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Public Sniffles. When Grief Creeps In.

This past weekend, a family member, who I also consider a friend, got engaged.  I am thrilled for the couple, and am over the moon for them because it is easy to see what a perfect match they are for each other.  It really is the perfect way to start the new year on a happy note.  They got engaged on New Year’s eve, and yesterday they had a get together for family and friends.  It was wonderful and sweet.

And then I cried.  And I felt awkward.  I seem to spend a lot of time feeling awkward.

I will preface the rest of this post by saying that it’s going to dip down into bummersville.  My moment of eye leakage had nothing to do with the happy couple (aside from the fact I felt utterly mortified that I cried (even if just for a moment at their happy event) but everything to do with my lack of dealing with some feelings I didn’t know I even had about my mother.   I’m also writing this here because today, I was bulldozed by a wash of feelings, and frankly, better out than in.

Everyone was sitting around, and the couple’s mothers looked so elated.  We all felt elated.  Then everyone was talking about their weddings, and engagements, and the word “mom” came up several times.  I excused myself and went to the bathroom, feeling a bit sad as I remembered how my mom couldn’t be there for my wedding. I perked myself up, sat back down, and enjoyed the conversation.  Then someone innocently asked me who went with me to choose my dress.  And that’s when it happened.  Tears. Mortification.  Embarrassment. I began to laugh to try hide my shame.

9 years later, the question hit me in a way I never thought it would.  I didn’t even realize why I was so upset.  On the ride home, I cried silently in the dark.  I cried in bed.  I cried until it felt I had cried it out, and then I gave the whole thing a lot of thought.

My mom was already very sick when I got engaged.  I was also heavily pregnant when I got engaged.  My husband and I at the time had a very “whatever” attitude in so far as when we would get married.  We thought about doing it before the baby was born, and then after.  We had known from our first date we would end up married, so what was a few months here or there?  But as I realized my mom was getting closer towards the end, I asked if we could move it up a little early.  A fancy wedding was out of the question, so we decided to do a wedding by a Justice of the Peace.  It was a bit last minute, and there was hardly anyone there.  My mom was too sick to travel up for it, so my parents weren’t even at my wedding.  Most of the family wasn’t there.  It was certainly not the wedding I had envisioned for myself, but there was my husband and I, and I was just happy to be his wife.  It was incredibly informal, me in maternity pants and a nice top, him in a button down and pants, and we had coats on. Someone had a travel mug of coffee to warm them.  I was happy, however that my mom knew I was married now, because she adored my husband.  I felt it would ease her mind knowing that I was married to the man  I loved.

My mom and I both struggled even when she was alive with the loss of milestones that mothers and daughters go through.  I know that she was heartbroken to know she would miss me going through all of these, and for the ones she was able to be there for, she couldn’t be there in the capacity he wanted.  I went though a sort of parental loss bootcamp in a short time.  Marriage, new home, new baby, back to work, all within a few months.  My mom was too ill to be present much, especially living 300 miles away.  I could tell initially in her voice how worried she was about me, especially when it became clear I was struggling with post partum depression as well.  Add to that the depression of watching your parent begin the dying process, and I was a zombie mentally, while furiously engaging myself in strange projects to keep active. When people are going through the dying process, it is common for them to communicate less.  My mother, who I used to speak to daily (sometimes multiple times a day) now handed the phone to my father rather quickly.  I felt alone.  Lost.

My husband and I decided to have a wedding blessing overseas in my family church.  I struggled with how to prepare for it.  I had always wanted the big white dress, the old stone church, the party and the perfect man.  I had always expected I would find the man and my mom would help me plan the rest.  In my case, that was no longer going to happen, as it was 2 years since she had passed away.  It didn’t feel quite right to have the big party and wedding I had always imagined, as now someone inherently important had been taken away from the process.  I headed dress shopping, and took my sister in law and a dear friend who had also lost her mom right after I did, also to cancer.  She was my emotional backbone through the process.  She took on a bit of that mother hen role.  The two women helped me try on dress after dress.  To this day I am inherently grateful.  Still, I wish my mom could have participated.

When the question was innocently posed to me last night, it hit me how sad I am that I lost out on those experiences with my mom.  It hit me how upset I had been but had tried to hide it through the whole process of planning a wedding.  It hit me how angry I am that my mom was taken from me, and how terrifying it all was.  I was a grown woman, yet I still felt terrified.  All those things a mom is supposed to do with her daughter, I had to do alone.  It…sucked.  It royally sucked. It has been 9 years, and STILL, I grieve not only for her, but for the experiences and little things that a mom and daughter should have together.  For the most part, I speak of my mother without sadness, and speak of her with love, pride, and of happy times.  It’s taken me a long time to get to the “ok-ness” feeling when I talk about her.  Sometimes, I think it makes people feel awkward when I mention her.  They know she is gone, and I think they feel bad for me, because they know how awful it would be to lose their mom.  I feel bad about that, and sometimes I try not to mention her for fear it makes people feel awkward, but I just can’t help it.  Talking about her and telling a funny story makes not only me feel better, but I think if I can add humor, it lets people know about her and know I’m ok.

