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Category Archives: Life experiences

Going Home

home

Flights are booked!  I have been absolutely giddy the past few days now that are family trip is coming together.  It’s crazy to think that in just a few months I will be on a plane traveling to where I was born. It’s funny, I always consider it as “going home”, but when I am on my way back here, I also say I am on my “way home”.  I saw the quote I pictured above and it hit me how true this rings for me.  On one hand, it is hard to have all the people I love scattered around the world, but on the other hand, I am so very, very lucky to have those same people always there to welcome me “home”.

Home is where my house is, a house filled with mess and chaos, but also giggles, laughter, cuddles and intense love.  It is where my amazing husband and children are.  It is the bed I sleep in with my beloved dog snoring next to me in his bed on the floor.  It is where my cat lays sprawled in the sun.  It is the place where laundry gets away from me, and I grumble about the mess, but am grateful for a roof over my head.  It is where my local coffee place makes my coffee perfectly.  Home is running kids to gymnastics and sports, school, and for ice cream.  It is where I know I am loved and cherished.

Home is also about 300 miles away, where my dad and stepmother are.  Home is where I can go when I need to have downtime, to see them, and where I am told no problem is too big in life.  Home is seeing my first hero, who knows me and knew my mom better than anyone else.  Home is being spoiled a little bit as only a parent can, but also told when I need to get my act together, like only a parent can.  Home is their house on the lake, where I can go sit on their boat and drink coffee and have quiet time.  Home is fishing with the kids, going to the farmer’s market by boat, and eating fantastic food.

Home is the house about 5 minutes away from my dad’s house. We don’t own it anymore, and I struggle to visit it, because it holds so many memories, but I drive by anyway because it’s home.  Home is a house you don’t even live in anymore, but it contains the memories of the last time I saw my mom, memories of her before she got sick, and laughter…lots and lots of laughter.  It’s the place where my mom buried my cat Sam in the yard under the shady trees when I was too crushed to do it.  Home is where I spent time growing up.

Home is 3000 miles away, where most of my family still live.  It is where I was born.  Home is hearing “ey up mi duck” and feeling comforted. It is Flake 99, brilliant colored landscapes, and remembering that time when I attended school there and got chastised for not putting a “u” in the word color.  Home is sitting around the table with my aunt and uncle, nights at the pub laughing with cousins, who are the closest I have to siblings.  Home is where people know where you come from, know who you were before life took over, and who know all the family stories.  Home is where my cousin is, who flew across the world to stand by me when my father remarried because there was “no way I’ll have you do that without family there to support you”. Home is trecking across the emerald colored fields, with dogs at your side and wellies on.  Home is seeing a castle out the window.  It is the news shop that has been around since before I was born, where I got candy and bought magazines as a kid.  Home is going to the cemetery to sit by my mom’s grave and tell her all the news.  Home is seeing that orange monarch butterfly landing on my grandfather’s grave after telling him to “look after mum” after she passed away.  Home is having your mom’s cousins show up at the pub to surprise you, making you feel really special. Home is trying to get used to grandparents and older generation starting to pass away and feeling a bit lost now that they are gone.  Home is love. Home is various homes belonging to family members.   Home is the farm house I grew up in, no longer in the family, but that the current owners let me come visit.   It is the memories, the love and the fact even though I only get there once every couple of years that I’m stepping right in where we left off.

While I am not a religious person, home is also this church:

Melbourne_Church

 

This church, with it’s arches, columns, worn stone steps from centuries of use, and heavy wooden door, is a different type of home.  This is where my parents were married.  Decades later, on the same weekend, it is also the church where I got married.  It is where I was Christened, where family members have been married, babies Christened, and walks were taken. It is the keeper of many memories.  I still, after all these years, feel a sense of awe when I step through it’s doors.  I still remember midnight masses held there.  I remember the crunch of the tiny pebbles outside under my feet as we stood waiting for family brides and grooms to step out into the sun.  I remember my grandmother looking a bit like the Queen of England at my wedding, while she stood with my son.

Home is also the places we’ve traveled over the years where amazing memories have been created.  Home is Heinz field in Pittsburgh, where my husband and I take an annual trek to watch our favorite team play.  Home is the Red Parrot in Newport RI, where we head every year for an amazing meal with family (and where we ate on our honeymoon!).

