Parenting is…

Last night I read this post on Slate.  Then I laid in bed thinking about it, foregoing sleep and wondering if  I was responsible for someone’s life choice of  never having kids.  Maybe even one of you, who knows.   A redonkulous thought, I know.  One with absolutely no proof to back it up, yet if I had read the post correctly (which after a glass of wine it was possible to misconstrue a few things) it was plausible to believe that I could be responsible for someone’s life-changing decision to refrain from procreating.  Oh boy <cue mom guilt>.

I wanted to use my space here to tell Ms. Graham that while I understand where she is coming from, I think she is missing something very important.  Parenting is so much more than what you read in a few blog posts full of inappropriate parenting humor and foul language.  Something that you can’t fathom just from reading the words from a few exhausted parents just trying to survive with a sense of humor and a small space on the interwebz.

Parenting Is So Many Things

Motherhood  Fatherhood  Parenting is:

Sleepless nights.

Smelling the vomit before you even enter the bedroom at two o’clock in the morning.

Stepping on Legos and being impaled by Polly Pockets as you venture to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Asking them five hundred times to pick up their dirty socks.

Wiping asses and sucking snot.

Digging an entire roll of toilet paper out of a poop-filled toilet.

Foot stomping, eye-rolling, door-slamming.

A filthy house.

Finding a years supply of Goldfish crackers and Cheerios in your couches and in your car.

Reminders at ten o’clock at night that they need two dozen cupcakes to take to school….tomorrow.

Rarely having a moment to use the crapper by yourself.

A shit filled diaper that overflows onto your white pants.

Trips to the emergency room for stitches, broken limbs, or worse….

Expensive. Painful.  Heartbreaking.

Parenting is not glamorous.  Not even remotely.  Anyone that disagrees with that is full of shit.  It’s frustrating  and anger-inducing. It is stressful and terrible and some days you just want to quit.

But you don’t.

You don’t quit because despite all the shit (pun totally intended), parenting is also:

Morning snuggles on the couch breathing in their delicious aromas.

Seeing them come back up the sidewalk for just one more hug before they head off to school.

Toothless smiles.

Baseball games in the front yard.

That first giggle and the first time you hear ‘mama’ or ‘dada’.

The endless string of I love yous as you tuck them into bed.

A note of thanks on your pillow when you go to bed.

Celebrating victories and comforting broken hearts after a defeat.

The joy in their eyes as they blow out their birthday candles.

The giggles as they tiptoe up behind you in an effort to scare the bejeezus out of you.

The screams of delight on Christmas morning, or the excitement over four shiny quarters under their pillow.

That moment in which they voluntarily help you fold the laundry or pick up their toys.

The clean bill of health from the doctor.

Dance parties in the living room on a snowy day.

Seeing your daughter watch you in the mirror and tell you how beautiful you are and how much she loves you.

Watching a movie with your son and he reaches over and holds your hand.

Valentines found taped to your bedroom door.

Crazy and chaotic and hilarious.

Parenting is love.

A love so deep it hurts.

A love you don’t want to miss out on.

 

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One Little Toy

She opened all her gifts with a smile upon her face. She was truly grateful and excited to wear the new clothes, and try on the new boots. To model the new earrings and slip into those new jammies. The pile at her feet consisted of most of the items on her list, yet I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was disappointed.

Why on earth would a child be disappointed on Christmas?  What did I do wrong?

Oh. My. God. It hit me like a ton of bricks and took the air from my lungs.

No toys. Not one. single. toy. Nothing for her to play with that came bearing her name.

Who doesn’t buy their child a toy for Christmas?

As I looked at her face, the one that appears to be older than its actual age, I held back the tears as I realized that I am the one that failed to buy their child a toy for Christmas. I am the one that forgot that my oldest child is still exactly that. A child.

In my defense, her list was limited.  In my defense, she didn’t express too much interest in toys.  In my defense…..nope.  Not this time. No excuses.

I dropped the ball.  Screwed the proverbial pooch.  I failed.

While I often look at her and see a girl who wants the responsibility of an adult, I forgot that she’s still a little girl.  A child.

While she struggles with asking to do “grown up” things, she still enjoys playing with Barbies and assembling Legos.

While I struggle with her asking to do “grown up” things, I forgot that she still enjoys playing with Barbies and assembling Legos.

I frequently catch myself wondering when these kids are going to grow up a bit.  Wishing they would stop acting so childish.  Hoping for a little bit of maturity.

