[Author's note: This is an updated and edited version of an old post, for those of you that like your spiritual talk to not be mingled with profane(?) references to anatomy and whatnot. If you're one of those folks, read on... and by all means, don't go looking for the old version.]
I happen to have a certain fondness for religion. All of them. Spirituality in general fascinates me. I know God, and I even think Jesus was a pretty cool guy. But...
I am not a Christian.
Nope. I was baptized and confirmed as a Catholic, but I've never held much interest in the teachings of that particular Church. It is my belief that more truth about God can be found in the movie Avatar than in any given modern Christian church service. I would bet, though, that if I started preaching the gospel according to Avatar, some people would get offended.
What if I said that I think that every one of you who thinks hell exists with a capital H and is a place that God will send you if you displease Her are totally mistaken in your understanding of the divine? Would that offend you?
You see, I have some less-than-mainstream views about God and religion, and I am part of the minority.
I might "preach" freedom of religion, but I have no interest in making you think like me. I also have no interest in making you feel bad for NOT thinking like me.
My favorite color is purple. I adore purple. I can't imagine anyone liking any other color more than purple. It's truly the most spectacular color in the spectrum. It just makes me feel good. If you like blue, though... well, that's okay. If blue makes you feel good, then that makes me happy, too. I can celebrate blue with you without feeling like I made the wrong choice when I chose purple as my favorite color. I can have a blue themed celebration and then return to my purple passion. Both of the colors exist on the spectrum, and both are relevant and necessary. I just gravitate to one while you gravitate to another.
So... What if I want to celebrate the Season just as a special time that has been celebrated by many different religions across time? What if it's not about the birth of your Christ for me? People have been celebrating this holiday for as far back as anyone can remember. The Christians call it Christmas now, but that's just another name for a much older celebration.
Pagans cut down trees to symbolize the death and rebirth as a tree of one of their gods. They were doing it long before Jesus entered the picture. So, you go right ahead and call it a Christmas tree if you want. If you're Christian and you have a tree up in your house, then it is a Christmas tree. But don't get offended because everyone else doesn't want it to be a Christmas tree. Don't preach on your facebook wall about all the evil people that are trying to kill Christmas and replace it with the word holiday.
I love words. As a word lover, I know that holiday is a word that means holy day. And how can that offend you?
Using the word holiday is meant to be inclusive of everyone's beliefs. The term is not meant to be exclusive, to take Jesus out of Christmas; it's used as a gentle remind that Jesus isn't the only reason for the Season. Lets celebrate all the reasons that this time of year is held dear, all the reasons to find joy and magic in this winter celebration.
There's nothing wrong with religion, but it can be turned into a weapon of hate and exclusion when religion, and religious intolerance, is forced on others.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
He set a fresh, hot cup of coffee on the nightstand next to my head and said, "It's 7:06, sleepyhead."
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
I opened my eyes to a bright but quiet morning. No alarm had shrilled in my ear; I took a moment to savor that. With school days just around the corner and football season in full swing, there won’t be a lot of sleeping in in my foreseeable future.
My husband was not in bed beside me, but this was not unusual. Maybe he was riding his bicycle. Or maybe he was cooking breakfast. He’s my morning half. I can handle afternoons and evenings, and I excel at late nights, but it’s better for everyone if I’m not required to be human early in the morning.
A quick look at my facebook feed found my guy and the Girl having a Daddy/Daughter morning at Starbucks. A ‘Like’ on his status let him know I was awake, and I received a text momentarily asking if I wanted coffee from Starbucks. Um, yes please. See what a lovely man he is?
Now, if I could just freeze frame the day right there…
I did get my coffee, but shortly thereafter the day deteriorated into a comedy of errors.
The little dog escaped from the side fence. This is a not a new trick. We looked and looked and did not find him. He did not have his collar on this time, because my sweet Girl bathed him yesterday and didn’t put it back onto him.
I posted a message on our community facebook group, and I started making a sign to post at the neighborhood entrance. I couldn’t print the sign, though, because my printer wasn’t working.
