Tag Archives: motherhood

lifetime commitments….

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“Kids, I want to take a picture of you together before the doll heads off for school” I said this morning; the last day of 5th grade for the doll. This is a yearly tradition, taking a picture at the start and finish of the school year together, just to show how much they have changed over the “short” year. The boy who had not yet dressed yelled, “Wait, let me get some clothes on first…” to which both the doll and I said, “YES! Please put some clothes on!” I stood there, trying to get them to stand next to each other, long enough to snap the picture and thought, “Wow, time has moved so fast…soon my babies will be grown up and gone….” After the pictures were taken, the boy hugged his sister (much to her dislike) and then me and laughed; reminding me I still have time with them…so long as I don’t blink too fast.

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I have a friend, with whom I met on twitter. We’ve talked, skyped and even shared a nice day at a waterfall together. One could say we’ve developed a nice friendship.  She lives in Tennessee, about an hour south east from where my mother in law use to live. So, when we moved my mother in law back north last summer, I made the point of driving over and meeting her-with the kids in tow; one afternoon. The kids loved her two dogs, Tootsie and Spaz (the boy’s made up name for her dog) and we all had a wonderful time visiting. “Everyone thinks I’m nuts, bringing my kids here to meet you…” I told her. “Well you tend to develop a sense I think, about just who you’re talking to…I’m glad you’re here.” My friend put her life on hold to help her father, take care of her ill mother. What began as her driving up from her home in Florida on the weekends to help, became a permanent move when she realized, her father, was overwhelmed. As she likes to say, “One weekend I drove up and I’ve been here ever since.” Then her father inexplicably died, leaving her the sole person in charge of her mother’s care. My friend could have easily put her mother in a long term care facility and went back home to her life in Florida.  But instead she stayed put; taking care of her mom the best she could; finding some escape via twitter and other forms of distraction.

From the moment I got to know her, I’ve been blown away (blessed really) by her generosity of spirit. I don’t know many people who are willing to give up their livelihood-their businesses and home; to care for a parent. As someone who works with the elderly on a daily basis; I know the difficulty a family faces when a loved one falls ill. With the women  I help, they are blessed by large families, to help offset the overall burden. My friend really had no one, save herself. Though she hired caretakers to help-so she could run errands to the store or attend doctor appointments, she was the one responsible for all other aspects of her mother’s care. “One of these days, I’ll remember what it’s like to sleep in a bed-not on a couch” she told me last summer with a laugh. One cannot help but respect her for what she was doing for her mom.

Three weeks ago she told me her mom was failing. “She’s stopped eating and I’m trying to get a doctor to come here and check her out” she said. “Okay so are you thinking of putting her in hospice?” I asked. “Hmm, I really hadn’t thought of that aspect..” she replied. When the doctor finally arrived, he declared her time was short and ordered Hospice to come in. Yesterday in a nice quiet post, she confirmed her mother’s death.  While I know she is relieved to have her mother’s suffering end, the life that she has come to know has ended too. To be standing at a crossroad, trying to figure out your next step must be daunting, yet exhilarating at the same time.

******

“Mama” the boy began, “Yes?” I replied. “I love you!” he finished. He tells me this several times a day–sometimes even without trying to ascertain something from me (junk food). “I know bay…the feeling is mutual” I returned. “Mama?” “What?” “I hope your friend can find some peace now.” the boy conveyed. “I think she will….it’s just hard when seemingly lifetime commitments come to an end.” I said. “But it hasn’t ended, not really.” He said. Giving him a curious look he then elaborated his idea, “When Papaw died, that  didn’t stop us from thinking about or laughing with our memories of him, right?” “True…” I replied. “His commitment to us then is still alive…” Smiling at my wise old son, I replied “I suppose your right”.  “I hope our friend remembers that too. But if not, eh, at least she’ll have her dogs to help her through…” He finished in typical boy fashion. His mother, very proud and grateful, she has a lifetime commitment with him.

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when in rome….

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Every morning the doll will say “Mommy, guess what?” and every morning I reply, “What?” or I’ll reply with a series of far-fetched guesses.  Then she’ll tell me about the odd dream she had the night before. This morning behavior has become ROTE between the two of us-except for the nature of her dream. This morning she changed the subject by saying “Mom you know what stinks?” “Your brother’s arm pits…?” I suggested. Before the word “pits” were actually out of my mouth she yelled back, “Well heck yeah, but beside that…” Smiling I said, “What?” “In gym, Mrs. S wants to see how we’ve improved over the course of the year and is making us run the mile all over again.”  “I see” I replied. “I don’t want to do it!” she replied. “Well sometimes you have to do things you would rather not…stay in bed, instead of going to work/school”. I said. “Yeah, well knowing and doing are both stupid!”