It’s rare that I do what I did yesterday.  Talk about making people feel awkward! I shudder thinking about it. I didn’t want to get sad. I hate that I cried at that moment.  Something in me just took over and the feeling of loss overwhelmed me.  I heard all the happy stories of moms dress shopping, and being involved, and it felt like the stitches that had held me together for 9 years just popped. Today, after thinking about it, I realize I had to acknowledge some feelings I had hidden away.  I know, I know, I am quite vocal about how my mom’s death has impacted me, but there is much that hasn’t been said.  There are repercussions and new feelings that happen even now that pop up out of the blue.  It’s like a rain drop that causes waves to go out in a circle, spreading over time.  There are feelings I may never even speak about.  Not only about my mom’s death, but about other people’s reactions after the fact.  There is anger, and resentment, and things that I need to work through.  I am realizing today just how many things I need to work on in this new year.

Someone once told me that grief goes on.  It doesn’t really end.  I hated the idea that the sadness would weigh on me long term and never ease.  I have come to the conclusion that grief does stick around.  It lessens, it gets easier in a sense.  A new normal.  There is a lot that you have to acknowledge, feelings wise, and address.  I have found that on a daily basis, I handle my mother’s passing ok.  I miss her every day, but my thoughts of her focus on happy memories, happy stories, and ones that make me laugh.  Sometimes I think “Oh, I wish she had seen the kids do that” or “I miss her” but that’s to be expected.  It’s rare that I crumple into tears, but occasionally, in the quiet of the night when everyone is asleep, I allow myself to.  It’s rare I do it in public, and I am always mortified when I do.

I am happy when I see good mother/daughter relationships.  I am happy for my friend and family member, who will navigate the path to a wedding far easier than I did.  It warms my heart to see her mom so excited, and I am grateful to her mom because she often goes out of her way to make me feel a little mothered too.  I doubt her mom knows how much that means to me.  Little comments to let me know I am not alone go a long way.

Well, I am off to spend time with my babies.  Growing up so fast, but will always be my beloved babies.  Sorry for the total Debbie Downer post, but sometimes, ya gotta get it out of your head.

 

 

 

Circle ’em.

Trust is a funny thing.  I’ve always been too trusting, for the most part.  I always assume (often incorrectly) that people are inherently good.  It seemed like a no brainer that people who didn’t like me would stay far away, and people who were around were my friends. It makes sense to me that we’re all on the Earth together, and for the most part, should be able to get along and trust each other to do the right thing as humans in general.  I assumed that people were good.

You know what?  I assumed wrong.

The level of asshol-y behavior I have borne witness to this year has been astonishing.  I learned that a good chunk of people simply can’t be trusted, and are out for themselves.  I learned that people will lie, cheat, steal and bullshit you to get, take and do what they want.  It’s the most disheartening, frightening thing ever.  It used to be just politicians.  Now there’s an epidemic of them…people who will do and say what it takes to get what they want.

It’s the week of Christmas.  When I grew up, this was the week where people tried to be a little better.  A little kinder.  A little more helpful to their fellow man.  The time leading to the holidays was when you would see people shine, and you’d witness the best of them.

This year, I found out 11 cars in my neighborhood were stolen or robbed. The neighborhood police substation had all the toys for kids stolen.  Packages are being stolen off porches.   It’s friggen disheartening.  People are lying, cheating, back stabbing.  People are stealing toys from little children. Who are these monsters, and who is raising them?  How have we become a society where we are raising such self entitled and self absorbed people that feel they can do these things to other with no consequence?  Where has society gone wrong?  This isn’t about politics and all that bullshit.  It’s about a society who is raising people who need to be removed from society.  We are no longer bringing up people who will better our situation.  What we have are people who are tearing it down.  We have people who lack compassion, and empathy, and kindness.  We have people who will look you in the eye with a smile and a hug, and stab you in the back while you are in their embrace.

I’m afraid. I am afraid for my family, my kids, myself, my neighbors and my society.  I don’t feel safe living amongst the monsters any more.  I am trying hard to fight evil with kindness.  To stay positive and stay afloat in a sea of heaviness.  It’s exhausting.  I am trying to stay positive, but each day I hear that another neighbor had their cars stolen.  This is in a neighborhood that was quiet and had little to no problems for years. All I can do is keep my eyes out for them.  To friend them.

Sometimes I wonder if the world is getting worse, or if we just know now how bad it is, thanks to social media and the internet.   Good news travels fast, but bad news will always win the race.

But for now, I am circling my wagons.  I don’t know who to trust, or why I should bother trusting in the first place.  It’s a scary feeling, but it’s all I can do…that, and hope for a better new year.

Only Kindness Matters

  
it’s been a while since I wrote. Life has yet again caught up to me, but as the holidays approach, my mind is bubbling over with words and stories to share.  It’s late, and I should be in bed, but today’s events have me wide awake and filled with emotions. I have to get it out of my head so I can rest this tired brain. 

I occasionally see a free share/giveaway site on my facebook page.  I try not to pay it much mind because I am already fighting the battle of “stuff” and have been on the kids to join me in said battle. In other words, I am trying to get rid of stuff, rather than bring more in.  I saw a post the other day from a woman thanking people, because without their generosity in donating things, she would not have been able to provide her family with a proper Christnas.  Now, I will say that while I believe the spirit of Christnas isn’t about stuff, my mom always went big at Christmas.  Christmas was magical when I was a kid. My mom and dad did spoil me quite a bit, but my mom in particular went out of her way to add a magic feel about the season (when she wasn’t freaking out with stress over getting everything done….oh, I am SO my mother.)