I’ll leave out the long boring details about deleting and reinstalling printer drivers and whatnot. But yeah, that happened.
Just as the printer was rolling out copies of the sign, my phone rang. My first thought was, Of course someone found him after my computer issues were fixed.
He wasn’t found, though. She had just seen my post and remembered seeing him an hour earlier. I went to look, but he was no longer there.
We went back home, finished the sign, and posted it at the entrance.
[Remember, y’all, that I have a full time job that had been totally neglected while Operation Find Choo Choo got underway.]
Back to work I went. For a few minutes. Then I had to shower and get ready to go to take the Boy to his foot doctor check up.
We made it to the foot doctor on time and had a successful, albeit long, visit. He can play football! Yay!
A Strawberry Limeade sounded like just the thing for the afternoon heat, so we stopped in at Sonic. They gave me a Cherry Limeade, which is not at all the same thing. I asked for a new drink, and they told me, “Oh, sure, it’ll be right out.” After 15 minutes, I realized it was not going to be right out. No Strawberry Limeade for me.
We returned home to gather our gear for an evening family bike ride at a local park. Sadly, when I got there I realized I had no house key. Yes, I locked myself out of the house… for the second time this month. The kids checked back doors and windows for anything left unlocked… no dice.
We were off to Grandpa’s house to retrieve the spare key. Luckily it is only 8 miles roundtrip to my parents’ house.
Back at home again, and we were in. I let the big dog outside, and we gathered our things. When it was time to go, I opened the door to let her back in and… ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?! Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum had left the gate open after checking for open doors or windows. Now both dogs were missing.
The kids got on their bikes and found her. A giant breed dog wandering around is so much easier to spot than a toy breed. Thank God.
We were finally on our way. I decided to shed some aggravation by listening to some loud music and singing at the top of my lungs while driving. Instead of singing along or even just bobbing his head like the wannabe cool preteen that he is, the Boy held his ears and whined that I was hurting his head.
Whooah, we're half way there!
Whooah, livin’ on a prayer!
Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear!
Whooah, livin on a prayer!
He wasn’t feeling it. The Girl encouraged him to sing, and he screamed at her at the top of his lungs to shut up. I found myself pulling to the shoulder of the freeway threatening to kick him out of the car if he behaved like that again. Then, I told him as punishment we were going to play the song again so that he could sing along.
I think it’s funny that you think I’m going to sing, he said.
Oh, you don’t have to sing this time, I said. I can keep hitting repeat until you’re ready. But I’m going to sing every time, m’kay?
If you’ve never tortured your kid by making them sing a song they don’t like, I highly recommend it. It’s very entertaining.
We arrived at the park without further incident and enjoyed some hot and humid family biking fun. Then, we got back home to a…hot and humid house. Eighty seven degrees in the house feels fantastic. The Hubs went to check the AC, and I walked away. I didn’t want to know if it was broken.
It wasn’t; it was a breaker. Whew. I’ve had no AC in the summertime in Texas. For weeks. I hope to never experience that little slice of paradise again, thankyouverymuch.
We’ve already experienced a dryer failure that lasted the better part of a month. They fixed it - just this week - but now it makes loud, grating, humming noises and sounds horrendous. It does, however, dry clothes.
Our coffee machine has been threatening a revolt lately, too. The Hubs thinks the coffee maker and the dryer are secretly plotting behind our backs.
[Then, of course, there was the 4th of July Swimming Pool Disaster and it's aftermath with which we are still dealing. Homeownership is fun, right?]
As we stood in the kitchen over a late Crock Pot supper, discussing Big Life Decisions that have us losing more than a little sleep lately, the lights in the kitchen went out.
I think the breaker box is in on the conspiracy now, too.
I’m going to bed before something really big happens. I hope it’s not big enough to wake me up. Unless it’s a phone call that someone has found that damn dog.
