Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses

Last week, the kids and I met my mom in Las Vegas for four days of nothingness. We just wanted to escape reality for awhile. During my stay, I posted this status on Facebook:

It really made me take a step back and evaluate what kind of mother I want to be. Why did it take me nearly eight years and a trip to Vegas to identify what kind of mom I want to be?

When I was pregnant with Real Boy, I knew I wouldn't breastfeed. I knew I would try my darnedest not to be attached to him. By attached, I mean literally attached. I knew I would have to go back to work six weeks after giving birth and deploy when he was around eight months. Is it a good reason not to breastfeed? I don't know and quite frankly, it's too late to care. As they say, it is what it is.

Of course I still formed a bond with him. I mean, have you seen this kid? He's amazing. However, I just didn't want to feel tied down. For us this meant no cosleeping or picking him up at every single cry. I was and still am all about schedule, schedule, schedule. I have been told by those wise mothers who know everything about being a parent that my neurotic scheduling means I practice convenience parenting. Get off the gas bitches! Ain't nothin' convenient about parenting.

For those of you who think doing the opposite of attachment parenting equals convenience parenting, you're an idiot. People seem to think people who sleep train or let their baby cry for 30 seconds are somehow neglecting their children. That is not the case. It is just a different method of helping a child obtain independence. It's all the same fucking thing.

Tangent over. My point is, as a working mother I have been so focused on the schedule and the  fostering of independence that I forgot about relaxing. You know, all that stop and smell the roses hoopla. Seriously, it has been out of control. I've been so focused on trying to make things perfect and on time, I completely lost perspective.

This is what Las Vegas taught me: Stop caring about trying to do it all. Take a breath. Stop overanalyzing. Enjoy. Keep calm and fucking carry on.

I know my children love me and without a doubt I adore them, but we've just been going through the motions of life. Wake up, go to school/work, come home, eat, sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.

How damn pathetic is that? I am trying to be the best, happiest person I can be, yet I'm not nearly there. I've spent too much time trying to be supermom, superwife and superemployee. And again the mommy guilt enters, stumping my happiness growth.

I didn't breastfeed. I didn't stay home with the kids. I didn't play long enough with the kids today. I didn't feed them gluten-free, organic, free-range, whole grain, anything-from-Trader-Joe's food today. It seems I've been overextending myself in an effort to win some imaginary My-Life-Is-Awesome-And-I've-Got-My-Shit-Together contest. I'm done playing catch up.

I don't want to be that wacky mom who is always trying to be hip, nor do I want to be friends with my children. I simply want us all to relax and not take every damn thing so seriously. I'm done caring about what others say about my parenting or lifestyle. It is time to look at my little family and only consider what is best for us to attain happiness. It may have taken my eight years to get here, but I made it. As blogger Doyin of Daddy Doin' Work says, I'm "Achieving happy," one deep breath at a time.

Viva Las Vegas.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's Times Like These

I've been wanting to write about this for a long time. I've held off because I didn't want to hurt anyone close to me, but I don't think that matters any longer. I have chosen to write this blog post in an effort to remember what I'm thinking now so I can apply it to my future. More importantly, for Real Boy's and Real Girl's futures.

When I found out I was pregnant with Real Boy, I was pretty darn elated. Conversely, when I found out I was having a boy I became less so. You see, I have two brothers who are younger than I am. They are both addicts and criminals. I'm not even talking about run-of-the-mill criminals or addicts who steal or use here and there. I'm talking about full-blown-been-to-jail-25-times-and-about-to-go-to-prison criminals.

In addition to my brothers, the men in my family do not have the best track records. They are all fucked up in some way or another. If it's not alcoholism, it's drugs. If it's not drugs, it's criminal behavior. If it's not criminal behavior, it's poor mental health. For the most part, we women have come out on top.

In recent years, the problems with my brothers have become increasingly taxing on my mother. She is a textbook enabler. If these "boys" asked her for anything, she'd rush over and give them what they need immediately. She's aware of their rampant drug use. Shooting up meth or smoking crack. She knows the money she gives them will turn into alcohol, which will only lead to the older of the two to become violent and unpredictable.

Yet, she continues to enable and I continue to watch from a great distance. I have cut off my brothers. I hardly talk to them. My heart truly is broken. What is most troubling is our family was your classic All-American family. I'm not sure what happened.

