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Category Archives: Life experiences

Traumatized Mama

Today we had the emergency consult with the oral surgeon for my daughter.  In  my last post I detailed that her canine teeth are coming in where her permanent front teeth are, putting those teeth at risk.  The DR reiterated what I had expected the procedure would be (I googled the issue last night and felt better after reading what the recommended path would be to correct…it matched what everyone had told me thus far.)  He did recommend taking out two baby teeth, however, in order to start the path for making space.  We discussed it, and my daughter decided she didn’t want to wait and wanted to have the extractions done today.

I was floored.

“You want the dr to remove the teeth today?”  I asked, just to confirm.  “Yes, let’s get it done today.” she responded.  I asked again, and got the same response.  “Mama, will you still with me though? and hold my hand?”.  “Of course” I responded.  “I wouldn’t have it any other way”.

That, y’all, was a teensy white lie.  Of COURSE I wanted to comfort her, be there, and hold her hand.  That’s what mamas do.  What I didn’t want to do, however, was see the procedure of pulling out teeth.  First, it makes me queasy, and secondly, I remembered all too well having to have the same procedure done as a child.

It wasn’t until I stood there, holding and stroking her hand, softly talking to her, and quickly glancing at what the did, that I realized how badly I was traumatized by the same procedure as a kid.  I had 12 teeth pulled in total, a combination of baby, permanent and wisdom teeth, done over several appointments over many years.  My mouth, while loud and opinionated, is physically very small, and it caused a great amount of crowding as my teeth grew in.  I had gapped, buck teeth as my front teeth came in, and the rest just crowded in.  I had teeth pulled, a headgear to space them out and move them, and then braces.  The headgear made me look like an utter dork, and I hated it with the power of a million suns.  The braces were a pain, and I slacked on wearing my retainer.  The result? Years of orthodontics to end up with a snaggle tooth and still a few crowded teeth.  The teeth pulling though…that was the worst.

Our dentist was Dr White.  He was ok, I suppose.  A good dentist, but not a children’s dentist per say.  He was a family dentist, but not a dentist geared especially for children like my kids go to.  I remember the gas, and not much liking the feeling.  At first I was happy and giggly, but I keenly remember being afraid.  I think I bit him out of fear, and he yelled.  I remember the teeth hurting.  Today, I felt a feeling of the same fear wash over me, even though it wasn’t me having the teeth pulled.  I realized the whole teeth pulling trauma had been more of a trauma for me as a child than I had remembered.  I turned my head, still talking softly to my daughter and comforting her.  One of the teeth broke when the dr went to remove it, so he had to try going in and digging out the fragments.  The other tooth had a HUGE root on it, far bigger than I had seen on any baby tooth.  I had to look away during the fragment scavenger hunt, because I started to get really queasy.  Oh, the things we do for our kids.

On the way home, I sat in the back seat with her.  She had what looked like little gauze teeth sticking out, but they got bloody fast, so I had to change them.  She looked a bit worse for wear, but soon picked up as the laughing gas left her system.  By the time we got home, she looked herself and asked for a snack.  The numbness bothered her the most.

So now we go down the rabbit hole of getting her teeth fixed so that we can save her front teeth and get her canines in the right spots.  It’ll be a process, and I foresee some of it (the gum surgery) being unpleasant.  I’m stressed on a mom level.  Nobody wants to see their child hurting.  That being said, she is strong, brave, and I think she’ll take it all in stride.  I may be a bit more fragile in the process than she is.  I held strong today for her.  That being said, I felt terribly sorry for the little girl who was so frightened and traumatized all those years ago.  I had no idea how much it impacted me until I was in the moment today and it all flooded back.

 

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Glass Box of Emotion

I’ve been an emotional wreck all day.  Luckily, everyone else left the house so I was able to do it without having to put on any sort of brave face. Sometimes a good cry cleanses the soul, although it usually leaves me puffy, splotchy, and red faced.  The source of the tears? Well, I’ve been sick for 2 weeks, so I think I’m run down to begin with.  I’m exhausted, my ears feel full of fluid every day, and I just feel generally like a pile of crap.  I’ve been getting a bit better since the doctor put me on antibiotics, which has helped.  I was just starting to feel a bit brighter, when we got some difficult news.

