It seems everyone has a blog these days. Not that I'm giving in to the "norm." I just want to have a place that is mine. These are my thoughts, my opinions, my hopes, my dreams, my fears. I am a Daughter. I am a Wife. I am a Mother. But above all, I am a WOMAN.

I enjoy feedback, so please select a reaction, or a leave a comment. I would love to know what you think about my post and how it affected you.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Please Help! Protect Our Children

I watched a Special Investigation segment on ABC News Nightline last night.  Just in case you don't believe what I'm about to post, here is the link for you to watch for yourselves.

Deadly Discipline? Students Hurt, Dying After Being Restrained

There are actually school systems (administrators and teachers) that not only approve of, but are actually encouraging torturing our children.  Physical and psychological abuse.  And then saying it's to "protect them from hurting themselves or others."

Worst of all?  These procedures are being practiced on Special Needs Kids such as those with Autism.

Such tactics are to include:

1.  Electric Shock Therapy
2.  Being physically restrained
3.  Being locked in "Seclusion Rooms"

Let's take the first.  Imagine 60 volts of electricity coursing through YOUR body!  And they are doing this to our children!  The young teenager in this video is held down as he SCREAMS and struggles to get away from the electric current.  I cried.  I just can't think of anything to say to this.  They are electrocuting him.

The Second:  Being Physically Restrained.  Tell me how you would react if you discovered your child or teenager lying on the floor with between 1 and 6 grown men lying on TOP of him.  Supposedly these men acted according to procedure.  The young man DIED.  Tell me how that is "Acceptable Procedure."

Third:  Seclusion Rooms.  These are small "pods" that are windowless, dark, and have padded walls so the child will not hurt himself.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't like being locked in a pitch black room for HOURS.  Not minutes, HOURS.  Completely alone in the dark.  The "room" wasn't even that big.  It gives me nightmares to think about.

I don't see how ANY of these would help.  It all seems to me like it would make a bad situation ten times worse.  These children are already angry, and this will make them angrier, terrified, and LESS likely to cooperate.

This is Inhuman.

This is Cruel.

This is Torture.

If I did any of the above to my children, I would be arrested, tried, and convicted of child abuse and child endangerment.  And Rightfully So!  So why is it perfectly LEGAL for a teacher or school administrator to engage in this!  Not only is it LEGAL, school systems are ENCOURAGING THIS!!!

 This is an abomination.

Fortunately, there is legislation in Congress to prohibit most of this.  Please contact your Congressman to help support this legislation.  S.2860 - Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act
We need this passed to protect our children.  ALL of our children. PLEASE Help me STOP this.  I can't do it alone.  I need anyone and everyone to help raise our voices so that we can be heard.

If WE don't protect our children, Nobody will.

For a Child's Sake, Please Help.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Our Mini-Vacation Debacle

It started off with lots of hopes and plans.  I had to travel to the coast for work.  One day of meetings, then the weekend would belong to my husband, my kids, and me.  Mileage paid down there and back, and the hotel room provided.  Sounds great, right?  Well.........

Let me count the things that went wrong.

1.  Car battery completely died when I was already late for one of the two meetings I had to attend.  (Though I do have to admit the car battery at $100 was still much cheaper than the $1000 alternator we thought it was.)

2.  Both boys managed to trash their bedroom at the hotel within MINUTES of arrival.  We tipped the maid.    Generously.  Okay, maybe not, but after the car battery, leaving her two of my favorite Mango Fruit Bars in the Fridge were all I could do.

3.  Neither boy would eat anything on vacation that wasn't junk food or a Happy Meal from the Golden Arches.  I am heartily sick of McD's.  And who goes to the beach and does NOT eat seafood?  My oddball children, I guess.

4.  I forgot to pack the oldest child any shirts.  I packed everything else.  But I forgot shirts for him.

5.  The oldest boys swim trunks were too small, so he had to swim in a pair of shorts.

6.  Our one foray to the beach ended up in us leaving almost immediately because the beach and the water were infested with jellyfish.  I did not relish the idea of spending one night of our vacation in the local ER due to jellyfish stings on my children who can create major drama out of papercuts.  And then refuse band-aids.  Yes, I have the only child on earth that WON'T wear band-aids.

7.  It was VACATION, so, of course, we all stayed up late.  And children being children that we have to drag out of bed during the school week, were up voluntarily at the crack of dawn.  So, for the sake of "Fun," Dad and I tolerated the whining, resisted the urge to buy duct tape in bulk to combat the bickering and fighting, bit our tongues to keep from screaming obscenities we thought we had forgotten at them, and generally decided we were going to have fun if it KILLED US!!!  Dammit!  And it almost did.

8.  I got sick with a Sinus Infection and felt miserable all day Saturday and Sunday.

9.  A half mile from home, M. decided to push the limits too far.  He spit on his brother.  In the car.  So dad finally gave him the spanking he swore M had been begging for since we left home last Friday.

10.  While we were gone, our two little puppies decided to pee in every available room in the house.  Fortunately, they stuck to the laminate areas and not the carpet.  Which brings us to . . . .