It is so bad that last year, I submitted my brother for the A&E show Intervention. I watch it religiously and cry with every episode. Just thinking of it now, my eyes tear up. The show's producers called me about our family appearing on the show. I was so excited and I thought, "Finally! I can get some quality help for my family!" It was definitely a fist pumping, clicking of the heels together moment. Stage One: Complete.

Luckily, I was flying to Texas to attend a memorial service for my dearest cousin who passed away from cancer. While the circumstances of my visit were grim, I was able to get video of my brother and my mom to submit to the show. When I returned home, I made my video and uploaded it to the show producers. Stage Two: Complete.

They loved our story. We were picked. Stage Three: Complete.

Now, just to set up a scenario to get everyone together and we would be all good to go. I cannot believe how wrong I was. At the last minute, my mom pulled out because she was afraid she would lose her job. You see being the enabler she is, she secured a job for one brother at the same place she is employed. Final Stage: Complete Failure.

I’m truly not surprised. Who really wants their skeletons released from their dark, quiet closets on national television? Well, I guess I do. I was/am that desperate to fix my family. I don’t care who knows about what my family has gone through. I am not ashamed because I know there are others out there just like me sitting around, waiting for the phone call that a loved one has died. I have seriously been waiting for that phone call for about 17 years. That is far too long. Just to give you some perspective of why I’m waiting for that call, here is a list of phone calls I have gotten throughout the years:

·         Both brothers in a severe car wreck where they were transported to a hospital in serious condition.
·         Younger brother in a fight where he was hit with a tire iron in his elbow when he tried to block his face from being smashed. Required serious surgery and 10 years later and he still does not have full use of his right arm.
·         Older brother was found fast asleep at the wheel of his car in the middle of an intersection.
·         Younger brother gets in an altercation in a bar and is shot in the leg, narrowly missing his femoral artery. He ends up having surgery because the bone was shattered and was wheelchair ridden for a few months.
·         The next year, younger brother was in a near fatal car accident and had to be life-lighted to the hospital. He broke his hip in this incident, requiring yet another surgery.
·         Older brother goes missing from his friend’s house. My mom calls in a panic because he left his shoes in his friend’s car. Two days later, we find him, but it was the longest days ever.
·         I went home to visit for Thanksgiving one year. I woke up late at night to my brother harassing my mom. Turns out, he ingested Soma (heavy muscle relaxer), liquid cocaine, Xanax and booze. I was up all night watching him convulse wondering if I should take him to the hospital.

These are the major incidents. There are so many smaller ones I can’t even begin to remember them all. How are they able to accomplish even staying alive with their lifestyle? My mom. She is always there for them. I get that a mother’s love is unconditional, but now it is time for her to stop. Easier said than done.

As I said in the beginning of this post, I am no longer wanting to “hide” this story. I want to share it. In some ways, I’m lucky to have experienced this. If anything, it certainly is humbling. It’s given me perspective. It’s made me realize people make mistakes and it’s okay to continue to love them.

I am scared for my children and their futures. Addiction and mental health issues run deep in my family from both sides. However, I know I am learning through this and somehow we will all come out on top. I will not give up, nor will I enable anyone to use or to continue a destructive life. With this, I continue to forge ahead on my journey with a little hope and a smile.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Post: Dognapping, Doctors and Drugs, Oh My

Cassandra over at always has crazy accounts of events in her life. Enjoy this one because it's pretty dang funny. Be sure to go check out her blog for more contemplative insight and silly stories.

The following is a harrowing account of my experiences with drugs, emergency rooms, kidnapping, and sonograms. Go forth with caution, gentle readers, for you may find yourself thinking I’m a dumbass.

On a lovely June evening I was laying in bed with my fine specimen of a boyfriend when I felt a familiar throbbing. No, not that kind of throbbing. I guess throbbing isn’t the right word—more like I felt a horrible stabbing pain in my back and side like a rabid Rottweiler had snuck in the bedroom, become invisible, decided I smelled like steak and latched on like he was on death row. That can happen, people. I’ve seen all the Harry Potter movies.

Boyfriend was already dozing as he is prone to do by about ten o’clock after working in the oil patch since six in the morning. I tried to ignore the pain but I had a sneaking suspicion that it was a kidney stone and it wasn’t going away without a trip to the ER. I’ve had many of them—many of them—and I still can’t immediately recognize the pain. I always try to rationalize it somehow or pretend it will go away.