The post got me thinking about how lucky we are I got a small bonus from work this year.  It will allow me to pay a big bill that’s looming over us, and I was able to treat my husband and the kids to a few nice gifts.  Out of it all, I purchased myself one book as a treat (Humans of NY Stories, because it’s beautiful and fascinating). That’s it. I said I would allow myself another treat for about $25 and call it a day. That would be my portion of a years’ worth of work of a bonus.  I was thinking about this post, and how impressed I was with the simple “thank you”.  It had me mulling over Christmas, both this year, and my Christmases of childhood.  It was in that frame of mind when I saw another post pop up later that day.  It was from a mother of two asking for help to find you donations because she had lost her job before the holidays.  I felt the fear. I remembered losing my job and wondering what we would do. How would we manage? I was lucky to get a severance package when I was laid off.  She didn’t seem to have the same benefit.  

The kids and I found a toy or two, and I posted asking if she would like them.  She said yes, gratefully, and we arranged a pickup day of today.

Feeling useful, I posted various other free toys to the site, and they were quickly claimed by people looking to add some extra toys at Christmas.  All except 2 were going to come to pick the items up from my house the following day while I was at work, and it was supposed to rain. I carefully wrapped all of the toys in plastic, put the people’s names on them, and sealed the names in ziplock bags.  Everyone except one person showed up.  I messaged that one person and they never responded.  I was irked about the no call, no show.  I raced home tonight to pick up the toy to meet up with the woman who had lost her job. Feeling a bit disillusioned after the no show the day before from someone else, I messaged her to confirm she was still interested (she was) and that she still was going to meet me.  She told me she couldn’t, and apologized profusely saying she had messaged those she was supposed to pick up things from but had somehow missed me.  Turns out her car got towed.

Yep.  It got towed because she was behind a ridiculously small amount on a car tax bill, and now she not only had the bill, but she had to pay for the car to get out of impound.  As my son said “so if you can’t oh the bill, they make it more expensive and then make it impossible to get there to pay it?”  I told y’all he is a smart kid.  I mulled it over and offered to drive to her house about a half hour away. She seemed surprised I would do so, and said she felt bad about it, but I told her I was in the mood for a drive.  Off we set, the kids and I.

When we arrived, she came outside and was so….nice.  Just so nice! And I could tell she hadn’t really wanted to ask for help that way.  I told her I understood, and that losing your job is scary enough.  Losing your job when you have kids and it’s Christmas is heartbreaking.  She was grateful for the toys and I explained I would look for more things for her.  We were two moms, talking about love of our kids, loss of jobs, tough times, and trying to make magic for our kids in a scary world.  She said the hardest part is that her oldest child wants the more expensive toys and  she had tried to explain it might be tighter Christmas.  Her daughter replied “it’s ok, that’s what Santa is for!”  My heart cracked a little. I imagined how she must feel heating her daughter say that, and the stress she must feel to keep the magic of Santa alive a little longer.  I reached into the car and handed her a gift card, explaining I had picked it up for a store that sold clothes and toys, so she could have something new to give them.  Tears welled and she grabbed me and hugged me.  Best $25 dollar gift I could have gotten for myself out of that bonus check was getting her that gift card and getting a hug in the street from a stranger. 

I left her house, and I thanked the kids for donating their toys, and explained how the little boy would probably be very happy with them and love the toys as much as they had.  We talked about kindness.  About being helpers.  I quoted Jewel and said “in the end, only kindness matters”.  

After they were in bed.  I spent a lot of time thinking about that mom.  The holidays are a tough time for me as I miss my mom TERRIBLY at Christmas, probably more than any other time of year.   It’s hard to grieve when you’re supposed to be happy and Christmassy.  I thought about all the stresses I have, but at least I have a job and we scrape by.  Sometimes we barely scrape by, but we do. I know the mom I met tonight is sad and scared and frustrated. I thought about what she had said about her daughter, about the big toy and her belief Santa would bring it to her. That’s what got me in the feels. What made big fat tears roll down my cheeks.  That little girl believes in magic. And that should never be dulled.  I looked up the toy. I know anyone who follows my Twitter will roll eyes or smirk when I say this, but I used my trusty Ebates and after working codes and cash back, saved over a third on it in the shopping cart. I decided to mull it over.  After all, we are pretty strapped for cash ourselves.

My husband came home and we talked about our day.  I told him the story.  I cried through parts of it.  (I cry at commercials these days, he’s used to it). I told him the whole part, right up until the fact I had looked up this toy. I wanted to see what he would say first.  He’s the more cynical of the 2 of us, usually, but he will give the shirt off his back to help people.  He grew up helping to run a homeless shelter, so people in need are always helped when he can.

“Well” he said, “I know we are strapped for cash and have a ton of bills…but maybe, just maybe we can get her that toy?” 

This? This is why I love him so.  

I explained I had already searched it and found coupon codes.  

I said “you know, it could all be a bunch of BS, all of it, but if we do it, we do it with an open heart on our side and not worry about if it’s legit or not on the other side, right?”  He agreed. He made a great point: “look, even if it’s all bogus, then probably things may not be thAt great for the kid regardless, right? So let’s help make magic for another child anyway.”

I’m ordering the item tomorrow.