Home is where the love is, where the memories are, where the people who make life special are.  I consider myself very lucky to always feel a sense of coming home, no matter where I go.  Of course, I always feel like a piece of me is elsewhere, and that is a bit difficult at times.  I am sad I don’t get to see my family overseas as much as I would like.  I am sad I am missing my cousin’s kids grow up.  I wish I was there more.  Hopefully, with planning and effort, I can travel there more in the future than I have been.

I can’t wait to go home…..and then, come home.

 

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Looking Forward

They say a key to happiness is to have things in the future to look forward to.  It’s been a tough summer watching everyone on exciting vacations and with amazing experiences.  Know where I went to this summer?  Work.  I went to work, y’all.  And while I love what I do, it’s not a trip to an exotic location, you know?  What it is, however, is a means to an end, and that end is vacation.  I’ve kept relatively quiet about it.  There are seldom more obnoxious folks than those who tell you about their upcoming vacation at every twist and turn. (Honestly, nobody really cares where anyone is going on vacation, and frankly, if you’re constantly posting about it on social media, you’re asking to get your house broken into).   So, I’ve held relatively quiet about it, but as the time approaches, I must admit I’m getting more than a little excited.  We’re taking a family vacation to see folks we haven’t seen in a while, do things we can’t do at home, and attend a big celebration.  There will be running around, relaxing, and long walks in the countryside.  All things to be happy and looking forward to, for sure.  Best of all, we’re doing it all as a family.

Aside from my glee for that trip, I am also squeaking in a weekend at the lake, so I’m absolutely joyous about that as well.  I don’t even care that it will be a short trip.  A trip is a trip, and memories are to be made.  Then there is another trip planned out of state to attend a huge fair we go to each year. My new goal is less stuff, more travel!   Heck, I’ll sell some of the stuff to get out of town for a weekend!

As a kid, I got to travel quite a bit.  I’ve been up and down the east coast, out to Mexico, the Caribbean, Bermuda, England, and other places as well.  Travel had a big part in shaping who I am.  Travel really is the best teacher, and I am so grateful my parents were able to give me those experiences.  I look back and have memories of each trip.  I don’t remember all the toys they bought me, all the treats purchased over the years, but I do remember those trips.  I remember seeing things I’d never seen at home, tasting new foods, seeing picturesque beaches and tiny tin shacks that people called home.  I certainly remember getting sun stroke, burning my eyelids shut, and other mishaps.  I remember parasailing, and how close my feet looked compared to how far away the water was.  I remember the excitement every time I stepped off a plane into a new place.

I’m in a different financial place than my parents were, and travel with 2 kids in today’s society is a lot compared to what it was years ago.  That being said, I’m making efforts to taking my kids on trips.  Even if that trip is on the other side of the state for an overnight, or a quick trip to visit my dad several states away, we go.  We did Disney one year. (That was a hefty trip to fund, mind you). Every time we travel somewhere, I’m reminded how much I love it.  I’m reminded when we are on a car trip and the kids start reminiscing about prior trips we’ve taken.  I’m always amazed at how clear their memories are of the trips they have taken, and their experiences on each one.  They remember tiny details that even I have forgotten.

One year, my goal is to take them to England for an English Christmas.  I want them to experience the same magic I did as a kid over there.  I can’t explain it, it’s just a different vibe and feeling over there at the holidays.  It’ll be no easy task, getting gifts etc over there, but just once, I’d like them to have the same experiences I did as a kid.  We’ll have to see if it’s feasible in the future.  I also want to get my son to his first NFL game.  I want to take my kids to new cities, new towns, and let them soak up the sights around them.

It’s been a relatively calm summer.  At least, it’s felt calmer.  Outside of the normal 2 months of chaos, we slid into August quietly.  Some of that may be due to the fact I made some life changes to calm things down.  There comes a point where you have to cut back on the chaos, and I had to go through, see what was causing me stress, and cut it.  As soon as I made the changes, I felt calmer and ready to head into the end of summer. Now it’s time to start prepping for school to start.  This year will have some big changes.  Both kids head to new schools.  There will be bus schedules to examine, drop off and picks ups to work around, and supplies to be purchased.  They’re sort of bummed there is just a few more weeks of summer left.  I’m almost glad to get back to the organized chaos of fall.  At least some planned adventures are getting us all excited for the upcoming months.

