Write? How?!?

When my anxiety is at peak performance I feel like I am being smothered with bubblewrap. If I move it will pop pop pop and my face will cringe, my fists will tighten, my heart will beat faster.
That’s how I feel now.
I woke up dandy! I feel great! I just don’t want to disturb the force!
I feel like ending everything I type with an exclamation point!!! Because I’m anxious!!!!!
See? Can you feel the stress of nothingness as you read that?
My anxiety has given me writers block.
It’s driving me crazy. The kind of crazy that comes along when you’re weeding a garden and find that never ending crab grass. No matter how much you yank, cut, pull…it’s there, mocking you!
I know this dose of jitters will end when I find the words for what I’m avoiding, or over compensating for.
What am I afraid of and distracted by? Everything or nothing. When I figure it out I am sure the drops of words will turn into the waterfalls of wisdom, words to live by.
For now, it’s just heavy. It’s hurting. It’s lonely.
I don’t feel it. But IT is there.
My inner human is acting like a child. I want to be out in the world, while my take charge brain screams to shelter in place. Beware. Stop. So much happens out there. In here is where safety is found.

What the Media Takes Away

Please read this post by my friend and fellow blogger Deb. Her perspective of the last few days of violence and the media circus surrounding it has given me perspective. Her words are touching and filled with truth..and I can’t find my own words just yet.

https://deborah-bryan.com/2016/07/07/policemen-let-names-be-names/

Stuck at the Gate

I arrived home, realizing I’d been avoiding my mailbox like the plague. My life has been busy lately, and busy tends to be translated as anxious x10 to my worrisome mind.

I killed our lawn mower. My husband killed our SUV and my van nearly died. All in that order over a three week period. While I’d like to say I handled this and the heating element of my dryer also dying with grace and patience…I did not. (But I sure thought I did!) It’s was all well and good until I showered a few nights ago. Then the tears fell – over my inability to use the soap dispenser with my ‘write’ hand. I sat down and sobbed, which made it worse, which made me sadder still. (Holy shit it’s been a ride. So glad I can’t repeat the past.)

Air drying towels and jeans should be a sin. There’s nothing I hate more than crispy towels and crunchy jeans. I can only compare it to stale cereal. Just yuck.

Anyway. That’s not what this is about.

In my mailbox was a letter…from my mother. Her cursive writing that spelled out my name and address made me feel heavy, like a laundry basket full of wet towels. I just placed it under my arm, walking inside feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders…

As I opened the envelope and pulled out the card I could see through the light blue background more cursive, more wordy thoughts, more glaring, dead references about my life, because judging is what she has always seemed to do best when it came to me. There wasn’t a bit of space left. Words were everywhere.

Not now I thought. I just can’t. I put the baby to sleep. I did dishes, folded clothes. I could not forget I’d gotten it.

Mom wrote…

Dear Bits, I was in a car accident in December in Portland. I was on my way to see my friend, my best friend since preschool. She took her own life. I didn’t know. It happened in October, but her husband hadn’t told anyone. He sent my Christmas card back, writing on the back that she’d passed. I called him and he told me everything. Just so sad.

I felt like the world had swallowed me up. 

I felt like an asshole.

I felt like a selfish asshole.

I read the rest. Out of guilt, out of remorse, and because my shame compelled me to.

Deep breath. It’s just words right?

My mothers parting lines – 

I want to ask your forgiveness and begin the restoration of our mother/daughter relationship. Let us cross over the bridge together that has kept our relationship apart, and move forward.

In my 35 years of life, not once has she said ‘I’m sorry’ for the things she’s done. Though she raised me to say it, believe it, bleed that forgiveness from every sorry pore.

I’m not ready

Deep breath

I don’t want to put away that list

The one filled with pain

Of abuse and manipulation

That one that keeps me here

Standing at the gate

My mother, filled with religion, with blame

The abyss I see just before the bridge she asks me to cross with her

I can’t

I know I should. I know that. Everything I have ever been taught, by her no less, has shown me it’s better, easier, right to cross that bridge. Everything , every Thing she’s ever done has only led me to a road void of love, and laden with the pot holes of her heavy hand, my burden to lay bare here.

