Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ah Ha!

I recently had another "ah ha" moment that I wanted to share with you all. I need to give a small commentary before the actual moment so hang in here a minute while I do that.
When you lose a lot of weight rapidly after you gain a lot of weight over time you end up with some "squishy" or jiggly parts. Maybe your belly or your arms or thighs or whatever. You can get really hung up about those parts if you're not careful. I mean your super happy to be healthier and thinner, but you're also self conscious about those parts.

Then one day, your kid needs intense snuggling so she sits glued to your side and after a while you notice that she is pinching your jiggly arm repetitively. At first you may be a little freaked but you contain yourself and ask what she's doing and she says she petting you and then she actively wiggles your jiggly arm and smiles big. And then you really have to contain yourself and not jump off the couch to go check out how jiggly your arm is. And then she says, with sincere little kid honesty, "this part of you makes me happy". And then your other kid pipes up and says "yeah- like your squishy belly". It's really soft and I love it." And then you either 1. Go take a xanax and hide in the closet or 2. Have an aha moment of self love and smile because your kids are cool and find love and comfort from parts of you that up until that moment made you feel anxious. 
It was a close call, but I chose the Ah ha moment.

Too Much

Too Much
Have you ever been told that you are “too much”?  Well, I have. The word TOO has played a predominant role in my life.  I’ve been labeled “too emotional”, “too sensitive”, “too big”, “too much”, “too creative”.  Now I understand some of those toos but how can one be “too creative”?  That one I never understood.   If you have ever been the victim of a purposefully negative “too” or even a casual drive by “too”, I feel your pain.  This little essay is about my various responses to the toos. Maybe we can work through our toos together.
My first “toos” happened bright and early in life.  I remember my mother telling me multiple times that I was “too emotional” and “too high strung” and “too sensitive”.  When I yowled over a bloody knee, cried over hurt feelings, wailed about a punishment, she hit me with a “too”.
Let me clarify that my mother was not abusive.  She was a single parent of two children and she loved us very much.  She worked full time, had limited local family support, and I honestly believe she did her best at raising us. Often, we were just “too much” for her to handle alone.  I recently figured out that my mother had been a victim of the “not enoughs”.  She did great in school, was pretty and popular and kind but unfortunately, her mother was mentally ill and verbally abusive so what she did was just “not enough” no matter how hard she tried.  I’m pretty sure her therapist (or mine) would say that her response to the “not enoughs” was the vile “toos”. 
My mother wanted me to fit in and conform to groups so that my life would be easier.  She told me that when I came out as a lesbian.  She wanted my life to be easy and happy and I wouldn’t have the easy happy life as a lesbian.  She failed to notice that due to a life time of being “too much”; my life had not actually been all that easy as a straight chick.
I was in the third grade when it was brought to my attention that I was “too big”.  I look back now at pictures and see a large boned kid with dorky pink glasses and slightly round cheeks but that kid was active and healthy.  Maybe not as healthy as she could have been, but I remember playing and riding my bike and feeling good in my body.  This was the year I started my “dieting journey” as I lovingly refer to it in bitter moments. The DSM-V would call it my eating disorder.
 My dad would love me with food on the random weekends we visited him and my mother would love me with Diet Shasta and horribly embarrassing tiny school lunches the rest of the time.  The more she asked him to watch what we ate, the more he fed me. My brother and I would leave his house on Sundays cranked up on caffeine, with distended bellies and sugar highs.  By Sunday night, we had crashed and were wailing and in probable Dr. Pepper detox.
 I tried every fad diet I have ever heard of by the time I was in college.  “Too big” finally reached critical mass in my thirties and when I had gastric bypass, I weighed 326 pounds.  Since then, I still struggle with weighing ‘too much” but I have tried to be healthier and more aware of what I’m doing to my body. I try very hard to not call her “too” anything.
The thing with the “toos” is that it’s all a matter of perception.   Maybe I’m curvy, theatrical, gregarious, compassionate, and intuitive rather than “too big”, “too sensitive”,” too emotional”, “too much”.  I have spent so much time either rebelling against the “toos” in my life or pondering how to be less i.e. less large, less demonstrative, less emotional.  What I know for a fact is that I’ve wasted TOO much time worrying about it instead of just trying to figure out how to be me.
 I have always been great at reminding other people who have been dealt a “too” that everyone won’t like them, everyone won’t find them attractive and some will think they are weird AND THAT”S OKAY!!!  I just haven’t been good at believing it myself.
And then came my daughter.  My second daughter could very easily be labeled “too”.  She is 3 years old and she is smart, funny, loving, mischievous, rebellious, devious, selfish, and busy as hell.  She was born this way.  She goes wide open from early morning until I finally sing our 17th song and read our 10th book and leave the room while she wails “don’t LEAB me.  I NEED you!!!”  Her energy sometimes makes my hair stand on end and I have to work day and night to control my urge to yell at her or attempt force her to bend to my will.  I have had to learn entirely new ways of parenting and I’m exhausted from the self help and parenting blogs I read on a daily basis.  I am becoming a master of what I have coined as “subterfuge parenting”.  This style of parenting takes more time and patience but pays off in the end because she actually thinks it was her idea to behave instead of me forcing her to be “less”.
I never want to label my children” too much” or “not enough”.  Not even in my private thoughts.  The thing about “too” is that it can come across even when not said aloud.  It’s insidious.

