Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So, Yeah...This Post Will Probably Suck

This post is probably gonna suck because I honestly don't have very much to say right now.

I mean there are plenty of words to be said, but this is probably not exactly the right venue to air all of my dirty laundry and guilt and blame and since at some point in my life I may want to get laid again (you know, by the Hubs or any other man that I may find interesting at some point in my future), I am going to keep my mouth shut about a whole lot of the things that have been rumbling around in my mind the last few days.

Which leaves me with a whole lot of nothing much else.

I have been trying to figure out who I become in this new normal. This After.

I was 17 years old when he and I met (for those of you keeping track, that make me 35. Or, if you are my daughter, "REALLY, REALLY old") so excuse me for wondering where exactly this all leaves me. I mean, I didn't even know who I was when we met (who really does at 17?) and now here I am wondering if I should go back to my maiden name (probably not, by the way, because as unsure of who I am right now, I know that I am definitely NOT that girl) or if I just make up a WHOLE new name because maybe I have been Heather for long enough and I could give myself a super cool name and maybe even get a nickname in the process because the only nickname I have ever had was Heifer and I am not super keen on that one although there are still people that call me that shit.

And then there is the whole quagmire of who is going to pay for this to all be really over, because I think it should happen pretty quick just so that there can be clear boundaries and I don't get all weak and nostalgic and stupid and let him come back home so that he can turn around and do the same things over and over again because this is what he does and I don't deserve that shit anymore because I am an adult and a F**ing grown-up and a momma. I don't want the Supergirl to ever have to go through this again either because this is the second time in her 4 year life where this has happened and I am ALWAYS the one that has to clean up the f**ing mess. So who should pay, the one that asked him to leave or the one that caused the mess in the first place? (and, if you are still keeping track of things like that, no, he does not have a job) I guess that means that I should have to pay...

Finally, in completely random news, I think I can count the amount of time that I have actually slept in the last few days on my hands, I am existing solely on caffeine and nicotine (DO NOT JUDGE ME RIGHT NOW), and accidentally ripped my entire middle finger nail off of my hand trying to pick up a chair that Supergirl had tipped over. I also secured some vacation time, because I need to get out of this blooming town and not see his face everyday.

Hopefully, once I have effectively put about 800 miles between us, I can get some rest...

One last thing - appSmitten has asked me to promote their new app review service. If you sign up for their weekly newsletter, I make a dollar. We could use all the dollars we can get right now - so please, please sign up for this AWESOME service that gives you great reviews about all of the apps on the market. Thanks!

Here's my personal link (and please share with everyone you know!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grin and Bear It

Life is too short to sit around crying all the time. Or being a victim. So, instead, we women, we grin and we bear it.

It looks almost painful. 
I don't allow myself to grieve things when they are happening. I don't allow myself to process grief pretty much as a rule, so don't be surprised if I am functioning like nothing has happened.

I will be at church. I will be teaching the toddler class. I will be at my job. I will be out grocery shopping.

I will be living life.

Not because I really want to (truth be told, even though I am awake constantly these days, and rarely ever sleep, the idea of just laying under warm blankets on the sofa without having to do anything for anyone sounds pretty friggin' AMAZING right now), but because I am a parent. I am not a quitter and the last person on Earth that I am going to quit on right now is Supergirl.

It occurred to me today that I have not posted much about Supergirl's place in this new normal. She is not okay with any of this. She is EXTREMELY clingy and territorial. The slightest infractions (even unintentional ones) are met with near-tantrum like conditions. (Case in point: The Scare Bear came over on Saturday night, but a had a very bad headache and wanted to lay her head on my lap and get some rest. Supergirl got super-pissed and started screaming at both of us that I was HER momma and that no one is EVER allowed to snuggle with HER momma, but her.)

And I thought I was walking on eggshells in the Before.

I have been planning fun things for she and I to do. We went to a birthday party and she drove a bumper car. We had a girls spa night. We ate cereal for breakfast and didn't care who knew about it.

And then, this very morning, I went into my bathroom to brush my teeth while she got dressed. She fell apart, screaming, crying. I raced across the house to my girl expecting broken bones, blood, an injury.

"I thought you had left me." She sniffled as I held her close.

I expected to find broken bones, blood, an injury. I found a broken heart instead.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Just My Opinion

I am not going to say that this is all about another woman. I could say that, and try to place blame on homewreckers and white trash and whatever.

But I am not going to say that because it wouldn't all be true.

There are two people responsible for what is going on here. Two people in this marriage that is going downhill faster than a Mack Truck on ice without brakes.

I am one of them, the Hubs is the other.

And whatever he did, or didn't do, with any other women is all about him. He is the one that made a commitment, that said the vows, that swore before me and God and a clerk of the court that we would never be in this place.

I am not going to tell myself that I drove him to it, because looking over the last almost 7 years, I can't find any evidence that anything that I have done would have caused this big of a hole in our continuum. I am not going to drive myself crazy with the "if's" and "could'ves", because quite honestly, I refuse to accept the blame for this.

Which is good, because he is willing to accept all of it.

What I am going to say to any of you weak, unhappy spouses out there, you men that may think a hint of flirtation from a co-worker means that you are guaranteed to be happier with that young thing instead of the wife that you have at home - cheat up.

If you are going to ruin your relationship with a woman that has done your laundry, cooked your dinner, worked two jobs to support you while you were unemployed, and birthed your babies, please for the love of ALL that is holy - cheat up.

Because you are going to wreck her self-esteem, you are gonna make her think that she is not worthy of love and respect and security and honor, there is no stopping that.

