Posts Tagged With: family

all in my feels

I’ve been living in the teeniest of bubbles for the past three weeks.
The bubble that exists around a brand new baby.
Being with my daughter for the birth of her daughter is a blessing. So much so that words actually fail to express my joy and gratitude.

When it comes to being helpful, I made sure not to overstep when it comes to Baby K. I’m making sure I’m not doing too much around the house.
We started out with me making sure she ate and was hydrated, I prepared her breakfast and lunch, provided her with healthy, lactation promoting snacks, and make sure she had enough water. I took a bigger responsibility in keeping the house in order. Cleaning and tidying, making sure she had access to what she needed.
In these three weeks, she has taken on more household responsibilities in addition to Baby K responsibilities. She’s finding her way in balancing running her home and menagerie, and being a mom.
I have not yet stopped doing the laundry, but we’re making plans on how to make that transition simplest for her.

I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am to spend this time with my granddaughter.
From diapers, burping, and baths, to books, songs, and snuggles, I am making the most of my time with her.
This sacred time will be lost on her, but I am making memories and storing them up.
As many times a day as I can manage, I say, “Birdie loves you, girl.”
My hope is that when Baby K hears those words over the rest of our lives, that it triggers something down deep in her, and she remembers this time in some sort of way.

I am actively in my feels.
I am beginning to prepare myself emotionally for my departure.
I consider sleeping through the night in my own bed, and the simple pleasure of being in the same physical space as YBW. Seeing my friends, and farmer’s market mornings. Really just living my regular life.
In returning to my regular life, I won’t spend every day with Thing 1 and Baby K. I won’t be comfortably enclosed in that precious little bubble. I won’t get to clean up mad blow-out diapies, or sing the lollipop guild song while I ‘dance’ Baby K’s legs around. I won’t be seeing her eyes roll back in her head when she gets sleepy, but won’t give in. I won’t get to hold her close and smell her sweet baby smell.
I won’t be able to spend time with my daughter, listening to her thoughts. We won’t laugh together, or finish each other’s sentences. I won’t get to watch her basking in the joy of her daughter, or experience that moment of joy when she shares her with me.

These thoughts weigh heavy on me. I need to acknowledge and attempt to accept them to ease the reality of parting, but not so much I’m missing out on the joy of being here.
I mean, how could I feel anything but joy looking at this darling little face!?!

I absolutely understand how blessed I am to be here with my daughter and granddaughter. To spend this sacred time with them. I’m grateful for the support of my precious husband in making this possible.
I am chock full of love.
I am chock full of joy.
I am chock full of gratitude.
My cup truly runneth over.

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Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

wrapped up in love

Today is my birthday and mother’s day!

I received cards from the girls.

Thing 2 wrote hers and left it here for me when she went back home 10 days or so ago.

Thing 1 and Husband N gave this to me last night when we all went to dinner to celebrate three mothers.

Today is the forty-eighth anniversary of my birth.
I am humbled and blessed to be celebrated by the people who love me.

Today is the twenty-fifth time I’ve celebrated mother’s day.
I am truly, madly, deeply blessed to have these girls as my daughters.

My very first baby is now a mother!
I have such joy being here to celebrate that with her.

So far, my morning has involved a diaper change, a bottle, and a lovely snuggle with my precious granddaughter.

She’s decided to go back to sleep, so I’m taking a moment to share my joy with y’all while everyone here is still abed.

YBW brought my favorite bubbly when he came. He asked me last night if there was OJ in the fridge here. That means mimosas when everybody wakes up!
In the meantime, I’m enjoying this quiet morning with my cold, fizzy, caffeinated beverage and chatting with Thing 2.

Even though everyone here is sleeping, and my baby daughter is four hours away, I feel all wrapped up in love this morning!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Birdie’s on it!

My friend Holly gave me a funny little book. It’s very tongue in cheek, written by a grandmother and filled with some silliness, some heartfelt things, and a fair amount of honesty.

In this book, she talks about how the mother of the mother always ‘wins’. How because it’s her baby having a baby, it’s different than her son having a baby.
And I get that. To a point.
However, I don’t feel any more or less ‘winning’ than Husband N’s mother. I mean, apart from the fact that I’ve been told I’m the one they’re going to rely on. To be perfectly honest, in my gut, it does feel that mother-mother connection has a strength the mother-father connection may not have.
But what do I know? I have two daughters, I truly cannot imagine what being the mother of a son would even feel like.
All that said, I feel like there doesn’t have to be a difference.