I cannot change my “toos”.  I am learning to own them, go with them, nurture them and understand them.  I am trying to better nourish my “too big”.  I now listen to my “too sensitive” because I have learned that she often catches things that might be important.  I make art when my “too creative” feels the need and I have learned that “too much” actually is too damned much when she drinks heavily.  This is really all we can do.  Accept our “toos” the way we accept our crazy aunt who rocks in the corner and grins vacantly at everyone, or our forgetful spouse, or our neurotic best friend.  If we can offer this type of acceptance to our family, then I am quite sure we owe it to our “toos”  to let them know that they are…just enough.

I Quit My Job

I quit my job.  Yep. You read that correctly. Quit. My. Job.  It was terrifying. And liberating. After twelve years with the same non-profit agency, I handed in my resignation. After months of drinking too much, eating too much, smoking too much and crying too much over my job I burned out.  I almost went down in flames screaming at people, laughing maniacally and throwing stuff but instead, I pulled it together, had a heart to heart with my wife of 16 years and finally meant it when I said I would work digging ditches to provide for my family if I could just get the f#*k out of this job.
 The truth of the matter is that some would say I stayed about 11 years too long.  Another truth is that I learned a hell of a lot about myself, politics, HIV, and people in the rural south.  Some of what I learned enlightened me.  Some of it pissed me off royally and some just wore me down.  Just when I thought I had a handle on what I was doing, the grant changed, the laws changed, or the statistics changed.  I learned how to think on my feet and how to actually be a self starter rather than just call myself one.
Every six months for the first 5 years in that job, I tried to hand in my resignation while crying like a blubbering idiot.  My boss gently refused my resignations, handed me a tissue and sent me back out.  I finally quit trying to quit and just threatened to quit about once a year.  Knowing my M.O., my boss just listened, nodded and changed the subject to something I was passionate about instead of the thing that had angered me or frustrated me.  In this job I have been an HIV educator, an HIV and housing advocate on both state and federal levels, a housing specialist, a property manager, a housing case manager, a gofer, a house cleaner, a trash hauler, a transporter, a party planner, a fund raiser and a conference presenter.  Every day held different job responsibilities and I learned that I am not “above” doing any of those things.  I was simultaneously humbled and empowered by this job on a regular basis.  Also, angered.  Did I mention angered?
 This job affected me more than I could even describe in a short essay.  I saw things in the job that were jaw dropping hilarious, heartrendingly sad, and culturally mortifying.  Sometimes I experienced all three emotions in the same day.  I met amazing people.  I met terrible people.  I witnessed goats eating abandoned houses.  I wrangled cows back into pastures and hocked HIV education at flea markets next to a guy selling used socks. I cleaned out maggot filled refrigerators more than once and I shudder every time I see a pest control advertisement because of run-ins with German cockroaches and bedbugs. I joined coalitions, commissions, boards, fellowships and teams.  I took notes for all of them so no one would ask me to actually lead the damn things.  I once picked up a young homeless gay male prostitute by a bridge after he earned some “spending money” for the drug rehabilitation program to which I was taking him. I got chased by a drug dealer/pimp after giving some women condoms.  I helped house a murderer who had very recently been released from prison.  I taught junior high kids about STDs. These stories go on and on.  There are too many to remember but depending on my mood, I can either traumatize a dinner party or make them laugh until they cry with these stories.