11.  Our German Weimaraner (who has separation anxiety issues by his breed) decided to take out his frustrations and anxiety by crapping on our relatively new carpet.  In multiple places.  Let me tell you, big dogs make BIG messes.

12.  So he's shampooing the carpet.  I'm doing laundry.  The boys are in the bedroom singing, "We will, We will, MOCK YOU!"  over and over and over.  Just that line.  And, yes, I know the line is supposed to be "rock you," but at the moment their version seems more appropriate.

So, there is the story of our mini-vacation.  Doesn't sound like much fun, does it?  It might be salvaged if one of you three readers would come shampoo the carpets, mop the floors, and fix me a drink.  A large one.

*Sigh*  I didn't think so.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Lost & Gained

I've written before about people I've lost.  I will do that again here (one specifically), but I also want to write about people I've gained.

My father-in-law was a wonderful man.  He was kind, sweet, smart, caring, generous, and loved life.  My oldest boy, Z, would always make him laugh.  All of his grandkids did, but this blog is from my perspective, so please pardon me if I don't mention the other grandchildren more.  He called him "Sport" and would always tease me and J about the "fits" that kid was giving us, and would continue to give us in the future.  He loved hearing the new things Z had done, learned, said, in a way that only grandparents can.  Z was only 18 months old when he lost his grandfather.  How we lost him is another blog, but suffice it to say it was a freak accident.  A sudden loss.  An unexpected hole blasted in our hearts.

But our family has grown since then.

My husband and I have given him another grandson, M.  Wow, my father-in-law (and us) only THOUGHT Z was a handful!  Whew!!! M exhausts me just watching him.  He is so full of energy, and mischief.  I never know what he's going to say.  Or do.  I have not yet figured out how his mind works, and frankly, I don't think I want to know.  He makes me laugh daily.  And shake my head in disbelief.  And rant and rave.  And pray for patience.  And blame my husband for all of his bad traits (even though he clearly got them from my side of the family.  Shhhhh!  Don't tell J that I admitted that.)  He is a charmer, though.  He can smile and you have to smile with him.  He laughs and you have to laugh with him.  He brings joy (and frustration, lol) everywhere he goes.  His Papaw would have LOVED him.  I don't mean just with his heart, but with sense of humor, with his mind, and with his heart.

M would have had Papaw wrapped around his little finger, too.  I have no doubt about that whatsoever.  M would have pulled one of his stunts that make me want to strangle him and Papaw would have laughed, shaken his head, and said (as he did so many times with Z), "He's all boy, isn't he.  It's terrible to spank a kid just 'cause he feels good."  So, of course, I couldn't have spanked him then.  No matter how much he needed it.  Yes, M would've loved Papaw just as much as Papaw would've loved him.

My husband also gave his dad a granddaughter.  We found out about her just a couple of years ago (another long story), but she is a joy.  Her mother is from a previous marriage, and H just turned 13.  Only 13.  And she's 5 inches taller than I am.  *sigh*  Yes, I'm vertically challenged, but that's beside the point.  H is pretty awesome.  She got all of her dad's best traits.  She's sweet, funny, smart, easy-going, and caring.  Her Papaw B (she calls her other grandfather Papaw) would have loved her, too.  See, she's just like he was.  H takes after her dad, and her dad takes after his dad.  Seriously, it's like they were cloned.  Well, except she's a little goofier (actually more than "a little"), and she's a girl.  This family is pretty amazing.

And H would've loved her Papaw B.  He would've spoiled her just as much as her other Papaw.  He would've given her the moon if she'd asked for it.  She'd have wrapped him around her little finger, too.  Just like she has her dad.  But I have to say, she doesn't over-step.  She doesn't push the limits.  She's just so quietly sweet, that people want to give her things just to see her smile.  She doesn't manipulate like so many kids do (including my boys that know exactly how to get what they want out of Mamaw B.)  She's just H.

My husband's brother, K, has also gotten married, gained two step-daughters, and had a little girl of his own.  My father-in-law would really have loved to see that.  K had some problems that slowed down his family creating abilities (a third long story, and not mine to tell), but everything seems back on track for him.  As much as I know my father-in-law would have loved to see the family that J and I have gained, I know in my heart that K's life now would have brought him more happiness and peace than any of you can possibly imagine.

So we lost one.  And we've gained six.  But each of those six lost one they never knew.  And that was a treasure of which they can never know the value.

I do like to think of my father-in-law looking down from Heaven and smiling.  Happy at what he left behind.  Proud of how we've grown.  Laughing at our children and how they make us pull our hair out.  Yes, I can see him laughing at us all.  And that makes me smile through all of the tears.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

WOW.......It's Been A While

I just looked back and realized, WOW....It's been a while since I posted.  At least a couple of months.  Things have been busy.  My last post dealt with my baby graduating Pre-School, and my oldest getting his 2nd Grade Awards.  They are growing up so fast.

