Monday, February 23, 2015

A damn fine cat

In the fall of 1995, I had had a really crappy day. Like, WHOA, shitty-shitty, crappy. To be honest, I cannot remember why. It might have been that the classes I was taking at the community college weren't all quite as inspiring as their paragraph descriptions in the course booklet led them to appear. It might have been that my boss, whom I adored, at the telemarketing company was in the midst of one of his many relapses into the hell that his alcoholism threw us all into. It might have been any number of many things. It doesn't really matter now, but what is relevant is that I was 19 and extremely upset when I walked through the door of Patrick's apartment,and he knew it.

How did he know? I am unsure. In the times before cell phones, how exactly DID we communicate so frequently? Did I just, like, CALL him on a regular old phone and whine and cry? Did I page him in secret number code or did we have word texting yet? Again, irrelevant, but definitely something to ponder in future days.

I digress.

Upon my very dramatic and morose entry into his home, Pat met me at the door with the hugest grin on his face and his arms behind his back.

"I know you were having a really bad day, so I picked up a surprise a little early for you..."

And then, with as much grandeur as he could muster, he pulled out from behind his back the squirmiest ball of black fuzz and razor sharp kitten claws you ever did see.

Before I could truly glimpse her, she scratched her way from his grasp and leapt behind the couch, hissing and spitting all the while. We spent a good part of the next few days trying to coax some sort of loving response from this "surprise" of mine; we were rewarded with many tiny kitten scratch marks on our wrists and arms that get infected if you don't clean them right away.

Somehow, sometime, she came around. Be it the need for nourishment beyond the kitten treats we offered or an innate desire for loving contact, somehow she decided that we weren't so horrible, and tolerated us to the point that we were eventually allowed to cuddle and pet her.

She was our first baby. Young and freshly out of our parents' homes, we doted on that cat. We named her Smudge because that was clearly her name and no other name would have ever suited her. She was the only pet we ever owned who always, and I mean ALWAYS, went to the bathroom where she was supposed to. She was the cat that endured all 3 babies wanting to love on her. She was quietly present for every tearful and joyful moment our married life presented. To her dying day, which was today, she behaved for us and trusted us. It is strange to realize that there will never be a night where she will be waiting for me on our bed...

And I know it doesn't matter much in the grand scheme of the world, but she meant a whole lot to us... to me.

Letting her go today was a reminder of just how short 20 years really can be.

I am so grateful that she decided to tolerate us.
We'll miss you, Smudgie.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ever Wonder?

Ever sit in your car and just watch a plastic bag blow in the wind?

It might be stuck in that space between the bush and the curb and just swirl in a circle, repeatedly round and round and round... and then you wonder who used it last?

What did it have inside of it? Did that person throw it on the ground without a care for the environment, or was it whisked out of the hand of a young child who just couldn't wait to open the brand new toy that was inside?

Will it make it any further than this small ditch before being scooped up by a garbage picker, or will it get caught up in a sudden gust from a speeding semi and sail upon the currents of the troposphere to some unknown destination? Maybe it'll fly beyond the miles and miles of farmland and suburban housing; past Lake Michigan and the Appalachian Mountains.

Will it become stuck once again, in another roadside ditch, in a different state? And will some other woman see it, while she waits for the light to change, and wonder?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Do you ever have moments where you are hit with how blessed you are? 

I am humbled by the many gifts that I have. I do not take them for granted, and I realize that this life I live, though quite "ordinary" in its outward appearance, is one that many would give anything to have. 

I cannot believe that I am mother to these three awesome kids, and wife to such a good person, who loves me as much as I love him. 

There are so many friends who care and take the time to help us when we are overwhelmed or unable to be in 12 spots at once. We have an amazing support network, and I know that this is not always the case.

All of our immediate family is within driving distance, and they love us and enjoy our presence. Family that is healthy and thriving, both physically and emotionally; this is something to treasure for fleeting health is a guarantee for us all.

We are equipped with enough resources to not only adequately food, clothe, and shelter our children, but to provide them with opportunities and experiences that are completely out of the realm of possibility for so many in this world.

I am personally gifted with the honor of continuing to be a part of the Listen To Your Mother Show. Being involved in the legacy of bringing these stories to stage takes my breath away. 

I live in this country, in this decade, with these advantages and I am able to make small differences in the happiness of others. Sitting at my kitchen table, unshowered, with dirty dishes in the sink, and piles of work to accomplish and I am overcome with emotion at how insanely lucky I am...

I don't take any of these blessings, or the multitude of others I also receive, for granted. 

This Life is pretty damn cool.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Writing through my anger

I'm literally, LITERALLY, shaking with rage right now.

One of my children, and it should be known that, according to them, it was Not Me, decided to play with fire in our bathroom. When? I don't know. Why? Because FIRE is AWESOME. I get that. It's fascinating and mesmerizing and we are all drawn to the flickering power that can be held within our hands.

I came across multiple small items that had been obviously burned, snuffed out, and then stuffed behind the upstairs toilet.... Yes. Stuffed together, behind the toilet. God only knows how well they were put out before the culprit, Not Me, decided to "hide them." My hysteria brought on many tears, from all 3 of us, and will hopefully result in Not Me realizing the absolute SERIOUSNESS of this situation.  My entire family could have died from a slow burning fire. Just writing that has me crying, yet again...

Also! I am not only worried about this pyro stage within one of my kids, but about the inability of the same child to hide their wrong doings!! Who leaves ashes all over the floor? Who rubs burnt materials on the bathroom sink, leaving a black trail, and then WALKS AWAY?!?