Every child should believe in magic, and if I can help them believe, then I and my kick ass husband are going to. 

A few years ago, someone told me I do nice things but I talk about them, so it was Like was trying to get recognition for them. Sometimes I talk about doing things for others, sometimes I don’t.  When I do talk about them, it’s not to get recognition for them, it’s that I want to spur other people to do the same in doing an act of kindness, no matter how small.  Yesterday there was a mass shooting in California.  People went about their day and then didn’t come home. The Sandy Hook kids went to school a few years ago and didn’t make it out alive.  Evil is alive and well.  I can’t prevent all the evil from happening. I can only fight the evil with little acts of kindness, and try to inspire others to do the same. Love Wins, right? 

I’ve tried to help people in the past and it has blown up in my face. I got disheartened and angry.  My husband said it best when he told me that I needed to do the kind thing, with true intent, and if it wasn’t received well or he kindness was abused, to try to be kind anyway. I won’t lie, I benefit from it.  It feels great to do nice things for others!  It also feels like I am making magic in my mom’s memory.  She would LOVE the little plan to help this mom give a little Christmas magic to her kids.  It’s eased my grief a bit.

Well, I am off to bed.  Tomorrow I will see how to get the toy to the family with some Santa magic to keep a little girl believing for one more year.  Sorry for any typos. It’s late and I am sleepy.  Plus I had to write this from my phone with my tired old eyes trying to see the screen.

Be kind. Happy holidays!

Love,

Messy. Xoxo 

 

Anxiety, The Tooth, and Me.

Yesterday I left the school in tears after dropping off my daughter.

She’s in kindergarten, at an age where school is fun.  She has hopped out of the car announcing “I love you Mommy!” every day since school started.  Yesterday was different.  Way different. We started off the day off kilter to begin with.  My Pinterestmom days are waning, and sadly, I am getting back to my old chaotic ways.  (I clearly need to work on this, but I admit, PinterestMomming, the act of having it all together and picturesque, is damned tiring, while my normal ways make me anxious.  More of this in another upcoming blog).  We were running late, and my son forgot a lot of items, making us more late, and me more stressed about being late.  Every time we’re late the principal gives me “the face”.  I don’t know why I care about what she thinks, and I hate the fact I feel red faced shame when I am late, but I do.  I guess it’s the perceived disapproval of my parenting skills. Normally that look sparks rage in me, but hers makes me feel like I have failed somehow.  Anywho, we got to school about 3 minutes late, which requires me to walk the little one in per school rules.

We headed in, as I said good bye to the boy.  The principal was at the door, but she was busy talking to someone.  This ended up causing chaos, as the staff became concerned as to whether or not to mark my daughter tardy, and did she need a pass?  There was several minutes of waiting while they discussed this, and she was finally told she should go to class.  That’s when it happened.  The little one had a full on, batshit meltdown of epic proportions. She cried, she wailed, she began to scream.  “Don’t go!  Don’t leave me Mommy!” she cried. I stood stunned.  She has never had a problem with separation.  The principal told me to go, and that she would calm her down and get her to class.  The little one wanted no part of it.  I saw her head pop around the principal’s shoulder (who was kneeling down trying to calm my daughter) as she begged me not to leave.  Her little face, with her little glasses…it looked so vulnerable, so fragile.  For a brief moment, Sandy Hook popped into my mind. Sandy Hook is close in proximity to us, and when it happened, I had a 6 year old in another school.  I knew what a 6 year old sounded like, giggled like, smelled like. It hit very close to home, not only in physical proximity, but in mental proximity.  For all my hard exterior, I still cannot think about that day, and those families without crying.  Especially because of that incident, I am mindful of always try to leave the kids with a loving goodbye.   The panic on her face made me want to take her with me.  I know, deep in my heart, that doing that would probably teach her the wrong lesson, but it doesn’t change the fact I sure thought about it.  I told her I loved her, got in the car, and cried.

I went to work, and I thought about it some more, and I cried silently at my desk.

Did I tell you that despite the fact people think I am kind of hard shelled and “British” stiff upper lip, I am really a big sentimental sap who cries quite a bit?

Yesterday was a bad morning, but the day before, when my husband had taken her to school, was bad too.  It has been a rough week for dropoffs.  I tried to chat with her about it last night.  She said it was the tooth that made her do it.  Her first loose tooth came about this week, and while it’s super wiggly, it’s hanging on.  The little one, for all her determination to be independent and a big kid, gets anxious when big kid things happen without her consent, such as having to start school, or losing a tooth.  She admitted she is terrified she will lose the tooth (“It’s ok, we’ll write the tooth fairy a letter.  She has ways of finding the teeth that go missing”, I responded.)  or that she might swallow it (“it’ll come out eventually, but the tooth fairy says it’s ok to let that one go”).  Blood was a concern.  I reminded her that there would likely be little no blood, and we talked about that one time, how she got a bloody nose, and she was just fine after. (Secretly, the tooth is a reminder of how big she is getting, and I kind of resent it.  On the other hand, the stress of it coming out is making her so upset that I’ll be glad when it finally does and she sees it’s ok. The tooth is not my friend.)  She seemed confident after our chat last night, and I thought we had made improvements.  I felt good, and she seemed to as well.