Now the summer is almost over.  M. starts Kindergarten this fall.  He's going to ride the school bus with his brother.  I'm hoping that Z. will look out for his brother in one of those Only-I-As-His-Big-Brother-Can-Beat-Him-Up ways and not let anyone else torture him.  I'm hoping.  With my luck (and M's) Z and his friend will gang up on M together.  *Sigh*  I can only hope.  And pray.

M is excited about riding the school bus with his brother and going to big school.  If you ask him what school he's going to attend this fall, he'll tell you "My brother's school."  I don't think it has quite sunk in yet that it will be his school, too, now.  Z, on the other hand, is looking forward to being the Big Man on Campus and instructing his little brother in just exactly how things are done.  I believe this will last until the first time they run into each other in the hallway, or lunchroom, or playground.  M will run up to hug his brother, and Z will look at him like he has no idea who this little runt is glued to him.  *Sigh*

I have mixed emotions.  On one hand, I'm really looking forward to plugging that financial leak that has been daycare and babysitters.  And I'm proud of my boys growing up.  But part of me already misses those rides to town in the morning when M and I would talk about what game he was playing on his DS, or what movie he was watching in the backseat, or just why he didn't want me talking to his teachers after school that day.  (Yeah, that was a "good" day - but it was funny!)

My boys aren't babies anymore.  Z is as tall as my shoulder at only 8.  M is fast catching up.  I don't know if they're growing that fast, or if I'm shrinking.  Probably both.

But no matter how tall they grow, or what grade they are in school -- as all mothers know -- they will always, Always, ALWAYS be my Babies.  Period.  End of Story.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Growing Up Is HARD........on Mom

Yesterday, my two sons had milestones.....and so did I.  They enjoyed themselves very much.  Me?  Not so much.

My oldest son, Z, had his Parent Picnic and Awards Day at school.  He made Honor Roll for the year (Yay, Z!!!!!) and earned over 70 points in his Accelerated Reader Program -- one of the highest in his class.  I am so very proud of him.  And though he clearly got his brains from me, I was still a little sad.  My boy is growing up. Fast.  He is only 8, yet he already reaches my shoulder.  Granted, the basketball teams in school were never beating down my door (or even knocking, for that matter), but still.  He shouldn't really be that tall.....should he?

Watching Z wasn't so difficult though.  He quit giving me hugs and kisses in public over 5 years ago.  He has grown independent and really is turning into a little man.  He loves to build things and show them off to me -- and I am always suitably impressed -- but he never wants me to help anymore.  He doesn't want me to read bedtime stories to him.  I'm still a part of his world, just not an active part.  And I haven't really been for a while, so though I brushed back a couple tears during the slide show at the end of awards, I really came through it okay.

Last night was a completely different situation.  M graduated from Pre-Kindergarten school.  He dressed up in big boy clothes -- pull-over shirt and khakis -- and had on his cap and gown.  All of a sudden, he wasn't my baby anymore.  Who is this little boy?  Wait! Where is my baby?!?!? NOOOOOooooooooooo, this CAN'T be him!  He's 5.  He still crawls in my lap to give me hugs and kisses -- and he still fits!  He loves on me anytime and anywhere, and sometimes it's even his idea.  He still wants bedtime stories (though I'm beginning to suspect it's to delay bedtime more than wanting time with me) and occasionally even lets me rock him.  I bawled like the baby M is still supposed to be.  He walked across that stage, got his diploma and his "Imagination Award" (very apt, I promise you!) like he owned the place.  I cried more.

Z is my oldest, and though it was hard, it was not THIS hard.  I think.  The distraction of his brother who would have been 2 at the time kept me from dwelling on just how fast all of this happened.  M, though, is the baby.  No more distractions.  No more of these events will be happening.  He is my last one.  I'm trying to write all of this down so that I won't forget anything. I write it down to help myself adjust to how fast my boys are growing up.

One little man.  One little boy.  Neither of them so "little" anymore.  What's a mom to do?

Then M came running up to me, gave me a hug, and went running off to race his brother up and down the halls (despite my admonishments not to run inside), and suddenly he was my baby again.  I got a reprieve.  But this fall, when they both climb on that big yellow school bus -- one to 3rd grade and one to Kindergarten -- I make no promises.  Yes, I do.  I promise I will cry all the way to work.  Or maybe I'll follow the bus all the way to school . . . . . . .even if it is the opposite direction from work.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is It Better to Choose Early or Late?

This is a hard post for me to write, but the thoughts keep circling in my head, so I'm hoping I can think through it all if I write it down.  Maybe you can even help me decide, or at least reconcile my decision.

The question came up in my Sunday School class whether it is better to discover Christ and obtain salvation later in life, or be raised in the church and decide early on to be a Christian.

One lady said she thought she missed a lot by coming to Him late in life.  She was 21 when she decided to believe and stated that she wished she had been raised in church.  She seems to think she would know a lot more and be a better Christian.  Now, I happen to believe she is an exceptional Christian, and a wonderful woman.  She is always kind to people, and rarely has a bad word to say about anyone -- and I say "rarely" because I just don't want to believe that she doesn't at least THINK something bad sometimes because surely no one is that "good," are they?  She is always ready to help, lend an ear, or anything else that is needed from her.  She works hard to care for her sister and her grandson, plus work, and (until very recently) go to school to become a nurse.  Pretty incredible, huh?  I certainly couldn't do all of that.  And I definitely could not do it with the perpetual smile on my face that she always has.  She is quick to laugh, even at herself.  She's just amazing.

