What It Means to Be a Mom: Six Years In

What It Means to Be a Mom: Six Years In

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You say to yourself one day “I think I’d like to have a baby.”  Then you quickly mutter under your breath only slightly out loud… “What the hell was that?  Who said that?”  And then one day, you talk to your significant other about it.  You decide you’re ready to grow your family.  Maybe you get lucky and maybe it happens right away.  Maybe you have to try for a really long time.  Maybe you have to explore other avenues.  Maybe you find a middle-ground amidst all of the possibilities and before you know it, you’re sitting in the bathroom one morning peeing on stick after stick, with the same 2 pink lines showing up over and over again.  You think to yourself “This can’t be.  Better get a different kind.”  You pee some more.  You get the same answer over and over again.  You are pregnant.  A tiny human being is starting to form inside of your belly, and you spend the next few days stumbling through this weird hyper-aware haze of an existence where nothing really feels exactly real.  You go through the motions, but all you can think about is that teensy tiny little dot.  All of a sudden, the fog lifts a little and everything smells funny.  Oh my god why does it all smell like that?  You throw up.  A lot.  Maybe you don’t feel amazing.  Maybe you feel pretty great, but something is taking over and steering the ship.  It sure ain’t you!  You order large pizzas that sound like the best thing ever, after you haven’t been able to eat for 3 days.  One bite sends you running.  Your poor husband polishes it of for you instead.  You hope he doesn’t breathe your way.  EEEW.  Pizza breath.

Doctors appointments, schedules, shopping, building cribs, making plans, longing to sleep on your stomach again.  Consider cutting a hole in your mattress… bad idea?  It’s all coming together.  Before you know it, your 40 longest weeks ever is over and you get to hold your wriggling, wrinkly, slightly hairy little bundle of joy.  You learn that getting spit up on and having poop on your person isn’t really all that bad.  You’ll come to understand why a shower is one of the most glorious things life has to offer, and you’ll relish those precious 20 minutes alone whenever you can squeeze them in.  You learn hairy legs aren’t really all that bad, and you learn that sweatpants and a t-shirt make a perfectly acceptable wardrobe for about 8 weeks or so.  Then you will realize that you desperately need to wear something else.  Anything will do, and you get “all fancy” for your newborn just because you need to feel like a normal human again.  Then the baby will hork on your perfectly planned outfit and you’ll resort back to sweats and a t-shirt.  You learn that where it once took you a matter of minutes to get ready to leave the house, it will now take you about 3 hours or so.  You will forget something important.  It’s not the end of the world.  You also learn that you can’t think of anything else besides your new little bundle of joy.  They occupy every ounce of your brain space constantly.  They need you for everything, even if someone else occasionally steps in.  You can’t relax.  You can’t think straight.  You repeat everything when you finally do get to talk to an adult.  You have Mom Brain. I am six years in. I do not know when it goes away.  Does it?

The next 8 or 9 months are a little sketchy, albeit easier than the first 2.  You learn to exist on not much sleep, and you forget what hot food is like.  Is it weird that you learn to not really mind the occasional test-bite of a new baby food?  You get your baby to coo to you, and babble back.  You get your now squishy infant to belly laugh at the dumbest of things.  Dogs air-chomping and bubbles.  Ripping paper in half.  Sneezing.  Cross your legs tight though, so you don’t pee… it happens.  You get to watch them learn and explore and take in the world around you, and you’re almost drunk on watching all of that, because it really and truly is amazing on every level.  Eventually you learn that not every fever warrants a middle of the night E.R. visit, and you learn that babies are pretty resilient.  You call poison control when they suck on the glade plug-in and learn that they’ll be fine despite your inherent meltdown.  You’re not a bad mom.  Stuff happens.  You have tummy time and story time and talk-about-all-of-the-things time.  You learn that adult conversation is a precious commodity.  You talk to your baby like they know what you’re saying.  They babble back like they understand.

They start crawling and reaching and grabbing.  Everything goes in the mouth.  EVERYTHING.  Outlet covers go on.  You learn to keep an immaculate house from 2′ off the ground and down.  From just out of reach and up is the safety zone.  You’re good for now.  But then wait – um, excuse me?  Look who’s just pulled themselves up on the coffee table?  Oh we’re “cruising” now?  Great.  Time for shoes maybe.  Smooshing chubby, bendy baby feet into a sneaker… now that’s a challenge.  Taller reaching.  Pushing all of the buttons.  Always.  Head bonks.  Head wounds bleed like crazy.  You learn that lesson, too.  Around this time the stubborn streak kicks in too.  Maybe by this time, your baby can tell you “me do it.”  “Me do it” everything, except “me can’t really do it, so me pissed off.”  Do not help me though.  “Me do it.”  Tantrums commence now.   Every day we learn.  We teach.  We grow.  New milestones on the daily by now.  You start to set boundaries.  You learn enforcing them kind of sucks a little.  You cheer them on and clap and praise.  They grin those huge, slobbery toothless grins and try again.  Do it some more.  Soon enough, you have a toddler.  In one year you go from fuzzy, wrinkly mush to a full-fledged toddling little person.  They’re like tiny drunk people – constantly off-balance, falling down a lot, slurring their speech and pooping their pants.  This is your norm.

Time starts to fly by even faster.  Opinions and personalities form rapidly.  They learn how to talk back. How to sass.  How to crack jokes.  How to laugh.  How to be silly and inquisitive.  Ohhh… and then “Why?”  A little kid has the ability to make you feel like a complete bumbling idiot by asking that simple one-word question.  “Why?”  And oh, do they want to know answers.  All of the answers.  Nothing is off-limits you see, because their world grows and changes every single day.  They soak in everything even when you think they’re not listening.  They want to be everywhere they’re not supposed to, and they don’t care that you just want to sit down for 5 minutes.  You’re not going to.  You’re going to “come see it.”  You’re going to act like it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever  seen -whatever it is – and you’re going to shower them with hugs and kisses and thank you’s when they give it to you, because to them, it’s the best thing they’ve got, and they chose you to give it to.  You potty-train.  It’s shaky ground – uncharted waters for sure, but oh my God you have so much more money from not having to buy all of the diapers!!!  HALLELUJAH!!

You go through preschool and Kindergarten.  You address learning curves and abilities.  You watch them flourish.  You encourage growth. They make friends.  They make enemies.  You learn they have to start figuring things out on their own.  You get a tiny glimpse of who they will be in their lives.  You start to learn what makes them tick.  You see them cry at a sad part in a movie and you realize that they’re more than just toddlers now.  They’re tiny versions of who they will be when they’re big.  All grown up.  You help with homework.  They have homework now.  You read books.  They read books.  They crack jokes.  They learn skills.  Appearances start to matter.  You don’t just get to pick out their clothes when you shop anymore.  They play hard and they are no longer that sweet-smelling little baby that you used to cradle.  They’re stinky little kids who need a million baths, except “Mooommmmmm….. I don’t want to!”  We learn compromise.  We learn not to sweat the small stuff.  Nail polish on your dining room table is not the end of the world.  Seeing her face light up when she shows you the pedicure she just gave herself when it’s all over her toes?  That’s the priceless stuff.  That’s what you hang on to.