Only it turns out there is a difference. At least in the case of Baby K’s grandparents.
Thing 1 and Husband N took Baby K over her Nana’s house late Saturday morning.
(just to clarify, Nana is Husband N’s mom)
Nana came home from Savannah and got sick. And I mean sick, like, with sinusitis and a fever, and all that jazz.
(I’m over here like, thank fuck we didn’t all catch it when we were at the hospital together!)
So Nana hasn’t seen Baby K since the day after she was born.

Thing 1 and Husband N knew I needed to write an essay, and I’d been working on it but could use some uninterrupted time to finish it. They also knew if they took Baby K to her Nana, they could control how long the visit would last.
So off they went late Saturday morning so Nana could snuggle Baby K.
In the time they were gone I:
quickly bathed
let the dogs out
started laundry
finished my essay
switched and folded laundry
and
washed a handful of dishes
I was just about to reach out to Thing 1 to see if she would want a bit of late-ish lunch, but got distracted by the dogs needing some water. As I was carrying the water dish out, Thing 1 and Baby K rolled up the driveway. (Husband N stayed at his mother’s to get some stuff done.)
Thing 1 got the baby settled and I made lunch and we talked about their visit.

I asked if she slept or was awake. Thing 1 said she was awake most of the time and Nana snuggled Baby K the whole time. (Of course she did! I mean that’s all any of us want to do!)
And here’s where things get wonky for me…
She shared that Nana made some remark about how your mom probably never puts her down.
That got my girls hackles up a bit. But she remained calm and was polite when she explained how I was here making sure they all had food to eat, and doing the laundry, and making sure the floor was swept (y’all there are three dogs and four cats in this house, the sweeping never ends) and changing dirty diapers, and staying up in the night with them so she didn’t feel completely alone, and generally taking care of everyone until they can figure out how to do it all.
And here’s how I feel about that.
Appreciated.

And you know what, I am absolutely savoring every single moment I get to spend with Baby K. I’m living in this sacred moment and also storing up that feeling for when I go back home and don’t get to see her.
But, I am truly, madly, deeply loving that I’m here with my girl. Stuffing her with calories so she can make milk to feed her daughter. Making sure she has help maintaining her household while she figures out how to be a mommy. Helping teach Husband N to trust his instincts, and how cloth diapers work. Getting up early with the baby so Thing 1 can rest as much as possible.
I’m here to actively love and care for my daughter, and by proxy, her daughter.
I am here to be of service.
Because that’s what the mother of the mother does.
Well, at least that’s what this mother of the mother does.

That’s not what Husband N’s mother would do. Not because she’s mean spirited, but because that’s not how she functions. She’s the hold the baby, talk ridiculous baby talk, give her too much candy and send her home with a sick belly kind of grandmother. Thing 1 and Husband N already know that. They’re prepped for it.
But here’s what I believe is important to remember. She has love to give. It may be selfishly motivated, but love is love is love is love is love, right? Nana is going to love Baby K the way she knows, the way she can. How can that be wrong?

I am so blessed to experience this love.
I have so much love to give, it bubbles up in my heart and overflows out into the world. I’m hopeful that my daughter and her husband are content having it poured over them at the moment.
But that’s not why I’m doing it.


This teeny girl next to me is waking up for a second time this morning. She’s ready for a clean diaper, some warm milk in her belly, and a big ol’ burp.
Birdie’s on it!

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and introducing Baby K

Baby K and her Birdie.

Turns out pregnancy wasn’t good for Thing 1’s heart.The stress of pregnancy depressed her heart’s ejection fraction enough to cause real concern. The solution was to induce early and keep a close eye on her heart.
It started out sounding much scarier than it ended up actually being. At one point we were told Thing 1 had a 50% chance of surviving labor and delivery.

Thing 1 has had some weirdness with her heart since she was a teenager, all the investigations left us with no diagnosis and more questions.
At least now we know something.

Her regular OB sent her to a high risk specialist OB in Savannah.
It has been a long time since I took copious notes to this degree.
We were immediately put at ease by the new OB. She didn’t see any reason why Thing 1 couldn’t deliver Baby K. She remarked that reading an echo cardiogram is oftentimes subjective, and referred us to a cardiologist in Savannah that same day. Another echo, and the most patient cardiologist later and we had an entirely new take on her ejection fraction.
(Ejection fraction is a measurement of how much blood the left ventricle pumps out with each contraction.)
He told us a normal ejection fraction is about 55%. Thing 1’s first cardiologist read her output as 35%, but the Savannah cardiologist read it as more like 45%. He said her ejection fraction is more than likely about 42%. And she was safe enough to labor and deliver her baby. The doctors decided to induce two full weeks before her due date to avoid more fluid build up in Thing 1’s body.