Now, I, on the other hand was raised in church.  Well, mostly.  I accepted Christ when I was 13.  And I do believe it was real.  I knew what I was doing.  I remember being so excited, happy.  It really felt like I had been re-born as the Bible states we are.  I was filled with something bigger than I am.

But then it changed.  Everything changed.  I changed.

My parents divorced.  I moved to another town, another school, another culture almost.  From the country to the city (or as close to "city" as we get around here).  Everybody was busy.  I was going to high school, and then I got a job, and a boyfriend.  No excuses, but church suddenly wasn't on the schedule anymore.  Or in my heart, I'm sorry to say.

Now whether you believe in God or not (and I really hope you do) there is still "right" and "wrong" and we are brought up to know the difference.  Stealing, lying, cheating, swearing whether we believe those things are "wrong" or "sins," we are still taught by our parents not to do them.  We know we aren't supposed to do certain things.  We KNOW.  And yet, we still do them anyway.

For about a decade, I lived a life that was wrong.  I did things I knew were wrong.  I did things I'm ashamed to admit.  That I did things wrong is hard to admit.  That I lived that life is hard to admit.  The details aren't really important, well, they are important to me, and to God.  But, frankly, they are really none of anyone else's business.  They are private.  Mine are mine, just as yours are yours.  Scars are scars whether self-inflicted or obtained from others, and should never be shown just for showing.

I admit that to say, Yes, I found my way back to the right path.  I'm not perfect -- far from it -- but I try now.  I try harder to do what is right, what is moral, what is Christian.  Judge me if you want, but judge me for who I am now.  My past made me who I am, but it is also called "Past" for a reason.  I don't live there anymore.  Except maybe at midnight when I can't sleep and all of the insecurities, fears, and other skeletons come rattling their chains in my head.

So, if I could stray even being raised in church, believing in what was right and wrong, knowing my behavior and attitude were wrong, what does that say about me?  It does NOT reflect badly on my upbringing.  I chose to ignore it.  I chose to behave inappropriately.  They did a good job teaching.  I learned.  I just chose to go another way then.

She discovered him late in life.  Is it easier for her to forgive herself for her sins and accept His forgiveness?  Or is it easier for me to forgive myself and accept His forgiveness knowing that I CHOSE to do wrong?  Each of us had to make our own decisions.  Each of us had to reconcile our own behavior.  Each of us has to choose to stop doing wrong and choose to start doing right.  Each of us has to choose Him.

I'm still trying to come to terms with that period in my life.  The Bible teaches that He forgives all who come to Him truly repentant of heart.  But it's pretty hard to ask forgiveness from The One Who Is Perfect, when I am so perfectly imperfect myself.  And it's almost impossible to ask forgiveness from Him, when I haven't yet forgiven myself.  But I'm trying.  And I'm getting there.

I told you this was a hard post to write.  But if my words can help just one other person, then it will be worth it.  And try to remember not to judge a person by who they were.  If you must judge someone at all, try to judge them by who they are and who they are trying to be.  Support is much more motivating than condemnation.

Thank you for listening.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Want a "Do-Over"

Anybody else want a do-over?  Remember those?  For those of you that don't, a do-over is when you mess up a little, or screw up royally (as I am wont to do), you yell (yes, YELL), "DO-OVER" and then re-do whatever it was you did wrong, hopefully getting it correct the second time around.

Well, I want a do-over.  I'm not sure what time frame though.  I've made an awful lot of mistakes.

When I graduated high school, I picked the wrong college.  WAY wrong.  Perfect example.  I came out of class one day and found my 8-year-old hatchback Ford parked between a brand new Mercedes and a brand new Jaguar.  See the problem?  But I made some contacts there that I never would have made elsewhere, so I can't quite regret that choice completely.

I quit college.  That choice I can and do regret even though I did go back (y-e-a-a-a-r-r-r-s-s-s later) and get my degree which led me to a job that I actually love.  Most days.

I married the wrong man.  A very, VERY, VERY WRONG man.  (Did you get the hint that it was not the right guy?)  I won't go into all of the reason that particular relationship was wrong, but I will say that those 4 years of marriage felt like 10.  I celebrated for 3 months when the divorce papers were signed.  But I grew up a lot in those 4 years.  I learned how to compromise.  I learned patience.  I learned fighting is futile because it changes nothing.  I learned how to pick up the pieces of my life and put them back together.  I learned to be satisfied with the little things in life.  So despite my myriad scars, I can't quite make myself regret that choice either.  Those scars made me who I am and make me appreciate the man I later married and with whom I now have two beautiful, annoying, sweet, stubborn, persistent, charming young monsters gentlemen.  And I wouldn't trade any of them for anything in the world.  Most of the time.

