Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Pain

I open my eyes in the morning and light seizes my optic nerves like a hot hand, twisting and burning. I close them again and swing my legs to the floor.

As I sit up, blood rushes and thumps in my head, drumbeats of sick pain against my temples. The muscles of my neck and shoulders settle into their familiar knotted array.

I stagger to the bathroom, I flip on the light and grab the lip of the sink as the first wave of nausea washes over me, crushing any hope that today might be better than yesterday.

Cold sweat prickles my forehead. I suck in a breath and force it out, slowly.

I won't throw up.

I find the resolve to look in the mirror -- the right side of my swollen face is pale, the eye oozes a tear that's stuck in my eyelashes.

Good morning, Sunshine.

I have a killer migraine.

To be more precise, I've entered the hellish world of "transformed" migraines, where the once-occasional misery of these debilitating headaches has become a near-daily mix of tension headache and migraine torture.

When a migraine starts, the roots of each hair on the right side of my head are fiery and electrified. Before the pain begins, sometimes a few hours or a full day ahead, I am antsy and uncomfortable in my skin.
I am always in pain. Saying those words aloud makes me cry.

No one likes to talk about pain. And chronic pain, the kind you just can't seem to fix -- who wants to talk about that?

I'd rather hide. But there's nowhere to go.

I've had migraines since I was diagnosed with Viral Meningitis 4 years ago this January 9, 2011.

For 4 years I've tried just about every drug, alternative and preventive treatment available. I exercise, eat well, try to fend off my migraine triggers (weather changes, cigarette smoke, stress, crying, caffeine), and even avoid those that probably aren't triggers (red wine, strong smells, MSG, seasonal allergens).

I have an arsenal of medications designed to squash a migraine before it squashes me. They often don't work. And sometimes, the treatment is worse than the disease: an injection, a pill to counteract the nausea from the injection, vomiting when the pill doesn't cut it, lethargy, and an inevitable migraine hangover that lasts two days and makes me feel like my head is stuffed with cotton batting.

I've done everything I'm supposed to do and nothing I'm not supposed to. I listen to what my neurologist tells me.

Yet many times I find myself huddled under the hot spray of the shower, lights out, weeping, silently praying for relief from a god I don't much believe in.

Please make it stop.

Please Mama, make it stop.

I'll do anything.

I figure if anyone would put my name in for a miracle, my mother would.

The truth is that my brain, like the brains of 36 million other Americans, behaves differently from those of people who have never had one of these headaches.

Our brains are hypersensitive, demanding little brats that throw earsplitting, room-rocking tantrums at the slightest provocation.

My primary trigger is stress and sleeplessness. If I am woken up at any time before 6:30 am, and have gone to bed after 11:00 pm, I am screwed. I battle the pain off like a new mother tip toes around her sleeping baby.

Any of a million triggers can bring on the hurt. And the hurt is exquisite.

The word migraine comes from the Greek hemicrania, meaning half the skull. Most migraines try to destroy only half your head at a time, perhaps the smallest of concessions in what often feels like a battle for your sanity.

When a migraine starts, the roots of each hair on the right side of my head are fiery and electrified. Before the pain begins, sometimes a few hours or a full day ahead, I am antsy and uncomfortable in my skin.

Then suddenly it's like I'm drunk and stupid -- slurring my speech, forgetting words, incessantly yawning and fighting a strong urge to sleep.

And then there's the pain -- pain that some people call "headache" but that any migraine sufferer knows belongs in its own infernal category. It's pain that wakes me up out of a deep sleep some nights and makes me cry like a frustrated child.

It's a pulsating, drilling, burrowing monster. You spend long enough with it, and it sprouts legs and arms and intentions. It attacks.

The pain starts around my right eye and coils around the right side of my head, embedding a spiky metal hand into my face, holding tight to my eyebrow, cheekbone and jaw line.

Its other hand locks onto my right shoulder and neck, digging in like a sadistic teacher dragging a ne'er-do-well student to the principal's office.

I shake, stab myself with syringes of medication to kill the pain and fight off nausea. I curse the sun, light bulbs, headlights, the flickering glow of the clock radio.

All this nastiness is screaming around in the malfunctioning, overreacting, treacherous black box of my brain. In the aftermath, I lie there, sick and spent, idly wishing I could somehow separate my head from the rest of my body just for a while. My whole body feels as if I have worked each and every muscle until it is spent completely.