Thing 2, Husband N, and I were with Thing 1 during labor and delivery. I’ve never seen anything like my daughter’s labor. She slept through most of it, and never even broke a sweat during delivery! I was awed and delighted to be there when Baby K came into the world, but to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t keep my eyes off my daughter. I was truly amazed by her! Thing 2 teased me for my tears, of course she had her own tears, and both of us were entirely focused on Thing 1.
Y’all, my daughter is an absolute Goddess!

Thing 2 cut the umbilical cord like a total bad ass even though her face told it’s own squeamish story.
Baby K arrived Friday last, in the afternoon weighing in at 6 lbs 12 oz and 20 inches long.

The moment Thing 1 held her daughter, the world became just the two of them. Even though Husband N was there, Thing 1 couldn’t see anything but Baby K. And that was when I slipped away…

One week later, Thing 1 is healthy, feels fine and seems to be back to her normal heart self!
My momma heart is relieved and joyful!
My grandmother heart is in full on SQUEEE! mode!

Y’all!
She is absolute perfection!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I don’t give a f**k who judges me

The post I wrote the other day about managing my expectations seemed to elicit a great deal of response.
And what I love most about that is each one of those thoughts or opinions had kindness at the root.

Most of you were sympathetic but not judgey. I thank you for that.
This blog is filled with my thoughts. My perceptions of my life. I’m never ever going to point a finger and decree that I’m a billion percent right and the other person is a billion percent wrong. That’s not how life works.
I know I’m difficult.
I can be a real dick when I get frustrated.
I have been known to make bad choices in how I behave or react, however the underlying stuff is real.

I want to thank you for your kindness in choosing your words when you shared your thoughts with me. Your words were sympathetic, they came from a place of knowledge of circumstance. For the most part they were not blaming, and some even shared great ideas about how to circumvent the food drama!
I appreciate the positive feedback.

That morning, I got a message from Thing 1 in our group chat saying she’d read the post and wanted to know how I was. It was right as I was getting to work. I thanked her and promised to talk later.
She texted me in the afternoon that the post concerned her and asking how I was.
I assured her I was fine then explained that I was frustrated and being a dick but didn’t feel like I was terribly wrong.
Her response:
“I’m sure you are. And I’m sure you were a dick, but I still feel like Thing G shouldn’t be running the freaking show.”

We talked a great deal about how much growth there’s been.

About how most of the way he behaves isn’t really his fault. He’s adapted to it. I don’t believe there is purpose or malice in his actions. I believe he’s been insulated from being engaged in his life since his diagnosis, and simply doesn’t have the tools.

This is not to say I blame his parents. They did what they had to do to function as a family. They did what they had to do to make sure he was safe to himself and other children. Every family functions differently. And they did what worked for them.
Only now it doesn’t work.
The kid flat refuses to engage in his own life. He simply puts forth the least amount of effort to get by. Sure, that’s teenage behavior, but this is different. Most teens desire to GTFO of their parent’s house. They desire to be in control of their own choices, etc. (As adults we see the ironic hilarity, but we’ve all been there.)
This kid literally wants to eat crackers or ramen, drink soda, and play video games all day every day. My interpretation of that behavior is this is someone who is not engaged in his own life.
That’s cool if that’s your choice. And if you can find a way to eat and drink trash and play video games all day and remain solvent I say, bravo!
But I refuse to sacrifice my own comfort so that he can continue to live the life of Riley.

This kid isn’t actually the problem. The kid is simply the lightning rod of focus for the problem.
As I see it, the problem is that his family sacrificed their own personal comfort for his.
And y’all I get that! What parent or older sibling hasn’t done it!?!?
Though in most families as children age and develop that behavior changes. We expect kids to learn that we all have feelings. Needs. Things that make us comfortable or uncomfortable.
We expect them to respect these things in others.
I know I’m guilty of behaving as though the world revolves around my girls, especially Thing 2.
I own it. I know I do it. I admit I do it.
There are two huge differences.
The first is I don’t expect anyone else to do it.
The second is they’re engaged, and however they struggle, they’re actively participating in their own lives.