What in the hell am I doing that for?

The time is coming, sooner rather than later, for grown-up behavior.  Before long there will be dances and dates, tears over a broken heart and requests for gas money.  There will be jobs (oh yes, there will be jobs) and there will be bills and there will be adult responsibilities.  There will be too many activities and not enough hours in a day.

Who looks forward to that?

Now is the time to bathe in their innocence.

To drink from their fountain of youth.

To live vicariously through their young eyes.

To savor the carefree lifestyle of being a child.

To play with all the toys.

To truly LIVE.

Because we all know that being a grown-up is severely overrated.

You Know it Happens at Your House Too: One Little Toy

 

 

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A Christmas Wish

This year I had to beg my kids to make lists.  Yes, BEG.

Please write down your Christmas wishes.

Did you make your lists yet?

I’m going shopping tomorrow, MAKE A LIST OR YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND YOU CAN’T THROW A FIT!

They made the lists.

I watched them around the table, discussing their wants.  The older ones helping the younger ones with proper spelling and maybe dropping a few hints along the way.  I watched them write, then erase, then write some more.  I saw the excitement in their eyes at the possibility of finding their dreams  under the tree on Christmas morning.  I smiled as I listened to them discussing between the five of them what they hoped to find waiting for them on what will most likely be a very early morning.

As they handed me their lists and walked away I couldn’t help but giggle a bit as I read their requests for new socks, water bottles, Santa hats and one rubber boot.  They had a few bigger ticket items on there, don’t worry about that, but for some reason their requests for the simple things brought a smile to my face.  Knowing that they didn’t require all the hottest toys to make their Christmas complete brought a wave of relief to my heart (and my bank account).

As their attention turned more toward what we were going to be wrapping up for others this year, I took a moment to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.  To see their true concern for what was to be wrapped up for others this year, to read their meticulously made list of teacher gifts, to know that they are finally thinking about others instead of just themselves.

I couldn’t help but ask myself a few questions (because I’m the only one that listens to me and answers questions when they are asked):  Are we actually making progress?  Are we going to succeed at raising caring, loving, fully functioning adults?  Did I fall asleep standing the kitchen and this is a dream?

All my questions were answered as I watched the Boy place the final touches on this card:

Merry Christmas

I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

It was at this very moment that I realized that we truly are on the right path. That we are doing something right.  While I am certain that the path ahead will still have curves, bumps, and detours along the way at least I know that somewhere and somehow we made the right turn and the final destination looks incredible.

A Christmas wish granted indeed.

 

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Regular Guys are Sexy

In old news, Adam Levine has been named the “sexiest man alive” by People Magazine.    Because I have nothing better to do <sarcasm font>, I had a few thoughts and came up with an idea:

1.  I’m hungry.  Maybe that is because while I do find Adam delightful (so don’t you dare  go off sending me hate mail), I feel as if I should offer him a cheeseburger or something to fatten him up a bit.

2.  I really need to go get that new tattoo that I’ve been wanting.

3.  I understand that they have to give other guys a chance, but um HELLO???? WHERE IS JOHNNY DEPP?

4.  What constitutes “sexy”?  Sure Adam is easy on the eyes, but how do we know he isn’t a total prick?  (I’m sure he isn’t, but since I’ve never met him I cannot say for sure either way).  What about Johnny Farmer Bob?  No one showed up here to measure Bob’s level of sexiness.   Does Bob not make the list because he isn’t a guy with millions of adoring fans or have millions of dollars?  I see that Bob is at a massive disadvantage here.

5.  I’m still hurt over the Johnny thing.  I mean come ON.

6.  Who decides these things and why was I not consulted?

7.  WHAT ABOUT BOB?

I say it is time.  Time to show that our regular guys are sexy too.

Damn it, celebrities aren’t the only sexy men.  Our “regular” guys can compete with the likes of Adam, Idris, Jimmy, Luke, and of course Johnny. They CAN fortheloveoftatersandgravy!  After all, we married them/live with them/made babies with them/share a dog with them/haven’t killed them in their sleep to make the snoring stop so we must see something incredibly sexy about them.

While it is common practice to consider one “sexy” just based on what our eyes see <ahem, Johnny>, is that truly what makes them attractive?   Did you choose your husband/boyfriend just based on their looks?  Doubtful.  You chose him for his heart.  For the father you imagined him to be.  For the man you saw in him.  And yes, of course you chose him because his looks made your heart go all a-flutter.

