About Me

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I've been in the Midwest all of my life. However, I've also had some really incredible experiences that have profoundly shaped who I am as a person. I have been blessed with four overly verbal children, can you say KARMA? And while I've always liked writing, it has become sort of a therapy for me. ...let's just say I don't have to look to hard to have something to write about in this house full of characters.

Friday, March 8, 2013

...brooding and 'slim jims'...

...so, today was one of those rare, unusual days where I had time alone with Abraham Archer (a.k.a Abe). We are starting the exhilarating and costly world of orthodontia. After they basically scared the crap out of him and me with the ins and outs of what we were venturing into, let alone having me sign a waiver saying I would keep up my end of the deal. They also had a LONG talk with Abe, telling him his responsibilities...really? This kid would never shower unless forced, let's put straight CASH into his mouth and make him promise to live up to his end of the bargain, with a simple, "Yes, I will..."? The whole thing got me thinking...

I have never spoken to my kids like they were kids...I never really realized this, until my friend April brought it to my attention a long time ago. So, that being said, they don't really speak like 'kids', rather creepy (at times) miniature adults. Now I am grateful for this, as I can use all the conversation I can get, it sort of bites you in the buns at times. So, these kids are not only able to carry a conversation, indubitably, these kids can argue their heads off, usually over nothing, at any given moment, all because I gave them this fantastic gift of language...I'm contemplating only signing to Atticus, just to cut down on the volume and the need for a cocktail...

Second of all, seven seems to be the new twelve...the level of disdain and seemingly acute embarrassment...mixed with the under-cutting feeling that, while yes, you are my parent, you know nothing...so, please don't speak, don't ask me questions, basically pretend we aren't together...such a warm feeling to get from someone you were in labor for 20 hours to bring into this world. So, I figured he not only needed the time alone with me, he needed to be heard 'mano e mano'...he maybe would turn around. Nope. So, I accepted it, a little rattled, but I accepted it and figured I'd keep trying...

So, after our wonderful orthodontic adventure, shaken and not yet stirred, we went on to the other errands at hand, hoping I could glean some sort of 'positive' out of the day. I gave him the chance to choose at the grocery store some of the things we would buy...little did I know he only wanted doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, fruit roll ups, and chocolate milk...so I handed him our list, tried to appease some of his 'wish list' and attempted to teach him how to shop, having him pick out the cheapest of what we needed, whilst hoping that we were going to be able to connect, even in the simplest of forms. We made it to the check out, after having lengthy conversations about how it would be easier to live in Quincy than Canton, the need for 87 different cereals, the disadvantage to buying 12 bags of chips, and the ins and outs of why anyone had to drink milk...we threw our Lenten promise away, as we'd already had the be-Jesus scared out of us, and he was rewarded a 'Slim Jim' (yuck, by the way), I figured it was a figurative cocktail for me...then it dawned on me.

This kid was my SIDE KICK just a couple of years ago...I mean, this kid was my shadow, my helper, my conversation exchange...He helped me clean, change sheets, my errand boy when Nora was a baby...it dawned on me, not only had he grown up, he'd sort of been replaced by a substandard girl. Don't get me wrong, where Nora is the consummate conversationalist, she is seriously lacking in the 'helping out around the house' end of things, nothing like Abe. Abe could have skipped kindergarten and went straight into cleaning house for someone, and he was excellent at it and loved doing it. Never-the-less, he had been replaced as the older kid at home, and it never dawned on me before...this kid really needs time out by himself. If for nothing else than to be rewarded for the great help he was while home...rewarded for the great kid (even though he's got that brooding thing going) that he is...rewarded that he might always be the 'middle kid', by far he's helpful, imaginative, and loving, with the most contagious (and costly) smile my world...



Thursday, March 7, 2013

...runner's high and gin-n-tonics...

...the word that best describes how I was feeling four months ago today is bleak...I remember coming out into a room full of some of his friends, having to tell them that it was time...it was time to say anything they might want to say to him, as this was the end. I told them that what they might see would not be something they want to remember, and if they wanted to say something to him from where they sat, that was okay too...

At that dark point in my life, little did I know very valuable those people would be to me, more over, I wouldn't have even been able to comprehend how all of these other wonderful, thoughtful, life changing people would suddenly appear in my life...unknowingly filling a void with just the simplest of gestures. The smallest of things, at just the right time, can take your psyche from devastated to habitable. While it is at times easier to wallow, having people in your life that can raise you up, is rare, rich, and prized.

