Thursday, January 30, 2014

On his Birthday: The Story of Klondike and Me

Life is a funny thing. It rarely goes as predicted, in fact, I don't think it ever goes as predicted.
When I was a little girl, I didn't really think much about what I wanted to be.  I thought I would live in a huge house with at least 10 kids, and my husband....well, actually, a husband didn't really factor in. I wasn't one of those little girls who really had crushes. When other friends were crushing on New Kids on the Block or Kirk Cameron (omg....look how he turned out!) I fell asleep each night imagining I was a Princess of a far off Planet that had been put on Earth for safe-keeping until my real, ROYAL, family, could come back for me and unlock my life's destiny. Seriously. I was weird.

But surprisingly, that's not how things turned out. I sort of had a typical, atypical childhood, mostly ups, some downs. My teen years were somewhat difficult, my Mom moved across the continent and I fell into clinical depression. (Not due to her moving so much as the actual chemical make-up of my brain). I got out of my teen years and entered my twenties with not a whole lot of motivation beyond not being depressed, and having a good time.

My 20's were a blur. I was the family black sheep, rarely showed for Holidays, my Grandmother nicknamed me "The vagabond", I lived somewhere new every six months, spent the bulk of my time either working in or patronizing bars. But in one of those bars, I met Klondike.

I'm pretty sure I was just barely 21. Klondike worked the door of my "home base" bar, you know, the one that's like home away from home, where "everyone knows your name." He says he knew as soon as he met me that he loved me. I took a bit more convincing.

But we definitely became great friends. Klondike lived in a house right behind the bar, and I worked 3rd shift at the local Food Bag. On the weekends, I got off work, woke Klondike up at his house, and we took his parents boat out on the lake with a couple other people. One time I slathered myself in so much baby oil that that night at work I was so sun poisoned I thought I was going to die. We had such great times out there on the water, and one thing that Klondike always made me feel was safe. None of that overtly gross "hitting on" stuff. Klondike was a gentleman, but he was also a bit shy. I gathered maybe he had a crush, but he wasn't obvious about it or putting any pressure on me.

Through the years, Klondike remained a constant supporter even though I went from one doomed, mismatched relationship to the next. He always stuck by me. He never made me explain myself. He took me at face value, and that meant a lot. I was, in short, a hot mess. Klondike never made me feel that way though. He waited in the sidelines, waiting for me to get my shit together. He proclaimed his love for me only once, on the way home from a Max Creek Show in Hartford. I remember it like it was yesterday. I told him not to bother, that I wasn't any good for him, that I had no idea what I was doing with my life. Still, he waited. Even through months of no contact, during my dark years of addiction, he waited.

Eventually though, I did grow tired of the lifestyle I'd been living. It was a hard, chaotic time, but I somehow got back to Klondike. I was newly single and we just started where we'd left off, as friends. We went to movies and shows. Out to dinner, played pool. He slept over, but on the couch. The first year anniversary of me being clean, I invited him to Christmas at my sisters house. My parents were was the first Christmas I think I had spent with my family in years. In the demise of my last relationship, things had ended badly, with me losing many "things" and pieces of me. One of those things was a portrait I had commissioned in better days of my beloved pugs. The artist had since moved away and I had no way of finding him again. I had told Klondike only once that that picture was the only real thing that I regretted losing from that other life.

After dinner, we were sitting around my sisters living room .Presents had been opened and it was almost time for me to go to work. Kevin said, "I have something for you." He brought out a wrapped, large rectangular package. My sister and parents watched as I opened it. It was the picture of my pugs. Klondike had remembered my mentioning it. He had found the artist, and had bought the portfolio copy and had it framed.
I never in my life had someone do something that thoughtful for me. I cried like a baby. I was so moved. I just, couldn't really believe it. My dad pulled me aside and said, "Don't fuck this one up." Coming from my dad, who doesn't really get too involved with the love interests of his daughters, it meant something.

