Birthday Post #2

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So apparently I only write on birthdays.

8 years ago today, in a hospital in Washington DC, I birthed my baby boy.  Well, they surgically removed him, but hey, I was there, and it wasn’t a walk in the park that way either.

We started excited to get up and go that morning to head over to the hospital that was an hour away from our apartment.  We were told to call first to ensure no emergencies had happened that would push the surgery back.  We called and were told that my 11:30 had been cancelled as I had already had the baby via emergency C-section.

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Wait…what?  I looked down.  I was pretty sure I was still pregnant.  Nope, he hadn’t fallen out feet first since that’s the way he was positioned.

Turns out when you have a very generic name, thanks Irish husband, other Jennifers also give birth on that very same day.  Apparently, with the very same birthday as well.  Except for the year.  SHE was older.  But hey, once you verify same name, month and day, the year is just an oversight.  Didn’t matter, this kid was COMING OUT TODAY.  I was done being pregnant.  I hadn’t eaten all day and wanted to meet my son.

So they squeezed us in and by 3 p.m. Bear was born.  It was not fun.  Unknown to me at the time, I had placenta accreta, which meant that my placenta had attached itself to my uterine wall.  Bleck.  So, if my stubborn son hadn’t been feet first and unwilling to move, I would have been in serious trouble after delivery.  So kid, I owe you one.  You saved me that day.

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The birth was just the beginning.  I had spent an immense amount of time reading about MY pregnancy, MY body, MY delivery, and so on, that I kind of overlooked the whole taking care of a brand new person task that was now staring me in the face.  They pulled him out, he gave the best wail I’d ever heard, and my husband looked at me the same way I looked at him.  With wide eyed terror.  What had we just done?!  There was no going back now.  This little person needed us to keep him alive.  What the hell did we JUST DO?

I panicked, like all good mothers.  Realized that the idea of being a mother comes instinctively is total and utter BS.  I had no idea what I was doing.  No instincts kicked in.  I was totally and utterly knocked off my feet.  I guess literally too because the anesthesiologist must have gotten to go home that day, because the idiots left my epidural in for 24 straight hours, which at the time I did not realize was not normal because hey, I was new to this whole motherhood, giving birth thing.

So there I was, numb from the boobs down, trying to take care of my son and be mother of the year just a few hours in.  Mark and my mom were there, but there was no place to sleep, so each night they left me and Bear to drive the hour back to the apartment.  Go ahead, I can handle it I assured them.  I am SUPERMOM!  I can’t feel my feet, but I can take care of this baby by myself!  That was the first time I tried to handle motherhood all by myself and failed miserably.

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By the second night, I hadn’t slept a wink because I was convinced he would stop breathing at any given moment, and tearfully called a nurse at 11:30.  Will you…sniff hiccup sob…take him to the nursery…sob…for just a bit???  Sob hiccup…I’m not a bad mom…hiccup…I swear….hiccup…will you love him if he cries???  She assured me he wouldn’t be ignored in a corner, to get some sleep, and they would bring him to me when it was time to eat.  Sure enough, they did.  I slept a few hours.  He hasn’t gone to therapy yet for the separation, so I think it was ok.

On the third day, they kicked us to the curb and I was happy to go.  I had hubby and mom to support me 24 hours a day and the security and comfort of home waiting for me.

After some bumps in the road, he was breastfeeding well.  Until I got a raging UTI from the catheter being in so long and had to go on some heavy antibiotics for 10 days.  Pump and dump they say.  Sure, no big deal, I’m three days in, I’m a pro.  So, every two hours, I pumped two boobs empty, and dumped that precious tainted gold down the drain.  10 days later, all clear of painful peeing, I went back to nursing my 7 pound bundle of joy.  Who, by the way DID NOT drink the 12+ ounces of boob milk I had been pumping and dumping every 2 hours for 10 days.  I was in so much pain I think I would have fed anyone who asked just for some relief.  I could have seriously supplied much of a third world nation with the supply I was generating.  Needless to say, we got some backup supply while my body and I figured out what he actually needed.

