Tag Archives: motherhood

The summer of her discontent, or not…

As I sat down tonight to blog (oddly, not about what you’re about to read, so you’re welcome for the topic switch!), I forgot my password, as I do every single time I sit down to my computer for one reason or another. I am completely the reason I cannot have nice things, and it is part of my charm. Sitting at the keyboard, I racked my brain trying to remember what email address I even use for this thing, when I heard footsteps coming down the hall in my direction. Since I am the only one home right now who was not in her assigned bed, I knew it was one of my kiddos. And, to be honest, I wasn’t surprised.

“Hey, you. Go to bed,” I sighed – not looking over my shoulder because everyone knows if you make eye contact with the bed-wanderer, you have to have a conversation with that person that usually ends up with no fewer than 4 sips of water and a 2 snuggle minimum – wondering if I would ever figure out how to get back into this thing.

“Uhm, okay, nevermind…” Aaah, yes. My oldest. I knew it. Forgetting all about passwords and email addresses, I stood and moved to the couch and invited her to sit down with me. Tears threatened to spring forth from her eyes.

“What’s wrong, Lovey?”

Sniffling, the tears came. “I’m so sad summer has to end. We had so much fun…”

Tomorrow is the first day of school for our district, and trust me when I say that my children are very much ready for school to be in session and the routine and craziness that ensues from that. It’s obvious in their behavior and their actions that they need routine like fish need water, and the school year provides routine that summer does not, especially with me also not working a traditional full time schedule. So, they’re all ready. Go to school, kids. It’s time.

What shocked me was the fact that she said she had so much fun this summer. This summer was, thankfully in many ways, one of the most low-key, chill summers we’ve had. For the first time since 2015, I didn’t require any surgeries this year (yet!! lord knows there is time). So, I suppose that’s been a big bonus around here. But, fun? We didn’t do much! We put vacation on hold because we’re surprising them with a big trip in the spring, but we told them that we put it on hold while waiting for their dad’s work schedule to change. This, of course, is not a lie, but it was all they knew as to why vacation had to wait. We didn’t get to Kalahari like we had planned (but we will!) because I worked a ton this summer in my day job, and I ended up doing a lot of writing projects as well. As I rolled through the things we wanted to do and didn’t do in my head when she said, “fun,” I lost sight of what the summer did consist of…

We went to the drive in a couple times to see kids’ movies that they loved. We stayed up too late and caught fireflies. We wanted to get “real TV” and subscribed to DirectTV, so the girls were able to rekindle their love of mindlessly watching television without typing anything into Netflix. We watched a lot of Cartoon Network and got reacquainted with our friends in Teen Titans Go!, along with other shows we’d lost touch with (and I have rekindled my love affair with HGTV). We did a few small road trips but not even all the ones we wanted to! We had a pool up for a while, and then one of the littles replaced the plug with a water bottle cap – which is not effective at plugging a pool – so that wasn’t long lived. But, we also got a splash blob, which is my favorite thing ever. We grew a garden, and they learned about how plants go from seed to table, and they even got to help us harvest things (and still do, since it’s still going!). We celebrated two birthdays! We created outdoor living spaces on our patio and brought the backyard to life. They played in that backyard every single day, some days ALL day, and we had lots of baths that turned the water brown with dirt and smells that only can be recreated in Ohio summers. We did lots of library days and read books and made Lego things and painted  and all of that fun creative jazz. We had a lot of ice cream for dinner, and for other things as well, and ate out more meals in three months than we usually do in a year. We spent more money on little toys and gadgets they wanted than I ever care to admit. We said “yes” a lot more than we said “no,” and I suppose, at the end of the day, that’s what makes the memories that count when you’re small.

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and unbridled happiness, however. We had lots of frustrating moments with raised voices and pounding countertops and slammed doors. Lots of tears over sisterly injustices and parents who “just don’t understand.” Lots of “PLEASE GOD GO TO SCHOOL SO YOU STOP KILLING EACH OTHER” and more than one occasion of one of us girls begging their dad to take us to work with him (usually me). We talked a lot about being grateful for what you have and taking care of those of us in this world who may not have as much as you do. We talked about a lot of big picture world and society issues. And, yes, lots of bedroom cleaning and chores and the things that no one ever wants to do. I tried very hard to get them to learn the importance of pulling their own weight, and how not everything is going to be fair because life is one big unfair bullshit ride a lot of the time, and what is more important is grace and being a team player and gratitude and all of that shit that you say and then you’re like “Yes, I am nailing this parenting thing cuz look at their faces looking at me, nodding and getting this…”

Those moments – the ones that involved lessons learned and some yelling and maybe some tears – are what stand out to me as a parent. The discontent is what sticks out to me, and maybe that’s because I am naturally predisposed to remember negative things and experiences and sort of file away the good for moments when the negative gets to be too much. But, as my blue-eyed, blond-haired, lookin’ more like her momma every day child sat hugging her knees, laughing as I talked to her about how good things need to come to an end and that she wouldn’t want the summer to last forever because it would lose its special magic, it hit me. Kids need time and energy and space to run and roam and to fight with each other and figure things out even when they drive their parents nuts with it all. What I saw as a summer of discontent with all of the things we “didn’t do” was a summer of fun and freedom for the kids, and it was such a fun time that the thought of it ending brought my kiddo to tears…

What the fuck happens to us as adults that just kills our joy?
proof-that-growing-up-is-definitely-a-trap-6

Now, that ^^ is just sad…
(but, I have spent enough time around both children and adults that I don’t doubt it!)

2014 was….

I haven’t given due respect to this little space of the internet here at end of this year since my Poppa passed away on November 16, so my apologies for neglecting this blog. Part of it was neglect on purpose; I didn’t want to write, to remember, to relive. I did not want to have to think about it. And I still don’t. Someday, I will. Not today.

