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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.

 

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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.

 

Let Them Be Chickens

freerange

So, it’s official.  I am officially on the PTSA board of our school as of today.  I am still wondering if I have done the right thing, and also just what I have gotten myself into. My default is to jump in with both feet, and have already been brainstorming some fundraising ideas.  I was told to relax, hold back, and take a “let’s see” approach.  That’s not really my style.  On one hand, I am chaos personified.  I’m the mom screeching into the parking lot at the last minute, but I get there.  I am the mom who gets it done, even if it doesn’t look pretty.  There is some method to my madness, and I usually need at least a baseline plan in place to keep the stress levels down.  I’m not very structured, but I need a basic idea of a plan to get started.  At the moment, I’m floundering and I feel dazed.  I’m not a fan. I will therefore sit back, and try very hard not to think too much about things.  It just won’t be easy.  I’m more of a doer than a not think about it type of gal.

After getting voted in, I was chatting with a mom friend about the changes, about summer, after school care next year for her daughter, and she asked how I manage to work from home when the kids are home.  She was surprised by my answer.

“Well, the older one will play video games or read and entertain himself pretty quietly, and the younger one plays outside or with the neighbor kids.  I’m trying this whole “free range parenting” thing out.”

She looked stunned.  The video game comment gave her pause and a raised eyebrow.  The free range parenting comment made her appear quite surprised.

The fact is, my son is an old soul.  He is extremely smart (way smarter that me, to be honest).  He’s responsible, a rule follower, and very mature.  (Not like me).  He gets great grades and is respectful and kind.  That, along with some chores, is his “job”.  As long as he is doing his job, and his grades are good, I don’t sweat the small stuff.  I let him play video games with his friends after school.  Sure, I keep the time down to a decent amount, but I let him play.  It’s a form of socialization, and he enjoys it.  It’s also sparked an interest in coding, which could be good for him.  He accompanied me to the apple store and jumped into a coding class there.  The instructor was very impressed with his knowledge and demeanor.  I may take him for more.  Currently, my son and his bike have disappeared down to the school to go hang out on the field/playground with his friends.  He has his sister’s ipod which has wifi, so he can text me if he needs me.  I’m only a few minute drive away.

The little one looks most forward to racing outside each day.  I can see her from my home office window.  I can call to her.  We have a system, and it works.  She never leaves the front of the house without telling me where she is going.  There are also a group of great kids in the neighborhood that she plays with.  The parents know each other, watch out for the kids, and text each other when kids are on route from one house to another.  It’s working.  I now have a happier child, who enjoys being outdoors and playing with friends.

For years, I have struggled with balance.  Work vs home, fairness  with the kids, and a constant battle of how their childhood is vs mine was.  When my son got older, my daughter was still 4 years younger, so it was easier to keep them both inside.  With my work schedule, there wasn’t any time to just hang with the neighbor kids.  Growing up, I raced home, did homework, and jumped on my bike.  I rode the back roads about a mile from my house to my best friends, and we would go back and forth between our houses, playing, riding, laughing, and making memories.  I did this when I was about 8 or nine.  My parents trusted me to do right, to call when I arrived, and to do be responsible.  And you know what?  I WAS.  I DID.  I called, and I was responsible.  I knew quite clearly that bad behavior, or not doing as I should would eliminate my freedoms.  Looking back, I believe my mom would drive the neighborhood to make sure I was safe and keep an eye on what I was up to.  I fell off my bike once and she was there in minutes, without a phone call.  (no cell phones when I was a kid, folks!).  Nowadays kids have technology at their fingertips.  Luckily they have ipods and the neighborhood is a wifi hotspot, so they can text me if they need me.  That’s more than I had as a kid.

playborhood.jpg

The fact is, kids were kids, but in many ways, we were more grown up than today’s kids.  We had more freedoms and we learned to handle those freedoms appropriately.  We learned responsibility.  We had street sense.  The small freedoms I received made me feel more grown up, and I behaved better.  Why? Because I didn’t want to lose the privileges I had been given!  Cause and effect is an important learning tool.

It occurred to me one day my kids might not really know how to cross the street safely.  As in, which lane cars drive in, where to look, how to listen for cars, how to double check.  I was horrified.  The fact was though I was always with them and guided them. I started teaching them more street sense.  How to manage if I wasn’t there.  How to be safe, and to help their friends be safe. I started taking them on bike rides, to learn the layout of the neighborhood, where cross walks are, and how to read the traffic signals.  It’s an ongoing lesson, but an important one.  I keep an eye on them, but I am allowing more freedom and choices their way as they get older.