Finally, after starting to cry I decided to go home and see if it got better. I didn’t wake Boyfriend up except to tell him I was going home and he mumbled an “okaybabycallme” with his face half turned into the pillow and promptly began snoring again. Why didn’t I go straight to the ER you ask? Why didn’t I make him take me? I have my reasons, and one is super embarrassing and one isn’t. I didn’t wake him up to take me because he gets up really early and I knew he wouldn’t get any sleep. The other reason is that…

I was worried that…

I just needed to poop.

*Pause for my humiliation.*

I’ve been in severe pain before and gone to the ER thinking I had another kidney stone and I was constipated. Luckily my dumbassery knows no bounds so I wasn’t mortified to hear it in the ER but if my boyfriend would have gotten out of bed and gone with me just to hear that I needed to take a slam I would have never lived it down.

So instead of going straight to the ER, I went home to take a crap. As I was leaving in the dark of night I kissed Boyfriend and whispered to my dog to go get in the car. Like a loving, responsible girlfriend who was in so much pain I could hardly breathe, I locked in my giant sleeping boyfriend, who actually has scars from busting people’s teeth on his knuckles, just in case he suddenly couldn’t defend himself. He sleeps pretty deeply.

Now let’s take a break for visual presentation.

Exhibit A: My dog Jack

Exhibit B: Boyfriend’s dog Hobo

So Your Honor and members of the jury, I cannot be blamed for taking the wrong dog home. And for not noticing that said dog was the wrong dog until I was at home and doubled over in pain. And for the later consequences of kidnapping said dog.

*Pause for my humiliation.*

I called Boyfriend to alert him to my accidental canine felony because I knew that when he woke up without his beloved Hobo next to him he would not be a happy man. Hobo is likewise ridiculously attached to Boyfriend, a fact I was aware of but that escaped me when I left Hobo in my house with my sleeping parents while I drove myself to the emergency room. Boyfriend didn’t answer his phone, for the record.

Also for the record, yes, I live with my parents. I pay them rent. It’s actually a garage addition…nevermind.

*Pause for my humiliation.*

Once in the emergency room I went through the check-in process and was put in line. The admit nurse was very sympathetic and said I would be next to be called. I was shocked. Usually I have to wait 500 hours because they assume that I’m a junkie looking for pain killers just because I’m not screaming and wailing in pain. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and when I’m in a lot of pain (or really pissed) I get really quiet. She handed me a pee cup so I they could go ahead and test it while I was waiting for an exam room. I headed toward the bathroom past the ER desk and she pointed me back to the lobby.

“Out there, sweetie. Past the coke machines.”

Sure. I love peeing into a cup in a public restroom.

While I’m doing my part for HIPPA in the bathroom my name is called on the loudspeaker. Twice. There’s nothing like crossing a crowded ER lobby with a cup of your own pee. Really. Nothing.

*Pause for my humiliation.*

With relief I am I lead to an exam room, thinking that the pain is almost over and I have a date with an IV full of drugs. How wrong I was. So wrong.

At least they gave me a puke pan.

*Pause for…nevermind.*

As my pain got worse I realized it might not be a kidney stone. I was nauseous and hurting all the way into my rib cage. Having time to look up my symptoms on WebMd didn’t help much. Finally afraid, I text my Mom and asked her to come to the ER:

Mom: Isn’t Jimmy with you?
Me: No I let him sleep.
Mom: Then why is Hobo howling in your room?
Me: I accidentally kidnapped him.
Mom: Well, can you kidnap him back? Or dognap.
Me: No, I locked myself out. I don’t think Jimmy will press charges.

When my mother’s head poked into the ER exam room I admit that I started crying. Even though I’m 33 years old, having my mom with me when I’m sick makes me feel like things are okay. I’d already been in the ER for an hour and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even describe it. I had actually started the bargaining phase of grief.

God, if you’ll take this pain away I’ll never trim my own bangs again.

I’ll go to church even if I have to wear pantyhose.

I’ll stop giving children in restaurants dirty looks.

I won’t have sex again until I’m marr…I mean, I won’t eat processed foods.

God didn’t take the bait. The pain got worse.