There is no redemption in the pain of a migraine or its daily headache spawn. I am not a better person because I suffer. I am a person, hurting. And the joys I miss, the plans I cancel, the life I forfeit -- that is what matters.

I can suffer, or I can cope.

That misshapen mug that glares back at me too many mornings -- my migraine face in the bathroom mirror -- is the face of raw, familiar, deep-rooted agony, the face of my burrowing monster.

It's also my face, and my mom's face. I am so like her.

Help me, Mama.

My mom died 12 years ago, and oh, how I miss her when I feel so small and alone. I think she hears me. God, I hope she hears me.

I wipe away the tears and open the medicine cabinet.

Today might be different.

Excerpts taken from :

Brie Zeltner; as she has exposed my headache story perfectly.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

She's Back....

I don't really know why, but it seems as if one of my alter egos has shown up early this year. I probably have three other people inhabiting my brain that I can identify consciously. They all have different and....unique personalities.

Martha is one. She has started and is making me do things I don't normally start until mid November. Its the damn projects. Cooking the big meals. Decorating the house. Scouring the internet for new fun and festive...candle holders???

So, having young kids is what I am partially blaming this early take over on. I gotta blame SOMETHING. Halloween (yes, even for the 13 year old) is HUGE in our house. I have been hunting for cool ways to outdo our local Halloween super store products by creating my own. I will probably even invent a new and improved caramel apple recipe to post on All this season. I have emptied Joanns and Michaels as well as 3 of our neighborhood thrift stores. Mind you it's only October.

I love the fact that all the neighborhood kids ooo and ahh over our brightly lighted Halloween decor in the front yard, and that they all get super excited to come over before trick or treating to play games and eat chili. Our kids love to dress up and show off as well. But man, if I keep this pace up I will be burnt by Christmas.

I'm not going to lie- I dive into this every year with the greatest intentions, and even more so this year because of personal stuff clouding my brain. If I am Martha, I don't have to be me for a few hours.

There are the women who possesses me when I travel, the other one who comes to visit after a couple glasses of wine or the one who SHOPS after having a couple glasses of wine... probably way more of them exist but I'm trying to go easy on myself at this point in my life!

I know everything will turn out wonderfully...the caramel apples for the 5 year old Kindergartners, the witch hat cupcakes, the party games and costumes. I will even come across to others as if I whipped everything together with my daughters magic princess wand.

Isn't that the point?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Schools In!

OK- Now I know I use this blog to let off a lot of steam, but its my blog- so deal.

With the kids back in school full swing, and me trying to get everyone back onto the weekly routine I have decided to change up some things... Why? Because it wouldn't be my normal if I didn't.

My BFF and I came up with this great idea to have Cissy and her daughter ride their scooters together every day to and from school. They both started Kindergarten together this year. They go way back to the womb together, and really have a sweet relationship. They will, as all our kids have, grow up together. How special her mom and I thought it would be to see them bobbing in front of us legs swinging back and forth exchanging giggles as we walked behind sipping coffee and marveling at their experience.

Needless to say, it hasn't been that easy. In fact I can't think of one day in five that someone hasn't taken a huge fall, thrown a fit because they can't live together after school, complained incessantly about how hot it is, has to pee RIGHT NOW, becomes so thirsty they can't take another step, the helmet becomes too tight, needs a rest, the backpack is too is always something.

It should have been an omen when on day 2 of school another mother walking home with her 2 children ended up in tears after her kindergartner took off and as she was chasing her daughter down the busy street the stroller she had left behind with her other child in it tumbled into that same busy street scattering everything everywhere including the child. Luckily, both children were fine. But as we are comforting her and reassuring her she was not a bad mom and she still had a shot at The Mother of the Year 2010 award because its still early enough, Cissy proceeded to crash pretty hard on her scooter banging her head and scrapping her elbow. We have both been running in every direction with our great ideas for these kids since Wednesday of last week.

But every day I ask Cissy if she wants to ride to school, and every day she tells me yes. Until she gets "melty" as she calls herself when she is hot. Or her backpack hurts, a boo-boo magically appears on her body and she needs a band-aid RIGHT NOW, or she says, "I forgot, I don't want to ride my scooter to school anymore!". This is all within 2 minutes of starting. We live less than 1/4 mile away from this school mind you.

