About Me

Decent wife. Good Enough Mom. (I think, but you’d have to ask my kids.) Sporadic blogger. Crazy person. Chaos Manager. Finder of stray socks and missing shoes. Loves to cook, wishes it wasn’t demanded of her daily. Runs on caffeine.

Monday, July 9, 2018

18 and 40

It’s been a momentous week. I turned 40 years old and 4 days later we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. It’s kind of heavy stuff.

The overall happiness had been dampened a bit by some pretty stressful stuff. It’s not been a fun couple of weeks, and I have been determined to not let it steal my joy. But it really makes this week come full circle in that the challenges we face never seem to let up for long. In 18 years, there isn’t much we haven’t been faced with. Still, I have had a near-constant pit in my stomach for the past 2 weeks. My anxiety is at an all-time high right now. It’s just kind of sucked.

But I want to reflect on my 40 years...I have both done better than I ever probably thought I would, and also feel like a complete failure and that I am faking the hell out of this whole being an adult thing. I don’t feel like I have lived 40 years, but when I look back I feel like I have been alive forever. My body likes to remind me I am 40 on a daily basis, most notably how badly not getting sleep affects my ability to function...I just can’t do what I could even a few years ago on very little sleep. I have thought a lot about relationships that have come and gone, and of people in my life whom I miss terribly, either by death or distance, and wishing there was some sort of portal with which to travel to be close to them again. Turning 40 has made me think a lot about my legacy and what impact I will one day leave behind. I hope I have been a good enough mom to have raised great kids who will hopefully have some of my grit...I hope I have given them just enough tough, fierce love for it to help and not hinder them. I always hope I haven’t royally screwed up my kids by being too much of one thing and not enough of something else. I guess maybe that is normal? Maybe it’s silly, but I hope my kids continue to recycle long after I am gone, and have a heart to take in all the stray dogs. I don’t need to leave a lasting impact on the world, I only care about the impact I have left on my kids. I hope they are proud of the mother I have been to them, even if I am not always proud of myself. I hope they learn something from me for all the times I have had to admit to them that I could have done better.

18 years of marriage is crazy to me. I have almost been with my husband for half of my life. In so many ways that he will probably never even know, he saved me. I wasn’t looking for some knight in shining armor to rescue me, but I can see now that he did. I am not the most gentle or most romantic wife around, I will totally own that. Somehow he loves me anyway. We have had our share of heartaches, both personal and together and some were definitely self-inflicted. We managed to defy all the odds mostly because neither of us saw any other way. Being together so long has been a blessing. It turns out that if you stay together long enough you stop trying to change the other person to be the way you think you need them to be, and you start letting them just be themselves, that’s when you find out that is the exact person you really need. The longer we are married and the older I get, I realize I really only want and need to spend time with him. Maybe it’s because se we don’t really get a lot of alone time, down time together right now. Maybe it’s because we are both homebodies who don’t feel the need to go and be out. We are on the same page about giving our little kids a good schedule and lots of stability and not dragging them all over the place just so we can have a life. As unpopular as our decisions can be sometimes with regards to having to say no to a lot of things and other people not understanding, we get it and don’t even worry about it, as long as we stick together. I have learned that he and I are better together. We have definitely had things happen in our lives where we just didn’t lean on each other as we should have, and it was much more difficult than when we kind of say us against the world and just seek solace in each other. He still makes me laugh, often at myself, but I am still laughing. Sometimes I feel like if I wasn’t laughing I would be crying. I am really glad that we always chose each other and chose to stick it out (sometimes it was only for necessity I swear) because the rewards come from getting past all of that and getting to be in this place together where the love is strong and we know we can make it through whatever life throws our way. This guy I married 18 years ago...he might not always get me, but he definitely accepts me for all the kooky and crazy that I am. We have a house full of love and so much love between us. I am so glad for all the things that had to aline in order for us to meet and get us where we are today.

This post was written for MicroBlog Monday over at Stirrup-queens.com

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Reunion

Let me preface this by saying I normally hate reunions and don’t ever even consider attending them. My feeling on them generally is that the people that matter I keep up with, and the rest of them I don’t have much in common with. If I didn’t like them then, I’m probably not going to like them now. It just feels ingenuine to bond over an experience where we went to school together because that is where our parents sent us but our experiences were completely different. (Family reunions aren’t included in this, they are an entire other mixed bag.) This reunion experience was different, and no matter what else has happened in our lives we still have the same career we all chose, so that bonds us.