That’s right ladies and gents, I want to see your sexy men.  I don’t just want to SEE them though, I want to know what makes them sexy.  What about him gets you all hot and bothered?  Don’t be shy, this is your chance to show off your man.  Follow closely my friends, there are rules and I need you to follow some directions. There may be a test.  Let’s start with some examples:

From my friend The Underachiever’s Guide to Being a Domestic Goddess:

DG’s husband, also known as the Greek God Adonis is sexy because he is able to laugh along with her daily at the basic, every day events in their family, he’s kind, generous and has a steady base that she can lean on. He comes home and immediately starts entertaining the kids while she gets dinner ready and is right there to help clean up and get the kids ready for baths. When he’s not working, he spends his extra time building Legos , fighting in epic light saber battles, and coaching the boys’ lacrosse team. He doesn’t mind getting up in the middle of the night to be there for the kids, he makes a mean breakfast, and he can fix anything that needs fixin’. He loves to play on his over 40 league lacrosse team called the Rusty Bones where, in each game, he demonstrates exactly why it is called that. He is even sexy when icing knee injuries and other bruises from playing like he’s still in high school. The sexiest thing of all is the way he loves his family with all his might and supports, encourages and cheers on everyone in his life.

DG

Mr. DG appears courtesy of DG

From my incredible friend Craughing:

The sexiest thing about The Fixer is his confidence in being a man. In a world overwhelmed with technology, money and being fake The Fixer shows his heart easily and with confidence. He is not overly concerned with looking tough and has somehow learned the perfect balance of being strong and sensitive. Somewhere along the way in his life, he learned that in order to be a man being open and loving is necessary and masculine. He is not afraid to try new things, admit when he is wrong, or show the world love and compassion. He strives to be a better person every day, and to make those he loves know they are adored. He also has a wicked sense of humor and laughs easily. Overall, his confidence in himself is what makes him the sexiest man I have known, that and he loves me well.

Craughing

The Fixer appears courtesy of Craughing Girl

I Want a Dumpster Baby thinks Dumpster Husband is sexy too, here are her thoughts:

What makes my husband sexy? Simple. He makes me laugh harder than anybody I’ve ever known. That’s the sexiest thing ever. That, and he has a great ass.

DH appears courtesy of IWADB

DH appears courtesy of IWADB

From the beautiful Blissfully Discontented:

Ordering dessert even though I said I didn’t want any, asks for two forks, and turns it toward me for the first bite…at the risk of losing it all to my ravenous sweet tooth.
His ability to laugh at himself…and see the funny in just about anything.  If I didn’t have him to make me laugh I know for a fact I would get sucked into my depressive oblivion as I’m known to do.  Also…he can quote stupid-funny movies like a mofo.  This is what first attracted me to him.  Hand to God.
He doesn’t always get why I need certain things in my life…like my need for sunshine and the shoreline.  But he gets ME.  He knows I operate on a solar-powered battery.  And although having his feet in the sand does absolutely nothing for him he knows the impact it has on me.  He holds my hand and walks countless miles up and down the beach.  He sits with me facing the tide for hours on end.  And he does it with a smile.  Means more to me than any jewelry in a fancy little box could every provide.
Most importantly, he is an excellent dad.  You can see the admiration and love in our kids’ eyes when they look at him.  He is firm but loving.  Silly but focused.  Even when life gets hard and work is overwhelming he puts it all aside and remembers what is important.  Aside from his ability to quote Chevy Chase or Adam Sandler…his ability to connect with kids is what truly attracted me to him.  When we first met we were camp counselors for a summer camp.  The way he interacted with his campers…I knew he was a catch then. I wanted to watch him grow into the man and father I knew he would one day become.  I thank God that he picked me to share this life and these babies with him.
The Gentleman appears courtesy of Bliss Dis

The Gentleman appears courtesy of Bliss Dis

And finally, here is what makes Farmer Bob sexy.  That’s right my friends, you finally get to see Bob.  Here is what makes him even sexier than Johnny:

Being an amazing father is what does it for me.  The way he isn’t afraid to show them his silly side, or his sensitive side, or his angry side.  The way he shows them every single day that he loves them whether it be playing a game of football in the front yard, helping them with homework, or showing them how to put a part on a tractor.  Throw in his never-ending support for me and my goals as a mother and as a woman/writer/person, it’s a wonder we don’t have more kids.  He puts up with me when I’m grumpy, when I’m being redonkulous, and when I’m being over-the-top silly.  He builds my confidence and reminds me that I am beautiful even when I disagree.  He makes me smile when he walks in the room and cheese on a cracker this man deserves a peace prize or something. Thankfully he settles for cookies instead.