Every parent makes sacrifices for their children. That’s part of being a parent.
Older siblings sometimes make sacrifices for their younger siblings, that makes sense, but still doesn’t seem all that acceptable. But I’m the big sister, so I know it just sometimes is.
This becomes a problem when everyone else is expected to behave in the same manner. It’s not other people’s job to put the comfort of someone else’s child, sibling, etc. above their own. And in all honesty, I don’t believe YBW and his family ever consciously expected that behavior from others, and they certainly never verbalized it. I feel like it was and remains very obvious by the way everyone functions.

I don’t think YBW is wrong for wanting to sacrifice for his kid.
I don’t think he’s an an idiot or stupid.
And I will own the fact that I’m judgey as fuck.
Judgey. As. Fuck.
But I don’t judge him for doing what he believes is best for his son. I’ve done what I believed best for my girls, sometimes it worked perfectly, sometimes I cocked it right up.
No one else has been in our hearts, in our families, it isn’t for another to tell anyone how to raise their children.
I’m guilty of pointing out what his kids don’t know. That doesn’t mean I think he failed. It means I don’t understand why they don’t know how to do X. And instead of examining that, YBW thinks I’m saying he failed as a parent.
Dude. We all fail as parents. I just want people to bring in the mail and trash can when they walk right past it every damn day.

What bothers me so much is that he continues to put the desires of that particular kid above everyone else’s. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it. And he sacrifices so much of himself for that kid.
The difference between YBW and me is that I refuse to do it. I will not choose Thing G’s comfort or happiness over my own.
Because I don’t want to. And because it’s not what’s best for any one.
I’m choosing to do what’s best for me.
Just because I don’t like it, or I won’t do it, doesn’t mean I’m judging him for doing it. It just means I won’t make the same behavior choices he makes. My emotional and physical comfort are important in their own right. No more no less than anyone else’s.
And when I see him sacrifice his, I don’t like it because I believe he deserves more. But I can’t make that decision for him. I can only make that decision for myself.

I spent a long time talking with a friend who also has a child diagnosed with autism. Here’s what I see, in their family, it’s just a thing. It means some tweaking here and there. It means she’s (the mom) working hard to meet everyone’s individual needs. But she’s not letting that diagnosis run their lives.
In this family it is everything. And because it is everything all the tweaking must be done around the diagnosed. It means everyone should work hard to meet the diagnosed’s needs. The diagnosis runs all our lives.
This is not the fault of the kid with the diagnosis. It’s not even the fault of his parents. It is simply the way it is.
I don’t choose to function that way.
I don’t choose for my children to be expected to function that way.
I don’t choose people who enter this house to be expected to function that way.

I don’t believe the desires of one should rule the many.
I mean come on! There were revolutions about shit like that.

I love my husband.
Like, in ways that sometimes have no words! I want to be with him in the life we build. And I want to get old with him.
I want him to feel loved. To feel understood. To feel like I’m in it with all I’ve got, not that he’s something I have to endure.
Right now, I think the best way to do that is to be quiet. Just be quiet and do my thing. Just be quiet and let him do his thing. Because clearly talking about it makes me a dick and him a failure.
I want to stop putting each of us through that.

Only this is a conversation worth having, and because we’re in it for the long haul, we have to figure it out how to have it successfully. Last night we talked a little and seemed to get to a place that’s better. So good for us!

I will be the first to admit I want what I want.
But not at the expense of others.
And that is the little nugget of truth I cling to.
Therefore, it seems just that I expect the same from others.

I choose not to live my life for anyone but me.
I believe YBW judges me for it.
I accept that.
I am not ashamed.
I feel no guilt.

I did the hard work of raising my children. I do the hard work of being the mother of adult women.
I did and continue to do the hard work of keeping myself safe and sane.
I do the hard work of marriage to a man I love all the way to Pluto and back.

I’m doing the best I can to live my intention.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Do everything in love.
I’m over here working to do everything in love and still have a sense of self.
I own my truth.
I don’t give a fuck who judges me.

Categories: love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

be aware

I haven’t been writing much.
I could explain why, (school, feeling puny, environmental changes, emotional stuff) but that’s just kind of making excuses that simply boil down to: I haven’t had it in me.
I spend more time attempting to write than actually writing. I spend time considering what I’d like to write and paying attention to why I’m not writing.
It’s an interesting place to be. It’s also troubling. I truly enjoy writing. But can’t seem to make it happen. Not even in my journal. I’m adrift in a sea of paper, pencils, pens, and this laptop. (It makes for a crap visual when I try to write it out, but it was working in my head.)
Anyway, that’s were I am at the moment.

