Category Archives: Moments in Life

Hugging Them Tighter Today

Did I hug my children tighter tonight? You better damn well believe it…

I watched the story in Newtown, CT unfold on Facebook today…I couldn’t take my eyes off of it…say what you want about our President, but when he cried, so did I…when I heard the children’s death toll went from 18 to 20, I cried harder…something about those two little babies’ deaths made it even worse…

Like any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, person who happens to tolerate small children, I immediately thought of my own boys…I thought of how I never worry about them going to school…well, I worry, but not of them being killed by a crazy person…

School should be the one place I know I can send my children and they will remain relatively safe…I can only imagine the horror of the adults who tried to protect those children and failed…without knowing all of the details, I imagine the six adults died protecting their charges, their pseudo-children…I’ve seen Aidan’s teachers love him in their own way…I believe that most teachers love their students…I just can’t imagine…

In other tragedies, I often wait and wonder what kind of person the gunman was…what happened in their life, what made them this way…this is one of the few times that I could care less…murder is horrific…murdering family is horrific – but the people who do always think they have reasons…opening fire on small, innocent children in the middle of a school, killing children and adults? That is unfathomable, and I don’t care what happened in his life, what twisted him…whatever…I don’t want to understand the person who could do this…

I also don’t want to talk about gun control, God in schools, politics, or whatever else anyone wants to spout off about right now…tomorrow, maybe…today? Today, I want to hug my children tighter and grieve for the loss the families and the school have suffered…

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Me Time

What is that saying about the best laid plans? Yeah, I don’t know either, but sometimes it sucks being a planner…when the plan doesn’t happen…

I was supposed to go out of town on Saturday…but that didn’t happen…so then I held out hope for Sunday…nope, nada…thankfully, I’m not a person who enjoys being miserable, so I made the best of it…

I dropped the boys off with the sitter who will watch them while I’m out of town for work on Saturday…I tried to combine a personal trip with a professional trip and the only part of the plan that’s coming together is the professional trip…*sigh*….and knowing that my plans had been thrown into chaos, I still dropped them off with the sitter…I needed the “me time” desperately…

It took me a while to figure it out…when I got home Saturday morning, I cleaned my house, exercised, and then cleaned my car…until Mom #2 called and said to meet at her place at 1:30 p.m. for a surprise…a surprise that I was driving to because I have the “nice car”…it was worth the trip! A facial and a pedicure just because….holy shit! I’ve never had a facial and it’s been two months since my last pedicure (I was resigned to painting my own nails this week as all my money was spent on a babysitter.)…then we went to dinner and THEN to a movie…whoa…an actual girls day/night…huh? These really happen? People actually do this?? Guess so…

By Sunday, I had the hang of this whole relaxing thing…I had saved all my gift cards from my birthday thinking I would be spending some quality time out of town, shopping with someone…when that didn’t happen, I took myself shopping…four stores later, and I’d only spent $15 of my own money…not including the CUTEST hair cut…

 

See? How cute?! That one thing made my whole day…well, and the fact that I found a suit (that FITS) for $21…my first suit…I feel like a big kid…and yes, I’m taking it on my trip this week…

I ended Sunday night with a couple of glasses of wine, some dark chocolate, burning candles, and a good book…that’s how every single day should end, I think…well, I can think of a couple other ways, but if I have to be alone, that’s how my day should always end…

Today, well, today, I slept…I didn’t get out of the bed until 10am…only to shower and go scrounge for food…I took myself to lunch…came home…finished my book…and took a nap…and even though it’s not quite 7pm right now, I could go back to sleep…but I want to finish my wine and start a book, so no sleep yet…

I’m not used to being by myself…I’m not used to just doing what I want to do…but I like it…and, be surprised, I actually miss the boys a little…which means by the end of this week, I’ll miss them a lot…that’s a nice change of events…I should have more me time, I guess…

Not Looking Back

I did a favor for The Ex today…partly for him…partly because it could potentially benefit me (I’m not an idiot)…but it required that I go back to the old house – the house still on the market…it was harder than I thought it would be…

I agreed to go searching for his birth certificate in our old shed – a shed he filled with his few worldly possessions before he left town a couple of months ago – on Wednesday or so…I dreaded it all week…it messed with my head a little bit…