More immediately, I would request a do-over at 6am this morning.  I would say, "Nope.  Not getting out of bed today.  It's going to be a bad day, so I'm just going to sleep through it.  Sorry.  Go on without me."  See, these are the things that went wrong:

1.  Payroll was incorrect, so three checks needed to be re-cut.  Not as simple as it sounds.

2.  Husband and Z are going camping with the Cub Scouts tonight.  I told M it was just going to be him and me tonight, wouldn't we have fun.  His response?  "But I want to spend the night with Mamaw."  *sigh*

3.  Husband's good mood this morning lasted just about until lunch.  A little longer than most days this week, but not as long as I had hoped.

4.  My good mood evaporated last Monday and hasn't been seen since.  But at least I'm no longer grumpy.  I'm just depressed.  Much easier to live with me.  Oh, yeah.  NOBODY is living with me tonight.

5.  I just re-read what I've written so far and it's not as funny as I'd hoped.  More like depressing and sad.

I think I'll stop and get a bottle of wine on my way home.  Go home, put on my pj's, eat pizza, drink wine, take a bubble bath, read a book, go to bed early, and sleep late in the morning.  Maybe tomorrow's sunshine will make everything better.

If not, I'll ask for a do-over then.  *sigh*  Why don't I believe that's going to work.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Scabs & Scars

I have two friends having marital trouble right now.  Okay, the trouble is really over.  One is signing divorce papers in a couple weeks, and the other......well, the paperwork may not be started, but I think it's a formality.  I feel bad for them.  Really bad.

My first friend is hurting pretty bad.  She tried to work it out, but just couldn't.  The details don't matter -- and if they matter to you, that's just tough because it's HER story to tell, not mine.  I hurt for her.  She lost several friends over this.  She's trying to take care of herself, her kids, her new place, and. . . . .well, her new lifestyle.  It all changed.  It seemed like it changed in a blink.  I'm sure it felt like forever to her, but to those of us that didn't know what was going on inside her marriage (and we never really know what anyone's marriage is really like, do we?) it seemed to happen in just a couple of day.  There was a castle.  Then there was a vacant hill.  Boom!  Gone.

My other friend is NOT hurting.  That's what worries me.  She's past all of that.  When the pain stops, that's when you really know it's over.  I know from experience.  When that final straw breaks and your first reaction is to smile, it's over.  It doesn't matter what you do from there on out, it's done.  Finished.  IF they work it out (and I doubt that's going to happen) it will never be the same.  I don't think it will even be a marriage.  When the other person in the marriage loses all power to hurt you, they lose their standing.  A marriage takes two people to succeed.  When one holds all the power and the other holds none, it just won't work.

Trust is gone in both cases.  Pain or not, there are wounds -- some are just further along in the healing process.  Scabs and scars.  That is all that is left of two once good marriages.  Now four adults and three kids all have different lives.  They are different people than they were just six months ago.

And I can't do anything for them.  I'm used to trying to help my friends.  That's what friends do.  We help.  But I can't.  I can't fix this.  I can't lessen the hurt.  I can't fast forward time until everyone feels better.  Scabs and scars, and me with no band-aids.

I feel bad for all of them.  I wish I could just DO something.  But I can't.  All I have to offer is a shoulder, an ear, and hugs.  I can be supportive, and listen.  Those things seem like nothing when you're watching marriages break apart like the ground in an earthquake.  I just hope those scabs and scars cover wounds that are minimal.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Case of the Stolen Snowman

For some reason, I've had this story circulating in my head lately.  I don't really know why, but I thought I would share it with you.  The story is true. . . unbelievably true.

When I was a little girl,  a very, very long time ago (only 2 "very"s, so I'm not as old as dirt), my family moved to Illinois for six month.  Something to do with dad and the military, but the "why" is really irrelevant.  The "where" is important, though.  We were all from Mississippi where it snows maybe once every seven years.  Kind of like a plague, and, yes, most Southern adults treat it like one.  Kids, of course, are enamored of snow.  It is the stuff of which dreams are made.

You can have fights with snow. . . and clobber your baby sister repeatedly with snowballs all in the name of fun. :-)  (Sorry, sis.  Well, no, not really, but it sounded good!)

You can get free days from school with enough snow.

You can make snow-cream instead of ice cream.

And, you can make snowmen.

So, picture this.  This little Mississippi girl, just turned 6, with blonde hair and blue/green eyes got to build her first snowman.  It was just my height (so it was maybe 3 feet tall).  It had arms made from sticks.  I don't remember what we used to make the eyes and smile, but then Daddy did something special.  He broke two icicles off of the bottom of his old Dodge car and stuck them in the top of the snowman's head......Angel's snowman now had horns.  :-D

It may not have been the prettiest or most conventional snowman, but it was perfect to me.  It was lumpy, asymmetrical, and lop-sided. . . and it was mine.  My very first snowman.  I was so proud.  If you grew up building snowmen, you can't imagine just how proud I was.  Not only had I never built one before, I knew in my little 6-yr-old mind, that I probably never would build another one.  This was a Once-In-A-Lifetime Event!