I spoke to my dad, and I told him about what had happened.  I explained that while the boy seems to grasp things on the first try, the little one needs a bit more time with some concepts.  I’m ok with this, and I try to find ways to help her when she struggles with grasping something.  What sits in the back of my mind is that I really hope she will like school.  She may have more challenges in school than her brother, so I am hopeful that she at least enjoys it.  If she at least enjoys school, perhaps the challenges will seem lesser. Perhaps she will zoom through school without an issue, and that would be great.  Regardless,  I want her to have the best opportunities and chances at a good education, and being comfortable in her environment is an important first step.  I held hope that our chat had served us well and that it would be better in the morning.

I turned on the news, and saw the Oregon school shooting.  I thought about the situation in the morning and her face, tiny and with her little glasses on, looking scared and begging me not to leave.  I lost it again.  It is devastating to me that one can’t send their kids to school without fear of them not coming home.  It breaks my heart that families across America are going through these shootings, year after year, and it seems to be becoming more commonplace.  It terrifies me that no end to them seems to be in sight. It makes me yearn for some sense of control of my environment, yet I know that when it comes to these occurrences and the senseless violence, no amount of control will help.

Today, the kids woke up with a smile.  They have me sing them a song every morning to wake them up.  I warble off key, with words that often don’t rhyme, and tickle and hug them awake.  They love it, and frankly so do I.  I spent a little more time enjoying those moments, the events of yesterday lingering in my mind. We got to school, and it seemed to be going well…right up until she had to walk to school, and the tears started to roll down her cheeks. I gave her an extra hug.  I gave her an extra kiss, and reminded her I wanted her to have a great day.  I told her I loved her.  Then I drove away, a fat tear running down my cheek.

I called the school nurse. I’m not normally a helicopter mom by any stretch, but I need reinforcements. We talked about the tooth.  We talked about the tears, the fears, and how I was worrying.  She is going to check on her, from a distance, throughout the day.  We will get her through this.  I think the nurse wants to help ME get through this.  In this big scary world, all I can do is love those kids, and have their back.  Maybe it’s separation anxiety, maybe it’s the darned tooth.  Maybe it’s a feeling of being overwhelmed, but whatever it is, we’ll get through it.

Tears Over a Stranger-My Life Wallpaper.

Driving to work today, I took my normal route through backroads to get to the office.  I’ve driven nearly the same route for about 12 years, through 2 jobs.  As I wound around the roads, passing houses, I came across a house I have been passing for those 12 years.  Over time, the house which once had peeling paint and looked a bit run down had been spruced up with new paint.  It’s owner (I assume) had been a gentleman who sat outside in the mornings, drinking his coffee and smoking a cigarette.  I saw him out there many a day, just watching the traffic roll go by as folks scrambled to get to their daily destination.  He seemed to be a constant.  Every time I passed him, as a child of a parent who died from lung cancer, I silently wished he would stop smoking, for his health and well being.  I did this every time I saw him out there puffing away.

Today, however, he was not out there.  What WAS there were a bunch of brightly colored signs that said loudly “ESTATE SALE”.  Underneath the bold, big lettering were smaller letters that said “come reminisce with Kathy”.  I mulled over what I had seen.  When was the last time I had seen him outside? I couldn’t remember.  Had he passed away? I didn’t know him.  I didn’t know if he had passed, but if he had, it made me sad.  The signs of “reminisce with Kathy” made my heart ache.  I didn’t know Kathy. Had no idea who she was.  What I did know, all too well, is how it feels to watch a loved one’s belongings be sold because there simply wasn’t enough space to keep them all. The signs begged for not only sales, but for a human connection.  I felt bad. Bad enough that my eyes teared up and I cried for a complete stranger.

As I finished my commute, I thought about why I had felt so sad.  I didn’t know these people, yet I felt so sad.  These people, while not even acquaintances, were part of my life’s wallpaper.  People who are strangers, yet somehow have woven themselves into my life by their very presence while I go about my day to day business.  Some you notice a little, some a lot, and some you don’t notice much at all until you realize that they aren’t there.

One particular person who fits this bill is Purple Jeep lady.  I may have even written about her before. She fascinates me.  Nearly every day I am driving to work, I pass a purple Jeep Cherokee, driven by a blond lady who seems to always be smiling.  I often wondered why she smiled so much while driving.  Did she simply love the drive?  Was she listening to Howard Stern? Was she rocking out to music that took her to a different time and place in her life? What was her secret?  What was her STORY?  I once saw her pulling out of her house and was kind of excited to see another glimpse of her life.  Her house had artificial flowers planted outside, by the looks of it, and I was surprised by this.  I wondered if she was happy because she MADE her world what she wanted.  Regardless, when I see her car drive by, I smile a little more.  Even the purple car makes the world a more colorful place.

That’s the funny thing about these people we see every day.  Sometimes, it’s fun to wonder about their lives, or to come up with your own story about them.  Everybody has a story, after all.  If I saw her out, I don’t think I would be able to approach her, as she’d probably think I’m a creeper.  What I’d want to say, is “I see you every day on my commute, and you look so happy, that you make me happy!”  I told you, makes me sound like a creeper.