Deep breaths, in and out.

Trying to regain my composure...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Relief and Remose Redux

From 2011, though the feelings are quite the same in my heart...

I had a pregnancy scare.

I'm not. No baby.


And I realized, "Whew? I am relieved? I am relieved! When did thathappen?"

When did I cross over to this side of parenting? I am... content. I am content to be a family of 5 with no future children on the horizon.

No more babies?

No more babies.

No more sleepy nursing nuzzles at 2 am while the family sleeps in my bed all jumbled in tangles of limbs and blankets.

Strollers and car seats and pacifiers and slings are all packed. I have even given some away. When a woman walked off with my exersaucer at last year's garage sale, I reasoned that I could always buy another one, if the need should arise.

The need won't arise.

I've known this. I've KNOWN this, for many, many years. Patrick has made it crystal clear that our family is FIVE and that is all that we can afford: financially and emotionally. I agree. I DO. I always have.


I held that thought. That dream. That vision that surprises happen and life doesn't usually follow our plans. "We'll see...." I thought in my mind. Many, many times...

This year has allowed me freedom from the physical needs that little ones require. Freedom to sit and read. Freedom to visit with friends in the evening without worry about schedules and naps and the encumbering requirements that encompass parenting an infant. Freedom to think of a future for myself without including "and baby/child" after every scenario.

It's kind of.... nice.

Sort of.

It's nice like the day after Christmas is nice. Bittersweet, full of fresh memories that you desperately attempt to cling to, knowing that the pictures and words won't EVER fully capture the magic of the moment.

It's nice like coming home after a much-anticipated and extremely enjoyed vacation; You're exhausted and sunburnt, with overflowing luggage and tons of laundry to wash. You're wistful that it was over so very, very quickly but glad to be home to start living everyday life again, with hopes of another adventure on the horizon. Yet, you wonder if anytrip will ever be as magical as that special vacation most definitely was.

There's an ache in my heart at letting go of this period in our lives. There will always be tears that can be shed in a moment of silence... Because raising our babies and toddlers was so incredibly special for me that I can't fathom what my life will be like with 10, 15, 20 years of space between It and where I live and breathe right now. Will I be able to remember the sweetness of their small hands in mine? The way his hair smelled after the sprinklers and grass and sunshine were stirred up into those golden curls? Will I truly remember the feel of a sleeping baby on my chest? Warm and trusting, with no desires besides my love?

Sigh... I think I need some chocolate for breakfast. Chocolate, coffee and a good cry...

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Snowy Day

There is something so incredibly soothing about watching the snow fall.

I really needed that today... We watched the snow and managed some issues and the day wasn't as bad when I allowed myself to focus on each snowflake... just drifting down. No pain or confusion in their path. Just falling without purpose and completely at the mercy of the direction of the wind.

Being online for so much of what I "do," I am honored to be friends with more people than I could ever visit in one year. I love being connected to so many people; I don't feel worthy, but my circle is large. However, it goes without saying that the greater the circle of love, the greater the opportunity for those I care about to be in situations outside of their control. So many people are in so much pain right now... It hurts to know that there isn't a thing I can do other than "send my love" and give "hugs" online.

It truly was a beautiful snowfall, today. It brought me much peace in my heart. I thought about each person I know who is in the middle of their own blizzard and sent many thoughts for peace and healing their ways...

I hope they felt it, even if only for a moment.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pre-Dawn Weeping Session

I'm lying beside her this morning, and I can't help but notice how very, very long my daughter has grown. She's nearly as tall as I am, though she's only 9 years old. She still loves to sleep in our bed, and with Patrick gone for the week, there is plenty of room to share.

This doesn't last, you know. You think you will never get a moment's peace and privacy and then, you do. You get so much privacy, that you are lonely. They leave your bed and never come back. Inevitably, it always happens. I mean, it's supposed to happen, and I don't particularly want 3 grown adult offspring needing to cuddle in Mom and Dad's bed, so I'm not upset that our boys no longer sleep in our bed, but knowing that my daughter, my last baby, is close to making that transition... it slices right through my heart.

I think I know why parents and kids fight. When you have a baby, the connection is so deep, so complete, and you cannot imagine ever needing anything else in life other than knowing that you can love and protect this small, perfect person. It is a sort of betrayal to that love when you realize that, as they grow up, they do not reciprocate this intense devotion. True, children love their parents, but they desire the one thing that destroys this primal need of your own. To move on and into their own lifes, always stretching and pulling away. When you love someone so completely, it is physically painful to not have it reciprocated in full.

She's only 9...she's ALREADY 9. Moments ago, I held her sleeping body beside mine and the premonition of what is to come thrust its way into my consciousness until I grudgingly acknowledged it. It rests there, in my mind, this vision of my 3 children, my sons and my daughter; this glimpse of a future where a business trip for my husband means that I will sleep alone, dream alone, and have no one to shake awake and share the day with. Knowing the future can complicate the present. How do you live in the moment when the future has been foretold?

Someday, they may have children of their own. It will occur to them that maybe, perhaps, their own mother looked upon their faces and physically craved their skin the way they do their own babies. It will feel impossible, as it felt for me, when I envisioned my own mother as a young mom, staring upon my infant face, touching her cheek to mine. I hope they take a moment to really see me and acknowledge the primal bonds that connect us. I hope my own mom knows how deeply I love her, and that I acknowledge her loss of that connection we once had.
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