So that was my first 2 weeks of being a first time mother.  How did yours go?  After all that, I wouldn’t trade a day of it.  My son is one of the smartest, funniest, most handsome boys I know.  I am blown away each day at his wit, brains, and thought processes.  He is crafting his own brand of sarcasm that will one day rival my own.  He asks questions that would stump Stephen Hawking, let alone get an answer from me.

We had a rough start at the beginning, but it was well worth the blood, sweat and tears.  He’s my hero.  And one day, we’ll live in his guest house in Malibu, because he loves his parents and wants to share his millions.  Right Bear??

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PS – Trying not to freak out, but I went back to insert pics tonight and couldn’t find anything before 2008.  MARK!!!!  The computer’s broken!!!

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Mother’s Day

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I take Mother’s Day very, very seriously.  Now, I am usually not a big Hallmark holiday type of gal.  I could care less about Sweetest Day or Valentine’s Day, not even an acknowledgement required (how lucky is my husband?).  St. Patty’s Day makes me hide in my house.  New Year’s is the same.  Christmas and Easter are fun, but tons of work and planning.  Thanksgiving is like my Superbowl, as it pertains solely to food, but I digress.

Mother’s Day is my high holiday.  A day where I get the day off.  A day of rest.  A day about ME.  The past few years, I have gotten totally gypped.  Mark has been out of town, a kid has been sick,  and other uncontrollable circumstances have prevented me from doing the one thing I have wanted to do.  NOTHING.  As I told my husband, this is not about me not wanting to be around my kids, this is more about not having anyone NEED anything from me.  A day where I am absolved of feeling guilty for doing what I want, not what my kids want.  A day to walk out of the house to go shopping, alone and without moving heaven and earth to get said few hours alone to myself.

So, I thought I’d give you a brief synposis of what I DID NOT do and what I DID do:

I DID NOT wipe anyone’s butt but my own.

I DID NOT prepare or plan anyone’s meals but my own.

I DID NOT break up any fights or put anyone in time out.

I DID NOT cut up any food for anyone.

I DID NOT put a kid in a shower or bath.

I DID NOT get out of bed to start some electronic this morning.

I DID NOT go outside to ride bikes or go fishing on this frigid spring day.

I DID NOT make any decisions about anything for anyone.

I DID NOT load anyone into a car and wait patiently while they buckled up and fought over the movie, nor did I yell when they put up their umbrella instead of properly restraining themselves.

I DID NOT comb anyone’s hair or brushed any teeth that did not belong to me.

I DID NOT clean up after lunch and breakfast, and then proceed to sweep up most of what was prepared off the floor and table.

I DID NOT wipe any noses.

I DID NOT stand outside in the bitter cold yelling “CARRRR!”

I DID NOT get told I was chubby today.

I DID NOT have to tell my preschoolers teacher that I am not pregnant, no matter what my 4 year old told them.

I DID NOT have to explain how corn becomes popcorn, or why the lines are solid or striped in the street, or why birds poop or who that lady is in the car next to us.

I DID NOT have to watch Backyardigans, Dora, How It’s Made, Benji or Cinderella at all today.   I did however watch Phineas and Ferb, because that show is hilarious.

However, I DID go shopping at my own pace.  I tried on clothes, compared prices, and DID NOT have to stop and explain why the mannequins do not have hands and/or feet nor did I have to tell them “no not this time honey” to every single $1 item in the checkout line.

I DID go to a Mexican restaurant and had a big-ass margarita and some awesome fajitas nachos without once having to cut up any pancakes or ask for more ranch for chicken nuggets.  I had an adult conversation without having to say once, “Wait for Mommy to finish….yes, that’s nice, no, I don’t know why that man has long hair or why that lady is wearing blue.”

I DID go to the bathroom BY MYSELF.  No company.  No comments on said results.  No asking, “What’s the yucky smell?”

I DID read my book.  In the middle of the day.  For no reason.