Everyone deserves a written send off.

I’m currently working on possibly moving my blog to a new domain since my stalker has created fake accounts on this one to get notifications of when I post.  It’s ridiculous I have to do that, but such is life. In the meantime, I’m still going to post here, because frankly, this is my blog, and I’m not bowing down to ridiculousness. I’m even questioning moving it, because I simply shouldn’t have to.  All of that being said, I began this blog to be an outlet for me, to express my thoughts.  Yesterday’s event warranted this post, so I’m posting it.

Yesterday was a tough day, for reasons I was not expecting.  I found out an old friend of mine passed away.  She was only 49.  When you become an adult and your parents and friends start dying, it’s a surreal feeling.  Everyone still feels way too young to die, and honestly, 49 is.

She was one of my close friends for a while.  She could make me laugh until I rolled around on the floor.  We shared a similar, dark, savage humor, and could find the laughter in just about any situation.  She was my friend during some hard times, and she certainly helped get me through it.  I also got her through some devastating times.

After a while, she met a new guy, while still married to the old one, and the new guy came with baggage.  Lots and lots of it, actually.  He was bad news from everything I could see, and I did my best to warn her.  I warned her, I begged her, to stay away from him and all the bad he was bringing along.  You know how it goes though, some girls love those bad boys and their big promises.  Before I knew it, her behavior became erratic.  She became paranoid, angry, and was acting like a totally different person.  I knew she was on drugs, and it was doing some major damage to who she was.  The last “conversation” I had with her was filled with paranoia and anger.  None of it made any sense.

The fact is, I have kids, and I just can’t have that sort of stuff around them.  I’m also grown, busy, and tired and I can’t have it around me either.  These were hardcore drugs.  I also saw her doing some other things that seemed questionable.  I had to bail.

I’ve felt badly over the years that I bailed.  The fact is though, when someone is on heavy drugs, they just aren’t the same person.  No matter what I did, I never would have been able to rescue her.  It had to be her that made her choices to get better.  Nevertheless, I felt sad.  I missed our friendship. I missed the laughter, her good heart, and I wondered why it all ended he way it did.

She ended up running away with the bad boy, I think they may have even gotten married.  Last I heard, he had terminal cancer.  I have no idea if he is even still alive, to be honest. It all just seemed so sad.  Yesterday, I saw she had passed away.  The blurb is short, she was born here on this date, she died in her residence on this date.  That made me even sadder. It seemed there was nobody to properly eulogize her life.  She had been reduced to a blurb.  I sat at my computer and cried. Here was a larger than life soul and all that was there was a 2 or 3 sentence blurb about her birth and death, but the middle, where all the important stuff really was, was missing.  I tried to find a proper obituary, but found nothing.

Everyone deserves a written send off.

I am sad for the end of her life.  I am sad for the end of our friendship.  I know I had to end the friendship, but it doesn’t always make it easier to know she’ll never have a chance to get back to the her that she once was.  It feels like the death of a chance.  I hope she found happiness with her bad boy, even if it came with a lot of baggage, chaos, illness and sadness.

I can surmise how she died, likely one of two ways.  I’ll likely never know for sure, but it doesn’t really matter.  It is what it is, and it’s sad. I’m sad. The past two weeks have been a test of all my emotions, and this one brought the sadness.

 

How I Got Beat Up on My Daughter’s Birthday

This blog post contains adult language. I would say “inappropriate language” but the swears within are perfectly appropriate for what happened.

Consider yourself warned.

Yesterday was the little’s 8th birthday.  We had her party the day prior for family, but yesterday my husband and I both took the day off to spend the day with the kids for her birthday.  This in itself was a treat, as we typically have opposite schedules, and the kids rarely get us both for an extra day unless it’s a holiday or birthday.  We started the day off with gifts, then headed off to do what she wanted.