My Poppa passing really has fucked me up in many ways. It has been years since I had to deal with the loss of someone so grand in my life. I was 16 when my grandmother passed, and her passing sent me into a very dark place as a youth. I had 17 more years with Poppa than with Gram Alice, but that sure as hell doesn’t make this any easier. This time, in dealing with his death, I wasn’t able to wallow in it, to selfishly grieve his passing over. I wasn’t able to go out and do dumb shit to deal with it all. This time, I have a husband and three little girls. And I need to be strong and happy for those three little girls. No matter how I feel inside, how much I want to spend the day crying and writing, screaming or sulking, I can’t do that. This is what it means to be an adult; and sometimes, it sucks a lot. I did write one hell of a eulogy for him, and that helped me immensely to heal, since writing saves my life time and again, but it wasn’t enough to fully heal, cope. Will I ever? Will there always be a hole? Is there supposed to be? Time will tell.

I am distancing myself from people and things, and even friendships that I treasure; I can feel it, and I need it. I don’t mean to push people away, but it is in the still of things, the moments alone, that I am finding peace. I am decluttering my life and my spirit because I need to. I need to look inward to be able to heal. I say it fucked me up, and it did, because the way I look at things has changed. My cousin passing last year was tragic, there is no doubt about that. It really rocked me. However, Poppa passing has changed me. Fundamentally. I will never be the same. My laugh has even changed, the reasons why I laugh have changed, and the way my world feels to me has changed. And it’s not for the bad. I believe that. It’s for the inevitable. I was bound to change, I needed this moment to happen to really see what is important. And what isn’t.

This year was many things to me. I saw my three girls really start bonding as a unit. My husband showed me time and again how he is my rock, and without him, I can’t do much. Issues with certain individuals in my life, that I thought were over, have been freshly reopened, and I have had to learn time and again how to internally forgive people because I deserve the peace that comes with that forgiveness. My oldest has blossomed into an amazing mind and power beyond her own understanding. My middle has become her own force, her own light in the world, and one hell of a snuggler. And my baby is simply that: every single thing the third child can be and more. They all have made my year such an amazing time to be alive, to be their mom, to be the most important thing for them that I can be.

This was the first year I wasn’t pregnant since the year my husband and I got married. Four pregnancies in six years is a little hard to grasp, that’s for sure. This was the first year I have felt us as a complete family, whole and unbreakable. I started writing my first novel and hope that by this time next year, I can add officially that I am a writer to my title. This was the year I gained confidence, and stability, to start to dream again. And it because my family is complete that I can find that stability and my voice in my dreams.

This year I have become hardened. I have gone through many things this year that have led to this feeling, and I needed to deal with them all to be whole. I needed to accept that no matter how badly i wanted something, if it wasn’t my time, it wouldn’t be coming for me. I needed to learn to look inward and remember that my role as mother, though not a paying gig, is the most important role I can ever perform. I needed to remember that my children are little souls that need to thrive, and I am the most important person in my life to give them the ability and knowledge to thrive. And though I am still seeking that elusive full time job in higher education, I needed to learn patience, pulling in the oars, and letting the Universe lead me. I know what is for me will not pass me, and as long as I continue to remind the Universe of what I want, and to truly desire that, it will come. I needed to gain some tunnel-vision in my life, instead of chasing a brass ring not meant for me anyway. I needed to prioritize things to remember to let go of that which does not serve me. I needed to lose someone in my life so close to me that the loss would shatter what I am inside so that I can turn these broken pieces into something beautifully amazing again. I was getting too comfortable; this year made sure that I didn’t become too safe in my shell.

It wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t all good. I laughed a lot. I cried a lot. And I learned more lessons than I ever assumed I could in one single year. But you know what? That’s life. That is the point of this crazy Journey we are all on. This life isn’t for the weak, that’s for sure. We all must change to grow, and it isn’t usually comfortable thing to change and emerge on the other side of something. Life is meant to change us, to transform us, and to leave our souls always seeking something more beautiful or exceptional: to make us into butterflies. For without change, there would be no butterflies. And I intend for 2015 to become my butterfly year. Hear that Universe? Butterfly year. Mine. 2015.

 buterrfly2

butterfly1

What do you want your 2015 to look like?
Happy New Year’s to all my readers here.
You all rock my little world. Promise.

My history will not be HERstory…

It’s amazing what you remember when you realize you are raising a child that might as well be yourself. For me, it’s my oldest.

My oldest is funny. Like, really funny. And she’s sarcastic to a fault (I still have NO idea where that came from). And she’s brilliant, well-spoken, honest, and fun. I see so much of myself in her that I worry for her, and I want to protect her from all of the things.

Yesterday was a big day for us together, and it wasn’t one of those good, celebratory days. It was heartbreaking. To start, I almost broke down into tears when she told me about lockdown drills at her school, and she explained to me that there are bad guys with guns who can come into her school and shoot them. And they have to be quiet or else the bad guys will find them, but then at the drill three of the kids wouldn’t be quiet, and she was afraid if it were real, and not a practice drill, that they would be hurt. They were told they did not do well because a few kids were loud, and she knew what that meant; they failed at simply practicing to stay safe.I was stunned. My eyes burned with tears as I drove; my voice threatened to fail me as we discussed the rest of her day. I had no idea what to say, so I talked about how her teacher will do everything she can to make sure no one gets hurt, and the school has super protection in place to keep all bad guys out anyway. My heart sank into my socks as I realized she knows fears I never knew. We never had to worry about these things when I was in school. There were no shootings in schools. No bad guys with guns came anywhere near schools. No, for me, the bad guys were in school. And their weapon of choice wasn’t guns, it was their mouths lobbing their bullets at me in the form of words, teases, taunts. And I so don’t ever want her to feel like her bad guys are inside of her school, no matter what weapon we are talking about.

I was watching her yesterday at an event at her school. It was some big Fall party with inflatables and a magician and the like. I watched her interact with other students, some of them her friends, others not. And it hurt my heart. A lot. And not because there’s something wrong with her or anything. The interactions didn’t go poorly. But the fact that she has friends, and conversations with them, and this life I don’t know because she isn’t with me all day for me to protect her, broke my heart. I thought back to the conversation in the car on the way to the school, and I looked around. I do not want this school, with its amazing teachers and staff, its clean walls and shiny floors, to be a place where she isn’t safe. It made me ache to think back to my own school experiences, and Lord knows, so few of them were pleasant.