They want to help.  Always.  “Help” is code for “this is going to take 4 times longer now.”  But they want to be with you.  Your little shadow.  They want to help.  You acquiesce.  You give in.  You indulge their wants when it’s appropriate and you shoot them down sometimes too.  You never realized when you said all that long ago that you wanted to have a baby, just how much pressure there would be to do right by them.  To make the right decision.  To be responsible for raising this little person to be a productive member of society.  This parenting thing is tough, but you chose it.  They say hurtful things.  Maybe you don’t realize it, but you probably do too.  You learn to talk.  You teach love, kindess, honesty and respect.  You teach them to respect themselves.  It’s never ending, these lessons you give.  They are around every turn.  Constantly.  You learn to be respectful of this tiny person you’re bring up in the world.  You teach them to do the same, but you’re not the only one teaching the lesson.  You’re not the only one learning.  Do right by them.  They can’t do it on their own.  Not yet – although “yet” feels like it’s right around the corner.  This is your cross to bear.  It is heavy but it is awesome.  You have to teach life lessons.  You hear your parents coming out of your own mouth and that floors you.  You remember swearing that would never happen.  Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s horrid.  You hear yourself tell your child “Back when I was a kid…” and then you feel old.  You feel it, but you realize you’re right where you’re supposed to be at this point in your life.  You’re a momma, and it is the most amazing thing.

SIX

SIX

PG 1

My Dear Sweet Girl,

This morning at 5:02, you turned six years old.  Six blows my mind.  To me, it feels like six is eons older than five.  You are officially a big kid, despite the fact that you’ve already been a big kid for years.  Forever.  We don’t shop for you on the toddler/baby side at the store anymore.  You tie your own shoes. You pick out your own outfits and get yourself dressed.  You are not a baby any more.  Not at all.  This year you’ve been getting busted here and there (a little more than I love) for not behaving well in school.  Daddy took your iPad away for the second time and told you no TV at bedtime.  He told you that if you get in trouble at school again this week, your birthday party is off.  I don’t know how long after I write this post that you will actually read it, but two things you should know.  1)  He’s never going to follow through with that one, even if you get mega-busted at school.  That daddy of yours… he’s a sucker.  2)  On our way to gymnastics Monday night, we talked about your punishments.  You reiterated to me that if you got busted again, the party was off.  Then, with that dimply, quivering chin and those giant eyes with tears spilling over the edges, you asked me “Does that mean I’m gonna have to stay 5?”  You think we’ll cancel your birthday.  For now, we’re going to let you keep thinking that, because mind control is a glorious thing every now and then.  One day you’ll realize – staying 5 would not be the worst ever thing in the world.  Daddy & I probably really wouldn’t mind.  Sorry for the fib, but it was too cute to squash.  I had to let it ride.

PG 2

This past year has been an interesting one for you.  Lots of growth, lots of change, lots of transition.  It’s  an amazing thing to be a part of and to watch.  I love being along for the ride! This year you graduated from “preschool” – although it was Kindergarten for you.  Too much smart stuff to stay in the preschool class.  You’re repeating Kindergarten this year but not because you need to.  Only because Mommy & Daddy think in the end it will be more important for you to be with kiddos your own age.  Hopefully we made the right call.  Sorry about using you as our science experiment!  You’re reading WAY above where you should be, and you say math stuff to me that I have to google to know what you’re saying.  You’re in Kindergarten. I’m so huckleberried already.  Holy crap.

PG 3

This past year you found your voice and your opinion.  Not your voice to make sounds (though you are quite a bit louder this year.  Speaking of voice…. several emails received so far this year by me from your teacher.  You talk too much in class.  Listen, I don’t know where you got this from, this chatterbox trait.  Or actually, yes.  Yes I do.  You got it from me.  I write on here as a hobby for crying out loud.  Of course it came from me.  To your teachers, I’m sorry.  To you… use it to your advantage.  Learn to tell a killer story, or figure out how to argue with the best of them (but not with Daddy or I) and then use your chatterbox skills and your passion for renegotiating everything to become a uber successful lawyer.  You’re certainly bright enough!  You express your opinions to us.  You say “Can I talk to you about something?”  Always.  You always can baby girl.  You’ve also discovered how to hone your sass and that my dear child isn’t momma’s favorite thing.  You’ll learn. :) You’re learning how to become your own individual and I have to say my Louie Lou… I am way impressed.  You are hysterical.  You are smart.  You are so, so sweet and kind and caring and compassionate.  Sometimes you are overly sensitive but I love this about you.  You’re learning to laugh at yourself and that  laugh… oh man.  It is delicious!  You are not shy and being the center of attention does not bother you.  I am so grateful.  I love how outgoing you are.  School comes very easy for you.  You’re doing a great job, so far ahead of the curve!  We don’t want you to feel an unhealthy amount of  pressure, but we want you to try your best.  Daddy & I hope with all our hearts that you have his natural ease of learning (versus my requirement to have to study like crazy) and my drive to, well, study like crazy.

PG 4

You have friends now.  Besties.  This year you get to attempt your very first ever sleepover (having friends over, that is)  – Just 2 kids though.  I’m not that crazy.  I am excited for you because I love to get to watch you interact with other kiddos.  You shine so bright and you love, love, love to be surrounded by your peeps.  Your animals, both living and stuffed are irreplaceable to you and each of them are special to you.  You like to be outside.  You like to play at the park and this winter we finally got a playground at the end of our street, so I suspect we’ll be up there a lot this summer.  You like to swim.  You’ve become a gymnast.  You’ve been doing gymnastics since you were tiny and now you have skills.  I’m so proud of you.  We all are!

PG 5

It’s funny how before six years ago your daddy & I never celebrated one Valentine’s Day the “commercial way.”  We love each other every day, not just on February 14th with all things red and pink and chocolate and flowery, but you – man.  You came along with a different set of plans and changed everything.  You came into our world and taught us both that we had no idea what it was really like to love from somewhere so deep that we didn’t even know that place existed.  You are our light and our life.  We love you so much sweet girl and we are so proud to have you as our daughter.

PG 6

Happy 6th Birthday Stone Cold G-Money Dog Cool Cat Tough Stuff S.G.H.  We love you so much!!

Oh Humanity… You Never Fail To Deliver

Oh Humanity… You Never Fail To Deliver
You get this photo not because it is just about as ridiculous as my day has been.  Except the photo makes me laugh.  My day has not.

You get this photo not because it is just about as ridiculous as my day has been. Except the photo makes me laugh. My day has not.

 

If you call my office and you press zero after listening to the recorded message (which is also me) telling you who you’ll find and which extension, chances are good that I’m going to pick up the phone.  Why?  Because I’m the only moron who works here 5 days a week, all the live long goddamned day.

Today has been one of those days that has made me mutter a plethora of bad things not quite under my breath.  My boss is working a trade show in Denver right now, which means the brunt of all of the rest of the things this office handles are on my shoulders.  This is fine, because I am awesome at my job and I can handle it.  I must say though, I don’t understand why all forms of stupid must ooze themselves into this office the moment he leaves, each and every time, requiring my full, undivided attention.  I HAVE STUFF TO DO.  I have a massive workload right now and I’m not gonna lie – twice today it was so overwhelming that I played candy crush and looked at pinterest instead.  But still, I am the bomb-bomb-diggy and I will get everything handled, because I don’t miss deadlines.  I have time management skills like a boss.