I notice other parents doing the same more than before.  Maybe I’m just more in tune with it because giving the kids so much freedom is a bit daunting at first. The fact is, I am raising future adults.  I have to balance teaching them a healthy dose of reality (ie. stranger danger, car safety, etc) vs teaching them to be independent and responsible.  I need to teach them that outside is where magic happens.  Healthy habits, spending time in nature is good not only for the body, but for the soul.  Not to mention, they sleep AMAZINGLY now.

I’ll still be nervous.  I’ll still keep an eye on them when they don’t know I am watching.  At the end of the day though, this free range parenting, allowing the kids more freedom and responsibility has thus far been a good thing.  The better they do, the better I will do. There are parents allowing their kids to navigate the city by themselves, take the subways, etc.  I’m not there yet.  We’re keeping with the neighborhood and going from there.

 

She’s a Bleeder! A Hungry Bleeder! And on the PTA?

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I should have known.

The moment on Sunday morning, when my husband laid next to me in bed and said “I’ll have to see if the fridge is cold”, that it was going to be that kind of week.  At first I looked over at him and lowered my glasses…thinking his statement was similar to “I’ll have to see if a rock is hard”.  But then…realization kicked in.  My eyes widened, my mouth opened.  “The fridge is broken?!?  Oh NOOOO!”

Look.  I’m not a monster, but I’m a (relatively) healthy woman with curves.  I like food.  To be honest, I didn’t realize how much time the fridge and I spent together in a day until it died.  I make dinners, snacks (husband does school lunches), but I go in the fridge a lot.  Suddenly, there was a freezer that worked, but strangely, no fridge.

We spent Sunday going form store to store looking for a fridge.  Do we get a cheapo fridge to tied us over for a while until we eventually got something we loved?  Do we get what we love?  Do we get that sweet ass fridge that was wicked expensive but you could knock twice on the window and it would light up a drinks compartment?  Our budget set the tone.  We ended up with a great fridge that had what we wanted, lots of space, and no water dispenser.  Why? Because we didn’t want the hassle of getting someone to hook it up.  Do you know how hard it can be to find a fridge without a water dispenser?  No easy feat.  The only issue? It won’t be delivered until Saturday, so I’m using a bar fridge for a few days.  I feel like I am back in college but there is no tapioca pudding in there.

To add insult to injury, I also got sick.  Effectively, when I breath, it CRACKLES.  If you need to imagine yourself by a roaring, crackling fire, just have me come stand there and breath.  The crackling is no joke.  My voice is wrecked too, which means I fluctuate between Herman Munster and some high pitched squeaky baby voice.  Interesting, considering that I teach classes online.  Every day is a surprise!  I never know what sound will emit from my head.

Something else I wasn’t expecting to emit from my head was blood. I was sitting in my office when I realized I got my first nosebleed.  I ran to the bathroom, leaving a blood trail.  Then, I coughed. I coughed so violently, blood went EVERYWHERE.  Now I look like I got punched in the face, there is crime scene looking blood splatter, and I don’t really know what to do, so I start wiping it up, while i’m bleeding. Then I hear my daughter so I shove paper in my nose and frantically start cleaning before she sees it.  She comes down just as I am getting up a big plop of blood on the counter, and seems amazed I have never had a nosebleed (She gets them somewhat often).  I start to feel the cough coming, so I jam my face in a wad of toilet paper to catch the spray of blood while I hack and wretch violently.  Of course once one of these coughs starts, it just won’t stop.

“You should probably sleep with an ice pack and a bucket” she says, kisses my shoulder, and heads up to bed.

I just cleaned up the blood trail in my office.

I hate blood, by the way.  Hork.

Nosebleeds can be kind of scary but mostly are kind of funny.  What makes the body just go…”ok, bleed through one of those front smeller holes!” And one size of your nose just becomes a disaster?

But again, I digress.

Our school district is under complete chaos.  I’ll write more about it probably tomorrow, after I’ve rested and mulled it over.  Tonight, however, I am left with decisions.

Y’all, they asked me to consider being one of the PTA moms.

ME.