Aside from a quick trip at the Rec office, which is where in my last post you’ll hear about me yelling at a stranger across a counter, the rest of the day was on 8 year old terms.  Lunch was at Taco Bell, followed by some shopping at Justice with her gift cards, where she got to pick out what she wanted, and then off to the trampoline park for 2 hours of jumping and games.  The kids ran off to play dodgeball on the trampolines, while my husband I relaxed at a table.  I noticed some massage chairs and commented we should go relax after all our hard work at the party the day before and get a massage.

 

chairWe lugged our stuff over, and my husband sat down.  He put in his dollar, handed one to me, and I went to put my dollar into the slot. Just as my dollar slid in, my husband said “oh, OW! Jesus!” and he began to warn me that this chair was no joke…in fact, perhaps I shouldn’t do it because I have  bad back and it could be bad……

The chair gave zero fucks.

The leg massagers clamped together with such force I couldn’t move my legs.  I was nervous they might break my leg if they got any tighter. “Oh my God!  My legs!” I squealed.

The chair tilted back suddenly and hard nodules started pummeling my back from every angle. “ow, ow!  OW!” I gasped.

I couldn’t move though.  It had my legs. It was NOT LETTING GO.

Now, the fact I am really short didn’t help.  The chair was probably at some point trying to massage my neck, only I’m so short it instead punched me in the back of the skull repeatedly.  My head was bouncing all over the place and I began to laugh because the whole situation was so ridiculous. As I am getting punched in the occipital bone repeatedly, I try to look at my husband and the chair effectively punches me in the cheek.  My husband is clearly not comfortable either but is holding it together.  I hear him go “aaarghhh” and “oof” but he is leaning far forward to escape the beatings.

With my short little legs captured by the chair, and the position I was in, I couldn’t lean forward.  I was laughing maniacally, my eyes watering from the discomfort. The whole situation was ridiculous.  I was trying to have nice relaxing massage and instead wondered if I might end up in the ER.

Y’all, that was a long 3 minutes.

3 minutes of getting my legs clamped on so hard I feared a bone might fracture, while the back of the chair beat me like an escaping prisoner.

Finally, the legs started to release.  I thought it was over.

And then it happened.

The chair punched me in the snooch.

No lie, I got cuntpunched by a damned massage chair.

The level of shock I had was indescribable.

My husband saw my face open up into a look of disbelief and I stammered “It punched me in the snooch”. THE CHAIR PUNCHED ME IN THE LADY BITS. He helped me gingerly stand up and the two of us hobbled away like two broken beating victims and went to sit back at the table.  We couldn’t stop laughing.

I woke up today still sore.  My whole body hurts.

And that my friends, is how I got beat up on my daughter’s birthday.

 

 

Yelling at Strangers

I am so tired, I feel that shit deep in my bones.  After a busy work week, with plenty of added jobs, I also had my daughter’s birthday party to prepare for.  In the past we have had her family party at our house or my sister in law’s house (they have a big house with lots of space and a pool, which they have generously offered to us to use for the party many years).  This year, I decided to keep everything super simple.  No theme, no extensive decorations, no tons of planning.  I’ve done it all in the past and I usually end up exhausted.  Frankly, my daughter doesn’t care about all that stuff anyway.  She simply wants a day with her family, playing with kids, opening gifts, and ice cream cake.  She REALLY wanted an ice cream cake, which I found out later on.  This year, I stepped outside my comfort zone and rented a pavilion at the beach. Our town allows you to rent out a pavilion at a reasonable fee.  This spoke to me.  Laid back, beach day, with sun, sand, water, and a playground close by to keep everyone entertained.  I pictured getting leis for the people coming, keeping the food cookout style, and I would simply jump on the grill and it would be a relaxing day for all.

I booked the pavilion, and figured all was well, until my anxiety popped up.  I had this unshakable feeling that we would arrive to set up only to have strangers at the pavilion, and I would be forced into getting someone from the rec dept to have them leave.  I asked the woman at the rec dept what would happen if that situation occurred.  She said “go to the gate and they will have someone come over and sort it.”  Ok, sounded decent, and I tried to not worry.