That right there sealed the deal. I knew I would never meet or know someone that thoughtful, that loyal, that decently kind and wonderful. Mutual friends were not so sure. There was lots of skepticism,  especially from his friends, about whether I would stick around or just run his heart through the mud. Truthfully, I couldn't blame them. My track record wasn't exactly stellar. I was still pretty fresh off the train of destruction. But here we are, almost ten years later.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Klondike, you can never be replicated. There is no one more right for me than you. Whatever you saw that first day you met me, I am grateful that you sought it out time and again and waited for me. Men like you are few in this World. I can only Thank-You, from the bottom of all that I am, for letting me know in this lifetime what real, unconditional love is. I know I still have many flaws, but just knowing that you will stick by me through all my ups and downs allows me to keep working on it without fear. Our boys are the luckiest kids on the planet to learn from their father what real love looks like. Happy Birthday, forever I will be here to say that, and thank you, thank you, thank you.....

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Slippery Slope of Technology and The Imperative of Instilling Morals

We live in an amazing period of time. Technology in particular has changed the World in innumerable ways, and honestly, I think most of them are good. Life on Earth has never known an era where the exploration of itself is so easily accessed. If you want to know everything there is to know about Turkey, both the bird and the Country, and all you have to do is type in a few key words, and you have it, right at the speed of light. Science and medicine have made such absolutely amazing leaps forward, stem cell research has created living tissue, the diseases and ailments which used to cripple and kill may one day be as insignificant as a common cold. The sheer knowledge available is nothing short of astounding. In many ways, it is a great time to be alive.

But something keeps gnawing at the back of my mind. An uncomfortable gut feeling that all this technology is robbing my kids of something (and they're not even really all that into tech stuff....yet) It comes from what I witness in the World around me. Everything is moving faster. Kids I babysit for play games I've never even heard of. 10 year-olds have Facebook accounts. Cyber-bullying has gone from an anomaly to commonplace. Due to the widening income gap and the disappearance of the middle class, parents are having to work longer hours and more days just to make ends meet. This results in hindered parental supervision. This isn't an attack; this is reality. In a short time, I know I'll be heading back into the "paid" workforce, and I have serious concerns regarding the immersion of my sons into technology.

But it's coming, one way or another. I can limit how much, but I can't outright make it disappear. So far, Klondike (I've decided to call Hubs Klondike because he really is like a big bear and also some friends have told me they hate the term "Hubs". so Sara G, that's for you)  and I have been sticking to our guns regarding video games. We agreed before Lucky was born that we would not go there, we had both grown up without nary a single Atari, and we feel like we're reasonably well-adjusted (shut up, stop laughing!). And so far, (granted, Lucky only just turned 6) we have held off. But we did get him a small tablet, for the learning and photos and videos he could learn to take, and truth be told, at times I seriously regret it. It has a timer so we can limit how much time he can use it, and it shuts off at 9pm. And yes, it's been used as punishment, if he really needs it, we take it away. It was taken away for 2 months the first time just to let him know we meant business. Yet I know, this is a picnic compared to other people's struggles with their "tweens" and teens. The pressure kids feel these days to be cool and fit in...I know, I know, I can literally feel some of you out there rolling your eyes and "tsk tsk"ing, but this is NOT the same world we grew up in.

Kids today are followed by their peers everywhere. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter.....and I'm sure there are more but I'm just too archaic to know about them. Young girls especially I worry for because in our society looks and popularity are deemed so vitally important to survival, that we now see cases of eating disorders in 8 year-olds, and God forbid a kid stands out or is different, when home is no longer the safe haven it once was. The door to their room shuts and they are still in constant contact with their peers. Of the few younger kids I am "friends" with on Facebook, this is the typical post I see: "Rate me." "TBH" (which means To Be invitation for someone else to tell them what they really think of them) "Best Feature" etc etc goes on and on and is just a cringe worthy reminder of how vulnerable and fragile young kids are....and how much electronic media has saturated those typical tween stolen conversations, what we used to just nervously ask our closest friends about, now our children put out for the ENTIRE WORLD to judge. It's just so shockingly insane how everything is for public consumption.