So I ended up going to that retirement party “reunion” after all. I was going to try and tag along with a current co-worker/friend who also works at that other hospital, but he couldn’t go at the last minute so I almost bailed. But I had purchased a card and had the plans in place for me to go, so I decided I should just man up and go. I was actually pretty scared going into it, with my stomach in knots. I shouldn’t have been, though.

It was a nice day, so the party was on the outdoor deck area of a seafood place on the water, and walking out there it was like going home after a long time away. Everyone looked exactly the same, only older, but not 20 years older. The last time I saw most of these people I was still a bratty not-quite-teenager, or as a relatively young and inexperienced new mom. 20 years of world experience and 5 kids under my belt tends to change people’s perception of you, although because of the latter I am still labeled “crazy”. Through my sister and her Facebook, the page I kept briefly many years ago, and word of mouth through common coworkers, most people were aware of my married mom of 5 status, vs the “wild child” reputation I once held when we all shared a common workplace, so it wasn’t surprising or a shock. I mean, everyone eventually has to grow up (unless you’re Johnny Depp) Speaking of Johnny, have you read the new article on him in Rolling Stone? It’s published on their website, it’s a totally great read, although so, so sad.

But I digress.

I am happy to report that none of the people I wouldn’t have wanted to run into (and who wouldn’t have wanted to see me) were not there, at least not during the time that I was. And everyone seems to have found a relative settled-ness and are happy...20 years ago, even 10 years ago for some, there was some unhappiness and definitely some very difficult things some were facing (myself included.) Everyone is still working in the field in some capacity, which speaks a lot about those that love what we do. It’s a really fascinating and evolving field, and there are so many options within.

Let me stop the story for a second and just say what a mindfuck 20 years is...all the people in our lives that didn’t exist in this world 20 years ago but now do...and all the people in our lives that existed 20 years ago, that no longer do.

We shared lots of hugs, great stories new and old, caught up about people we knew who didn’t make it to the party, caught up about everyone’s kids and grandkids and spouses and siblings, and mourned for the few of us who have passed away in the years since. It was as if 20 years had passed but also as if it was yesterday and no time at all had gone by. Most importantly, I got to go to show support and congratulations to a woman who is one of a kind. Who was the greatest first Chief anyone could ever have. Whose stern-looking demeanor is a front for the absolute teddy bear she is underneath. Whose office door has always been open for staff to come in at any time to say hi, grab a piece of candy, chitchat, pour their heart out. A boss who you never had to worry about looking busy around when she walked through the department. She always trusted us to get the work done, and in turn everyone respected her and did. She allowed us students and staff alike room to goof off and play urinal bowling and have water battles with syringes in the back hallway as long as we cleaned up our mess, and on a very slow day when she opened our workroom door and found all of us listening to music and playing a 10-person deep game of Bop It, joined right in. There just isn’t anyone like her. She cared about us all so much.

I am so very glad I went. While it was so long ago that I was with all these people on a daily basis, and for just a fraction of time really, these people helped shape me into a tiny part of what I am today. They taught me how to do all the things I needed so I could learn my craft, taught me to always (keep) thinking outside the box, were (mostly) patient with me when I was still making stupid personal teenage mistakes, partied with us and celebrated/mourned breakups and heartaches and engagements and kids and lost loved ones and everything in between. Where my love of Kevin Smith grew into an obsession by being given a VHS copy of Chasing Amy (thst changed my life and gave me a deep understanding of relationships, and characters I identified with so wholly) by someone who went on and on about the genius of this man, and whose entire body of work I now know by heart and has provided us with years of deep discussions on the meaning of love and life with my husband. They were important to me during an important time in my life, when personal and professional lives were so intricately weaved together.

I was so afraid to go, and I never should have been. You really can go home again.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

An update in bullets

It’s been a while since I did one of these, and I have lots of news, so here we go!

•I am down 23lbs since starting my new thing. The scale is still steadily moving down, and when it doesn’t I know how to fix it. Still feeling happy and satisfied and not deprived, still not doing any workouts.