The dread turned into emotional baggage by Saturday…I cried a lot – for no good reason…this morning, getting ready to go, my stomach hurt…by the time we got on the road, I was in agony…it’s just a house now – none of my things are there…but I haven’t been back on nearly a year (one week until the year anniversary of my move, actually)…

I wondered if it would look different…I wondered if new neighbors would notice the strange car, the strange woman, the loud children…

I pulled onto a side street that I could probably navigate in my sleep…every nerve in my body was at attention, just waiting for…something…I pulled down our old road…the boys chattered away about “our house.” It stung to hear, but I forget they don’t have bad memories attached to it like I do…to them, it was a house they were growing up in, with loving parents, a dog, a life they enjoyed…

I never found his birth certificate…I found mice droppings, a gigantic bug, and lots of leaves…but not what I came for…I texted The Ex to let him know, packed up the boys, and drove off…I didn’t look back…

I could feel myself getting mired down in the weight of that old life…I had a 50 pound weight on my chest…I felt tears stinging my eyes…

And then…

Aidan: “Tell me to fart, Sean!”

Sean: “Fart, Aidan!”

Aidan: “Blphhhhhht!”

Followed by peals of delighted laughter…

Thank you, boys, for keeping it real for me…that place is a part of the past…I won’t forget it, but I won’t dwell on it either…driving away from town, the weight lifted…

I’m only looking forward now…

So This Happened…

So this happened this weekend:

Yeah, I’m one lucky girl.  2012 Toyota Corolla, only 20 miles on her when I drove off the lot VERY late Saturday night…thank God for The Step or it never would have happened…I have an amazing family, and while I’m always thankful for them, I will be even more thankful each time I get behind the wheel…

For the first time since 2003, I have a brand new, never been owned, pretty AND reliable AND fits my personality car…and I shall name her Ginnie…no, not Ginny or Jenny…or Virginia or Jennifer or any of that…Ginnie…think of it what you will…that’s who she is…and I love her…

I bought her first accessory today:

 

Her first piece of jewelry – and a nice-smelling air freshener.  It sparked a teaching moment for Aidan…

Aidan: “I, um, looooove the new air freshener, Mom.”

Me: “You do?”

Aidan: “Well, I don’t want to hurt your feelings so yeah, I love it.”

Me: “You don’t have to love it.  And as long as you speak nicely, you can share any opinion you have with me.”

Aidan: “Oh? Ok…I hate the air freshener, but I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Me: “Why don’t you like it?”

Aidan: “It’s too girly! It has flowers and stuff. Oh, but there’s a spider up top. I like that!”

For the record, it’s not a spider, it’s a flower, but I didn’t tell Aidan that.

Lesson learned (hopefully) – be nice and respectful and feel free to give your real opinion…I hope that sticks…I’d rather he be different from me in that area…I’m always nice and respectful…but I white lie to protect feelings with the best of them…

Oh yeah, and this happened:

 

Sean’s birthday! It was actually Monday, but we celebrated on Saturday when Mama and The Step could be here. We were supposed to do presents and cake in the middle of the afternoon, but the car-shopping experience took the entire afternoon and evening. Birthday festivities were at 8:00 p.m. while we waited for pizza to arrive. The adults, who hadn’t eaten since breakfast (myself, I’d had a whopping 250 calories 12 hours prior) scarfed down cupcakes and then stood in the kitchen and ate pizza hovering over the sink, as if we were in college and had no home-training…

 

You had to know it was going to be Thomas the Tank Engine, right?! And that little mark down at the bottom? Aidan’s finger just couldn’t help itself, apparently…

Oh, and if all of THAT wasn’t enough, this happened, to:

 

That’s Aidan, at a Cub Scouts Shooting Sports Day program, learning about BB gun safety before he was allowed to go near the BB guns. I wish I had a picture of him attempting to shoot, but Mama and I wrangled Sean…and bought a Cub Scout uniform…and drank water like we were in the Sahara…

Aidan attempted to shoot the BB gun…and never hit the target…but that’s ok…he tried archery…and hit the target twice – when the adult leading the archery pulled his arm back for him…but that’s ok…he’s not a natural athlete – he’s my literary, sensitive, loves art and music child…Sean, I think he’s going to be a linebacker or something…

He had a great time, scarfed down his hot dog lunch in record time, and declared Cub Scouts, “Awesome!”