But when she Googles that person that's been texting you or writing on your Facebook wall and sees that she is dog ass ugly and fat and that there seems to be no redeeming qualities about her at all (including the fact that she is also currently married), well, that may just cause the woman that you promised forever to to think that she is even more of a failure than she already is, that may cause her to feel like she really doesn't deserve any of the thousands of things that God promises women who are virtuous and true and forgiving.

It may just cause her to hate you and there is no coming back from hate when it burns like this.

So for God's sake, find a cute college co-ed that could model in Sports Illustrated or Cosmo, find someone that your wife would understand you wanting to be with.

You know, that or don't friggin' cheat on your wife.

Just my two cents.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Toughest Bits

It's not hard to function without the Hubs. Not terribly hard. There have always been a lot of activities and adventures that Supergirl and I would go on alone. This is really nothing new.

But nights are hard. When I lay her down in bed and she cries for her Daddy. And we pray and she prays for Daddy to please come home. That's hard, but not new. She had always done that in the great Before.

And after I put her to sleep and I wander aimlessly from room to room, working on projects, waiting.

(Waiting for what? For him to come home? For him realize the mess and destruction that he left here for me to deal with? For him to put on his man pants and decide that enough is enough?)

(And at this point, would I even really want that? Would I even really be able to accept the I'm sorries and the I F**ed ups? Do I want to?)

The not sleeping and wandering leads to self-doubt, leads to blame cast unto myself. The hours spent without a single adult in the world to discuss them with is probably not the best place I can be right now. It's a dark, dark place here in the still, silent world of abandoned Momma.

(Shit, when I did I become a victim? I don't accept that role, women are too strong, too smart, too awesome to allow themselves to play that role. Dig yourself out, pull yourself up. Why are you doing this? You told him to leave, you told him that it was over, that you weren't going to live like this anymore. This is YOUR choice, keep moving, keep moving...)

In the wee small hours of the morning, when the girl crawls into my bed (just after I have finally closed my eyes, always when I have just laid down), she asks where her Daddy is. And I have to tell her all over again that he lives with Grandma and G-Daddy now, that he wasn't happy, and that he is trying to find his happy. And we pray to God to use his tools on Daddy's heart, to fix it so that Daddy can stop breaking ours (her words, not mine).

And another day starts again, tripping over the toughest bits, and trying to smile through the easier ones.

It might be easier if the sun would ever come out again in the SUNSHINE freaking state. I feel like I haven't seen the sun since Christmas (I know I will be cursing it in the summer) and I need to feel the warmth and the goodness that it brings.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The End

I never really understood how things could go downhill so quickly. You see the happy couple at church, on Facebook, out at dinner, and then one day they announce that they are separating. You track back in their statuses to look for clues, for cracks in this seemingly perfect union.

And you find nothing.

You won't find anything about me and the Hubs either.

He wasn't surprised when I asked him to leave yesterday. I wasn't surprised when he said that he didn't love me anymore. I was a little surprised that he wasn't interested in fighting for our marriage, but looking back on the last 18 years, it really shouldn't have been a shock. There wasn't much that he was ever really interested in fighting for.

He is moving to his parent's house, back to where it all started, I guess.

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog. When I imagined hitting the one year mark, I envisioned coming up with some great kind of contest, some fun way to celebrate the past year. This was not what I had envisioned.

In the last year, I have lost my job and found a new one, I have battled bears and chickens and critters of all shapes and sizes, I have dealt with the loneliness of being home alone every night in the bed that we were supposed to share because he worked nights and I worked days. I have tried to be this great Proverbs 31 woman and I have failed. I have battled demons new and old, and I have tried to rise triumphant in the new "normal" that we have been placed in.

I have also had my marriage dissolve around me.

I am not sure when it started really. The awareness that things weren't right in our home on the edge of the woods, the bottomless chasm of words left unsaid, things kept secret, lies and deceptions eating away at the core of our foundation - it's all been there for awhile.

So, on this my one year blogoversary, I toast to you, my dear readers that we have come so far and I embark on an all new journey a bit tattered, a bit worn, but ready. Ready for something, ready for greatness.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Rules of Inheritance - Book Review

In 1969, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the 5 stages of grief in her book Death and Dying and it is those 5 stages that Claire Bidwell Smith frames her adult life within her book The Rules of Inheritance. 

At age 14, Bidwell Smith is informed, within a few short months, that both of her parents have cancer. She knows that by the time she is 30, she will most likely not have any parents at all.

Grief is seldom a linear occurrence. While it would be wonderful to read Kubler-Ross' book and think, Yes, I have gone through stages 1 and 2, just 3 more and I am done with this, grief is a tricky little troll that sneaks up on you at any given moment. Bidwell Smith does an excellent job of identifying the stages that she was in throughout her life as well as giving the reader an opportunity to navigate these losses with her. Giving snapshots of herself at 14, at 18, at 22, etc., coping, dealing, struggling, we see that she is still working through those stages of grief and guilt through alcohol, drugs, and damaging relationships.

It is difficult to explain to someone that has never been through the processes of death and dying of someone close to them, exactly the gamut of emotions that you go through as you watch a parent or loved one die or the hole that you are left with when they are finally gone.

Through reading this book, I was forced to finally deal with some of the things that I have held onto since my dad's death a few years ago. I was challenged to reconcile the actions of the man I had known all my life with the man I knew right before he died.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that has gone through (or is going through) the grieving process, but also to anyone that enjoys reading a poignant, thoughtful autobiography.

This is a paid review for the BlogHer Book Club. All opinions and statements in this review are my own. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Even Supergirl Needs a Break

Z is sick.