This brings me back to the signs.  They were new to my life’s wallpaper today.  I sit here and wonder how Kathy is doing.  I wonder if she has had anyone come by to reminisce, to chat, to see how she is doing.  I wonder if she is ok.  I remember when my dad had the estate sale before he moved into a smaller house, selling much of the stuff he and my mom had accumulated. Many of the items that my mom had said I could have, things of sentimental nature, got sold accidentally because my dad simply wasn’t aware I had wanted them.  I didn’t realize he didn’t know.  Little things, like a doll chair my mom put her antique teddy bear on, and some of my old books. My mom’s china, which may be outdated but I loved to bits because we only used it for special occasions, like Christmas dinners.  Those plates reminded me of all the special dinners we had had together. I was so crushed to learn they were gone to strangers’ houses, but I hope they are loved by their new owners.  Learning those items were gone from my world reminded me harshly that big changes were in place.  Not only was my mom gone, but the house where so many memories of her were was being sold.  Her items, not needed any more, but wanted.

All these people I have on the fringe of my life.  They likely don’t notice me, but they are a part of my world by their very presence.  I wonder if there is anyone out there that believes the same of me.  I wonder what the “story” is they have made up about me, without ever saying a word.  Like Purple Jeep Lady, I need to smile more…you know, make them wonder what I am up to!

Hello Loveys!

Well, the first few days of school have come and gone.  My oldest blended in seamlessly.  Actually, he asked us to walk him in on the first day, but after we got just inside the building he announced “ok, I got it from here”.  Secretly I wonder if my husband bribed him with a pack of Pokemon cards to humor me, because I had a tough time with the little one starting Kindergarten.  I’m not sure why it hit me so hard.  Maybe it’s because she looked so little and vulnerable, or maybe because she voiced nervousness, and I was worried if she would enjoy school.  The first day, I went through the car line, and she hopped out, announced “Bye Mommy! Have a great day! I love you, and try not to cry!”  To which I responded by tearing up, trying to catch a glimpse of her in the rearview mirror.  I promptly hit the curb.  My son announced “Did we just hit the curb?  You really need to pull it together.”  And so it began.

My last post was about my fear of getting things in order for the new schedule.  It’s been…..ok.  I tried a few crockpot meals. Once was a success, and the other was an utter failure.  I realized I am not a fan of one pot meals with meat and veg and potatoes all together in the crock.  Everything looked the same color and it skeeved me out.  Oh well, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  The kids didn’t care too much, as I had made the strange and unusual decision to go have ice cream before dinner.  Why? Because it was as hot as the devil’s asshole outside and sometimes, you have to be a rebel.  Ok, I’ll admit it.  I think I was also fueled by the happenings of the day, which were fueled by asshats and sanctimommies. You get that, sanctimommies?  I gave my kids ice cream.  Before dinner!  Take that bitches!

sancti

Let me explain.  Today was, as I mentioned, hot as hell.  Especially for the Northeast in September.  Schools actually closed at half day because it was so hot and despite us paying ridonkulous amount of taxes, our schools have no AC.  Old buildings, building codes, money, safety reasons all contribute to why the schools have no central air or even window units.  Most of the schools in the surrounding towns announced a half day last night.  Not my stellar town, though.  They waited until school was about to start in 5 minutes.  Way to give us time to plan!  Now, I found this irritating, but not as irritating as some.  This was probably due to me assuming that my town would shut down half day but not announce it until the last minute.  I expect this sort of thing, and mentally prepare.  It was inconvenient.  It was piss poor communication.  It was frustrating. I get it.

I went on Facebook, which should be the bane of my existence but is really my addiction, and saw numerous posts on the school and town pages by parents.  I scrolled through the posts and saw lots of people who were pissed that they were told after school started that it would be an early dismissal.  There was one mom, however, who was determined to be the ANGRIEST MOM OF ALL TIME about it, and she demanded that we all bombard the Board of Ed with phone calls.  She was saying such thing as “I will not be calm when it comes to my children!”  Her anger spiraled until it was clear she simply had to be the biggest, baddest mommy of them all, It made my brain curl.  We’ve all seen these moms.  The one that has to be the MOSTEST. They have to be the bestest, the mostest, the most on top of it all, the most defensive of their kids, the most of it all.  They are mostly annoying.   Usually I let it go like water off a duck’s back.  IMG_7008

Another mother posted that while it was frustrating, to call the BOE with our frustrations but to keep in mind it’s the first few days of school, and it should improve.  The other mother got mad.  She will NOT calm down when it comes to her babies!! Calm mom explained she is calm because getting upset on facebook isn’t helping anything, and that if she is calm about the communication flub, her kids will feel calm and that she has control of the situation.  I thought about it.  She made a lot of sense.  That’s when angry mom threw out the gauntlet “I’m glad I don’t have YOUR parenting skills!

Wait…what?