I had taken my kids to the dentist a couple of months ago.  They mentioned offhand I may want to take my daughter to see an orthodontist, as one of her teeth appeared to be damaging the root of another.  I left under the impression that the tooth in question that was going to be pushed out was a baby tooth, and none of us were concerned.  The orthodontist called me last week and mentioned the dentist had asked them to follow up to get us in for an appointment.  I decided we might as well have her looked at, and headed in this morning.  Everyone there is super nice, and I felt instantly at ease…..

…..Until they showed me the x-rays.

The X rays they took showed a much more dire situation.  My daughter’s canine teeth, which have not come in yet, are coming in not where they are supposed to.  AT.ALL.  Instead, they are coming in from above her from 4 teeth, at an odd angle.  By all accounts, her canine teeth are about to push out all of her front 4 permanent teeth.  As soon as I saw the X Ray, I knew we were going to have a situation on our hands that was going to be pretty significant.  The Dr came in, and explained the severity of the problem, and that they wanted us to see an oral surgeon, who would go in and expose the teeth, connect something to them, and then orthodontic hardware would be used to “pull” the teeth to the correct spot, as well as expand the space in her mouth to make room.  The whole thing sounded uncomfortable, and I was glad my daughter couldn’t see the fear in my face.

Then the Dr said something that DID get me visibly upset.  “your insurance takes about a minimum of 12 weeks to get approved.  We recommend starting well before that due to the severity of the issue.”  In other words, I’m going to have to come up with a couple of thousand dollars I don’t have, and have no idea how to get. Of course, I will figure it out, because that’s what needs to be done.

I hate the fact that when it comes to health and well being, money dictates so much of the care a patient gets.  I am sure there are families who aren’t able to raise money like that, so should their child loose their permanent teeth?  It’s heartbreaking. I chatted with my father about the situation, reminiscing about when I had to have braces, and the changes in the methods they use now.  When I mentioned the insurance not kicking in for months, he said “well, we will just have to figure it out, won’t we?” That’s the attitude I’m trying to have.  Keeping it positive and knowing that somehow, it’ll get figured out, even if it means hustling a bit.

It is hard, though, because my daughter is always the one with the medical issues.  She has a congenital eye issue, Strabismus, with alternating amblyopia, which she had surgery for, but needs further treatment as the eye has dropped back in when she gets tired. She had to have her tonsils and adenoids removed.  She suffers from massive nosebleeds. While her brother sails through school, she struggles more.  She just always seems to have a tougher time of things getting through life.  That being said, she’s a tough cookie.  She’s brave, smart, sociable, loving, and I call her “my warrior girl” because she gets through the challenges she’s faced. One one hand, I’m sad this is yet another surgery and issue she has to face.  On the other, I’m a tiny bit grateful that out of the two kids, it’s her, because I know she will handle it and get through it easier than her brother might.  She’s a tough kiddo, and I know she’ll be ok.  That being said, I’m her mama, and I can’t stop crying that she has yet another challenge to tackle.I would love to see her have an easy time of things for a while.

Hopefully at the end of the day, she’ll have a beautiful smile to match her amazing soul.

 

Everyone Needs Mama Support

rainbow

Last night, however, I stumbled on a tweet that sent me down the rabbit hole and left me saddened and feeling “shook”.  A user @TheBloggess tweeted about her lesbian daughter coming out to her, and that her response was pretty much “ok, but could you hand me the syrup?” Her blog post about it was really well written and discussed the impact of coming out to family and how they handle it. Honestly, I thought her reaction wasn’t bad at all, in the sense that it was so normalizing but I found her thoughts on how it was such a big deal to her daughter, yet not such a big deal in the grand scheme of things so touching.  It was a great post. Another poster, @RoseyTea4Me commented “To any person who didn’t get a good reaction from their mom, there are lots of mamas here, including this one, who can give you words of support and love.  You are enough and wonderful just as you are”.

Tweets from other moms, including myself, began to appear, also wanting to give support and love to any of those folks who had come out and gotten a less than positive reaction from parents or siblings.  After all, our family, especially our parents,  is supposed to be our safe place, but it’s an unfortunate happening that many people who come out get a less than loving reaction.  What I wasn’t fully prepared for, was the depth of how bad it could get.  People belonging to the LGBTQ community began thanking those who offered kind words, support, and just basic Mama Love.  Some of them decided to share their experiences.