Everyday I calmly explain how we are almost there... I will hold your backpack... we can rest at the corner. I make jokes about how funny it would be if she was chocolate and really did melt away into the sidewalk, then we could eat all the chocolate. After about 14 breaks at pretend corners, kissing the invisible boo-boos and 7 1/2 stops for water, I lose it.

"Cissy, I am hot too- but if you keep whining, it will make this ride even harder. Get on the scooter you insisted on riding in the first place, push yourself to the house and STOP COMPLAINING! No more breaks, we have lunch and homework waiting for us when we get home." And if that doesn't work, I really lose it. "OK FINE! We will NOT be riding scooters tomorrow with your friends if you cant handle this small ride. I am sick of the tone and the complaining and the attitude! You can walk, or you can ride but we have to get home!" That (so far) has worked when push comes to shove. Except the chocolate joke, because she didn't like the idea of me eating her- so we changed it to an ice cube then she would at least be cool all melty on the sidewalk.

Really, the intensity of the ride to and from school fades pretty quickly once we are done. It must for her too, because she is ready for it again first thing the next morning. Guess this is part of getting used to our new routine. This is our first year riding to school and from past experience it takes my family about 2 weeks of this structure for the kids to seem rested with the new bedtimes, organized with their homework assignments, and for me to join them.

Of course, then I have 2 other children to pick up from school, and that is a whole other display of drama.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I am a Legend in My Own Mind...

So, the kids are back to school, and I have made it to the gym all 3 days. Working out is my refuge from the chaos that is my life.
My. Every. Minute. Of. My. Life. I have decided I am a better me when I get to the gym.

I realized something rather interesting today on the elliptical. It followed me during push-ups and weights and remained until I actually ended my excruciating (yet crucial) stair master climb...I am a legend in my own mind.

It starts with my cardio playlist on my itouch. As soon as I start listening to the music, my brain goes somewhere it wishes it could be all the time. And I allow this take over, because it gets me through the intense parts. The parts when my lungs hurt, legs wobble and my towel is so drenched with sweat I don't bother using it anymore.

Today I became aware of the legend I create that is me. All in my head. I know we all have one. It went a little something like this: I want to travel to different parts of the United States and all over the world, and all with different people. Some places by myself. I would love to pull an "Eat Pray Love" role with my life and just take off to where ever I feel would feed my soul. Taking that journey with different people I have met throughout my life would add something spicy and exhilarating to any adventure in its own way.

I would love to be able to throw money at a charter jet and take off with Chloe to Disney World for a few weeks, or until we got our fill of all things Princess. I would pull JJ out of school and take singing lessons with him. We could enroll in art classes together for a year- he has some unbelievable talent at 10 years old. Noah and I would follow all our favorite bands around the world and have front row seats at every concert. He would take guitar lessons from Slash and I would sit back in the studio and listen and smile and marvel at the opportunity. This about 10 minutes in on my cardio.

There would be no need for school or schedules. My children would learn and absorb everything they could possibly need from the experience of living life. There would be no grade to tell them how they measure up. They would feel it deep inside with the confidence and pure love they feel for themselves and humanity.

Any where I went would be perfect. Filled with all the perfect people and experiences for me and my journey. And I would feel that. Every book I picked up would be impossible to put down. And I would never feel as if I had something else to do while I was reading it. All around 25 minutes in.

On my not so hot days, I would close the shutters, pull out a HUGE gallon of Cold Stone peanut butter and chocolate (extra peanut butter) ice cream and watch the whole True Blood series all day. And when that was over, I'd take a nap. The sleep would actually be restful. And when I woke up, I wouldn't have to hurry anywhere, or start dinner. I would feel peaceful and nurtured. I'm pretty tired now, and needing a pick me up about 35 minutes in.

Moving on to my feeling hot days... I would love myself and everything about me so much I would think nothing of saying "Absolutely!" to the modeling agency that wanted to pay me to be their next Top Model. And, by the way, want me to be able to represent them at all the "A" list parties. I have a lot of questions for some of those celebrities, and a lot would probably be answered if I was one. Then I'd meet all the ones I am star struck over. Eminem would fall all over himself to find me across the room and profess his love and passion for me. We would have a long chat- but not so long as to spoil my moment (sometimes I think it might just be better if he didn't say a word, that might ruin everything).