It was then that my five foot nothing spitfire of a mother stood indignantly in the doorway the exam room and just glared at the nurse’s station. Feeling a mother’s wrath, finally, FINALLY the nurse came in and gave me an IV of Dillaudid.

I was actually so relieved from the pain that I started really crying. I luuurrrrvvve opiates in times of intense pain.

So then I was a little wasted, and it was time for my sonogram. Those fuckers hurt, by the way. Usually they do X-rays, but this time I got to have some dude roll a wand around my rib cage and belly. He must have assumed that because I’ve got some chub he needed to press really hard. I had bruises, no joke.

I was clutching the puke pan as I got up from the table of torture and just as I settled back into the nice comfy wheel-chair the tech said, “Wait a minute. Come back here. I want to check your gallbladder because you’re nauseous. There’s no order for it but let’s just be safe.”

Sure dude. Make like Gandalf with that wand and look at my gallbladder.

Here’s where it gets fuzzy: I know my mom was trying to figure out the Hobo problem because he was sitting in my room howling and keeping my Dad awake. Boyfriend not only wasn’t answering but his number was saying his phone number had changed. This was news I only handled well because I was high. In retrospect, I probably should have been more concerned by that.

A nurse practitioner came in my little exam room and informed me that I not only had a kidney stone, but two gall stones and a kidney infection.


No one in the room understood my reaction of joy, but I was so glad to hear that I wasn’t in pain because I had to poop (well, that and I was HIIIIGGGGHHHHH), contributed to my audible pronouncement. Then it was blah blah blah (I’m soooo higgghhhh) and some blahda blahda bladah (feeling sooooo happy) then some papers and a few pills and I got to leave.

Well, I got to stand up, then feel incredibly nauseous and almost throw up in a trash can outside the emergency room.

*No humiliation because I was soooo…nevermind.*

My wonderful mother then took me to our only 24 hour pharmacy and went in to get my prescriptions filled while I kicked back in the seat and tried not to throw up. I think I may have also made some incredible observations about city sanitations and stars but that could have just been the drugs talking.

So four in the morning comes and goes, then by four fourty-five (fifteen minutes before Boyfriend’s alarm goes off) I found myself next to the bedroom window with Hobo by my side knocking for Boyfriend to let me in. He barely stumbles to the door and flops back on the bed before I can get into the hallway. He didn’t even notice Hobo had been hijacked—I coulda gotten away with it!

From the bedroom doorway (I needed to rest) I did my best to explain my adventures but the drugs and the fatigue were too much. It came out “owie kidney pee stone drugs ribcage cracker” and I watched his long arm flop over in one chunky movement to my side of the bed where he did his sleepy best to pat it and mumbled “okaybabybednow”.

I crawled back to my side, mildly musing that just hours before I had been laying there comfy and safe, then everything went to a very amusing hell.

And Boyfriend slept through all of it.

But the bastard’s alarm clock was about to go off and I would sleep right through it.

Because I was soooo hiiigggghhhh.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

MILTMLT: The Second Coming

Welcome to the second installment of Men I'd Like to Make Love to: MILTMLT. If you missed the first edition, here it is. I've decided this acronym will be said like this: Milt-Mult. Sounds really gross, but whatever so does MILF. Without further ado, here's Real MILTMLT:

1.  Alcide from True Blood. Quite frankly, I do not care what his real life name is. There was a scene of him from the latest episode that made my muff puff (if ya know what I mean). I don't know, just go with it.

This is a crime right?

2.  Robert Downey Jr. This man has been through hell and back. Mostly by his own doing. This means, he's had lots of sex and is probably good at it. He's hot and artsy. I'm in.

Smokin! You have to say it like Jim Carey in The Mask.

3.  Lenny Kravitz. He is a musician. He is sexy. He is brown. Yes Lenny. I wanna go your way.

How can I deny myself this creature?

4.   James Franco. What can I say about James? Oh yeah, he is gorgeous, but I'm more attracted to his mystery. He seems unpredictable in roles he chooses. And he's smart. Like.

His smile is infectious.

5.  Alexander Skarsgard. Yes, I love True Blood. I find this man attractive for some reason. He's too blond and Swedish for me, but he's so tall. I'm tall too, so I think our time in the sack would be hours of our long limbs entangled in steamy, lusty sexy time.

I mean really. This looks fun.

Who's on your MILTMLT list?