I know that it shouldn't bother me, it has been two years without even a sniffle and we are long overdue, but it does. I look around the house and think, "It's no wonder that she is sick, what with the dishes sitting in the dishwasher and more dishes waiting in the sink. It's no wonder when the carpets didn't get vacuumed this week or the cobwebs swept from the ceiling fan. It's no wonder since I can't remember the last time that the house had a full throttle deep clean (okay, I know that it was this summer when I was unemployed, but the month eludes me). It's a wonder that we are all alive."

The reality is that my house could be spit-spot clean, cleaner than it has ever been and my kid would still get sick.

Because kids get sick.

It's what they do the best. And if my stupid mommy-guilt would shut up for one bleeping second, I would remember this, I would know that it is okay.

Instead, I am racked with guilt every time I give a dose of Tylenol. Every time I am awakened in the middle of the night by that terrible cough. Every time I see how pale her skin is, how dark the circle under her eyes are, how very, very tiny and small she seems now that her roar is not too big.

And it kills me. Each and every time.

She will get better, I know that she will. In fact, just today she was telling me that she think she might want a tomato (this is a good sign, she has had no appetite for days and tomatoes are her FAVORITE food).

But until she is 100%, until I can see Supergirl fully restored? This momma will be kicking herself over those dirty dishes and the vacuuming and wishing she could go home and do it all.

Because that's what momma's do...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Addict Behavior

I have an addiction.

(It's getting bad here people.)

I am addicted to making clothes for the kid's dolls.

(No. Seriously.)

Here are my symptoms:

  • I wake up early to sew. Really early. Like 4:30 in the morning early. 
  • I wake the Hubs up early to see what I have made. At 6 in the morning. 
  • I wait all day to see the kid's reaction to what I made. (I am usually disappointed in her reaction.)
  • I touch fabrics in my sewing room repeatedly to see if they will be a "good choice" for my next project. My next project is almost always for another doll. 
  • I have forgone my lunch hour more than once to look for patterns for dolls on the internet. 
  • I can't wait for the kid to go to bed so I can get back to cutting out and pinning material. 
  • I have taken to texting pictures of the latest outfit to people before dawn. They know I am playing with dolls before the kid wakes up. 
  • I feel like it is all that I talk about anymore. 
I am worried that I am going to turn into some sort of Demi Moore doll collecting wannabe. That when it is all said and done it will just be me, the dolls, the cat, and the chickens. 

Perhaps I need an intervention. 

Until then, check out what I made this weekend:

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Scientist?

This weekend there was an open house for kids at the local Magnetics Lab. It was a chance to get hands-on experience with science through demonstrations and exhibits. This is the first year that Z has been old enough to really enjoy something like this so she and I ventured out into the grey and dreary that is North Florida in February.

When I told Z that we were going to a science lab, she was very excited about the prospect of mixing "potions". The first lab that we entered had a giant microscope with an ant on a slide. The image of the ant was projected onto a huge screen and we watched as a tiny laser engraved her name on the head of the ant. Her name was 1/4 the diameter of a single strand of hair.

She was unimpressed.

We continued through as scientists and their minions discussed super-conductivity, magnets, and the potential for future energy sources.

Z was bored, antsy, and LOUD.

We got to table that embodied all of the exhibits that we had just seen through a model train that levitated over the tracks. She became very interested in the "floating" train - the day was starting to look up. We made a simple engine with a battery, magnets, wire and a screw. We played with static electricity and learned about how it can be harnessed to create an energy source.

Then we were led into a darkened hallway. "Ah, ah, pick me UUUUUUUPPPPPP!" she whined as I rolled my eyes. I lifted her onto my hip, my hands already filled with take home science kits. We walked into the dark and as we rounded the corner the entire room around us started to glow with phospherescents. "Momma," she whispered, "it's SO beautiful. Put me down." She was mesmerized by the flowers and plants glowing all around us, including glow in the dark bubbles that streamed from the air vent above.

As we neared the end of the hallway and started to walk into another lab, she started to freak out. "No, Momma. Let's stay in THEEEEERE!." I had to carry her out of the building to get us to the next place that we were going.

We met up with some friends and throughout the rest of the day she got to mix potions in a beaker, freeze flowers in the cryogenics lab, launch potatoes in the potato cannon, make silly putty, eat ice cream that had been frozen with liquid nitrogen, pull herself up in a pulley system, and interrupt lasers that were broadcasting music.

When she saw the "Rainbow Man" (the director of the center who was wearing a tie-dye t-shirt and a rainbow top hat) she stalked him down. "I am going to be a scientist one day. I am going to work here."

I think she really just wants a black light and some posters in her room. (And a momma that does not prohibit potions in the house.)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

To A Woman I Will Never Know

Dear Elizabeth,

I know that you don't know me, probably don't know anything about me, but you are my father's mother. You gave him life, brought him into this world, and then left him and his sister to never return again when he was only 4 years old. That one time that he saw you when he was 6 stayed permanently scratched into his memory. He never forgot (or forgave) your betrayal.

I have a 4 year old now and I will never understand how you can do what you did. How you could just walk away from your children and deny them any relationship with you. Deny them even in public when they are standing, crying right in front of you. You are either the biggest bitch on the planet or very, very strong in your determination. Perhaps that's where this stubborn, head strong streak came from. Perhaps there is more of you in me that I care to admit.

Your son, my father, he became an addict. He battled his demons through self-medication and while I am sure there are a myriad of things that led him down this very twisted rabbit hole, you were the first disappointment in his life. The way that you were able to walk away with what seemed to him as not a care in the world, crushed his spirit, broke him in ways that no amount of drugs would ever be able to fix.