I've never been a runner, unless I was being chased (buh-dum-dum-ching), however, lately it seems I'm running a race with myself...hoping that as some point 'runners-high' will just kick in already, and the rest will be effortless and apparent. But nothing worth learning, is ever uncomplicated. These prized people I have above mentioned, they are the masses of people standing on the side of the race route, handing me water and cheering me on to the next marker...what they are doing may seem simple enough, but to me it's so much more than that, especially on my 'dark day'...

Everyone is allowed a 'dark day' in their lives. The fact that you are breathing in and out allows you to have one. With these days, you do with what you can, always hopeful that one day it might mean something different or better still, it will go from monthly to yearly...that being said, my 'dark day' has changed over the last four months, mostly due to the lack of time, space, kid-free zones, and basically life as I know it. And, it has changed partly (and thankfully) to these extra special people in my life, that four months ago, I would have never believed I would be so blessed to have. The check-ins, the hilarious texts, or the messages just letting me know that I have someone there if I need them...only one word can describe this: monumental.

So, on this fourth 'dark day' I have had in the last calendar year, I feel it deserved to fix a gin and tonic (as Jason would), and not only think of the person I was blessed to have in my life, but to celebrate all the new people that are making my life better with the simplest of gestures...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

...ice pops and silver linings...

...it's that time again, the time I sit down and write and have a billion things running through my head...ironically, nothing to due with the loss we have gone through, rather the challenges that I feel are on the distant horizon. The winds of change that come without the ability to control them, and the lack of control on your destiny. I've related a lot of what I'm going through to swimming, now as if swimming without floaties wasn't hard enough, I have to somehow let go, and know that life will fall into place...yeah, my OCD has no problem with that...

I started this whole thing with NO KNOWLEDGE, and really not claiming that I have any more than I had before...Jason did the business side of our life, I did the house stuff, small bills, and groceries...ignorance is a word that sounds about right, but doesn't even come close. I've had to start from scratch, learn what the hell to do, and try to put it into practice...however, there are those questions/conversations/decisions that you don't take lightly, let alone discuss with yourself...and then it starts all over again...

It's such a minuscule thing, a conversation...but, when you think back on your life, how many conversations changed what you did, how you felt about something? How many conversations did you start feeling bewildered, and ended feeling bold, brave or even satisfied that you were doing the right thing? Having someone to bat around ideas, fears, and problems with is something that should be not only celebrated, but cherished...not many people understand the power that is behind that, I however, understand it all too well...

Sure, I never want for talking to someone in this house, yet the one who speaks the most is three years old, and I'm just not confident in her financial advice, let alone the last time she washed her hands...not someone you want to throw any heavy ideas on. The funny thing is, if I could just adopt a mindset like her, I'd be less stressed out, find the humor in most everything, and eat nothing but ice pops all day long...I need a second opinion.

When the need for 'letting go' is screaming into your face, how is it possible to not feel threatened because you just want a little control on your life? I find myself looking up and asking Jason, "Okay, now what? Where next? What should be the next plan of attack?"...at this point paying bills, making meals, doing laundry, changing diapers-that's sums up my control. Meanwhile, I know I'm being told to calm the hell down, take it day by day and it'll all come together...

While I have to start this mantra some where, knowing WHERE we'll end up or even a notion of that, for now, is what is making life more difficult than what we may be missing...but there is an up note-THE SILVER LINING- that I have to remind myself (besides calm the hell down) is when I need the help...I know I will have friends there for me, because thus far, they have been the best things that have fallen into my place...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

...friday nights and low lights...


...so when you are a mom, it's like you are permanently in this certain world...you venture out occasionally, but not enough to remember what it was like before you earned stretch marks and lost your first name...and it is rare to have those opportunities, I mean, you can pick up your kids from school in a halter top with a cocktail in your hand, but it doesn't really bode well for your reputation...

Even when mothers go out together, sooner or later the discussion turns to coupons or grocery stores, indoor play grounds or Chuckie Cheese...and there is no disrespect in saying this, it's our day to day, and word of mouth is sometimes the best way to find things out. Currently, in my situation, I feel as though at times I am being swallowed up by "motherhood"...when the only time I get to read 'adult' material is at the dentist office, I need to shake things up a bit...put on clothes that I DO care if a child blows their nose on, pull out the heels, slap on some make-up, and get out the cookie flavored lip-gloss!

