pouring rain, and it all took a long time. Those things I recall.

This dude was stopped and then decided to back up and when it was all said and done the front of my van was slammed into his tires. Luckily I had actually stopped, thinking he'd see me and stop also. I had nowhere to go and watching that big old rig keep backing up was one of the least pleasant experiences of my week. I could have bailed out, had he continued to back up and smoosh my car. But luckily he felt or heard the impact and stopped.

So that's a thing I can say I have done. I have been hit by a semi. I think most people are not quite so fortunate as I. I've got this strained IT band thing, causing me some hip pain and soreness. I'm probably going to talk to my doctor about it again because it's not much better but all in all I know full well it could have been MUCH worse.

The other thing I did was add to my personal grooming routine. While it's pretty well established that I'm an eyebrow threading addict, and I love a good mani/pedi like all other surburban dweller females, now I've adding a new level of WAXING to my life.

I went and got the Brazilian wax.

I went to Brazilian Wax by Andrea which is a local chain and is RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP. It's supposed to be one of the best places around for this sort of shenanigans and I figured I am almost 50 let's live a little. I've done funky colors thanks to Betty Beauty. I've done shaving. I've done 70s porn bush. I've rocked the gauntlet with the except of adding a merkin. I thought it was time to spread my wings, so to speak.

So first of all, this isn't for the modest. I've had four kids so I'm all out of modesty. A small waif of a human, possibly an elf, with a shocking red color of hair came in and began chatting me up and she slathered lava on my crotch.

Oddly, it wasn't that bad, sort of like wow that's hot but then it got better.

We chatted about Betty Beauty (above linked) and various waxing things and the EpiLady of old and somewhere in all this chatter she began THE REMOVAL.

Honestly, it just wasn't that bad.

If you've ever had your eyebrows waxed okay yes, it feels exactly like that. It feels like that OVER a greater area of skin at one time but it's just exactly like that. It wasn't some sort of fresh hell of agony invented by the Great Satan to torture us ladies for Eve's sins. No it just was just, "Oh Damn" and then it was over. Now repeat that few times.

There's a bit of an indignity as you're making small talk with someone who's busily grooming your crotch but let's face it, you wouldn't be waxing off your pubes if you were hugely concerned about your dignity now would you?

There is nothing dignified about spreading your ass cheeks while laying face down so she can clean up your "rear area". If dignity is high on your list, leave this off.

I had to take a week off from working out after the accident, so I've spent it eating candy and losing my dignity at the hands of an elf human hybrid.

But hey, now I can say that's another thing I've done. I'm going back for legs and armpits - and will I keep the Brazilian?

Wouldn't you like to know?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Currency of Love

Today during a mandated sweep and clean operation of Julia's room a discovery was made by her brother.
These are Julia dollars and apparently they're worth ten thousand regular dollars. You can also exchange them for love, which she says is endless. I had never seen them or heard about them until today, when they were unearthed in the much needed cleaning of her room.

I've been thinking a lot of thoughts lately, about love and feelings and since it's almost valentine's day maybe I've been inspired by candy hearts and decorative fat babies with arrows.

Different kinds of love have different prices out there in life. There's the kind of love you have for those first loves, those mistake loves that are how you learn what love is and isn't. You lose part of yourself in them, and you change based on what you learn. Sometimes there are loves that could've been the RIGHT one but the timing was wrong, and the price of the regret can be unending. You'll always wonder just a little bit "what if?"

The love for your children is different. My own experience was that the moment I became pregnant I began to change, and the fierceness with which I love my children is not quantifiable by man. A friend once said "I'd not only take a bullet for my children, I'd take a slow saw to the neck." That about sums it up to me. There is nothing I wouldn't do for them. I get annoyed when I have to get out of bed and parent in the night, don't be fooled. I don't leap out of like a fairy and flit about full of joy and happiness. But when there is coughing, or retching, or other sounds that aren't sleeping my eyes pop open and I listen. I get up.

Sometimes I open my eyes in the middle of the night and listen intently to them sleeping. In the room next to mine, just a few feet from my head, three boys slumber. I can hear the one who snores, and the one who rolls around and flops in his sleep, and the one who giggles in his sleep. I listen intently for the sounds that are the three of them. The girl is further down the hall and I'll have to creep down the hall and peek for a good inspection.

Then I go pee because I'm up and gravity is a thing and I had four kids so give me a break.

The love of my children has become a currency I'm paying in another way. I started working out because I was over 300 pounds and had a heart incident. It started out as vanity, I was ashamed of how I looked. I was ashamed that arthritis in my knee was keeping me from using stairs at work. I was ashamed that I tried to do aerobics and collapsed on the floor crying after 7 minutes.

I vowed I wasn't going to shop in fat girl stores any more. I was going to be SKINNY. No one was EVER going to yell rude things at me (they still do btw) and I was going to make sure no one could EVER refer to me as fat again with any sort of basis in reality.