He was mean-spirited and abusive to his children, playing games with their trust and their emotions. I was the object of so much of his hate, so much of his anger and I can only guess that there must be something about me that reminded him of you. Whatever that may have been, I hated that part of myself for years because it caused me so much pain. I wish I could know what that is, but since we will never meet, I guess I will never know.

I am not sure if you are alive or dead, Elizabeth. I don't know what kind of life you had before you married my grandfather or what kind of life you had after abandoning your family. I only know the mess, the chaos that you left behind. It survived you like flood waters after a hurricane, sitting, stagnating, becoming poison in all of their hearts. The despair and uncertainty growing into cruelty and anger like schools of bacteria through their very souls.

I haven't let what you did affect my family. I have learned to control my anger over what you began, I have learned to be a better mother and wife (even in the hard times). I will never be like you. No matter what my father thought of me, you (and the mess that you carry) will never, ever be a part of the family that I have built.

I just wanted to let you know what kind of legacy that you left in your wake. Perhaps you went on to start another family with some other guy. Perhaps, I have uncles and aunts that I have never known. Perhaps you think that the legacy that you left with that family will somehow outweigh the damage that you did over here, and maybe it will.

But I, for one, will never forget the legacy you left behind for my family.



This post was in response to the Lightning & the Lightning-Bug Flicker of Inspiration Writing Prompt.

The prompt went like this:
We want you to write a letter to someone you’ve never met. Literally any person, living or dead, that is to date un-met by you.
My father's mother abandoned her children when they were 4 and 2 years old. They saw her only one time after that at a department store around Christmas. When they ran to her in the middle of the store, she turned to the man that she was with and said, "I have no idea who these children are. Do you really think that I am OLD enough to have children this age?" And then she walked off, never to be seen again. I know very little about her as you may guess, but I have always thought (as the oddball of my family) that I must carry a lot of her traits.
Who would you like to write a letter to?  Would you want a reply, or just get something off your chest?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Tag Artist

I am not a huge fan of graffiti. It is fine if it is artistically done and placed there with the owner's permission. We have an area in town where all of the buildings have giant graffiti murals and some of them are truly beautiful.

But, most often in our tiny town, we just have young kids with spray paint cans writing their names (or expletives, or gang names, or pictures of gigantic boobs) where ever they feel like. There is nothing artistic or beautiful about black paint that was placed with a very heavy and (I am guessing) angry trigger finger. Paint that was applied without thought to how it would streak down the sides of the building or look in the daylight. There is really nothing attractive about misspelled cuss words that linger for years until someone actually takes the time to clean it up. Most often with a shade of paint that is just one shade off from the rest of the building. It reminds me of a band-aid.

These delinquents are now running in some fine company. Namely, my daughter Z. Now that she knows how to write her name, she is tagging everything with a ferocity that I have never seen before. She loves her own name.   She names every creature that she happens upon, "Z". She has tried to rename the cat and the fish. And she writes her name on everything.

The side of the fish bowl? Check. Marker won't work on glass? It's okay, momma's lipstick will.

Her shoes? Check. Pen not getting that point across? It's okay, I think I saw a sharpie up on that bookshelf. I just have to climb up the back of the sofa to get it.

Clothes? Yep. Sharpie not really getting it for you, fabric moving too much? It's alright, the nail polish hidden in the back of the cupboard of momma's bathroom will do the trick.

Baby Dolls? You got it. She writes her name in pen on the back of every doll she owns.

She fell asleep before I did last night.

I woke up to find her sleeping next to me.

And her name written in pen across the bottom of my foot.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday - The What I Made Edition

I have become addicted to making doll clothes for my namesake - Heather (pictured above). 
She does not complain about the outfits that I dress her in.
She does not whine or argue.
There is another outfit, but, again, my phone will not allow me to share it. Blasted technology. So easy and so hard at the same time. 

And then I made this for a nursing newborn.
I think it's hysterical.
His mother requested it.
My sister thinks it's tacky.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cupid - He's Out for Blood

Z did not want to go to sleep last night. I know that this comes as no surprise to those of you that read regularly, the child rarely sleeps and when she does, it is not for a very long period of time.

Last night was different. She seemed genuinely afraid and upset.

Momma, if I go to sleep Cupid will shoot me in the heart with his Love Arrow. 


After tucking her in, lining up every stuffed animal to guard her door, turning on the hall light, closet light, and night light she finally started to settle down and eventually she fell asleep.

I started thinking about her reasoning that she would be shot by Cupid.

Santa comes at night.

The Easter Bunny comes at night.

The Tooth Fairy comes at night.

What does Cupid do?

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!

Monday, February 13, 2012

When You Don't See Me

There have been a myriad of complaints lately, that while people see my husband and my child, they haven't seen much of me, really since Christmas. My only response to this has always been that I am grounded. Today, I am going a bit more in depth with that. 

When you don't see me, I might be at work, helping to make our state a better place.

When you don't see me, I might be cleaning out my growing girl's closet to give outgrown clothes to the next child that can use them.

When you don't see me, I might be cleaning our home (because it is nearly impossible to clean when followed by a four year old tornado that is dressed like a little girl).

When you don't see me, it might be because I am at church, working with kids, singing in the choir, or planning events for my community group.

When you don't see me, it may be because I am reaching the end of a novel that I have been trying to finish and have been unable to because someone has a) hidden the book, b) taken the book to read themselves, c) colored the pages with dark purple marker so that I could not see the words, d) taken the book back to the library two days early because they thought I was done, e) torn the cover off so I have walked by the book 8,567 times but did not recognize it because it was so damaged, f) people conveniently place themselves in the exact position to make me feel most uncomfortable when all I am trying to do is curl up and finish the GD book so that I can spend more time with them without wishing I was reading the F-ing thing and then, they make me feel guilty because they "just want to spend time with you".