But back to the phones.  Press zero and you’ll probably hear my schpiel about where you just called and then I’ll ask you how I can help you and then if I’m lucky, one of the two following scenarios will present itself:

Scenario 1:

You are 800 years old, and you need to talk to someone about your retirement benefits through CenturyLink, which is our local phone provider and pretend-t0-be-high-speed-internet provider.  Before you get to what you need though, you call me Tiffany (why?  Why does that always happen?) and then you tell me how I sound like your daughter or your niece, or some girl you used to know long, long ago.  And then you have to tell me a story about them.  I know you have the wrong number, but I always worry that maybe you don’t and you’re an old sales rep, or maybe you’re a secret caller to see if our phones are being properly handled, dispatched to eff with me by corporate or something.  I don’t have the heart to hang up on you.  Still though.  I SELL PLAYGROUNDS.  I CAN’T HELP YOU COLLECT YOUR RETIREMENT, THAT’S ILLEGAL.  When I politely inform my caller that they have the wrong number, they get all… stabby with me.  Surely I must be mistaken.  Surely they dialed the right number, Dear.  Surely I must be mistaken.  Except I’ve been coming here every day for 9 years.  I’m pretty certain that I don’t work for CenturyLink.  I’m just sayin’.  Furthermore, no.  I’m sorry. I  cannot transfer you to the right department, because you see, my office – the agency for which I work, does not handle  your retirement benefits, your mom’s life insurance policy (sorry for your loss), or your workers comp crap.  I SELL PLAYGROUNDS.  I also cannot transfer you, because unfortunately I don’t work for the same company, and that’s just not how technology works.  Sorry about your bad luck there pal, but there’s not much I can do for you.  No, please.  Stop.  Just stop arguing with me.  No, I won’t hold while you look for the number you know you called me on, because you’re just sure you dialed right.  You didn’t dial right.  JUST STOP.   I take approximately 897,212 of these calls per week.

Scenario 2:

You barely speak English (insert language of choice here – I’ve fielded them all.  One lady just made these really strange gurgling sounds at me.  I thought it was a prank call at first, but she managed to call me back a staggering THREE TIMES) and you’re trying to call the DMV in Denver to find out how much your tags are going to be for your car.  Again, I SELL PLAYGROUNDS.  I don’t know how much your tags are.  I can barely understand you, but I can’t help you.  Yes I’m sure you dialed the right number.  Well gosh, thanks for calling me a bitch.  I deserved that.  Especially since YOU misdialed the number and called ME.  You’re a peach.  No, I can’t explain why the call didn’t come through right.  I don’t work for CENTURY LINK, the phone provider that connected the call.  Does the phone company have it out for me?  I’m starting to connect the dots.  No, I’m sorry, I can’t write you an extension or give you a temp tag.  See, I SELL PLAYGROUNDS.  I don’t work at the DMV.  You know who might be able to help you??  THE DMV.  Call those schmucks.  I hear they’re not busy right now, since I keep answering all of their phone calls!!!!

Today, I will be proud of myself if I don’t completely flip out.  I can feel it deep down.  Please stay strong…

You Just Do You…

You Just Do You…

RELIGION

Last night on Facebook, I came across this photo in between commercial breaks.  It struck a chord with me, and so I saved it to my phone and I reposted it.  It wasn’t relevant to anything specific in my life at that moment, I just appreciated the sentiment.  Could there be a better analogy than a penis?  Without a doubt.  But the sentiment is the same for me, regardless.

I have written on this blog of mine a handful of times about my views on religion as they pertain to my life.  I’ve written about how we don’t practice any organized religion in my household.  This is not to say that I do not believe in God (the jury is still out on that one) but that in my home, my husband & I do not believe in organized religion.  I will not live my personal life governed by a group of sinning human beings who are projecting their own interpretation of a book written thousands of years ago, who believe it is their right to tell me how to live my life unto God.  There is some bat-shit crazy stuff done in this world in the name of religion.  I’m sorry, I just don’t subscribe.  I can’t get on board. Under our roof, we teach honesty.  We teach love and respect for both ourselves and others.  We teach do unto others.  We try to do the right thing.  We lend a helping hand.  We work hard day in and day out.  We don’t leach off the system.  We provide for ourselves, and then obvious things like you know – no murdering or stealing or any other imprisonable offense.  We try to be good people, but we do it on our own.  Outside of a church.  No organization.  No structure.  We’ve been asked lots of times why we don’t raise our daughter with religion.  For us, that answer is simple.  There is no hard-crossed conviction of faith in our home.  No crosses hang on our walls.  I don’t think we even own a bible.  My husband & I are not devout believers or worshipers to any God despite how we were both raised.  Neither of us are experts in religion and neither of us feel it is appropriate to impress a set of religious beliefs we know not enough about upon our young, impressionable nearly six-year-old daughter.  When the time comes, should she decide she wants to learn more, we’ll go down that road with her.  For now, however, we stick to our own values and try to set good examples for her.

I have been writing on this blog for almost 4 years, I think.  I am not famous for it.  I don’t have thousands of followers or page views in the millions every day like some bloggers do.  It’d be nice, but I’m not that interesting and I don’t have that kind of time to dedicate to a blog.  I have used this space as my platform though over the years to brag about my kid and my husband, to tell you ridiculous stories about my comic life, to bitch about politics, to vent, to share a recipe or two, to brag about how cool my job is, to struggle through ups and downs on the scale, to voice my opinions.  A digital diary if you will, but I let you all have a copy of the key.

For years I lamented about joining Facebook.  I finally did it a few years ago.  For the most part, I pretty much hate it for the exact reasons I thought I would.  I uninstall it from my phone at least once a week.  I do not care if you’re bored at work.  Checking in at the gym doesn’t validate your workout.  No one cares at all if you just had a PB & J and no one needs a play by play of your sinus infection.  I don’t care what car you drive or how big your house is.  I don’t care about your new Louis Vuitton bag or the fact that you’re stuck in traffic – during rush hour.  Not to say my own posts are content rich and high quality, but  mostly it is what I thought it would be.  I do enjoy keeping in touch, seeing pictures, funny ecards, good news, sports stuff and what-not.  I spend and obscene amount of time on Pinterest collecting all sorts of ideas and pictures and recipes.  I follow all sorts of raunchy pages dedicated to inappropriate humor and frazzled moms.  I follow cooking pages and kid pages and car pages and more.  I hate Facebook, but I respect it for the power social media has in our lives these days, and I respect each and every one of your pages as they are – your own.  If you post something I don’t like, I block that post from showing up in my news feed.  Sick babies and tortured animals – I can’t look at that stuff.  It  breaks my heart.  So, I tell Facebook not to let me see it and I go about my day. Some of you are still my friends, but your stuff doesn’t show up in my news feed at all for all sorts of different reasons.  I manage mine, you manage yours.

Where are you going with this, Heather?  Well, I’m about to climb my chubby self back up on my soap box is where I’m going with this.  Since you asked.