Then eventually, despite that voice in my head saying all the stuff above, it became about being more healthy. My heart condition is a real thing. I actually have a couple of different things happening heart-wise, one because of the other, and they have names and sound super scary and everything. They are the sort of things that aren't really that big of a deal if you are healthy and stuff. They are the sort of things that people ignore and then one day they have heart failure and everyone goes "Wow dead at 50 who knew X could kill you?"

X can kill you. X will always kill you.

But the reality hit me in 2015 when both of my parents up and died. The first thing was that they'd both died of X, those things that might've been handled so differently if dealt with earlier. The second thing though was the reality that suddenly my brothers and I were orphans. At 46, 36 and 26 we now were on our own. Yes we're all grown but it was a sobering moment because you never really think you'll be orphaned yet there we were.

My own children are some day going to be orphans.  I have two children who will never, ever be able to do for themselves. The other two, if I died today, would be very sad but would also be FINE. They're smart, they're capable. The Jesuits say give us the child for the first seven years and we'll give you the man well, she'll be 7 this year and he's 14 and frankly - while I don't WANT TO DIE now, I'm not afraid of what will happen to them. I know solidly in my heart they will be fine.

But my twins....will not.

They need me and/or their father alive as long as possible to care for them. Maybe some day to over see where they go live when we can no longer care for them. So I go to the gym. I try to watch what I eat (some days more than others let me tell you). I am running. I'm terrible at it, but I also hate being terrible at things so I keep going. So when I'm sweating and I'm hurting, I'm paying part of the currency of love. I'm paying the price of loving them so much, and I don't regret it.

I regret eating whatever I wanted for 20 years, but not for loving them this much. I lift weights on Tuesday and Thursdays and push myself to run up that hill even though my legs are about to brick. I push and push and push. I have to lose more weight, not tons, but more to ease the strain on my heart from all this extra fat. I need to build strong bones and keep them as I age so that I'm not made weak too soon by the toll of years.

I'm putting it off, this aging thing. My vanity likes the smaller sizes but my heart likes it when it gets to NOT take blood pressure medicine and when the ridiculously expensive tests don't find anything bad beyond what's known.

I could say I want to stay alive just because I'm selfish and I want all of my days. But actually I want my days so that I'm here not just for me, but for them. That's the price of loving them. It's part fear, it's part just plain love. But it's real, and it's a currency I will gladly pay until the day I die.


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Breathing Is The Hardest Thing To Do

The subject of resentment has come up quite a bit lately with friends as we talk about the world of having disabled children. My friend Christine talked to me about how another blogger she was reading seemed so ANGRY, so upset with her child and that it made it hard to read her. I think that's an easy trap to fall into. I also think that maybe the blogger is writing out her frustrations and sorrow so maybe that's how she keeps from spilling it out onto her child.
We've all read those stories, parent of special needs child commits murder, or murder/suicide, because they can't deal with it ONE MORE MOMENT. Sometimes it's not that simple.
I sat once years ago in a training session with about 40 other special needs parents where we were supposed to learn about waivers and other government help we could get for our children, or at least learn what help there was. A woman sitting a few seats away from me was asking questions about her son who was quadriplegic with many other health issues. I watched her go from hope to exasperation, to hopeless as  the sea of forms and nebulous certainty of what the future held became clearer. She literally said the words, "No one will take my child when I die, no one will help me. At this point I guess when I think I'm close to dying I guess I'll have to kill us both."

Then she started crying.

I understood more about the future in those moments than I had ever conceived possible. What I realized was that you have to sometimes accept the lesser version of your dreams - sometimes it's requisite to your own sanity.

I'd be lying if sometimes I don't break down into tears at story time in the evenings, because I have 12 year olds who still delight at me reading Sandra Boynton books in silly voices. I break down because I wonder who will read these books to them when they are old men with grey hair and I'm long dead. Will they miss these books? Will they be someplace where they are loved? What is going to happen to my children?

The flip side of that is that I accept that I can't completely control what happens. I can make plans, I can try to make arrangements and sort things to the best of my ability. I can't let my soul be destroyed if they don't work out exactly as I want them to. There are a lot of moving pieces in this life, and they don't get nailed down very well when you're a special needs mom.

I get frustrated. I get annoyed when Miles is being a shit head because sometimes he is LEGITIMATELY being a shit head. I get annoyed when either of them is having an autism melt down. But I can't let that feeling of "everything is bad" that might exist in moments or even hours consume me. SOMETIMES they do. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I text my best friend the details of the poop horror show that can be my life.

And then I get on with life.

I make a decision every day, as corny and pinteresty (that's totally a word now) as that might sound. I'm going to be happy. I'm going to pursue things that make me healthy, improve my life, and I'm going to try to be a better person and mom. I'm going to FAIL A LOT. But I'm also going to not fail on some things and that's good to.

That doesn't mean that what I'm writing here is a sugar coated more delicious version of the pain and anguish it is to have two children that aren't what you dreamed of. It just means that I've sorted out how to deal with it, and how I'm not going to let it ruin the one pass I get through this life. This works for me. It might not work for you.

As for me, I look back on photos like this and think man - if I survived that, I can do anything.
You just have to remember to breathe. Sometimes that's the hard bit.