When you don't see me, I might be up to my eyeballs in the laundry that has consumed my entire brain for the whole week and I am so excited that I can finally have the time to do some of it because it is the weekend.

When you don't see me, I could be at the grocery store picking up that one forgotten thing. Every single day.

When you don't see me, it could be because I have been up since 4 creating things for the child (doll clothes) or the Hubs (Pajamas) because the child does not understand that there is nothing she can do to "help" when I am dealing with pins, needles, scissors, and sewing machines. Instead, I do it in the morning, while the whole wide world is fast asleep (name that song).

When you don't see me, I might be taking a nap. Especially if it is Sunday. That is the one day of the week that my child will nap at a decent hour (not 6 PM) and she and I will come home, eat lunch, lay down and rest.

So, while my relationship with you is important and I love to enjoy the company of others, I really like my family, my home, my books, my crafts, and my God a whole lot.

I am working on that adding more hours to the day thing, but it might be awhile.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How To Make An Ass Of Yourself At a Child's Birthday Party

Yesterday, Blade had his 7th birthday party at a local skating rink. Z was excited to get some skates on and the Hubs went and got her a pair to strap on.

I don't really know how to put skates on. I actually never skated before because it's just not something that my parents would pay for us to do (not that there was even money for such things). As an adult, I am now to afraid of falling to attempt it and I rationalize all of this by believing that Z should have one parent who is wearing regular shoes. The two of us took her to the large yellow circle in the center of the rink where the other kids were learning to skate.

To say that there were approximately 8,698 children at this particular skating rink might be an under calculation. This place was crawling with so many kids that it was hard to take a single step without taking two or three of them out. It was ridiculous.

As soon as we reached the yellow circle, Z sat on the floor and said, "I'm not gonna do this. I am scared. I don't want to." And before I could even speak to her, encourage her to try the Hubs had the skates off and returned.

I was fuming by the time we got back to our table. I was going to bite my tongue and not say anything. And then he said, "Daddy had to practice a long time to be able to skate."

I exploded.

"Yeah, but nobody allowed you to just be a quitter did they?"

He looked up at me then. "What?"

"You never give any push back, you never encourage her to try. You take her skates and let her dictate what we will and will not do. It's the same with her bike. You claim that she is too young to learn, but you never really give her the chance to try. She gives one little whine and instantly, it's back to safety and she gets to decide what happens next. All at once you are disabling her and giving her to much power. I am NOT raising a quitter."

"Whatever", he says and starts to walk away.

I shrug my shoulders. "Fine, go play, go skate..."

This was all displayed in front of the Scare Bear's mom, our kid, and at least 356 other children and their parents.

I sat down and looked at Z. "You can't just quit because you are scared or it's too hard, Z. If you don't try, you might miss out on all of the fun stuff. Why don't we get the skates back and try on the carpet where it's not so slippery?'

She nods, hesitant. I can see that she is watching her friends, wanting to be a part of the action instead of sitting still at a table by the vending machines.

I get her skates, I put them on. We walk to the carpeted area. She lets go of my hands. She skates for the next hour, smiling, excited, confident, screaming for the Hubs to watch her skate over the din of thousands of overly sugared, hyper-children.

As we were leaving, Z looks up at the Hubs, "Daddy, I am a skater now."

It feels good to be right, but it bothers me that I have to be so in-the-Hubs-face right about this issue. I wish that we could have worked together from the get-go to reach a mutual decision about what is right for our child. I guess we will just have to keep working at it until we get it right.

Maybe that will happen with the next kid.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Slumber Party

We arrive just before 7 PM on Friday night. I open up the backseat car door and release the three girls that have been giggling, shouting, kicking my seat, and screaming from their respective booster seats and seatbelts. They spring forth out of the car, clamoring up the back deck steps. By the time I reach the door, you can feel the excitement surging off of their little bodies.

I open the door.

Squeals of delight as Z comes racing through, hugging each of them, commenting on their backpacks, shoes, outfits, they look like miniature teenage girls and in moments they are gone in a flash, behind a closed bedroom door, squeals of delight, giggles erupting from the crack underneath.

Not even ten minutes in and a very exasperated Hubs is followed by a perturbed looking Blade. "They are naked. All naked. I just don't understand." And it's true, the "menfolk" look as confused as they possibly could be. I shut the oven door and walk down the hall to the girl's room.

"We don't shut this door, right, Z?" I say as I swing open the door. The girls all scream as the door opens and then they collapse in a pile of laughter. All naked, save for their panties, they are pulling down every  dress-up dress and dressy dress and tutu that they can find. "Oh, my princesses!" I declare, "Let me help you to put on your gowns." I line each one up and dress them in the frilly things of little girls 6 and under.

Two of them share the same name and I have given them all the option of changing their names for the evening.

"Cinderella" is up first to have her shimmery pink frock zipped and tied about her. The youngest of the 4, she will be 4 in a few short weeks. Her recent adventure to the barber has already given me a warning about the use of scissors in tonight's festivities and I take note of it one last time as I place the silver crown upon her head.

"Rosetta" is next and has declared herself bath-free for this weekend excursion. The older sister of Cinderella, she is also the oldest of the group. She has a homework assignment of writing out Valentines this evening that we will be working on soon. I note the growing mat of tangled hair that she is sporting in the back of her head and make a small prayer for her mother. I have been there.

"Lightning McQueen" is next in her pink and white flowered gown. I let her know how lovely her choice is and make suggestions on her crown and scepter. Lightning has already voiced her uncertainty about staying the night and I wonder if she will last for the entire sleepover (she does!).