And yes, every bit of the above occurred on Saturday…and I’m still freaking exhausted…but I have Ginnie…and I’m happy…and I have one less thing to worry about…and life is good.

 

Oh Isaac

Let me get the serious stuff out of the way first.  I’m lucky that Isaac (hurricane or tropical storm depending on when you’re reading this) is basically missing my area.  I recognize how fortunate I am.  I worry for my family who will get a much more direct impact from the storm than I will.  I worry for those who survived Hurricane Katrina and now get another storm on the anniversary of her arrival.  I hate it, it sucks, and it’s the one downside to living where I do.

But can I continue to be completely honest?

I am SO freaking tired of talking about Isaac!  In my neck of the woods, we’ve been talking about Isaac since last week – Thursday, I think.  It wasn’t even on top of Cuba yet and there was conjecture, there was supposition, and of course, there was panic!

I’m so tired of talking about Isaac, I wouldn’t even want to talk about Isaac Hayes, if I had a reason to! And yes, I recognize the irony that my entire post is dedicated to Isaac –  I get it.

My world was dead center of the “cone of uncertainty.”  Damn cone of F-ing uncertainty.  My mother began requesting constant weather updates to the point that when she called, I stopped saying hello.  Instead I said, “We’re still in the center of the cone, it may be a Cat 1 by landfall, who knows. Yes, I will be prepared. No I’m not evacuating. Yes we’ll be fine.”

But as I explained to countless newbies who had not gone through a hurricane before, until it gets in the Gulf of Mexico, the cone, the trackers, and conjectures are basically bullshit.  Nobody knows – they’re just guessing based on the weather at that basic moment and what they think the weather’s going to do next.  Have you watched the local weather lately?  When was the last time they got it 100% right?  You really think I’m going to start panicking a week out??

If you’re not aware, the Gulf of Mexico, during the summer, is like soup.  Warm-ass soup.  And we had a really mild winter, which means the Gulf never really got that cold.  NO ONE wants a storm to reach the Gulf.  No. One.  Sure, give a storm that loves a warm bubble bath time to churn for a while.  What could go wrong?  Everything.

Just to give you an idea of how I feel about hurricanes – I don’t evacuate.  I don’t throw a party and I don’t go to them, either (because it’s really illegal to put your children on a shelf during a hurricane party…the authorities frown on that.).  I get my crap inside, I hunker down, I wait it out.  That’s what I do.  I’ve said that I would evacuate for a Category 3 storm, but I’m not even sure I’d do that.  Everyone who’s lived through more than one hairy hurricane season has their threshold for when they’ll leave – some never do.  I never have.  No place to go, no money to get there, and my worst fear is being stuck on the interstate as the storm hits.  And of course, sometimes if you leave, you can’t get back in – I want to be able to get back to my stuff, even if it’s strewn across the damn highway.

Back to the Gulf, soup, and the unpredictability of stupid cones.  Let me share with you how the cone and Gulf don’t always communicate very well…

I lived in south Mississippi when Hurricane Ivan hit.  I don’t even remember what category it was now (guess I should Google that, huh?).  But I remember distinctly that it was coming straight for Biloxi, MS.  I settled in to my mom’s house with The Ex (before he was an ex), my roommate at the time, and my mom’s dog (Mama was already remarried, I think, or close to it so she was with The Step).  That was the SCARIEST thing I’ve ever sat through.  Wind howled, things got picked up and flung at the house, and of course, the power went out.

We weren’t watching TV at that point, so while we thought it was coming straight for us, Ivan actually did what a lot of storms do in the Gulf, it veered at the last minute, and pounded Pensacola, FL.  Ironically, six months later, I would move the panhandle area and witness a sea of blue roofs (from all the tarps).  We were sure it was headed for us, because that’s what the damn projections said.  The storm and the gulf had other plans.  That’s how these storms go.  ALL of them.