One of the biggest, saddest, scariest, and alarming issues regarding our kids and social media to witness, for me, anyway, is the epidemic of rape and subsequent victim shaming. Not only are these girls being, you know, raped, but it's being recorded and shared. Yeah. Seriously. And so not only is this happening, but the real kicker? Even though there's insurmountable evidence in most of these new cases (you, it's the victim more than ever who's now being blamed. A girl's bad decision to drink at a party is somehow now justifiable reason for her whole life to effectively be over. And the real, real kicker? Most of the instances of victim or slut-shaming is coming from other young girls. Can you even begin to wrap your head around that? Have we actually gone backwards in time? You can't blame just the parents for this. This is a cultural ailment. That when the verdict of one of the more widely-known of these cases (Steubenville) was released, in which both of the rapists were ordered jail time, the US media went crazy. Crazy with pity for the boys. You heard that right. No mention of how the young girls life was ruined, just that these two star athletes would never now make it to the pros.

I can't even. I just fucking can't even begin to accept that this is the World in which I have brought three young boys into. Is it scarier for Moms and Dads of girls? I don't crazy is it that you have to tell your daughter "how to not get raped"? I don't know that fear, but I do know one thing. We as a society have seriously failed our sons if one of the first lessons of young adulthood isn't "Don't rape." How is that NOT a "thing" you teach your young man? What, you think morals are just built in to the package? I wish it were so. But the truth is, it's not. And before the kids learn it from their peers (who, I might add, are for the most part the LAST people you want making strong moral impressions on your kids...imagine what  a 12-18 year old kids' morals look like without any experienced guidance...anyone read "Lord of the Flies"?) they are better off, and more likely to have it stick, if they learn it from YOU. I'm not looking forward to the conversation, but I know it's coming, probably sooner than I'm even willing to admit. Maybe 12 is a stretch, maybe it's more like 9 or 10. When is it that we teach not to hurt or take advantage of one who is vulnerable? Is it enough to teach them not to step on ants?
SO this is not a blog tonight with any answers, sorry. I just wonder, and think back to when I was a kid, and imagine...just imagine, how easily things could have exploded out of hand had my friends and I been privy to all the trinkets and technology that my kids will grow up surrounded by. I just pray that I can shield them for as long as I can. Society is a thing which grows and grows and some of its new limbs are ugly while others serve to bring joy and beauty. I guess my job now is to direct my children to go towards that which is good and protect themselves, and others, from the new, ugly, parts.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dear Vast Majority of Children's TV Writers: I Hate You.

You know what? Before I even start this, I'm going to first acknowledge that yes, I'm aware TV is not a babysitter, and yes, my kids probably watch waay to much TV. But yo....Mama's got shit stuff to do, and believe it or not, it's generally easier to do it sans kids. These things involve sharp knives, hot ovens, and pretty much, just things I'd rather not take twenty million jillion minutes all day to complete. Okay?

But realistically speaking, at least part of a Stay-at-home Mom's day is going to rely on CPTV, Disney, or Nick Jr. And I have a serious bone to pick with some of these so-called "creators". I mean, they ARE aware that their actions are going to impact us, the parent, right? That if we have to hear Peg plus her stupid hair ball proclaim "WE HAVE A HUUUUUUGE PROBLEM!" one more time, we're going to literally fucking die maybe get up and turn off the TV? No? Oh shit wait, right. But I mean, that would be less viewers for them, which begs the question: Just WHO are these writers writing for? The KIDS? It seems as if they are, when good God, didn't Caillou teach them ANYTHING?! I don't think there's a more hated figure on the Internet than that bald whiny freak. Yet he still shows up, every day at 1pm, to ruin lives everywhere. Why is he still on the AIR you motherfucking sadistic network executives!? WHY!?