She stood in line waiting for a balloon animal, and she was eating her snack that they had given to the kids. And watching her standing there, alone in a line of children, just minding her own business and eating pretzels was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. And it’s not because she wasn’t talking with anyone. I was so sad because she’s me. She is who I was 20some years ago. And I remember how hard elementary school, middle school, and hell even high school were for me. I was not popular. I was a loner of sorts, but this was not because I wanted to be. I wanted friends, desperately. But socially, I was (and still am at times) totally awkward. People made fun of me, bullied me, because I was smart and had no problem showing off. I wasn’t super attractive, so I was called ugly. I was treated as if I were the plague. I didn’t know how to handle the bullying, so I cried a lot. I spent a lot of time alone by default. This was my entire school career, through 12th grade. There was no end; I knew no way out. I was bullied for the way I looked, talked, acted, was perceived, and I was even given a nickname as a senior in high school that accused me of being a male/female transgendered person. Words truly are like weapons that wound sometimes.

It was every single day. I did not go through one day without something being said to me. It started in Kindergarten with a child poking me in the eye with his pencil and whispering, “Ugly girl” and it went into my senior year of high school where I was voted Band Queen as a joke, and classmates laughed at me for weeks until I demanded my name be removed from the ballot, as everyone told me it was a joke, and I refused to partake. It escalated because I was laughed at even when I tried to stand up for myself; when I walked away I was taunted loudly, as if I was deaf just because I wasn’t facing them. Nothing hurt more than being inside those walls, and it hurt worse when so-called friends would join in, not defending me, but tormenting me as well. I had crushing social anxiety, but I told so few people. I didn’t need to tell anyone; oftentimes, my reputation proceeded me. And I had some good friends, but I had some not-so-good ones as well. I was so desperate for anyone to like me that I never really spoke up to them, never really demanded anything from them. And that was good; they gave me nothing in return. But we’d hang out still after; I just didn’t want to be alone anymore. There were so few I trusted, and the ones worth their salt are actually still in my life now. I could never figure out WHY I was so hated, but that didn’t matter. I was young. The fact that I was hated was all I needed to know.

Now, those trials defined me and made me who I am. And they make me want to ensure that my children never feel that way. But seeing my oldest last night, quietly chewing pretzels, looking around to see if a friend would come by, cleaning out her teeth with her tongue…it broke my heart to realize that she may feel like I did someday. I will not tell her to change who she is to fit in and to fit anyone else’s definition. I want her to be loud and proud and her goofy, smart, hilarious, beautiful self. I don’t want her to be so afraid of rejection, name calling, ridicule, and other kids’ reactions that she forgets who she is and that she matters. I did that, and it didn’t help me deal with the tormentors one bit. I was called every name you can imagine, and I can still hear some of those kids calling me names. And she has been called names already at the age of 6. It fucking pisses me off how cruel kids are, but I can only instill in her confidence (she says these kids don’t bother her because she knows she’s awesome, but I am sure the words hurt) and make sure she knows how amazing she is. Kids are so mean to each other, and I am tearing up writing this, but I can only hope to protect her in any way I can. I have lots of advice to give her, lots of words of encouragement, and I can only hope that my experiences help shape the way I parent her. She is my twin, through and through. She looks like me, acts like me, and sounds like me. I just hope she doesn’t go through her life as I did; I hope she stands tall in her own strength. I was never encouraged to stand in my own strength; I had no clue that I had anything at all worth standing in. But as her mother, it will be my job to remind her, and her sisters, everyday that they have strength that they can use, and the bullies will never win.

This is my job: to allow them to write their stories without the pain that mine was riddled with.
To remind them that they are better than what others deem them.
To ensure they are strong, and that they believe they matter.
To make sure my experiences are not theirs…
But, if they get hurt, to be there for them
To be their champion, comfort,
Shoulder, encourager,
Mother.

untitled

images

And I pray they stand strong…

Now, the fight against the bully that is standardized testing is a whole other animal, and one that I am REALLY afraid of for all of my children. However, that’s a blog post for another day…

Oh, those coveted three letters…

I have always been an ambitious person. I am a perfectionist, a workaholic, my own worst enemy, and I am rarely pleased with my position in life. I am always thinking of how to get more of something: knowledge, experience, education. You name it, I aim for it. I remember when I was little, I told my parents that I wanted to be a doctor of something. I knew I didn’t want to be a medical doctor, but I was aware that there were other ways to be a doctor of something. I told them it didn’t matter if I was a garbage man, I would be Doctor Devon. I still intend to keep that promise, to have those three coveted letters after my name. But, not now. Not when I don’t have a full time job that pays the bills, as I will not educate myself out of a job. And not when I have three little ladies who need me to be Mommy, and who do not care what letters come after my name, who believe I am everything to them, as long as I can be there for them everyday.

Some friends of mine have been getting all sorts of promotions at their jobs. One became a doctor earlier this week, a few got advancements in rank, even my husband got a new position today at his job, one that allows for more security, more income, and is a better opportunity. I am proud of all of them, and I do not begrudge them their successes. I feel so happy that they have professional successes. And I know one day, I will as well. But right now, I am honored to do what I can on a part time basis, for my full time gig comes with three little letters of its own: MOM. Sure, being an adjunct is less than ideal, but it works with motherhood. My choices are driven by my responsibilities to my girls; I keep them first in mind, always. And, so far, I am getting better at the negotiation, and it has worked out well. I will teach and tutor part time, be a part time student to finish the MA program, and do what I can with what I’ve earned. Full time perks with all their glory (and an office!!) will come to me, and I am in no rush. For the first time in a long time, I am comfortable in the waiting place. I know I will come across a good opportunity, one that will make sense for me to leave my kids for longer days, focus less on being a full time mom and more on being a full time professional. It will come. But not today.