Smiling I said more to myself, “Oh well…”

******

The boy took another step forward, getting braces put on his teeth. He procrastinated while at the orthodontists office, repeatedly asking to swish and spit. My hubby, who accompanied him to the appointment; noticed after sometime had passed, that he was the only one left in the waiting room. The office estimated his appointment would take under two hours; yet here the were over the  2.5 hour point. Looking through the door window, hubby decided to see what was going on. As he entered the room, the boy, instead of being in the chair, was standing over by the drinking fountain. Looking at the technician, my husband asked, “What’s going on?” The technician gave him an exasperated look then invited him to sit down and stay. “Boy! Get over here..” “But dad this stuff tastes awful” the boy replied. “Stop procrastinating and get over here.” The boy did as he was told and the technician quietly thanked Hubby so she could finish.

Once clear of the dentist’s office, the boy said “Sorry dad, its just the stuff tasted horrible…” To which his father replied, “Not to mention prolonging the appointment may keep you from having to go to school today?” The boy gave him a sheepish grin before saying, “Well that goes without saying.”

*****

A friend posted this on my facebook page this morning….saying this reminds her of me….well……Perhaps… (grammar not withstanding)mmm

a mean mommy notch…

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The children have been at odds with each other more than usual lately. Sunday night, when they realized I had control of the television, they both raced to the basement-where they yelled and argued over of whose “program” was more important to watch. The doll, who was already perched on precarious ground for being disrespectful earlier in the day, began to raise her voice. Her brother matched her in volume and soon thereafter I called them upstairs saying “That’s it! Go to bed!”  Which was then echoed by their father. Both kids stomped up the stairs, into the living room and with incredulity said “What?” “Go to bed!” I reiterated  The boy fearing the loss of electronic devices for the week, immediately said, “Okay, goodnight mama” and moved quickly toward his bedroom.

The doll however just stood there;  dripping wet with attitude to spare. In a raise voice she questioned “Why? It’s not my bedtime”. “Well tonight it is” I replied calmly. “That’s not fair mom!” she yelled at me. “I don’t care. You’ve been completely disrespectful and rude to your father and I today. When I asked you to help your dad you never even moved. You sat there as if you were the queen and we were your minions. So guess what? I’m exercising my right as the one and true queen of the house and am sending you to bed NOW!” “Well you better get used to it MOM, I’m a teenager and that’s what teenagers do!” she replied. “Really? Well guess what? You’re two years shy of being a teenager, but the result will still be the same. Go. To. Bed! “FINE!” she screamed stomping as she passed; pausing only long enough to reach for her Kindle. But to add to the drama I stopped her and said,  “You don’t need your Kindle to sleep with…” Then unexpectedly she threw her Kindle at me before shouting, “I HATE YOU!!! YOU ARE THE WORST MOTHER EVER!!! YOU’RE JUST BEING MEAN!!” When her bedroom door slammed shut, I turned and looked at her father and said, “Well I guess I’m earning that mean mommy badge again”.

A minute later her bedroom door opened. As I turned to look I watched her arm release not one, but two stuffed animals in quick accession  at me. Thankfully her aim stinks. She also unloaded two glue sticks and a barrage of other small projectiles aimed at hitting me, before she slammed her door shut again. Looking back at her father I said, “I wonder what her bedroom is going to look like when she finishes redecorating a la thrown stuffed animals?” I’m not sure what time she actually fell asleep, but when we checked a half an hour later at 9:00 pm she was fast asleep.

Today when she arrived home from school we discussed what had happened the night before. “Mom I think it was a mood swing. I just couldn’t control my temper and everything made me angry and upset yesterday”. Having been on that side of the fence more often than I care to admit, I agreed with her. “Yes there are will be days like that; the key is to not let them overtake you.” I said. “You should have seen my room when I finished throwing all my animals around. It was a mess!” “Better to have a mess to clean up than do something you’ll regret later” I replied at the same time she came over and gave me a hug. The boy who pretended to not be   listening to our conversation chose that moment to say, “Oh isn’t that sweet the “detail doll” acquiescing to her mother”.

The doll’s swift response proved that while she may not be a teenager yet, her mouth and attitude are; said “SHUT UP BOY!! and this time I agreed with her.

Acquiescing: To accept something reluctantly but without protest

Danger Dolly

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The doll has worn many hats in her days….many different names have accompanied her.  One of the most popular from her babyhood was “Danger”; penned by her father.  Why?  Because she scared the hell out of us…on a daily basis.