And how about that freaking bossy bitch overbearing Ruby, amiright? I mean, no wonder Max looks like he's gonna be the next Ted Bundy, can you imagine the woman-hating tendencies she draws out in people? She's just never happy. Nothing is ever good enough. She's SO meddlesome. And talk about never giving Max the benefit of the doubt. That situation is just not going to end well.

And The Fresh Beat Band. No. It's like they took everything awesome out of Degrassi Jr. High, slapped everyone in neon wear, and threw in lame singing and dancing. And bad acting. And stupid plots, and I don't know, I just feel like if I let my kids watch it, it would be akin to letting them learn their big moral lessons from Teddy Ruxpin. Too much cute, too much creepy, not enough street cred. No. We know you guys don't play those, or any, instruments. Just like we know your clothes are all made by Vietnamese children for $.10 a day for your overlord, Walmart.

Lazytown. What in the actual fuck. No seriously, what in the actual fuck? Whose crazy tripped out nonsensical crazy acid trip set to weird puppets of some sort and weird hero and disturbing villain who appear to actually be the same guy freaking idea WAS this? Because you ought to be charged with indecency and child abuse, at the very least! If I ever saw someone acting as obviously sexually inappropriate towards my daughter as the two main guys in this show do, I would probably be in prison. Like, seriously. Fucking freaking disgusting and creepy. Gross. So, so, gross.

I would put Yo Gabba Gabba on here, and probably Sponge Bob Square pants, but the truth is, LOTS of adults profess to actually like those shows, and while there has been scientific evidence gathered to suggest that Sponge Bob in particular causes stupidity, I guess I have to still maintain that it doesn't morally harm a child. Yo Gabba Gabba is just for grown ups who still like to see the representatives of their youth on TV in funny costumes. Jack Black, I'm looking at you, bro.

It's just the lack of good shows on days when you really need them that makes it so frustrating for parents to catch a moment's time to DO SOMETHING. All of the above mentioned shows I would actually hate myself for letting my kids watch. They're all just so annoying, and stupid. I don't want my kid watching some Canadian little brat whine his way through every episode and think that's gonna jive around here. And I don't want them to get 3rd hand contact acid highs from watching Lazytown either, not to mention how violated I would think it would make them. 

So parents, tell me. What are some of the shows that just make you want to stab your eyeballs out with toothpicks?

Friday, January 24, 2014

It's Friday! It's Friday! Oh wait, I'm a Mom.

Okay, so, Fridays used to be this magical day for us, the work week was OVER, we got to chill with our homies at Happy Hour, we knew tomorrow we would be sleeping until 10 at LEAST, Friday just represented all that was good, fun, and exciting in the World. Saturday nights were for suckers (or those who had kids, and had to get babysitters) while Friday Nights were for party professionals. I mean, I remember coming home from happy hour, showering, dressing up, and then going back out for the "real" good times. Geesh, I only worked 3 jobs so I could afford to blow $200 in a weekend, right? Am I right!?
Ah yes. Those were the days. The days of flying by the seat of your pants, no responsibilities, no worries. Heck, if you couldn't make rent, you could always find another couch to crash on for a few weeks until another $600/month place was found. My late teens to mid 20's were all about the good times, my close girlfriends, bar-hopping, "experimenting" and having no regrets.