[I don’t love the dog, okay? But the Girl loves the dog and refuses to get upset that he’s gone because she just knows that he’s going to come home. He’s 6 pounds soaking wet and has been out on his own all day. I’m thinking it’s not looking too good. I don’t want to see the look on her face when she finally gets that, though, so I hope to God someone helps that dog find his way home.]
Wait. I’m not going to bed. That work stuff? Yeah, it’s still waiting for me. I guess I’ll be up for a while…
Thursday, August 9, 2012
2 days in a row...? This chick must have all kinds of free time or something. She's been a real slacker of a blogger this summer. Writers write. Right?? But where has she been...?
Well, that's another post. I'd like to share with you something special and lovely that happened last week, though.
Remember this post?
When The Boy was in preschool, he complained of a sore foot. He never complained to me, though. Complaints were made where maximum reaction would be gained: Grandma. She relayed said complaints to me, I shrugged them off, and he continued to complain only to her. This went on for a few weeks, at which point I said with exasperation, There's nothing wrong with his foot! He's walking, running, playing, and he never says a word to me about it! So, he started telling me about it. With resignation, I took him to the foot doctor. He had a stress fracture in his foot. He was in a boot for several weeks and then, when the boot didn't help, a full on cast for 6 weeks after that. (I'll leave to your imagination what a cast on a 5 year old boy smells like after 6 weeks. I still shudder at the memory.)Well we déjà vu'd that shit all over again last week.
I don't even need to retype it, because it's almost exactly the same. Verbatim. Only now he's 11 and needs to STOP JUMPING OFF THINGS. And I wasn't gonna be allowed to let it go 2 weeks. I took him the next day.
Kablammo. Cracked bone in the foot. A little ankle sprain for good measure, too.
But hey, he's in a wheelchair for one of his roles in the play. So, stage acting in a boot... No problemo.
He sure won't be doing much of this...
...for a while, though.
As I told my facebook friends this weekend: Saturday morning scrimmages are hot and steamy but still fun when you get to watch your kid play. Saturday morning scrimmages when he's injured and has to sit on the sideline… Not so much fun.
So, I went to the grocery store. My team spirit isn't that strong. Sorry, guys.
Injured foot during play performances AND football season... The Boy is WINNING lately. What next?
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
You're such a drama queen!
I can't tell you how many times that phrase is uttered in our household.
Clearly, my children were made for the stage.
Last spring, they started participating in a local community theater for kids. She wanted to try out for Charlotte's Web. He decided to try out on a lark while we were there. He was offered a part, and she was not.
I may or may not have gotten her a puppy to make her feel better when she didn't make it. Then, we got a call saying they would like her to be in the play as one of the little goslings. So, she got a puppy and a part. (Please don’t remind her father of this, he’s not thrilled about it still.)
I watch them on stage, and I see them shine. It doesn't matter when they don’t get a big role or that they don't have many lines. They love what they’re doing. If you've ever watched your kids play "house" or "school" in their own bedrooms, you might be able to begin to imagine the excitement of a real script, costumes, music, stage lights, microphones, and a live audience.
For their first show, they invited everyone they knew. And these kids? They know some people. Aside from wonderfully supportive close family and family friends, though, no one came. I watched them as they signed autographs after the show. They were watching eagerly for familiar faces. This was, after all, a Big Deal. For them, at least. They just knew that everyone would come. My heart broke a little for them as they realized their friends weren’t coming after all.
The boy had to miss some football practices recently because of rehearsals. At his next practice, a teammate asked him where he had been.
Oh, I had dress rehearsals for the play I’m in, was his reply.
Who gives a crap about your stupid play? You’re supposed to be playing football, the kid said with derision.
|He's a boy of many talents...|
My boy didn’t answer him, he just shrugged and walked off to get some water.
I wasn’t there, but I’m told my mother set him straight. (Grandmas are good like that.) If I had been there? I suppose my answer would have been to tell the kid that Cole “gives a crap” about his play, and that’s all that really matters. I tend to be a little bit too vocal with other kids, though, so it’s best that I wasn’t there.