One person shared his mom told him she should have aborted him.  One woman shared her mom called her a “greedy slut” when she came out as bi-sexual.  The comments kept coming.  Other people didn’t go into detail but you certainly got the sense their “coming out” had been pretty brutal. A search online will show you the horrible reactions people got from their parents.  Such a defining moment in these peoples’ lives, ruined by the very people who were supposed to love them the most. I went to bed saddened.  I woke up thinking about it.  I’m sitting here still feeling shaken to know that people got that response just for being their true selves, when their true selves weren’t hurting anyone.

Growing up, my childhood wasn’t perfect, but I consider it to be a good one.  At the very least, I never doubted I was loved or supported in who I was.  At the very core of my life, I knew my parents would have my back. Sure, I suffered with self esteem issues.  I suffered stupid mistakes because of that.  But at the end of the day, I knew I could simply be who I was.  I’m always shocked when I see moms who don’t support their children, or who are abusive in any way.  I’m not a perfect mom by any stretch, but at my core, my love for my children is unbreakable. Their happiness is my happiness.

I never looked at those being LGBTQ as a big deal.  I still don’t know why it is.  It’s just people loving each other, and the more love there is, the better.  I remember in high school my friend came out to me.  My response?  “Ok.  I mean, you’re my friend, so whatever makes you happy is find by me”.   When my gay friend got married, I showed the pictures to my kids and we oohed and ahhed over them.  I was careful when i discussed the future with my kids that I left the door open that when they grow up and fall in love, all I want is someone to love them as much as I do.  I believe both of my kids are straight, but if the time comes that it turns out they aren’t, I’m ok with that too.

I saw an article where women attended (I believe) a pride event and offered free “mom hugs” to those who needed them.  The response was wonderful, yet sad, as people came up to get a supportive hug and a positive few words that perhaps they hadn’t gotten from their parents since they came out.

My message, to any of you who got a bad response to you making such a brave decision to come out:

You are enough.  You are the perfect you, and there is no other you.  Be the happiest, truest you that you can be.  If you need a huge, some kind words, there are a sea of us mamas out here who will give you those kind words and a hug if you need one.  You are important, you are amazing in your own right, and you deserve to find the love you need from who you need it from. If your parents didn’t give you the response you needed, that has everything to do with THEM and not you.  Many of them will come around and be your champions again once they have time to process.  If they don’t, you can choose your circle, choose your family, and choose the life you feel you were destined to live. If you need a kind word, find me on twitter @Messy_Housewife. The post I saw last night showed tons of mamas from around the world, all willing to give you some support and kindness. We, as mothers, sometimes need to step in where other mamas have faltered.  Sometimes, we need to be available and open for kids when they are down and help them back up.  To those in the LGBTQ community, we’re here, and you are not alone.

Looking for things to do in England

With all of the stresses going on these days, my trip to England can’t come fast enough.  I desperately need a vacation, and if I’m honest, I need to see my family over there.  It’s a funny dynamic.  Living so far away, and with my mom being gone, I often feel isolated from my family.  I go on Facebook and I see some of my cousins experiencing life with their moms, and I feel a bit envious.  It’s hard not to, especially since my mom and her sister were so alike, and I know I would have a lot of the same experiences as them if she were still alive.  In some ways, I feel isolated, but on the other hand, being around that also makes me feel comforted.  They know a part of me that almost nobody else does. I’m excited to introduce my kids to my family again (they were very young last time) and to show them a country half way across the world.

We have about 7 days to experience as much as possible, while getting as much fun and relaxation as we can too.  I have always been of the mindset that travel is exciting and exhilarating, but it should also have time to relax and enjoy it as well.  For me, it’s about the people, and I know the kids are super excited about seeing my cousins’s kids as well. That being said, England is rich with history, and how often do you get to go visit a real castle in the US?  Not too often.  My husband has always been a lover of old places, old architecture, and interesting spaces.  He loves roaming old graveyards, looking at the stones of people who lived and died about 200 years ago or more. He loves the gothic stone churches, the little villages and the pieces of history.