Yes, as an ambitious lady, it isn’t always easy to swallow to set aside my professional goals for my kids. I never saw myself NOT working full time, but I know that the best work I can do right now is in my role as mother. There will be plenty of time to work myself into a puddle, but I won’t always have this time to be an amazing mom who can be there for her kids whenever they need her. I know a position will come along that will not allow me to be able to be there for my girls at a moment’s notice, so until then, I intend on being the most present mom I can be for my girls. I have set myself on a path for greatness, and I will follow it at my own pace until it grabs me by the hand and accelerates my progress. I love my girls and our time together. So much. I also love my job and my time there. So much. It’s all a balancing act, not always in balance (hardly ever, really), and it’s one I am glad I have some semblance of control over at the moment.

I am at peace with my journey, my path, and my passion. The Universe takes care of Her own, and I trust in that. What is for me will not pass me. I know that “PhD” will follow my name in time. Until then, I will relish everyday of being “mom” to those three little girls who are my reason to be better, to give them someone to look up to. For now, I am glad that they can look into my eyes and know that I gladly, and with immense pride, ensure that they come first, everyday, and that I have the rest of my life to become Dr. Devon, PhD. Heck, I may not be “PhD” until I am “Grandma.” And that is okay! I will keep that promise to my parents, to myself, and to my girls. I’m having too much fun with the most important three letters in my name; everything else comes second to “mom.”

motherhood

Man, isn’t that the truth?

“But I don’t want to be died!”

Oh, out of the mouths of three year old girls during Good Friday mass. My daughter was sitting on my lap on the pew, the smell of fresh air and sunshine wafted up from her little body because we had remembered mass while on a family walk outside and had to cut it short, and she asked me an innocent question about Jesus. Little did I know that this moment would lead to one of the hardest lies I have ever had to tell my little girl.

See, we had briefed the kids on the way over, and we told them that Good Friday mass was more like a funeral. There would be no singing of joy and adoration, not a lot of singing at all really, and people would be sad because this is the day we mourn the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross. So, when we walked into church and sat down, the solemnity a warm, snug fog over the congregation, I didn’t think anything of the conversation from the van. I prayed my usual, “please let my kids be good through this gathering and thank you for leading us here to be with you safely, etc” and sat back in the pew. Ellery climbed up on my lap, her blue eyes squinted in thought, and she asked me, “why did Jesus have to die?” My heart sank; I had been dreading this conversation since we decided to raise our children Catholic. I do not like Good Friday. I don’t like to think of the cruelty that Jesus had to go through, the pain and torture. It isn’t my favorite thing to think about, though I am supposed to honor and behold that image as a Catholic. I explained to her, choking on my whispers, that the other people in His town thought Jesus was a bad man and a liar because some people called him the King of the Jewish People, and there was only allowed to be one king, the monarch, King Herod. Pontius Pilate, a man with a lot of power, didn’t act on Jesus’s behalf; therefore, Jesus was set to die. He was crucified on the cross, and I showed her in my palms where the nails went. I told her he went into Heaven on Easter Sunday, and He threw open the gates for us to be able to be with him when it is our turn to die. He was waiting for us, and we would all be with Him again one day. She looked up at the crucifix in the front of the church, seeming to understand this, and said, “oh. Ok.” She didn’t seem phased, and I breathed a sigh of relief that my answer was acceptable without further question. Or so I had assumed. After about thirty seconds or so, she walked down to see my husband, and she stopped dead in her tracks. The “something just broke my heart” look came over her face, and sobs trembled her chin. “I don’t want to be died!” she wailed, collapsing into my husband’s arms. He looked at me, dumbstruck, and I realized what I had done. “Come to Mama, baby. It’s okay; let’s just sit here and talk,”  I cooed as she came back into my arms. I sat with her again and braced myself for the next part. Boy, had I stepped in it this time.

Her clear, liquid blue eyes pierced my heart as I wiped her tears. She looked at me, desperate for an answer as to why she had to die. And I started talking to her, assuring her that she would not die soon. I told her that none of us were going to die anytime soon, and we had a long time and life ahead of us to be together. She asked me if only adults die, and I was honest with her and told her that no, babies and kids can die also. But I would do everything in my power, as would my husband and our families, to keep her safe and healthy, alive and whole, for as long as we could. I calmed her fears, settling her heart over and over, telling her that we would all be okay and a family for a very, very long time. None of us would see Jesus soon. I promised. She smiled, gave me her signature squeeze around the neck and an, “I love you, Mommy.” My heart was so heavy, I almost couldn’t breathe. I lied to her…and it hurt me so.

See, here was what broke my heart. I don’t know when we will die. I can’t guarantee her that we will all be together for a long time. I can’t promise her that I will not die tomorrow, that she will live until she’s 90, or that none of us will see Jesus soon. I can’t know that, but I told her this. And it hurt me. I thought about the people we have lost too soon. July 20, 2013, reminded me that tomorrow is promised to no one, and death can happen at any single moment, with no warning. And Death doesn’t care if you have young children, a family, are alone, or have people counting on you. It doesn’t care, and it isn’t fair. At that moment, remembering my cousin and others who have passed well before we here on Earth are okay with it, fresh tears found their way to my cheeks. Onlookers may have seen my emotions as a direct reaction to the mass and message, but it wasn’t that. I was sad thinking of those who have passed, and the fact that I can be separated from my kids at any time, not guaranteed to see them become parents, see my grandchildren, dance with my husband on a monumental anniversary. And I was sad because, in the moment, even though I didn’t tell her the total truth, I did the right thing. I promised my child something that I have no control over, and something that is so fragile and unknown: that we would live for a long time, together, as a family. I did what I had to do, lied to my child in CHURCH no less, but it was an answer she accepted wholly, without question. And as I looked at her beach blond hair and cherub cheeks, her eyes calm with knowing she would not die anytime soon, I realized that I promised her something that I want to be true, so badly, and it is a promise I am okay with making.