You know the scene in A Field of Dreams where the little girls says that people will come? Ha.
As they continue to take the stage, it is clear they are doing it for themselves, not for anyone else. Because, aside from grandparents and a special few family friends, people don’t come.
A very wise woman imparted some words of wisdom to me recently: All you can do is show up, tell your truth, and don't be attached to the outcome. She was speaking in the context of mothering, but I think this is such a powerful lesson that applies to so many aspects of life.
These kids are not attaching themselves to the outcome, they’re just loving what they’re doing.
The girl asked me on Saturday, Who is coming that we know tonight? I told her that I didn’t think anyone we knew would be in the audience. It didn’t seem to matter, though. It didn’t make them not want to perform. They were going to be there doing something they loved either way.
The people that don’t come? They’ll miss out on a night of fun. Us, though? We were there. Every. Single. Time. And, more importantly, they were there, these kids of ours, and they were full of life and lighting up the stage with their fellow actors.
And they were making memories.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Ah, Saturday morning... Nowhere to be, nothing pressing to do.
Sleeping in sounds like a marvelous plan. The girl child is at her grandma's house, the boy and the hubs are going for their Saturday morning bike ride...I'll be home all alone.
Peace, quiet, and solitude on a Saturday morning. How delicious is that??
6:00am: His alarm clock goes off. I ignore it and go back to sleep.
6:15am: The tiny dog knows they are up and starts whining to be let out of his crate.
6:30am: They are clattering around the house in their bicycle cleats. Can't find chamois cream, can't find heart rate monitor, etc.
7:00am: Laundry happening right outside my bedroom door. Dryer squeaks like nails on chalkboard.
7:10am: They continue to come in and out of bedroom, talking to me and turning on the light in my eyes. Headache begins to develop. I decide I'm not going back to sleep after all. Decide to watch Game of Thrones while no one is home. (Kids can't see, husband thinks it's weird.)
Try to turn on show, cannot connect Apple TV to iTunes. Go to computer, someone has unplugged it. Plug it in, boot it up. Back to bedroom to watch.
7:15am: Boys leave (finally)!
7:20am: Find my place in the show, settle in to watch show and sip coffee (that the boy so kindly made and brought to me before he left).
7:34am: Phone rings. "The boy forgot to take his meds, can you bring them to us, meet us at the Chevron?"
7:45am: Arrive at Chevron. Sit and wait 25 minutes.
8:10am: Phone rings. "We're at the Chevron. You're not here." I'm at the wrong Chevron.
8:20am: Arrive at correct Chevron, get chastised for not knowing their route better (even though I've never ridden that particular ride with them).
8:30am: Go back home, traveling behind a dumbass going 35 in 55mph zone.
9:00am: It's too early for wine, but it's never too early for chocolate.
Monday, July 9, 2012
The festivities were over. The holiday had been productive and relaxing, the fireworks show had been oooh'd and aaah'd over, and the wine had been plentiful. It had been a good day.
All that was on her mind was tucking the children into bed and then, perhaps, getting a little cozy with her husband.
As the headlights hit the house, she saw water rushing down the driveway.
What the hell is that? she asked in alarm.
I don't know, he said, but it can't be good.
They tried to go in the back gate, but the gate was barricaded with detritus from the deck. Furniture was toppled. Debris was scattered. She couldn't quite grasp what was going on.
The pool blew, he said.
That can't be right. She had just spent the day, the whole week, really, doing pool maintenance. This above ground pool thing had seemed like such a good idea at the time. It had been more work than she had anticipated, but the cool water, the tan she was acquiring, had been worth the time and effort. They'd run into some hiccups along the way...
(As it turns out, it's fine to put your pool equipment on cinderblocks, but you should not put the cinderblocks in close proximity of the vinyl pool. When kids play, the pool moves. Friction happens. Holes ensue.)
But they had just fixed it all up. She had just finished that day, in fact, with fresh water, a fresh bag of salt, and new mulch around the pool.