Yes, that's really him. <3

Yes, that’s really him. <3

So here is the challenge, think about your man.  Really think.  Write down what makes him so irresistible to you.  What are the qualities that you see in him that maybe he doesn’t see in himself?  What makes him sexy as hell?

Once you have it nailed down (not your husband, your words)  I want to read them and I want to see your man.  Post a picture (keep it clean, the kiddies are watching) along with your words on my Facebook page or share it with me on Instagram (tag me @YKIHAYHT and use #mysexyman). I will give you until December 11 and then  I will assemble all the photos into a Facebook album for all to see and if the response is overwhelmingly positive, we will see where to go from there! <looking for some sponsors for some manly prizes maybe?  HINT, HINT>

Now don’t be shy, let us CELEBRATE our amazing men because the “regular” guys are sexy too!

*Stay tuned ladies and gentlemen, depending on the success (or utter failure) of this experiment you will (hopefully) have your turn to return the favor for your lady in the near future.*

 

 

She. Told.

Tattle (verb):  to utter idly; disclose by gossiping.

Confide (verb): to impart secrets trustfully; discuss private matters or problems

As parents we work really hard to teach our children not to tattle.  We don’t take pleasure in hearing the endless cries of “he hit me” or “she called me stupid”.  The monotony of it all just makes one want to jab an ice pick in their ear.  We try our damnedest to teach them the difference between tattling and confiding in someone your fears.  That telling just to get someone in trouble is not fair, but to confide in someone that you are afraid for someone else’s safety is so very important.

Eventually, after hearing MOOOOOOMMMM for the millionth time in twenty-four hours,  you give up all hope that they will ever learn the difference between the two.  You want to just throw your hands up and walk away.  Fighting a losing battle is just not on the agenda today.  You come to terms with your failure to teach them the difference.

Then the unthinkable happens and you realize that you have actually done something right.  That you might just be on the right path. That they actually were paying attention all this time.

Mom, Monica has been bullying Jennifer all year long.  Today it got really, really bad and Jennifer sent me an email at school and said she was going to go home and kill herself.  I was really scared.

Those are words you never want to hear from your eleven year old.  EVER.

So what did you do?

I told the teacher.

She told.

She told.

I can’t say it enough.   She. Told.

My eyes welled up as I thought about what happened in that one little class at our little school on this day.

Tears of fear as I looked at my daughter and saw the fear in her eyes.  Fear for her friend.  Fear that maybe she would become the next target.  Fear of being labeled as a tattle-tale.  A fear that I never want to see on my child’s face again. Fear of the “what-ifs”.

Tears of sadness as I thought about what the internet is doing to our kids.  Sad that they feel the need to hide behind a computer screen and beat each other down.   Sadness that they care so little for each other’s feelings.  Sadness that it now starts so young.  Sadness that they feel that suicide is the only answer.  The only way to make it stop.

Tears of relief as that wonderful teacher immediately took action.  Relief that no matter the sincerity of the email, it was treated as a very serious issue.  Relief that her friend told her.  Relief that my child was brave enough to tell someone who would take action. Relief that she felt comfortable enough to approach her teacher.  Relief that she. told.

Tears of hope as I realized that she is confident in herself.  Hope that she continues to stand up for what is right.  Hope that she sees that doing good is always better than the opposite.  Hope that she continues to keep her caring heart.  Hope that her friends see in her what I see in her.   Hope that she sees in herself what I see in her.

Tears of pride that she was brave enough to say something.  Pride that she loves her friend enough to look out for her.  Pride that she told not only the teacher, but me as well.  Pride that she did the right thing. Pride that she stood up against the hatred.  Immense pride.  So much pride that my heart swelled to twice its normal size.

While we are fairly certain that suicide was not really on the menu that day, there is no way of knowing for sure what was going through the mind of a middle school student adrift in a sea of hormones and the constant stream of hateful verbal (cyber) attacks.

What I do know is that she. told.

And I’m so thankful she did.

I'm so glad she did

I’m so glad she did

 

 

 

What is Home?

home (n): the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.  A house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household. 

