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Month: July 2004

Mom, I miss you

Mom, I miss you

You may have noticed I don’t write a lot about my mom. It’s not because I have nothing to say. It is probably more because I have a lot to say, but feel uncomfortable saying it. It makes me sad to talk about my Mom, the person she is today and to remember my Mom of yesterday. Maybe I partially fear your judgement of the things I feel. No. That isn’t entirely accurate. I suppose I fear my own judgement on how I feel. I feel such saddness and anger when I think about what has happened to her. Then, I feel guilty about any negative feelings. So, I guess that causes me to worry that because I judge myself so harshly when it comes to these feelings, perhaps you will too.

Growing up, my Mom was my best friend. When other teenage girls were rolling their eyes at their Moms and fighting with them endlessly, I was going to movies with mine and shopping with her. She made me laugh more than anyone could. My friends adored her. There were times I wondered if they called the house to talk to me or to talk to her. (Sometimes, they’d admit, there were times that they just wanted to talk to her.) If you ever met my Mom, you loved her. It is as simple as that. To know her truly was to love her. There was just something about her that drew people in and made them feel at ease with her.

Mom and I talked openly about everything. She was relaxed over issues that other moms maybe weren’t. (Sidenote on this. I was an A student. And an occasional B popped in there now and again, but school was never a problem for me. So, on those occasions I wanted to take a break, I took it. When the end of school rolled around my senior year, there were some papers to be signed about graduation and such. When she went to sign them, I freaked. “No! Mom you can’t sign that!” She of course replied, “Why in the world can’t I?” So, I told her “Because I have been writing my own notes for years. If you sign it, they will think it is a forgery!” Did she freak? No. But I still haven’t heard the end of it. See. She knew I had school under control and it was past anyway.)

In the late 80’s (shortly after I became engaged), Mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It was a blow to her and to the whole family. How could we not know that this was in her body fighting her everyday? How could someone so full of life have a chronic disease? It wasn’t something we could wrap our minds around. I think that on some levels we accepted most of the physical limitations that would occur with MS. (Or at least, I tell myself that I would be fine with that.) But, you see, Mom is in one of the minority percentages of people suffering from MS (5-10%) whose cognitive functions are severly impaired. Basically, she is not the woman she used to be. She cannot function mentally like she once did. It is as if her entire personality was wiped out and in it’s place came an angry, confused child. (I am not being mean here. I struggled to find the right words to describe it. That is the best I can do. So much for being a writer.) The Mom I grew up with is gone. The woman who is here is someone that I am struggling to know and love like I should. And it breaks my heart. Daily. I cry when I try to talk to her about real issues and all I get back is an empty stare. For that matter, it breaks my heart when I try to talk to her about anything and her only response is either confusion or bitterness towards MS. Yes, some of it is depression, but most of it is the way MS has damaged her brain. My “Mommy” that I was best friends with is there to an extent, but I haven’t seen her in years.

Ever since I had children, I have longed to be close to have a “mother-figure” and be able to turn to her to share the trials of motherhood with. I wasted too much time with my mother-in-law and now she is gone. I never imagined in a million years I would be so alone in motherhood. I find myself longing for older women in my life. Someone that I can cry to when I need a mom. I find myself reaching out to women who are older than me in subtle ways, yet the longing to fill that void is overwhelming.

I suppose it just really hits me hard when I am at home with her. I sat with her yesterday and was talking about how freaked out I am about my current situation and how scared I was. I talked about the fact that we weren’t moving and how hard the kids were taking it. I cried with worry over the things my boys have said about how they feel. I wanted to badly to be the little girl and have her tell me it would be okay. I wanted to put my head in her lap and have her stroke my hair like when I was a little girl and to feel that it would truly be okay. However, after I finished talking and was trying to dry my tears, she looked me in the eye and said, “So when are you moving down here?” It was as if she heard nothing. Like she couldn’t understand what I was saying. Somehow, she just couldn’t comprehend and process it.

And my heart broke.

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1+1+1+1=chaos x 19 squared or The Lots of Children Chaos Theory

1+1+1+1=chaos x 19 squared or The Lots of Children Chaos Theory

Okay, I guess since he feels the need to defend himself against accusations that I have been shoved into the freezer or buried in the backyard, I should probably step up and let you all know I am fine.  I am in Houston visiting family.  I was supposed to go to Tiara Happy Hour tonight, but it looks like I am not going to be able to make it.  I have too many kids to take care of (mine and a baby).  But, rest assured, Natalie, I am still working on it and have not totally given up all hope of getting there.  Your husband does still owe me a beer, you know.