May 26, 2003:On Friday we attended my nephews “Friends and Family” day, at their school. This was a really neat event, where my brother took the day off of work (he was not the only father who did so) to spend the day with his kids and mine. I packed a picnic style lunch and set off on our adventure.  The boy found his cousin Noly and together they headed off in the direction of the playground. The school was furnishing a hot dog lunch, complete with drinks and ice cream bars for desert.  Leave it to my kids to prefer the lunch I had packed (chicken nuggets) over the “blackened” hot dogs they were served. In any case, the boy had a blast going up and down a ladder which was connected to a ten foot tall slide. First of all let me say, the boys were good and stayed with the doll as she climbed the ladder; while I barked orders up at them. Momentarily all three kids stopped and posed for a photograph before the boys moved forward; leaving the doll alone atop the very tall and scary slide. When her turn came, she began walking down the slide.  Not only that–high stepping the whole way. I envisioned her taking a header off that high slide and began to scream “SIT DOWN NOW!!!” My sister in law also began to yell “Doll sit down. Sit down. SIT DOWN!!!” Finally after giving her mother a brief heart attack, she lost her balance and fortunately landed on her bottom sliding the rest of the way down.  When my brother caught her at the bottom of the slide, danger doll was wearing a cheek to cheek grin. Meanwhile I was having heart palpitations.  Much to her displeasure, I did not allow her to go down that slide for the rest of the afternoon…there is after all only so much one mom’s heart can take. My brother volunteered to take her over to another play set-one without ten foot tall slides and hanged around with her for the remainder of our visit.  When the time came for us to leave, my brother smiled and handed me the doll  saying, “She’s going to be trouble…”.  I smiled back and said “You’re preaching to the choir”.

The doll was a crazy high energy exploration type of child when she was under two years of age. She has since matured and grown into a graceful young lady.  I know there are still many days ahead of us where she might earn that name back. However I’m hoping she’s given up the “scare your mom and dad at any cost” behavior for good (crossing my fingers and toes).

challenges and solutions…

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This morning before school, the doll and I looked over the possibilities for today’s blog.  This week is pretty much doll centered, primarily with her birthday arriving tomorrow.  She’s not too happy to share her birthday with Ash Wednesday; not that I blame her. So this morning I said “Doll, here are the choices…which one do you think I should choose?”  “Well mom, while they may be hilarious to you, they are embarrassing to me.”  “Yes, but doll you are no longer wearing diapers…” I offered.  Smiling back she agreed “True”; before pointing at this story.

May 19, 2003: The doll may be trying to tell us she is ready to be toilet trained. Here are my clues…she enjoys the bathroom so much, she’s been barred from going in there alone. She is spacing her diaper filling duties to an almost trainable time table. But the most telling feature has been her readiness to remove her diaper any given moment. The only problem with this of course, she will then proceed to tinkle on whatever she is standing upon, while the diaper is discarded a few feet away. The other night, after a bath, I had her set for bed and went back into the bathroom to check on her brother. When I came back out,  the doll and I began playing a game where I was blocking her from taking a certain path. On one of her passes I grabbed her acted like I would spank her. That was when I discovered she wasn’t a wearing her diaper and her T-shirt was wet. You never saw two parents jump up so fast–looking for the wet spot and diaper. We were lucky, they were both in plain sight on her bedroom floor.  I checked her diaper to see if it was dry (it was) and then put it back onto her; sternly warning her not to remove the diaper again. Then Dad and I went back into the bathroom to retrieve a towel and check on the boy. When I left the bathroom, I discovered a new wet spot on the living room floor–but no diaper. The doll, sensing trouble ran into her brother’s bedroom; where she once again discarded her diaper (next to another wet spot).  As we struggled to catch her, she ran back into her bedroom and then created yet another wet spot. Her father looked at me and said, “How can she go in so many different rooms?” There we stood; upon towels in all three rooms, trying to figure out if the doll was emulating our dog or what? 

We came up with a solution: They say when the world ends, the only thing that will still be around are cockroaches and duct tape.  Lord knows, duct tape, is the wunderkind thing that can be used to solve almost any problem. Heck even the government wants us to stock up on the darn stuff. What better use than taping her diaper on her so she can no longer unhook the Velcro straps? And guess what?  It worked!!  Although….you need to have it handy when changing her–as she doesn’t give you second chances.