I DID straighten up my house UNINTERRUPTED.  I DID throw away some Easter candy and maybe a few artistic drawings without being accused of destroying their only food source and hating on their creativity.

I DID NOT yell one time today.

I love being a mom, even despite all the bitching you see on this blog.  My kids crack me up.  They light up my life and not for one second would I wish they weren’t here.  I got to snuggle with my son today for a while, mainly because I didn’t have anything else planned or on my mind, and I could just sit and enjoy the moment.  And I did.  I high fived my daughter for her awesome picture that she drew and I excitedly listened to their stories about their day with dad.  I did not ignore my children.  I did not make a big deal about wanting to be away from them.  Tomorrow I will start the day fresh and renewed and present.  But, today, today was all about giving myself a break – emotionally and physically.  It was awesome, and I can’t wait until next year to do it all over again.

Thanks to my husband and my family for understanding that I needed this day. Not because I am a bad mom, but because I do the best I can with what I’ve got and, frankly, I’m exhausted.   I’d just like one day a year to not have to worry about anyone but myself.   I hope you all had a day as wonderful as mine.   God bless all the mothers out there.  God bless our partners for putting up with us.  And God bless the kids who let us try this parenting gig out on them, I’ll pay your therapy bills one day I promise.

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Bully Pulpit

English: A Bully Free Zone sign - School in Be...

English: A Bully Free Zone sign – School in Berea, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is April 10th.  A date that is etched into my brain for one annoying reason.  Today is my childhood bully’s birthday, and for some reason, I can never forget it.  A girl who made my life miserable from about grade 5 until freshman year of high school.

I don’t think of this girl often, as it’s been 20 years since I last saw her, but every April 10th I remember it’s her birthday.  I hope wherever she is, she’s happy, as I can assure you she was not as a kid.

I met D’Vile (Ha!  Get my play on words?!) when I picked her mom to babysit my sister and me.  It was between a lady who had a nice boring house that abutted my school or her mom, who had a super fantastic playground and a POOL in the backyard.  Pretty easy decision when you’re 9.  It started out fun enough.  Her mom was nice.  A little possessive of food (meaning I couldn’t grab Little Debbie’s whenever I wanted, which to me, was the End. Of. The. World.), but otherwise a good babysitter.  Her dad worked 3rd shift at the Jeep Plant and was chronically laid off.  (Sidenote:  This was my first real experience with a loser.  He basically scared the crap out of me.  Lord help his kids (never us thank God) if he had to get his paddle, which was hung on the wall as decoration, for punishment.  It was sadistic.  Not because of the paddling, but because of the psychological torture leading up to said paddling.  Crazy.  No wonder this girl was messed up.  He was often laid off and was always smoking and drinking beer even before we left for school.  His favorite pastime was recording on VHS Looney Toon cartoons on the TV in some sad desperate attempt to “get them all.”  (Poor dude, all that time wasted, I can buy him a complete DVD set now for $50).  And another fun fact, he had a “secret” room.  One with a padlock on it in the basement.  As kids, we never thought anything of it, except it had plants and a lot of neon lights in there when we did see the door open.  In grownup hindsight, dude was growing his own medicinals if you know what I’m sayin.

Anyways, I’m just providing some background.  Here’s the thing that freaks me out and makes me kind of a crazy parent – my parents never knew any of this.  Why?  Because I didn’t think they needed to know.  First, I had no idea about the pot.  Second, they never hit or yelled at me or my sister, so I thought this was just the way it was in their house.  They basically were good to us; it was their own kids they fucked with.

Anyways, back to D’Vile.  It started kind of slow and as a kid, I didn’t recognize it.  First, there was another girl her mom watched that she was just plain ol’ mean to.  They blamed her for everything that went wrong, made her feel crazy, fat and ugly, all for no apparent reason, except maybe D’Vile’s mom didn’t like her mom.

She eventually left.  I met this girl again in my 20s.  We ended up working in adjoining cubicles at my 8 months of torture call center job, when I recognized her name.  She survived and turned into a nice normal adult, but has very different memories of her time there, but it still has the same crazy undertones I remember.