There are conversations that you imagine yourself having, but you don’t really know how you will handle. From the sex talk to the death talk, there are topics that need to be broached with clarity and conciseness, honesty and simplicity. I didn’t imagine having the intro to death chat with my three year old at this tender age, but I am glad that she and I had that moment. It did my heart good to soothe hers, and I did what any mother would do: I made a promise to my child that, in my heart, I so desperately want to see through. And though we don’t know what our tomorrows will bring, as long as my child believes in me and the power of my love for her, I know no matter what, she will know I will never truly leave her, regardless of how many breaths we have left.

mother

And it never, ever dies…

mother2

And that, right there, is a fact!!

I believe…

If there is anything I have learned in the last few years, it’s that God will provide for us what we need, not what we want. He will not give us anything we can’t handle, nor will he allow what is truly to be ours to pass us by. I am confident in my beliefs, and I have beliefs about other aspects of my life as well. I believe it is all meant to be, predestined by God, and brought to me only by His grace. I believe this all to be true.

I believe a lot of things about parenthood. I believe that it is the single most important job that a person can acquire in his or her lifetime. I believe that it is also the hardest job, the most thankless job (and I am a TEACHER and I say that), and the most rewarding. I believe that those without kids have zero business giving advice to those with kids, and that those with kids should also just keep their mouths shut when it comes to how others raise their kids. I know a lot of people with a lot of different ideas about parenting, and you know what? Their idea isn’t mine. And that’s okay. We don’t spank; I don’t understand those who applaud spanking, nor those who do spank. But would I say anything to others who spank about that? No. I don’t understand co-sleeping. Or attachment parenting. Or breastfeeding until a kid is old enough to get off of a school bus. But would I say anything to those parents about their beliefs and methods? No. It’s none of my business. I wouldn’t want anyone coming in to give me unwarranted advice on how I handle my children, so I wouldn’t do it to them. Also? It’s rude. I believe in not doing any of that.

I believe that kids are the best things in the world to have. I also believe that children choose their parents somehow. Their spirits find us, those of us who are lucky to be called “Mommy” or “Daddy” and any variant therein. I can’t imagine having any other children, nor anyone else having mine. I can’t imagine not hearing my five year old’s voice tell me about her day at school where “This boy was talking about Minecraft, and I actually understood what he meant!” We have a four year old in Heaven, who left us without meeting us, and I can’t fathom not knowing that I have another child to meet with me when I get to the Other Side. I can’t imagine not having my three year old snuggle up with me on the couch, sucking her fat little thumb, and rubbing the tag on her bunny. To not have my baby girl, who celebrated eight months on the outside today, smile at me, crawling at me while shrieking in her own way, while I make dinner in the evening would be unthinkable. To know that those little ladies chose me and my husband to be their parents is so beyond me and makes me so happy that it moves me to tears, making my heart well up and my chest get warm. And to think, before I met my husband, I didn’t want children of my own at all.  I am so thankful, blessed, and honored that these three little ladies are the ones I am meant to raise, with my husband, who I was obviously meant to meet. I believe that’s all God right there.

I believe we do on this earth what we are meant to do, and if it is hard, it is worth it. Though I am struggling with working outside of my home and being a mom, with loving my job so much while missing my kids so much more that it hurts in my heart to even walk out the door in the morning. But my achy heart sings with the power of a thousand voices when I open the door to come in my home, and I hear, “Mommy!!” as I cross the threshold, running into the arms of my three year old who has waited for me to be home with her all day long. And I feel peace when I pick up my baby, who was likely sleeping when I left, and spin her around laughing while basking in the pure joy in her twinkly brown eyes and big, goofy grin, a joy just for me. And in those moments, the happiness is overwhelming to the point of near pain, pain that I was gone and missed any moments in their little big lives, but happiness that I am an example to them and I can be “just mommy” when I am home. And I am trying to remember that I am only Mommy for a short time and that I need to remember patience and kindness in all things, even when I am stretched too thin and kindness is the last thing on my lips. I know that I am here, doing what I am doing, for a reason. God has put all of these things in my life for my own betterment and good. And I have to remember that everything I do, every hat I wear during the day, and every minute of my life that I dedicate to others (as a mom, that is every single minute of every single day) is to help them become fully who they are, no matter who they are. I have to believe all of these things. If I don’t believe them, I would have nothing else in which to believe. As a mother, I believe many things. But none of these things is more important to me than my belief that God has my back with all of this crazy parenting stuff, that I am here for a reason, and that my jobs I have throughout my life, especially motherhood, are the ones I am meant to have and enjoy. It may not be easy all the time, it may not be fun and games, but it’s worth it. It’s all worth it. I believe that, one hundred and ten percent. I believe in, trust in, have faith in, and love my God.

And as for these three knuckleheads?

1654193_10101062590192922_1506614518_n I believe that my loves are worth every bit of “not easy” I have to go through…
I do it for them. Everyday. It may not be easy.
But look at their faces!!
It’s worth it.

The Incredible Labor that…

Finally brought me the most incredible baby ever. Seriously. Grab a snack, take a potty break, and get ready. I am finally telling this story (mainly because I moved my work station into my living room today so I can do things like blog while watching my baby sleep. And HGTV).

So. Tuesday, July 2, I was supposed to go to the midwife in the afternoon for an NST (non stress test) and ultrasound to check on Finola and schedule an induction. I woke up bleeding red blood and having menstrual-like cramps. So, I called the midwife, and she said to come in at opening so they could check me out. I went in and had the NST and a check; they could not do the ultrasound until the afternoon because they were busy. So, the NST showed that the cramps were contractions. And the midwife checked me; I was 5 cm. Perfect. She said come back at 2:15 for your ultrasound, and we will go from there. Ok. Done.