Kids like to challenge their parents.  Lord knows the boy and his inability to turn in his homework challenges us on a daily basis.  But rarely do we come up with quick solutions that work.  Honestly, using duct tape was a flash of genius for us.  I’m not sure who came up with the idea, I’m just happy one of us did.   Now if we could come up with a solution for the boy’s homework woes that work too… sigh.

Post script: On a trip to the doll’s pediatrician we proudly displayed how we used duct tape to secure the diaper–believing we were geniuses.  Her doctor smiled and said, “Yes, I remember that well.  We used to wrap duct tape completely around my son’s diaper to fully secure the diaper to him; otherwise he would let them fly–especially when they diaper was full of number two.”  I remember looking at my doll and husband in that moment and thanking God she was not that crazy; her need to be naked not withstanding.

Hugs; daily doses of love…

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“Boy!” His father called.  “Yes dad?” the boy came into view.  “Stand here, flat footed, up straight now hold still” His father directed.  “Okay now come with me….” and both Dad and boy disappeared into the bathroom which holds our only scale.  In the meantime, the doll catching on to what her dad and brother were doing tried to butt in “Hey no fair, measure me, measure me.”  Her father acting flustered did just that.  When all was said and done, their father turned toward me and said, “We’re raising giants.”  “How so?” I said with a smile.  “The boy weighs 190 pounds…”  “No I don’t dad, it said I weighed 188.2 pounds.”  “Close enough”.  “Easy for you to say..” the boy argued briefly.  “Well he’s 190 pounds and 5’10” which surprises me.  I thought he was taller.” The boy stood in my kitchen, pushed his chest out briefly and flashed a sheepish grin before retreating back into his room.

The doll meanwhile looked at her father with mild disgust.  “What’s your problem?” he asked her.  “Sure, you tell mom about the boy and forget all about me.  What am I chopped liver?” “Pshaw doll, pshaw” he replied.  They both began to giggle before he said “Alright….the doll is 5′ and almost 1″ tall and weighs…..?”  “Dad, a girl never says her weight out loud…” I interjected.  The doll turned her head and asked “Why?”  “I’m out!” her father declared and left the room.  “Because it’s nobodies business but your own” I replied.  “But what if I just tell you how much I weigh?”  “If you want to doll, but if anyone ever asks you,  just tell them it’s none of their business.  So how much do you weigh?”  I added to see how she would respond. Smiling she said, “That’s for me to know and you to never find out.”  “Okay” I said and tried to move onto other things.  “Wait, mom, don’t you want to know how much I weigh?”

*****

“BOY!” I shouted toward his bedroom yesterday.  “Yes mom?” he said.   “GET IN HERE!!” I yelled back.  The boy entered the kitchen looking a bit worried. After spending a week in the dog house, his demeanor was tentative.  You wanted to see me…? he quietly asked.  “Yes I did.  Do you know what yesterday was?” I asked him.  “Inauguration Day?” “Besides that.” I replied. “Martin Luther King day?” he asked again.  “Not just that, keep trying…”  He lowered his eyes to the floor as if searching for a clue…  I watched him wrack his brain but come up empty handed.  Finally he said in a conciliatory tone “No, I don’t Mama”. Sizing him up and down with my eyes; seeing my handsome boy standing before me I said, “Yesterday was your national holiday….”  The boy smirked and then said, “Mom what are you…” before I cut him off.  “You see yesterday, January 21st was National Hug Day.  You did not give me a hug, therefore I expect to get a hug from you right this very minute!”

He smiled and we gave one another a great hug.  I became acutely aware of just how big my baby has become as I rested my chin upon his shoulder blade.  “You know the sad thing about this is, in a few years I won’t be able to rest my chin here…instead my nose will be using your shoulder for a Kleenex” I said and smiled.  “He laughed, finished off the hug with a huge squeeze and said “We don’t need a holiday mom…just everyday.”  “Your right….” I said as we separated.

After he departed the room I yelled “DOLL!  GET IN HERE….”

Wrap up…aka humiliations gallery

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Prologue If my husband had his way, this blog would be known as “Humiliations Gallore”; the title aptly stolen from The Princess Bride’s  Inigo Montoya’s  conversation with Miracle Max  Miracle Max: Wait. Wait. I make him better, Humperdinck suffers? Inigo Montoya:Humiliations galore! Miracle Max: That is a noble cause. Give me the sixty-five, .. But upon closer examination, every one and their brother has a blog or a site with that name, therefore…..