The one life lesson I learned the most about was judgment.  I learned to trust my own judgment, admit when I had judged incorrectly, and how to work through my own preconceived judgments about behavior, poverty, disease transmission and love. I learned that it is easier to judge others than judge your own motivations and behaviors.  I learned that being judgmental of others is a very common escape mechanism for actually facing issues and helping to find solutions.  I learned and learned and learned.
And then I quit.  I had learned enough in that job.  I felt that I was losing my ability to be me. I felt that I was losing my passion for helping other people.  I was getting lost in the politics, the policies and the ineffectual ways in which our society tries to “fix” things. It seemed that no matter how much I learned, the same patterns continued and the same mistakes were made over and over again. I was mad, hung over and jittery from nicotine use.  My pants were tight and I had taken to hiding in my office.  Instead of baking bread for colleagues on their birthdays, I found myself wanting to spank some of them after a stern talking to.  I found myself getting less able to control my disdain for stupid policies, and if I heard some bullshit about teamwork making the dream work one more time, I might take someone out of the game.  I had been putting out resumes and job applications for a while but had nothing lined up.  Finally, I just handed in my resignation and hoped for the best.  Starbucks, here I came. If I was lucky.
I did this because I was also losing my parenting skills, my ability to be a friend, my capacity to love my partner.  I was beyond angry at what began to feel like being stuck in a job for the benefits. Stupid health insurance. Stupid retirement. Stupid mortgage. Stupid car payments.  I was finding myself hating my inner peacemaker and ridiculing her for her refusal to brawl when others started to throw down. I questioned myself constantly.  I felt more and more like I was pretending my way through my life instead of actually living it authentically. Like my life had become a terrible O Network example of how NOT to live your life. So…I quit.
People in my field were a bit stunned.  We had been in the trenches for so long together that we were considered the veterans to some extent.  We had all bitched to each other over martinis about work, public policy, healthcare reform, and housing deficits until we were all drunk and in need of Gatorade.  We just kept going back for more.  When one of my favorite colleagues and friends was fired for ridiculous reasons, it resonated strongly with me.  I began to fear that the same fate was lined up for me.  As she and I talked about her grief, her loss of financial security, and her continued passion for her calling to help house those in need, I began to covertly think about my options.  I just did not see that I had any.  My angst started to become even more self destructive. I spent inordinate amounts of time mad at people and mad at a broken system.  I also grieved.  Eventually this all culminated in a twelve hour sob fest on a close friend’s bed surrounded by people who loved me, followed by a month of frantic job searching, followed by a letter of resignation and  senses of  both relief and terrible fear.