According to Dorothy there’s no place like home, but what really makes a home? Is it square footage or the color of paint on the walls? The piles of laundry or the knick-knacks on the shelf? Maybe it should be home is where you change the diapers. Home is where you cook the bacon? Make the babies? Lose your shit? After spending some time away from my physical home  I came to the realization that home, contrary to its definition, is not a brick and mortar type building but more of an emotional shelter within us that we can take with us wherever we may be headed.

I packed my bags to leave the farm for a few days and head to the city. I have to be honest, I had my reservations. It wasn’t because I was leaving my cozy kitchen or the pillow on my bed, it was leaving my babies. Leaving the loves of my life. Leaving my home.  Farmer Bob is beyond a competent parent, but mama was leaving and no one can do it like mama can do it (or so we like to tell ourselves). Would they eat well? Shower? Brush their teeth? Who would wipe PITA’s butt? I knew I would miss the hugs and the smooches, the “I wuv you mama” before bed, the Dutch ovens at night…oh wait.

As I departed my plane in Chicago and headed for the exit, I saw the smiling face of my very dear friend DG waiting for me at the baggage claim. It was at that very moment that I knew I was home. Wait? How could that be? I don’t live in Chicago, I damn sure don’t live at baggage claim four. How could just that one moment, that one smile, that first of many hugs fill me with a sense of home?

Photo by our beautiful friend Kristi at Necessary Indulgences

Photo by our beautiful friend Kristi at Necessary Indulgences

Friendship does that to you. Being enveloped by those who know you and are still willing to be seen in a public place with you. Seeing the joy in their eyes as you talk about your kids and realizing that it isn’t because they are thinking about their own littles, it’s because they truly love yours as their own. Never enduring the awkward silence because there are more words than there is time. The tears as you leave because even though you miss your own family, there just wasn’t enough time.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Home is so much more than the physical attributes of a house. Home is in a hotel room in downtown Chicago discussing important things such as potato chips and cake balls. It’s in the hotel bar where no matter which way you turn there is a friendly hug waiting to swallow you up. It’s a quaint apartment filled with baby gear, hummus, and hot rollers. It’s sitting around a table in a busy restaurant trying to catch just a few minutes with every smiling face. It’s laughs and hugs. Jokes and stories.  Home is being with those that you love, no matter where that may be.

 

Respect

 

See more amazing pics from the book signing in Chicago over at Necessary Indulgences, then buy the book here!

The Power of Girlfriends

This weekend I received a lovely surprise visit from my Bestie.  We have been best friends since 1987 so I am quite certain that she knows more about me than anyone else on this planet.  She was there when I met Farmer Bob, she was there when I married Farmer Bob, she’s always there when I need her to be.  Always.  As we were talking above the screams of our children  it dawned on me how much we all need that one friend, or group of friends, that simply understand.  That listen without judging or criticizing.  That give advice without being condescending and that laugh when we need them to laugh.  That aren’t afraid to tell us to shut the hell up when we aren’t making any sense.  That may not always agree with what we are saying, but are willing to listen anyway.   That give us that little reminder that we aren’t alone.

The Power of Girlfriends

Before you get all worried about Farmer Bob and his feelings, I’m not talking about significant others here.  I’m talking girl. friends.  Farmer Bob does many of those things (especially telling me to shut my pie-hole), but you know as well as I do that there is just nothing like venting to a girlfriend about “things”.  He doesn’t want to talk about my saggy boobs and my menstrual cycle.  He doesn’t give two shits about what kind of laundry detergent I use or what I put in that salad. Unless it has to do with tractors, grains, cows, or sex he just doesn’t really care.  I probably shouldn’t say he doesn’t care because he does, but you girls know what I mean. <speaking of shutting my pie-hole…NOW, do it NOW>

There is something relaxing about sitting on the couch or around a table with your girlfriends.  Something that releases those tight muscles and loosens the tongue, and I’m not just talking about the effects of the wine.  You lose some of your inhibitions and the words start to spill out of you like the milk out of the jug when your toddler drops that  full gallon on the kitchen floor.  When it’s just you and your amigas, nothing is off-limits.   Only with the girls do you feel comfortable talking about the post-childbirth floppy butterfly, or the fact that you have to pick up your boobs in order to fit them securely in your bra.  No one else but the girls can relate to the fact that while you may be losing hair from the top of your head, you are finding it on your lip, or your chin, or your <insert random body part here> .