We smiled, we took pictures, we celebrated.  Then we went inside to our neighbor's and ate popsicles.  I don't know why we ate popsicles in December, but we did.  Then we went upstairs to our apartment.  I, of course, ran to the window to check on my snowman.  IT WAS GONE!!!!  "Somebody stole my snowman!" I screamed at the top of my lungs.

"What?" asked my dad.

"No, honey," said my most reasonable mother.  "Some kids probably just came by and knocked it down."

"Uh-uh!  They STOLE it!"  Nobody seemed to understand that.  My snowman was gone; therefore, someone stole it.  It was not broken up into a million pieces.  It was not melted.  It was GONE.  Stolen.  Snowman-napped.  To say I was mad is like saying Mother Theresa was a "nice lady."  Un. Der. State. Ment.

My parents (reasonable adults dealing with a very UNreasonable child) took me downstairs to show me the snow spread all over the ground that would be the destructive particles left remaining of my once proud accomplishment.  Boy were they fooled.  No extra snow.  There was still a flat and level place where my snowman had been.  There were footprints!  "See?  He WAS STOLEN!!!"  I shouted with the self-righteous anger only a 6-yr-old can have.  "I TOLD you!"

I forced my father to follow the footprints with instructions to retrieve my snowman.  Dutifully, he followed them.

I watched from the upstairs apartment window for him to return with my snowman.

Her returned without him.  He said he followed the footprints for 6 blocks and then lost the trail (an Indian tracker my father isn't!  Maybe I should have sent my mother since she has the Cherokee blood.  Hmm.......)

We spent 6 months in Illinois.  I had my 6th birthday there.  And all I can really remember is the day my snowman was stolen.

I hope those thieves enjoyed him.  'Cause this little Mississippi girl is STILL upset about that.

Yes, I do carry a grudge about some things.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Moments from M

M:  What's for supper?
Me: Macaroni & Cheese!
M. Mac & Cheese!!!  I LOVE that stuff!  I've never had that before!
Me Thinking to Myself:  Well, which is it kid?  Lol.

M.  was swing a toy flashlight he pretends is a nunchuck and it dropped on the floor.
M:  Mommy, did I break my neck?
Me:  No, darling, you didn't break your neck.
M:  Well, did I twist my ankle?
Me:  No, darling, you didn't twist your ankle.
M:  Well, I felt something in my ankle twist.
Me:  Do you even know where your ankle is?
M: Noooo. . . .
Me:  It's right here (I grab his ankle)
M:  Well, my ankles are in my neck.
Me  Thinking to Myself:  Kid, you are something else!

Me:  Get back to the table and eat your supper!  Don't pet the dog while you're eating!  That's just gross!  You don't know what he's been doing!  He's been rolling in the mud!
. . . . . . 5 Minutes Later. . . .
Me:  M, I told you not to pet the dog while you're eating!  STOP THAT!
M:  I'm not petting him, Mommy.  I'm trying to get him to lick me!
Me Thinking to Myself:  YUCK!   I think he missed the point.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

"Home Is Where the Heart Is"

Pliny the Elder sure had it right.  Home IS where the heart is.

I have moved 22 times in my life.  I've had 18 different addresses (yes, I admit, I moved back in with mom a time or two, and I discovered college dorms weren't THAT bad).  I have lived in 3 states.  But only 1 place is home.

I spent the years between 3 and 15 in a very small community called (believe it or not) House.  I say that is where I grew up, though maturity is another matter entirely.  The closest town is a half hour away.  Growing up I was bored to tears.  I could NOT wait to get out of there!  I was going to go to college.  I was going to be a lawyer - a Prosecution Trial Lawyer.  I was going to be rich, have a very nice, large house.  I was going to drive a Jaguar.  I was going to marry a rich, powerful man and have 2.3 children.  I had PLANS!!!  Note the emphasis?

Guess what?  Not much of that happened.

I went to college, but I dropped out after 5 semesters.  I got married, and I got divorced (thankfully with no kids!).

Then my life got back on track . . . sort of.  I went back to college and got a Bachelor's in Accounting.  Somehow over the years, I lost all desire to argue and confront people so being a trial lawyer was definitely out.

I remarried a wonderful man even if he was as broke as I was.  Well, maybe he wasn't THAT broke as he wasn't paying off student loans.  We have 2 beautiful, sweet, bratty,charming, brilliant (okay, maybe just very, VERY smart), loving, annoying,  boys that drive me crazy and I wouldn't trade for all the gold in the world.  Most of the time.  Other time. . . . another story.

My plans changed.  But home?  That never changed.  I was always still that small town country girl from House. I still wore t-shirts, and jeans with boots most days.  I still wasn't comfortable in a fancy dress.  I still liked to walk anywhere I could, and my idea of fun was curling up with a good book in a quiet corner somewhere.  And being who I was, the place I called "home" never changed.