This morning there was a message for me on my phone from a Facebook friend who I also know a little bit in real life.  We are colleagues, albeit states apart from one another.  She was offended by the picture that I posted on my wall and told me that her place here on earth is to bring people to Christ and that if I didn’t like that, I needed to drop her as a friend.  I respected that she called me out.  No one is really willing to do that anymore these days, but still…  I drove for a while and I thought about it on my way in to work.  I thought about taking the photo down.  I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.  I decided to leave it up though.  I didn’t do anything wrong in my opinion.  I posted a photo (regardless of whether or not it was in good taste) to my wall.  That’s all.  I didn’t call anyone out.  Then when I got to the office, I wrote her back.  I apologized first for offending her.  I post all sorts of ridiculous and absurd and sometimes raunchy things on my wall.  I have a bit of a twisted sense of humor.  I also rely heavily on sarcastic humor.  It is what it is, but I never mean to offend people.  I’m not that girl, and those who know me well will speak to that truth.  I explained to her that I did not have a problem with her.  (I truly don’t.)  I told her that I had always thought for as many years as we’ve “worked together” that she was really nice.  She’d always been helpful to me as our jobs intermingle here and there.  We had a good  rapport, and I enjoy our banter back and forth from time to time.  I told her that I realize that she is a religious person based on the things I’ve seen on her own Facebook, and that I’ve always been respectful of her opinions and beliefs as they are her own.  I also told her that I think that religion as a whole is a very personal thing between the individual and God or Allah or Buddha or whichever deity in which you believe, whether you worship in person or alongside a congregation of people.  I told her that I felt it to be inappropriate to force those personal beliefs or views on anyone, especially children – who, for the most part aren’t yet capable of forming their own opinions or ideals.  I told her again that my intent wasn’t to offend and that instead, I felt like the message in the photo was to live and let live.  I apologized again.  I didn’t hear back from her.  I’m not certain that I will, which is unfortunate.  Not to instigate an argument, just because I’m only trying to clarify where I stand.

I have lots of friends on Facebook and in real life who are religious people.  They praise God and post all sorts of religious things on their walls.  It doesn’t pertain to me and I don’t care about it so I move right along.  I never comment.  I never argue.  Never once have I called someone out.  I’m not even trying to do that here.  I’m just voicing an opinion. It’s not my place because it doesn’t matter to me.  Oh man – if I really spoke out and commented or said something about all of the things I really wanted to?  I’d be all alone in this world, excepting maybe my husband who is crazy enough on his own to put up with my own level of crazy.  It’s a public service that I keep my mouth shut, really.  You’re welcome.  Many of you rely on your faith to get you through day-to-day.  It makes you feel good about yourselves and the life you live.  Lots of you use it as a crutch or hide behind it so that it can validate you as a human being, and really?  That’s fine.  Good for you!  Honestly – all sarcasm aside – if it makes you feel good about yourself, more power to you.  It’s not for everyone though, myself included.

I just don’t understand how these posts and comments are fine to show up in my news feed and I’m expected to be o.k. with it all – embrace it and love it in Jesus’ name and all, but as soon as I post something that reflects my own beliefs, which happen to oppose some people, then I’m wrong.   Funny how that works.

Smarts & Discipline

Smarts & Discipline
Unrelated of course, but still way cute.

Unrelated of course, but still way cute.

Our normal routine when I pick Louie up from school is to  ask her a few questions about her day and then we crank the tunes and rock out on the way home.  Car dancing is an essential skill and I am teaching her how to do it responsibly.  Then, usually at dinner, John & I will ask her more in detail about her day.  What she learned, who she played with at recess, etc., We try to keep it light-hearted and fun.

In our more recent conversations – maybe over these past couple of weeks I’d say – when I ask her what they’ve been reading, she’s been  adamant in telling me that they don’t read in groups anymore, that they only read at the library once a week.  Well, I call shenanigans.  I know they’re reading.  They’re grouped by ability and each group works with an adult in some capacity.  (Either the teacher, a para or a high-school helper.)  So, after a couple of weeks of her insisting that there was in fact no reading taking place, I decided I needed to email the teacher.

She got right back to me (that evening I think) and told me that they had indeed not been breaking down into their traditional reading groups.  School-wide they are reassessing students to see where they’re at.  She went on to tell me that Louie had been moved up and is now reading at an end-of-first-grade level and that she continues to do well in her challenge math group outside of the classroom.  Proud of my baby?  You betcha. I nearly had a tear.  I’m beyond proud of her.  She is just so smart.  Way smarter than me.

But then I kept reading.  That last sentence?  That was a doozy.  “She is doing a great job but is still needing some reminders on raising hand, not talking when I am teaching and staying off the counter….”

Ummm…. excuse me?  I read this last bit out loud to her after I hand the phone to her daddy for a quick review.

A lot, LOT of times I catch crap from my peers for being a strict mom with Louie.  For sure I am the disciplinarian between my husband & I when it comes to our child.  We’ve had talks about why.  She behaves differently for me than she does for him.  She is with me probably 95% of the time when I go somewhere and I expect for her to behave.  There’s not an allowable alternate.  That’s not to say he doesn’t discipline her.  It just means something different when he does.  If he gets involved, there’s a big uh-oh happening and she shapes up immediately.  As a result, we have a child who can hang out with a group of adults and not one person has ever said anything to me other than “She is so good!  I can’t believe how  well-behaved she is!”  It’s so true.  She is an awesome kid.  Truly amazing.  I started thinking about this one little boy in particular she has been talking about for a couple of weeks.  They play at recess.  When I volunteered in the classroom I was appalled at his behavior.  NOT GOOD.  Guess who sits by who on the carpet during group-time?  Uh-huh.

So we talked at the dinner table about what was acceptable behavior and what was never allowed in school.  We talked this morning about kids who behave badly to get attention and the differences between good attention and bad attention.  I thought she had it down.  She is, after all, not quite six years old yet.  She’s just being a kid and finding her place.  We’ll figure it out.

Before we left this morning, I went to put her lunch bag and her snow boots in her backpack and I found all of the papers from last week crammed in a grocery bag at the bottom of the backpack.  As I look through, I find this sheet.  P.A.W.S.  It’s got something to do with positive behavior at school and tracks for parents the behaviors of their child(ren.)  There was a paragraph stapled to the paper saying that the class as a whole has been misbehaving and that the teacher will be sending these reports home weekly.  Green marks mean we’re right on track.  Yellow means we’re working on things.  Red means you’re a busted sucker.  My words of course, not hers.  Every. Single. Day.  I ask Louie if she “came off green.”  This is not a new system.  Every. Single. Day. she tells me “No way momma!”  LYING LIAR FACE!!!!  This paper?  2 greens.  FOUR yellows.  Lucky for her, no reds.  We need to work on keeping our hands and feet to ourselves (she started sobbing – swearing she didn’t know why that was on there) and then the other 3 previously mentioned offenses.  OK fine.  You’re gonna lie to me about this coming off green thing?  I can go below the belt too.  I took her iPad away.  BURN!!!  She started crying – sobbing really.  She knew I was pissed.  I asked her why I was just finding that paper.  She said she forgot.  How convenient!  (I mean, she probably did, but still…)  I barrel into my bedroom where my sleeping husband jerks his head up and asks what happened in time for me to fling the papers to him (at him really – sorry Sugar…. That was bad of me.)  I went in to flat-iron my hair and spackle some makeup onto my face.  He got up and got dressed and went out and talked to her.

He never flies off the handle.  He is mellow and patient and even-keeled with her, always.  I am always in limbo between constant awe and “Are you freaking joking me?  GROUND HER!!” when he has those talks with her, but truth be told, his approach is way better than my own nine times out of ten.  They have their chat while I brew my coffee.  She says she’ll be good.  On the way to school, I call the teacher.  We chatted about how she’s a strict teacher (which I LOVE) and how she thinks the kids are just adjusting to her coming back from a 12 week maternity leave because the whole class is being a little rowdy, not just my kid.  We chatted about how I’m strict, too.  We chatted about what is acceptable behavior at home, and then, we chatted about the little boy whose behavior knocked my socks off.  She said “I think it’s great their friends but…”  Yeah.  Me too.  To make a long story short, she doesn’t sit by him anymore.  I told the teacher that they can play together at recess so long as this bad behavior stops, but that I don’t want them together in class.  She agreed.  She told me she’d update me daily as to how Louie was doing behaviorally and that we would go forward from here.