Unfortunately, with us going near winter, some of the houses/castles I was hoping to take them to are closed.  I had REALLY wanted to make the trek to Highclere castle, where they filmed Downton Abbey but it’s closed to the public while they film the movie.  For now we are looking into Chatsworth, which they decorate for Christmas about the time we are traveling.  I’m still looking into other interesting places in the East Midlands. If you know of any, please let me know.  With the long travel time and the need to get around to visit people, I need to stay somewhat local (can you believe I have never really been to London aside from a flight layover where we got stuck?)  London is on my bucket list, but I don’t think we’ll make it this time.

Some day, I hope to take the kids over for Christmas.

For now, I just want to make their trip as magical as possible.

Bullies and Bears

The other day, I wrote about how my daughter chose to take one of her late grandmother’s collectible bears to school.  Off she went, beaming with happiness.  The kids who arrived home that night was a different kid, however, a kid who sat on my couch and cried.  Apparently, a boy in her class told her the bear was ugly.

Now, I knew it wasn’t about the comment about the bear per say.  It was the fact the comment hit multiple nerves.  It was a dig at her bear, sure, but to her it was also a dig at her late grandmother, a woman she has no memory of but still thinks of lovingly.  It was a dig at her very hard thought about choice of which bear to take.  It was a dig at her pride.  It was personal.

As soon as he said it, she cried.  The teacher said she may want to go to the restroom to clean up, but my daughter went into the hall to have some time alone.  I felt awful for her, and frankly, pretty pissed off at this kid who hurt her.  Afterwards, the teacher pulled them both aside to get some info on what happened, and the kid apologized.  She didn’t seem to think that the apology was sincere, and came home looking pretty defeated.

I sat feeling torn while listening to this.  The mama bear in me wanted to rage.  The honest mom in me, who knows my daughter is going through a stage where she’s not always mindful in her tone wondered if she had ruffled the kid’s feathers and he had retaliated.  Also, I knew I had to find a way to explain that some kids are just little assholes.

I asked her a lot of questions.  We talked about her feelings, and how they were deeper than the bear itself.  I asked about what led up to it, had she said anything, and we discussed mindfulness of how she speaks to others.  We also had a long discussion about how sometimes, when someone is mean to you, it’s not about you at all, but really about what’s going on with THEM.  I finished off by saying that not everyone will like her, and that’s OK.  She is great as she is and shouldn’t change to appease people.  She also won’t like everyone else, and that’s ok too, but she should still attempt to be respectful whenever possible.  It was a good talk.

I was still mad though.  I think she was too.

Then she told me the same kid had called her stupid a week or so ago.  Then I wanted to rage.

But I didn’t.

I paused to think about what to do next, to sleep on it, and make a decision when I felt less ragey.  I’m still deciding.  Do I talk to the teacher and mention it?  Do I hold off and let my daughter handle it?  I’m struggling to allow her to fight her own battles but also to not let her end up in a losing battle feeling alone or unprotected in some way.

This is where I left it.  I told her that if it happens again, to confront the boy, ask what the problem is, and tell him he is acting badly.  This made her nervous she would get into trouble.  I told her she will never get in trouble with me for defending herself and standing up for herself when someone is being nasty to her.  I explained that she has to be her own best advocate, and that I would back her up and support her.  She knows that if she needs me to step in, I will.    I also explained that people may tell her that boys may be mean to her if they like her, but not to fall for that because it is a lie.  I said boys that like you will be kind to you.

Raising kids is hard, I tell ya.

 

Teddy Bears and a Legacy

Harrods

My mother always had a fondness for Teddy bears.  As a child, I remember having a few dolls I played with, some hot wheels cars (my red VW bug was a favorite), a garage with a ramp (I spent hours playing with that) and a few other toys.  When it came to comfort though, teddy bears were my go to.  There was something about them that made me feel safe, happy, and they were the best to cuddle with at night.  I think she got me some of my favorite bears.  When I grew up, she got herself a Harrod’s Christmas bear.  Then she got a couple more over the years.  After she died, I made the decision that the bears would come home with me.