She had even, in her optimism, bought hanging plants for outside (and her black thumb be damned).
She had decided that the pool, small and humble though it was, was her new happy place. Floating in the pool for an hour, basking in the sunshine, was better than a Xanax, better than a couple of glasses of wine. Floating in the pool was calorie free, and she was getting a nice tan on her pasty white body. In just a few short weeks, she was asking the pool where it had been all of her life.
Now it had exploded?
There was too much water to deny it was happening. But there had been too much wine to let go of her denial.
She went back around front and into the house. As she walked through the living room, she sloshed through standing water. She found more of the same in the kitchen.
She kicked her shoes off and sloshed to her bedroom, where the carpet squished with water.
The children were asking questions. What happened? What are we gonna do? How did the pool explode? Dad, why is Mom crying?
The facts were these: The aforementioned hole had ruptured. Spectacularly. 3500 gallons of water rushed out toward their house like a tidal wave, sweeping the patio furniture, pool toys, pottery, pool equipment, mulch, and their grill across the deck. Mulch stuck halfway up the floor-to-ceiling window was indicative of how high the water had rushed up before it receded.
Friends and family came to help. Floors were dried.
Carpet was removed.
Sweeping,mopping, and vacuuming went on for days. Sheetrock was cut out so walls could dry.
New insulation was installed. New sheetrock was hung. The back deck and yard were put to rights.
All in all, she realizes it could have been worse.
Every day she stares out at her back yard with the gaping hole that used to hold her happy place, and she mourns. She didn't know she could mourn a pain-in-the-ass above ground vinyl pool, but it left a void. She's currently looking on craigslist for a replacement.
Too soon? she asks him innocently.
His only response is to looks at her with reproach.
And so, she will drink wine...
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Ah, swimsuit season. How I loathe thee.
I have shed some weight lately. Not as much as I had hoped to by the start of summer, but 20 pounds is no small feat, either. I'll keep trying.
Meanwhile, I need a new swimsuit.
I was wearing a 16/18. Not anymore! That's the good news.
I've been swimsuit shopping twice in the last week. No more plus sizes for me! Now, I'm trying on 12s (and even some 10s!). This is a Big Deal.
Suddenly I realize that I will never be able to buy a swimsuit in a size 10 or 12.
It appears that the swimsuit manufacturers think that only fat girls need bust support.
"Oh, we have bra sizes. We go up to DD," says the sales girl proudly.
Well isn't that fantastic. I was a DD in college before pregnancy and breastfeeding took their toll on the girls. We need to travel a little further along the alphabet to get to where I need to be.
Thankfully, there are some beautifully made bras out there that help to mould your poor, sad, tired girls back into shape.
Seriously, ladies... Most of you are wearing the wrong size bra. I promise. A quality bra that fits correctly will do wonders for your figure and your self esteem. Stay away from department stores. They are not your friend.
But I digress...
Unfortunately, the same does not hold true for swimsuits.
Bust support is non-existent, even with the suits that proclaim their supportive attributes.
The girls end up either squished flat, oozing out the sides, pouring out the top in a grotesque parody of a décolletage, or just totally distorting the intended shape of the swimsuit.
It's a nightmare.
I found one (ONE!) that would work for me. It was a miracle. It was also $135 dollars. Just for the top.
Back to the drawing board...
I decided to try a local plus size store, thinking I'd have better luck. They laughed me out of the store.
Girl, what you think gonna fit you in this store? What are you, a size 8?
Why no, but thank you, you just made my day.
Try Old Navy, they carry your size.
No one seems to fully understand The Boob Problem.
The husband's advice? Wear a T-shirt.
Why yes, nothing says I'm uncomfortable with my body like a chick hanging out in the pool with a T-shirt on. Sigh.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
I look into her sleepy grinning face, and her daddy's blue eyes sparkle back at me. She should be in bed, but for some reason she keeps reappearing at my side.
I am busy; I am always busy, though, and they grow weary of my inattention.