The last that I dress is "SuperGirl", my girl. SuperGirl is hopping with excitement having played a huge part in the planning of the night's activities. I dress her in her sparkly "gown" and she sprints to catch up with her crew that are now having a fashion show through the living room.

I make the formal introductions to the waiting "men" as they roll eyes and shake their heads. One of them is 32 and doesn't understand women, the other is 7 and is beginning to understand that we girls are strange and curious creatures indeed.

We make Valentines, we bake homemade thin mints, we dance, and we yell. We fight over toys and beg to watch movies that we barely pay attention to. The "men", they are there, but they are merely background to the tapestry of memories that we are making.

At the end of the night, after I have corralled the beauties, washed their faces of makeup and chocolate, stripped them of their gowns and crowns, and dressed them in their pajamas, they lay down onto the makeshift campsite of pillows and blankets and comforters. I press play on the kid movie of the night and just before it starts Supergirl sits up - "I love you, Momma, you are the best mommy in the whole wide world."

The other girls look up at me, considering this statement and one by one I hear them say, "I love you, Miss Heather." I smile, dropping my crochet hook for just a second and whisper into the dark and now quiet room, "And I love you all too."

Friday, February 10, 2012

What's For Dinner?

This is me.

When I get up in the morning, I am alone. The house is quiet, dark. I move quickly from room to room, folding clothes, packing lunch, making lists in my head of what needs to be done on this particular day. Sometimes, Z will get up with me for "girl time", it makes it not quiet, not peaceful, and partially stressful.

As I am walking out of the door, I think, "What are we gonna have for dinner?"

At my desk at work, trying to focus on my assigned tasks, it keeps coming back to me, "What are we gonna have for dinner?"

After lunch, when I am trying to wrap up the day it becomes more incessant, "What are we gonna have for dinner?"

I call the Hubs. What do you want for dinner?

I dunno. 

Always. The same answer every blessed day of the week.

I ask to speak to the girl. What do you want for dinner. 

Cereal. Cookies. A lollipop.

Nope, that won't do.

What are we gonna have for dinner? 

This question is hard for multiple reasons.

The Hubs detests all vegetables. Every one. When he was at work in the evenings, dinner was a little easier because only Z and I had to like it. Now that I have to figure out what everyone would like, it is a bit lot more difficult.

In fact, the Hubs has many rules about food. He will not eat stews or casseroles, he will not even try anything that is at any point in contact with anything white or creamy. This includes gravies, cream of anything soups, alfredo sauce, mayonnaise, cream cheese, and the list goes on...

I know what we have in our pantry, fridge, freezer. I can tell you exactly what I have on hand and what I would need to stop at the store for.

And, yet...

I don't know what to make for dinner.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kids These Days

When I was a kid my mother would not let us go outside until it was 80 degrees out. That was pretty easy in Florida, but is was my mother's stalling attempt to keep us all in one place so that she could get a few more minutes of sleep. She worked nights at the hospital and summer mornings came pretty early in our house.

We would spend the next few hours calling the weather man on the phone every 15 minutes until he finally said that magical number. "You're Sprint/Centel time is 9:06 AM, Temperature 80 degrees." I don't remember if we ever even shut the door (or hung up the phone) on our way to freedom, we would just go. Running, often barefoot, into the arms of our awaiting friends whose mothers did could not sleep in and had forced them out several hours earlier.

We would run until our lungs felt like they would grow their own legs and sprout from our chests. Run until the beating of our hearts was audible to the person next to us. We would build forts, flip bicycles over to sharpen sticks against the tires, collect rocks, lightning bugs, or lizards, there was never an adventure too far or too impossible.

We would stay out until we saw my dad's car pull into the driveway. The neighboring kids, afraid of my father, would wander back to their own homes and we would go inside to do chores, eat dinner, etc. By the end of each summer, our skin dark and brown, cheeks pink with too much sun, we were reluctant and excited to go back to school, knowing that soon we would have to wait another year to regain our freedom and that we would only see glimpses of it at recess on the playground.

Now, when we send Z or the godsons outside to play, they stand there, digging their toes into the sand, going in and out of the house every few seconds. They have no idea what to do outside. They wander, looking around at nothing, kicking at the grass. Of course, when they are inside they are constant and endless founts of energy, jumping on and off of the couch, running from room to room, hurling themselves across the room into the nearest pieces of furniture.

My parents never would have tolerated this behavior. Then again, my parents never had to come out to show us how to play - what is wrong with these kids?

Z has never played a video game, never been on a computer (except to Skype with her cousin a few times). I think I might keep it that way until she starts school. There is something about physical play that seems far more important than knowing how to use technology that will most likely be obsolete a few years from now anyway.

Hopefully, by then, she will care more about how quickly she can get out the door to play.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's a Trap!

As you may remember, I spent the length of my summer off, battling critters far and wide in our little piece of home at the edge of the woods. It was a tough summer on my sanity.

The chickens really caught my imagination and I tried to figure out exactly how the eggs that I would find would be getting fertilized. I spent the summer trying to understand the workings of chicken sex.

I went to my neighbor, Farmer Brown, during the summer and let him know that his chickens had indeed been living at my house, roosting in my dogwood tree, and laying eggs in nests around the yard, under the porch, and a rather unsuccessful attempt next to the trash can.

The bear, of course, trampled all over the eggs in the nest in an attempt to open the trash can (which Z pronounces crash tan and every time I type it, I here her saying it in my head over and over).

My sanity this summer was held fast only by one very thin line of fishing wire, I suppose.