After she left, they turned on my sister.  I don’t know why they never picked on me, I think it’s because of my wallflower tendencies.  I remember one day they pulled her chair out from under her as she was sitting down just to be mean.  As her older sister, I started to cry.  Cry because no one had ever been mean like that to my sister (besides me) and I didn’t know how to stop it.  This girl and her little brother terrified me.  Never once did I think to tell my parents.

So, this girl and I were friends.  Friends in that I was terrified to not be her friend.  We were in the same class that year, and I noticed she was mean to others around me and I didn’t like it.  I never had the balls to stand up to her and defend any of my classmates, I just stood by hoping she wouldn’t turn on me.

As time went on, we got older and eventually stopped being watched by her mom, and after a few years of this “friendship,” it got too much for me.  Some straw broke the camel’s back.  I can’t remember what now, but I remember my real best friend and I decided to take a stand.  We completely stopped talking to her, which at 10 was totally the right way to go about ending a friendship with an unstable crazy bully.

Let’s just say that didn’t go over well.  Over the course of the next few years, all culminating at a rough inner city middle school, she made me and mostly, my best friend’s, life a living hell.  She called my friend butterball and other fat names when we got off the bus each day.  She’d follow us home.  Things never got physical thank God, but then, girls are much more sadistic about bullying.  They go for the jugular, and by jugular I mean tear into an 11 and 12 year old girl’s physical appearance.  It was pretty brutal.

By now my parents knew, but were pretty much helpless to stop it.  I mean, she wasn’t physical, just threatening mentally.  Plus, these were the 90s, waaay before anti-bullying campaigns became popular and schools became more involved.  It was just us kids figuring it out on our own, in a very Animal Farm/Lord of the Flies type of way.  (See?  I did read in 8th grade.)

Things got better when my best friend and I went to the private high school and she continued onto the public high school.  We no longer saw her and thought it was over.  Then, one summer we started getting prank calls.  This was pre-technology anything.  Heck, we still had rotary phones in our house and caller ID hadn’t yet been invented.  Now, as the babysitter of my younger sister, initially these calls were terrifying.  I was alone in a house all day long with my sister and some weirdo kept calling, breathing into the phone and then hanging up.  We called the police and they put a tap on our line (or the phone company did, I can’t remember.)  All we had to do was pick up the phone each time for it to record.  I don’t know how we figured out it was her, but we did.  One day she called and hung up over 200 times, which I knew because I had to keep track of and pick up the phone each time.

Nothing really happened when they tracked it back to her.  I think we pressed charges, but not much was done.  I think they found out she was stealing from someone else and got in trouble.  Her parents divorced.  I went to high school, tried to fade into the background and not draw any attention to myself in true introvert fashion, pretty much hated it, and survived. Life got dramatically better in college and I grew up to what I am now – a fairly confident 30-something.

I wish I could take my 33 year old brain back to that 8 year old girl I once was.  I would tell her what I was confirming in my young brain – that this girl is batshit crazy, you should tell your parents, and get away from her and her family at all costs.  That you and your best friend were beautiful, funny and smart and to never let some scrawny insecure little girl make you doubt that.

Funny thing is, this girl still has a bit of power over me.  Right now, I am a wee bit afraid of putting this on the interweb for fear she will find me again and start all over again.  But, with some preliminary research, I am pretty sure this girl is mostly off the internet grid.  So maybe, if we’re real quiet, it won’t get back to her.

I guess to wrap up, bullies still scare the crap out of me.  My son is just starting to experience mild forms of it, but so far, we have escaped mostly unscathed.  I am sure this is temporary as my kid is quirky, intelligent and funny in a weird way, which will eventually make him a target.  And my daughter is fairly timid in her interactions with kids her age and basically lets her friends run all over her.  I am absolutely clueless on how to handle this.  Do I helicopter over them, so I am not largely unaware as my parents were?  Do I teach them when, where and how to defend themselves?  How do I teach them biting sarcasm and dry humor that has become my defense as an adult against big meanies?