Here is where I admit I hate the things she did/didn’t do. My own seething anger for all the times she beat the shit out of us because she wasn’t stable, able, willing to love – it leaves a taste of bitter fruit. The thought of letting go is at first so enticing, until a bite is taken and the drip of reality hits my palette. I can’t…

…But I will.

Life and Broken Brakes

I almost died today.
I was driving my 

blue beast soccer mom van.

I had just taken Baby to the store.

My brakes cut out, and the van jerked loudly through the intersection – when what it should have been doing was STOPPING.

Looking in my mirrors and then at my son I turned quickly to the right, brake pedal useless.

I prayed.

‘Dear God, if ever I needed you it’s now. Protect my son.’

I wasn’t even breathing as I thought of what to do. 

A church parking lot was to my right so I turned in.

And I turned again and again until the van stopped and the loud noise which came from beneath my vehicle stopped too.

Letting go of the wheel, and my fear I just melted.

I melted into the driver seat. 

I melted into my son which I was now holding tightly, and in turn holding me, whispering how scared I was into his little ear.

I told my baby how thankful I was to hold him, love him, be here.

How such peace-filled hours can turn into terrifying moments, and just as quickly become the stories of gratitude, and thankfulness amaze me…

Blessed.

The Butt Blog

 

 

Posting in the summer sun has been a bit of a challenge, both for my busy fingers, and fantabulious(?) frizzled hair. ( Only two weeks in…I think I need an assistant mama! ) I’m ready for fall/fall into bed/to fall off the responsible parent band wagon and begin bribing with candies! Yup, I so do that in the summer. Anything blue raspberry flavored is a big hit, or treats containing bugs. Gross yet effective.

Birdie is part of an invitation only math ‘prodigy’ class for the next month. As proud as I am and believe me I AM SO PROUD – I’m sad I can’t converse with her about all she’s learning. I.suck.at.math.

Summer is our season of random facts, in which I will happily share with you, my amazing minions, as I learn them.

Courtesy of Birdie
Turtles breathe out their butts.
I googled it.
The Australian White-throated Snapping Turtle does it to be specific. Because we wouldn’t want to make this claim about every turtle. It’s a rare thing indeed to breathe out ones butt. Let’s not get into the finer points of this fact but enjoy that my daughter found it at all. And I’m still laughing about it.

My son JJ likes to regurgitate the inappropriate comments (because he’s six yuh know) that our neighbors make. I’ve been getting schooled on the word ‘juicy‘ and how said word is used by a certain Mister neighbor to describe the Missus’ butt. JJ told me my butt was juicy this morning and I spray n’ washed his cute little face with my coffee.

*Have your kids or other small humans in your lives said anything you just can’t forget? Funny factoids? I’d love to read all about it!*


 

Open Heart, Open Road

Bravo and I had the weekend to do nothing in particular so we went road tripping. I call it that because my son JJ literally tripped at every destination we stopped at. Five states in three days!

I’ll write something more eloquent later in the week about our adventure (maybe?) but for now, I’ll just share another of my loves from said adventure – photography!

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Bridge into Arkansas

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Sunset in Memphis

Early 1800’s Cemetary in Kentucky

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Tree in Kentucky

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Sunset in Kentucky

Loving Life

A Daughters Heart

 

 

There is a child in my daughters class, who every day comes through the door dressed like a model for a department store. Popped collar shirts, masculine jeans, skater shoes…the most expensive of accessories.

The bell rings and his shoulders fall. His discomfort fades away and this beautiful child is – at least until the bell goes off to head back home – no longer the boy his surely loving parents dress him to be, but ‘Linda’…a snarky and at times confident child. Just one of the girls.

My sweet Birdie has sat me down many times to let out the built up frustration she feels on behalf of Linda. Whether this child’s parents even know, how come they make who she feels is obviously more comfortable as a her/she/girl/young lady, dress and act like a him/he/handsome young man. My daughter asks why he should have to pretend to be someone she’s not, while little Birdie has always been allowed to be Birdie.