This morning I received this:

I read them several times before I responded. I needed to swim around in her words before I did anything else. For a solid half hour this is what I did.
She had it in her heart, she wanted me to know.
She said she felt compelled to tell me. That’s the word she used, compelled.
She did not know that I needed to read those words today. She just knew she needed to tell me.

How many of us each day think, Oh, I should tell so-and-so something-or-other and it’s only a passing thought? How many of us actually tell so-and-so the something-or-other?
Simply living life gets in the way. That happens to every one of us.
But when we stop for a moment, we can pay attention those little things that are so important in life.
One simple act of kindness can start the most complex change.
Now, this particular act of kindness may not change the world, but it created ripples in me. And that’s all it takes.

Sally shared with me that she was aware. That act of love is a precious and powerful gift. I am at once comforted and inspired by her love.

Being aware.
What a beautiful act of love.
Sharing your awareness.
What a beautiful act of kindness.

And, check it out!
I’m writing.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

What’s best for children?

Y’all my husband is hurting.
And mad. I’m talking about a ferocity written all over his face before he even finished a full sentence!
It takes a great deal to make him angry.
This deal came in the form of an email from the mother of his children.

Thing G starts college in less than two weeks.
Thing G plans to commute to NOVA for two years before transferring to another school. This was a decision he made on his own and shared with us the whys and wherefores. We supported his decision.
Thing G does not have his license and cannot drive without one of us with him in the car.
His mom began planning who could drive him to college which days without discussing it with anyone. She sent an email to YBW while we were in New Orleans outlining said plan. YBW scoffed and ignored it.
You see, YBW already told Thing G that neither he nor I would drive the boy to college and he needed a plan to get back and forth to school if he didn’t have his license by the time school started. Kid gets on the internet and finds there’s a local bus that will carry him from a stop 1.3 miles from this house to the mall where he will then switch to a bus that will take him to NOVA.
Done and done.
He comes to me with questions of how much time did I think it would take him to walk the distance and we decided he could practice and I’d come pick him up and bring him home. I told him we could do it as many times as he liked until he was comfortable with his timing.
Either Thing G has not volunteered this information to his mother, or his mother never asked, hence the email.

Well, the day we came home from New Orleans, YBW took him to meet with his adviser. (Thing G specifically requested YBW for this task.) Then they went back to his mom’s house to share the information.
Turns out Thing G also drops the bomb that he will no longer be going back and forth between his parents houses now that he’s eighteen and starting college. He has decided to live in this house with YBW and me full time.
And his reasons are as follows:
Mom’s house is 1.5 miles further away from the bus stop.
There is no sidewalk between Mom’s house and our house.

I was not present during this discussion but YBW relayed it in great detail when he got home.
The kid was clear. The kid looked his mother in the face and told her these were his plans. His ideas. The kid stood his ground when the tears came. He loves his mom and doesn’t want to hurt her, but God love him, he doesn’t want to walk that much further on a fairly rural road that isn’t really safe. He’s completely practical. If his mother lived in this house and we lived in the other one, it would be the same house, different parent. The kid is even leaving his dog.

So that’s the story.
Here’s where it gets interesting.

YBW got an email yesterday from Thing G’s mom in which she shares her dissatisfaction with this arrangement. In this email, she accuses YBW and me of going behind her back and making choices for her sons. She blames YBW for the changes in the way their family functions. She closes with something to the effect of she wanted him to know how she felt, but isn’t sure he cares.

I only read it once and I know I’m missing things, but this is the gist.
She’s mad that she’s no longer in control of what their family does.
She’s blaming him (and me) for changing that.
She’s being manipulative with questioning if he cares how she feels.

I ask if he wants to respond.
Emphatically no.

The more he talks about this email, the madder he becomes. Never raises his voice, but his face, and body language, and tightness in his throat express his anger.
He worries she’ll try to manipulate Thing G to stay with her or continue to go back and forth.
He’s mad she’s pissy about me.
(Honestly, I’ve been waiting for that to rear it’s head, and I’m surprised I’m not more of the ‘lightening rod of hate’.)
He’s hurt and angry that she questioned whether or not he cares about how she feels.
Y’all my husband was bent!