My wardrobe would have everything and anything I could possibly need for all my worldly travels. I would always have great hair days without spending a ton of time on it. I would never need makeup...Yes, among other things, this is my legend. All this positive thinking takes me to the end.

When I allow my brain out of my legend about minute 8 on the stair master and bring my reality back into focus, I feel fresh.

So... note to the guy with the blue bandanna, white shorts and neon green tank top- No I was NOT staring at you or anyone even remotely near you. You are NOT my legend. I would appreciate, as I am sure every women at the gym would, that you leave us alone and stop gawking. Yes women actually work out. And some of us actually like to use the free weights. No, we are not there for you to stare at. We don't need help with anything unless we ask. It can actually come across gross, and quite intrusive.

Stay in your own legend, I shall remain in mine. I can't wait for tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


So I am getting Christmas a few months early this weekend...and it's the only thing on my list about now.

Fireman is taking the kids, yes all THREE, camping.

How fun you say? What a great experience for them all, you add? I say Sianara!

Oh the visions I had when my children finished school for the summer! Late night swims, smores out back after BBQing all day with family and friends, family trips to the lake, sleeping late, I even have those books for them to work on during the summer so their brains don't turn into mush.

They start in a week and a half, and I can't wait.

I am exhausted. I can barely keep up. My beautiful system of cleaning, menu organizing, going to the gym, and laundry has been long gone.

It starts like this: "Mom, can I invite a friend over?" "Well can we wait and see for a bit, its 8 in the morning." or "Noah, do you really need to eat Top Ramen for breakfast?" and then I get the look that tells me there is no one available in his 13 year old brain to have a rational discussion with.

They have been waking up I'm sure by 7 am every morning, so they can sneak in Xbox time. They can't be bothered by their alarms during the school year that ring them awake at 7 am, but Xbox can. Do you have any idea how many times I have bolted half brained down the stairs to yell "turn that thing off NOW!"? Neither do I, but enough to want everyone to just leave.

Me being me, I wonder quietly and then out loud to Fireman, where did I go wrong? These kids have had 2 really nice boating vacations they probably feel entitled too. A beautiful backyard oasis to swim and play in. I even gave them a project and they painted our play structure themselves. We've planted a garden, gone to see movies, had their friends over for the night and visited with family. It seems that every waking moment needs to be filled with some sort of entertainment. And sometimes when push comes to shove, I say, "That's it! I'm sick of the fighting, I am sick of you all wandering around here like you have nothing to do!" then I pull the mommy dearest card out and add, "I have plenty for you to do!" I give them a magic eraser and make them scrub the grime of the doors.

Well, good riddance with ya'll, I say. I'm out of ideas and money! Fireman's turn. Have fun in the wild wilderness.

I will use my 2 days off well. I will visit some long lost friends, and eat lunch when I feel like it. I will sleep past 8 and not feel guilty. I am staying with my sister and my beautiful niece. It will be fun to play with her and spoil her, and then hand her to mommy when she is hungry or tired. I will shop with no intentions and watch True Blood without worrying about which kid will walk in on the nude or gory parts.

Yes Christmas came early...too bad it will only come once this year.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Mother's the raw

So there is a reason I didn't write about Mother's Day before now. I both love and hate that day. I love the idea of having a day set aside on the calendar each year to remind everyone in our lives to celebrate us mommies and all we stand for.

I am fortunate enough to have a family that treats me really quite nicely that day. I am always spoiled on Mother's Day. And I truly love it. I love sleeping in until 8-ish because my body is so used to getting up by 7 every other morning, it doesn't recognize the occasion and therefore doesn't let me sleep any longer. I devour the strawberry crepes Fireman and the kids place on my lap while they all lay on my bed and huddle as close as they can to me. The coffee gets spilled and the food is cold...the flowers are beautiful. The presents are a heartfelt gesture- the homemade song from my 13 year old, the coupons for chores from my middle child, and the hand print from Cissy made my heart sing. Fireman even hung up his frugal hat for the day and splurged on a really cool car adapter for my iTouch, the kind that has to be professionally installed! Yes, I know, I am spoiled. For one day, anyway.