My daughter does not like the tight, high-riding and/or low cut girls clothing. She does not enjoy bling and glitter, bows and girly-ness. Her wardrobe, much like mine was at her age – is filled with boys clothes, shoes, accessories. Nike football shirts, athletic pants and shorts, basketball shoes. She has one dress, which she has worn once. It wasn’t forced, she wanted it and so I bought it.

While trying to help my little girl (with the over-sized and often overly sensitive heart) understand Linda’s life, and the choices we make to be happy, the wise and wonderful mom in me realized something. My daughter is amazing. My daughter has managed to grasp and master what we take charge humans often find ourselves struggling with – acceptance. Whether of ourselves, others, circumstances, happenstances. She gets it.

 

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(While there are a host of ‘issues’ surrounding this ‘subject of debate’…I’ll cross my t’s and dot my i’s as they find their way to the paper, but not before.)

*****

I try not to be a drop in what I feel is an already overflowing cup of unsolicited opinions/advice, but I just want to say that with everything going on, going wrong – I am not worried or afraid of Linda’s miraculous friendship with my daughter.

I am fearful of war.

I am heartbroken for each human being that dies because they are starving.

I pray that those who are lost will be found, free, happy.

I do not pray that God changes someone who finds solace in being who they feel they’re meant to be.

 

*I am a Christian, and I’ve read the Bible. I’ve also lived, lost, learned along the way.*

 

I love my children, and as long as I’m living and beyond I will love them. If I can love my children then I can love your children. If I can accept my children’s desire to be who they choose/need to be, well then I can do the same for yours.

This isn’t about what I want but what makes my children/our children feel whole. I don’t understand it. But I’m not afraid of it, of change. I’m not afraid of a difference of opinion either, but I’m afraid for those human beings that are cast aside because they choose to live. I’m just one person I know. God has taught me that if nothing else, He’s saved me to share His love. He fought for my life through addiction, homelessness…and I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the one to cast a stone at one of HIS greatest gifts…another human being. A life worthy of existence. All unique, all loved, all beautiful in his eyes and therefore in mine.

 

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Because It’s Good Fun

 

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I haven’t been posting very much lately and for those that have missed it I do apologize! Life has been going at full ludicrous speed around our house and I’ve been playing catch up myself for weeks!

Tank is walking so I spend most of my days chasing, oohing and aahing, and cleaning up after everyone else so he won’t realize he can reach the table and countertops to make big messes. I had forgotten how much I loved cabinet locks!!

JJ graduates from kindergarten next week and has requested all the festivities of a college grad for ‘his’ party…streamers, costumes, darts, bubbles…and a new bike.

 

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Birdie will be heading to middle school next year and with that comes the joys of hitting that all important ‘girls only‘ kind of puberty at the most awkward time…and her fifth grade swimming party is TOMORROW!!! *sigh*

Our son Jay has been off and on with his anxiety meds, which if anyone knows anything about any type of medication it’s that one must use it as prescribed. Trying to word things without hurting his anxious feelings about what he’s like without his meds is driving our relationship into a wall – made of steel. The kid is just 14, 6′ tall and 200 lbs of oil and water, grease and fire, bubbles and flower petals. Ugh. It. Sucks. He’s heading off to high school next year and has no desire to do ANYTHING. That at least, is typical of his age – and then there’s girls….calling, texting, never ending. (Enter mama bear stone cold and unamused face here.)

My 18 yr. old son is applying to work at a casino for the summer. No I don’t like it, but he’s 18. He’s 18. I feel old…perhaps this part should be left out? (I mean, I really do only dye my hair because I like to right? There’s no gray…is there?)

Of course there’s the life outside of party planning, having to do laundry and change diapers. There’s more to my life than meeting with teachers, doctors and short-order meal requests at 0100 hours. I’m also a wife. And my husband has been doing a lot around here for us. Bravo has a job and if all goes well he will switch from being a contract position to permanent employee in about 8 weeks. Thank God for regular pay, hours and bill paying. I am so thankful that we can buy pizza on Saturday nights if we want and buy that really soft toilet paper again.