I have no idea.  Guess I’ll Google it or ask around if and when the time arises that I have to deal with it.  I am just terrified some punk is going to stub out the quirky, unique, adorable strengths of my children way before they realize it’s those traits that make them awesome.  I never want my kids to feel they have to fit into some box of preconceived normal.  I want them to think for themselves and be leaders.  I want them to have best friends who look out for them and love them for who they are, not because they are good at a sport or drive a fancy car (not likely on both accounts – they do have us as parents.).

I just hope I’m doing something right and can guide them through as best I can.  What are your thoughts?  What are you doing for your kids?  I’m all ears.

It’s a Wonderful Life

I came home from work this evening to see my kids running up to me with joy. They both took a springing leap into my outstretched arms as I knelt down to say hello. They were so excited about their days they started clamoring together. I got a few snippets of “and then we went outside and saw…” and a bit of “Janey played a princess, and I was…,” before I laughingly told them to slow down and go one at a time. As I stood to listen to their stories, a wonderful smell wafted from the kitchen. I walk in to see my husband cooking away at a bubbling, sizzling stovetop. He looks up and smiles and says, “How was your day? I got off early, picked up the kids and thought I’d start dinner and surprise you.”

Beautiful, lovely childrent

Beautiful, lovely children

Later that night, I sit next to the tub, playing along with a riveting adventure between Ariel and Nemo, while the kids giggled and splashed away. Then, after they were dried and nestled in their beds, I laid in bed with them, read them each a bedtime story as they sleepily yawned and asked for another one. I shushed them with a chuckle and turned out their lights, kissed them lightly, and snuggled them down in their covers. I shut the door to begin my evening with my husband, which included a few TV shows and casual conversations about our day.

General merriment and comraderie

General merriment and comraderie

AND SCENE. You didn’t really think that was my day did you? If so, you haven’t scrolled down to read much else I’ve wrote yet. The above little fantasy world is what my idiotic brain thought marriage and having kids would be like. Yes, I knew kids were hard, marriage was work, but really, I thought, how hard could it be?

Fast forward to my real life. I have two children, a full time job with no sick days, only precious few “Paid Time Off” days that are rapidly dwindling to single digits and it’s only the beginning of April, and a husband that we are lucky to see every weekend, because the only job he could find that didn’t pay minimum wage and involve a spatula was located on the east coast. 500 milez away.

What kind of idealistic weirdo was I to think I could live this charmed life? Besides, who lives this way anyways? Give me any parent and I’ll show you someone who would sell their souls to be given one lousy day where they get to do whatever they want. Where no one needs something from them, where no one hides from her brother under their shirt and then proceeds to tell said parent they have a big fat bootie. Where their kindergartener doesn’t act like the five minutes of homework he’s been given to do over spring break isn’t the equivalent of ripping his limbs off. Where no matter what they cook, they hear “THIS IS GROSS!” Even if it is the food they loved last week and were screaming for even though they knew you had ran out of it and hadn’t had time to get to the grocery store for more.

My life is actually quite charmed and I am very lucky, but screw that it’s a wonderful life bullshit and let’s get real. I’m in a mood. I’ve just spent two straight days with my children. Not the above mentioned joyful loving children – my actual children. And to make matters worse, both were in some stage of sickness since Saturday, which ups the normally whiny and bitchy quotient by 100. Ever get waken up by a sneeze? One that’s aimed directly at your face and showered on you at point blank range? I have. Ever get waken up by hearing, “QUIT WATCHING MY KINDLE, YOU HAVE YOUR OWN!” Moment of silence… then, “MOM! GRACE IS BREATHING ON ME AND WON’T MOVE!” This is then followed by a scream that gets louder as it screeches down the hallway to find you to tell you all about her brother just punched her? Check.

These have been my “vacation days” for the past three years. The first year Mark went back to work after his yearlong lay off, Gracie was 13 months and Will was 3, and I ran out of PTO by June. I took the rest of my days off unpaid and luckily didn’t get fired for taking a whopping 27 days off that year. The next year was better; I gained more time off for being there longer, had slightly less sickness and made it until October before I ran out of PTO days. Christmas shopping? HA! Done online, by a husband 500 miles away, or amidst the crazies on the weekend, squeezed in between parties and bake offs and general holiday “merriment.”