We continued to talk about it, and he cooled down a bit.
We discussed that the difference between the way she runs her house and the way we run this one is that we ask questions and she gives commands.
YBW asks his son, What do you think? How would you like it to be? How can you solve this problem?
YBW is actively working to treat his son like an adult. He’s willing to let him fall on his face and get bloodied up. Instead of rescuing him, or fixing things for him, he wants to show his son that it’s OK to fail once in a while. Failure is simply a learning process. One every human needs to experience.
He told their mother this and she went on about how Thing G is not neurotypical and he needs support. YBW reminded her that neurotypical or not, he had to learn to become a self-sufficient adult.
Everyone agrees he shouldn’t be a thirty year old man living in his parents basement. Yet only one of his parents is actively doing anything to prohibit that.

Listen, I understand how hard it is to be away from one’s children. But it is only natural that they eventually fly the nest. And all the blaming and passive aggression, and temper fit throwing has nothing to do with what’s best for the child and everything to do with the parent desperately clinging to the desire to control.

What it comes down to is that she wants her current husband, her former husband, and her sons to be figures on a chess board that she can move around as she sees fit.
She did it that way for so long.
And in the last five years, there has been a shift in YBW. He’s no longer on her chess board. He’s living his life.
In my heart of hearts, I believe she’s more frustrated that she no longer controls what YBW does than what’s going on with her sons.

She was very clear that YBW and I are making decisions for her sons and she doesn’t like it.
And I’m over here like, your sons are making these decisions, they’re just not talking with you about it.
Is it because she doesn’t ask? Absolutely.
But another factor is that I truly believe they’re frightened by her. That if they share their plans with her she’ll be reactive instead of receptive.
YBW has remarked something to the effect that you can only play devil’s advocate for so long before you suck the passion from people.

Here’s the thing that kills me. She’s his mom. But I’m asking, What’s best for Thing G, and trying to make that happen.
While his own mother rails and spits and blames because she can no longer control them. I’m sacrificing my freedom for a child that isn’t technically mine.
Why?
Because I love him.
I treat him the same way I treated my girls.
I want him to be the best possible version of himself he can. But that won’t happen if we continue to baby him. To rescue him, and fix things for him. To treat him as though he is his diagnosis.
I trust that Thing G will become a self-sufficient adult because we’re going to help him learn how to be. We’re going to have his back but let him fall. We’re going to continue to ask him how, and what he wants to choose for his life.

I committed to YBW’s sons when I committed to him. Just as he did with my girls.
They’re all our kids. Doesn’t matter that DNA doesn’t match. We’re committed to each other and our collective children because we want to be. Because we made the choice to be. They’re not yours and mine, they’re ours.
He does things for the girls that their father doesn’t.
I do things for the boys that their mother won’t.

We want our kids to be the best possible versions of themselves!
We want to help them get there.
We know that means sometimes we’ll have to step back and watch them falter.
We know we can’t dictate how they should do it.

People’s lives cannot be lived out on a chess board controlled by someone that thinks they know best.
Children must be given the best possible foundation with which to build their own lives.
Chess boards aren’t a solid enough foundation.
YBW knows that.
Thing G knows that.
They’ve begun making their own moves.
Thing G is trying to bolster his own foundation even though he’s not sure how to go about it.

YBW worries that Thing G’s mom will attempt to manipulate him to change his mind.
I said, We have to trust Thing G.
YBW said, I do.

You gotta trust your kids.
You gotta trust that what you’ve given them will get them through.
You gotta expect those “Mommie I need you!” phone calls, or late night knocks on the door, “Dad, help!”
I know the girls are going to be successful. I know they’re going to fall, going to fail. But the fact they get back up and keep at it is what it’s all about.
I’m looking forward to experiencing that with the boys too.

As parents we have no choice but to trust our kids as they take flight.
It’s so f**king hard and scary!
But it’s what’s best for those kids.
Isn’t that what it’s all about? What’s best for children…

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

faith in humanity renewed

Got a text this morning.

And we meet at our regular joint about half an hour later.

Then she says, “I need shallots and a romper, let’s go to Target!”
Um…yeah!

Only instead of going to Target, we go to TJ Maxx. It’s next to Target, and I know they have loads of rompers, because the girls got a couple while they were here in June.
After some successful (and not so successful) trying on, she found exactly what she was looking for. I found a new Kate Spade bag for $80 and we headed to the check out.
After a quick moment of debate, I decided I wanted a Coke. (It’s been a while since I had one, and to be quite honest, I was the teeniest bit hungover this morning.)
While Nora was checking out I ran to the cooler to grab a cold bottle of fizzy caffeinated goodness and the damnedest thing happened.
My ring got caught in the cooling fan in the top of the machine and ripped the diamond out of the setting!

