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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Guilt Trip to Nowhere

My Motto
Being a parent isn't easy. Those cute little bundles of love do not come with instruction manuals tied to their toes and just when you think you've got it figured out, some psychologist comes out with the newest and greatest book debunking all of the parenting methods you've been using. That's why I rarely read parenting books, it was  confusing. After talking to other women, I'm happy to know that I'm not the only one who thinks so. You would think that after the kids are grown and gone you could ease up a little on yourself, but I'm finding out that isn't the way parenting works. Adult children are like the gift that keeps on giving... In the guilt trip department. You finally think you can see light at the end of the parenting tunnel where you can sleep peacefully at night knowing you did your best, then they come up with how your parenting methods were all wrong. Everything you did was unhealthy, harmful, hurtful, or just politically incorrect... As if we didn't know we weren't perfect to begin with. I've done it to my mom, my kids have done it me and my friends kids have done it to them. Everyone has a laundry list of things we wish we would have done differently, times we wish we would have had more patience, and opportunities we missed to impart valuable wisdom instead of freaking out like a mob boss. But life is a trial and error situation with no do-overs and that's why God made psychologist and shrinks (and possibly Prozac) and warns against older women be given to too much wine... Your kids can drive you to drink! (LOL) Seriously, if you went to a psychologist without a mind blowing mother story, you'd be immediately admitted to the psych ward until you remembered the esteem shattering thing she did to turn you into the dark and twisty being you are today. Dads rarely get the bad rap moms do. A friend of mine used to laugh at me when I would tell her my mother/daughter stories.... And then she had one herself. A little part of her thought I exaggerated the drama until her daughter got old enough to walk and talk. Exactly why do moms get all of the attitude? We get the dirty diapers, the spit up, the attitude and then the "You should of's" while good ole dads plays dumb and gets a pass. You know why dads get a pass? It's because men don't do guilt trips. You can send a woman on a guilt trip because the Dairy Queen got your order wrong, but a man isn't going to go there. If a grown kid went to their dad with the idea of sending him on a guilt trip, the man would give them the famous blank look, leaving the child no satisfaction at all. A mother on the other hand will pack her bags, buy her own plane ticket to guilt trip island, never to return again, or until one of her girlfriends comes by to slap some sense
into her and demand she snap out of it and put her granny panties on. Guilt is  something most women naturally believe we deserve for some reasons (probably because of our moms). A therapist I know puts it this way... Okay, so (insert esteem shattering event here) happened when you were a child, now you're an adult and you're the one responsible for your attitude and the direction your life is going... Whatcha gonna do about it?

The greatest line of all Simpson episodes was this.....

Marge: I'm tired of looking like the world's worst mother.

Homer: Oh, honey, you're not the world's worst mother. What about that freezer lady in Georgia?

Story of my life.

Monday, June 17, 2013

You Can Expect the Unexpected

June 16, 1986, we sat on the front porch teaching our baby girl to roller skate. Her 3rd birthday was on the 15th and she had gotten a pair of roller skates. I was 9 months pregnant with our second child who was due on the 17th. We had my daughter's birthday party at McDonald's the day before, so I could sit and watch the wee ones run around without the stress of a party. I had carried this baby completely different from my first. I was pregnant from my forehead down to my toes. On the 16th, my husband and I soaked up as much one on one time as we could get with our daughter, knowing this would be the last time she didn't have to share our affection. I have a picture of her and my husband as he rocked her to sleep in the nursery. They were both were tanned with sun-bleached hair from swimming. Bright and early on the 17th we left the house for the hospital to be induced. My parents were down so we left them with our daughter to come to the hospital later. I expected the labor to be short and the delivery to be perfect just like the first. They got me settled into the bed and began the IV. My husband went down to the gift shop to pick up some magazines. When he came back up he sat calmly by my side fed me ice chips and read. When the contractions started, I was getting a little peeved at his magazine reading.... "I'm trying to have a baby here dear, think you could put that down for a second?" As the words still formed in my head, nano-seconds before speaking them, the nurse ran into my room, began tilting the head of my bed down and the foot of my bed up. She was in a very BIG hurry and my husband and I didn't understand what was going on. She quickly snapped an oxygen mask on my face, then ran out of the room. I heard her call for other nurses and the doctor stat! She ran back into the room checking the IV and informed us our child was in danger and they were doing a c-section. The anaesthesiologist came in and began grilling my husband on how long it had been since I ate?... Exactly how many ice chips had I taken in? I watched in total panic at my disappearing husband as they wheeled me quickly down the hall. I remember them scrubbing my stomach and then I remember nothing.  I could hear someone calling my name really loud. I felt like I was in a deep dark hole and just wanted to tell them to use their inside voices and let me sleep. The voices persistently called my name and then I heard my husbands voice... "Jackie, wake up.... We have a beautiful baby boy.... wake up.... You have a boy." The baby!!! My baby!!!! I could feel the tears coming.... All I wanted to know.... "Is he okay, is he okay?" Yes, he is okay and he is perfect, open your eyes and you can see him. I opened my eyes to see a beautiful baby boy with dark hair and his daddy smiling from ear to ear. Then the darkness scooped me up again, but not for long. A c-section wasn't exactly in my "plans", but with the life of my baby in jeopardy,  I was thankful we were in the hospital being monitored. The next day my baby boy slept quietly in his bassinet next to my hospital bed. My husband walked in and I smiled and said.... "He's going to be our quiet one." What I later learned was I could always expected the unexpected with this little one, because he was anything but quiet and life with him in the house was anything but boring. Happy Birthday Sweet Seth.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