I know I am whining and people in third world countries are saying, “bitch please,” but really, we all know they aren’t reading this anyways, unless Oprah has given them a computer and internet access, so I can whine away to my first world parents who feel me.

I just never pictured life where a shower would be optional. I never thought my kids would want three freakin meals EVERY SINGLE DAY, prepared by me every time. Seriously, when I was growing up, food just magically appeared, and I was pissed because Mom called dinner every single night just as The Monkees was starting. To add to that annoyance, there was no pause button. You either watched it at 6 or you didn’t see it AT ALL. But I digress. This magical food every single night appeared in serving dishes (my kids think serving dishes are pots with potholders under them and a cooking stone topped with bagel pizza bites) and included, no kidding, a meat, a starch and a veggie, and oftentimes rolls or biscuits. Every. Single. Night. Like magic.

So I grew up thinking when I had kids, this magic fairy would show up at my house and cook, clean, and do the hard part of parenting. Stupid fairy never showed. Well unless my mom or mother-in-law shows up, then my house breathes a sigh of relief from being cleaned and the stove gets woken up by someone actually using it. But then, when they do show up, all I am free to do is attempt to sift through that paper mountain of filing that hasn’t been touched in 5 years or play find-the-throw up/poop/pee-smell. Or if I’m really lucky, I can sit down and watch TV…Backyardigans, Cat in the Hat (If I ever meet Martin Short, I am ripping his larynx out…Yes, your mother does MIND if you do!), or the original Benji…from 1974, with my kids. Or maybe I can go outside and watch them ride their bikes and yell in a panic every 5 seconds at the top of my lungs CAAARRRR!!!! Or maybe I can go downstairs and eat some fake food in the playroom and get bossed around about how I’m eating it wrong and not making appropriate yummy noises. Or maybe we can play legos, where within 5 minutes I am like, “Where is that freakin red piece the size of an atom?!”

Parent for reals

Parent for reals

Then once the bedtime routine is over and silence finally descends on the house, I have dishes, cat litter, and laundry among other things giving me dirty looks. Sometimes I do it, begrudgingly and half-assed, all while promising myself I’ll deep clean “later.” Sometimes I say Fuck IT and sit down to read a book or catch up on actual enjoyable adult TV, only to be interrupted by a 14 year old cat who steps on my face like, “What the fuck woman? Remember me? The one who can tell all your drunk college stories AND your most recent sexcapades? Yeah, well, it’s time for some kitty loving. And don’t mind my snotty nose, I’ll just wipe it all over your shirt.”

Planning her assault

Planning her assault

So then at this point – it’s 11:00. Time to give up, fall asleep in my contacts and makeup, only to hit the snooze to start it all over again at 5:30 the next day and tick the days off until my husband can join me for our fun-filled, family-time weekends, which include dragging our asses out of bed at 7 (if we are lucky) and making those two days not only productive and efficient, but also the best freakin 2 days our kids’ lives, all to alleviate some of that mommy and daddy guilt that plagues us during the week.

Thanks. I feel better. Feel my pain people! Help me to know I’m not alone.

PS – Now I’ll go watch my kids sleep like angels and fall in love with them all over again…or at least enough to start fresh tomorrow… or tackle the midnight fever or vomiting episode.

 

Happy God = Chained to a Stove?

After two glorious days of not leaving my house, I thought it might be time for a test run back into society before I had to return to the real world and life’s responsibilities tomorrow.    If you’ve learned anything from this blog, you assumed correctly that I stayed as far away as possible from the madness of the retailers on Friday and Saturday.  I am much more of a Cyber Monday type of girl, where I can do my purchasing safely and on my own time.  I don’t like people in general, let alone half mad, sleep deprived people willing to claw, scratch and kick small children and puppies out of their way to be the first in line for that crazy deal on a TV or iPod.  They could be handing out FREE TVs and I’d be running the other way.  Anyone who would skip Thanksgiving food to camp out in front of Best Buy scares me.