You know that scene from Bad Moms when Mila Kunis is trying to get the kids to school, and the dog ends up having to go to the vet, coffee is spilling, life is chaos, etc?  That’s my life.  Only I’m chubbier, drive an SUV, can’t walk in heels anymore and need more coffee to survive. In other words…I’m the antithesis of the stereotypical PTA ladies.  Hell, I’m not even a lady.  I’m the mom who accidentally drops an F bomb without realizing it (and then honestly not caring that much).  I am the mom who makes it to the functions, just in time, screeching in to the parking lot and running in the door while rubbing lipstick off my tooth with my finger (because I’m British and have a snaggletooth…the struggle is real, y’all). That being said, I make it.  I’m calmer now, and I’ve got this two kids deal in control much more of the time. I’m a full time working mom, with two kids, a husband with an opposite schedule, and I do what I can. I do my BEST.  Sometimes my best sure doesn’t add up the way I want it to, but my best is what I’ve got.

The PTA moms find me to be ok.  I’m that mom they warn their friends about before meeting me, but they seem to like me.  I’m the mom that took on coaching the boys soccer team when nobody else wanted to step up.  I make it work in my own way. My kids are polite, well behaved, so they know I must be doing something decent.  I think I have a reputation for being direct and honest. I say what I think, but I look at both sides of things.

But PTA? With my already having no time self?  I dunno.  Part of me wants to be a part of something great for the school, especially during a tough time the district is going through.  I want to show my daughter and son I can do it. Maybe I want something warm and fuzzy to melt my cold little heart.  Plus, I’m kind of honored they want me to consider it.

I have some things to mull over.

Right after I clean up those blood spatters I just noticed on my floor.

 

Little Assholes and The First Ride

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bikeSometimes. kids are little assholes.  As parents, our jobs, should we do it successfully, is to not raise little assholes, but it has to be said, some parents are failing mightily.

Let me explain.

This is the year I have been giving the kids a bit more leeway and independence.  I let them play out in the neighborhood more, my son goes on bike rides with his friend who lives around the corner.  Now that they are a bit older, it’s time to trust them more, and I know they will keep an eye on each other.  I can watch them out the window, or from the front stoop, but they are feeling more responsible and independent.  Part of this was their age, but a big part was knowing at even the little one’s age I was always out playing or riding bikes with friends.  I went out right after homework and stayed outside until the street lights came on.  I had no cell phone.  I was fine.  It taught me responsibility, street smarts, and I got fresh air.  My friends and I all looked out for each other.  It made for a good childhood.

My children, on the other hand, haven’t had as much of that.  With my work schedule, they got home close to dinner time.  After homework, it was already starting to get dark.  I was nervous about them being outside while I was cooking.  There weren’t too many kids on the street.  The result? Too much screen time, not enough fresh air.  Another result? My daughter is almost 8 and couldn’t ride a bike without training wheels.  This never bothered me, and it didn’t bother her either.  That is, it didn’t bother her until the asshole neighbor kid started commenting on it. Then of course, the other kids had to tell the tale of when they learned how to ride a bike. I watched my daughter’s face crumble a bit, then tighten with resolve.

That night, I knew.  I grabbed a wrench and took her training wheels off.

The next day, I took her outside and started showing her how to balance on her bike.  She was nervous, but I could see strains of confidence beginning to appear. Just when I thought we were almost where I could start teaching her to use the pedals, the asshole kid came up.  He started again with the brag.  Not even a humble brag, but a full on, almost neener neener kind of brag.  I tried to be an adult.  I told him she was learning, and it would be more helpful if he cheered her on.  I said “let’s keep it positive!”.

He persisted in his assholish behavior.  I told him to go home.

At that point, I picked up her bike and wrangled it in my car.  “Hop in” I told her, “we’re gonna learn how to ride that bike!”  I drove down to an office park, knowing on a Saturday it would be a ghost town.  We got down to business, practicing balancing.  There was some whining. Some self doubt appeared for both of us.  And then, just like that, her feet hit the pedals.  Remember that scene in Forrest Gump when the braces come off and you see that sudden realization and determination in his face?  That was the same look she had.  Within 10 minutes, she was whizzing around the parking lot.

I clapped.  I cheered.  I danced.  I teared up a little.

I was just so damned proud.  I was proud of her for sticking with it.  I was proud of her grace when that kid was giving her balls.  And, if I’m honest, I’m proud I was able to teach her.  Riding a bike for a kid is a big deal.  I always figured I’d never be able to teach them, and that my husband would be the one to do it.  Yet I managed to teach both kids, and I think they’ll remember it was something I was able to do for them.  Kids remember our successes.  They remember (and sometimes land in therapy because of) our failures.  We don’t get an instruction manual.  We’re winging it every day as parents.  So that little success of “I can do it! I can teach her how to ride that bike!” was LIFE for me in that moment.