This experience has been powerful. I’m still processing it.  Just the other day, I hit speed dial for my previous boss to tell her I would be working late since my meeting had gone over time and I was driving home through a monsoon. I had just hit SEND when I realized that she would not really give a shit since I was no longer attending that particular meeting as a representative for her agency. I frantically hit END on my cell phone and laughed like crazy as I peered through my flooded windshield.  Every day it gets a little easier to believe that someone else is willing to pay me for my services.  My identity has been so enmeshed with HIV care in the South and homelessness for so long that I have to relearn who I am outside of those parameters.  While this is taking self reflection and time, finding me is turning out to be a lot easier than losing myself.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Let’s talk about the dreaded I word.   Insomnia.  I have it and over the years, I have fought the valiant fight of the sleep deprived.  I can only remember a few times in my life when I slept well and unaided by chemicals, teas or potions and these brief interludes have never lasted very long.  I have cycles of sleep that cohabitate with cycles of anger over my lack of sleep, and obsession with the amount of sleep I have had.  These three are great friends and love to have long lengthy conversations in my head about…..sleep.
  I have many memories of myself as a child lying awake in my bed thinking deep thoughts or being scared to death because I was awake in the darkest part of the night and could not go back to sleep.  Sometimes I read.  Sometimes I stood in my window and looked outside. My biological father always lived in remote places and his houses were very intimidating after dark.  On nights at his house when I was wide awake, I usually just laid in a damp bed under 17 quilts (my brother wet the bed and my dad didn’t believe in heating the house at night) and tried not to think about whatever horror movie we had been watching before bed.  Instead, I envisioned what I would do to stay safe if ever one of these horror scenarios ever happened to me.  I think I built up a fairly decent arsenal of safety skills because of those late night thoughts.  Maybe this ability to think outside the box and figure out what to do in case of weird corn children or zombies or sea pirate zombie ghosts is the lone parenting gift by dad bestowed upon me. Thanks, Dad.
 Later, as a teen, I snuck out of my house, sat on the porch, smoked cigarettes and read books.  On occasion, a friend (obviously older and with no curfew) would pick me up and we would just drive around.  I know this wasn’t a safe option but I always left a note for my parents and I was not drinking or having sex or doing drugs.  I swear.  I just had two close friends who knew I didn’t sleep so they would pick me up and we would drive and listen to either classic rock or the Beasty Boys depending on which friend showed up.   We would occasionally have adventures.  I repelled from water towers a few times, swam in an abandoned mine shaft that had filled with water, and went into the sewer system to see what it looked like during a few of these late night jaunts.  Good times, people. Good times.
 In college, as you can imagine, life was more conducive to living happily with my insomnia.  There were many other people awake in the middle of the night and I had plenty to do.  Coffee shops were a favorite.  Driving dirt roads still ranked high on the list.  Talking until the wee hours with like-minded friends about politics, life, love, sex and who we would be when we grew up was always a great past time.  I also cleaned my house a lot during the night.  My room-mate had a boyfriend (OK- a Man friend, since her was 20 years her senior and in the middle of a divorce) and she was with him most of the time.  This allowed me to clean with abandon and have long deep conversations with Opal, my soul mate/cat.  She got me.  She really did.  My baseboards sparkled thanks to insomnia and weight loss medications.
When I was 22 I met my wife.  BH eased into my life and within a very short period of time became my safe place.  She had & still has the best calming energy.  I have only met one other person who provides that peace and I plan to keep them both.  Anyway, BH came along and I SLEPT!  Sometimes it happened at inappropriate times and sometimes with no warning.  It was like narcolepsy and I loved it.  I also worked 3rd shift during these months so I was pretty much always focused on when I could sleep next.  Poor BH thought she bored me to sleep until I explained the insomnia and then she wore my sleep like a badge of honor.  She never asked about it much.  She rarely made it a big deal but she loved that she provided me with whatever mojo she had that knocked me out faster than a dose of Tylenol pm, and without that nasty hangover.