Today she started off a bit goofy and was having a hard time paying attention.  Her teacher told me she had a chat with Louie and she quickly changed her behavior and had a better day. I know she’s still little.  I know she’ll figure it out.  It’s tough finding your way at not-quite-six.  It’s  tough finding your way sometimes at not-quite-thirty-three.  It happens.  Just please child, no more hiding stuff in the backpack.

Checking Into Savings

Checking Into Savings

First, have you watched this clip?  No?  Watch it.  Otherwise this post will not ever be funny to you.

 

This movie as a whole makes me laugh until I cry and I think Kevin Hart is hysterical, but this clip in particular is what we’re gonna talk about today.

The week before last I got a letter in the mail saying that one of our checking accounts may have been compromised by the great Target Hack.  (Seriously – the kid who wrote the malware was 16?  HOLY. CRAP.  I was not on that level at 16.  I’m not even on that level now!!).  I  mean, good luck getting anything – if you’re successful, at least share the wealth!  The letter went on to say that they’d send new cards by 1/15/14 and that our new cards would be deactivated.  Well, we use that account nearly daily so having the new cards was slightly necessary for all of the things.  On Tuesday of  last week I had a client presentation (crushed it!) and then I swung by the bank because it was the 14th and we still didn’t have new cards and mathematically that meant we were about to be huckleberried in just a few short hours.  They make the cards in-house so I figured it’d be no biggie to just get 3 new  ones and head back to the office.  It was a new guy who helped me and the transaction took about an hour because he kept needing help and we were talking about watching Dexter on Netflix (You’re a jerk Michael C. Hall – that could have ended WAY better.) and then before I knew it, I was on my way and life was back to normal.  I know Ray, you’re going to say that if I’d just not shop at Target all of this could be avoided, but I’m not going to stop shopping there, and I’m not going to start shopping at Walmart so we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.  It is what it is. :)

Fast forward to this past weekend.  On Saturday we went to the mall.  Louie needed new shoes.  Again.  I needed to replace 2 pairs of her jeans that came out of the dryer ripped in the knee.  I needed a battery for my watch.  We needed some stuff.  We tore that mall a new one (but not really) and then we headed home to finish up our Saturday.  Sunday our Denver Broncos put an ass-whoopin’ on those punk Patriots (post to follow – it’s good, I promise) to earn a spot in the SUPERBOWL and all was right with the world.

Fast forward again to today.  John goes to work.  Stops to get the lunch special from the local pizza joint on his way home.  Card is declined.  What the what??  I get a text.  “Umm can u figure out why I have no money in my savings acct?”  Ummm… o.k.?  I know there’s plenty o’ money in the bank (plenty is a relative term… I’m not bragging, trust me.).  We start to brainstorm as I look online.  All of our transactions from the mall had debited from the savings account for this specific account.  I knew something was up on the banks end because your debit card should never be linked to your savings account.  New Guy from the week prior must have somehow reversed the accounts and made savings primary and checking secondary.  Our bank is amazing times one million and I knew they’d fix it.  I called and verified everything I needed to verify and then I explained the problem.  The gal I was speaking to put me on hold and then came back to confirm what we’d suspected.  We were inadvertently bamboozled by an accidental account order swap.  Some serious stuff for sure.  She reversed the accounts and assured me we wouldn’t be charged and I hung up the phone.

I called John back to tell him what I’d discovered.  He started by telling me he tried to buy the slice of pizza and when the card was declined he said to the girl “Oh I don’t think it’s gonna go through because of the way my bank account works.  I have a checking and a savings…” and by this point I was roaring with laugher.  CRYING.  Then he started  laughing.   My husband is the funniest person I’ve ever known in my entire life.  He makes me laugh those awesome deep belly laughs where you can’t stand up straight and you’re gasping for air and crying all at the same time, and he does it all without ever even trying.  This was one of those times.  I was for sure thankful that I was alone in the office when it happened.  I laughed that loud. 

Maybe it was a “had to be there” moment.  I don’t think I have a “moral of the story” to close this with, or even a point to this post at all.  Maybe keep an eye on your bank accounts or something.  I don’t know.

Happy Hump Day and GO BRONCOS!!!!!!

 

Stuck & Freaking Out

Stuck & Freaking Out

Yesterday when I picked Louie up from School, we had a couple of errands to run.  I swear to you I feel like I never get to come straight home.  I always have somewhere to stop on my way home.  It’s always my least favorite part about my day.  I needed to go to town to pick up a ceramic Chihuahua she had painted with 3 of her friends the weekend prior, and I needed to go to the dollar store to buy chew toys for the horse dog we’ve recently acquired (read: Baylee the Bull Mastiff = horse dog.)  She’s going to destroy them anyway – may as well only spend $1 each on them.

So I pick her up and we head into town.  Some things you should know to make this story a bit more interesting:  1)  I drive a rear-wheel drive vehicle.  It’s fun to drive and even though the car is a bit of a hoopty, I’m stuck listening only to the radio, and the paint is literally falling off of it and it is 12 years old, it’s one of my favorite cars that I’ve ever had and I do like to drive it.  I really have no plans to get rid of it. Except when it snows.  For obvious reasons.  Usually I drive the beast truck but for the most part, the roads were good because 2) it recently snowed and it’s taking a while for this round to melt off.  Regardless, the roads really are good so I have been driving my car for the past 2 days because I hate driving the truck.  It’s just a little too big for me and it sucks to try to park it in any of the places I frequent.

We make it downtown and I circle the block a couple of times looking for a parking place.  In historic downtown, which is where we had to go, there are no parking lots.  Only spaces up and down Main St., and in a few choice  spots along the adjacent side streets.  I couldn’t find one.  I asked if she would be o.k. with me just coming by today at lunch to pick it up when it would be daylight and there would be more parking.  But she pouted and told me that she really reeeeeaaaaallly wanted to get her Chihuahua and could we please stop Momma?  Pleeeeeaaaaaase????  Fine.  We’re here anyway.  No sense in making 2 trips.  So I find a spot across the street, whip my car around and park (perks of driving a small car) and we run into the store, grab our stuff and run back.  It was like 23 outside and I wasn’t trying to hang out with that nastiness touching me.  This girl wasn’t cut from a cold-weather cloth, that’s for sure.  It’s been well documented on here about how I feel about the winter months in this state, and for the record, nothing’s changed.  I still hate it here from October through May for the most part.  If my husband said to me “let’s move” I’d be packing boxes faster than he could blink.  But alas.