She's so young, but her young body is growing in ways for which she is not ready. She's going to be an "early bloomer," as they say. As was her mother. This is not something her mother is happy to have passed on.
It is also her mother's voice that emerges when she speaks, the flippancy and sarcasm that is a routine part of their daily banter.
She is so much like me.
She is so much more than me. She shines in a way that is unique to her.
I am tired. Work is done for the day, dinner is cooked and cleaned up, [some of the] chores are done or can wait. I would like nothing more than to have a few minutes to write something, anything - just write, dammit - but she needs something. Just me, I think.
She is on an estrogen fueled roller coaster these days. She is at the mercy of her hormonal surges. This is a hard place to be, even for more mature girls. Emotions are raw, unexpected, uncontrollable. Tears are frequent.
What's wrong with her? The males in our home ask, exasperated.
They make jokes. In her fragile emotional state she cannot find the humor, only the hurt.
I find myself being her adversary and her emissary simultaneously. I am battered by the onslaught of her emotions. I try to fend her off for my own self preservation. I will point to the doorway and tell her to go out, to leave me, to go spew emotion somewhere else, pleasefortheloveofgod.
But she doesn't know what to do with it. She doesn't even know why she's so upset most of the time. She is a mystery to herself.
Then I am intervening on her behalf, begging them to please let her be, to please understand that she's a biologically crazy person right now and she deserves their sympathy, not their ridicule.
Her father is out of his element. This is not the daughter he knows. How can he dote on her when there are venom and fangs and claws where once there was only sweetness and light?
He doesn't handle it as well as he could. His response is defensive, visceral, accusatory. She's impossible, I'm done.
I beg, harass, and challenge him to be the dad she needs; we don't always get to be the parent that we want to be. We have to meet them where they are.
She needs softness, she needs rationality, she needs forgiveness. This business of growing up is exhausting.
She needs to hear that she's beautiful. She needs to hear that this is natural, normal. Her body is changing, growing, has become a place where she is no longer entirely at home.
Her clothes don't fit the same. Yes, this too is a source of emotion, tears. Nothing fits. Even things that fit last week are snug and awkward this week.
Her best friend makes comments about how they can't share clothes anymore. They've known each other since infancy, and they've always shared clothes. Suddenly, she is taller and several sizes larger. She has hips. Who does this body belong to?
She tells me she looks different than all her friends at school. I nod in sympathy. I remember it well. I let her know a secret I never really understood; they'll all grow, too. It will just happen later. I ask her to talk to me about how she's feeling, because I know it's hard. I was just like you. But you're braver than I was. I know you're going to be okay. Let's always talk, though, always tell me what you're thinking. Promise? She does.
She stares at my stretch marks in fascination one day while we're lazing around in the pool.
Wow, they're still there?
And you're... ya know. Those. I don't like to say the word.
I don't like that word.
Well you didn't mind it for the first three years of your life. That's what you called them when you wanted to nurse, you know.
I know, don't talk about it!
Okay... So, what about them?
Are mine going to be like that?
Not if you're lucky. But, genetics say probably yes. Sorry, chicklette.
Now she is afraid puberty will bring stretch marks and droopy those. No, I tell her. That comes after babies. You have a while left yet.
Later, she watches me pensively as I climb out of the pool.
What's on your mind?
I just can't believe that's going to happen to me one day.
I just smile, because it's okay. Because she doesn't know. She won't understand until she gets there.
She doesn't look forward to all the growing and changing. I don't blame her.
Tonight, she is clingy. She needs us to put her to bed.
Why tuck her in? She's 8, her dad wonders aloud.
It wounds her, and she runs away, embarrassed. Again, he does not understand this foreign land of the prepubescent female.
I understand. She's growing up too fast. It's scary. She needs that connection to the girl, the little one that gets tucked in at night.
I send him in to make amends. They do their best to come to terms with each other.
This is only the beginning, I tell him. This is 8. You're going to love 16... just you wait and see.