Every year on that Sunday, no matter how wonderfully I am being treated, or how much love I am shown by my adoring family, there is always a sense of loneliness and loss that's creeps into my heart. It starts the day before. As my thoughts drift to the festivities of the next day, while I am finishing up the house so I don't have a load of laundry staring me in the face on what is supposed to be a day of no chores. As I go through the motions...I am suddenly very aware of a growing throb in the pit of my stomach. Throbbing that doesn't stop until it is very much at the center of my chest and has made completely sure it has consumed my every thought. I know it is easily angered at my attempt to try and stuff it by the way it turns to a sort of disabling nausea. Just enough to make me unable to eat, unable to sit still and unable to feel any sort of contentment. It sits in the bottom of my stomach and rises and falls throughout the day into my throat. It gnaws at me, demanding attention.

And I know exactly what it needs. Every year. Same time and place. And I know deep down it doesn't go away on its own or because I tell it fervently that it is not welcome. It's like one of my kids- it needs attention. Raw attention. And it needs it at its convenience, not mine. By the end of the day, with the all the physical chores done, I decided to lean into this throb that continued to lie in my gut. I retreated to my closet. I sat on the floor next to the old paint spot. And I cried. I cried the ugly cry.

I miss her more every year. I need answers only she can give me. I need the unconditional love only she shared with me. I am jealous of everyone else whose Mother's Day plans involve their own Mother. I remember her Mother's Day routines. I miss them. I miss her. I ache for the warm touch only her hands could deliver. I
am forever empty in the place only she could fill. My tears don't stop as easily as they started. I hate to lose myself in this seemingly endless pain and torture. Thinking my way out never helps it ease away. Tears do, though. A lot of them. And I slowly feel my way out.

It is as if my Mother is hearing my cries and actually feels my heartache, when my daughter walks into the closet. "Mommy? Why are you crying?" She sits down and holds my soaked snotty hand in hers. She waits until I can talk. "I miss my Mommy" I tell her. I start crying again. I hate to upset my children, but they are all very aware that their Mommy, doesn't have a Mommy. She sits quietly while I sob. I think she sat there for about 5 full minutes not moving, not squirming, not asking for anything. Just being. I realized the throb had dulled a bit. So I looked up and stared into Cissy's brown eyes. She smiled back at me and I pul
led her little body into mine for a hug. I suddenly felt something I hadn't felt before. This is what I felt like to my Mommy for 23 years. It made me smile from the inside out. The throb lessened even more.

Yes, I realized the moment I gave life to my first born how my Mother's love was like no other. But, the love and tenderness exchanged from a Mother and daughter is really just different. Not to be judged, just different.

So, at that moment, I could relate in a way I had not seen before. I became very conscious of what my Mommy actually felt each time I hugged and held her. I am aware now of what that felt like to her. I am so thankful I was able to give her that kind of irreplaceable unconditional love in return, even if it was just for a short time. I take such solace in knowing she felt that from me in her times of need, especially in her final days here with our family.

I could feel the throb descend into an ache. The nausea subsided a bit. I held my little girl and my little girl held me. It was a quiet exchange of raw love. I enjoyed the feeling of her warm soft skin against my neck and arms. I savored the thought of what pure joy my little girl gives me daily and related it to the joy I must have given to my mommy.

This is what it feels like to be a mommy and to have a mommy. My feelings range different throughout the year, and can strike at anytime. This Mother's Day was so special in that I was actually made aware of something I had never thought of before...who and what I was to my mommy is now so clear and tangible to me, it has made my role as a mommy carry a whole different meaning.

I will always miss her, but this past Mother's Day, I truly felt a little closer to her than I had before. I like to believe she was giving me a Mother's Day gift all her own. Through my daughter she was showing me that love, our love, will never die.

Thank you, mommy!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

So I am Selfish....SO WHAT?

OK- I am having one of those days...actually one of those weeks. I am increasingly wanting to act selfishly. And I really don't care. There is nothing pretty or flowery about this situation. I make no claims to be perfectly Martha Stewart at every moment in my life. This is one of them.

Fireman was home for a good few day stint after being at the station for 5 days (actually he has been home for 3 days in last 14, but whose counting?). I really took a load off when he arrived through that door. I hugged and loved on my hunky Fireman. I even cooked one night for the family while he was here to reap the benefits. I really missed him and knew he would be leaving again soon for a while. I nestled into a real cozy family while he was here. BBQing by the pool, letting time fly while I read my novel and he played with his babies. We watched movies that weren't rated G. I slept in while he hushed the kids so as not to wake me. I was in Heaven. Literal Heaven on Earth.