But life moves on. We slow down, we find that the people we once loved to spend time with have grown distant, we want different things. We realize that guy who has been your best friend, the best listener, is actually a pretty wonderful person through and through. We take a chance, we move in, we start staying in. We still sleep late, but we save our money for vacations or concerts now, for groceries and bills. Friday nights are now about Netflix, or having another couple over for an intimate dinner. And you know what? This is ALRIGHT!
And then....seemingly out of nowhere....BABIES!!! Holy mother of GOD...babies!!!!!!!!!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know where babies come from...but holy moly! BABIES!!!! It's like one second you're getting pedicures and Starbucks lattes, and the next you're looking for pediatricians and breast pumps! What in the WHUCK just happened here? Yeah, God, I was slowing down, I was turning a new leaf, getting my ducks in a row...looks like it was just in time too! Because in '07, '09, and '11, this happened:
Seriously. It happened that fast. (No, not really, I am aware of biology and all that, it just really felt that fast.)
And suddenly, Friday nights were more a celebration that hopefully Daddy would be home with Pizza for Friday Night Family Pizza Nights. That we could let the kids go nuts for a couple hours after dinner and then let them camp out in the family room while we ourselves snuck off to bed early. When people called and asked if we could come out for a Friday Night whatever, and we rolled our eyes, chuckled to ourselves..and knew there wasn't a shot in hell...even if we had the money to pay a sitter, we sure as HELL weren't gonna blow it on a night where we'd both be tired by 9pm. 

So even though the anticipation for Friday Nights has changed considerably, it is still Friday Night, it does still beckon in the weekend, meaning family time, birthday parties, sleeping in while under a pig pile of wriggling limbs and sticky faces, and the relief that you have survived another week keeping your spawn kids alive. It's still something to celebrate. Just now, you celebrate at home, holding on to your hard earned dollars and cents, cruising Netflix to find an appropriate movie for you and all the kids. And the truth is, whether you're out on the town or snuggled with your glass of wine on the couch, Fridays are still Fridays. Just the resulting hangovers are a lot less severe.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Parenting in the Winter Vs. Summer

I don't know about you, but holy shit, I am a better Mom in the Summer! This winter crap is for the birds. And even they hate it. Ever notice how many birds migrate, for instance? And the ones that are left...ugh, they're all puffed out from the cold and fighting off squirrels to get their food. Freaking BS, man.

So here we are riding out Winter. The first part of winter is pretty cool, gearing up for the Holidays. Everyone is generally cheerful, we get those first snows which are so lovely and pristine, we have THE SANTA CARD (and some people even have elves)  and it really is just such a fun time to see the magic of the Holidays through your kids eyes while simultaneously being able to bribe/blackmail them for good behavior. (Which, if I'm being honest, doesn't really work, from Halloween to New Years it's a total shit show series of smart mouths and tantrums up in here.)

 But let's admit that we all try to make believe the first part of Winter is cool  for the children, because if the whole household felt as negative about it all at once there would surely be some kind of  seismic shift and who knows, worm holes might open all over the place and then the planet would go ka-boom and we all don't want that, right? 

I know there are some very demented and crazy wackos people out there who just love Winter. I often wonder why they aren't living in Alaska, but anyway, for the rest of us, Winter just brings along so many problems! Especially Moms. Why? Oh, I'll tell you why, friend. 

1. Sickness. In the words of the metal band, "Disturbed"(see? Even they know sickness is disturbing!) Winter with young kids might as well just be called
"Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Get up, come on get down with the sickness"  because all it is from October to March is sickness after sickness after sickness. I don't care if all you do is swill probiotics and vitamin C, if you have kids who are ever exposed to well, anything, your home becomes a giant petri-dish of sickness. It's Winter. You're trapped in the house with germs. Get up, and get down with the sickness, y'all. If you find the next image scary, you are not ready for Winter with children.