Then the weather turned. A scan at the Weather Channel app was a rollercoaster of emotion.  I also realized they have likely no idea what the upcoming weather would be.  The weather changed day to day, varying from horrible thunderstorms to partly sunny and warm with a nice breeze.  Each day was a new adventure as far as the meteorologists were concerned. Every day I waffled between seeing we’d have a lovely beach day or a monsoon.

The day before the party, (THE DAY BEFORE!) my phone rings.  When I heard the woman on the other end say she was calling from the rec dept, I KNEW something was wrong.

“So, there is an issue…..we made a huge error on our end…….DOUBLE BOOK………we want to make it right….other alternatives……heading to the beach now to see what can be done…..”

Unimpressed-Dog-Meme-08

I offer to meet them at the beach, and headed off with daughter in tow.

I arrive at the beach and meet up with two women from the rec department.  They honestly couldn’t have been nicer, and were up front with the fact someone had booked the pavilion in June for a gender reveal party and somewhere there was a mix up.  The pregnant woman who booked it had come in freaking out and irate after hearing about the issue.  I can tell they were nervous about speaking with me but were grateful when I kept calm about it.  They offered a different area, said they would set up tents etc, and offered a few options.  The wind that day was coming off the water so hard it was blowing my hair straight up in the air.  I looked at them and said “Look, if the wind is anything like this tomorrow, which it likely will be with storms coming at night….a tent is going to LAUNCH”.  After all was said and done, the options they gave me didn’t feel right and likely would have been a nightmare.  My other brother in law graciously extended an offer for us to have it at his house since they have a large deck and lots of open space.

I excused myself and stepped aside to talk quietly with my daughter.  She said she would be perfectly happy wherever her party was held When she saw me look upset the plans had been all turned upside down, she whispered in my ear “mama, it’s not your fault.  I appreciate all your hard work, but please don’t be sad, it’s OK!”

I’m not crying. I swear.

I walked back and told the women my daughter was ok with us moving the party and the other woman could have the space.  One of the women leaned over and told my daughter how kind and special that was, and how nicely she and I were taking a bad situation and making the best of it. I was promised a full refund, but that I would need to bring the parking passes I had prepaid for all the guests in to get refunded for those.  I wasn’t happy I’d have to retrieve them all, but agreed I would try to bring them in.

I headed off to get my daughter an ice cream cake, which I found out she had really wanted (but would have been impossible at the beach). I let her pick the flavors, the design,etc, and I had a very happy little girl.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: The party was a success, we all had a great time, and my daughter was thrilled.

Yesterday I took the passes I had and went to the rec center.  It was my daughter’s actual birthday and we had a lot of stuff planned.  I was still recovering from all the work involved for the party and I felt that extreme tiredness in my SOUL.  One of the women I had spoken with at the beach was at the counter and smiled when she saw me. She wished my daughter a happy birthday and handed over a huge bottle of bubbles for my daughter as a gift and as a thank your for being so understanding.  I thanked her and explained I didn’t have two of the passes, but could they let it slide due to the circumstances? She said she’d have to clear it with the other woman, but felt she would probably say yes, because we had been so gracious about the error and so lovely to work with.

Just then, another lady who works there and who I have watched berate another employee there in front of me chimed in and started getting loud with the woman helping me. “WHY WOULD YOU EVEN SAY THAT? WHY WOULD YOU SAY SHE PROBABLY WOULD?” The woman helping me looked extremely uncomfortable.

Not today, Satan,

Not today.

“HEY! DON’T YOU YELL AT HER!”  I shouted.  “This office made a mistake, and could have ruined my daughter’s birthday party.  These two women have been honest about the error, tried to make it right, and are trying to rectify the situation in a positive manner, which is the ONLY reason I have not created a big issue here.  This is not the first time I have seen you berate your coworkers, so why don’t you sit there and go back to your paperwork and make sure this situation doesn’t happen again?”

She huffed.

“GO HUFF IF YOU WANT BUT DON’T YOU BELITTLE HER!”

Yeah.  I became that person.  I became the woman yelling at a stranger over a partition wall because I hate seeing nice people given crap for something when they are just trying to do the right thing.

The woman getting yelled by Grumpy St Bitterbritches is always super sweet and friendly to me.  The last time I went to the office to get the parking passes I watched the other employee belittle another woman who worked there, get sarcastic with a town resident, and make a sarcastic comment to another.

