Tag Archives: love

Red Pens and Condoms.

You know how your brain tries to protect you from things you can’t handle? I think mine has been doing that without my knowledge or consent.

I’ve spent the last month dusting my living room. This may not seem like a remarkable feat, but here:

I not only dusted the shit on top of the bookshelves; I dusted the bookshelves themselves AND all the books on them. Then I rearranged the books by author and favorites.

If I made a list of all the household chores that I despise (that would be all of them) dusting would be Number One.

Now, granted, I spent some of that time sick. Migraines, arms not working, back breaking in two (not really). But seriously. I had real shit to do. Shit that actually NEEDED to be done. Like get my kids ready for school, since it STARTS TODAY.

No big deal, right? Right. Except my oldest is going to college, middle is starting 8th grade, and littlest is entering 2nd grade.

So one would think, since a) I’m freaking the fuck out and b) I love school supplies more than almost anything, that I would be prepared. Backpacks. Notebooks. Lovely, lovely pens. Highlighters.  Folders. Every year since the oldest started school, I have had these things for weeks before school started. Backpacks would be packed with carefully labeled supplies. All binders would have little pencil pouches, just in case they forgot to bring a pencil to class. Paper would be stocked inside each folder, and folders would all be a different color so they would be easy to identify in a hurry.

Ha. This year, I didn’t buy shit. I mean absolutely nothing until yesterday. The day before school. So I assume my stupid asshole of a brain purposely derailed me. Likely because I CAN’T STAND THE THOUGHT OF MY OLDEST LEAVING.

Yesterday we finally went shopping. The boys didn’t give a shit about folders or non-scratchy pens, so they went out to the car. I filled my cart with my favorite things, plus bedding and other dorm shit (sob).

I was getting more and more stressed out the longer I was in the store. The last things I needed were red pens and lunchboxes. THEY WERE COMPLETELY OUT OF RED PENS. This was almost enough to push me over the edge, but I held it together and went to find lunchboxes. Of which the entire fucking store only had two.

I couldn’t take anymore. I stood there, lunchbox in each hand, waving them in the air and cursing like a sailor. An employee saw me and I had to explain (while starting to cry) that I wasn’t cussing at him, I was cussing at life. And lunchboxes. He left, looking a little scared, and I sank to the floor. The lack of choices in lunchboxes was apparently all I could take. I sat there in the middle of the store, just sobbing, with two lunchboxes clutched to my chest.

After finally getting my shit together enough to stand up and get the hell out of there, the checkout guy asked me, “How I was doing.” ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? MY HEART IS BREAKING AND SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW AND YOU ARE OUT OF RED PENS!

We got home and I sat down in the floor, surrounded by school supplies. This is my happy place. I do realize that my middle child is in 8th grade. I didn’t give a shit. I started filling binders and writing class names on the spines and making sure each one had a pouch of pencils and pens. This lasted approximately 3 minutes before he came out of his room and asked for his supply list and all his stuff.

Sure. YOU’LL REGRET THIS WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE COLOR-CODED BINDERS, EACH WITH THE CORRECT RATIO OF PENS TO PENCILS! I’m positive he didn’t sharpen all the pencils. You have no idea how much this hurts.

This morning we took the two youngest to their schools, then I went off with a fully loaded car and child who was not coming home with me. I maintained while we drove (except I got really lost). I was fine as we unloaded. Once again my breakdown happened at Walmart. I may not be allowed back there. This is what I found when I returned to the dorm, loaded with shampoo and soap and condoms. (YES, condoms. Shut up.)

Dorm shenanigans

These kids look like they’ve totally got it together enough to survive on their own. Also, the condoms were possibly a waste of money.

I finally left my baby (yes, the one who is a foot taller than I am). When I got to the parking garage, my car was lost. There were so many levels, I was so tired, I was crying again, my feet were on FIRE…I seriously considered just laying down and rolling until someone ran me over. Then they’d be obligated to give me a ride to my car. Wherever it was.

Do you think I subconsciously blocked out The Big Day? And the directions? Also where I left the car? I’m pretty sure I just pretended none of this was happening until it actually happened. Surely one of you has had a crying fit over lunchboxes? Scared a Walmart employee? I can’t be the ONLY one who has seriously considered rolling down the ramps in a parking garage. Right? 