So, now, can you understand why maybe I’m a little annoyed that on THURSDAY the world began to panic slightly about my area being in the center of the cone.  I was one of a few voices saying, “Can we wait until it’s in the Gulf of Mexico?  Please?”

Now, that being said, I did get my preparations done Friday and Saturday.   Mostly to avoid the rush of the Monday afternoon people who were waiting for the magic 24-36 hour time frame to ransack every store in the tri-county area of bread, water, and peanut butter.

The joke, for those of us who live in these areas, is that the moment you buy your supplies, get your windows boarded up, and prepare for the worst, the storm won’t come to you.  So all weekend, I did my part to insure that Isaac went elsewhere.  On Friday, I bought 2 gigantic cases of water from Sam’s (the last two they had in the store, thankyouverymuch).  On Saturday, I bought way too much bread and peanut butter.  And then I refused to buy a full gallon of milk (opting for the half gallon) in case I lost power for more than a few hours.  All of these things mean that I won’t need all the damn water or the bread.  I comfort myself with knowing that they won’t go to waste, so it’s not a total loss.

For all my annoyance and flippancy, I do worry for the people who will take the brunt of the storm.  When you live here, you always want it to go somewhere else.  In my area, we just pray for west, WAY west.  I like the idea of Mexico…don’t they need rain?

I am ready for the storm, though.  The car has plenty of gas, we can go a few days without electricity if we have to, and I’ve pulled in all the big chunks of crap to lessen the amount of debris that could get picked up.  I do all this simply because I don’t want to be the crappiest mother alive for real, NOT because I think there’s much to worry about.  Panic is contagious.  And since we’ve been talking about this since THURSDAY, I’m pretty much trying to keep my perspective here, and not let everyone else’s worry get to me.  Especially the people who’ve never been through a storm.

One last piece of advice for those of you who have never been through a hurricane – if the people who have lived in the area ALL THEIR LIVES aren’t panicking, please calm down.  You don’t know more than they do about a hurricane, I promise.  When they start to freak out and pack up their crap, THEN it’s time to panic.

Today Was A Good Day

It didn’t start out as a good day…I had a big misunderstanding with a friend of mine…that’s what happens when most of your talking is online – can’t see facial expressions, body language, or know when they even leave the room…I woke up mad – as hell…

I came to work, determined to hide away and nurse my hurt feelings…it’s better, for my co-workers, if I’m behind closed doors on days when I’m like this…

A coworker came up to me while I was getting my breakfast together, while I was still fuming and stewing, and said, “I needed to pay it forward.”  I looked at her in confusion, and she handed me a bag – filled with goodies, just for me…I almost cried…

Too many emotions at once, and I had to hide in my office…I talked to her while she was eating lunch, thanking her profusely…of course, I asked, “Why?”

“Because I see what you go through, and I’ve been a single mom, but not with little ones,” she said.  “And everyone needs encouragement sometimes.  You’re doing a good job, and you need to know that.”

Ok, I can’t even type it right now without crying…can you imagine how I was when she said it?  It was the sweetest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard…and it was random…she didn’t have to do that…and now I know I need to pay it forward when I can…

To make the day even better, I had an official business meeting with Cool Chick today…and of course, we sort of got off topic, but it was still business…she should come hang out more often…she’s someone I relate to, but also someone I look up to…she’s had it rougher, been through far more, and she’s built something for herself that’s enviable…I guess I want to be like her when I grow up…oh, and of course the fact that she’s straightforward as hell and not really afraid to tell someone to kiss her ass holds a little appeal, too…

Anyway, today shouldn’t have been a great day…but it was…I’m ending today with a glass of really good wine, a couple of pieces of dark chocolate, and a smile on my face…everyone should be so fortunate…

A Break In The Monotony

I felt an emotional moodiness creep up on me today…I think it’s been working up to this point for days…everything feels too close, too restrictive…I want space – which is impossible to have…my emotions are at the surface…and on the drive home, I could feel myself going inward – to try and figure out why

Part of the moodiness is a desire for something different…some intangible thing (that I have no name for)…and it makes me cranky…

When I realized I was overly cranky with the boys, I decided to go against my nature and get out of my head a little…so we had a little adventure tonight…

Sean is rocking the big boy underwear at daycare now…which means he comes home in them…

Sitting in the pick-up line to get Aidan, I hear, “Mommy, I gotta poop.”