I will try to catch up on blogging later, but adding one kid to the mix shakes everything up.  Someone should do the math to backup a theory of mine. That is:  That the more kids you add to the mix is not proportional to the chaos that is added.  For instance, if you have one kid and then add one kid, the chaos does not double…it like quadruples.  Then if you add one more to those two, it is like 9 times more chaotic.  So, see why I am having trouble blogging?  I have 4 kids here.  (Oh, and I forgot to mention, if the additional child(ren) is not actually your child(ren), then the chaos factor is squared.)

Got it?

Good, because I am just too tired to try to convince you that I have indead proven this one this weekend!  (Feel free to come take over for me if you don’t believe me, though.)

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Remember me? I am skanky ho!

Remember me? I am skanky ho!

We went on a date Saturday.  A real live, no kids, holding hands date.  For the first time in many, many months.  We so needed to get away and just be alone.  Just reconnect as the “couple”.  It was a shot for us to let the tensions go and enjoy the company of each other.  (This is important later.) I put on my little date halter, my hoochie-mama shoes (that haven’t seen the light of day since Gabriella was born) and even a little make-up and jewelry.  I was going out on a date, people. 

We decided to go get some margaritas on Genuine.  (No, not ON Genuine.  Courtesy of Genuine.) What more can a girl ask for?  A hot date, freedom from stress for the night and free drinks.  I was on cloud 9.  (A later post will talk more about the date itself.  With pictures.  This is not that entry.)

So, we are standing in the Mexican restaurant waiting for a table.  (Saturday night in this town, you better count on a wait.) Next thing I know, the hair on the back of my neck stands up.  Why?  At the time, I have no idea.  Then this woman hugs Clint.  Excuse me? Then she extends her hand and says,“I don’t know if you remember me or not, but I am….”

Wait.

Let me back up.

You see about 6 years ago (give or take), Clint and I were in a bad place in our relationship. We weren’t getting along super great, but we still were working on things.  I may have been acting psychotic, but he was still mine and I was very much in love with him.  At that time he was working at a small company and hung out with a group of friends.  It was him, Super Cool Guy I Still Adore and two other women.  The 4 of them did a lot together.  I was cool with him going out with them since I wasn’t getting along so well with Clint anyway and wanted to go out with my own friends. 

That is, I was cool with it until I met one of them.  One of the “women” came over to our house one weekend that summer.  Ladies, back me up here.  Have you ever been in the presence of a woman that you know beyond any doubt she is not to be trusted.  That regardless of what she says or does, she has designs on your man.  That there is nothing about her that you feel is genuine?  You know that gut feeling that says, “Get your claws out and be ready to take her down if she makes the wrong move?” It was a case of instant distrust and distain.  As sure as I know my name, I know this woman was up to no good.  That day I told Clint that she is never welcome in my home and that he really needs to reconsider hanging out with her.  (You must understand- and Clint will vouch for me here- that I am very easy going about what he does and who he hangs with.  I completely trust him and have no reason not to. Never have I told him that he “cannot or should not” hang out with someone.  Until her.) It has been 6 years, a few jobs and the birth of another child since then.  But to this day, he knows how I still feel.  (Okay, anyone can know how I feel. I don’t hide it.)

Back to date night.  (You know where this is going, don’t you?)

So, we are standing in the Mexican restaurant waiting for a table.  (Saturday night in this town.  You better count on a wait.) Next thing I know, the hair on the back of my neck stands up.  Why?  At the time, I have no idea.  Then this woman hugs Clint.  Excuse me? Then she extends her hand and says,“I don’t know if you remember me or not, but I am [Woman You Can’t Stand That You Refer To As Skanky Ho].”

Not remember you?  NOT remember you?  I had a better chance at not remembering my own grandmother than not remembering her.  However, I didn’t recognize her at first.  She had changed. Physically.  She was about 9 months pregnant.  Yet, the hair on the back of my neck stood up nonetheless. She may have been pregnant, but I am doubtful she has changed.