Not today.

I can let a lot slide if people are honest and apologetic.  Accidents happen, mistakes can be made.  A sincere apology without excuses goes a LONG way with me.  My daughter and I had been very accommodating all things considered, which the 2 women we spoke to at the beach were clearly grateful for.  I am sure they saw it was a birthday party for us and a gender reveal party for the pregnant lady and thought it was going to be miserable for them either way because of the mistake.  Instead, it went relatively smooth.  They knew I wasn’t thrilled, but I was honestly kind of ok with it.

To be honest, everything was less stressful for me in the end.  No worries about weather (we had everything outside but moved inside later on so we missed the rain).  I had a fridge, freezer, and everything I needed at my fingertips.  My daughter had the cake she desperately wanted, and a good time was had.  I got to invite more people.  At the end of the day, things fell into place.  Plus, I am getting refunded the money I spent.

But don’t test me, bitter lady in the back of the rec office.

Mama don’t play that.

 

 

She Can Do It All, Until She Can’t

wonder

I grew up the daughter of parents who never made me feel I couldn’t do something just because I was a girl.  I was taught I was equal to men, could hold my own, and to be fiercely independent.  I lived in a two parent household, and my parents stayed happily married until my mother died.  Of course, there were some stereotypical roles that fell into place.  My mother was a stay at home mom, and my dad worked to support the family.  My mother cleaned the house to spotless perfection and looked after me, dinner was on the table each night at 6, and she was the arranger of all the plans.  My mom was the glue that seemed to hold us all together.  My father traveled extensively for work, sometimes even for weeks at a time, and my mother was always the figure in the home who held down the fort.

With that being said, my mother always made it clear that she had been the primary breadwinner before we moved to the US.  I knew she stopped working to look after me, and also because it made more sense financially.  She always told me to make sure I was ok on my own if I ever needed to be, and to make sure I always had my name on the house, cars, and other assets as well as my husband.  She’d had friends who had gotten divorced and ended up screwed because they hadn’t looked out for themselves as well.  In other words, while my parents lived in many ways an old fashioned set up, I was always taught to be a modern, independent woman who could look after herself, and why that was so important. I also learned that I could be a good wife, a good mom, and that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do just because I was a girl.  Women in today’s society are told we can have it all, the career, the family, the home, and all that comes with us.

We can.  Many women do.  But sometimes, it’s really hard.  Like, really, really hard.

I hesitated to write this, because it’s hard to be vulnerable.  Usually when I admit a vulnerability, it gets thrown back at me.  That being said, I am who I am, and unapologetically so.  I own my mistakes, I own who I am, both on my best and worst days.  The other week someone tried a jab at my parenting when I “lost” my daughter.  (More on that in a future blog). Yet still, I owned it. At the end of the day, I am bluntly, without apology, or explanation, myself.  With me, you know what you are getting.  My filter isn’t very good, and my face will say my thoughts anyway.

So with all the things.  The work, the parenting, the house, the jobs, the peopling, the endless obligations that have stacked up….it’s gotten to be a bit much to manage on my own. My husband is always supportive of me in everything I do, but he works long hours and our schedules are opposite, so much of the stuff around the house and scheduling the kids falls to me.  I am trying to hold all the pieces together of the life puzzle and I ran out of hands.  I’m left tired and drained.  They always say on a plane to put your oxygen mask on first so you can help others.  I have been doing the reverse and I ran out of air. The more I couldn’t focus on a few things, the more everything started to spiral where it got to be just a bit more to manage.

This week I hit a wall.  I’ve only had it happen a few times in my life, but this week was one of them.  This week something snapped.  The year of yes came to a crashing end and I just wanted to say no. I looked around and for all I was doing, it just wasn’t amounting to what it should.

And I stopped.

I cried a little, I’ll admit it.

And then I did what I hate doing the most.

I asked for help.

I hate asking for help. I always think it’s an imposition.  It feels like I am failing at something, and I sort of hate that.  The funny thing is, I always encourage others to ask for help, and always am willing to help others.  I suppose we are always hardest on ourselves, right?