Anyways I digress.  I thought church would be a great way to slowly emerge from my cocoon of comfort.  But first, this happened….

Duggar Family Values

And then this happened….

G vs. curb. Curb – 1. G – 0.

Nothing super glue can’t fix.

And once we returned from the ER safe and sound, I vowed never to leave the house again.

Let me go back.  Today was one of my favorite Sundays.  Every Sunday after Thanksgiving, my church takes the church hour for the congregation to stand up and say why they are thankful.  This is always a heart-warming, life affirming morning that gives you renewed faith in humanity and God’s presence in the world.  I love it, and I still do, even after this story.

A mother stood up about halfway through and said she was thankful that this year she had truly learned to submit to her husband, become the obedient wife God intended and let her husband be the man of the household.  I had to physically refrain from snorting in derision because this statement goes against every fiber of my liberal, feminist being.

Before I launch into my opinion, let me give this disclaimer.  I am in no way bashing this lady for her beliefs or thoughts.  My mother in law, God bless her, being so quick to point out the good in people, reminded me that I have no idea where this woman is coming from, what her marriage is like, and how exactly she intended this to sound.  This I keep in mind as I launch into my tirade.  Another thing my mother in law reminded me was that in order to obey your husband as she is perhaps suggesting, he must respect you first, because if you don’t have that, you are treading into some very dangerous territory.  I agree.  I don’t think for one minute this woman was saying stay in an abusive relationship or with a douche bag, lazy, good for nothing waste of space.  I think what she means is playing your God-given role in society.  Raise your kids.  Take care of the home.  Be an animal in bed….wait, no, maybe not that last one.

Anyways, this statement just goes against everything I have come to believe is right in this world, and why organized religion will always make me skittish.  When someone stands up and says something like this, I assume that EVERYONE in the congregation agrees and totally judges me for having the audacity to work and actually enjoy doing it.  To have a crazy messy house and dinners that consist of PB&J more often than not.    Am I wrong to assume this?  Of course, I am also one of the congregants and I don’t agree with her, so why should everyone else?  It’s just my insecurity with my faith and with organized religion.

For me, every time I walk into church, I assume everyone around me is more wholesome, more genuine, more giving, but also waaaay more judgmental than me.   I go to church to deepen my faith and understand my God and Christianity as a whole, and the church I attend has never ever preached hate or intolerance, which is a total deal breaker for me, so I try to attend as faithfully as possible to help answer my endless questions and also help give my kids a good jumping off point for their own religious journey.  But for me, it is imperative the church I attend be welcoming, accepting and loving to all God’s children, not just the ones organized religion deems “acceptable.”  And believe me, in Christian churches, this is no easy task.

I am fortunate to have found this in my church, where we have been going for the past three years.   That still doesn’t alleviate my discomfort with organized religion.  And when someone stands up and says I must be obedient to my husband, I just take it as a slap in the face and I feel a sadness that I will never truly fit into a church lifestyle.  At church, I put on my most wholesome face (yes people who go there, that’s as nice looking as I get) and to some extent pretend to be a nice girl who doesn’t swear, drink, tell dirty jokes, read really dirty books, or laugh at TV shows like Family Guy.   Because to me, this girl is a sinner, one God wouldn’t enjoy having around.  But this girl is me, warts and all, and I doubt no matter how much I read the Bible or donate to charity, she will always be me.

So my vow to myself is to keep going to church, evolve in my faith, be the best person I can be, but still be true to myself, tell the occasion raunchy joke, get really excited about the DVD release of Magic Mike and read smut like it’s going out of style…or soon to be banned.

PS – G is fine.  Poor girl got my clumsy gene and maybe my bad eyes.  We’re looking into that.  She was a trooper at the ER and thankfully no needles were needed.