I behaved.  I was civil.  Clint pretty much cringed inwardly while praying silently that I would not hurt the pregnant woman standing before me.  I didn’t.  Actually, I was quite friendly.  Not at all catty.  (Okay, a little but come on.  I had to be.) Oh sure, I had a look that said (in no way vague) that I saw through her then and would have no problem hurting her now if she ever came near us again.  She may not have been the brightest bulb in the fixture, but I am sure she caught it.  (Ladies, you just know when another woman is giving a look like that no matter how bright you may or may not be. Right?)

After she walked away, Clint looked at me.  I laughed right out loud in his face.  I have never seen such an “oh-shit-is-this-going-to-be-bad-for-me” look before.  I just patted myself on the back for behaving.  Grabbed his ass (you know I had to publically claim it). Then I told him that the neverending flow of attention directed my way could commence.

Sidenote, he said, “So, you’re going to blog that, right?” I told him that I probably wouldn’t since I really have nothing nice to say about the encounter. 

He paused.  Looked at me and said, “So, you’re going to blog that, right?”

Hell yes I’m going to blog that!

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I get by with a little help from my friends

I get by with a little help from my friends

I want to tell you a story.  Grab some coffee and sit back.

After Clint was laid off back in May of 2002, things got tight financially.  Really tight.  By the time December rolled around, we had very little money and more debt than we knew what to do with.  We risked losing our house.  At Christmastime.  So, not only were we looking at that, we saw a bleak future for our kids’ at Christmas and a sad birthday for our son, Zarek.  I knew I needed to ask for help.  I also knew that I would rather eat glass shards and walk on burning coals than do that.  Had it been for me alone, I would’ve just let them take the house and I would be done with it.  But I had my kids to think about.

One afternoon in early December there was a knock on my door.  A woman that I knew more as an aquaintance than a friend was standing there.  We knew each other from the playgroup that our daughters were a part of.  She knew about our joblessness.  She probably didn’t know how serious it was, but she knew we were struggling.  She told me that she and her husband had decided that instead of buying each other gifts at Christmas, they would rather give the money to us. 

I was shocked.  Dumbfounded is the best way to describe it.  I stammered through a thank you and gave her a hug as she handed me an envelope.  I had no idea what the protocol for something like this was.  Do I open it then?  Do I wait?  She smiled and said she would talk to me soon then she left. 

I told Clint what had happened when I walked back into our family room.  He was as surprised as I was.  I opened the envelope and cash dropped out of it.  5 $100 bills.  I dropped to the floor and began to weep.  I had no idea how to accept such a generous gift.  I was speechless.  All I could do was sit on the floor and weep.  Never in my life had I been shown such generosity by someone I hardly knew.

Until the next week.  When my best friend in town and her husband received a check from their #### company for a claim they had a while back and she in turn handed that check over to us.  Again, I had no idea how to deal with the generosity of my friends.  I cried and thanked them and tried to express what it meant, but I am sure I never could do it justice.

Those are only two stories of the kindness people showed to us over the two years.  We’ve had people bring us groceries, pay our utility bills, bring stuff for the kids, give us gift cards so we can go out and many, many other things.

You see, sometimes good people fall on hard times.  It is not their fault.  And no matter how much they wish they didn’t need it, sometimes they need help.  Asking is hard.  Unless you have been there, you have no idea how hard.  But trust me.  It is hell on earth.

Why am I telling you this?  Because Ro of twelveone.org is one of those good people who happens to need help.  She is in crisis and has no idea where to turn.  So she turned to those of us who read her blog.  And I am turning to those of you who read mine.  If you have any extra at all to be able to help her out, please do so.  If not, please at least go show her some love.  You have no idea how much it will mean to her.  Unless you’ve walked in those shoes, it is hard to undstand how just a few simple words of kindness can make a difference. 

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Rebel with an….age

Rebel with an….age

When I was younger, I was quite a rebel.  Oh yes, I was very much the trouble maker.  What?  Okay, for those of you who knew me when I was younger and have wet yourself laughing at my “rebel” statement, I confess.  I wasn’t a bad kid.  In fact, I was the kind of daughter that most parents wished for.  You know the type.  Straight A’s, athletic, musical, hung out with a good crowd. 