I go back at 2:15, and they find that Finola is head down, engaged, but is face up, so she can’t move. This explains all of the false labor I was having; my body was trying to turn her over. She is measuring well. We got to see her try to suck her toes, and she had her big eyes open. It was adorable. The pictures were basically newborn pictures; everything was so clear and able to be seen. The midwife came in and checked me again. I was at 5, so she asked me if I wanted to have the baby that day. “I wanted to have this baby three weeks ago,” was my reply. She had me direct admitted to the hospital, the other midwife on call was waiting for me. She assured me that I would get there, they would break my water, and I would be holding my baby by midnight. That sounded like a plan I could work with. So I called my husband home from work and away we went.

We got checked in and water was broken around 5. Mom got there shortly after. I was making the midwife laugh with my amazing wit and charm, and I was at a 6! BONUS! Progress. When they broke my water, they noticed some meconium (sp?), so they were on alert to make sure when she was born that she didn’t swallow any. She turned from face up to nose facing my right side when they broke my water. I decided to walk. Mom, Husband, and I walked the halls of the hospital. The contractions were pretty tame at first, but they started to hit hard and I stopped after about an hour or so. I then asked to get into the labor tub. Big. Mistake. The water was mega warm, and my contractions started hitting even harder. They were one minute apart, and they were 100 on the monitor. I couldn’t breathe or focus. I was struggling at best. The tub was not relaxing, so I got out and called for the Candy Man. I had stopped talking and was communicating with thumbs up and downs… it was bad. NOTHING makes me stop talking! Candy Man came in five minutes, and I was soon feeling fine. They moved my body to put my legs up in random positions to get her to flip all the way, and then they sat me straight up. THAT was what did it. I started having terrible chest pain and couldn’t breathe; I had no idea what was going on. The Candy Man gave me another hit of the good stuff, and the midwife checked me out. “If you pushed like three times, you’d feel a lot better,” she told me. Her head was right there. The pain in my chest was Finola pushing off of me, ready to be born. “I know you don’t feel ready to push, but if you did, you’d feel better.” Well, the epidural made me a little tired each time they gave it to me, so I asked her for a few minutes to compose myself. Then, it was GO time. Mom grabbed one leg, Husband grabbed another. I started to push, but not because really it was like I was pooping. My contractions brought her out more than I did. I remember the midwife telling me, “I see her head! She has DARK HAIR! And her head is SO ROUND!” I about died. Both of the other girls were born bald and have light blond hair now. I also remember being in disbelief of the whole situation and exclaimed, “I’m fucking having a baby!” Not my finest moment, but I could not believe it was finally happening. My mother in law was there, my dad was there, Husband and Mom there… we all were there to greet this little sweetheart into the breathing world. After about four minutes (if that) of pushing, she was out. I couldn’t believe it. 9:42 PM, my world completely changed. Again. And for the better. She was our biggest at 8 lbs, 2 oz. And she is so beautiful… We are so, so blessed. That moment, like the other two birth moments, will never leave my heart.

She didn’t swallow any crap. and she was healthy as a horse. No jaundice (no chance ever of that with her numbers). Perfect APGAR. She’s amazing.

The hospital stay was awesome, and we were well taken care of. We got to come home on July 4. She sleeps 5-6 hours a night (I earned this baby, I tell you). She snuggles like no other (neither of my other two were snugglers). She’s peaceful. We couldn’t figure out who she looked like at first because she kind of looked like all of us and none of us at the same time. She’s always looked like my side of the family, and now she looks even more so like me. She has dark eyes (I hope they stay that way), dark hair, and is absolutely the best baby we could ever imagine. She is damn near the perfect baby…*knock on wood*…so far.

This may sound like the condensed version, but labor and delivery literally took less than five hours. It really all happened that fast. And we have had zero issues since she has been home. I am pumping to feed her breastmilk, and that is going well. Finola is the baby we tried for, the baby we prayed for, and she is the most incredible little person… Each of my girls has their own little personality, and I can’t wait to see how she fits in the mix.

But for now, she can stay a baby. She is our last, and I would like this to last.

Don’t be in any hurry to grow up, Finola Marleigh.

Mama needs you to stay small and snuggly…

For as long as possible.

f1 copy

Staring out the window, contemplating this thing called life…

f2 copy

I am FIERCE, Damnit!

f3 copy

Her first smile, at her daddy, on July 4 in the hospital…

f4 copy

The outfit she wore for her newborn pics in the hospital…

Isn’t she beautiful?! I know, right!?

I didn’t know my heart would be able to have more room in it for another baby, but it grew the night she was born.
And she has completely changed my life.

Welcome, Finola Marleigh.
*how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world…*

The Incredible Labor That Wasn’t, Again. AKA “Go Home Cervix, You’re Drunk”

Once again, I find myself a prisoner of this pregnancy and what I can only describe as a drunk, confused, and totally broken cervix.

So, I am still pregnant. 40 weeks, 4 days. (I know, right?) And I am beyond over it at this point. I went to the midwife Monday, and she checked me out. I was not effacing, and barely dilating. So, she stretched me to a 3-4 and stripped my membranes. I am trying to do everything I can NOT to have a medical induction (hear that, Cervix?!), but day by day I feel that will be the only way she will be born. Anyway, membranes stripped, let’s do this. That day I am a little crampy, a little blah, but nothing big. So the next day around noon, I lose my mucus plug. I shall spare you the details, but it’s just gross. Gross, gross, gross. And I did a happy dance! We’re so close now! Yes!! Let’s do this, baby!….

Yesterday morning I wake up and start having contractions, about every 4-6 minutes apart, and they stuck around all morning. I was starting to feel nauseous and almost threw up three times in the shower. Yes! Go time! Let’s DO THIS BABY! So I time them for a little longer, and they won’t stop, and it’s all going into my back. Super. Back labor. That is not the most fun thing ever, but it’s a sign of progress. So. I call the troops (my husband took this W-F off on vacay to hopefully have this baby and do a few things he has to do), and we get to the hospital once all the troops have gathered.