Oh, I used that word to any residence I had, but it was just a word.  Home (with a capital "H") was always that small community where I grew up.  I could still remember the way the sunlight would shine down through the tall pines and make the water in the creek sparkle where I would walk in the summer afternoons.  I could hear my grandmother's voice calling me to come out of the woods and eat.  I could remember the sounds of the whippoorwills calling at night.  I remembered Home.

And I went home.  The place I thought was boring growing up suddenly seemed like the place I wanted to raise my children.  Quiet, old-fashioned, moral, peaceful.  I didn't have to worry about drive-by shooting, gang related violence, or drug deals at the end of my driveway.  The local gas station still closes at dark.  My boys play outside without me having to supervise every move they make.  I don't have to worry about strangers talking to my kids.  I even live on a dirt road if you can believe it.

And Home now is just about 1 little within-walking-distance mile of Home where I grew up.  Thomas Wolfe said "you can't go home again."  He may be right.  Home may not be exactly what it was while I was growing up, but it's close enough for me . . . and my family.

My heart, my family, and I are Home.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today is A Better Day

Yesterday was a Not-So-Good Day.  You know that if you read what I wrote then.  Today is Better.  Not A Great Day, but A Better Day.

We didn't make it church this morning, and we really should have gone.  I know I could have used it, and my little heathen children need all of the religion they can get!  But my husband J obviously wasn't feeling well since he slept until 11:30 am -- and since he Never Ever does that, I knew something wasn't right with him.  Plus, I had (and still have) a headache and my stomach isn't real happy either.  Yes, they are probably both stress related, but I can't do much about that.

Today is still A Better Day.  My boys wanted pancakes for breakfast.  Well, I wasn't really feeling up to it and put them off.  Z came back at lunch time wanting them, and that started me thinking.  He's been asking for them for two or three weekends now.  They aren't really THAT hard to make since we have that wonderful helper Bisquick.  And I really needed to do something for THEM.  So I made pancakes.  With chocolate chips in them just the way my boys love them.

Their smiles made everything worth it.
They didn't notice the ones that browned a little quicker than I thought they would.
They didn't notice that they weren't perfectly shaped.
They didn't see anything wrong.

All they saw was Mommy fixed something for them that they really liked.  And I think Z (at almost 8 years old) realized I did this just for him and his brother, which is a really grown-up observation for him to make.  See, I can't eat pancakes anymore.  I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with him and again with his brother, and my system just can't handle syrup anymore.  It throws my body into some weird tailspin.  Irrelevant information.

Z ate 6 pancakes.  By himself.  Even J only ate 3.  M only ate 2, but he just turned 5, so I don't expect much there.  But the smiles......they were pretty wonderful.  And to hear them say Thank you was fantastic.  But when Z smiled at me, and said, "Thank you, Mom, for making these.  I really like the way you made them for me," it almost broke my heart, and healed it up again.

Today is A Better Day.  My kids are happy, and I know they love me.  That's really all that matters right now.

Thank you, Z, for making my world all better.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Have you ever been scared?  I don't mean scare of spiders, or scared of a strange noise.  I don't mean scared of  what mom or dad is going to do to you when they find out what you did.  I mean scared all the way to the bottom of your heart.  Scared that is so deep you feel your bones shake.  That kind of scared.

I feel that way now.

Let me tell you a story.  When my first child was 3 weeks old, he started throwing up.  Nothing would stay down for long.  It got worse and worse.  We saw five doctors in five days and got five different diagnoses.  Finally, after ending up in the ER at 1 am, and my son's pediatrician back to work after surgery, we found out what was actually wrong.  Pyloric Stenosis.  The muscle between his stomach and his small intestine grew too fast and closed off the opening so his food had no place to go.  He weighed less than he did the day we brought him home from the hospital.  They transported us to Blair Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson and he had surgery the next morning.  The very day Z turned 4 weeks old, they operated on him.  4 Weeks Old. That day I was scared.  I handed my baby off to a doctor for surgery.  But at least I knew that the doctor was going to heal my baby.  I was scared, but I knew it was going to be all right.

I don't know that right now.

The details of what is happening really don't matter (and please don't ask).  Suffice it to say, I'm wandering around in the dark and I'm lost.  I can't find my way out.  I can't find a light.  I'm not sure when it will end.  I know it will, but I like a timeline so that I can count down.  I can see progress then.

I believe in God.  I know he will get us through.  I do have faith.  But I'm still absolutely terrified.  My world is completely shaken.  I can't be calm and steady and sure like some Christians I know.  I really wish I could.  I know this is a test or a trial of His, but honestly, all I really want is to KNOW how this will end.  Knowing that it WILL end doesn't help.  At all.

People tell me to be quiet and listen to that "still, small voice."  I'm afraid that mean, cruel whisper of doubt is louder no matter how hard I try to ignore it.

I'm trying to have faith.  I'm trying to believe.  But I can't help but wonder if I'm clinging desperately to the wrong choice.

I'm tired of wandering around lost in the dark.

I'm tired of being scared.

I'm tired of feeling helpless.