 

 

 


No One Wants to Hear About Your Dreams

I know, I know, but the name of this blog came from a dream, so indulge me, just a little.

I’m not doing so great right now, and my dreams are like slaps in the face.

I guess if you look at them symbolically, then they have evolved from convoluted-dream-speak to STEPHANIE, QUIT BEING A FUCKING DUMBASS AND LITERALLY SMELL THE ROSES!

We took the two youngest kids on a short trip, an hour or so away to a touristy-town, just for swimming and playing and “getting away.” (Thanks to a certain Nana and Grandma for making this happen.)

Anyway, YES. I had fun. YES. I enjoyed being with my family. YES. I laughed, and ate, and swam, and sat in the hot tub, and had an entire fancy lobby all to myself with coffee already made when I woke up.

YES. I was hurting and needed SILENCE after just a short while. NO, I couldn’t carry any bags or take the stairs; shit, I had to LEAN ON A WALL just to wait for the elevator. (The only reason I didn’t sit in the floor is that my 13-year-old would’ve died from embarrassment and then who would’ve helped me up.)

YES. I freaked out a tiny bit at dinner. YES, I actually thought my server walked away while I was telling her my order. YES, I was surprised to find her still there. YES, unfortunately, I tried to explain my confusion to her and my family.

YES. It was hard, and I am paying for it now, and I’m so depressed today that I don’t even know if it was worth it. I keep thinking back…

How happy my son was in his new clothes, laughing and joking and BEING NICE TO HIS SISTER.

How happy my daughter was, laughing and joking and giddy with excitement.

How SELFLESS my husband was (and is) knowing that he would be the pool-toy, the bag carrier, the kid-chaser, the driver, and did all these things knowing he had to work the next day.

It was worth it.

That doesn’t mean I’m any less miserable today. I won’t detail my aches and pains; I will just say that as someone who basically did nothing harder than stand in an elevator as it went up and down two floors, I don’t feel like I should be in this kind of pain.

We got home late yesterday afternoon. My husband was still at work. I was SO TIRED. The 13-year-old and 7-year-old were somehow NOT tired. The 30-minute car nap that almost killed me revitalized them I guess.

So I told them I HAD to lay down and to wake me up if they needed me and I was so tired that I didn’t even go over my spiel that they usually say with me because they FREAKING KNOW, MOM!

I thought I would drowse a little, maybe just lay in bed and rest but not even sleep, or get a quick nap and be able to think again. WRONG.

The kids tried to talk to me at least 5 times in the 3 hours before their dad got home. Once (apparently) my daughter said she was hungry and I replied with, “WHAT? You want me to brush your car?” I know the kids came in my room, I know they tried to wake me up, and I know that I was NOT awake at any moment that I spoke to them.

It sounds funny when they tell me what I said, but to me it’s also terrifying. Is this some new thing that’s going to happen? Do I need to teach my daughter what to do if I won’t wake up, but spout gibberish instead?

I realize that my son is 13 and very capable of taking care of his sister for a few hours. Shit, SHE is capable of taking care of HIM for three hours.

I don’t know what that was yesterday afternoon, I don’t know why I didn’t wake up, I don’t know why I was saying weird shit, and I don’t know if it will ever happen again. I do know that I feel like a bit more of my Mom Badge was just ripped off, and that motherfucker was in tatters already.

This morning I woke up because of a combination of terrible pain and a dream. Yes, I’m going to tell you about a dream. I’m sorry. I’ll keep it short.

I saw all these HUGE, gorgeous flowers on the side of the road. So many different kinds, so many colors, growing wild even though the ground was snow covered. My arms were full of flowers and I was GLEEFUL. Then I turned to go and my heart sank because there was so much snow that my car was stuck. Back to reality.

(Y’all have NO IDEA how lucky you are that I’m not bustin’ out some Eminem right here.)

Then I had a rilllll shitty morning ending with my husband telling me “You don’t know how much that trip took out of you. Maybe your body was just so exhausted that it shut down. The kids are fine. Please take your medicine and lay down for a while.”