As we get into the car to head to our next stop, this idiot in a stupid Subaru parks directly next to my passenger side.  Like 3 inches away.  I put the car in reverse and give it some gas and we move back approximated 1/2 of an inch.  Ruh roh.  I pull forward a little and try it again.  Nothing changes except the rear end of my car slides ever so slightly to my right.  Rats.  I think I’m stuck.  I practice this dance – back and forth – a few more times with no results.  I’m worried that I’m going to slide into that p.o.s. Subaru that I now hate more than anything for being that close (seriously – how’d she even get out of it?) and I start to panic.  Louie is in the back seat making a racket with the paper from the bag and I’m starting to stress out and tense up.  Sometimes when John is messing with me and he’s being particularly ornery, he likes to block me into a corner somewhere.  He’s 10″ taller than me and he’s got some seriously wide shoulders.  Lots of times I curse his mom & grandma for letting him drink a gallon of milk a day when he was a teenager.  Lots of times I’m thankful for how big he is.  If he doesn’t want me to get away, I can’t.  He’s just playing and if I go after him he’ll laugh and I can prey on his weakness and get away.  (Tickle him or pinch his nipple and I’m out!!)  Usually he does this in the kitchen or his personal favorite – our closet.  I can’t get out and I start to panic even though I know in reality I’m not really trapped.  I feel like I have no control over anything and I’m completely stuck.  My heart starts pounding and I start to sweat a little bit and it makes me shake.  I hate, hate, hate the feeling of not being able to get out even if I know that logically I’m not stuck.  This is what started to happen to me last night.  I know that there’s eventually a way out of the space.  The girl will move her car and I can try again.  But it’s taking forever for her to come back and I’m losing it.  It’s dark.  I’m a woman.  A not-particularly-strong woman with no gun or pepper spray or anything.  I have my nearly 6-year-old daughter with me in a part of town that’s not bad, but not particularly well-lit.  I have to use my head.  I can’t just stop someone, tell them I’m stuck and ask for help.  That’s not smart, and it lends itself to all sorts of bad scenarios.  Panic some more.  I call my husband in tears and tell him I’m stuck.  He says to sit tight, it’s no big deal  - go paint something at the ceramics store – he’ll be right there.  I’m too pissed off and grumpy to paint anything.  Plus it’s expensive and it takes FOREVER.  No thanks.   I hang up.  I cry some more.  Louie asks why I’m crying and I have to be careful about what I say to her because even though I hate it here in the cold months, that doesn’t mean I should influence her in that way too.  I tell her I just don’t like feeling stuck is all.  This seems to placate her and she starts yammering on about who even knows what until her daddy shows up.

John shows up after about 20 minutes or so and gives me a hug.  I think he can see that I’m on the verge of a meltdown.  This is not the first time I’ve called him crying, telling him I’m stuck in the snow.  He kisses my head and tells me I’m o.k.  As he gets in my car to try it his way, these 2 guys walk by.  He stops them and asks for help to push my car out.  They say they will.  I get in and put it in reverse and they have me out of my stupid stuck in 1″ of snow dumb spot in less than 10 seconds.  We decide to go to dinner and that we’ll meet at the restaurant and then I pull away.  I can’t help it.  The flood gates open and I cry my eyeballs out.  I feel like I’ve just escaped from some horrid place even though it was only a parking space that I was free to leave at any time.  I try to calm my nerves and stop crying.  I drive the wrong way to the restaurant because I’m so flustered.  I tell myself over and over in my mind that it wasn’t a big deal.  It takes me all the way until the waitress sets my water down in front of me to get my eyes to stop leaking and all the way through dinner before I feel like myself again.  Clearly, I have issues.

After dinner I head to Ross to look for a new lunchbox for Louie and then across the street to the dollar store for the originally intended chew toys.  I find no lunch box.  Instead I eavesdrop on this insane conversation between these two very, very large girls who apparently work at Ross and also some strip club and they do way gross stuff at said strip club and ohmygod why are you saying that out loud, people can hear you!!!  Wow.  I text my friend about the conversation I am hearing.  Some things you just can’t walk away from, but at some point you have to accept the fact that you can only look at pots and pans for so long before it becomes suspicious.  I couldn’t afford to have my cover blown.  I leave with a pink sock monkey for Baylee the Horse Dog because I know she will love it,  and a super cute black DKNY t-shirt for Louie for $8 that I have to decide if I want to give to her now or  wait ’till her birthday in 4-1/2 weeks.  John takes Louie to Lowe’s to buy some tools he needed to change the brakes on his truck.  We’ll meet up at home in a little bit.

On my way home, I day-dream about warm summer days and zero snow on the ground.  There are only 69 days until Spring.

2013 Wrap-Up

2013 Wrap-Up

Well, here we are again.  I did this in and 2012,  2011, and 2010.  In keeping with tradition, I’ll fire off another round for you.  Because I know that you just can’t start your New Year off without knowing about how my life was in 2013… I’m a giver.  You’re welcome.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Not really.  Well, maybe.  I’m down about 30 pounds from where I was this time last year, which ain’t too shabby.  I wasn’t really as militant about it as I’d like to have been though.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not in 2013.  Just before and soon I can say just after.  I’m always afraid I’ve forgotten someone’s birth in answering this question.  ANXIETY!!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No.  Thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit? Big. Fat. Sigh.  Our travel plans didn’t stray from our norm.  AT ALL.  California in August/September.  That’s it.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? Time.  I need more time in my life to do all of the things that don’t get done now.  And a perpetually clean house.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? No specific dates.  This year wasn’t my best, by a long shot.  There’s plenty I’d just rather not log for the books.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I don’t think I had an major achievements.  Getting the basement painted.  That was a mother in and of itself.

9. What was your biggest failure? I can’t even go there.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Yep.  Got diagnosed with Guttate Psoriasis, which is so disgusting.  Those splotches played hell with my mental well being, I’ll tell you that.

11. What was the best thing you bought? Ummm, I’m not really a “brag about what I have” kind of gal.  Hands down though, our couch.  It’s our first “grown up” piece of furniture that wasn’t purchased on craig’s list or handed down from family or friends.  It is comfy and squishy and I love it so, so much.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My husband.  Without question.  He is my rock.  I don’t know what I’d do without him.  Louie for being so incredibly brilliant and genuinely good.  She is amazing and I fall more and more in love with those two each and every day.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My own for sure.  Politicians.  The media.

14. Where did most of your money go? Bills.  Gas.  Food.  Kid.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Surprisingly (like, really surprising) – a wrinkly, squishy, grunting, snoring, floppy, clumsy puppy named Baylee.  She stole my heart.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? Ha!  Yeah right.  My brain doesn’t work well enough anymore to equate a song to a year.  I’m lucky to remember to arrange for the clothes we get rid of to be donated.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? I don’t really know.  I think happier in some aspects and maybe sadder in others.  Across the board I guess happier b) thinner or fatter? Thinner.  Woo hooo! c) Richer or Poorer?  Umm, I made slightly more this year.  Alas, richer I am not.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Travel, travel, travel.  Exercise too.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Been lazy. There are a lot of things I wish I’d accomplished that didn’t get done from my spot on the couch.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Same as always… pretended to be asleep while a certain little nugget thundered barefoot down the hallway, bursting into our room to proclaim that Santa had come!  Her excitement is the best thing ever.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012? Sure did!

22. What were your favorite TV programs? Sons of Anarchy is my # 1.  Shameless, Homeland, Dexter (late to the party, I know), Nashville, American Horror Story: Coven, Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars (I like to learn the history of all of the stuff), Fast & Loud… ummm, I think I watch too much TV.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope.  I try not to hate people.

24. What was the best book you read? Allegiant.  LOVED that book.  I didn’t get too much page-time in this year.  That kind of made me sad.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Can’t say as though I’ve discovered anyone new.  Sad.