Please God take away my fear.
Please God give me strength.
Please God give me peace.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Knowing All of the Answers

I remember when I was young (yes, a veeeerrrryyyyyy long time ago), I thought my parents had all of the answers.  They knew why the sky was blue.  The knew what we were having for dinner.  They knew why my little sister was so annoying.  They knew how Santa could travel the earth in one night.  They knew the going rate the tooth fairy paid for a front tooth vs a molar.  They knew everything.  They were the smartest people on earth.

I decided then (with the wisdom of a child) that 30 was the magic age.  When I turned 30, I would know all of the answers.  I would be wise, beautiful, confident, and successful.  When I was 30, my world would be perfect.

Guess what?  I was wrong.

Now, on the other side of 40, I admit that not only do I NOT have all of the answers, I don't even know where to look for most of them.  Some answers just can't be found in the dictionary, or in encyclopedias (yes, I am that old), or even *gasp*shudder* on the internet.

I'm not perfect.  I'm not even close.  I'm not smart.  I'm not beautiful.  I'm not confident.  I still feel insecure and afraid.  I am still as socially awkward now as I was in high school (though, Thank You, God, for helping me to survive That Horror!).  I still have trouble remembering that sometimes it is best to remain quiet.  I still can't think of the "right" thing to say in difficult situations.  I can't kiss my kids boo-boos better and I can't protect them from life's little agonies.  I can't even comfort my husband when life throws him a curve.  I can't take care of my mother like I wish I could.  I feel completely inadequate as a Daughter, as a Wife, as Mother, even as a Woman.

But sometimes, I get close to being perfect.  I can change light bulbs for my mother and change the sheets on her bed.  I can rock my little boy to sleep sometimes even at the age of 5. I can still tell my boys how proud I am of them and all they accomplish.  I can hold my husband's hand, look him in the eye and honestly tell him that I love him, and that I believe in him, and know that he believes me even if he doesn't believe in himself.

So while, I'm still not wise, or beautiful, or confident, I think I am successful.  I'm happy with my life.  I don't have a high-powered job and money is still tight, but I don't need those things.  I have a husband I love that loves me, and my kids still (mostly) think I'm perfect.  Those are the criteria by which I judge my success.  And when I feel inadequate and awkward and helpless, I try to remember to remind myself of those things.  Some days I'm more successful than others, but sometimes making the effort is all that matters.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Kids!!! The Reason I'm Medicated

I had planned a very different post from what this is going to be.  Really I had.  Especially since it has been three whole weeks since my last post (holidays, littlest heathen's birthday, end-of-year in accounting, the excuses could go on).  But after the morning I've had, I really need to vent.

I sat down earlier to write the post I wanted to write.  Z wanted to ask me a question.  Then M wanted to come in the room.  Then the dogs wanted out.  Before I could get logged in to write, the dogs wanted back in.  Then the cat started letting me know that she wanted SOMETHING, but I never figured out what.  Then M decided he was hungry.  And, no, I'm not a single parent.  There IS another adult in the house.  But my children seem to think I'm the one to go to get anything, fix anything, ask anything, etc.  Normally, this would be bragging rights as to how much my children love me.  But not today.  TODAY I WANT 5 MINUTES OF JUST ME!!!!  Is that too much to ask?  Okay, actually, I would like a couple of hours, but I will settle for 5 minutes.

I keep waiting for one of them to interrupt me again.  But since I took the Nintendo DS away because Z wouldn't do as he was told, now he's cleaning his room before I take away the TV.  Motivation.  Yep.  But that still leaves M, the dogs, the cat, and even the husband.  What?  Silence?  Hmmmmmm, they must have figured out mom's not in the best of moods this morning.  I wonder why!  Actually, I started out in a good mood.  I did.

I can tell already that this is one of the days that reinforce my need to be medicated.  Legitimately.  I forget exactly what the technical term is, but my doctor gave me a prescription that keeps me from completely losing my temper, or crying uncontrollably when my hormones hit, or deciding my husband really does need to sleep on the couch, or telling my boss exactly what he could do to help at year-end, or. . . well, you get the picture.

And for those of you that would look down your nose at me for being medicated, or whisper behind my back about my attitude toward my kids, well, I have another blog for you to read. Jill (otherwise known as Scary Mommy) says it better than I could in her post Mothering Children in the Digital Age .  It doesn't just apply to the digital age.  In fact, I think this digital age makes mothering a little easier -- we now have an outlet that our parents, grandparents, etc. didn't have.

Yes, today is a day I prove my medication works.  Or one of them (take your pick of kids, pets, husband, or any other critter in the vicinity) would be duct-taped in a closet -- and, yes, that really does work.  I know because I did it to my sister when we were kids to get some blessed peace and quiet.

But the timer just went off on the oven.  The apple-cinnamon muffins (mix, not homemade *sigh* who has the time or energy?) are ready.  So, I'm going feed the animals (including the kids), take my medication, get a cup of coffee and a muffin, then sit back, relax, enjoy my breakfast, and wait for the medication to kick in.  I'm sure my kids are anxiously awaiting that kick-in, too.

I highly recommend it.