No one but other mommas ‘get it’ when you mention something about your desire to tell your kids to quit being inconsiderate assholes or wanting to scream at them to just PICK UP THEIR SHIT.   The dads, they get it, honestly they do, but it’s different.  They have a gift that we just don’t.  The magical ability to ignore.  Ignore all the asshole behavior until the magnitude of assholeyness has reached a level that even the hubs himself could not surpass.  Asshole level:  Defcon 5.  This is not going to be pretty.  One massive explosion of orders and dad has his offspring cleaning faster than a crew of Merry Maids.  If I were to attempt to use this method,  PITA would probably flash me a quick view of his wiener and run off and dump out a bucket of  Legos while laughing his cute little meniacal laugh.

When we are having one of those shittastic mothering days or feeling like a less than stellar wife, it is hearing those equally horrifying stories from your friends that make you feel less like a failure and more like a normal person.  It is knowing that you aren’t the only one cleaning boogers off your television or walking away from lunch because your toddler is throwing a tantrum over the way you cut up his hot dog.   Realizing that your friend also shoves Cookie Crisp in her mouth as she’s walking out the door because there wasn’t time to eat a better breakfast.  Having that ‘A HA’ moment when an amiga tells you that she just doesn’t feel like being touched in a sexy way after being groped by an octopus all day long.  There is a feeling of normalcy that overtakes you knowing that your kid isn’t the only one to take a dump on the sidewalk or that you aren’t the only one that gets tired playing cruise director and party planner.

So I guess where I was going with this is that if you don’t have you some girlfriends that you can dish with, you have GOT to get you some.  As my bestie said so eloquently after our visit, “ just a few hours with my bestie is like a massage, therapy session and a Xanax all rolled into one”.   You don’t get better than that.

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Johnny Depp, Party of Two, Your Table is Ready

I’ve been doing some deep thinking about  resurrecting this  mission of meeting up with you for months.   Seriously, this post has been in my drafts since February.  I add things, I delete things.  I’ve started over multiple times and I’ve stayed up many a  night wondering how to make it work.  I’ve made lists and I’ve written some real crap.   I don’t know why in the hell I worry so much about it.  I am certain that some many would say to me to just move the fuck on, but for some reason I just can’t let it go.   I have this nagging voice in my head that won’t let me give up.  I swear it feels like I’m trying to do something not just for myself, but for so many of my friends who support me and what I’m doing here on a daily basis.  My thought processes have been so random lately it has been hard to come up with the perfect approach.

First it was  making one of those pics asking for one million Facebook likes and then you would agree to set something up.  Surely that shit works for all those people whose faces show up in my news feed.  If hundreds/thousands/a million people think it should happen, then it will.  Right?  I then had a glass of wine and remembered how redonkulous those are so I made this one, just to add that special touch to this post.  Totally not the least bit embarrassing.

Um...no.

Um…no.

Hey!  How about a working with an amazing company to create something inspired by you?  Hell yeah I did that.  I worked with my amigas over at A Girl and Her Band to create this AMAZING headband, appropriately named Captain Jack,  that is now available on their website.    For now I had to use a miniature version of you to show it off, but I will bring one with me when we meet so that we can do something incredible for these inspiring ladies.

Captain Jack

Since I can’t rely on getting one million Facebook likes to make something happen, I am going to have to rely on my writing skills for this.  Sonofa….  Trying to decide which path to take here has been difficult.  I did the letter, I’ve done the movie review, I’ve even gotten my ass up at four in the morning on a whim holding on to that slim chance that I would have a chance to meet you.  I could sit here and blabber on about how much I adore you and how much I think you are all that and a bag of chips and how all your movies are spectacular, but even my five-year-old could read through that bullshit.  What could I possibly write that would be different from the millions of other letters that you receive?

It was when I was talking with the Enabler and she asked me:  If you had the chance to actually sit and talk to him, what would you talk about?  Holy. Shit.  Why did I not think of this sooner?  I need to brainstorm over wine more often.

Let’s just imagine for a minute can we, you and I at a table in a quaint little restaurant.  I have a salad because I probably can’t really eat out of fear of having something in my teeth, or having gas;  you have a full plate of delightful food and I am extremely jealous because I’m starving.  Both of us would have wine of course, except I would most likely down the first glass to calm my nerves.  Don’t be alarmed, this will make the conversation much more interesting for both of us.    We would get the bullshit out-of-the-way immediately.  Yes, I have five kids.  Yes, they are all mine.  Yes, they were all planned.  Yes, they all have the same daddy.  Yes, I’m happily married.  Yes, we really farm.  Oh wait, you thought that YOU would be answering all the questions.  I just assumed that you would be so intrigued by me that your list of questions would be never-ending.  My bad.