26. What did you want and get? Well that’s a silly question.

27. What did you want and not get? A finished back yard.  My house painted.  Why is it so freaking expensive???

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Pitch Perfect. Yes, I realize my taste is questionable. But that movie made me SO happy. I loved it.  (This was actually my friends answer from last year and you know what?  I watched the crap out of Pitch Perfect this year.  Also, The Heat was pretty hysterical.)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? We went to California & Lake Havasu for my birthday.  It was a crap-tastic weekend partially due to a pot-stirring drama loving hoe-bag whom I’d like to throat punch a la Melissa McCarthy in Identity Theft, and partially due to me not saying anything about allegations she made in favor of keeping the peace.  It was miserable and I’d rather not ever have a repeat.   I was 32.  DOUBLE WHAMMY.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Let’s be honest.  Winning the lottery.  Really, that simple solution could have changed so much stuff. It didn’t happen though, so I can be thankful to have had a great job still this year.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012? Ha!  This is probably not ever going to be a different answer.  I live in jeans and t-shirts.  My cowboy boots are worn out beyond repair.  They’re so expensive to replace and I can’t find a pair that are a) cute and b) not made in CHINA so I’ve resorted to sneakers and fake ugg boots for the winter.  My hair has pink streaks and I have side-bangs now, but that’s really about it.  Nothing new or noteworthy.

32. What kept you sane? Ummm…. I’m not convinced I am.  :)  Actually, I’ve got to be a little bit nutso to live in the petting zoo I call home.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I really love Jennifer Lawrence.  I love that she doesn’t take herself seriously and I love that she’s all about being in the media’s face for fat-shaming  actresses so that the young girls who look up to them have positive role models.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? I can’t narrow this down to one political issue.  I spent a lot of time on my soap-box this year bitching about our political system.  My current nightmare is the healthcare reform.  Affordable Care Act my ass.

35. Who did you miss? California family & friends and chats with my cousin.

36. Who was the best new person you met? I’ve known her for longer than this past year, but I think Clara & Family.  I have a lot of fun hanging out with her & B.S.ing.  She makes me laugh.  Her family is pretty great, too.  The Lawings too.  I’m lovin’ those guys.  They remind me of “home.”  :)

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012: Ask for help.

Thirty Something

Thirty Something

30I remember it like it was yesterday.  Shut the alarm off for the last time.  My feet hit the floor and I wipe a tear from the corner of my eye before they’ve even adjusted to the morning light.  It was my 30th birthday.  “F*ck you 30.  No one invited you..”  I think to myself.  I’ve seen signs of it coming for a while now though.  It’s been sneaking up on me like some sort of stealthy age-ninja.  Tiny creases around the outside corners of my eyes.  One wrinkle in the middle of my eyebrows when I squint at the sunlight or the tv or anything just out of focus.  My body’s way of paying homage to my mom, I suppose.  Only, she has 2 wrinkles there.  I lucked out with just the one.   A butt-crack right smack  in the middle of my eyebrows.  Lovely.  Less Botox work, I suppose.  Maybe it’s cheaper in the long-run.  I’m not too proud for a little nip/tuck.  In fact, I can’t wait for it.  It takes me twice as long to get myself ready to go and to look presentable now. Primer and foundation and concealer and finishing spray.  Also?  Where are my eyebrows and eyelashes disappearing to??  I have an “age spot” on my right forearm – nothing to worry about says my dermatologist.  Nothing except there is a spot on my arm that exists merely due to my age.  30 brought with it the ability to sprout facial hair like a champ, a stronger prescription for my glasses, psoriasis, the requirement for calcium and vitamin D supplements, creaky bones and a mean case of insomnia.  We won’t even talk about what pregnancy and child-birth did to my body.  That’s a horror story in and of itself, but those battle scars – they’re impervious to age.   “Wait ’till you’re my age” my dad tells me.  I can’t even wrap my mind around that one.

When I was young, 30 was like, the oldest age ever.  Actually turning 30 felt as bad as I’d always imagined it as a fresh-faced teenager.  I’m 32 now – something I vehemently deny at any and all costs.  I celebrate “annual 29th birthdays.”  I tell my daughter I’m 27 no matter what her daddy tries to tell her.  I can’t be in my 30′s.  That’s just crap.  Where did all of the time go? I felt like I was literally just 21, yesterday.  Then all of a sudden – BOOM.  I’m old.  Like maybe somehow I got robbed of a decade without my knowing.

I just couldn’t get myself on that page – turning 30.  No thanks.  I felt like turning 30 was happening to someone else – not me.  When I was younger, I had set in my mind all of these goals and dreams of how my life would be when I was 30.

  • Married to an amazing man
  • Beautiful family
  • Well respected in an established career
  • Own a house
  • Good, close friends
  • Involved in my community

You know – just the basics.  I came from a place where a lot of that stuff wasn’t something that most of my peers strived for.  Granted, they were high-school aged desert kids trapped out in the boonies with not too much hope for a different kind of future.  Not the kids I hung out with anyway.  When I actually turned 30, all I kept thinking about was High School Heather.  Comparing my life at the present to that girl.  I was so upset to be 30 and so stressed out and sad about this feeling that I’d been robbed of a huge chunk of my life.  I would literally sit in the shower and cry about it while I shaved my legs.  I went through a phase that actually lasted a couple of years where I thought I couldn’t wear certain things or like certain songs or whatever because “I was 30.  I’ll look ridiculous.”  Not only was I 30, but I was 30 and married with a child.  I was old. 

Then one day I was sitting on the couch with my husband and we were talking about who even knows what and he said something to the effect of “Yeah but I’m only 30.”  I scoughed at him… “Huh.  Only.”  He said “Yeah Broad (He calls me Broad.  Always has.) – Only.  The difference between me and you is that you think ‘Oh God, I’m 30.’ I think “Hey, I’m only 30.”  I was totally annoyed with that remark for a couple of minutes until I realized he was right.  We really are only in our 30′s.  In reality, I don’t exactly know what I’m freaking out about.  It was like a fog lifted one day and I said to myself, “Self, yeah, you’re 32 but you’ve checked off all of the boxes.  You’re quite literally right where you wanted to be.”  I did marry the man of my dreams.  I got to marry the guy I’ve been in love with since I was 15.  I have the best kid there could ever be.  I’ve had the same job for coming up on 11 years, and I’ve worked in the same office for a couple of months shy of 9 of those years.  I get to come to work to a job that I genuinely enjoy and I have an excellent rapport with my customers.   To say I’m well-respected and well established is a fair statement. Except I don’t get to just say it for my playground job (where the regional sales managers call me for stuff pertaining to our territory, and I’ve had designs featured in every single catalog since the year after I started) – I get to say it for all of my jobs.  I work my behind off, and it really does show.  We bought a house 5 years ago.  It’s outdated, but it’s a pretty freaking nice house for a first-time home, and we bought it on our own.  We have an amazing circle of really great friends, all of whom I love dearly.  Most of whom are family to us.  They mean the world to me – to us.  As far as our community goes, I’m pretty involved.  I sit on the Planning & Zoning Commission.  I don’t know what else it was that I thought I should have accomplished for myself by this age that I hadn’t already accomplished.  I was holding on to this 18-year-old girl and for the life of me, I can’t understand why.  That was a miserable time in my life.  That girl from back then?  I’d never have anything to do with someone like that now.  High School was miserable for me for the most part.  I was mean and difficult to say the least.  My “best friend” was a slut who slept with anyone and I was guilty by association even though I didn’t partake.  What part of all of that was I so obsessed with hanging on to?  What was I complaining about?  I  mean really – all of those things I listed at the begging of this  post?  I can deal with all of that.  None of it is really that big of a deal.  Cosmetic stuff for the most part.  Really, all I had then that I don’t have now is a better body.  But that body was a little girls body.  That body never grew a human being or brought life into this world.  That body never snuggled her child and her husband and a pooch or two at the same time, or made dinner for her family in the kitchen of her own house, or laughed so hard she couldn’t breathe.  That body never did any of the things that I’m so proud of in my life.   I can be skinny again, but the rest of whatever it was that I thought I was missing out on?  I can’t even put a finger on it.  I don’t even know what I was holding on to or why I was so upset to let it go.  Everyone from my past – from that era of my life – who was so important to me then is still in my life now.  I’m not missing anything from back then!