•We got in to the pre-k program at our local high school. This is the one where the instruction is done by the students in the Early Childhood Education completer program. Super excited because it’s close, and super affordable. I was under the impression we wouldn’t find out until the end of summer so getting that Welcome email was a nice surprise, and checks one thing off of our list.

•Speaking of my 4 year old, he is just finishing his first week at vacation bible school at the church by our house. He has done great, and had no problem with me leaving him there for the morning. I picked out one of the middle school kids who were helping in the Pre-K group, and he has stuck by her side all week. Funny enough, she was in my middle daughter’s class this past year but we didn’t know her prior. He does a week of afternoon VBS at our other church where we used to live next week.

•The school year ended and the kids all had a great year in their new schools. The first week of summer has been weird weather, but overall not too bad. The oldest is on a retreat for prep for her Summer Vocational Volunteering.

•We ended up getting a “new” car. I didn’t really want to do that and add that expense but we didn’t have much choice. The other vehicle I drive to work is on its last legs and has too many major, costly issues to try and fix. The registration is up on it at the end of this month so we will be junking it for some cash, as there was no trade in value due to its age and issues.

•My teen has her first real boyfriend. She met him through youth group, and I know he comes from a good, involved family. We have been having a lot of talks about sex and responsiblity and trust. I told her I will raise a responsible human even if it kills me. (Sometimes I think it might.)

•I have been taking a bunch of supplements to try and naturally regulate some hormonal imbalances for a few weeks now. So far I am not sure how to tell if they are working. I was trying to go by my cycles, but every month they are slightly different so I am not sure. I had to pay for the testing out of pocket because it was an out of state lab, so I think I should probably wait at least 6 months to recheck...? Overall I feel better but I have also lost some weight, so it could just be that.

•I am down almost 2 scrub sizes so that is awesome. So far one person noticed, but I am being very low-key about it. It makes me very uncomfortable to talk about.

•Lots of exciting things coming up soon...next week we have an aquarium member night, which is always so fun. They hold them once a month but during the school year it’s hard to get to because of the hours. We usually take turns going because not everyone always wants (or is in good shape) to go, but it’s my turn and I will be taking 1-5 of the kids.

•My 40th Birthday is the week after that. What an odd milestone. We aren’t doing anything big because that’s not me but also, just another day. 4th of July the girls and I will go see fireworks, the boys don’t like to go. The day after we have an overnight trip for a concert in a nearby-ish city. 2 days after that is our 19th anniversary, so we have a dinner date planned. We don’t go too fancy, but definitely somewhere where we wouldn’t go with the kids. Looking forward to that treat meal and couple hours alone.

•Decisions on anymore family building has been put on hold. I have just tabled that for now. The truth is I am happy, but I am open to more, but I’m not getting younger. But it’s too emotional to delve into and I decided that I don't need to make any decisions. That instead of worrying what will happen, I am just going to live life and see what happens in the next couple of years. After that, well, I don’t know, but that’s a discussion for a different time.

•Work is good. I have the greatest extended family there, people who are so accepting of me just the way I am, and who don’t put expectations on me that I can’t meet (in a personal sense, not professional-I rock at my job) and I am so lucky I have that to go to. Even the people who are living a totally different life than me, we still have great relationships and I feel supported and understood, and I am able to give that back.

•When I am not in the terrible mindset that is PMD I realize I am actually very happy in my life. It’s very messy and chaotic and a constant balancing act, and I am always faking it til I make it. But I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The other side

She was sitting in the hospital bed with her knees bent up to her chest, hair pulled up in a messy bun. Her eyes were squeezed closed and her face was twisted into the deepest agony I have ever seen. Next to her was her mom, eyes red from crying, but a beautiful smile on her face, and in her arms was her tiny grandson, just born, who was being given up for adoption.

I felt like I was intruding looking at this picture, like it wasn’t for me to see. It was so private, so raw, so heartbreaking. In fact, when I scrolled to the picture, I gasped and grabbed my heart and looked away as tears sprang to my eyes. A beautiful mother whose heart was breaking as she held the baby boy she could not keep.