Farmer Brown shrugged off all of this information and said that "When it gets cold, they'll come on home. I don't feed them in the spring and summer, they can find their own food." I thought this an odd statement but went about my merry way, thinking that sometime in the winter the chickens would indeed find their place in this world.

It never got cold this winter. I now understand chicken sex. I get to see it every morning.  The chickens live in my yard, they roost in my tree, they eat the vegetables and table scraps that I throw out for them (although I will not put chicken out there for them, that would be wrong). Chickens eat every type of food, which I didn't know before.

They still lay eggs all around the yard, although they are getting craftier with where they build there nests so that the humans will not get too close to them. Neither of the hens are actually nesting right now, I guess that it may be too dangerous to nest on the ground or too cold in the chill of the night air.

Z hates the chickens. Really hates the chickens. She builds traps and mazes for the chickens so that she can "set them on fire and eat them for dinner". I may be raising a sociopath (or psychopath? How do you know?).

The chickens are not the only things that Z builds traps for. Upon learning that Blade and A got money from the tooth fairy for their teeth, she has been trying to build a trap in anticipation for the day (a few years from now) that she will lose her tooth. She knows that the tooth fairy brings money for teeth and she has decided to keep her so that no other children will be able to get the money.

And now you know the real reason that we never have guests over. People that enter, seldom leave. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

When Being Strong Is Not Enough

This would have been what I was saying before I had a relationship with God. 
The Hubs lost his job on Wednesday. We don't know why, don't understand how this could have happened, and we may never know all of the details that led to their decision.

I believe that God is all over this sudden change in our situation and I am okay with that.

I used to hear people say all the time, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." While there is some validity to this statement, my reply has always been, "How strong does God need me to be?".

I had an epiphany yesterday on the way to meet my family for lunch. God doesn't need me to be strong at all. He needs me to know that He is strong enough for me to lean on. Not just in the good times when it is easy to have faith, easy to be His child, and claim my faith in Him, but also in the really tough times when we don't know how we will be able to provide for ourselves and our child and have to trust that He will find a way for us.

That is not to say that there will not still be bad days. Days when all I would really like to do is curl up on the couch, throw a blanket over my head, and try to sleep my way through the really tough parts. But those bad days are not as prevalent in my life as they were before I knew God, before I had a relationship with Him. Those days when I would so easily scream and curse and rail against a maker that I didn't know, couldn't understand the reasoning. Those days that come back at me every single day as I realize how stupid and young I really was.

While today is a day that I would rather not do anything, that I am in a funk over this situation, and ready to just throw my hands in the air, instead, I will praise our God who is making changes in our life to help us, to better us, to make us stronger and more capable for His kingdom. The God of the whole universe cares about my little family and loves each one of us so much that He refuses to let us sit in stagnation.

That. Well, that is just plain amazing.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
~Jeremiah 29:11 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Not Sure What That Was, But I Really Wish I Missed It

On Thursday, although I was feeling okay physically, I had a massively intense headache for the last few hours of the day. By the time I loaded myself into my car to head home, the front part of my head was throbbing and I was certain that it was intent on separating itself from the rest of my body.

I also had the hiccups.

It was a hard day.

Every movement, every breath intensified the headache and each audible hiccup felt like a searing hot poker being jabbed into my temple.

I drank some water, slowly, and the hiccups went away. I was left with just the headache, but I was okay.

I made it through 4 intersections. I got to the only major intersection in my commute and was stopped at a red light. Suddenly, everything was very hot. I was pouring buckets of sweat. I rolled all of the windows down in an effort to cool off.

I tried to swallow, but it was as if the muscles in my throat were tightening against me. Everything started to swim and my mouth began that terrible mouth sweat thing that happens right before you get really sick.

I had options here. I could have just leaned out of the open window and let it all go. I could have opened the car door and leaned down towards the asphalt. I could have unbuckled and stood in the median.

I guess my worry was that this was all just a false alarm and that I would somehow look like an idiot that was holding up the traffic in the turn lane.

Instead, I sat at the light and prayed for it to change. If I could just get to that parking lot, or off onto the side of the road, I would be okay.

BAM! something like a punch to the gut, severe pain ricocheting through my body. There is no stopping what is about to happen and no time to react. I blow my cheeks out in a vain attempt to try to catch the inevitable. When that fails, I throw my hand up in front of my mouth.


I drive home, the rest of my 30 minute commute covered in the same vomit that is on my windshield, dashboard, car door, floorboard, seat and console.

Here is the lesson for the day.

Never throw your hands into something like that. It will not turn out well.

In fact, throw caution to the wind, get out of your car (or at the very least lean out of the window), who cares if the anonymous stranger behind you thinks that you are a lunatic? You are saving yourself a lot of heartache in case this does turn out to be the real deal.

I am thankful that no one else in my family got sick, for a husband that had a shower running when I got home, that cleaned out my car while I was in the shower and that also let me sleep for almost 24 straight hours. It's not often that a momma gets to truly take a time out like that.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Daddy-Daughter Dance

Every year, I dress up the girl and she and her daddy go on a date. 

Daddy Daughter dates from over the years. 
This year is no different.

I love them. I really, really do. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Mysteries of Life (Continued)

***This post is a continuation from yesterday. You can find the beginning of the story here.***


Her eyes light up as she crawls across my body to exit the bed. Of course, she presses on my bladder as she goes, it wouldn't be a morning wake up if she didn't.

"Z, Daddy is laying right here. What are you doing?," I ask as I start to pull myself up out of the bed.

"His face is over here, I need to see his face so I know that he is hearing me." So much like her mother, I think as she completes her route around the bed.

