Silent


Sometimes it is just easier to say nothing. I am sure there are times when it is better to feel nothing as well.

Because to have to say something means you actually have to admit to what you are feeling. You have to put it, you, out there. That is hard and requires honesty and balls. Truth be told, I am fresh out of a set of balls these days. So unlike me.

The thing is once you say nothing, it gets easier and easier to say. You never have to talk about your bad day or why you can’t just get yourself together. Why you can’t just be happy. I sometimes think being happy and being thankful are confused. They are, in fact, very different.

I am thankful. So truly, very, deeply thankful for my life and all that I have. That is not the same as being happy in it. Yet I find myself feeling guilty and unappreciative if I say I am unhappy.  No one wants to hear the girl with the happy marriage, healthy kids, house in a nice neighborhood, decent job, a nanny taking care of her kids and doing her laundry complain. I get that. I would think I was ungrateful if I didn’t know me.

So I have started to say, well, nothing. Griping takes a lot of energy and leaves you feeling worse than when you started whining. Silence is so easy. No effort, no balls, no hurt feelings, no guilt. Simple.

There is a good reason why people spend shit-loads of money on therapists. Learning to talk, honestly and openly, is hard work. I should be able to say what I am feeling without having to feel guilty for feeling it, for saying it. Sometimes things need to be said that hurt people’s feelings, but are true nonetheless, and still need to be said. 

I started writing here as therapy for myself. So I could have a place to share things about myself and my life and the struggles and laughs I encounter along the way. A place I could look back at and see how I’ve grown and a place my kids could someday come to learn about me. I am not doing that honestly and openly lately. I am struggling to find the perfect balance of just enough said…

So I say nothing at all.

Yesterday


Yesterday was a day filled with suck. It was tragic, sad and gut wrenching.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the day my Dad’s best friend, Billy, died. He was more than my Dad’s best friend; he was part of our family. I have so many happy memories with him in them.

He died, suddenly of a heart attack, 8 years ago yesterday. He was 44 years old and left behind a wife and two teenage daughters. I am certain wherever he is, he is so proud of the women his daughters have grown up to be. I miss him so much and when I think of him I always smile. He meant so much to my family and I.

I don’t think my Dad will ever be the same as he was when Billy was here with him. I doubt a day goes by where he doesn’t miss him and wish he were still here with us. I don’t think broken-hearts ever mend after losing your closest friend. I think you just carry them around with you.

Billy was loving and loyal. He was as kind-hearted as anyone could be. He was here one minute, gone the next. In seconds all of our lives were changed.

Yesterday was also the day my sister Doni lost her dear friend, Michelle. She passed away yesterday morning from a brain aneurysm. She was 37 years old and left behind a loving husband and two young sons ages 6 and 3.

It happened so fast and in moments she was gone. She never even knew she was sick.  She fought so hard but despite the best medical technologies and her strong will she had to go.

Michelle was a great friend to my sister and although I did not know her well, the short time I had spent with her she was always smiling. She adored her boys and was an incredible mother. I pray they are able to remember just how special their mom was and how she fought so hard to stay with them. I also pray her husband, Joe, will find a way to heal and stay strong for their boys.

Losing a loved one is never easy. It always hurts. There is a lesson to learn here and that is there are no guarantees in life. It is a hard lesson to learn, to remember. It is so easy to take for granted all we have, all those we love, because we are fortunate enough to still have them. The key is realizing someone could be with you laughing one minute and gone forever the next. It is tragic, sad and completely unfair.

So yeah, yesterday wasn’t a good day. I missed Billy with same aching heart as if he died just a moment ago and I was heart-broken to hear about Michelle. The sadness I feel for Michelle’s family, her husband and kids, is indescribable. My heart hurts for my sister and my Dad who will forever have to live without their dear friends.

If there is one thing yesterday taught me, it is to be thankful. So I am, I am so thankful I have today.

My Childhood Anxiety is my Motherhood Reality


When I was little I hated the days when my Mom wasn’t home when I woke up for school. Sometimes she would have to leave for work early or occasionally she would be traveling and since my Dad always left the house super early we were left to get up on our own. (read: my older sister Amy was responsible for making sure we were up before she left for school.)

This caused me great anxiety. I hated waking up and not having her be home. There were so many things that could go wrong. I would worry she or my Dad would forget to leave our lunch money on the counter. Then I would have nothing to eat for lunch and I might starve to death in the 6th grade. What if I woke up sick and she wasn’t home to say whether or not I could stay home or not. So I would have to go and feel sick all day. What if I missed the bus? I would be stranded at home, all alone.