Then he went back to work. I woke up late- probably because I was starting to get used to it by then. I had saved up running my errands for when he did leave, and I have been racing to catch up since then. See, all my running the house hold routine takes a hiatus when Fireman is here. I don't cook because I love his cooking. I don't shop unless we absolutely need something. I don't do bills, I don't do laundry. We stay up late, we catch a movie or watch Dateline. We lounge in the morning after the kids leave for school and sip coffee, pour over the newspaper, and watch GMA. So the morning he leaves, I am busting butt trying to play catch up.

This week has literally taken its toll on every fiber in my body. I can't catch up with anything! Laundry seems to be going well, and a kid pees the bed. I have the day squared away, and the other kid calls from school urgently needing something he should of remembered on his own. On my way to the gym, the car is out of gas. Try to print important stuff off the ink. You get the point? Well, normally, I am go with the flow. This is my job as I see it. I am here to deal with those things. And I do.

However, this week, I have no desire to- at all. I have no patience with homework. I have no desire to drag a 5 year old around to my multiple stops during the day. I found myself actually trying to scour the Internet for how to make milk from a few ingredients in my cupboard- without luck- so I wouldn't have to go the store. My daughters normal darling way of musical talking incessantly has become just incessant. I have no patience for anything that doesn't involve me, a book or an ice cold beer.

Is this what the teachers mean when they say they can tell when the students are getting itchy for summer break? I can't figure it out. I am definitely ready for school to be out, but for way different reasons than the kids are. I am done with projects and riding my boys on their homework and GP A's. I am done making lunches, done missing my workouts, done rushing around in the morning, done rushing to after school activities, done worrying about having everything in life complete before 2:30 on Tuesday and Thursday, and by 12:30 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

I don't know what is the cause of this shift in my brain. I am sure it has something to do with our beautiful weather lately. It has allowed my veins to get a small drip of what our Summer's are filled to the brim with. Boating trips, BB Q's with great friends, lazy days and nights with no where to be, and of (or whatever is being poured at the time).

All I can do is pray, vacuum, and kick-box my way to sanity right now. I got to hang in. I just have to find a way to compartmentalize my irritation and down right insanity at the goings on right now.

Until then, I am open to suggestions...though I give you fair warning, I am a red-head and not afraid to use it!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Life's That Way ---->

I just finished a really enchanting memoir. This book had me doing all the things I love to do with a really great story... laughing, crying the whole thing. I know it's a good book when I continue to re-hash its events over and over in my mind. The story will settle into an understanding I didn't have while reading it. Sometimes my perception changes of certain scenes. What was sad and depressing, actually makes a different kind of sense to me a week after completing the book. That, to me, is a really good book. This one was like that- I found myself thinking, and rethinking of the title. Life's That Way.

When reflecting on my own life, I recognize a very common theme. Common meaning we all as humans have the same circumstances in one way or another that make us feel and connect at a very human level, with very human emotions. It's recognizing this commonality that sets us apart because we all do it in different ways, different areas of the world under different circumstances and from different backgrounds.

My own journey has been one of multiple up, down and sideways events. I can look back still and remember sequences of life happening in such a way to have shaped my life as I know it now as if it were literally a few moments ago. Like when I was 9 and my dad had me drive my sister and I home from the stables we kept our horses at after dark on the I5 freeway from San Juan Capistrano to Mission Viejo. I can still feel my little legs tight against the steering wheel of the Mustang as I sat on his lap while he operated the gas and brake pedal. I can hear his voice warning me not to tell my mom that he had me driving I can smell his dirty alcohol stained breath as he coached me the whole way home. The memory was one like a good book is now, it didn't really bear any importance or value until a few months ago when I was folding towels letting my mind wander and this particular memory hit me upside the head. I had to sit down and allow myself to recollect the situation and mull it over and over to iron out details. It was fun and harmless then, it is not now.