Parenting is just like writing a novel.  There are characters and stories, twists and turns, heroes and villains, successes and failures. We as parents work tirelessly, endlessly on our greatest works of art.  Our kids.  We love them, nurture them, and hope that their story will have more smiles than tears, more success that failures.  We are just one character of many in their story, but we play very important parts to that story.

When we got home, she hopped on her bike, and rode is smoothly down the sidewalks and back.  The kid who had given her a hard time came by and was shocked to see her riding without training wheels.  The other kids in the neighborhood also looked surprised.  “You learned to ride that in one day?” he asked her.

Yep, my mama taught me how.”

Best sentence I’ve heard in a long time.

 

 

 

 

 

Update on getting gutted

About two months ago, I went in for a hysterectomy.  At 43 (at the time) I was on the younger side for this surgery (at least I would like to think so!).  Since that time, women have been asking me often how it went, my opinion of the surgery, how painful it was, and whether it was worth it.  I figured I’d post my update to my last post on the surgery so I could answer some of those questions for those who were curious.  If you’re easily queasy, you may want to pass over this post.

The why.  As a woman with fibroids, VERY heavy bleeding, and pretty bad PMS, my doctor recommended the surgery, especially after a polyp appeared.  Originally, I was surprised when the dr. mentioned the idea.  It seemed so drastic.    Also, I was concerned about being out of commission for what she said could be 6-8 weeks.  How would I cope with 2 kids, a husband with an opposite schedule, and my own job? She said the alternative was to try meds to alleviate the symptoms I was having.  The meds lasted all of one round.  I was so miserable and cramped on them I immediately called the Doctor and said “let’s move forward with surgery”.

Surgery was scheduled for January 10th.  I was battling on getting my insurance situated until about 2 days before.  It was a tad stressful.  At the last minute, everything fell into place.  I arrived at the hospital anxious and kept getting teary.  My first worry was my kids.  I think once you’re a parent, any type of surgery makes you a bit anxious because now you have other people to be responsible for. I was also anxious about sharing a room.  I HATE sharing hospital rooms.  I did it once and it was such a bad experience that I ended up getting moved to a private room.  Luckily the dr soothed my fears by letting me know I would be on the women’s floor (aka childbirth and ladybit floor) and would have my own room. The women’s floor is probably the best floor to stay on.  The nurses are SPECTACULAR.  The dr warned me to take it easy after surgery, and not to put anything “up there” for at least 6 weeks.  She then proceeded to tell me that if I ignored that advice, I could have vaginal or INTESTINAL PROLAPSE.  In other words, my intestines could fall out of my snootch.  Talk about instilling fear into a girl.  I swear I had nightmares about that conversation for DAYS.

After surgery, I was a bit sore, but nothing too bad.  I was up and walking around the ward the next afternoon.  Mostly I got tired super quick.  I was released the day after surgery and came home to be a potato for a week.  I lived the potato life for a week and watched all the Downton Abbey.  Yep, every episode of every season. I walked around the house every hour or so, but otherwise took it super easy.  (It’s a rare day when I get to do absolutely nothing.)  After week two, I went back to work.  Everyone, including me, was a bit surprised, but a girl has to make that money, and frankly, the short term disability I could get wasn’t going to cover all the bills.  I am super fortunate that I can work from home and that my company is so supportive.  I started back on a full time work from home basis until I was about 4 weeks post op.  Then I went back to the office.

Since the surgery, I feel GREAT.  No longer am I taken down for 3-4 days each month.  No longer do I worry about bleeding through my clothes.  I no longer feel so stressed each month.  My PMS has subsided quite a bit.  I still have my ovaries, so luckily I am not going through menopause. I no longer get that awful bloating.   I feel like myself only way better. The surgery for me has been life changing in so many small ways.  I feel….awesome.

They say some women go through periods of depression after the surgery.  I didn’t, but I can see why some would.  I briefly went through a stage where I would see babies and think “I can’t have another now” and got sad for a moment.  Never mind the fact I am not prepared financially or even emotionally for another child, nor the fact that when I had my daughter almost 8 years ago I was considered high risk for “advanced maternal age”.  I know I wasn’t going to ever have another baby by choice, but perhaps knowing that I simply now could not physically do so even if I wanted to was a small shock to the senses.  For those women who wanted children and had no choice but to have the hysterectomy, I can see depression as being completely normal and somewhat devastating. I also know that there were days I felt a bit crappy and sore after surgery but realized I looked totally fine on the outside.  I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy.  This means that I had a few small incisions on my stomach, but otherwise looked totally fine.  My insides looked a bit like a dumpster fire, I’m sure.  Cut and stitched and repositioned.  There were sore days, but nothing I found unmanageable.  One odd feeling was that I sometimes got what felt like ligament pain from when I was pregnant.  It was the same sensation.  Lastly, my skin stuck together from one of the steri-strips and almost got infected at the incision.  Because I couldn’t see that well, I almost missed the issue. At first I thought it was the incision itself that looked like that, but instead it was my skin.  It was gross, y’all.