2. The heat. Or lack-thereof. Whether you use oil, wood-stove, pellet stove, electric, or what have you, I'm pretty sure unless you're uber-wealthy (which I'm pretty sure you're not if you're sitting here reading this blog) you are paying out the nose to heat your home. Hubs and I and our neighbors start thinking about pellet stove prices in July. Maybe earlier. We've got to make sure that we'll have enough for Winters asshole bi-polar unpredictable weather. Making such decisions months away from Winter, with one income, causes lots of stress around here, and knowing we'll also have to worry about oil for hot water when the prices just keep going up up up, it's enough to make one want to move down South. But rednecks.
3. Traveling anywhere by car. This one here presents a bit of a paradox, because every New England driver knows how to drive well in the snow. But still, somehow, even though we're all from here, once one snow flake hits the ground, it's like every one else forgets how to damned drive! They go all willy-nilly sliding all over the place, either taking their SUV in a blizzard and doing 80 and passing people then causing a huge pile-up when they spin out, or they drive 5 mph in a simple flurry, causing the cars behind them to get massive road rage and regret that they ever decided to leave their house.

4. Bread and Milk. This video explains the phenomena better than I ever could.I don't know WHY we all suddenly think we're going to need bread and milk, especially when 90% of us are gluten and lactose intolerant, but there it is.
5. The general suckiness of cabin fever. Much like all species who wish to survive with all their fingers and toes intact, little kids effing HATE the cold. But yet....they are somehow also drawn in by the novelty, nay, danger of it as well. Which is why for the first 3-4 snowstorms, they take Mom along on what I call "Snow- gear-a-thon" which makes PBS' or NPR's yearly fund raisers seem like 2 seconds in comparison. You get the gear on. Wait 5 minutes. You take the wet gear off. You dry the wet gear.You put the gear back on. You take the wet gear off and dry it again. In between of course you are stirring copious amounts of hot cocoa because your little ones are LITERALLY FREEZING TO DEATH, which they forget about even before they're done with their 6th cup of cocoa and want to go back out in that deathly freezing cold again! This phase usually lasts until about mid-January. Then even the spunkiest of little outdoors-men realize what you've known all along...that Winter blows and they'd much rather stay inside where it's warm. With you. All of them. With you. All Day. Every Day. From January 15th until the first day above 50.  With "nothing to do" despite all the toys they got for Christmas.

Suddenly, PBS is your best friend. But your kids don't actually learn the lessons Mr. Rogers or Sesame Street are teaching because they are such jacked-up little shit heads cooped up lil monsters from all this time spent indoors that your house has suddenly transformed into a Mixed-Martial-Arts Cage Match. Add to that the glory known as SNOW DAYS.  Seriously, not enough wine in the World for this.

But, all we can do is hold on tight and ride it out. Because Winter is part of living here. I get it, all you "Well if you don't like it move" people. I don't like it, I'm not moving, and Spring will eventually come.

But in the mean time, DAMN it's COLD out there!!!!!   Is it Wine o'clock yet????

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Amazing Power of Adversity and it's Relationship to God

So, if you know me in "real life", you may know a little bit about my past...or not. Long story short, I had a period of time where I was debilitated by addiction. It's old news to me now, but of course, at the time, it was my World. I was talking with a good friend today about how the things in our lives, especially adversity, shaped who we are and made us so much more grateful for the things we have today. And how it seems that unless a person has been tested by adversity, finding gratitude can be very difficult (not impossible), but harder than when you have stared fear in the face and not only flinched, but whimpered, and cried out, and continued forward anyway. (It is not lost on me the humor in how I weathered such a tremendous battle as addiction and yet am still afraid of calling a creditor, but there you have it. Some parts of adulthood are just hard for me.)

I was reading a recent issue of The New Yorker and came across an article about the Book of Job from the Old Testament. I am in no way a religious scholar or frankly even very religious, but I do feel that the idea of "God" is something I can relate to because I have felt the power of grace as surely as I have felt the agony of depression and hopelessness. To me, "God" is simply the human condition which allows us to transcend the brutal realities of life to find beauty and hope. I think "God" is simply the embracing of compassion and justice and goodness. But back to the Book of Job. I have never really liked the whole idea of a God who would so brutally dismantle the life of one of his supposed "beloved creations", nor have I ever really accepted or believed in a God who would kill everyone on his creation but the few who had made it onto an Ark. The idea of such malevolence doesn't jive with my idea an actual Being worthy of praise. But it does make total sense to me if the idea of "God" is the simply the ebb and flow , the struggle of good over evil, of the human condition. So the Book of Job suddenly came to make more sense to me, in that it was about a man who encountered adversity, did not succumb to it, and ended up surviving it and thriving afterwards. Once he had lost everything, he was able to appreciate and be so much more grateful for what he did have. Once you take the "God" out of the story, it really is just about a man who triumphed over the all too common agonies of simply living as a human being. 