BH’s mojo lasted until we had GC1.  BH sleeps so soundly that I would have to wake her to feed the baby and then wake her again to put the baby back to bed.  She sometimes wakes from her deep sleep/jealousy inducing coma with a fairly violent startle. I always stayed awake and checked on her to make sure she didn’t startle and huck the baby across the room from her  rocking chair.  I would often find them in crazy positions half undressed but both soundly sleeping in the chair.  I love these memories.  It gave me the opportunity to be a part of that late night bonding even though BH was the one providing the nourishment.
I had finally found a good dose of the right drugs to provide a decent amount of sleep while not turning me into a zombie when we decided to get pregnant again.  Out went the drugs and back came the sleeplessness.  I slept on Sundays.  My body would just shut down and I would often spend the entire day asleep either in my bed, or on the couch.  The rest of the week was usually a haze of work, childcare and sleepless nights where I tried not to freak out about everything from finances to birth defects.  It wasn’t all bad though.  I also imagined GC2 and tried to get a sense of who she was.  I knew she would be demanding because she was kicking my ass as a fetus and I was afraid it would get more intense once she entered our world.  I tried to prepare myself.  I decided on paint colors for her room and picked things I thought would soothe her.  I made lists.  I wandered the house and attempted to find comfort on various pieces of furniture.  I knew this behavior is fairly common for pregnant women so I just owned it and rolled with the flow.  I made lists, I wrote stories, I listened to NPR pod casts.
 Once GC2 arrived, I knew this insomnia issue was about to get worse.  She is the lightest sleeper on the planet.  She seems to a pretty sensitive person (who are we kidding, she’s HIGHLY sensitive) and is very affected by teething, congestion, hunger or hell, chirping birds.  She and I have spent many a night in a rocking chair while I hold her so she will sleep. While she sleeps skin to skin on my chest, I stare at the wall.  I may get frustrated by this sometimes, but mostly I just handle it.  I get it.  I hope I provide her with that safe space that allows sleep amidst growth and development.  She’s the last baby I will have so I will hold her little shirtless little self through the night until she is embarrassed by the thought of it.
 This all gets us to where we are today.  Once I quit nursing GC2 (Or pumping since the little she beast would never latch appropriately), I could start taking sleep meds again.  I refused to take Ambien because of an unfortunate incident that included the drug, me passing out and acting weird and BH having to watch me breathe all night to assure herself I wasn’t about to die.  I took OTC sleep aid.  A quarter of the recommended dose worked well for a while.  Then it didn’t work so well.  Instead of upping the dose, I quit taking anything in hopes of being able to sleep on my own.  This hypothesis that maybe I was cured of insomnia has turned out to be a poor one at best and I have spent the last few months awake & sleep deprived or napping.  And pissed off about it.  Did I mention pissed off?
Recently I decided to go back to the herbal remedies that failed me in my younger days and give them a chance to redeem themselves.  I had an herbalist make a tea blend that will supposedly help me sleep and calm me down a bit.  I’m pretty sure it contains eye of newt and bat wings and it tastes wretched.  Also, even though I swallow this vile swill, I’m still not sleeping.  Valerian gave me nightmares and melatonin was the insomniacal equivalent of spitting into the wind.  Stupid and pointless.
As soon as we have get an alarm system Caroline can’t escape through, I’m going back on drugs.  If I have to put ankle monitors on everyone in the house, Earth Momma is getting some sleep.  Until then, I have become a fan of TED Talks & This American Life.  I've also started doing a bit of writing again.  Call me sometime.  I’m sure I’ll be awake.
Ambien & Eyes of Newt,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It’s All in a Name