Last night when I sat down to write this blog, I asked the doll, “Can you remember a time when you were really really embarrassed about something?  If so, what was it and how long did it take you to laugh at what had happened?”  “Mom, I don’t understand what your asking me and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you…” she replied.  “Now doll, you’re taking an awful big chance leaving it up to me to come up with something on  my own…..” I replied; hoping to scare her into an answer.  I was met with the doll, grabbing  kitchen door and closing it; leaving me isolated in the kitchen.  I guess reliving embarrassments is my thing, not hers.

0602012 was a year of fun.  I don’t know how other years’ compare-in the fun department; but so far as my memory holds, 2012 is right up at the top.  My family traveled to St. Maartin in the Virgin Islands and spent a week in paradise–literally.  We traversed back and forth from the Dutch side to the French side and marveled at the differences–particularly in clothing; or the lack there of… As we walked along Orient Beach, the doll scrunched her nose and asked, “Mommy, why is everyone on that side of the beach naked?”  “Doll, ” interjected the boy, “Had you been paying attention to Happy Harold you would understand, the French side of the beach allows people to sunbathe in the nude”.  “Shut up Boy!! I wasn’t talking to you!” the doll replied.  I repeated the boy’s answer and all was right in the world.  “Mom, all those men are ugly”  the doll pointed out.  Looking down the French side of the beach, I couldn’t help but concur; even Speedo’s would have made and improvement.

*****’

0380022012 was also a year of growing.  There were several times the boy came home very upset with his classmates, over what he deemed as their attempts to mock and humiliate him. “Welcome to junior high!” I would say in my feeble attempts to soothe his ego.  “Mom, they’re all just idiots!”  “Yeah probably; but not any more than you are, Bay.  Kids make fun of one another in hopes no one sees their own flaws.    It’s the nature of the beast”.  I tried to explain.  “That doesn’t justify their actions” He correctly argued.  “No it doesn’t, nor does it yours…  But maybe you can look beyond their flaws–be the bigger kid here….  While we still experienced a few big bumps in the road, his year did improve–especially with his prowess as a quiz bowl athlete.  He led his team to a 9-1 record and received many accolades from classmates for his efforts.  “You know Mama, I really like quiz bowl and the kids all seem to like me”.  He said after the season ended.  “What’s not to like?” Came my typical Mama retort–but what would you expect?007
Speaking of  growing…the boy passed me in height over the summer.  As you can tell from the pictures he’s now a monster.  He wears the same sized pants as his father…and pats me on top of the head, every chance he gets…talk about humiliating… but none can deny what a handsome young man he’s turning into…ugly Xmas sweatshirt aside.

*****

0042012 was the year I took a good look at myself and laughed.  Well honestly, doing so was not difficult, especially when one has an allergic reaction to hair dye.  I remember sitting in the ER waiting room at St. Anne’s Hospital and thinking, “at least your breathing is unaffected and this is kind of funny” (expensive, but funny nonetheless).  Even my hubby got in on the act.  God only knows why I was in such a good mood that day–and found all of this absurd instead of hurt and bitter–which many people told me I should be.  Maybe working the pancake breakfast fundraiser the next day–swollen face and all and reliving the stupidity involved over and over helped.  Or maybe having the good fortune to realize,  my temporary state was nothing compared to others who suffer real chronic problems.

Last week as I fumbled around a local mall trying to buy last minute Christmas items, I decided to purchase some new bras.  “Shhh, MOM!! You’re not supposed say that word out loud” the doll just said over my shoulder.  “Doll, I didn’t say it, I wrote it–different. Besides what do you care?” I asked “You’re not going to tell them that story are you?” She asked.  “Why?  Does it embarrass you?” I reply.  “Yes” the doll answered.  “Why?  It’s about me, not you…”  Using her neck to move her head in a circular motion-dripping in attitude she replied, “Mom you embarrass and humiliate me all the time”.  Smiling back at her I replied “Good! Now we’re even”.

Humiliations and embarrassments aside, 2012 was an awesome year.  Personal growth and laughter made up a large majority of what went on.  As I get older and these days seem to run together, I’m both bewildered by my babies physical growth (when did this happen?) and blessed by what they bring into my life.  I can only hope 2013 brings more of the same–though without a swollen face this time (btdt).

Happy New Year with many blessings to come!

Marsha8of9, the Hub, the boy and the doll,  the terrorist and Brownie too!

Epilogue: One of the most embarrassing moments I shared with the doll,  I wrote about in the blog titled “Of Kitty and doll” (https://marsha8of9.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/of-kitty-and-doll/).  This adventure merits a blog for you all to re-read.  Any attempts by me to rehash the embarrassment will not do the story justice.  If you would like to read the follow-up “Boxes” you can do so here (https://marsha8of9.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/boxes/) as they are companion pieces.
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