Aw, hell no…

“Can you hold it?  Just squeeze, baby…”  Yes, I explained to a two year old how to “hold it.”

“O…..k….Mommy…” Clearly, he was trying to squeeze.

We stopped at Burger King on the way home to use their potty because he really had to go…the thought that this was just the beginning of a loan road of potty training came and went in my mind…I walked him into the bathroom, and he immediately said, “Noooooooooooooo!”

I refuse to force him to use the bathroom, further traumatizing him, so we left Burger King.  But of course, by the time we got home, there was a little mess to deal with.

This was a moment I could feel that moodiness and crankiness closing in on me.

Idea time…I got the boys their baths and into their pajamas…and we went to Sonic for dinner.  We sat in the car, ate our greasy junk food (my stomach is hating me right now), and ordered our dessert to go.  The car was off, the windows were down, and it was almost like a picnic…better than a restaurant – where they tend to get cranky…even better than the McDonald’s Play Place – where I tend to get cranky…

It was emotional eating at it’s best…but for one night, we broke up the monotony of our lives…we had a small adventure…and for brief moment, I kept the emotions at bay…

There Are No Sick Days

As a parent, especially a single parent, there are no sick days.  Even if you have the luxury to take a day off of work (and this time, I did not), you don’t get a day off from parenting…ever

But, as I have finally admitted to myself, you can be “good enough” for a few days…

I’m a perfectionist by nature…when I have a way that I do things, and I know it works, and it’s the “right” way (for me), that’s how I like to do it…I don’t like to deviate…I’m OCD like that…however, motherhood (especially single motherhood) turned me into a realist very quickly.

I had (and still have) the stomach bug from hell – thanks to my darling children…it started Wednesday night, and I really thought it was what I ate for dinner…I don’t remember the last time I was that miserable…not even labor and childbirth felt that bad…I went to bed early, figuring I would sleep it off…Thursday morning, I woke up (sort of), drenched in sweat (oh yeah, the AC was out again) and feeling like I was going to die…I nearly passed out in the shower – and I’ve never passed out in my life (well, not while sober…)…I have a vague memory of throwing soap at myself and waving the razor under my arms…but if you think I did more than brush my hair and put on clothes that vaguely matched, you’re wrong…

The boys were sympathetic…I told Sean I didn’t feel good, so I couldn’t pick him up…he gave me his sweet stare and offered up his hand so I could walk him everywhere – to the bathroom to brush his teeth, down the stairs after I got him ready, to the car when we left, and into the daycare (which never happens)…I never realized just how much I carry him throughout the day…Aidan was relatively well-behaved…

I always make Sean’s lunch – it’s cheaper…not Thursday and Friday…I didn’t have the energy, but I had cash…you make do, right?  I tried to cook dinner Thursday night – well, as much as throwing a frozen pizza into the oven can be considered cooking – and still don’t know how I did it…Friday night, I gave up the dream and bought Happy Meals…in this whole time, I’ve barely eaten, which wasn’t helping the situation…but if you’ve ever had the stomach bug from hell, you know the last thing you want to do is eat…and if I thought of something, and it didn’t sound appetizing, I wasn’t going to force it…

I had a fever (or just a hot house from the AC being down, not sure)…I had chills (that was Thursday afternoon)…then I was clammy (that was most of Friday)…today, I’m just low energy but I’m gradually getting better…right now it’s just a constant nausea that is only alleviated by sweet tea (no lie!) and a cold room…every once in a while, I can eat something solid, but only if I think about it real hard first and the thought of it doesn’t make me nauseous…I pick Sean up occasionally – to put him on the changing table or in the bathtub – and it leaves me breathless for a moment…

We tried the errand thing this morning…and I used Sean’s nap as the reason we had to stop for the day…I’ll try again tomorrow…my house is a wreck, and I don’t really care – except the landlord’s been over twice this week because of the AC, and I don’t want her to think I’m some sort of slob…tomorrow, I’ll be happy if I get the laundry done, which isn’t really optional since I won’t have work clothes if I don’t…