So, Friday, I got dolled up, had some SAINTED LADIES come over and watch my kids for the night (my kids couldn't wait for me to leave, and I'm fairly certain I didn't even say goo- bye to them), and met up with some ladies...the best part was, all of these ladies I knew would be FUN, just the kind of fun I required- some knew each other, some didn't, and by the end of the night we were all hugging- 'cause that's what girls do when they are a little over served, it's in our DNA...

The best part of the night, there was no discussion of play groups, no coupons, NO KID TALK really...as we sat and laughed, and ate, and drank adult drinks...it was possibly the best time I have had in a WHILE...a recharge of who we once were before we had to sensor ourselves for little ears...a time to tell stories, ask questions, and not really care how loud we were. We bonded in this low lit lounge, over how we knew each other, what we'd been through, and gave little thought to how we would recover the next day...you know the best sort of time!

Thankfully, after my recharge night I am finally feeling back to normal, flushed with a feeling of knowing that it was necessary to get a little silly, grateful for the chance to be a 'non-mom' for an evening and looking forward to planning another get together, just giving our livers a little time to heal, and ready to tell more stories...and for those who were there- I am so very lucky to have you!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

...free cookies and Daddies at the Hy-Vee...

...so, when you see Daddy, tell him to come up and see me...when are we getting a new Daddy?...so, if Daddy is never coming back from heaven, who is going to be our Daddy?...and I thought I was doing a pretty good job...but, I'm 5'3", not able to lift things over my head easily, and clearly missing the 'Daddy' parts to make me relevant...so, now what?

Clearly, I have been waiting for this day...the day of questions. The day of questions that I could not possibly answer...if was just sort of figuring that they would be spread out, which they have. BUT, today, was ALL questions...as if life with a three year old isn't challenging enough...oddly, today I wasn't only fielding her questions, but also my 7 year old...with him it was rather statements that caught me off guard...

It started in the pre-pre-dawn hours, when Abe had a dream that he was in a closet with someone who was planning to eat him? Okay. The thing with this kid is, when you get up, even to go to the bathroom, his internal clock says, GOOD MORNING- no matter the time...so, what started as an early morning, quickly turning into an early start to questioning...what was life all about? were we going to live in this house forever? what's for breakfast? when are we getting a new Dad, I'm ready?...it's the last one that threw me for a loop. I've heard such ramblings from my three year old, mostly because she is inquisitive, mostly because she likes the sound of her own voice- all the while, I was figuring that she didn't really know what she was asking...but from Abe, it was a head scratcher...

While I am proud of the mother I have become (at times not so proud of the routes I take), there is a certain magic about having a MALE in this house...it's like the mood changes, the atmosphere is filled with something else, possibly for my kids, something familiar that hasn't been around. They become rowdy and loud (more than normal), chatty and 'show-off-ish'...while I have known for months that something is missing at 815 Washington, tried my damndest to create a 'normal'...the mere presence of a male has not gone unnoticed...

The funnier thing is hearing a three year old solution to our current vacancy..."...Mom, all you have to do, is go to Hy-Vee and just buy a Daddy there, and before we leave I can get a cookie..."-priorities, you know. After this suggestion, it leaves me wondering which is more comedy, explaining to her why I can't 'buy a Daddy' at Hy-Vee or the concept of finding a Daddy...both leave me more than a little speechless- no small challenge I thought...then come the questions of when we are having another baby "for Atti to play with?" I informed them (Nora and Abe-who is baby crazy anyway) that without a Daddy, there will be no babies- all the while holding my breath that I wasn't opening THE CAN of worms that I'm not particularly ready to discuss with a  7 and 3 year old... I told Nora, "...well, what are your plans? You can't play with Atti?" To which she informed me she had better things to do...

As is the daily worries of this house don't weigh enough on my brain...now half my kids are looking to get me on "The Dating Game" just so they have someone to wrestle with around the house? ...great, just add it to the list of things to do during my free time...whenever I find out where the hell that is...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

...wallowing, and hair bands...

...so, it's wallowing day...it's not found on your Hallmark list of holidays, but never-the-less it has attached itself to my ass and it's not leaving without a fight...everything is a reminder, and he is everywhere, but where he should be...