Y’all!
THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

(I wear the wedding ring my mother wore while she was pregnant with me, and more recently, I’ve been wearing YBW’s mom’s rings. She was very specific that YBW should have them so he could give them to me. It brings us both joy that I wear them together.)

I reached into the cooler, and by sheer dumb luck the ring just happened to get caught in the fan. When I pulled my hand out, the setting was twisted and there was no diamond!

Let me tell you a little something about the state of the world. (at least where I live)
The folks in line behind us got involved, helping remove the sodas from the cooler, helping check under the racks and machine.
One lady checked out and came back to me with a shiny penny in her hand. “This is a lucky penny to help find your diamond.”
Another woman stayed with us as the store manager started trying to disassemble the machine. Yet another woman suggested we pray to St Anthony and assured me she would.
An employee who was meant to leave work at 3:30 stayed all afternoon while we tried to find it.
The assistant manager called Coca Cola to report the incident, stressing that the ‘customer was staying’ in the store until the repair person could arrive.

Nora had an appointment in Alexandria. She needed to leave by 4:00. (She’s a vet, and had a house call.) Of course we’d come together in my car, leaving her’s at the breakfast joint. So she had to take my car back to her car, drop off my key at her house before she could go euthanize some poor family’s animal!
She even arranged for her husband to come get me if YBW couldn’t.

Well, after she left, I called YBW and explained what happened. All I could think was how much I’d let him down, wrecking his mom’s ring that she, and he, wanted me to have.
Bless him, he left work and came straight to the store. He and I worked with the store manager’s tools to take apart the top of the machine and when I heard him say, “Here it is!” I nearly cried!

Here’s what I really want to say.
The actions of the employees and other customers renewed my faith in humanity. The kindness shown to me today was truly overwhelming!
I was panicked.
I was sad.
I was anxious.
Through all of that, my dear friend doggedly worked to help solve this problem. Strangers were on their hands and knees in a retail store. I received so much affection, and positive energy, and physical help from people I do not know, and will most likely never see again.
The sweet woman that didn’t leave the store until I found the diamond had tears of joy in her eyes. I said, “I’m going to hug you!” and she squeezed me tightly!

Y’all, there is real goodness in this world. There is real kindness in this world. The average human is more kind than one might imagine. Today that kindness surrounded and lifted me up. I know I’ll never be able to thank those people personally, or tell them I found the diamond. But my gratitude is out in the world and my intention is that it finds it’s way to them.
I have the phone number for the district manager so I can call and share my experience. I want someone to know what kind and helpful employees there are at that particular store.
I’m grateful for Nora. She is spectacularly calm in a crisis. She’s got a serious Rosie the Riveter ‘We Can Do It!’ spirit about her. God love her, she did not want to leave me there alone waiting for the repair person, but she had no choice. She made the situation bearable simply by being in it with me!
I’m grateful that my precious husband came and helped without being frustrated, or angry, or judgmental. He knew instinctively where I was emotionally and said, “I want to make this better for you.” I had a little ‘merp’ moment and replied, “I want to make this better for you!”
I felt like I let him down. I know it was a freak accident. He knows it was a freak accident. But I honestly felt like I let him down. Like I couldn’t be trusted with his mother’s ring. That his daddy gave her, and she wore for fifty years. And I have it for a few months and this happens!?!
I know he doesn’t think of it this way, but I sure as hell did.

For now, the rings and the diamond are in a zip baggie waiting to go to the jeweler’s.

I’ll be in Falls Church on Monday to see the acupuncturist, he’s literally right down the street from the jewelry store. I wanted to have them adjust the size a bit anyway, so now it’ll be a twofer.

Was it St Anthony?
Was it that penny really lucky?
I don’t know, but I will hold on to the penny, and say a quick ‘thank you’ to Anthony just in case.

I believe in people a little more after today.
I believe there is kindness in each of us, and if we’re very fortunate, we will be presented with an opportunity to express it.
My heart is a little lighter today.
My cup runneth over.
Today, my life was made better by the kindness of strangers.
There is a lesson here for each and every one of us.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Moana, fried green tomatoes, and fireworks

In the old days Independence Day meant a backyard full of people, and a pool full of children.
It was a pot luck, with the best damn macaroni salad you’ve ever eaten. Burgers and dogs on the grill, beer in plastic cups, because ‘no glass by the pool’. I’d always get thrown in fully clothed thanks to my brother and cousin. The kids would be pruned beyond belief, only stopping to grab a handful of fruit or veggies or chips. They’d hork down a burger or dog if you made them, but they couldn’t be out of the water for too long, or they’d miss out on all the fun.