*He didn’t say that last sentence but I could see it on his face, so that’s what I did.*

So THEN…yes, another dream. Shut UP! The last one was super short!

This time I’m looking out my window and I see that the sun has just almost reached the perfect point where it covers the whole pool and the rock in the center where I like to lay. I am JOYFUL. I can’t wait to get down there. Then I get a text from a mom friend about our kids and I can’t reply because the buttons are weird and the letters are moving all around and then I’m frustrated and worried. Back to reality.

 I feel like my subconscious has literally “dumbed-down” my OWN DREAMS.

 

SORRY, SUBCONSCIOUS, I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

 

I can’t remember ever feeling as happy as in those two dream-moments.

 

Maybe we never feel that way in real life.

 

Or maybe that’s what joy feels like to “normal” people.

semicolon tat

Broken today, still here tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I Am Not That Mom

I am Not that Mom

I am not that mom who sits on the floor with you playing My Little Pony for hours. I am not the mom who builds entire towns on Minecraft. I have never learned to play Pokémon and I never (ever) will. I am well aware of my failure in this aspect of parenting.

I am thankful for my husband, who excels in watching cartoons and playing video games. I smile when I see him and the kids tossing a football in the yard. (In the yard. No Throwing Balls in the House. Jesus.) I laugh when they wrestle and tickle and play, play, play.

I’m just not that mom.

I was the young soon-to-be mom, scared to death but determined, so determined, to bring you into this world and love you like no other. I was the single mother of two who worked long hours and still held dance parties with just my two boys where we sang at the top of our lungs and the laughter rang as loud as the music. Before you were even born, I was the mom eating cherry cheesecake so I could see you dance. (And because cheesecake.)

When I first saw you, I knew that you would hold my heart forever. Two more times I met my new sweet babies, and two more times my heart grew to wrap around all of you. When you were a baby, I was that mom who couldn’t sleep for looking at you. I can still feel you, so tiny, snuggled on my chest. When I see you asleep now, I still picture you curled up in footie pajamas, all wispy hair and dark lashes against perfect skin.

I was that mom who rocked you all night, patting and bouncing and shh, shh, shhing when you cried. I was the mom who panicked over every bump and bruise. I was the mom who kissed boo boos. I was the mom who spent untold hours waiting on casts for broken bones or bandages for cut fingers. (Safety scissors, my ass.) I was the mom whose leg you were firmly wrapped around the day we toured preschools. I was the mom who went to school online in order to work from home because you needed me.

I am the mom who signs notes and checks homework and packs lunches. I’m the mom who makes the doctor’s visits and dentist appointments and parent teacher conferences. I’m the mom who hasn’t worn anything but thrift store clothes for years so that you can go to school wearing clothes that are apparently hand-sewn by the famous athletes of the world.

I’m the mom who makes stupid jokes and sings off-key and acts sillier than I am just to see you smile. I’m the mom who wouldn’t trade those smiles for the entire world.

I’m the mom who loves you so much more than I could ever explain. And the mom who tries so hard to show you that.

But most times I feel like I am also the mom who is failing.

I’m the mom with chronic recurring depression. I’m the mom with generalized anxiety disorder. I’m the mom with PTSD. I’m the mom who has chronic migraines. I’m the mom with chronic pain. I’m the mom who sees more doctors than hairstylists. (Hahahahaha, I don’t even remember the last time I went to a stylist. But you have an appointment tomorrow.)

I am the mom who struggles every single day to accomplish the things that have to be done so that you can have a “normal” life. I am the mom who does your laundry even when I have to sit down to sort it. I’m the mom who makes sure the water bill gets paid so that you can shower. I’m the mom who clips your fingernails and buys you toothpaste and nags you to wear deodorant.

I’m also the mom who forgets things. Not the big stuff, like birthdays or Christmas, although there have been a few notes from the Tooth Fairy instead of cash. But I forget things that you already told me. I forget that when you were playing a video game yesterday, you scored 58 touchdowns and a free throw, and spawned…maybe a chicken? I don’t know. I forget.

But I’m also the mom who can tell in a single glance when you are upset, and who listens to you when you are sad and angry and when you are happy and excited, even if I do tend to forget your ponies’ names and LeBron’s stats and how to catch ’em all.