The bears were stored in my daughter’s closet.  Recently, she has taken a bit of an interest in them, especially because they were her Nana’s.  My mom died 4 years before my daughter was born.  She never got to meet my mother, and has only heard stories about her over the years.  I have always tried to share stories of my mother with the kids, as it’s the only way to keep her memory with them.  I usually try to select funny stories, which they love hearing.

My daughter’s school gives reward stickers for good behavior.  Once the kids earn a certain amount of stickers, they get a reward, and my daughter finally met the required amount.  I asked what her reward would be, and she said that she was allowed to take a stuffed animal or doll to school.    I fully expected her to take her lifelike baby doll that she adores.  Frankly, I find the doll a little creepy, but she LOVES that doll.  It looks so much like a real baby, I unfortunately had to tell her she can’t leave the doll in the car for fear someone will think it’s real and smash my windows out.  I was rather shocked when I saw her clearly gearing up to ask me something she was nervous about.

“Mama, can I take one of Nana’s bears? Nobody can touch it but me, and I’d love to be able to take one.  Would she mind?”

I fought really hard not to have my eyes tear up.  I told her of course she could take one to school, as long as she took care of it.

She spent several days mulling over which one to take, before settling on the one from 2000.  It was a special bear, with moveable limbs.  I said we should put it in a plastic bag so she could carry it easily. She looked concerned.  “Nana might not like that….is it a boy bear or a girl bear? What was the bear’s name?  Would she mind if I changed the name or gave it a name?”

I thought for a moment and responded “your Nana loved this bear.  She would be so HONORED that you would choose her bear as your reward. She would be so proud that you are concerned about how to best look after it, and she would be so THRILLED that you would love this bear for her. She would be so incredibly, undeniably proud to be your Nana, and she would love you and your brother more than anything”.

And with that, she and the bear hopped out of the car and headed to school, a big smile across her face.

Letting my Inner Drag Queen Out…What I Learned at a Drag Queen Convention.

Yesterday I made the trip down to NYC to attend DragCon2018 at the Javits Center.  For those of you who are unaware of what DragCon is, it’s a convention for, you guessed it, drag queens!  Now before you look confused, I am a straight, married woman with 2 kids, who lives in the ‘burbs.  That being said, I have had a fascination with drag queens for a long time.  Of course, the beginning of Rupaul’s Drag Race fit right in with my love of queens.  At that time, I didn’t know of any queens by name, but I loved just seeing them on TV, in movies, or passing by if I went into the city.  I started watching the show, and it quickly became a favorite of mine.  Through all the seasons, I have been an avid watcher, and I’m always left a bit in awe.

I know it may seem a bit surprising to some that I am so fascinated by drag queens.  The fact is, I see what they do as an art form.  I love the makeup artistry (a skill I don’t have), the entertainment aspect, and honest? I appreciate how these people can put themselves so OUT there. I also can appreciate the fact that they take people out of their comfort zone, yet can make them feel comfortable at the same time.  Lastly, I find it kind of amazing (and also a little funny) that some of these men in dresses and wigs can look so incredibly beautiful and womanly.

I wasn’t planning to dress up for DragCon, although many people, including women, do.  My sister in laws were also going, and they were dressing up and getting into it.  (They looked absolutely AMAZING, btw).  I didn’t decide until a couple of days before I was actually going due to funds, and then it seemed too late.  My hairdresser (who has done drag)  firmly told me I’d better step up my game and do SOMETHING, even offering to bring me one of his wigs.  He brought in a massive wavy pink wig with dark roots, told me to brush it out and it should be fine.  Unfortunately, he didn’t have time to style it, and I would have felt bad asking.  He said he pictured me in a black leather biker jacket, ripped jeans, and a tank top with black boots to finish it off.  I had or got most of it, and I got a tank top I had made with a funny saying from the show.  I was ready to go, but I felt so….nervous.

I often assume I am “too much” for people sometimes.  I’m sometimes brutally honest, not seeing any point in blowing smoke just to make people happy.  I’m not good at sugarcoating things, although as I’ve gotten older I do try to be more tactful and gentle when laying down a truth sandwich.  I have red hair, I swear too much, I have tattoos and my nose pierced, and I feel that I can be overwhelming at times. I’m ok being too much, or at least I thought I was.