There were a million what ifs. I wouldn’t sleep well knowing she was leaving early and I would try to wake up before she left, even if it was only briefly, so I could remind her to leave my lunch money. Once I had the chance to talk to her and remind her about the lunch money I could fall back asleep feeling at peace.

I am weird, I know, but I really dreaded those days.

Now that I am the Mom and the one leaving in the morning, I still have the same anxiety. I hate leaving before the boys are awake. I like to talk to them, see how they are and go over what the plan for the day is before I leave.

But mostly, I love being able to kiss them goodbye and I like telling them I will see them later and to have a great day and to be good boys. I feel better about my day when I get to do that.

We all know that good days start with good mornings and their hugs, kisses and I love you's make my mornings.

Mother of the Year


This past weekend my sister, Doni, her husband, Chris, and my nephew, Cullen, came down to our house so Chris could help Jason finish tearing up our kitchen floor and then help him replace it with a shiny, nice, new one.

It was great, yet very chaotic, having them come spend the night especially with a few home improvement projects simultaneously occurring.

While Chris and Jay were busy destroying the kitchen, Doni and I painted the bricks around my fireplace white. They were an ugly dark brown and look so much brighter and cleaner now that they are a semi-gloss white.

Since my boys are completely bananas all most of the time on their own adding Cullen into the mix just added fuel to their fire. There were boys yelling and screaming, running up, down and everywhere they weren’t supposed to be running. There was a lot of peeing, sometimes in ones pants, but generally on my toilet seat and bathroom floor.

It was nuts. Sometimes a fun kind of nuts and sometimes a I am having a panic attack get them all out of here kind of nuts. Even though I was going bat-shit crazy, they were having a great time together. Playing like cousins should.

Now I know I have mentioned this before, but my son Joey is a special child. By special I mean devil-like complete with horns. He is NAUGHTY. He is also adorable and snuggly and a pain in my ass. This kid may be the one that sends me over the edge, let me tell you.

He has said his share of cuss words (yes, I know he is only two.) For those of you that know Jay & I, you probably aren’t shocked by this. We do try really hard to keep all profanity to a minimum when we are in front of the kids, but as you know, shit happens.

Joey has been using a few select swear words in proper context for a couple of months now. We have been diligently trying to nip this behavior in the bud before it turns into a habit because he is in preschool now and you know how judgey some of the teachers and other parents can be. It seems they frown upon swearing in preschool (they also frown upon choking of other children in case you were wondering.)

We would instantly (while hiding our giggles and smirks) discipline Joey whenever he said a bad word. This is hard because I dare you to try not to laugh when your kid yells, “Shit!” when his toy train runs off the track. It is funny. He is two and it sounds funny coming out of his little mouth. But still, we did it. We reprimanded him and have even put soap on his tongue. This has worked somewhat but every now and then he lets a swear word slip out – it is a work in progress.

So while Doni and I were painting the fireplace, Joey and Cullen were playing with a couple of toys on the floor behind me and it wasn’t long before Cullen snatched Joey’s toy away from him in true toddler fashion. This is what transpired:

Joey: “God Dammit Cullen that is mine!”

Cullen: “…”  *blank look on his face*

Joey: “What? Don’t you say God Dammit too?”

I had heard Joey say it and didn’t even get a chance to discipline him before he questioned Cullen about his confused look. Needless to say I was laughing hysterically which made following through with a punishment difficult.

I know, I know, I’m mother of the year. At least I am laughing!

Life Lessons


I recently had a conversation with a man that I have occasionally worked with for years and something he said struck me in such a way I can’t stop thinking about it.

Let me explain that this man is a great guy. He is way more traditional than I am in terms of his religious beliefs and family, but he and his wife are lovely people and they have a whole slew of polite, well behaved, children.

The conversation we were having had been about his daughters recent wedding. I was asking him all sorts of questions about her big day and all the excitement that comes along with weddings. I asked him if he liked her husband and his family. He went on and on about what a great man he was and how his family was supportive and loving, all the things you want in the family your daughter is marrying in to.

Then I asked how old she was (he has several children and I have a hard time remembering who’s who) and he said she was 22. I smiled and said, “Wow. So young…” I meant wow, so young like holy hell why is she getting married at 22 since I didn’t even know who I really was or what I wanted to be when I was 22. I also meant wow, so young like how exciting for her with her whole life and all this newness in front of her. The very thought made me smile.

His response is what struck me as strange. He said, “Yes, but we have been preparing her for this for the last 10 years. We have been teaching her how to keep a home and love her husband.”