With all this to-do and so on, I forgot to mow our yard, or just the back yard really. Then it rained for a week. Then it was hot and humid, sunny beyond measure…and I kid you not the measurements of grass are a two foot minimum. I’m gonna need a tractor, an old rake and a new mower. Help! (And with two dogs, kids, and a fear of Lyme disease this mama and her hubby have been weed whacking and raking Deadpool style. Cursing, laughing, inappropriately joking and bribing our kiddos to get in on this fun.)

Anyway, I hope the coming new season will be filled with more of my little bit of heaven. Because as bitchy as this blog post sounds…it’s all I’ve ever wanted. And the bits of hope, happiness and love sprinkled about are all I need to know I’m right where I should be.

 

***On a side note, I watched the mo vie  ‘Deadpool’ and it was disgusting – as in disgustingly funny.***

 

 

 

 

Mama/Me…

 

 

My heart beats, thankful to be here.
Thinking of ways to show these beautiful faces how much they are loved when the best of me feels far and away is a fete for the ages I tell you.
I wonder if that’s what this is, this motherly thing I do… If worrying about doing it right or wrong makes me a good mother or someone just muddling her way through this thing called life-with-kids.

Is it painful to admit I feel in over my head just now? Yes, but that’s okay by me because honesty is exactly what I’m hoping/going for. A child that is honest. A mom that is honest still. A family that is whole – honestly. I have recently found that loneliness really can make one crazy, and how crazy it is that often being alone is what I crave. Not because I want out of my job or life or love but because I NEED to find me outside of my mommy-ness. But what would I be without these kids, memories, years?

My/our special ‘Mothers Day’ is Sunday if you didn’t know. And I’m just happy to be here, every day, even on the crappy days that don’t end or the long nights that see the dawn. With almost every mommy deed lacking in poetic beauty there is still all the beautifully crafted moments woven in that I hold onto…

Baby bubble baths
Sickly midnight moments filled with hugs
Twice cut no crust sandwiches
Dark kitchens and moonlit kisses
Windy days spent flower picking
Shooting the ball between mopping and scrubbing
Burps, farts, boogers-at all meals…and timed to perfection

Sweetest-dream giggles
First teeth, first steps, first dates
Last kisses before the bus
One last goodnight

 

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To all the moms I hope you have some of these moments today and every day. The world just wouldn’t be the same without them – or us.

*Happy Mothers Day.*

 

 

 

Allergies Old & New…

 

Allergies seem to run in the family and since I’m adopted my husband and kids can’t pin this one on me. *Yessss*

 

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My daughter Birdie has seasonal allergies. She is also heading into middle school this fall, so she has begun to acquire the well known ‘I can’t’ allergy caused by the ‘I don’t feel like it’ tree. (It just keeps on giving!) Awesome. Good times, good times…

On a more serious note, Birdie is also allergic to latexdeadly allergic. She wasn’t always, but since birth showed symptoms of said allergy. We took her to the doctor for every rash, bump, blister, red patch. Starting just after birth she would turn as red as a cherry to the touch from all the poking and prodding. Our pediatrician came to meet her at the hospital and picked her up so sweetly. He held her like we did – with love. He put her down and her body had two perfect prints from his latex gloves. They wrapped around her tiny little body. With no other symptoms of a problem we all guessed she was just being a new tiny human, sensitive in every way.

She was however a sickly little thing. Which isn’t typical with a baby that nurses.

Around year one we had to avoid bandaids because it was impossible to get them off, and left a little rosie tattoo in its place for weeks, on top of whatever terrible ouchie Birdie had. At around two her little head and face started breaking out in what was eczema and heat rashes…even in December. Again, with no other symptoms I treated her scalp with apricot and olive oil and cool bubble baths for her rash. At three we introduced flip flops. They gave her blisters between her feet (which she had off and on in her mouth since she started sprouting teeth) so I gave them to another little girl who thought they were just so fancy. At five she started losing teeth and as any good mama would I made sure she brushed her wiggly teeth bunches, and they just fell out…two by two – and once by three. By the time she was six she had to see a dentist for an abscess. The dentist said the tooth had to go. We did the deed and her tooth was yanked; and while it was being removed she had trouble breathing which we chalked up to the stress of such a procedure. And then there was H1N1 and then chronic bronchitis, and influenza; all in a three month period, and all too much for her immature immune system to handle while fighting what would later be diagnosed as a latex allergy. In fact, we never would have known she had said allergy if she had not gotten so sick. Her body was fighting an allergy to the world around her. I felt so guilty. I felt terrible for her.