It wasn’t because I was afraid to get in trouble.  And it wasn’t because I was so nerdy that I feared authority.  It was simply because the bad kid roles had been filled.  I was the youngest of 3 kids.  There wasn’t much I could do that hadn’t been done and handled by my parents.  The only untapped market for me was the good kid.  (In fact, it wasn’t until I was an adult that I heard the story of the time my brother and sister snuck out of the house.  One night they both snuck out of the house to go to an AC/DC concert.  They ended up running into each other there.  Yeah, small world. Meanwhile, I was probably at home doing homework of sleeping.  Like I said, I was the “good one.”)

Until my junior year in high school.  I began to take note of all the things that I had seen other kids do (namely my brother and sister) with no real consequences.  I thought to myself “What have I been doing all these years following the rules?!” So I tested the waters.

My Algebra II teacher was awful.  Nasty.  Mean.  She very much resembled Lily Munster but years and years later after tons of junkfood and bad make-up.  So, one day she is droning on about something that was completely over my head.  I was lost with a capital L.  I raised my hand and asked her to explain an aspect of the lesson.  Her reply?  Are you stupid?  I already explained it twice.” Are. You. Stupid.  Those three words set me off.  So I looked her in the eye, stood up and screached, “Did you just call me stupid?  You?  A teacher who is supposed to be an adult called me stupid?  What kind of teacher are you?” She laughed and told me that if I didn’t like the way she taught, to leave.  Being ticked off and pushed past the limit, I gathered my books and started to leave.  That made her quite mad.  She told me that I had better sit down “or else”. I looked her in the eye and quite calmly (You know that calm that extremely psychotic people have right before they go all wacko on you?  That calm.) “You told me if I didn’t like the way you taught to leave.  I don’t like the way you teach. In fact, your very existance offends me.  So, LILY, I am leaving now. Good day.”

Once I walked out of the room it hit me what I did.  I was shaking and thought to myself that I must be the biggest dumbass to walk the halls.  I went straight to the principal’s office and told him what I did.  Then, handed him his own phone to call my mom.  He set the phone down, looked me in the eye and told me that I would not be punished. 

What?!  Not be punished?  How is that?  You’re kidding me right?  He wasn’t.  In fact, I got transferred out of her class and she got the honor of being observed by the principal for the next 2 weeks.

Lesson learned?  Being a bitch can be FUN! (And you don’t even get in trouble!)

That little outburst didn’t cause me to become a rebel overnight.  (Though, remind me to tell you about the time I got grounded for a year.) I didn’t start smoking, drinking and hanging out with the fast crowd.  (That came much later in life.) But I did learn that the rules are so easy to bend without breaking.  I pushed a lot more limits after that.  (And still do.)

Now that I see my own kids growing up, I want to teach them some of my life lessons, but we all know we can’t do that.  If they don’t learn them on their own, they won’t learn them.  I see how my brother and sister and I turned out.  All of us are good people.  My sister is married and has 2 kids and is a wonderful mom.  My brother is happily married and has a great career.  You see, we all turned out great. 

I guess the only difference is that they had a whole lot more fun growing up.  And now, I am pretending it is my turn.  Maybe that is why I ended up in rehab in my late 20’s.  Rebelling late.  And why I have trouble “playing well with others” when I can see how phony they are.  And why I have no problem throwing a fit in the grocery store when the machine malfunctions.  I am regressing into my rebellious youth.

So, since I am a bit behind in my rebelliousness, I have a question for you….

Who wants to go with me later to toilet-paper the PTA president’s house?

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Oh Mr Mac Man…..

Oh Mr Mac Man…..

*I interupt this blogging to post a shout-out to someone whose visit was logged and I wanted to say howdy.

I was checking my visitor log today and noticed something that caught my attention.  It may be a coincidence (yeah, right) or it may be that I got lucky seeing this.  I’m not sure.  Here’s the thing.  It appears that I got a hit from a small town in a state really close to mine.  A small town where an old friend of mine lives.  An old friend that I was really close to once upon a time.  An old Mac using friend of ours.  Now, like I said, it could be coincidence or it could be that he dropped by and didn’t leave a comment or email.  Nah, that would never happen.  So, basically, if you know why I posted what I did in the extended entry, Mr. Mac User from a small town north of here, you better email me….or else!  wink

*We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

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