I’m the mom who wants to slay all your dragons and breathe fire on anyone who dares to hurt you.

I’m also the mom who too often hurts too much to cook dinner. I’m the mom who lets you eat an unhealthy amount of macaroni and pizza rolls. I’m the mom who has piles of clean laundry on the couch because my arms ache so badly I can’t fold it. I’m the mom who gets overwhelmed too easily. I’m the mom who has to hide when things get to be too much. I’m that mom who cries in the bathroom when I’ve let you down.

I’m the mom who stays awake at night worrying about you. I’m the mom who wishes she could save all your hugs and all your “I love you’s” and get them back out on the days when there are no hugs, just slamming doors.

I’m the mom who loves you SO MUCH. You are the children who save my life every day. I’m the mom who is trying to be the parent you deserve, even when I’m not the one you might want.

 

*EDITED TO ADD: I am completely overwhelmed by the response this post has gotten. I love all you guys so much,  and even though everyone keeps saying that I’ve made them feel less alone, the truth is that YOU GUYS have made me feel less alone. Thank you all SO much for every like, comment, share, and kind thought. I’ve been trying to respond to all the comments, but as I guess y’all know, I’m sick a lot. But I have read every single one of them, and each one brings a smile to my face or a tear to my eye and sometimes both. I just wanted everyone to know how much your love and compassion for each other and your “me too” and your stories have affected me.

Love,

Steph


It Could Be Me.

I do not know Merry.  But I do know, all too well, the damage fibromyalgia and depression can inflict on a life.  This could easily be me.   You can go here to read Merry’s story and donate if you can.

Steph


Baby Girl

She’s got this little round belly and this confidence that just goes on forever.  She sings at the top of her lungs and dances with complete abandon.  Watch me!  Look at this!  I made this song for you!  She is all that is beautiful and if you ask her if she is smart she will yell, “YES!” and then tell you all she knows, and some things she doesn’t.  She knows she is funny and isn’t afraid to tell a joke, and even if no one else gets it, she will be the one laughing the loudest.  If she wants a hug, she will just open her arms and know that arms will enfold her too.  She knows she is loved.  She knows she is precious.

She will always be beautiful to me.  But I want so much, so, so much for her to keep this ability to see the beauty in herself.  When she has lost her chubby baby belly, is that when she will start judging the way her body is shaped?  At what point does the world teach her to lower her voice, her eyes, her head?

I want to wrap her up in her innocent self-love so that it stays with her always, so that she never, ever wonders about her own worth.  I don’t want her to lose her golden-fine little girl hair only to gain her mother’s insecurities.

I can’t stop the world from affecting my child in ways that I will not always like.  But I can show her every day a woman who is not afraid to laugh, to love, to sing loudly, and to dance with abandon.  A woman who loves herself, as she is.


My Grandma’s Room

pop-steph

When I was a little girl my grandma’s room was full of wonders.

On her bedside table, then as now, sat a small white lamp and a thick black bible, well-worn even then. How many uncountable times did my grandma sit on the side of that bed, slowly turning brittle pages, seeking comfort, or peace, or giving praise?

My grandma’s dresser was no dainty bit of vanity. Made of heavy wood with drawers down both sides and carved doors in the center, it was strong and beautiful and I swear, those doors called to me. To be allowed to sit before that chest and hold a lap full of silk, the faded ink of love letters, the glitter of glass beads, and all those memories, her memories, in my hands…

My grandpa’s wardrobe was taller, more imposing, less accessible. But when he swung wide the big double doors, even a child could see it was full of dreams. Medals of honor and badges of war – curious jewelry to a child – shared space with carefully rolled papers and a violin. His maps to castles in the air.

On my grandpa’s nightstand, then as now, sat a small white lamp and, nearby, a guitar. How many uncountable times did my grandpa sit on the side of that bed, strumming with nimble fingers, seeking comfort, or peace, or singing praise?

My grandma’s room is much the same, then as now. It’s in a new house and some things have changed. My grandma still sits on the side of that bed. She still has that old black bible. My grandpa sang his last song this year, and now I sit on the side of that bed, finding comfort, seeking peace, and, as I look to those carved double doors full of memories and dreams, I give praise.


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