What details grab me now didn't grab me at the time. The impact my own memior has on me as I was going through the living part of it didn't bear any resemblance to what it does now in my 34 year old psyche. My mothers soft touch of her hands on my face, a boyfriends breakup in high school, my sisters lighting in her room while she put on her makeup. Becoming pregnant for the first time at 21, watching my mother fight and succumb to cancer. The making and losing of dear friends. The absolute joys of raising my children. The warming feeling of unconditional love, and finding it in my husband. The moment I found out I was pregnant for the third time, feeling to my core it was my daughter. Becoming aware that my life goes on and on regardless of the seemingly endless experience of illness, prosperity, relationships, family drama, and general life is what absolutely makes my experience unique to anyone else.

What is not unique is that
I have them. I experience everything everyone else does. Sure to different degrees and at different times, but really in my own perfect time. Losing my best friend during a childhood squabble paved the way I respond mentally and physically to similar situations as an adult.

I can remember at the time of my mothers death it was as if my world came to a screeching halt. What I realize now, is that life as I knew it then had stopped. I began to slowly begin living and feeling again, though differently. I can't remember exactly the moment, but I do remember having one of complete understanding. I understood that life would continue to happen all around me and through me constantly, at times so much so that I would have to consciously re-learn how to live, even when I didn't want to. I would need to constantly be adapting to whatever a particular experience imprinted on me into my new life.

The experience of having children is a great analogy. If you don't have them, you have no idea what to expect day to day mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. If you have experienced the death of someone very close to you, relating to anothers aftermath is something you are capable of doing. The key is becoming aware that regardless of what life brings your way, it will go on. Differently.

I could relate to almost every raw word in this book I read. I picked it up sensing the title "Life's That Way" held the meaning of "well, that's just the way life is". In fact, it was a direction. LIFE IS THAT WAY ----> In other words, look around after life happens to you, it continues to grow and build, in another way. And when allowed, as I have experienced, it just gets more and more fulfilling with the ways it expands your level of compassion, endurance, happiness, sadness, wealth, contribution, and even kindness you show to your self and others. We choose our action and reaction based on what life has shown us, but hopefully we can remember to apply what life has just added to our suitcase that will never be to full, and continue following the signs that tell us,
Life's That Way ----->

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Best Friend the Vacum

Well, it's official, though I do actually have a lot of great friends in my life, my BFF is my vacum.

I realized this last week while cleaning my house. Vacuum is always there and available when I need him the most. I will refer to Vacum as male, because a vacum seems masculine in the way he barges through the house, leaving no corner with dust in his tracks. Vacum listens to my rants about how unfair it is to be me. And Vacum is also there when I am joyous about the special occasions we are preparing for. Vacum never tells me to calm down or that I am being out of line, even when I throw him around recklessly.

Vacum knows all my intimate secrets. I trust him completely. He knows my desires, and fulfills them when I am most in need. We do have a love hate relationship. I hate pulling and pushing him all around the house (twice a week sometimes more). I hate the pain in my neck and back after a good session. However, I strongly believe, as with every relationship, you need to weigh the good with the bad. I spend the most time with him than with any other friend. He hears my woes without judgement. He is up and running when I say go. And all the while, no matter what mood he may find me in, he leaves me with such a sense of accomplishment. I am left feeling grateful. Grateful for my clean carpet. Grateful I have such a great friend to provide it for me and family. For some reason, he always knows what to do to make me feel better, or encourage me. He cleans. He knows the sense of pride it gives me. He allows me to take all the credit. I would be nothing without my Vacum.

When Vacum died out a couple times last week (don't worry, it was just a little cold) I was there for him. I nursed him back to health with the help of some needle nose pliers. As I worked whole heartedly to get him healthy again, I thought...what would I do without him? He restores my calm with his beautiful clean lines he leaves behind. They aren't just lines of clean carpet to me. They bring the calm centered peace into my brain that everything is right with the world. Its a special bond we share. As I gently (who am I kidding, I don't do anything gently) place him back in the closet, I thank him for the therapy session we have shared. I thank him for always being there to put my life back in order when all I feel is chaos. I leave him with a mental promise to return soon. But I am sure he knows that by now.

Some people meditate, I vacum.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Working Mommies or Stay at Home Mommies?

OK- I love Facebook, especially when it sparks a debate. Controversy is fun to me. Last week I posted a comment, "I cant believe how much work it is to be a stay at home mom!" BOY! You all had a lot to say. So I decided to post a blog about it. Yep, today I'm going to forgo the bon-bons and Oprah, so I can let you all in on MY opinion about this touchy subject.