I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while.  My creativity has been flowing, just not across the page in the form of the written word.  You know how it goes so I will save us all the misery of whining about my busy life and all of my projects and get down to my area of interest for today.
Names- Names are HUGE!  Majorly important.  A name can make or break most anything.  Movies, plays, products, you name it. If the name of something is bad, most people have a hard time getting past it to the actual product.  I am sure there are many items that were fabulous in their own special ways but were ruined by terrible name choices. 
Here are some examples:
Anti Monkey Butt?! Seriously?!
What were these marketers thinking?
BH and I have the same name.  We spell it differently but it’s the same.  It’s also a nickname.  We agree that it made life more complicated as children. 
We also agree that it very vanilla and we wish we had other names.  Our mothers had good intentions but, well, neither of us feel as though it really matches either of our personalities.  BH has pushed me to change my name so that we don’t have the name confusion that we inevitably have whenever we meet new people.  People always think we are speaking in the third person.  Which is creepy. 
I always respond that she should change hers.  She then tells me she’s older and had the name longer so I should change mine.  I call her old, stick my tongue out and walk away.  I win. Well, okay, I don’t really win because no one changes their name but still- she’s older! Hah!
Our common obsession with names has led to some interesting pet names and major angst over names for our children.  I tend to be the free spirit and BH tends toward family names.  We pretty quickly agreed to GC1’s name but I have questioned our choice a few times over the last 8 years.  It’s a great name and she likes her name but maybe I should have insisted on something with more pizzazz.  I totally think she could carry Blue as a middle name.  Totally.
We covered the need for family names with both children and honored some women we love very much so generally speaking, I am pleased with their names but I do have had my moments.  Like when my brother and his wife named their son the coolest name in history and I was so jealous I almost cried.  That kid can’t help but be fabulous with a moniker like the one he’s blessed with.  There will NEVER be three more of him in a classroom. NEVER!
To assuage my need for interesting names, I have worked tirelessly to instill in GC1 the creative name picking talent.  BH and I have also picked some interesting names for some of our pets.  Even if the animal has an average spoken name, you can rest assured that his or her full name is its own brand of interesting.
The following is a list of various pet names we have come up with over the years:
·         Alexxander Theopolis - Alexx.  BH added the extra X.  Never was sure why.
·         Samantha Jane- Sam was so fabulous her name had to be low keyed so it wasn’t just too damned much.  Plus, it normalized her.  She was one seriously strange looking mutt.
·         Jackson Lamont- Jack is so white bread he needed some soul in his name.
·         Rajjit Amadeus Amadeus - Raj needs A LOT of name because she is A LOT of personality in a tiny little package.
·         Henry Beauregard Bojangles- He came as Beau and we felt the need to spice it up.
·         Crush- Poor Crush was named by GC1 right after Finding Nemo when she was 4 years old.  We were disappointed in her lack of creativity, but what can you do??  Stupid Disney.
·         John Terry- Beta Fish. Deceased. RIP John Terry.
·         Steve- 5 year old goldfish that the cat ate.  RIP Steve.
·         Tiger Lily Lucille- Cool calico cat we adore.
·         Esme Chrysanthemum- We allowed GC1 to name the hen because she was upset that we would not let her name her soon-to-be sister Chrysanthemum.
·         Lily Sparkles- Hen
·         Sketchy Longneck- Sketchy long-necked hen
·         Netty Buttercup- Giant butter colored hen
·         Mathilda the Mean- Rooster.  Informally known as Mattie until “he went to live on the farm”.
·         And last but not least- Sipsey Jo- The most awesome Black Bear hamster ever!
See full size image