You know, in hindsight (which is always perfect, and in my current situation pisses me off to no end) I never appreciated all that I had with him. I never appreciated how someone who knew you better than yourself could make you feel, just by a look. I never told him how I loved that he knew all my stories. I never appreciated how he knew how to help me, and even more when it drove him nuts when he couldn't. I never appreciated all that he did for me, and frankly, I was lucky to have him and probably didn't deserve him...Now, he would be the first one to tell you that I put up with a lot of stuff from him too, and there you go, most men would never even admit that...why is that old adage so true, yet you can never do anything about it until it is too late, "...you don't know what you've got, until it's gone..."

Sadly, when I utter those words, that completely crappy 80's hair band  Cinderella says it in my head...as if the saying wasn't horrid enough. But crappy 80's band or not, the saying is what I am currently living, and trying like the dickens to run away from every minute of my life...I have a complex inner narrative, usually it involves pretending that everything is fine will make it be fine...and up until now, it has distracted me sufficiently...

Until this afternoon...sort of like a drop in barometric pressure, I knew it was coming, thought I had batten down the hatches, but to no avail, it hit...the kind of sad that is deep from within, where the tears start about your ankles and then have to reach your eyes slowly and tediously draining you, but all the while you know you have to let it out or else you'll drown...it all hits you, yet again. By this point you know how to swim, hell you've taught the course and you are certified by the Red Cross, but it doesn't matter...you've forgotten your training, and you're flailing at the edge of the water...suddenly, you remember...just float.

I'm not sure what brought this day on...everyday is a reminder that you need to live life to the fullest, but it also is a harsh reminder to appreciate everything you have, when you have it...because when it is gone, there is nothing but an ache, nothing but a memory, nothing but a feeling that you once had...and while knowing you had it should be enough, it never fully quenches your thirst for more...and all you're left with are wallowing and crappy 80's hair-bands...

...mind games and the verbal arsenal...

...so, what is the deal with the time-space-continuum? ...what is an actual measure of time? I mean, I have a calendar, I know the whole thing with counting the days in a month, some have 30, some 31 and so on...but, how is it possible that three and a half months can actually feel like a year? Do I have some cryptic ability? ...am I some bizarre offspring of Nostradamus? ...currently measuring life in minutes seems to best dictate how life rolls here, and not for nothing but 131,040 minutes seems like a long time...

In talking to my bestie (one who reads between my lines), I was reminded of the fact that my initial quest in this new world of mine was to find 'a normal'...little did I anticipate that once found, all of my wildest dreams would not come true...little did I know that finding 'normal' is not only boring, tedious, and monotonous, but also a little lonely...I feel like while my house might not be clean, I don't have all of the doctor appointments caught up, and I need a pedicure...we are all surviving, but to what end? At what point do you just claim mental defeat? ...when do you admit that you might be losing at 'Mental Jenga' (thank you Jennifer Reekie)....

Yesterday, we headed out of our house for the first time in a couple of days due to the massive amount of snow we were 'given'...stir crazy was slightly the name tag we should have been all wearing, that and mine should have said HEAD COLD...we dropped Abe off to a birthday party, something I never did when Jason was here on a Saturday, as he worked that day...I no longer have that excuse, and let's face it, these kids need a freaking good time when ever possible! Maybe it was being stir crazed, maybe the head cold coming on, maybe it was that we were in a minivan for way too long of periods yesterday...at any rate, we are driving along and I heard Oscar say possibly the most prolific thing, seemingly reading my mind for the last 10 minutes, 10 days, 3 months...I hear him say to Abe, "...would you just stop talking?..." I had to resist the urge to LAUGH OUT LOUD! Those five words have entered my head on nearly a daily basis in the last 3 months...the act of saying it, I always imagined would be as liberating as doing a cartwheel, not wearing a bra, or drinking all day long...(I have very low standards).

Being that honest, in the moment...knowing that you are mentally nearing the wall and politely giving a heads up to the person next to you that you will BLOW IT if pushed much further (Chase Mortgage Co. that would be directed at you)...knowing that as much as life sucks at times, that's life- and you either learn from it and move on, or you stay stagnant and miserable. The last 3+ months have taught me a lot, however, they have seemed so much longer than that...being burnt out and not having someone to fall back on is something I have to not only expect in my situation, but also have an arsenal ready to combat it...I'm getting better at seeing the 'enemy', now I just need to fight, and be ready to never claim defeat in 'Mental Jenga' or what ever the hell else life slings at me...all the while knowing that five or less could get me through-and hand gestures while effective, are not necessary...