Go through triage still rocking back labor and contractions…I think to myself, this has to be it. Resident Doc Mc Doofus (who I learn is NOT an L&D resident, but is an ER resident, who the nurse asks, “are you allowed to check her?” First clue I am not in the best hands) checks me and says, “you’re at a four, so and so station, 50% blah dee blah.” OK. Well four is the magic number for not being sent home, so I am stoked. Let’s do this. They tell me to go get lunch and walk for two hours to see if the contractions start actually doing anything. I tell them I have been having back labor, which they admit is normal and they can see my discomfort, but it’s nothing to be worried about because it’s LABOR and we’re on it. So we walk and have lunch with my mom, sister-in-law, and girls while waiting for the cervix to do what it is supposed to do (i.e. stop sucking and get on with it already). We even go so far as to skip up and down the halls and bridges, and I go in the bathroom and jump up and down in place 100 times before I go back to be rechecked. One can never be too sure with these things, and the nurse DID say we could do anything to get it moving (she included having sex, but that’s work. And we tried that the other morning to no avail. Sorry if it’s TMI. This is my blog after all, haha).

So, we go back and I am confident something has happened. Or else I am pretending to be confident. To be honest, I am sure nothing has happened, but I can hope, right? Well, I was right. I am at a 4. And Doc McDoofus asks me if I have tried icing and heating my back at twenty minute intervals for the back labor. I respond, “No. I have been here.” The nurse says, “well, that’s the answer right there!” I was beyond being nice and cordial at this point. Doc McDoofus even tells me he can FEEL HER HEAD… so I am thinking, good. He will call my midwife, she will tell them to admit me and break my water since she is RIGHT.THERE.OMG.I.AM.HAVING.THIS.BABY.TODAY…

Well, no. That’s not quite how it worked. I got sent home to “wait it out.” That’s right, folks. THREE TIMES now my body has presented itself in labor and my cervix has pretended to need a translator. So, I was pissed off as anything, and I made no bones about it. I am not going back to that hospital and will go to another one in my area. This is based on principle alone because I said, “I won’t be back here. NO Way!” as the nurse told me to come back if I was doing XYZ. Well, guess what, I WAS DOING XYZ AND HAVING THE CONTRACTIONS YOU WANTED ME TO HAVE AND NOTHING IS HAPPENING. I don’t know what else this stupid body wants from me, but I am over it. 100%. If I need induced, I am giving in to that. If they want to cut her out, have at it. I don’t know what I am supposed to do at this point, but what my body has been trying isn’t working. I cried from frustration. I don’t know… I’m just so confused. This is my third baby; you’d think my body would know what the hell to do, right?

So, I am still pregnant. After three false/early/not progressive labor attempts, Finola Marleigh is still inside of me. And frankly, I don’t know what else to do at this point but wait. And hope that nothing is wrong with me that is making me unable to have a baby. She’s ready. I am ready. My body, though, just doesn’t quite get it.

indexConsider this your final warning, Miss Finola Marleigh….

imagesWe love you. We do. We’re just over these shenanigans…

Dear Cervix,

go-home-you-re-drunk.american-apparel-unisex-athletic-tee.athletic-grey.w760h760Love, OverThisNonsense FancyPants

I can’t claim this, but I love it….*EDIT!*

I came across this little ditty on Facebook tonight, and I feel it is important to share. I can’t claim it, but the amazingly talented Lea Grover can. I not only copied it here, but I printed it for my own wall to read when I need it. Check Lea out on her blog, and find the original writing of this here: http://becomingsupermommy.blogspot.com/2013/04/dear-less-than-perfect-mom.html

(also, don’t think that I have forgotten that DOMA and Prop 8 were SHUT DOWN today, bringing marriage equality closer to all than ever before… but I can’t focus on my thoughts to even write about that now. But it is coming…)

So, here is what I want to share. I am not sure who wrote it, but it WAS NOT ME, I just want to share it for us all to remember on those days we just feel…defeated. I need this at least 3x a week. How about you?

Thank you, Lea, for reading our collective Mommy Minds…

Dear Mom,

I’ve seen you around. I’ve seen you screaming at your kids in public, I’ve seen you ignoring them at the playground, I’ve seen you unshowered and wearing last night’s pajama pants at preschool drop-off. I’ve seen you begging your children, bribing them, threatening them. I’ve seen you shouting back and forth with your husband, with your mom, with the police officer at the crosswalk.

I’ve seen you running around with your kids, getting dirty and occasionally swearing audibly when you bang a knee. I’ve seen you sharing a milkshake with a manic 4-year-old. I’ve seen you wiping your kids’ boogers with your bare palm, and then smearing them on the back of your jeans. I’ve seen you carry your toddler flopped over the crook of your arm while chasing a runaway ball.

I’ve also seen you gritting your teeth while your kid screamed at you for making him practice piano, or soccer, or basket weaving or whatever it was. I’ve seen you close your eyes and breathe slowly after finding a gallon of milk dumped into your trunk. I’ve seen you crying into the sink while you desperately scrub crayon off your best designer purse. I’ve seen you pacing in front of the house.

I’ve seen you at the hospital waiting room. I’ve seen you at the pharmacy counter. I’ve seen you looking tired and frightened.

I’ve seen a lot of you, actually.

I see you every single day.

I don’t know if you planned to be a parent or not. If you always knew from your earliest years that you wanted to bring children into the world, to tend to them, or if motherhood was thrust upon you unexpectedly. I don’t know if it meets your expectations, or if you spent your first days as a mom terrified that you would never feel what you imagined “motherly love” would feel like for your child. I don’t know if you struggled with infertility, or with pregnancy loss, or with a traumatic birth. I don’t know if you created your child with your body, or created your family by welcoming your child into it.

But I know a lot about you.

I know that you didn’t get everything that you wanted. I know that you got a wealth of things you never knew you wanted until they were there in front of you. I know that you don’t believe that you’re doing your best, that you think you can do better. I know you are doing better than you think.

I know that when you look at your child, your children, you see yourself. And I know that you don’t, that you see a stranger who can’t understand why the small details of childhood that were so important to you are a bother to this small person who resembles you.