Sisters

I knew I was going to have a second baby at my grandpa’s funeral.  It was a devastating blow to our close-knit family.  Grandpa was the glue, the head, the life force of our entire family.  As I sat behind my mom, her sister and her two brothers during the funeral, I realized how much they all leaned on each other to get through that painful day.Will was only five months old when he died, but I knew I didn’t want him to have to stand alone when the time came for us.  Not that I was anywhere near ready to even think about another baby with a very cranky, very urpy five month old, who had yet to spend a night in his crib, but I remember the decision was made that afternoon that I would talk Mark into a second baby.  Thank God bad math and “natural” family planning eliminated that conversation.  Who knew one time could get us pregnant?  Seriously.  One time that month.  Give me a break, Will was only sixteen months old at the time, Mark’s lucky he got it that once.

Anyways, maybe that was my parents’ thought when they decided to create my sister.    For me.  How thoughtful.  Not that I asked for her.  At all.  I really really didn’t like her from the get go.   The famous story is, she was home for 15 minutes and I bit her as a welcome home gift.  It really wasn’t her fault.  My mom promised not to leave during my nap (because she ALWAYS did), and the woman had the nerve to go into labor during that time.  So-naturally, I was mad.  And yes, I do remember.  I have memories as a three-year old, but for the life of me, I can’t tell you what I had for breakfast this morning (but I am pretty sure  it wasn’t Ho Ho’s and a Pepsi, I have grown a bit).

I was a bad sister.  So bad, when my grandma died, my mom found a letter written by her to me that she had stashed away telling me that I should be nice to my sister and how God would want it.  It wasn’t dated, but it seriously could have happened anytime between the ages of 3 and 18.  Another story my sister tells often is when I chased her with a knife (which I don’t remember) AFTER she tried to close the garage door on me and hit me on the head with it (which is probably WHY I don’t remember).  Ah the 80’s, when siblings were left alone with only each other after school and garage doors didn’t have safety eyes to stop from squishing you.  I think it’s for that reason a lot of our generation are crazy helicopter parents.  We know what we did, and I’ll be damned if I let my kids try to kill each other unsupervised every afternoon.

Anyways, fast forward to me moving out, having some crazy fun in college (a story for another time) and eventually turning into a somewhat nice rational human being.  Turns out, I really like my sister.  In fact, she’s my best friend.  She’s the only one who will honestly tell me to put the frumpy sweater back on the Kohl’s shelf and to get my ass on the treadmill.  And I get the privilege of telling her the same right back.  It’s fun to joke about being the fattest people in the room, and being able to laugh knowing you are not destroying the other person’s self image, because they know you well enough to know you are not being malicious, just funny, and a bit truthful, but the what the hell, she is the same size as me anyways.

It’s fun to have someone to just give a look to when your dad does something stupid or when you know your mother has phased out on the phone watching HGTV and simply responding occasionally with, “Uh huh, ya, I know…,” when you’ve just told her you are thinking of selling your kids to the mafia and you think you have an STD from your cheating husband. (Yes, mom, I’ve said this stuff and that’s how you responded, seriously, it’s a fun game we play.)

My sister’s lived it with me.  Knows why I am crazy and dysfunctional and why I think the way I think.  She understands why I am crazy messy and disorganized, because she stole all those OCD genes from my parents, or my dad isn’t my real dad and Pig Pen is, which would make way more sense.  She knows I will do everything in my power to be there for her no matter what.  She knows I will do nothing but root for her in all things and only want good things to happen.  She knows that I think she is an awesome mom and thank God everyday that she got the opportunity to be one.  Plus, above all, I will need her with me to take care of my parents as they get crazier and crazier, and thank God yet again that she has the bigger house to take care of my dad when mom decides she’s had enough and heads for heaven.

Love ya sis.  You totally owe me a present for all the schmoopiness.   And don’t get schmoopy back, because frankly, you aren’t that good at it.

Seriously. This was the only together pic I could find after an hour of searching. But doesn’t my hair looks super cute?

OK-Here’s an acceptable pic to my sister. Even if I look like the crazy lady who photobombed the shot.