Bad things happen to good people. It's life. My friend and I were talking about how it seems to be the encounter with adversity that really presents the opportunity for spiritual and personal growth. I do not think I would even come close to having the depth of character that I feel I do were it not for what I had to overcome in my past. Not just overcome, but embrace and accept about who I was. The point is, the addiction did something to my soul which my soul desperately shied away from. And when my soul finally had enough, it made the decision to never, ever, allow itself to be made to feel that darkness again. The guilt and shame that come with addiction has an absolutely soul killing side effect. And it struck me that life in general presents people with an endless stream of choices whose outcomes either darken or enlighten the soul. It's the choices we make which either darken us, or lighten us. I used to think guilt was just a useless emotion until I realized guilt is the yard stick to measure the choices I make. If I think something is going to make me feel guilty, I try not to do it. I'm trying to protect my soul. I'm trying to embrace God. Who wants to do things which make their soul feel bad?  

Today is Martin Luther King Day. Talk about the epitome of overcoming adversity. Some might disagree seeing as he was, you know, assassinated and all, but his legacy triumphed and continues to be a measure of goodness to which humanity aspires. He showed us that it's not adversity which breaks the man, it's adversity which makes the man. The World needs more people who stand up to, and try to overcome oppression and adversity. We seem to have become a planet of human beings who are so fearful of adversity that we do nothing. We are just...stagnant. And so the things which are soul-killing and evil like greed and intolerance grow stronger because there are ever weakening  forces fighting it. I believe the usefulness of God has lost it's way and become such an all-or-nothing concept due to the dogma of religion that humanity has simply begun to reject any notion that perhaps maybe God is just being good for goodness sakes. Because that's what keeps our souls feeling good. Self-preservation, nothing more. To me, if God is not simply about doing the most good while we're here, embracing our life conflicts and becoming more compassionate instead of more jaded and bitter, then I guess I must be doing it all wrong. But something tells me, and I think my soul would agree, that I'm closer to "God" now having been through the dark times and still come out with a sense of purpose and love and hope. I hope that Dr. King would agree.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Forest For The Trees, on the stupidity and mean pettiness of my Mother in Law

God. I don't even know how to start this, or if I should..I wanted this blog to be about parenting for a better World, not griping about my Mother in Law, who I'll just call "Beast". But the reality of it is that she IS a big part of my life whether I like it or not. I want to first present a disclaimer, that the Beast and her husband did give me a wonderful gift, my Hubs, (although I cannot for the life of me figure out how he not only survived his childhood but also became a wonderful fucking human being) and also, they really, really love my boys. So that's the disclaimer. I've given credit where credit is due. And that's it. Those are the two good qualities about her which I can be thankful for.

Now back to reality. The Beast has been a thorn in my side, a pebble in my shoe, since day one. I really don't have enough room in a THOUSAND blogs to detail every thing this woman has done to make my life incredibly unpleasant. How she cuts me down in every regard to my parenting, housekeeping, and cooking. So I'll just recap yesterday and let you imagine the rest. Imagine this, times infinity.