I’ve suffered from depression since I was a teen.  I went through some very bad times with it, went on medication, until I finally got it under control.  The fact is, I will likely always have it, but for the most part I rarely suffer these days.  I haven’t been on meds for it for years, but I do stay very mindful of when it feels that it’s starting up.  Yesterday I realized I need to stop and breath.  I looked around, and realized I needed to ask for help to ease the burden of things for a little while.  I called my dad and said I wanted to come visit and have a mini vacation.

I had an honest chat with my family and the response was amazing. I said I am overwhelmed, and they stepped up to ask how in turn they could each help. That’s family. Even the little things stack up to help.  This morning, my husband offered to run the kids to camp and returned home with a coffee for me.  He called from work to check in, just to make sure I am ok.  He knows that usually, I keep it all together, but when I am struggling, he is there to check in…just to make sure I am hanging in there and to see if I need anything.  The reminder that he is there to back me up and lift me up if I fall is a great source of comfort.

The next week or so is going to be busy.  Much to plan, to do, and to coordinate.  That being said, I will be pausing to breathe more, saying no when I get overwhelmed, and asking for help if I need it.  I will try me best to take care of me a bit better than I have been.  Maybe I’ll even use that gift certificate for a massage my aunt sent me.  Seems like a perfect time to use it.  Rest and recharge amongst the chaos, so I can minimize the chaos.

Yesterday, when I felt my worst, I looked around at ALL the THINGS that needed doing, and I felt like a failure.  My mom had always made things seem so effortless.  I look back and realize how much I took for granted.  I realize I looked at her and she made it all seem so darned easy.  I came home from school to find my laundry done, the house clean, a meal on the table, and I never really comprehended the amount of work that went into making all of that happen.  I also realized she would have told me that while she was a stay at home mom, I work full time.  I have less time for some of the things than she had. I know she would have reminded me of the times when she seemed short with me or stressed that she too struggled with getting it all done.  She would also remind me that sometimes, you just have to go and take a nap and figure it out later.

When you grow up and you watch your mom do it all, you think you can too.  There is a big push on social media and the media in general to be the mom who can be perfect.  Everyone portrays themselves to be super moms.  They post and pin and they present the perfect outside image.  Their immaculate houses, their vacations, their endless smiles.  The fact is, I’m sure there’s a lot of women who feel they too need to pause, take a deep breath, and escape from it all for a few.  To not have ALL the THINGS in their heads and to do lists every moment.  So I’m waving to those ladies, from my yard that needs weeding, my house that needs cleaning, surrounded by all the jobs I need to do but have no time to do them in because there’s only so many hours in a day. I hear you. I see you. I’m one of you too.

 

It’s her birthday

Today would have been my mom’s birthday.  I think we’ll take the kids for ice cream.

I always try to find something happy to do on days like this. They kids know I miss her, every day.  They know that some days, I get a bit sad.  Sometimes, I miss her enough that I may get a bit teary eyed, usually when I realize she is missing something amazing. Grief is a tough thing to show kids, and to talk about with them.  It’s important to let them know that grief is normal, natural, and ok to go through.  In fact, it’s important to go through it.   What I don’t want, is for them to think that it’s ok to get lost in the grief, to wrap the grief around you so tightly that you don’t let the joy in.  It’s easy to do, especially as someone who suffers from depression. If I am not mindful, I know I can get too deep in the grief.

The past few years, we have done fun things for her birthday, to celebrate life.  One year we took a trip to the lake to my aunt’s house.  Another year, ice cream at Carvel.  Each was a simple joy that taught the kids that I want to celebrate my mom in small ways.  If the mention of her is always tinged in sadness, they will associate her memory in a negative light.  I choose to associate her memory with happiness and treats, laughter and funny stories.  It makes it easier for me, and frankly, she would hate if her memory was carried on in a sad light.  She was much too vibrant for that.

To be fair, got teary eyed for just a few brief seconds, and I’m not sure where it came from exactly, but I am back to feeling positive and looking forward to spending the night with my husband and kids.  My favorite 3.  I have so many wonderful things to be happy for, so many wonderful memories of her to share, and knowing her as I do, I know that would be the very best gift I could have given her.

Happy birthday Mum.