Once you were finished with all your questions,  I am confident that I could come up with some suitable conversation starters.  I usually suffer from a serious case of verbal diarrhea, especially when I’m nervous, so there is no doubt that it would lead to many foot in mouth moments so please be sure to bring your sense of humor.  Rest assured I would at least make the effort to appear like I have half a clue. I am fairly educated and I read quality  <ahem>  literature (like my own book, I Just Want to Pee Alone) when I have time (which isn’t very often)  so surely I will be able to keep up with the conversation.  I joke, but really these days I am just trying my best just to form logical thoughts and form coherent sentences.  Thanks to my kids I don’t know how much I have left upstairs so I need to seize the moment and utilize what I’ve got while I still have it.  The amount of quality adult interaction that I get to enjoy really is limited, so don’t be scared to just tell me to shut the hell up if I happen to get a little wordy.

In all seriousness though, I don’t want to interview you.  I am sure you sit through so many of those snore-fests you don’t need another session of the same boring-ass questions.   I’m not a journalist trying to land that big movie star interview in order to further my career.  I’m a mom who writes for a little bit of mental therapy.  I put my thoughts out there for total strangers to read with the hopes that maybe I will give someone a smile or encourage someone to make a change.  If it’s a good day I will help someone get just the laugh that they needed to push them up from the depths of grumpiness or help that stressed out momma realize that she isn’t alone.  That the very same shit that she has dealt with today, happened in my house yesterday.  Luckily for me, very few people (translation my family and a handful of friends) would even know who I was if they saw me walking down the street.  Anonymity definitely has it’s perks.

I have absolutely no agenda and I have no wonderful story to tell you as to why I deserve to meet you.  I lead what many would consider an “ordinary” life on a farm in the middle of Kansas.  I have nothing spectacular to tell you about myself besides I have five amazing kids and one very supportive husband.   I can tell you that I’m a devoted fan, a devoted wife and mother to my family, and a devoted writer and entertainer for all my friends.   I drink, I swear, I say what I think and do what I say I will.  I make people laugh, I make my kids cry, and I have terrible indigestion right now because I know it’s time to hit the publish button on this post and the people, they will read it and they will roll their eyes, and for fucks sake I hope they share it and blow up the internet.  I suppose I will leave the rest up to the power of the interwebs, fate….and you.

Peace.  Out.  xoxo

 

Mom, Are We Poor?

Poor

What. In. The. Hell.  Not quite the question I expected to get from my eleven year old as I conducted my normal post school day interrogation   Upon further questioning it came to light that a classmate had asked her if we were poor because she didn’t have any school pictures to bring home like some of the others.   If there ever was a time in which I ever wanted to suggest to my child to tell someone to fuck off and mind their own business, this was it.  Um…have you seen school pictures lately?  Horrendous.  Besides, the condition of my checkbook is no business of a fifth grader.  Not even my own.

After drying her tears and reassuring her that we are in fact not poor,  I  felt it the opportune time to inform her that we are not what many would consider rich either.  While we are not financially strapped and are able to provide our kids with the things that they need, it takes some planning on our part to be able to give them the things that they want.  More importantly I  wanted to stress to her that while we may not be monetarily rolling in the dough, we are rich in so many other ways.  Ways that she may not understand at this exact moment.  Ways that don’t agree with her “cater to me right now” mentality.  Ways that maybe some of her friends don’t get to enjoy.

We live in a ninety-year-old house.  Not just any old house mind you, Farmer Bob grew up in this house.  While it doesn’t have sparkly new fixtures, cable TV and brand new carpet, it has things that are so much better.  It has character and memories and an outhouse.  We have a fort in the trees and hay in the barn to play hide and seek in.  We have open space to play baseball in the yard and plenty of room to get away from each other if we need to.   We have food on the table and clothes on our backs.  We have fun together, we fight, we argue, we love.  We are a family.  

Being rich in the monetary sense would be fantastic don’t get me wrong.  To not have to worry about how to cover this bill or that bill, to be able to give our kids a few of the things that are wanted whenever desired would be an amazing feeling.  The question I have to keep asking myself is would I be willing to sacrifice so many wonderful moments  in order to have the financial stability to satisfy what would undoubtedly become insatiable appetites for shit that serves no other purpose than to allow our family to slowly disintegrate into seven separate entities instead of one strong familial unit?  The answer to that…HELL NO.