SO. Beast and FIL show up yesterday morning bearing bags of oranges and strawberries, you know, because I'm so incompetent that I don't keep fresh fruit in the house. (BTW, we've been eating oranges, tangerines, mangoes, blueberries, and grapes since last Sunday when I had an awesome produce pick-up). So they show up and announce "Oh, we brought the boys some fresh fruit, we'll just cut some up for them to eat for a snack" and I am holding Stealth Ninja and I say, "You know what? Stealth Ninja has had some bad canker sores because we've been feeding him so much citrus..let me just check them out before he has any more." I get him to stick out his tongue and am alarmed at how big the sores seem under his tongue, and I quickly decide I'm going to take him to the DR.'s to make sure it's not something serious. As I'm getting SN's shoes and socks on and jacket, I'm listening to snide remarks about how Beast always washes the grocery cart handles and washes her hands before and after the store, blah blah blah. FIL says "You can't just run to the Dr. for every little thing you know." (This from the man whose idea to cure the ills of the American Public School system is to give everyone a "45...with real bullets." Really. I'm not even making that up, I wish I were.) I just roll my eyes, kiss Hubs goodbye, and leave.

When I return (it was Hand-Foot-Mouth, likely brought on by the boys' recent GI bug) the two older boys are literally being hand fed pieces of strawberry and cut up oranges (who the fuck CUTS UP pieces of oranges for a 4 and 6 year old?) Beast and FIL are actually, literally, each stationed by a boy feeding them fruit. GAH, but whatever, I say hello, and tell them about what Stealth Ninja has etc, and Beast says, "Oh, poor baby, let's give him some fruit.". Ummmmm................
Are you really that effing stupid? Oh wait, don't answer that. I say "Well Beast, fruit is probably not the best thing for him right now, too acidic, and in fact I think my feeding him so much fruit all week may have really exacerbated his sores." And. She. Says. "Oooohhh, one little piece won't hurt..."
So I calmly (another disclaimer here, and anyone who knows me or has seen me in action around Beast can testify, I struggle, but I DO, stay extremely calm and polite when I'm dealing with her, I really, really, do) say, "No, really, I'll make him some toast." To which FIL says: "Toast? Are you crazy? Toast is too sharp."  Okay. In my head at this moment, I am killing them both, my hands are around both their necks and then I smash their two bobble heads together.
Anyway, eventually they leave, I thank them for coming over and have the boys give kisses and hugs (well, not Stealth Ninja because Hand-Foot-Mouth) and HALLELUJAH !!!!!!! they are gone.
So this morning I'm in the kitchen, putting dishes away, just started a load of laundry, making the boys some Belgian waffles, and Hubs strolls in and sees the waffle maker and says "You boys are so lucky. Lookit Mom making you waffles while doing everything else. Oh, honey, you shoulda heard my Mom talk about the house yesterday. Said she couldn't "See the Forest For The Trees" in this house because of all the "stuff", like how the fridge is always full of food, and the counters always have stuff on them. God."
Are you even fucking mother fucking kidding me right now with this bull shit!? Now, I am not a perfect person. But when it comes to the condition of my home, which I strive to make warm, clean, and CHOCK FULL OF MOTHER FUCKING LOVE, I am God damned Mary fucking POPPINS.  And Mary fucking Poppins is not amused.
So. Here I am. I have absolutely reached my limit. Oh, I could once again just let it slide, roll of my back, chalk it up to the fact that she is so fucking stupid (like, STOOOOOPID) that she doesn't.even. KNOW what "Forest for the Trees" even fucking means, that she is just so completely miserable that she can't be happy that her grandsons are well fed and loved, that we live in a house 1/4 the size of hers, with 3 YOUNG BOYS, that a full fridge means we are giving them lots of variety in their diets, that the clutter on the counter is called appliances and cook books which I love to use to make delicious mother fucking FOOD for her grandsons, that she has NEVER been in this house when all the beds weren't made, floor was vacuumed, sink was empty and SHINING, bathrooms swished and swiped (google FlyLady to see what that means) and me, cheerily trying to see the best in her, actually mother fucking defending her when Hubs or his brother start picking on her at family dinners. I am done. So. Done. So, Beast, in the off chance that I actually get the balls to ever say this to you, from now on,