Yesterday the truth hit me like a truck.  What I realized yesterday, is that I am actually much more shy than I first thought.  As I have gotten older, I have turned into pretty much a “basic bitch” who likes her comforts in life.  Ugly Ugg boots, coffee, and jeans? Yes please.  I wear makeup daily, but not a lot. I’m awkward (reinforced on the DAILY, my friends!).  I also realized I have a harder time getting out of my comfort zone than I originally thought.

I got up early, slathered what felt like a ton of makeup on my face (but actually looked like regular outside makeup for many people), yet got slightly derailed when it came to my eyes.  I was fairly pleased with my eye shadow, but it started to go downhill with the liner.  I abandoned my standard pencil in exchange from a liquid black liner from Wet and Wild.  It’s waterproof, which I thought was a favorable choice.  It was fine on the outer edge but pooled a bit in the corner of my eye, then dropping onto my lower lid.  I learned something…..Soap, water, makeup remover cloths…non of them are any match for said Wet and Wild Liner.  I had to take everything off of that eye, and barely got the liner off.  I redid the eyeshadow, was able to correct the liner issue, then I attempted to put on false lashes.  I’ve never been able to get the suckers on easily or without incident.  This time, I managed to glue one eye shut.  While I was frantically trying to get that unglued, I had to then try to get the lashes placed correctly.  The damned lashes felt so heavy, I felt like my eyes were at half mast all day.  I pondered if eyelids have muscles, and could one strengthen them by lifting heavy false lashes on the regular.  I got the wig on, threw on my clothes, and set off for the train.  The wig felt MASSIVE.  While I have long hair, it’s not insanely thick. I kind of loved the baby pinks and mauves in it, although I felt like it made my hair line very reminiscent of Teresa Guidice.  I struggled to get it to sit just right.  It also kept getting stuck on my lipgloss.  I found new found admiration for you ladies with the thick, flowing locks.  In other words, I got the job done ok, but I was a hot mess during the process.  I was tired just from getting ready.

I sat down on the nearly empty train and started responding to texts I’d received.  Before I knew it, the train had gotten increasingly busy, and seats were scarce. The seat next to me remained empty.  A woman walked up, looked down at me, and turned to go look elsewhere.  Then I saw a look of resigned “oh, what the hell” cross her face and she asked to sit.  I’m not sure what it was about me that made her so hesitant.  The pink hair? The leather jacket? The hooker makeup?  She sat down looking uncomfortable, and I immediately felt very self conscious.  I tweeted what was happening, making light of it, but I felt awkward and shy.

When I arrived at the convention, I was in heaven.  Drag queens, average folks, men in leather….all together in one room.  I spent the afternoon roaming the floor, just looking at the artistry and the creativity everyone displayed.  I know I get inherently shy and awkward around celebrities, so I didn’t stand in lines to meet anyone.  I didn’t need to.  For me, the joy was in seeing the local folks, or even those starting out, and complimenting them on their looks.  One of my favorite local queens I learned of and met last year (Kari Kerning) was in a booth with a queen from the show, so I didn’t get to see her, but I met a delightful queen dressed up with a prosthetic pig nose and ears.  We asked to take a picture with her and she couldn’t have been more lovely and gracious.  If you see Selma Nilla on the scene, she was fun and kind, and I imagine her shows are probably great.  Another queen came through on stilts, which was pretty amazing.

My biggest takeaway from the convention, however, was how “out there” the people who do drag (and many who attended the convention) put themselves.  Whereas I felt shy and a bit nervous, these folks were rocking their outfits, rocking their personas, and were ok standing out. When some of these folks came out of the closet, they burst through in a sea of rainbows, glitter and lipstick.  In a world that often tells them they are “too much” they strive to be exactly as much as they should be.  I loved how bold and bright and happy everyone looked.  It was just such a happy vibe there. I think the best part was probably what a judgement free zone it was.  It was joyous.  If only we all were as uninhibited as some of the folks I saw yesterday, what a world it could be.

My amazing sister in laws I went with and I talked about how we would go next year, and that outfit/wig planning would begin much earlier.  I’m nervous, but excited to try to reach a new level of comfort with being fully out there, giving up inhibitions, and just rolling with it.

We could all learn a lot from a drag queen.  (And if one could show me the trick to false lashes, I would be eternally grateful).