I know my mouth just hung open and for what seemed like forever I was unable to speak. In my mind I kept thinking, surely you are crazy and he didn’t just say that about his daughter? But in reality yes, yes he did.

I simply smiled and said I was so happy for her and wished her the best, and I do.

It isn’t that I think teaching your child the skills necessary to “keep a home” or “love your husband” are ridiculous, these are important skills, no doubt. What struck me is that this is what they spent 10 years trying to teach her about this world and herself.

I started thinking about my parents and the things they taught me. I don’t ever recall them focusing on keeping a home or loving anyone, other than myself. The lessons were more along the lines of get an education, find a career you love so you can take care of yourself, while they wanted me to get married and have a family, I am sure, it was not a life-lesson that was taught to me. At no point was ‘find a husband and make him happy’ one of the things they focused on.

Instead they taught me, from as early as I can remember to stand up for myself, to voice my opinion and respect others and their opinions. To fight for what I believe to be right and true. To never, ever, let someone treat me poorly. I am not a doormat and no one has the right, no matter who they are, to treat me like one.

I used these skills to stand up for myself in high school to a teacher, my parents backing me and believing in me every step of the way. I used it later on after allowing boyfriends to treat me like I was less than I am and let relationships end, knowing I deserved better. They taught me that.

They taught me that people I thought were my friends might not always be and that I need to learn who my real friends are. I have although it was difficult and heart breaking at times.

They taught me to tell the truth because lying has big consequences that could destroy so much. They taught me about relationships not only with their words but also by example. No, these weren’t always easy lessons to learn but they were honest and real, just like life.

I learned how to take care of myself before having to care for anyone else. I am strong and capable and believe in myself. I know who I am and what values I hold.

Their lessons did indeed teach me how to keep a home and love my husband. They also taught me that some of that is learned as you go. No one could teach me how to make my marriage work and I am still learning that, working on it, everyday. There is no lesson to teach you how to be a parent or what will happen to your heart the minute you are handed your child. There are no lessons, no secret rules or guides.

I am thankful my parents spent all those years teaching me about myself. I focused on who I wanted to become instead of what I might become to someone else some day.  In the end, I am me before I am a wife, mother, sister or daughter. I was taught to always be true to myself and then being true to others would come easier.

I love them for teaching me all of this. I am so much more than how I keep my home or how I love my husband.

Forget It


I am not much of a forgetter. Meaning I remember most things – even things that should have long been forgotten. I have always been that way and even though I do feel like I lose a little of this ability with each passing year (and child), I think I am kind of on the ball when it comes to remembering.

Sure there is the nostalgic stuff like childhood memories, certain songs on the radio, a scent that catches my nose and brings me right back to where I was when I first smelled it, first kisses and so on. But there is the important stuff too. The things I need to remember like social security numbers, medical information, school stuff, appointments, etc. In my daily life there is a lot of remembering that needs to be done.

My husband, God love him, is not a rememberer. In fact, he succeeds at forgetting really, really well. It is his nature, partly and the other part is my fault. See why would he need to remember when he knows I will? Therefore he makes little effort to try and remember. In his mind I’ve got it covered.

Being the kind of person who feels recalling important things is well, um, important, his forgetfulness makes me crazy. When I ask him to do something that goes undone and his reply is, “Oh, sorry I forgot” I have to dig deep inside myself to stifle the part of me that wants to scream like a psychotic maniac at him, which truthfully I am not always able to do. Because, come on! He should be capable of remembering simple things, especially when I remind him MULTIPLE times. Still, he forgets. Not every time but often.

I know he is not doing it on purpose and he has, in his defense, always been this way. But what I don’t understand is how he remembers his stuff. He has plenty on his mind and manages a busy work schedule and projects and I don’t recall him ever forgetting to make sure his Fantasy Football team was ready for the week, but administering our kid’s medicine (that he takes EVERY night before bed) or carrying the basket of laundry upstairs at night completely slip his mind.

I don’t really get angry about it anymore. Sure it is frustrating at times and I do feel like a nag when I remind him a million times to do something because I can’t be sure he will remember, but the worst is when I have to ask him later and actually check to make sure that what I asked of him was done. It just makes me need to remember more stuff.

I worry that if something happens to me he would be hard pressed to know where the kids SS cards and birth certificates are kept, the pediatricians number and when their check-ups and immunizations are due or what vet we go to amongst a million other important life details. I will, however,  rest assured knowing that this week’s fantasy line-up is ready to go.