For those women considering the surgery….I can tell you it’s one of the best decisions I have made.  I feel great, aside from some lingering fatigue.  Yes, you will get tired easily.  There will be some soreness.  You might get a bit sad about the loss of the parts.  But at the end of the day, I feel good.  There is a lot of cancer in my family, and while I had the genetic testing and came back fine, it’s one less organ to worry about, if that makes sense.  The pros outweigh the cons for me.  2 months in and I feel so much better.  It’s not for everyone, but for those worrying, I can say my experience was a good one!

 

 

The Day to Day

During football season last year, I used to think to myself “it’ll be nice once football ends and things calm down a bit”.  Then the holidays rolled around, and I thought “imagine all the things I can accomplish once the holidays are over with and thinks calm down!”.  The fact is, things never really calm down for me for very long.  Even the mundane, day to day stuff keeps me pretty busy.  Currently I have the little on in gymnastics one night a week, tutoring one day a week, but aside from that, I still find myself wondering when “quiet time” will be available.  Life is just always so BUSY FEELING.   I can’t say it’s a bad thing, but some nights I must say I wish for a little bit of piece and quiet.  In the past few weeks alone, I have had major car issues, unwanted drama, have been on a hunt for another car, have been in the process to change my citizenship, and oh yes, did I mention balance all that with being a wife, mother and working full time?  So here’s how my life on the daily has been going.

For starters, our brakes on our family car started making a grinding noise.  At first it would grind for a minute or two, then stop and not reoccur.  Then one day, my husband drove the car and reported the brakes were grinding full time.  Our usual mechanic was out of town, so I drove it to another shop who works on our cars.  $600 bucks later, we had new brakes, new rotors, replaced bulbs, had had the car smoke tested, and a  cracked part replaced that the mechanic believed was causing the check engine light to come on.  Our car is due for emissions/registration, so I needed the check engine light issue resolved.  3 days later, the light was back on.  A scan of the codes indicated the right catalytic converter and 02 sensor were bad.  $1100 later, the car was fine.  Until the light came back on, this time indicating the OTHER catalytic converter was bad.  I have never seen pity in a mechanic’s face before.  He cleared the codes and told me to wait until the monitors set.  The next day, the monitors had set…no light.  He came and picked up my car and took it for emissions.  It passed!  A week later, husband drives it and the damned light comes back on.  I drive it, the light goes off.  I am chalking it up to the car doesn’t like the husband.

After all the car issues, we decided since the car is almost paid off that it might be time to look for another car.  Y’all…car shopping SUCKS.  Dealers sack you with hidden fees, and if you’re a woman, you can often also get the pleasure of being talked to like you are mentally impaired.  Did you hear the sarcasm there?  Yes?  Good.  Trying to find a car with something that every member of the family wanted was important.  We finally found a car, but dealing with the dealer has been a nightmare.  I had to turn into a difficult asshole and demand everything in writing.  I’m still unsure if the deal will go through, but I will find out in a few days.  Luckily we aren’t in a rush, so if it doesn’t go through, we have time to wait and keep hunting for what we want. Also, apparently if you speak to any dealer about a car, they will call you, daily, forever.