Here is the kicker for this whole essay- I can’t ever remember names!  EVER!  I have a weird mental block and I just blank on names and BH has to tell me over and over again and even then I sometimes can’t pull it from the ether.  To make up for this disability- I am slowly becoming the breed of Southern Women I call “The Honey Baby Sugar Women”.  Like Flo on Mel’s Diner.

You know- the women who call everyone Honey, Sugar, Darlin’ or Baby?  I have decided to be one of these women.  My current favorite nickname is Punkin.  Sometimes- Punkin Pants.  I also call people things like Flip Flop, Pop Tart, Lollipop, Fred, Bernard and Antsy Pants.  Maybe also- Robert. Even if their name isn’t Robert and they maybe aren’t men.  I am slowly building my eccentricity reputation so that my dementia will be less noticeable as I age.  The only time this is a problem is when children are so enamored with their new nicknames that they expect me to call them that forever.  GC1 got angry the other day because she was a shoe and her cousin was a toaster pastry.  She felt that Pop Tarts trumped Flip Flops any day of the week.

I just made everyone play the quiet game and sat in my chair trying to remember all of their names so that I could yell at them if the need arose.

To all of the Honey Baby Sugar Women currently in my life, I proudly announce that I am one of you!  I may even steal your nicknames sometime if they all I can remember at that moment.

Earth Momma

Saturday, January 1, 2011


It can be said truthfully that I have a faulty memory.  Sometimes I can remember a recipe down to the ¼ tsp. and yet I am terrible at remembering birthdays.  You should have seen the look of shame I got at the pediatrician when I couldn’t remember Girl child 2’s birthday.  In my defense, she is only 7 months old and it took me years to remember Black Hair’s birthday. But that look from the nurse shamed me so bad that I now drill myself on the important details about the births of both of my children so that I will never be caught off guard again.  I also write them on my hand before we go in the doctor’s office.
One of my biggest fears is Alzheimer’s disease so I regularly do crossword puzzles and quiz myself on music trivia.  I Google random things every day so I can learn something new and keep my brain moving forward at a steady pace. I read cookbooks and make up recipes and write them down as soon as I make them up because just the other day someone reminded me of a recipe that I made pretty regularly for a while and I could not remember a single ingredient except spinach! 
Girl Child 1 asks me to tell her stories that I have told her before and I can’t remember a single detail.  She tries reminding me but while I can remember lying with her in the bed and snuggling while I made up fantastical stories, I don’t remember the witch who apparently stole people’s broccoli thus robbing them of essential nutrients and making their world’s dull and nutritionally defunct. But she does.
I sometimes worry about this major character flaw.  I try and try to remember things.  I apologize a lot.  I take copious notes at most meetings.  Did I mention I apologize a lot?
Other times I just remind myself of my good qualities.  Some of which I probably would not have if I could remember more.  I tell good stories.  I make up recipes.  I call my child by made up names because she thinks it’s funny and I don’t have to go through a list of names in my head.  I just call her Norbert and move on.  And I focus a lot on making memories for my daughters that will sustain them when they have moments of feeling insecure or unloved.  These memories will sustain them when I am no longer able to remember the details of their childhoods that they feel are so important.
I have a few memories that I hope are the last memories I have before I die.
 1-My beautiful 3 year old GC1 stands naked in the backyard with honey blond hair down her back (I was gardening and she stripped down and ran around with the water hose).  She holds the running water hose in the air and it pours water down over her hair as the sun sets behind her.  She is laughing that wonderfully innocent laugh of a small child and it was a moment of pure perfectness.
 2- I gave birth to GC2 while surrounded by my mother and my partner.  I did it after 22 hours of labor and a serious fear that I wouldn’t be able to do it, that something would go wrong.  She was born and the doctor laid her on my chest and we stared at each other for eternity.
3- I married the partner of my dreams in a small clearing in the woods.  My father gave us our first communion together and I ugly cried in front of a crowd.  Black Hair had the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen.
There are others.  As long as I have these, I will not beat myself up for forgetting the door knob when I went to Lowe’s, for forgetting red shirt day at GC1’s school thus ensuring that she was the only blue shirted dork in her class.
I will make up new spinach recipes. 
I will celebrate next Thursday to make up for forgetting our first date.  
I will research fair housing laws and ideas for housing department goals since I have forgotten what I did with the ones I wrote down last week. 
I will write every year in our Christmas journal so we all have a written account of all of the Christmases we have shared.
 Even though I totally disregarded the notation on the side of each page that denotes the type of recipe that’s on that page, I will write the recipes down so my girls have them some day. 
And I’ll try to remember to finish the story of the coop full of crazy so you are not left hanging, waiting with bated breath to see what happened next. 
Peace & Memories,
Earth Momma