It is never easy to tell our kids no, you don’t need that.  As parents we have this primordial desire to provide for them, to satisfy their every desire.  We feel as if we are failing them if we can’t serve them everything that they want and need on a silver platter.  Maybe we are actually failing them if we do throw all their earthly desires at their feet with no request for repayment.  Are we raising a generation of entitled assholes?  I hear how kids talk to their parents, my own included.  I see the look of fear in a mother’s eyes of what might happen if she says no to that toy, my own included.   It scares the shit out of me.  Scares me that as parents we allow it.   That it seems that we really are raising the kind of adults that we ourselves can’t stand to be around.

What scares me even more is the thought that these kids won’t grow up to appreciate the things that don’t cost a fortune.  That they won’t understand that you don’t have to be rich in the financial sense to be rich in so many other ways.  That family comes first and the rest of it is just “stuff”.  That we have riches that far exceed anything that money can buy.  That in fact, some of the best things in life truly are free and can’t be captured in some stupid school picture.

Have You Found All Your Pieces?

Lately life has felt like a puzzle.  A puzzle right out of the box with pieces scattered, turned every which way, some upside down, some right side up.  Some gathered in a pile, some flung across the table.  It’s pure chaos.  I’ve been trying to gather my pieces and reassemble myself into a beautiful picture but have been unsure about my ability to achieve such a lofty goal.  It’s so hard to find the time to take a break, to leave everything behind and take some time to organize all the pieces.  Taking time to find the misplaced pieces and to throw out the few pieces that don’t belong anymore.  There comes a time when you must stop, look at the picture on the box, and take a good look at all the pieces to decide what needs to be done in order to put the puzzle back together.

Puzzle

I teach my kids to always do the edges first because they are the most vital part to the puzzle.  They are the starting point.  They give you the boundaries, and idea of how the rest of the puzzle will go together.  If the edges are all screwed up, the rest of the puzzle is fucked.  It’s unorganized and you are not even able to complete it.  Farmer Bob, he’s my edges.  I honestly can not do a damn thing without him.  He’s not afraid to tell me when I’m being a total jackhole and he always gives me support and help when I need it.  He keeps me grounded and helps me keep my pieces together.

It had been eleven years since we had gone anywhere alone.  Eleven years.  Think about that for a minute.  It is redonkulous and embarrassing to even say out loud.  Even though we see each other every day, it had been ELEVEN YEARS (have you picked up that it has been too damn long?) since we had taken the time to do something for just us.  While we are confident that we  have all of our edge pieces properly assembled, we realized that it had been entirely too long since we had taken the time to make damn sure that all the pieces are in the right place.  This weekend we straightened our edges.  Meals alone without stopping to take someone pee or to cut up someone’s steak, great times with some great friends, naps, a few drinks, and The Black Keys.  Edge pieces….check.

Now it’s time to put together the rest of the puzzle. There are so many different pieces that all have to fit together just right in order to complete the picture.  Some pieces have gotten lost along the way and the search is on in order to find them.  Some pieces have been bent in half or become mangled and will have to be straightened out, or even glued together, in order to fit again.  Some pieces are in the box but don’t fit in the puzzle and will need to be removed.  Some pieces have been right there all this time, and even thought it was believed that they did not even fit into this puzzle, they may actually end up being the that one piece that has been missing the entire time.  It is even possible to find some new pieces that you thought would never fit in your puzzle, but to your delight they fit just like they have been there from the beginning.

Take the time to look at your puzzle.  Really look at all of the pieces.  Spread them out, turn them over, sort them out, and really look at them.   It isn’t an easy task that is for sure.  There is nothing easy about searching for the lost pieces and it is hard as hell to throw out the pieces that don’t fit any longer, but taking the time to really look at them before putting them together is so enlightening and refreshing and at times frightening.

This weekend I finally took some time to examine my pieces.  I turned them all right side up, found some pieces that were lost, decided that some pieces just don’t fit so they  needed to be removed, and remembered exactly what the final picture is supposed to look like.  While I still have some work to do before I have a puzzle worthy of some permanent glue, at least now I have the right pieces in my possession and judging by the picture on the box, I think the final product is going to be pretty fucking spectacular.

Look at Your Pieces