I know so many who are adopted or who have adopted, and it’s wonderful and beautiful and it creates families. This is my first time seeing the other side, seeing the mom who had to make an impossible choice, of seeing the family that was being ripped apart.

The mother is my friend’s sister. She is over 30 but she suffers from mental illness and is not in a position to raise the baby. The family has stepped up and offered to help her, but she has declined. I think she is afraid. She has a long history of getting well and staying on her meds, but will stop taking them and destroy everything in her path. Her pregnancy came just as she was coming out of her last episode of being off medication where she went on a months-long journey that saw her lose a job, become homeless, doing who knows what to survive while rejecting family’s help or burning bridges with the ones she did seek out.

She couldn’t be on her medication during the pregnancy and decided early on that she wanted to continue with the pregnancy and give the baby up. She found the family on her own. She tried working with an agency but found it to be too much, being given a dozen profile books at once and called daily by the agency. She suffered through a dark depression during the pregnancy, but her mother put her on a schedule to eat and fed her so she could nourish the baby. The adoptive family was at the hospital with her and named the baby upon his birth. But the mother went to visit him very day in the NICU (he was born at 36 weeks and needed a little extra care.)

She told her sister “I am a monster for giving my baby up, for not keeping him”. I told my friend, “Please, you have to tell her she is not a monster. She sacrificed her own health to carry him, to give him the best chance. Tell her that she has made the most selfless decision she ever could have made. She is not a monster; she is a mother.”

Monday, June 11, 2018

Oddities

Around this time last year, I received an email from an old friend from high school. Once upon a time we had been close, but had a falling out a couple years after high school. She had resurfaced years later around the time my dad was sick and passed away, and we have been in contact sporadically in the ten years since then, but don’t have much in common anymore. She is the collector and holder of contact info for our small graduating class, and this email came out to the masses. She was (finally) moving from her childhood home and was going to host an empty house warming for herself. I had been working on my phone so I immediately shot her an email back congratulating her and asking about her new place. We exchanged emails back and forth and she invited me to bring my kids to swim at her house for old times sake before she moved. (Her home had been the place of many epic pool parties when we were younger.) I immediately said that I would love to and threw out some dates and the next email was her backtracking that she would have to see if she could find the time if she got enough packing done she would let me know. The next email I received from her was another mass email reminder of her empty house warming party and suggestions on what to bring. I didn’t attend.
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I’ve blogged frequently about my old, closest friendship that imploded a couple of years ago. There is still a little contact between us, due to my oldest being her goddaughter, but there really isn’t a relationship there and it is incredibly strained. I think mostly because I didn’t cause it or say the hurtful things, but also because this friend has continued to try to go on as if nothing ever happened with no form or attempt at an apology, not because I’m holding on to a grudge.
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The other great friend in my life who I love so much is struggling. She is the one I wrote about who had weight loss surgery a couple years ago. Well, she is suffering from the effects of that surgery. Instead of learning how to deal with her emotional attachment to food she had the surgery, so she has never learned how to properly cope with hard things. She has been in a downward cycle of depression for a long time now, and all of the “specialist” she is seeing aren’t telling her what she needs to hear. In the 8 months or so since she has been getting treatment, she has gotten much, much worse. She didn’t use the surgery to better herself or get fit. Her outward appearance mimics what is going on inside. She is way to thin, sickly so, shows so much age, chew her nails and fingers when she used to have strong, gorgeous, natural long nail, and lost so much hair that hasn’t grown back. It’s affected her relationship with her husband. He is grasping how to help her. I had a long conversation with her daughter over the weekend and we are going to work together to get her the proper help. It breaks my heart.
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This weekend I am attending a retirement party for my very first boss in my field, who I have known since I was about 13 through my sister. (If I don’t back out, I’m a little nervous and on the fence.) It is going to be like walking back 20 years in time. There are possibly going to be parts of my past that I thought I had left long ago that I may be walking headfirst into. It is a very complicated, twisty past that has the potential to be very confrontational and explosive. I wonder how having 20 years of distance will change things. I have run in to various people from my past before and it’s usually been water under the bridge. But walking in to this party is going to be a lot like walking back in time when all the faces are going to be the same;20 years ago it was a very small, tight community of people, and everyone was involved with or related to someone else and everyone knew everyone’s business. Minus a few people who I know have passed away, it’s likely to be everyone. Since I am not on Facebook, I don’t know the extent of who is attending, I can only assume, and I’m relying on my sister for information. There is a possibility of one set of people who my running into will be quite controversial, and I do not want that to detract from the reason for the party or cause any unnecessary drama. Why do I think there will be drama 20 years later? Because about 10 years ago I ran into one of the people and all the awfulness was still there. I have a very colorful past, with a lot of secrets.
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Last week my middle daughter came home and told us how her phone had been blowing up with texts because it was “National best friends day” (first of all who is responsible for making everyday some sort of national day?? I blame zuckerberg) My husband overheard and was lamenting about how he didn’t even have a best friend anymore, and I was realizing the same thing. I was joking with him “Aww, I’m you’re best friend, Baby”. We never really refer to each other that way, so I thought I was being funny. But then last week was kind of busy and nuts and bedtimes were later and I was exhausted (it was also period week where all 3 girls in the house got our periods) and we hadn’t really spent much time together or even chatted during the day, and by Thursday I was exhausted but needed time to talk and connect. I had all these things saved up I wanted to tell him about. And I realized I missed him last week and that maybe, actually, he is my best friend after all.