"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! Guess what is living under our porch! Guess what it is, Daddy! You won't even believe it, I bet your eyes will pop out of your head when you hear about it, Daddy! It's a CAT, Daddy! We can't let it come in yet though because it doesn't care about us yet. But we are gonna feed it and love it and talk to it and then and then and then when it cares about us, we can let it move in our house FOREVER! Isn't that great, Daddy? Isn't it?"

"That's not what I said", I call out from the bathroom, smiling to myself. "And after you went to bed, Z, I found out that there are two-"

"OHMYGOSH!!! THANK YOU, JESUS and GOD for answering all of my prayers!!! DADDY, DADDY there are two! Now we will have a brother and a sister for Oliver. Oliver will be so happy to finally have his whole family in our house. Oh, isn't it wonderful news, Daddy? I am so excited! Let's go outside and see if we can pet them."

"Not right now, how about some breakfast first?"

"YES! I am so glad that you are awake now, Momma. I wrote a song about how happy I am, do you want to hear it? Okay, okay, okay."

She grabs the Hubs old high school tennis racket and holds it like a guitar in front of her. It's an old "guitar" so for some reason she has to sing like she is an old man at a campfire. With a southern accent.

"Momma, thank you so much for waking up with meeeee
You are the best but only I can seeeeee
That you make me very happppppyyyyy..."

"Well, it rhymes. Let's go get some cereal."

She picks up a noisemaker from her birthday party that is laying on my dresser and begins to blow it like a trumpet. The Hubs gives up on trying to sleep now and gets up with us. 

"I made up a new blessing for breakfast today, Momma. Do you want to hear it? Okay, okay, okay. Ahem."
"Oh, God thank you, thank you, thank you. You are God. 
Thank you, thank you, thank you for fooooood.
Thank you God for being God."

"Ah, I could sit here all day and listen to my cereal talk to me. I really like when things talk back to me, this cereal is better than that stupid Oliver cat. He won't ever talk to me. It's because he has no brains, right Momma? No brains at all."

"That's not what I said Z. Please eat your cereal."

"Can I take a shower with you today, Momma, please? I think I kinda stink. I really should take a shower. What is today? Do you have to work? Why do you always have to go to work? Why can't you just stay here with me? What does Wesday mean? What are we gonna do after work today?"

"We have a special church service tonight, so we are gonna go to church."

"YES!!! Thank you, God! Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, did you hear that? We get to go to CHURCH! I love going to church, I get to see all my friends and then we can try to figure out what room God lives in. I think it's in the back, Momma. The part that you don't let me go to. Are you hiding God from me, Momma?"

For the next hour, the chatter continued on like this; while we took a shower and while I got ready for work. She begin to yawn and scrub at her eyes. 

Finally, the Hubs and the daughter laid down on the couch and fell back asleep. 

It's not often that Z gets up with me in the morning. But when she does, the excitement just.doesn't.stop. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Mysteries of Life

WAH-WAH-WAH... the alarm clock sounded at exactly 5:30 this morning. Not unlike any other morning, actually. I lifted my hand to stop the madness and a little 4 year old voice came from behind me, startling me out of my must-hit-snooze stupor.

"Finally, someone is awake. I am so happy that you are finally awake. I have been laying here for forever waiting for someone to talk to me and play with me. Why can't cats talk? I keep talking to Oliver but he won't talk back to me. Daddy bought milk at the store yesterday so that I could have Priskies for breakfast - "

"You mean, Rice Krispies?"

"Yeah, those. Momma, when will the alarm clock go off again? You are not all the way up yet and I am SOOOO tired of laying in this bed. Can't we turn on the light and talk? I really need to know about my cat. Do you think something is wrong with him? I really can't wait until he starts talking to me like a normal person."

"What are the numbers on the clock?"

Much shuffling as she makes her way to her knees to peer over my shoulder.

"Three...Zero...Six" (I keep the alarm clock 32 minutes fast because I cannot do math when I am just waking up in the morning and every time I look at it I think I am running late. Also, in case you had not guessed this, Z reads from right to left. It's a start, at least all of the numbers were correct.)

I clear my throat. "Six minutes. In six minutes the alarm clock will go off and I will get up."

"Okay. I have to pee though. Now, momma." She climbs over me, causing the blankets and the cat to go crashing to the floor. "Oops." She turns on the bathroom light and it is now shining in my eye, like a lighthouse on a dark and stormy night. I glare at her small frame wrestling with her panties, trying to figure out where all of this energy and life has come from.

She sprints back into the bed. "Now, momma. Please tell me. Explain to me why Oliver is not speaking to me."

"Because cats have different vocal chords and smaller brains."

"But one day, when I am old, I will have a smaller brain and my head won't be so big. Will I forget how to talk? Will Oliver be able to talk and then I won't be able to talk back to him? Won't he be heartbroken then? Oh, momma, why does my head have to shrink."

I need a shrink, I think as I roll over to face her. "Your head is not going to shrink. Look at my gigantic head. It has only grown since I was a little girl -"

"A long, long time ago right, momma? You were a little girl long, long ago. But now you are huge and you have a big, fat head."

"Yeah, so anyway, your cat is never going to be able to talk to you. We do not live in Narnia, cats cannot talk on Earth."

"But one day, Oliver will be a lion and he will be able to live in the woods like a wild cat and we will miss him. That happened once to my other cat, Brussel Sprout. He turned into a tiger and lives in the woods."

At this point, I need a break. I need to use the bathroom and get my bearings. I turn on the Hubs, who had just come in from work a little over an hour ago.

"Z, did you tell Daddy what's living under the porch?"

To Be Continued...

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