These days Independence Day is much smaller.
Yesterday YBW and Thing G did yard work and I studied.
But in the late afternoon, Meredith and Beau came down with their Mommy. The kids played with Legos and their Mommy and I made fried green tomatoes and drank wine.
YBW and the kids have had a date to watch Moana since it came out, and last night they finally went down to the giant TV and set it up. (thanks Netflix) After we cleaned the kitchen, their Mommy and I joined them. Even Thing G came down to watch!
YBW and I were the only ones that hadn’t yet seen it.
Y’all, I was truly delighted! Disney hit that one out of the park! I laughed, I cried, I absolutely adored it!

Turns out we kind of forgot it was Independence Day because suddenly we could hear loud sounds, even downstairs. That’s when I realized we were missing fireworks.
After the movie, they walked back up the street to home and YBW and I had a quick hem-haw about zipping out to see the fireworks. We grabbed shoes and headed out. Hooked up with Nora and Dale and their kids and ooohed and ahhhed as we watched the color explosions. Apparently, our Manassas fireworks one of the largest local fireworks displays in all of Northern VA.
I didn’t even grab my phone from the car to take photos.
That’s how you know it’s good…choosing to experience everything first hand. The immediacy and authenticity of being present in the moment, not behind the lens. That’s a tricky one for me, but last night it was worth it!

Today is going to be quiet. YBW decided to skive off work today and tomorrow, we’ve got a couple quick errands to run. Might even pencil in a movie. If we’d been quick thinking enough, we might have planned a minibreak…but going away over the fourth just seems like a mess of hotness.

I keep hearing this song in my head, as I always do around Independence Day.

Yes, I am and American girl who grew up in the 1970s.
What are you gonna do?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

chaos and the need for ‘normal’ life

When I look back at the last six weeks I’m honestly amazed that we came out the other side as well off as we did.

Two deaths in two weeks.
Three birthdays in the same two weeks.
A mother’s day when there are no mothers.
Projects, exams, last month of senior year with senioritis in full swing.
Graduation.
Party.
Girls here.
(P.S. there’s still a hole in our house)

Now when read in a list, it may seem as though I’m exaggerating the impact each and every one of these things had on us. I’m here to assure you I am not. And while some of these things are in the biggest ‘Yay’ column, it was a stressful time.

Last week when YBW and I had our therapy appointment, we each talked about what we needed as we moved forward.
I wanted to take a break. Go away for a few days. Breathe new air. Get out of this house. Be near water. I was looking at it as kind of a reset, have a break to rest before we returned to normal life.
YBW wanted to get back to normal straight away. He expressed his weariness at the starting and stopping and starting he’s been doing for the last six weeks. He also expressed his desire to sleep.
Our therapist was on point, and while we didn’t settle on one or the other, we each began to consider the other’s point of view differently than we had before.

Later in the day I scribbled a note to myself.

The more I considered it, the more I began to feel that just saying what I need might be enough.
Which actually may turn out better as YBW is on call the last week of June which means we can’t go anywhere anyway.
We haven’t talked about it again. I did tell him my thoughts on expressing the need vs having the need met. I asked him how he was feeling about getting back to normal life. He remarked it didn’t feel like normal life.
Does he need to discover what his new normal is? I don’t know the answer to that. I do know he still isn’t sleeping all through the night.

What I do know is that from a very early age I learned not to express my needs because they wouldn’t be met. So to avoid that disappointment, I get vague af when it comes to expressing my needs. I actually think the phrase, ‘it doesn’t matter what I want or how I say it, I’m not going to get it anyway’. (Sounds pretty pathetic, right?)
I guess it’s the way I learned to defend myself.
Anyway, that’s where I am.
Desire to rest and recharge after the last six weeks before returning to ‘normal life’.
Only, here I am today, knee deep in normal life.
Blogging, GOOB with Lula, prob and stats, and instructional planning homework, hole in the house repair, teaching Thing G to drive, and just regular household maintenance stuff.

I don’t feel short-changed or whatever. I feel like being specific regarding my needs is a big deal and even if I don’t actually get what I said I need, I suspect I got some little bit of what I needed just by saying it out loud.
Go me!
I’m growing as a person and all that.
I mean, sure being near water would be perfection. But so far, on this first day of ‘normal life’ since the second day of May, I’m feeling fairly content.

Categories: death, loss, love, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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