OH NO SHE DIDN’T!  Sweet shit, she DID.  and that is so not ok with me.sc

Look, I have people in my life that I know deep down find my mothering skills not to their liking. I’ve had comments made to my face, and some behind my back. Some I’ve never heard.  The fact is, I have gotten angry about it, but have learned to laugh it off.  I do what I need to do to raise my kids the best way I know how.  I raise them to live in a real world.  I pad that world a little bit, I shield them from the ugliest bits, but they see a lot.  I do what millions of other moms on this Earth do…I do my best.  Sure, there are times I look on something and go “I probably wouldn’t do that again” or “I can do better”.  But I do the best I can with what I’ve got.  Today, my kids ate ice cream before dinner.  And then they snacked on fruit.  Not my best mothering moment, but a happy memory was had by all, they felt like they “got away with something special” and no harm was done.  Tomorrow they’ll get extra broccoli or something and the world will be balanced.  🙂  This will make another mother’s head turn in a 360 degree swivel, and that’s ok.  Not your kids, not your mommy choices.   Sometimes I see other moms doing something that wouldn’t be my style.  I shrug, not my kids, not my choice, not my style, but not my business either. Maybe I don’t agree with that one thing for me, but I DO like how they do such and such.  As long as the kids are healthy and not harmed, it’s not my place to comment on someone else’s parenting.  The fact is, commenting on someone’s parenting is a very, very bad idea for the most part.  Even if the comment passes in the blink of an eye, it’s remembered.  It’s pretty much in bad taste, and a high risk for getting a swift talking to or worse.

Sanctiangrymommy felt differently.  She tossed that comment out there and I, even though it was addressed to someone else, got MAD. It is not ok to shit on someone’s parenting just because it differs from yours.  Even if you think “she’s crazy for doing that” you just don’t say it.  I’ve caught myself on a couple of occasions, and immediately felt guilty.  Who am I to judge?  Maybe it’s the fact that I often second guess how well I am doing.  I work full time, my house is a wreck for much of it (clean enough to be healthy, messy enough to be lived in, yet never good enough for me to be comfortable.) I am often running kids from one place to another, trying to get it all done, and sometimes only succeeding in some of it.  I, like any other parent, sometimes go “Am I doing this ok??” The fact is, I am questioning myself plenty, because I love my kids more than life itself, and don’t want them in a lifetime of therapy or worse. It’s easy to compare yourself to the next parent and say “well at least I am doing that better”.  It’s wrong, but it happens.  Everyone wants to believe we are doing the right thing, because the thought of failing isn’t just failing ourselves, but our kids too.  None of us want to fail our kids. I don’t need other people questioning my parenting, and I surmise you don’t either.  Today made that so clear to me. It’s the sense of self righteousness that angry mom had that she could just roll that insult out there.  To just lay those shitty words out there in a public forum, to a woman she doesn’t know.  Her opinions mean nothing.  But those words just sat there.  Her judgement. Sitting there.

“That is NOT OK”. I responded.

“Puhleeze” she wrote.

I reiterated…that what she did was NOT ok. I kept saying it.  It’s ok to be frustrated, angry, upset, but it is not ok to shit on another parent’s parenting skills that way.

Calm Mom messaged me.  She thanked me for being the one person who stood up for her.  Nobody else did.  I sat…waiting.  Where were the parents, banding together to say “It is not ok.  We are all doing the best we can!”?  I dunno, but not one was to be found.  It bothered me, all damned day.

Seeing other parents supporting each other makes me happy.  Parents that admit their foibles and struggles should be supported, not torn down.  We should be able to laugh good naturedly at our mutual stumbles and strides.  Sometimes, I need some emotional support, to know that I am doing a good job, and I’m sure any of you reading this might enjoy the same.  If you see a mom getting picked on, do what we tell our kids to do…stand up and say something.  Try to be less judgy when it comes to what other parents are doing. Be mindful that what works for one family dynamic may not work for another.   We all do this parenting thing a bit differently, with different styles and views, but we all do it with love. With hope.  It would be nice to do it with some support.

Be kind, be mindful.

Why I Might be Crazy. Well, a Small Part of Why I Might Be Crazy

This week has been a big, swirling, steaming pile of horseshit.

I won’t get into too many details, but any time you have to deal with the government or government workers who are ovewhelmed and working on a flawed system, you’re in for a suckfest of a ride. That, combined with raging PMS, a chaotic week, and general day to day chaos, made me one small step away from being a mental patient this week.  I was cranky, and grumpy, and more rage-y than usual.   I apologized to the kids for being a bit short tempered this week.  The Laid Back Kid, who is almost always agreeable, said “It seemed like you had a stressful week.  I don’t blame you for being grumpy.  My question is though, why do you get so stressed out”?

I thought about it.

I thought about it some more.

“On a basic level, it’s not just the physical stuff of running around, commuting and driving around, and daily tasks.  It’s that my brain doesn’t seem to ever shut down” I said.  “I spend all day, every day, doing a constant rundown of thoughts, generally about what has been done, what needs to be done, how best to do it, when it needs to be done by, and how to keep everyone safe, happy and healthy while doing it.”

“That sounds exhausting, Mom.” He responded.

“It is, Let me give you an example of just some of what my brain is doing all day”

Here is a rundown of just SOME of the things running through my brain druing the day..  (Warning, this is going to make your brain want to melt.)