I had a few moments where I felt sorry for myself because I really was miserable…but I pushed through – at work and at home…in my mind, there’s no other option…the job at work or home doesn’t stop for illness…someone has to do it, and that someone is me…it doesn’t really bother me to push through…you would have to have known my dad to know where I get it from…he lived every day of my life (22 years when he died) in constant pain, and he pushed through every day…I think about that sometimes, when I feel sorry for myself…if he can do it for that amount of time, surely, I can handle a few hours or days of it…

I refuse to stress the small stuff…I’m doing only what is necessary to get through the day…and frankly, most of that is making sure that the boys’ basic needs are met…if mine are met in the meantime, great, but it’s not a requirement…once I’m whole and healthy again, I’ll go back to my normal Type A, OCD self…I promise.

Oh, and while I don’t recommend it as a weight loss program, it’s been a great way to lose about 5 pounds or so… 🙂

Bittersweet Weekend

It was great – because it happened…it sucked – because it ended…

I saw everyone I wanted to see this weekend…and I was completely content…until I wasn’t because I was impatient to get to see the next person…have I ever mentioned that I’m not a patient person?

The weekend didn’t really go like I planned at all…torrential downpours and stressful lives will do that…but when I put my silly disappointment to the side, it was exactly what it needed to be – a chance to spend time with people I love beyond belief…

And while I was filled with frantic energy on Friday – gotta get there, let’s get there, are we there yet?, Saturday and Sunday were peaceful because I still had time…it was Monday that hurt…I’m never ready to leave…a part of me goes missing when I leave…a part of my internal puzzle…I’m not complete anymore – functional, yes, but incomplete…

The reality is that only one thing stands in the way of my own happiness…a J-O-B…if I had one of those, I’d be back there in a heartbeat…the one I have right now isn’t one you walk away from without a damn good reason…and in this economy, you don’t ever walk away from a job without another one waiting (hell, you don’t do that in any economy)…

I cried for the first hour that I drove back…for multiple reasons – and they all know who they are…and then I did what I always do…I set it to the side because I have to be able to function…and wallowing in my own self pity and misery aren’t conducive to that, thankyouverymuch!

So I’m back at it…tomorrow is another day…I’m learning to find peace with myself, by myself…I’m reminding myself that those darling children don’t really need to be sold to the gypsies, although, I am often tempted…and I’ll look forward to the next opportunity to complete my puzzle – even if it’s just for a few minutes…

It’s Not About Me…Until It Is

I’m sitting here, in this very moment, fidgeting with nervous energy…because I know that in less than 24 hours I will be speeding down the highway to Mississippi…I still find it strange that it’s a place I want to go…I spent so many years trying to get the hell out of there, and now I can’t wait to go back…strange…

Technically, this weekend getaway has very little to do with me…family is coming in from Germany, and I want to make sure the boys get to see them since visits are so rare…and even though it’s only been a month, my mother desperately misses the boys…and of course the boys adore going to Mississippi…so really, I’m performing a public service, of sorts…

Apparently, I’m a bit of an opportunist…Friday – mom, Saturday – BFF, Sunday – This Man…the weekend isn’t supposed to have anything to do with me…but I’m making damn sure to take care of myself, too…so it’s not really about me – until it is…

The Ex has been his usual self, which means nonexistent…and of course it still annoys me…until I realized that his idiocy isn’t actually directed at me…it’s directed at the boys…I was angry with him the other day, and felt like a truck hit me when I realized I was angry for the wrong reasons…I was angry because he’s an idiot…when in fact, I should be angry on the boys’ behalf…except they seem to be mentally moving away from him…they last about 30 seconds on the phone with him…and they’re done, moved on…in a way it’s very sad…but I’d rather them feel nothing instead of hurting all the time…

Realizing that I don’t need to be angry with him on my own behalf actually made the anger disappear…the boys aren’t upset (because they appear not to care), so why should I be?  Being upset with him isn’t going to change anything…and it makes me crazy…I’m glad I made this about the boys – instead of me.

Life is so much easier when it’s not all about me…

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