I am a stay at home mom. I decided to stay home when my third child was 1. I love being a home based mommy. I wouldn't change it for anything at the end of the day, BUUUUTTTTTT.... I do find myself longing for my old professional life as a Registered Nurse every once in a while. Like when everyone on our street calls for Fireman to help with a medical problem, or get advice for their sick loved one. I still know now what I knew then people! But for some reason, because I am now the "stay at home" parent without a "real job" I am no longer the go to gal! Ahhh... trade off's. As in everyones life, somedays are rewarding, and some...not so much.

I took particular notice to some of the mommies responses. A lot of you compared your situation to others, or maybe mine. Maybe you just wanted to get a good old fashion pat on the back. Maybe you feel as if you are the only one doing what you do, and no one else except for a select few could possibly understand. Bottom line is, YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS WHAT YOUR LIFE IS live it. Aren't all of us mommies in the same boat really? Don't we all just want our children to have better lives than we had? Don't we all try to teach them to the best of our ability? Don't we all try to be there for every amazing moment in their lives, good or bad?

I am the only one who wakes up reluctantly, only to hurry and get the coffee and three kiddos going. I am the only one who walks around my house with a magic erasure in my back pocket for emergencies. I am the only one who battles the internal guilt over almost every single word to my children throughout the day. Did what I just say be the ONE thing they remember for the rest of their lives? Will they be in therapy one day because of what I just said? Or will they be forever ruined because of what I didn't do? No one else has lived my childhood experiences and turned into ME. But does that internal dialogue sound a little familiar? Your a liar if it doesn't, working mommy or not!

Just to indulge myself I will tell you. My mommy was the absolute best mommy. She was always there for me, she brought in cupcakes and meatballs to my classroom. When my dad and her separated, she went to work full time and though that should have been a really hard time, she made it seem less. My mommy died when I was 23 and my first born was 18 months. I was married a year- and I had just realized how much I was going to need her. The past almost 12 years without my mommy made me realize a way of life not everyone shares. This is neither good or just is.

Ask my sister in law...a very loving, involved mother of two beautiful girls. She works full time, has a very corporate job. We discuss child rearing ALL THE TIME. Why? Because we both realize we do it different and it is interesting. She is the only mother I personally know who routinely stocks and re-stocks freshly cut and diced to perfection veggies for her girls. I have never (well, not never, but you know what I mean) done that. The girls have a better balanced diet than anyone I know, including all my stay at home mommies! Her girls are the loves of her life. Is she less of a mother because she is also in the corporate world? So many heated opinions ensue over this. To me the answer is simple...she chooses what works best for her and her family. She has her own daily minute by minute struggles. Her family runs differently than mine, that is it.

I am kinda getting this vibe that us mommies feel we are better than the other mommies because they are single mommies, or have no family support, have no money, or work, or don't work, you fill in the blank. Quite frankly I have been guilty of this type of judgement before...before my second child was born, before I was a stay at home mom, before I started gaining weight with every bite of ice cream... I've learned that while I have my opinions, I am in no ones shoes but my own.

So when I didn't volunteer to be the classroom mom the second year my third child was born, I am sure there were whispers. At least the voices in my head told me there were. It went something like this; "Well she certainly CANT do it all now can she?" or "Now her son will really suffer the middle child syndrome!". All the mental mistake movies my mind plays over and over is enough to drive me to drink, and I do. Often. And maybe I wont be a size 6 forever. And maybe my kids can live a long life eating Tater Tot Casserole... Yeah, I realized, I am no where near perfection. But then again, neither is anyone else I know.

So I compromise, now I take pre-baked cupcakes instead of homemade. I use emailing the teachers instead of walking to the classroom everyday to touch what? At the end of the day, I only truly care what my kids think. I ask them all the time...Do they think I am a good mom? What would they change? We have quiet intimate moments together individually that lead me to where I need to go with my babies.

If your a supermom in your kids minds...welcome to MY club! Its the only one that matters! If your not- change your life for them. Not because of what society says is politically correct. Celebrate you and friends raising diverse children from all types of dysfunctional families! After all...we made it didn't we?

Oh- and please throw your comments and opinions my way. I love em!