It's a Small Small World

Perfect!!! That's how I like events to go. Unfortunately I don't have OCD, except in event planning. When I'm planning a party or shower, I know exactly what I'm shooting for. When I've done the planning correctly and the time comes, I can sit back, relax and just enjoy seeing my dreams come to life in front of me. Admittedly, I'm a total control freak about that kind of stuff. I am also very big on punctuality. If I arrive somewhere on time, I feel like I'm late. I don't like to be late and I prefer others to not be late as well. June 15, 1983 was the date my first child was due. I knew first pregnancies often go past the due date. I had the doctor check and re-check his calculations so he could be as accurate as possible, because I don't like to wait for anything. On the 15th, noon rolled around and I was starting to get anxious. Not one sign or symptom of anything happening any time soon... Notta, Zip, Nothing. I cried when I walked my husband out after lunch. He assured me everything would happen in time..... But I wanted it to happen ON Time. At exactly 3 that afternoon, I got that feeling and 5 short hours later, my husband and I welcomed our first child into our lives. The doctor proudly held her up for us to see and said.... "That face could go on a jar of Gerber baby food!" She was perfect... Absolutely perfect! Nothing captures a mother's heart more than the first glimpse of her child. We took her home, where she continued to keep us mesmerized by every little thing. As she grew, her strong will and tenacity took her places I could never dream of going. I miss the days of snuggling her close,  of rocking her to sleep while singing "It's a Small World", and holding her in my lap reading "The Cat in the Hat", over and over again. The little bundle of sugar and spice has grown up to see just how massive this small world really is, and I couldn't be more proud of the woman she has grown to be. Happy Birthday Aja! Love you tons and bunches.

Friday, June 14, 2013

June 14th, 1983

I sat in the sunshine yellow nursery, with a lap full of baby clothes, imagining that any day, they would be filled the pudgy cheeks of a wee one. I had painted half a rainbow on the wall over the crib where my little pot o' gold would sleep. I worked in.... You're going to find this hard to believe, but yes, a small shoe store in the mall. Even 9 months pregnant, I could rock a pair of stilettos, just to prove I could. Two weeks before my due date, the owner became a little jumpy. Every time I'd go to the bathroom, I'd come out to find her waiting by the door... Making sure everything was okay. "Yep, I'm still pregnant." Finally, when her nerves couldn't stand watching me waddle around in heels all day, she urged me to take off earlier than I had planned... I complied because I knew it would make her feel better. Not working those two weeks, gave me plenty of time to nest. One night my husband woke up to find me organizing paper sacks in the kitchen closet. The Lamaze classes had been completed. My bags were packed with the list they gave me from Lamaze class. My focal point was an advertisement I ripped from a magazine. It showed a bottle of amber liquor being poured into a glass stiletto (very cool, the stiletto not the liquor). My parents were on standby in Tulsa waiting for the.... "It's Time!" call. I rocked and I waited, I waited and I rocked. More than anything in the world, I wanted to be a mother. In the evenings my husband would play basketball downtown with the guys. I would walk downtown, then we would walk back home together. Tuesday evening, June 14, 1983, was the last time I walked downtown as an ordinary woman. The next time I took a walk, I'd be a Mom. I'd walk with the responsibility of teaching my child to reach for the stars and capture them in their hand, like they had my heart. I was ready (or so I thought), let the journey begin.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Ornamental Vs. Intrusive

After all the storms of last week, and sorrow for the many lives that were lost during those storms, the skies cleared and the weather turned beautiful for the weekend. Rarely in Oklahoma is the weather actually pleasant. If it's not too cold, it's too hot. If it's not too hot or cold, then the wind is miserable. There is a very small window of time where it's actually pleasant to be outside, so you better enjoy it while you can. As my husband mowed the lawn, I grabbed the weed eater and began the task of clearing out unwanted weeds. When we first moved into our house, we ripped out several cedar trees that completely obstructed the front porch, along with other overgrown shrubs. I am very good at demolition (imagine that), but I'm not so talented at landscaping. For the last several years, we have fought what I call "weed trees" and a very intrusive ivy. I looked them up on the Internet and found that in some cases, people actually plant these trees and ivy for ornamental reasons. They have however, completely taken over our yard and I can't imagine someone intentionally planting something so intrusive. As this thought was still hovering in my consciousness, I heard a knock, knock, knock on my heart. How many things have I intentionally allowed in my life thinking it would  add beauty and meaning, only to find, without close supervision, it completely takes over my life. It can happen with almost anything..... Hobbies, work, even relationships.  Every now and then I need to stop and take inventory to see if I've planted something for ornamental reasons only to have them become intrusive instead.