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Happily Ever After

It was brought to my attention recently that I am doing my kid some serious damage.  Not for the reasons you might be thinking of, although plenty of people would have comments about those. 
Not because she has two moms. 
Not because she isn’t allowed to eat many foods with HFCS (one person in my life actually told me I am making her a weirdo because I won’t let her eat processed foods very often). 
Not because we have chickens living illegally in our back yard (although I WAS told that this is giving her the idea that law breaking is OK).
Nope. It’s none of these things that will cause my child serious damage. (Thank the Lord, I was worried.)
Apparently, what is going to do the most damage is the fact that I have helped instill in her a belief in fairies and other magical creatures and ideas.  I have convinced her that I can heal her boo-boos with magical spells.  I keep a bottle of monster spray (lavender water) under the bathroom sink and I have a cool brown glass bottle full of healing potion (tea tree and lavender water) in a drawer.  Black Hair does an amazing healing chant (imagine something between a voodoo chant & speaking in tongues all ending in a yelled “BE HEALED” in her best tent revival accent).  I have often spent afternoons outside whiled away looking for garden fairies, building fairy houses and talking to her about which magical creatures ride dragonflies and who is brave enough to try to tame a bee.
An elf lives at our house for the entire month of December.  His name is Scooter and he has close personal ties to Santa.
My oldest now tells anyone who will listen that her invisible friend (not imaginary, invisible.  "She is REAL Mama, you just can’t see her.") is part girl ghost and part dinosaur.  Her name is Dinoria and she sleeps in the attic.  My girl tells everyone that she is a level 4-ghost hunter and plans to go to school to reach the highest level so that she can have her own ghost hunting team when she grows up.
Now here’s the thing people, it’s called IMAGINATION!  Does she really believe that I can make her well by magic? No.  She knows it took a trip to the hospital and 6 weeks in a cast to heal her broken arm.  She knows it took emergency surgery and 2 weeks of quarantine and seriously yucky tasting antibiotics to get rid of MRSA.  She knows hand washing is imperative.
Does she really believe that monster spray keeps the baddies away?  Well, she used to, but now she knows not to talk to strangers, never to let people into our house without my permission, never eat candy given to her by people she doesn’t know.
She knows that healing potion is tea tree oil and lavender and she knows that Black Hair’s healing chant only works in conjunction with rest, proper nutrition and possibly antibiotics.  It makes you feel better because it is attention given to you by someone who loves you very much and wants you to feel better.
If I’m not careful, she will soon have some ideas about the validity of the tooth fairy.  So far, I have convinced her that the day shift tooth fairy had to come because the night shift fairy had a cold and that the money under her pillow magically appeared while she brushed her teeth one morning.  Those were cutting it a little close…
Here’s the deal as far as I can tell-we only get to be children once. Soon enough we know that people do horrible things to each other in the name of politics, religion and power.  Soon enough we realize that while fairies may not exist, evil sure does.  Soon enough we hold a friend’s hand while she cries over rape, miscarriage, or the death of a loved one.  Soon enough we see family members and friends devastated by addiction and inner demons.  Soon enough we read horrible things in the newspaper or watch as politicians destroy one another in commercials.  All of that crap comes soon enough.
Therefore, while my children are young, I will happily spin tales of fairies.  I will listen to long pointless stories about the ghost girl dinosaur who lives in my attic.  I will spray the four corners of a dark bedroom with monster stray, mist the pillow of a sleepless seven year old with sleep spray and laugh as I listen to a healing chant being performed over a child with a snotty nose and a sore throat.  I will observe how happy an elf makes my daughter as he travels around our house at night and I will tell stories of witches who melt, bad guys who always get caught and couples who live happily ever after.
If I am ruining my children, so be it.  I will do it with abandon.
Rainbows & Unicorns,
Earth Momma