What I’ve really come to realize through this personal struggle that I’ve spoken so little about over the past 2-1/2 years is that yeah, I’m in my 30′s.  So what?  I’m still young.  I’m very blessed in every aspect of my life and I am grateful and thankful for it all.I have an amazing, amazing family.  I have a great job.  I’m where I want to be at this point in my life.  Sure, I’d like a few more nickles to rub together, but in reality, we’re doing just fine the way we are.   I’ve finally learned to accept it and move forward with my life.  It was a tough realization for me – a tough one to swallow as they say.

Really, in the whole scheme of things (and despite the requirement to now nair my face once a week and to take a mountain of supplements each day), my 30′s have been pretty great.  I’m glad I’m finally cool with that.    It’s nice not to worry about it anymore.

I Have to Chime In

I Have to Chime In

PHIL

Unless you live under a rock, you know about the controversy right now surrounding Phil Robertson & Duck Dynasty.  I have been following the story, and I can’t not say something about it.

First, I’ve written here a few times in the past that I am a supporter of  gay rights.  I truly, genuinely am.  I think the right to love someone - regardless of gender – should be a basic human right.  This wasn’t always the way that I thought, but I’ve been shown too many times in life that just because you share compatible anatomy doesn’t mean your love  for your partner is any stronger than those who have the same plumbing as one another.  Like the rest of you, I’ve heard the argument a million times about how homosexuality and gay marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage.  Well, my marriage is absolutely sacred.  To me. I don’t expect it to be sacred to anyone else – it’s not anyone else’s marriage.  I feel like there are plenty of heterosexual threats to the institution of marriage.  We’re doing fine destroying it all on our own, long before gay people were allowed to wed.  I just feel like sticking your nose in someone else’s business at that level makes as little sense as caring what kind of laundry soap someone uses, or which shoe they put on first.  It doesn’t affect you, and it’s none of your business.  Regardless, these are my personal opinions.

I don’t believe in organized religion.  I think “the church” as a whole is the most corrupt organization in the world, full of scandal, personal agendas and greed covered up by the cross and “good faith.”  I don’t live my life based on a book written by men.  It’s teachings are irrelevant to me because I reside in the camp that it was written to create a scare tactic and prevent an uprising, hundreds and hundreds of years ago.  My “faith” is based in my own moral code if you will.  Be a good person.  Treat people the way you would like to be treated.  Go out of your way to do good things in life.  Be kind, be  nice, be respectful.  Forgive.  Listen.  Love.  Kind of 60′s era hippie crap, I know, but it’s what I believe.  I don’t try to force that opinion on anyone, either.  Even with our own daughter; we will raise her with these basic principles.  Should she decide religion is something she wants to explore, we’ll support that.  But I don’t know enough about it, or believe it in with enough conviction to be able to preach it to her and insist that she live her life by what the bible – or an organization of other sinning human beings – says.

Now here’s where I chime in about Phil Robertson.  I love Duck Dynasty.  A lot.  It’s a great show.  It’s funny and light-hearted.  There’s nothing on that show that makes me uncomfortable when my child is in the room.  I think Willie’s a bit of a fame mongering tool bag, but he’s harmless enough.  What I love is the love of family and their strong family values.  I love that they don’t really let their money go to their heads.  Their children are respectful.  They teach life lessons to their grand-kids.  I don’t come from a strong family background so I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in a family like this, but on TV at least, it’s refreshing to watch.  Apparently A & E admires the same things I do, because they’ve built an empire structured around those very things.  Apparently, so do over 14 million viewers.  Clearly, the Robertson Family has struck a chord.

Then the Media sinks their collective claw in, and things get dicey.  I’ve seen lots of comments already on Facebook from people chiming in who clearly didn’t read the article.  They’re making comments based on assumptions of what was said.  (Read it if you haven’t.  It’s hyper-linked in this post). The article was well written.  It has good “voice.”  But as most stories are told, it comes from the point of view of the writer.  He did his best to tell a story.  To depict the life of a man – of a family different enough from his own.  The controversy as a whole is presented to you as an excerpt from a conversation.  You don’t even get the whole thing.

“Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what  he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern  immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out. Like this  one:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s  anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to  offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know”

……………

Even though he’s in the far corner of the room, Phil dominates the house.  There are times when he doesn’t look you in the eye while he’s speaking—he looks  just off to the side of you, as if Jesus were standing nearby, holding a stack  of cue cards. Everyone else in the room just stares at his phone, or at the TV,  or holds side conversations as Phil preaches.

“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he tells  me. “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly  that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be  better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with  it, and everything will turn around.”

What does repentance entail? Well, in Robertson’s worldview, America was a  country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.), and he  believes that the gradual removal of Christian symbolism from public spaces has  diluted those founding principles. (He and Si take turns going on about why the  Ten Commandments ought to be displayed outside courthouses.) He sees the  popularity of Duck Dynasty  as a small corrective to all that we have  lost.

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin  becomes fine.”

What, in your mind, is sinful?

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality,  sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he  says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the  adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the  greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the  kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

………………….

“As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with  the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to  apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell.  That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about  Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out  later, you see what I’m saying?”

You see?  You get little nuggets of a conversation.  Maybe it was taken out of context, maybe it was switched around, or maybe it was just exactly what he said.  He’s 67 years old, born and raised in the deep South – the heart of the bible belt and in the reddest of red states.  What do you honestly expect for him to believe?  A & E feels like they must have a “digestible” product.  They’re afraid of offending.  The thing is though, that the problem with this country now as a whole is that everyone’s afraid to voice an opinion because of whom they may offend.  Well – maybe not the problem, but it’s on the list for sure.  We’re so cloaked in political correctness that we have lost sight of the morals and values on which our country was built.  He’s not preaching hate.  In fact, he goes out of his way to make sure that’s known.  He’s preaching his opinion though – exercising his consitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  He’s not hurting anyone and he’s living his life the way he believes he should.

I think A & E thinks their problem is going to go away by suspending Phil indefinitely.  Maybe this will even lead up to the cancellation of the show.  Maybe they’re not dumb enough to make a decision like that, or maybe they feel they’ve ridden this wave out far enough.  With merchandise and their “Brand” in nearly every store though, my guess is they’re not quite ready to cash out quite yet.  Money talks, so they say.  What I think will happen is that by this weekend, hundreds of thousands of people or more will rally behind Phil & the Robertson clan.  Myself included.  I don’t think A & E will back down, but I think Phil and his right to exercise those consitutional freedoms will stand on firmer ground than A & E thinks.

It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds, that’s for sure.