I know that you want to throw a lamp at your teenager’s head sometimes. I know you want to toss your 3-year-old out the window once in a while.

I know that some nights, once it’s finally quiet, you curl up in bed and cry. I know that sometimes, you don’t, even though you wanted to.

I know that some days are so hard that all you want is for them to end, and then at bedtime your children hug you and kiss you and tell you how much they love you and want to be like you, and you wish the day could last forever.

But it never does. The day always ends, and the next day brings new challenges. Fevers, heartbreak, art projects, new friends, new pets, new fights. And every day you do what you need to do.

You take care of things, because that’s your job. You go to work, or you fill up the crock pot, or you climb into the garden, or strap the baby to your back and pull out the vacuum cleaner.

You drop everything you’re doing to moderate an argument over whose turn it is to use a specifically colored marker, or to kiss a boo-boo, or to have a conversation about what kind of lipstick Pinocchio’s Mommy wears.

I know that you have tickle fights in blanket forts, and that you have the words to at least eight different picture books memorized. I’ve heard that you dance like a wild woman when it’s just you and them. That you have no shame about farting or belching in their presence, that you make up goofy songs about peas and potatoes and cheese.

I know that an hour past bedtime, you drop what you’re doing and trim the fingernail that your 3-year-old insists is keeping her up. I know that you stop cleaning dishes because your kids insist you need to join their tea party. I know you fed your kids PB&J for four days straight when you had the flu. I know that you eat leftover crusts over the sink while your kids watch “Sponge Bob.”

I know you didn’t expect most of this. I know you didn’t anticipate loving somebody so intensely, or loathing your post-baby body so much, or being so tired or being the mom you’ve turned out to be.

You thought you had it figured out. Or you were blind and terrified. You hired the perfect nanny. Or you quit your job and learned to assemble flat-packed baby furniture. You get confused by the conflict of feeling like nothing has changed since you were free and unfettered by children, and looking back on the choices you made as though an impostor was wearing your skin.

You’re not a perfect mom. No matter how you try, no matter what you do. You will never be a perfect mom.

And maybe that haunts you. Or maybe you’ve made peace with it. Or maybe it was never a problem to begin with.

No matter how much you do, there is always more. No matter how little you do, when the day is over, your children are still loved. They still smile at you, believing you have magical powers to fix almost anything. No matter what happened at work, or at school, or in playgroup, you have still done everything in your power to ensure that the next morning will dawn and your children will be as happy, healthy, and wise as could possibly be hoped.

There’s an old Yiddish saying: “There is one perfect child in the world, and every mother has it.”

Unfortunately, there are no perfect parents. Your kids will grow up determined to be different than you. They will grow up certain that they won’t make their kids take piano lessons, or they’ll be more lenient, or more strict, or have more kids, or have fewer, or have none at all.

No matter how far from perfect you are, you are better than you think.

Someday your kids will be running around like crazy people at synagogue and concuss themselves on a hand rail, and somebody will still walk up to you and tell you what a beautiful family you have. You’ll be at the park and your kids will be covered in mud and jam up to the elbows, smearing your car with sugary cement, and a pregnant lady will stop and smile at you wistfully.

No matter how many doubts you might have, you never need doubt this one thing: You are not perfect.

And that’s good. Because really, neither is your child. And that means nobody can care for them the way you can, with the wealth of your understanding and your experience. Nobody knows what your child’s squall means, or what their jokes mean, or why they are crying better than you do.

And since no mother is perfect, chances are you are caught in a two billion way tie for
Best Mom in the World.


Congratulations, Best Mom in the World. You’re not perfect.

You are as good as anybody can get.

no_one_has_a_perfect_life-34308My life isn’t perfect. I am not perfect.
But it sure is wonderful most of the time…

Well, that’s ONE way to do it….

I have been intrigued by the idea of going “hands free” for a while. Hands free in like, not connected to my phone or technology or anything that is fun, really. I always read these blogs that wax poetic about what it means to be truly hands free, and how their kids love them so much more than my kids love me, and how wonderful a hands free life can be. The trouble is, I read them ON my iPhone. While my kids play in the living room. And I sit on the couch, vaguely aware that they are not burning the house down….

Because, folks, I am an iPhone addict. I admit it freely. I love technology. I love mindlessly scanning Facebook (since no one does it mindfully, I suppose) and reading my friends’ posts and posting things that are so inane that I am fairly positive 99% of my friends couldn’t give two shits about. But I do it anyway. I don’t know why. I guess it’s because I spend the majority of my day with two (almost three) little people who just sometimes suck the adult out of me. And my FB feed is full of adults talking about adult things, doing adult things, posting adult pictures (even if they are of their kids the majority of the time.. it’s fine because their kids rule!), and just being adults. And no one on FB asks me if I can get them water, a snack, wipe their butts, or repeats the same nineteen questions in a row. I LIKE not being hands free most of the time because it helps me feel connected to people who don’t call me Mommy. But I also know that I should strive for more hands free time. They aren’t getting any younger, their youth is priceless, they need me to be present, and all of that good stuff people say that makes me feel terrible about myself as a mom as I scroll through one more round of Instagram pics of food I will never eat and cats I will never pet…

So since I have always kind of had this grand idea of imposing a hands free and technology free day or weekend, I figured this would be the perfect weekend to do it. Or, rather, the Universe decided this when my iPhone fell out of my back pocket and into a toilet full of my own pee. Without an Otterbox. Or any other remotely protective case. This is not the way I anticipated it happening, but hey, since I lack the self control to do it on my own, I might as well relish this time. So, my iPhone is powered off *gasp!*, sitting in rice, and it will remain there for the next 24-36 hours….

I will refuse temptation to use my husband’s phone. He’s a Droid guy, and that ensures he is safe… I don’t Droid. Also, I won’t be on my computer much because it’s heavy and I can’t just port it around with me…

iphone-addictionTruth. I miss it already.
I may start twitching before this is over…
Hold me?