Wake up

“Ugh, I don’t wanna.  I just don’t wanna.  Can I call out today?  I ache all over and feel like I haven’t slept in weeks.  No, I can’t.  I have to get him to camp, and I need to make his lunch, get his clothes ready, and hopefully get us there in time.  I can’t be late.  Why am I always late? Ok, I’m up, I’m up. Don’t step on the dog, I need to cut the dog’s nails.  It’s just so hard because he hates it and really, I should go to the vet or the groomer, but I don’t have the money.  Ugh, I’ll do it later. Maybe tonight.  What am I doing tonight? I know I have to be somewhere.  Oh jeez, I need to run him to a birthday party right after camp.  Can’t be late.  Shoot, I don’t have a gift.  I FORGOT THE GIFT! I’ll go on my lunch break.  Damn, I can’t, I have to grab some shorts for the kids on lunch.  I’ll grab a gift card on my 15 minute break.  How much is the right amount for a school friend’s birthday gift card?  Don’t want to give too little, but I don’t have that much until payday.  Damnnit. I’ll figure it out.  I need to take a shower.  My hair, oh sweet cheese and crackers, look at this hair.  Thank God I am getting it colored tomorrow because the amount of grays gets worse every time they appear.  How did I get so old? I don’t feel that old, but my hair looks old.  Maybe I should change my hair.  Change the color?  Change the cut? Def not the cut.  remember that time I got it cut and I looked HUGE? I don’t look good with short hair but I love sexy little short hair cuts.  It isn’t meant to be.  Why is this bathroom such a mess? Put the seat down boys.  Ugh, I need a whole new toilet seat. No money this week, maybe next week.  It would be nice if I could sea enough to put my eye makeup on.  How did I go from 20/20 vision to this bad?  Dr says it’s because my eyes are getting old.  I should be grateful to age, some people don’t get the chance. PAUSE. Think of mom, she didn’t get the chance, stop being so sad about aging, be glad for it.  Seasons change.  I am lucky to have the friends I do.I can’t believe we have been friends for so long.  How long? OMG, how is that possible? I am old.  I guess I am also lucky for the realization some friends weren’t my friends at all.  It sucks.  God it does, but in the long term it is better to know and move forward on my own.  Ok, so what do I have to do today? get him to camp, work, get him from camp, get him to party, run to get giftbag for niece’s part, run home to wrap gifts and do dishes, pick him up, go to sister in law’s to pick up other child, hang out for a bit to relax before coming home to get the kids to bed, who I know will be overtired, but hopefully they can sleep tomorrow while I get my hair colored.  Once I get back from the salon I need to get everything together and packed up for the party…where are all the swimsuits? Shit. I don’t know where my swimsuit is. Oh crap…crap crap, I said I would bake cookies.  When I can I bake cookies? I need to get the rest of their back to school stuff done.  Tomorrow night, I need to prep for Sunday’s outing.  I am looking forward to that, kind of can’t wait, but so much stuff to be prepped and ready, not to mention I need tickets.  I hope the weather is good. That reminds me, if the person watching TD Monday,switches their flights, I need to find someone else to watch her. Wait, her? THEM.  he has no camp or school.  God I need to plan better.  Should I work from home? Or will that be frowned upon?  I may need to work from home thursday when we have orientation.  Shoot. I will need to find a new plan.  I need to go grocery shopping before school starts,.  That reminds me, I need to….what did it remind me of? Oh Yes, I need to get a grocery list together from my pins so I can give a shot at using the crockpot so we don’t need to eat so late after we get back from work/school.  I know the boy will be picky, hopefully I can find something he will eat.  I need to be tougher on him about the pickiness, at least a little bit. I think that the only way we can get out the door when school starts is to pack lunches the night before (but won’t the bread get soggy? How do other mom’s get around this problem? I hate soggy sandwiches!) and I’ll also need to put clothes out the night before. I’ll also need to prep dinner for the next day the night before.  Jeez! It feels like I am living the next day before the present day even begins! It feels like I don’t have time to myself these days.  Oh well, As long as I can watch RuPaul’s drag race, I’ll be ok.  That’s just an hour a week, right? When is the new season?  Last season wasn’t as good as the others, I hope they do better next time. I want to go to a drag show.  So much fun!  But then I need a sitter, and money, and plans…and oh my gosh it makes me tired thinking about it.  I need to think about what we will have for dinner tonight.  I’m hungry.  I’ll eat when I get to work. What am I going to wear today? Shoot, can’t find anything I am looking for!!  We’re going to be late!  I haven’t even made his lunch yet!”

THAT IS BEFORE I HAVE EVEN DRIED MY HAIR.

Did your eyes cross and your brain melt from all of that?  Mine did! That is from the time I get up, take a shower, slap on some makeup, and before I even get dressed or dry my sopping wet hair. That?  Right there?  Is why I am stressed out.  My brain rattles on an inner dialogue of everything I need to do, all the time.  It analyzes, has commentary, panics,, calms itself down, and begins again.  A running calendar, timetable, spreadsheet, of all that must be done, when it must be done, and the logistics of how it will get done.  It runs a to do list rivaling major companies at times. This insanity continues all day.  It’s ADD-like in nature, bouncing from one thought to the next, then backing up reminders of what I need to do.  People tell me to right it in a calendar, then I can relax.  I countered this with the time I forgot to jot down a major thing, and forgot about it, trusting my calendar more than my brain’s calendar.  Needless to say, I missed the event, and felt a fool.  I’ve been hesitant ever since.

I look at this and cringe.  No wonder I am so tired.  So stressed.  So chaotic and crazy.  In some ways, the constant stream of information keeps me on top of things, and I manage fairly well under pressure.  But sometimes? It’s tiresome.  I saw a cartoon once of a woman whose brain was doing the same thing, and I suddenly felt not so alone.  How do I find the quiet? The calm? How on earth do you supermom’s get it all done, and still have time to relax at least a tiny bit? Share with me.  Share your secrets, so that my brain can be quiet.

Love,

Messy