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

One Month

Tomorrow marks one month exactly since I have started my new weight loss program. I call it a program, but it really isn’t. It’s hard to explain without giving too much away, but it is SO super easy to follow. Anyway, as of this morning I have lost 16lbs even. Which feels so amazing to me, because 5lbs used to feel so impossible to do, and now I have more than tripled that and I have never felt like I was on any sort of diet. I haven’t stepped foot in a gym OR done any sort of workout at all. I haven’t taken any crazy supplements or cut out any food groups AT ALL. It totally sounds too good to be true, and I definitely thought that as well before I started this. But this is different than any other thing out there. It is legitimately like working with your own personal dietician without the office visits or the high price tag. Beyond the weight loss-which is a giant thing in and of itself-the FREEDOM I feel to live my life is unbelievable. I don’t have to eat separately from my family meals or spend money on prepackaged foods. I can go out to a restaurant and know how to stay on track. I am conquering emotional and stress eating once and for all. 16 lbs gone in 30 days. 16 lbs I will never have to lose again. Finally being able to say that I know I can lose all the weight I want, that is is possible. It is pretty amazing.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Quiet

I’ve been quiet. Sometimes I do that, go inside myself, turn myself inward when I’m trying to get myself sorted.

The weather has been nicer (mostly) so the days have been long, spending every chance outdoors with my wild boys. Trucking along through the rest of the school year with the older kids. Trying hard to stay connected to my husband in all the little cracks in time we seem to get these days. Easing in to summer mode, wishing the school year was over already.

I’m good, mostly, if not feeling a little disconnected. I admittedly don’t have many friends, and the ones that I do, we seem to each have our own stuff going on at the moment. There’s only so much reaching out I can do before it feels like I need to let things be.

I got the results of my extended testing, and I have a really unbalanced level of hormones, along the lines of what I had been thinking plus more. I’m going to try the natural, herbal supplement route and see if I have any success with that, as I am not keen on going back in any hormonal treatments if it’s not necessary. I was actually taking one supplement (That I put myself on months ago) that was adding to the problem, so I have stopped that and actually noticed a difference with a week or so. I also started making some other dietary changes...a really great new program where you don’t actually cut out any food group or count calories or points, just follow a very easy model and I have seen some weight loss success without working out at all, so that’s been awesome. If anyone is curious about it, you can email me and I will tell you about it, but I am not ready to shout it from the rooftops until I have some noticeable progress. But 11 pounds down in 2.5 weeks is a happy start for me. Nope I’m not starving, and yes I still have my coffee and creamer daily. No weird shots or supplements or oils. Just eating real food from my fridge, in case anyone thinks it’s just some other fad diet. Not at all.

We just had all that expensive work done on the house (septic system and trees), so we are basically tapped out, and now my car needs a muffler, and the other one needs some extra work as well. I’m not sure how much longer the work can wait, but I am hoping to get through the summer first. Being an adult stinks sometimes!

Sorry for the rambling post, I just needed something to break the silence.