In the midst of all this, I had to travel an hour away for my immigration appointment.  I have been in the US legally as a permanent resident for most of my life.  I got my permanent residency as a child and never switched over due to a few factors. My dad got his US citizenship a few years ago and recommended I get mine.  Frankly, I didn’t have the money to do it.  He offered to pay for it for my birthday, so I decided to move forward with the process early last year.  Needless to say, my time here in the US, the fact I married an American 12 years ago and have 2 children make me a pretty easy case.  People think that becoming a citizen is a quick and easy process.  I can tell you, it’s not cheap, and for most people, it’s not easy nor quick.  Some people wait years.  I am lucky, as mine processed earlier than the government’s website even projected, and my case is really one of the easier ones.  I waited all of last year to get my interview appointment, and as luck would have it, it was scheduled for January 11th….the day after my hysterectomy.  I had to reschedule, which is typically a big no-no, but I couldn’t reschedule my surgery.  I called to reschedule, was told it was sorted, only to get a letter a couple of weeks later saying I couldn’t reschedule over the phone.  I frantically wrote a letter and mailed it off the same day with the form.  Then I berated myself for being a dummy and not sending it certified. I finally got a new date and time, and off I went.  If I’m REALLY honest, part of the reason I waited so long to apply is because I was afraid I would fail the civics test portion of the process.  They have 100 questions and ask you 10.  You have to get 6 right to pass.  I got the first 6 right, so the interviewer wasn’t going to ask me any more.  I said “can you ask me the other 4? I need to prove to my husband I studied and am not a dummy!”.  We had a good laugh.  I got all 10 right! This week I go for my oath ceremony, and then I am officially a US citizen.  It’s exciting. Apparently I can apply for a passport right at the oath ceremony, and I believe I can also register to vote as well.  I never had much desire to vote throughout my life, but now I can’t wait!

In the midst of all the happenings, I also had 2 birthdays in our house and drama as well.  Thankfully the drama has gone away, and it’s peaceful.  I had originally said I would move my blog, and I still might, but I’d prefer not to.  I see no reason to stop what I enjoy (writing) because of someone being a dildo.

My birthday was rough this year.  Two kids with the flu, everyone feeling a bit down, expensive car repairs, etc.  I ended up having to make some really tough decisions that day.  My husband sent me off for a pedicure and some down time, which was much appreciated and extremely needed.  Even though the day was rough, I entered 44 feeling pretty grown up, hopeful, and happy that so far I hadn’t caught the flu. I consider it a win.  Within two days of my birthday I woke up feeling light and happy.  It was like a weight had been lifted.  It was fabulous.

My Husband got us tickets to see the Dropkick Murphys, a favorite band.  He ended up staying home with the poor kiddos who were still sick, but sent me and a friend.  We had general admission, and spent the show 2nd row center, partying our asses off.  We dodged moshers and crowd servers, and even got up on stage for the last song.  I can’t explain just how awesome it is being on stage in a huge arena with a fantastic band, but it’s exhilarating!  It was exactly what I needed, and I got home feeling incredibly happy.

My son’s birthday was a couple of days ago.  I can’t believe he is 12.  He was born during the best and worst time of my life.  In the span of a few months, I married my soulmate and love of my life, had my son, lost my mother to cancer, found out my dad had cancer, moved house, went back to work, and had a bunch of other life changes.  My son was a primary factor in me getting through the tough times.  I can’t say I would have managed nearly as well had he not been born.  He gave me focus, a reason to get up each day and he taught me how to woman up and handle myself better than I ever had before.  Now he’s almost as tall as me, smarter than me, and an all round awesome kid, if I do say so myself.  I’m so lucky to be his mom.  For his birthday, he wanted some quiet time to play video games, then wanted lunch, to play mini golf (outside in the cold no less) and then to play laser tag.  Luckily our local sport place has both mini gold and laser tag, so off we went.  I had such a great time I am looking forward to going back again.  I left laser tag sweaty, red faced, and a little winded, but happy as could be.  My son was thrilled his parents jumped in and played, and a good time was had by all.  We got home and his neighbor friend came over to play video games with him.  A good time was had by all.  The next day the extended family took him out for dinner and cake.  He was thrilled.

It’s been a busy year so far. I started it by getting a major body part removed, and have been trucking along since.  People ask me all the time about the hysterectomy.  It’s honestly the best thing I have done in a while.  While I had a few tiny issues, the end result is that I feel fantastic. I went back to work 2 weeks later (working from home) full time, and haven’t looked back.

While I was in the citizenship appointment, the interviewer asked me a series of questions about whether I had been a part of a terror organization, or a drug cartel, among other crazy scenarios.  I burst out laughing and said “I’m a football/gymnastic mom of two, married to a man with an opposite schedule than mine, and I work full time. I wouldn’t even have time nor energy for that stuff!”. My life on the daily is not super exciting.  It’s not really all that interesting.  Last night I spent 3 hours trying to unclog a toilet, for instance.  Not exactly exciting stuff.  Still, my little life keeps me super busy, and happy.  Sometimes it’s about perspective.  When times get bad, there are always silver linings.  When people are jerks, there are always amazing people to be there for you.  When life gets too busy, a snowstorm will slow you down.  When luck isn’t on your side, know that better times are around the bend.  I’m looking forward to new experiences and changes!