Birdie’s allergy seems to be catching as more tiny humans in the US are diagnosed, and yet so few things are latex free. Birdie has a medical alert bracelet, an IHP at school, an epi-pen, high dose steroid creams and her own latex free first aid kit here, for traveling and at school. She has a special seat cover she takes from class to class and can’t play kick ball because of her allergy. To put the seriousness of her allergy into perspective I have made you a list.

*Her rash on her skin was caused by food allergies from mainly fruits that have proteins resembling latex such as banana, strawberry, kiwi, mango, avocado…basically all that is creamy and/or delicious.
*Her eczema on her scalp was caused by the small latex bubbles on the ends of her hair brush bristles. If she itched her scalp after washing it tore the skin just enough that when I would comb her blonde locks the latex would enter her skin and cause irritated, dry patches.
*Her tooth brushes all had latex containing bristles and with each loose tooth she/I would brush brush brush that latex right into her blood stream. As an immune response her gums would swell and push her teeth out. When she had any dental work done every glove, tube, tool had or was completely made of latex. It is what caused her labored breathing.
*Her flip flops got their bend from latex, so when she would sweat the latex entered into her pores causing dermatitis (a rash that looks like tiny blisters) in between her toes. Most shoes are held together with latex based glue. So, Birdie can’t get her shoes wet or she gets hives, which turn into awful open sores. They bleed and peel, and are extremely painful. Even the carpet in her room had to go, so she got a new room without it. The padding made the bottoms of her feet turn red when they were wet from bathing.

Unlike some people who have a latex allergy Birdie is in more danger if her immune system is compromised. This is when she is at her greatest risk of dying from anaphylactic shock. Her body simply can’t fight off illness and her allergy. If she gets the sniffles she stays home so I can keep an eye on her. The last pair of shoes we bought her were suppose to be latex free…after three days of feeling like she fit in with her super cool/expensive high tops she was in the nurses office then home for four days, unable to handle the wounds on her feet. She was angry with me. She felt I didn’t do my job. (I call every major company of clothing, shoes, the works…before we ever buy something to ensure her safety and the absence of latex. There are some wonderful websites that help out with determining which products do/don’t contain latex, but just because it says so doesn’t always make it true.)

We had to gut our house of anything and everything that was or may possibly have contained latex. Her toys (almost all of them) were put out for the fundraiser sale in our front yard on a Saturday. The local donut shop heard about it and chipped in oodles of donut holes and bottled waters, with all the cash going straight to Birdie. We had to toss a lot of things, all her hair stuff, much of her clothes, kitchen utensils, shoes, really EVERYTHING. She hated us for months. Even after we bought her latex free toys, paint, crafts, the works. She had every right to be mad. The life she knew and loved was sold for pennies on the dollar.

 

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It’s been four years and Birdie has risen to the occasion and is her own best advocate. She even gets to have sleep overs at other peoples houses without me panicking, calling every few hours. And several moms have really gone above and beyond to ensure Birdies safety while she is in their homes, cars, pools.

There will always be some things she can’t have or do like wear the same cheerleader uniforms as her friends, wear air Jordan tennis shoes, use maxi pads or wear socks from the store. But she’s thriving, and that means there’s such an immense sense of hope that one day all things will fall into place for her.

We’ve been blessed that none of our other children have to deal with such a life changing and difficult allergy…until this last Friday…

 

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Tank, our one year old is now covered in a rash from the top of his head to the bottom of his tippy toes. He ate a teensy piece of strawberry. That coupled with his constant tummy aches and difficulty adjusting to new foods (the same on Sarahs list) he will be watched like a hawk, and from this moment on never again will he enjoy the sweet life of strawberries sprinkled with sugar, mixed berry fruit chews, or red candies. Perhaps I should consider buying Benadryl by the case.

(This all started as a quick email to a friend, DLJ, about Tank, but I though to myself why overwhelm just her when I can share with all of you! )